Just these lines, my friends …
… to say thank you for your presence in worship this past Sunday. We experienced beautiful music, pastoral prayers, baptism and a sermon from Philippians 2, The Most Difficult Instrument to Play. If you missed, you can watch by clicking here. In addition, let me say thank you to the nearly 50 of you that made your way to Mt. Moriah for bridge-building with our friends of color.
I’m excited about the Rev. Amy Coles (Special Assistant to our bishop, Ken Carter) being with us in The Commons this Sunday at 9:30 am and then again at 10:45 am. She will provide some great insights into our United Methodist landscape. In preparation, may I invite you to watch this video that I think does the best job of explaining our denominational divide. It is done by Rev. Tom Berlin, Senior Pastor of the Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, VA. Also, be sure to read this statement that we (Carol Hatcher – Lay Leader, Jon Pollack – Servant Leader for the Administrative Council) shared last week to provide clear information on some of the widespread misinformation about the current issues in The United Methodist Church (UMC). Both of these will be helpful preparation for Sunday.
Karen and I had two more of our little grandbabies through the Memorial Day weekend. I held them both so closely at times. I asked Rosa to pray for peace in our world. A sincere, heartbreaking five-letter prayer from a three-year-old little girl who has no idea of the dangerous world she is entering.
Prayer is enough for a child, and childlike prayer is essential for all of us. But as a professor of mine in seminary said one day, “There is something deeply hypocritical about praying for a problem you are unwilling to resolve.” Prayer is not enough for us. Indeed, prayer alone is sacrilege, impiety, and blasphemy. We have to act.
And yet what are we supposed to do? I don’t have any brilliant plans, but what about the following:
- We could reduce the incessant flood of violence that passes for entertainment in movies. On TV and video games. Why not fast from all this stuff?
- We could work to rebuild trust in healthy relationships, strong families, public institutions, and visionary faith communities.
- We could support mental health initiatives, education and awareness.
- We could increase funding for our public schools to support teachers who are called to teach our children, not die for them.
- We could reject the narrow political ideology that has been crafted around the Second Amendment.
- We could decide that no one really needs to own the weapons of war which have been the guns of choice for mass shootings.
- We could institute nation-wide background checks which many of our citizens support.
- We could tell our government representatives and officials how much real change matters to us.
- We can look for organizations with viable strategies to change at local, state, and federal levels.
- We could increase our support for social service agencies in our communities.
Perhaps then … if we actually do something … our “light will shine in the darkness, and our gloom will be like the noon.” Perhaps then we can “rebuild … the foundations of generations past.” Perhaps then – and only then – we will deserve to be called “Mender of Broken Walls, Restorer of Livable Streets.” (Isaiah 58:10-12, Common English Bible)
May God’s peace comfort the afflicted and may God’s Spirit afflict the comfortable. And may we, in God’s name, find the courage to change!
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week, titled “Counsel for a Troubling Medical Diagnosis.”
Staff Community Transitions
Dale Webster and our Staff Parish Relations Committee have been working diligently to fill some important vacancies around our church. Debbie Fitts is joining our staff team (June 1) as our new Director of Operations and Treasurer. Debbie comes to us with an impressive background in finance and operations for several local organizations: Barbizon Lighting, Capri Productions (renovation of the former Capri Theatre into a state-of-the-art performance venue), and the Charlotte Repertory Theatre. Debbie and her children are long-term Charlotte residents.
We are also excited to announce that Liz Tikalsky is joining our staff team (May 31) as our Receptionist / Administrative Assistant. Liz has an extensive background as a receptionist, office coordinator and in customer service. Most recently, Liz worked for the Mecklenburg County Bar Association and prior to that she worked in administrative support at several local law firms. Liz has a delightful personality and a servant’s heart for helping people.
MUMC Age-Level Ministries is excited to welcome Connor Johnson as the new United College-Age & Young Adult Associate, Briana McClendon as the new United Kids Administrative Assistant, and Parker Rosenblatt as the United Youth Summer Intern. We are thrilled to have these high-capacity individuals on the Staff Team. Be sure to welcome them when you see them on campus!
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join us this Sunday in person or online at 8:15 am (traditional – in person only), 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish – in person only). It is Pentecost (the birthday of the Church and the coming of the Holy Spirit) Sunday. If you can, please wear red.
In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan is leading to Pentecost. This Sunday he is preaching from Romans 8:14-16 and his sermon title: A Task for the Holy Spirit.
In all our morning Sanctuary services, it is Graduation Sunday. It is the day we seek to celebrate all our graduating students. They have worked hard and earned their diploma. They have lived through extraordinary times and persevered. They have adapted to continuous change. They have been faithful at a time when it would be so easy to turn away, and they have stood firm and persevered.
When I think of our graduates, I see hope for the future. They have been raised in the faith, and soon they will go and continue God’s good work in the world. God is not through with them yet; their entire life is before them. May they see the infinite possibilities that God provides, may love and grace abound in their hearts, and may our graduates know that we give thanks to God for each of them. Thank you to the parents who have raised them and to the church for faithfully living into the baptismal vow of “With God’s help we will so order our lives after the example of Christ that surrounded by steadfast love, you may be established in the faith, and confirmed and strengthened in the way that leads to life eternal” (UMH 44).
To our graduates, I want to share that this is your church home. We are your church family. We will be praying for you as you embark on your future. We love you and look forward to the years ahead to see how God is working in your life and how you are impacting and transforming our world for good!
Friends, I hope to see you on Graduation Sunday/Pentecost. Be sure and invite someone to church or back to church. You never know who might need to be inspired and hear God’s glorious words of hope.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Matthews UMC is a sponsor of the Town of Matthews Beats ‘n Bites events at Stumptown Park? Last Friday (May 27) was the largest crowd so far this season! Our team enjoyed conversations with quite a few who were interested in Kids, Youth & Adult Ministries as well as the special concert events we have planned. Hundreds of people received MUMC swag with our website address and a personal invite to church! Please call the Church Office if you are interested in serving at these fun events.
Did you know that Global Impact is collecting supplies for Matthews Free Medical Clinic? Bins are located at both side entrances to the main building and in the breezeway, and the collection ends on June 12. Matthews Free Medical Clinic serves our neighbors in both Union and Mecklenburg County. Help us support this ministry!