Conceived in Liberty

Conceived in Liberty

Published July 3, 2024

7th Sunday after Pentecost
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say that we began our summer worship series this past Sunday. It is titled The Good Life … The God Life from Matthew 5:1-12. I hope you’ll take the time to click here and worship with us.

On Sunday, we also celebrated Pastor Jenny with a reception in the Commons. Thank you, Jenny, for your three years of incredibly faithful service in our staff community as one of our pastors. We’ll be looking for you in the hallways of MUMC.

This past Friday night was the culmination of our annual Music and Arts Camp. This year’s camp was led by two of our Staff Community members, Shannon Remley and Ashley Broome, plus a whole host of others giving of themselves in faithful service. We had 98 campers and 40 youth/adult volunteers. Approximately 50% of this camp is made up of kids from other churches! It was an AMAZING week with hundreds of people joining us on Friday evening for the inspiring presentation of Not Your Average Joe (the Old Testament story of Joseph). Click here if you’d like to be moved deeply by a hundred of our kids.



For our youth, the past couple of weeks have also been filled with travel and mission. Our middle schoolers were in eastern North Carolina and our high schoolers traveled on a mystery mission trip to Atlanta. I spoke with a couple of them on Sunday about the dramatic work of God in their lives. Who knows…maybe God is calling a whole new batch of MUMC young people into deeper mission and service.

Some of you continue to ask about serving as a delegate to the 2025 Annual Conference. If you’d like to do so, send me an email expressing your interest in serving. Next year’s Annual Conference will be June 19-22 at Lake Junaluska. Our Western North Carolina Conference is always looking for potential delegates. That is why we had 43 of us at Lake J: 5 clergy delegates, 5 lay delegates, and 33 district/conference delegates. Read below some takeaways from our MUMC people:

Carol Hatcher: “… I loved being at the conference with our group. I am always excited to see such wonderful representation from MUMC! It truly warmed my heart to see the diverse group of people attending the conference knowing that every single one of them was fully affirmed, accepted, embraced and loved by The United Methodist Church. However, I was also reminded that we, as the people of The UMC, have to continue to actively work to heal hurts caused by our church and our society.”

Mike/Jan Horai: “We offer the following … the necessity of pruning which allows us to honor God more faithfully and grow in our faith; Rev. DeVega’s message and his metaphor asking ‘What if The UMC is not a sinking ship but a submarine in the making?’ This hit home in that, what if we are that vessel that provides the capacity to reach depths that we have not begun to imagine?”

Don Morrison: “I was immensely pleased that most of the chaotic ‘ugliness’ is behind us and that we have been in a way ‘re-baptized’ to pursue our mission of pruning, abiding and bearing fruit!”

Jordan Roth: “I left Annual Conference feeling very proud to be a United Methodist. Before attending, I had no idea of all the work being done in creation care, racial justice, relationships with youth, celebrating rural churches, and the list goes on. I am thankful to be part of this denomination, and I am inspired to become more involved at MUMC … .”


2024 Capital Campaign & Questions We Hear You Asking

In case you missed the announcement regarding the feasibility study survey results and background that led to the unanimous Charge Conference vote to move forward with a 2024 Capital Campaign, please click to read the complete details. We appreciate all the feedback, questions and ideas received during the feasibility study process. Please tune in over the coming weeks as we feature answers to your questions or click on the FAQ document for an updated list.

Q. Can you share the results of surveys?

We presented the proposed projects, totaling roughly two million dollars, to 23 separate focus groups and surveyed the congregation for their feedback. Over 450 people attended the presentations and 263 responses to the survey were returned.

The results from these surveys are as follows:

  • 86% of respondents were “positive” or “very positive” about the plan
  • 77.5% were “confident” or “very confident” that MUMC could raise the $2.0 million over a three-year giving period
  • 87% were “willing” or “very willing” to financially support the plan, in addition to their current annual giving
  • 178 respondents indicated their potential gift would fall within a specified dollar range

Generosity Development (Sean Mitchell and Jim Holladay), our stewardship consultants whom we engaged for this project tallied up those potential gifts, using a conservative estimate for each giving range, projected that we might receive almost $1.0 million, or half of our overall goal. Based on all the information they have received and their expertise, the consultants conveyed a high confidence level in MUMC’s ability to raise funds to meet or possibly exceed the goal and recommended that we proceed confidently with the capital campaign.

