Depression in a Pandemic

Depression in a Pandemic

Published September 23, 2020

17th Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/September 23, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say that we deeply apologize to anyone who was not able to view our online worship this past Sunday. As you know, we are taking advantage of free streaming websites in an attempt to reach as many people as possible. Those sites can be unpredictable, and this week YouTube began implementing some fundamental changes, which caused us to experience major technical difficulties. Our team is making adjustments to ensure this doesn’t happen again and we will be performing a series of tests this week. As a result, you may receive mid-week notifications from our social media pages. In the meantime, please view the complete Traditional or Contemporary Worship from September 20 which have been uploaded to our YouTube page. As always, thank you for your patience during these times.

Depression in a Time of Pandemic

Our virtual COVID Conversation (you can watch here) this past Tuesday evening (with Matthews Presbyterian, Matthews First Baptist, Cross and Crown Lutheran and Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist) on depression gave me some time for study and reflection. Do you know what will be the most common disease globally by 2030? According to the World Health Organization, that disease is identified as depression.

But there’s good news: A new study has found that regular participation in religious services offers “significant protection” against this terrible disease.

The April edition of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry carries the report: Incidence of clinical depression was 22 percent lower among those who participated in religious services at least monthly, compared with those who never attended.  While researchers did not differentiate between faiths, about 80 percent of worshippers in the study would have been from Christian denominations.

Interestingly, those who attended frequently had the least depression, while those who attended occasionally were in the mid-range and those who never attended had the highest incidence.  In addition, those who identified themselves as spiritual, but not religious did not experience any health benefit.

Does the study indicate that religious participation is a guarantee against depression? Absolutely not. Elijah, one of God’s greatest prophets, once “prayed that he might die.  ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said.  ‘Take my life'” (I Kings 19:4).  King David once admitted, “I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning.  I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart” (Psalm 38:6, 8).

However, the study indicates that a connection with God can help.  Countering the belief that religious participation offers merely social support, the author stated, “It would appear it is something over and above that.”  The researchers concluded that there is an “unmeasurable” aspect of religious participation that benefits worshipers.

If you are depressed today in this season of pandemic, let me encourage you to get help now.  Depression, like most diseases, usually gets worse if left untreated.  If you know an Elijah or David, be that “friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).  And make time for worship, even as we do it virtually.  As one of the researchers explained, those who participate in religious services regularly “have recourse to divine assistance . . . and thus are less likely to feel alone in the vicissitudes of life.”  That’s because we’re not alone. God knows and loves us, no matter what we’re feeling and facing today.

During these tumultuous days, I hope you’ll remember that scene in the wonderful adventure novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, where a young prisoner says to the elderly priest, “I don’t believe in God.”  The priest replies, “No matter — he believes in you.”

Let’s Get Behind our COS Kids

COS Kids is a 5 STAR, Christian-based non-profit child care organization serving a full diversity of families, but with a special outreach to single parent families … and it is located right in the middle of our community, housed on the old sight of Matthews United Methodist.

Sue Sproat is the Executive Director and wonderful member of our church. She writes, “I am reaching out to ask if you might give us a hand with a promotion that could result in our winning a $25,000 grant from State Farm … We made it to the finalist selection of organizations who can win this grant but we need the help of the whole community to VOTE for us, preferably every day for a 10 day period, Sept 23 – Oct 2. The voting ends on the day before we would have had our annual fall fundraiser, Backyard Blues. Like everyone else who has had to cancel their events, we have lost a significant income source to fund our single parent program.  But this $25,000 would certainly help in our effort to be creative in replacing those funds!”

You can find out the details and vote by clicking here. MUMC, let’s get behind our COS Kids and Friends and help them get this grant. They need us!

This Sunday (September 27) in Worship

I hope you’ll be with us for online worship this Sunday at 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish-speaking).

This week in our CCH community Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Philippians 4:12-13, and his message is “Update Your System.” This is the final message in the series, Intentional Trust vs. Occasional Trust.

In our morning worship services, I’ll continue our series, My 95. My sermon is titled, “My 95 – My Partnership” from Genesis 32:22-32. The morning will also feature a powerful interview with Suzanne Pugh, MUMC church member and President/CEO of Aldersgate: A United Methodist Retirement Community located here in Charlotte.

And, as always, during these strange, uncertain and tumultuous days remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.

Living intentionally in My 95,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that Ron & Jean Clair celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary on August 9?  Also, their daughter Julianna was married to Brent Bookman on August 22 in Wilmington. The Clairs have lots to celebrate…congratulations to all!

Did you know that Brenda Murphy took the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge and said this about the study:
“Since the killing of George Floyd  and the surrounding protests, I have been reading, listening and studying racial injustice in our country…and I sadly must admit that I was unaware of many things in our national history, and never put a name on my own “white privilege.”  The 21 Day Challenge helped me find resources to continue my education and gave me the opportunity to share thoughts with others in our church community. This has challenged me to seek next steps in my life to first look at each individual as a child of God, then as a unique person that God has given me the opportunity to know, to walk with and to love.”
If you would like to learn more and/or register for the next 21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge, click here. The Challenge Group starts Sunday, September 27.

Did you know that Vicki Bell joined our Confirmation Leadership Team with Becky and Steve DuBose and Allison Parkhurst?  They are leading some awesome Zoom Times and keeping up with the guys and gals during our “Stay at Home/Safe Time!”

Did you know that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act permits eligible individuals to deduct $300 of qualified charitable contributions as an “above-the-line” deduction? Eligible individuals are those who do not itemize deductions on their income tax returns. This provision is for tax years beginning in 2020. Contact Lynn Robertson with questions at 704-841-7672.

Did you know that Greater Matthews Habitat is building another new home? This build honors the legacy of Sandy Marano, a dedicated Family Services Coordinator for Greater Matthews Habitat who died from breast cancer in 2016. At Greater Matthews Habitat, we know that the benefits of stable, affordable homeownership are immense and cannot be overstated. Homeownership improves school performance, decreases crime, and enhances the health and well-being of both children and adults. Thank you for your generosity to the Global Impact fund. These funds support the new homes being built by Greater Matthews Habitat.

Did you know that our MUMC Genesis Garden has harvested 455 lbs. of produce this season?  Most of the produce was given to Matthews Help Center to distribute.  Fresh flowers from the garden have been used for arrangements in the sanctuary, seen in our live stream services.  God has faithfully blessed those serving in the garden and these volunteers spread blessings in our community. Your gifts to Global Impact fund the work being done in our Genesis Garden.