Day of Pentecost | May 19, 2021
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say we’ve anticipated this past Sunday for a long time. We couldn’t have Confirmation in May of 2020 due to the pandemic, so this year brought the Confirmation of two classes. Below are the names of the young people who professed their faith to follow Jesus and they became our newest church members. They committed to be on the road of discipleship. What a big, big day! (*These students were also baptized on Sunday.)
Confirmation Class of 2020: *Robert Aycock, Kenneth Anderson, Jack Becker, Grady Britt, Caden Cresswell, Matthew Dieffenbach, Elizabeth “Bizzie” Drulard, *Rebecca Englar, Paxton Fore, Lily Gieselmann, Mark Gutierrez, Abigail Hoover, Grace Hopper, Christopher Kamenick, *Lillian Mattes, David Pomponio, *Avery Reynolds, Brooke Sallee, Evan Smith, Brady Smith, Natalie Stewart, Abbey Testa, Sadie Testa, Lucas Tselentis, Addison Turner, *Anna Witers
Confirmation Class of 2021: *Shane Bell, Piper Burton, Sam Childers, Bryan Cook, *William Cotton, *Margaret Crowgey, Carson DuBose, Mason Frey, Molly Hartnett, Ryan Hartnett , Brooke Hiteshew, Paige Hiteshew , Cora Kisshauer, Cameron Lyerly, Raygan Maxey, Porter McConnell, *Amelia McVetta, Lauren Parkhurst, Benjamin Purcell, Jacob Sitzer, Liliana Strickland
On Saturday, I was so deeply thrilled to be a part of the Habitat for Humanity home blessing for Celestin, Marie, Innocence, Jean and Prince. (Click here to see a video of the blessing.) This is a beautiful family with an amazing story, you will not want to miss. They spent 15 years in a Refugee Camp in Rwanda. We will honor them in church one Sunday in the not-too-distant future.
Update on Re-Gathering for Worship
It has been wonderful getting to see so many of you during the last several weeks. I know we are all grateful to have the opportunity to return to our beloved place of worship and gather as a family of faith. I doubt any of us will ever take that opportunity for granted again.
I want to thank you all for the exceptional ways you have adapted to the new normal as we prioritize one another’s safety while gathering. I am so proud to say that we have not had a single incident of someone refusing to follow the church’s guidelines. Our staff and lay leadership have been working hard to make decisions that are wise, grounded in science, and contextual when considering what protocols are needed as we continue to move forward.
Late on Tuesday, we received adjusted COVID guidelines from our Bishop, Paul Leeland. Last week, the CDC and Gov. Cooper also issued new guidance regarding masks, social distancing, and mass gathering limits. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have relied on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), local data from the North Carolina Department of Health, Governor Cooper, our MUMC health professionals and the Western North Carolina Conference (Bishop Paul Leeland) of The United Methodist Church to guide us.
In response, we offer these adjustments, beginning Sunday, May 23 and ask for your continued patience:
- Pew Bibles and Hymnals have been returned to the sanctuary; pew cushions will return next week.
- Congregation members are asked to continue wearing masks while indoors a bit longer. Some wish to be vaccinated but can’t be due to being immune compromised. Unvaccinated people are most at risk.
- We will continue singing and participating while wearing masks.
- Passing the Peace remains “touchless” for a while longer.
- Pastors/worship leaders, choir, etc., will not wear masks if they have been fully vaccinated.
All of this to say, more normal days are coming…they really are! Until that day fully arrives, we will continue to offer you life-giving worship in a variety of forms, small groups that are both virtual and in-person for spiritual growth, FUN outdoor experiences, loving pastoral care, opportunities for children and youth to gather, and a meaningful way to connect with others in an environment that seeks to be OPEN for ALL.
With so much confusion concerning what is safe and what is not, we appreciate your patience. We will continue moving towards full participation in the weeks ahead, and deeply appreciate your understanding as we walk this unprecedented journey together. Exciting plans continue to unfold for our church, as we move into God’s future with enthusiasm, gratitude, and great joy!
I hope you will take the time to watch my devotional for today titled, “Crazy.” Please click here to watch.
Rev. Linda M. Kelly to Retire
Many of you may remember Pastor Linda from her time of service (1999-2002) here at MUMC. For the past few years, she has been the District Superintendent of the Smoky Mountain District, and she is retiring effective July 1, 2021. Plans are being made to celebrate her ministry by presenting to her a box of cards and letters, including those written to her from people right here at MUMC.
Linda has been a compassionate servant leader. I know you will want to call to mind her servant leadership and pastoral heart from her ministry here in Matthews as she reaches this important milestone of retirement.
These letters need to be mailed no later than June 1 to the following: Rev. Sandy Giles, Linda Kelly Appreciation, 120 Crum Drive, Lake Junaluska, NC 28745.
Thank you in advance for helping to celebrate this remarkable pastor.
This Sunday in Worship
This Sunday (May 23) will be a Pentecostal explosion as we celebrate the important church holiday of Pentecost, signifying to us the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the church. On days like Pentecost, let’s remind ourselves of Annie Dillard’s famous quotation: “Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares at church; they should lash us to our pews.”
We have those moments in worship at Matthews United Methodist all the time, when it just feels like fire is going to fall any minute! You can pretty much feel the rush of a mighty wind in the house. We celebrate Pentecost one Sunday a year, but in fact, every Sunday is a Pentecost. Every Sunday is a day when the Spirit of the Lord moves in the worship of God’s people and we walk away knowing that we have felt the flame. Quick! Lash me to the pew!
We invite you to join us for in-person (make reservations in advance) or online worship this Sunday at 9:15 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:45 (Spanish). May I remind you to wear some red.
In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan will continue with the worship series, A Church, Well Built. He will be preaching from Acts 10:42-46 with his message titled, The Ideal Atmosphere.
At 9:15 am and 11:00 am we continue our worship series, Easter Earthquake: How the Resurrection Rocks the World. We have spent these weeks wrestling with the following question: What difference does the resurrection make in the way we face the crucial issues/crisis/concerns of our time? This week we’ll be digging deep into the Crisis of the Common Good from the story of Pentecost, Acts 2:1-21. I’ve got a special one-minute video to show in my sermon…I don’t want you to miss it.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, tumultuous, perilous, and hopeful days of pandemic remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
We are in this … together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
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Did you know Global Impact provided lunch for 100 staff members at Greenway Park Elementary School and provided items for gift bags assembled and distributed by the PTO during Teacher Appreciation?
Did you know that construction of our Memorial Garden is well underway and is scheduled to be complete around the first week of June with 80 double niches and 40 single niches in place? Another 80 double niches will be added as soon as funds are received from commitments for additional niches. Visit this page on our website for more information.