Q. Will security be addressed with this project?

Safety & security is something we take seriously at all times. As this project approaches, our Facilities staff, with the input of Rob Hunter, a church & staff member and former Matthews Police Chief, will work to plan & provide recommendations to maintain a safe & secure campus throughout the project period. Throughout the year, an off-duty police officer is present from 9 am to 12:30 pm on Sundays and is tasked with walking the campus and driving the parking lot. Cameras are installed across campus and there is a panic system with quiet alerts to immediately notify authorities. Ushers, Age-Level Ministries and Facilities constantly stay connected through a walkie-talkie system on Sundays. Throughout the week, external doors on campus are locked, with visitors being buzzed into the Chapel Entrance. Please direct any additional questions to our Facilities staff.


Video Devotional

Do you remember the way Abraham Lincoln used the phrase “conceived in liberty” at his Gettysburg Address? If you’ve forgotten, then you might want to watch my devotional for the week, titled “Conceived in Liberty”.


Signs of Hope in 2024

Each week in our Management Community (Paul Craig, Corey Milliet, Roldan Flores, Beth Lynn, Debbie Fitts, Craig Estep, Shannon Williams, Chuck Wilson) meeting, I ask our staff community leaders to share any signs of hope they may have seen or experienced during the past week. I hope you’ll click here and see what we’ve come up with for the first six months of the year.


Upcoming Events

  • Rainbow Camp – Beginning next week (July 8-12) is another one of the momentous, highlight weeks of our summer with the 27th edition of this great MUMC tradition. You can read more about Rainbow Camp by clicking here.
  • Sermon on the Mount – Starting July 9. Foundational evening study on the Beatitudes. Register
  • Beatitudes Women’s Small Group – Starting July 11. Delve deeper into our summer series with a Thursday morning small group! Register
  • Check your Voter Registration so you’ll know when/where/how to cast your vote this fall! The Micah Connection and Bridge Builders teams will be in Sanctuary Reception Area, between Worship Services on July 14, August 11 & September 8.
  • Serve at VBS – July 22-26. YOU make sharing God’s love possible: 80% of campers who attend VBS do not attend church or have a church home. All adults & youth are invited to sign up to volunteer and share a few hours at any point during the week.


This Sunday in Worship

We invite you to join us this Sunday at 8:15 am (traditional; in person only), 9:30 am (contemporary; in person or online here), 11:00 am (traditional; in person or online here) or 12:30 (Spanish; in person or on demand here).

Our Spanish-speaking community (CCH) will begin a new summer worship series, Intentional Discipleship. Pastor Roldan’s sermon is from Luke 9:57-62 and is titled A Price Worth Paying.

In all our morning sanctuary services, we will be in week #2 of The Good Life … The God Life. We’re living with the Beatitudes all this summer, those peculiar exclamations with which Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount. Ambrose, the 4th Century bishop of Milan, called them “the paradoxes of Jesus.”

A paradox is a proposition that appears to be self-contradictory or absurd, but which expresses a possible truth. It’s hard to imagine anything more paradoxical, more counter-intuitive, more absurd in our consumer-conditioned culture than the words with which Jesus begins our scripture lesson for Sunday. Matthew’s version (Matthew 5:3) says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” But Luke’s version (Luke 6:20) simply says, “Blessed are you who are poor.” Period. Now does anyone really believe that? Let’s talk about it on Sunday. My sermon is titled When You Haven’t Got a Dime.

This time of the year, there are many families in transition looking for a new faith community home. They are moving into your neighborhoods. I hope you’ll consider inviting them to come along with you to learn about the paradoxical, counter-intuitive Jesus. These newcomers are looking for connection. They are looking for a vital community of faith. Keep an eye out for someone and invite them to learn of the subtle, subversive and sublime way of Jesus (our summer worship series).

And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, but hopeful days, remember, God does God’s best work in moments like this.

We are better … together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II


Did you know Amy DeVore will be a delegate from the Western North Carolina Conference to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference (southeastern states) of The United Methodist Church? The Conference will gather at Lake Junaluska, NC, July 10-12. The Jurisdictional Conference is a regional body that promotes the evangelistic, missionary, and benevolent interest and institutions of The UMC; elect and deploy bishops to residential assignments; appoint various committees to nominate leaders to serve within our jurisdiction at the broader, general UMC level; and, support and hold accountable the ministries of the jurisdiction. Amy, we are grateful for your service.

Did you know that the Family Covenant Sunday School Class & the Tuesday morning Women’s Bible Study collected 313 lbs of food for Common Heart food pantries? Common Heart provides food to those in need in Union County. Global Impact is grateful to partner with this organization.

Did you know that Kim Holt, our Global Impact Champion for Turning Point, is leading a Bible study for residents there? Turning Point offers shelter and support for families impacted by domestic violence. Thanks, Kim, for your leadership and thank you, MUMC, for supporting Global Impact.