4th Sunday after the Epiphany
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that I wish we all could have been at the church on Friday evening (1/20) for our Community Wide Bingo Night. Over 170 people enjoyed an amazing Italian dinner together followed by Bingo, lots of laughter, dancing and some great prizes! A very special “thank you” to our Age-Level Ministries for creating this opportunity of connection for so many. Stay tuned for more of the opportunities to deepen our connections at Matthews United Methodist.
This past Sunday was filled with holy moments: a gym full of young families with Family Worship; celebrating our Scouts at the 11:00 hour; Sue Demick and Deborah Morrison in their beautiful flute duet; our always magnificent Sanctuary Choir with Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah; John Woodall and Sue Oyach with Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come; the congregation singing O God Our Help in Ages Past. My sermon was about change and was titled, You Can’t Step Into the Same River Twice. You can watch one of our worship services from 1/22 by clicking here.
Sunday was also one of those mornings where our Sanctuary and Gym gave to us a thin place. The description come from Celtic spirituality, and it is where a person experiences God’s presence more readily than in any other place. One writer describes them as “those rare locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses.” These places range from religious venues to outdoor scenery to childhood settings and everywhere in between.
Do you have such a thin place where you sense the presence of God most closely to you?
I have a few. There is a prayer labyrinth at the Blowing Rock Conference Center near downtown Blowing Rock. There is the porch of the home my parents built in 1969 near Linville, NC where memories of my teenage years seem vivid and real.
By far, the most sacred thin place for me is walking the 2.5-mile trek around Lake Junaluska, just 20 miles west of Asheville, NC. It is there that I go when I need to remember my calling. It is there that I’ve walked on countless occasions to pray about whatever burden I was carrying and sense God’s direction in my life. It is there on one of the benches that I’ve sat with a computer to write some of the most important sermons I’ve ever preached, including my sermon to the laity and clergy of Western North Carolina Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Black Mountain, NC during the summer of 2016.
Thousands of years before the Celts, the Hebrew people also had a strong connection between God, the land and a place. The Bible is filled with instances where they experienced the sacred in thin places, connecting them to the promise, presence, and provision of God.
I would love to hear what your thin places are.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, Gathering at the Homesick Restaurant. The title comes from Anne Tyler’s beautiful and sometimes painful book that tells the story of a dysfunctional family of three adult children. It reminds me in some ways of my beloved United Methodist Church. Please here to watch.
Global Impact Celebration in February!
Our 13th Global Impact Celebration is coming up in February, and our theme is Transformation. We will focus on the transformation that occurs every day in our partner ministries, as well as transformation we experience by serving.
- Saturday, February 4 – Rev. Gaston Warner, CEO of Zoe Empowers, will also present at the UM Men’s breakfast at 7:30 am.
- Sunday, February 5 – Rev. Warner leads worship at all three Worship Services. Come and hear stories of empowerment and showing God’s love around the world.
- Saturday, February 11 – OPERATION: SATURDAY SERVE: We invite individuals & families to come to The Commons & serve from 9:00-12:00 noon. We’ll be making sandwiches for Roof Above, Blessing Bags for Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care and Valentines for other ministry partners. Register here!
- Sunday, February 12 – Come & hear Local & International Ministry partners speak in worship, and visit their exhibits in our hallways.
- Sunday, February 19 – Commitment Sunday: Prayerfully consider the commitment you will make to support Global Impact Missions in 2023.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join 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).
In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Ephesians 4:1-7 and his sermon is titled: Behaving at the Highest Level.
In our morning Sanctuary services, my sermon is titled How to Pray for Your Family from Matthew 7:7-11.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday in church and Sunday school. Please invite a friend, family member, colleague, or neighbor. Someone around you is seeking, wondering about Jesus, maybe wrestling with prayer. Could you extend an invitation for them to join you any Sunday?
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Humbled to be in this Adventure with you,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that some of our Global Impact partners were named as Matthews -Mint Hill Weekly’s 100 Biggest Newsmakers of 2022? The leaders at C.O.S.Kids, Matthews Help Center, Blessed Assurance and Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity all were named as recipients, as well as Pastor Larry Whitley of Mt Moriah Missionary Baptist Church. Read the article here. Congratulations to all these newsmakers!!
- Tomorrow Allen-Collins: Joined C.O.S. Kids in October as Executive Director
- Sandra Conway: Focused Matthews HELP Center toward preventing evictions
- Nate Huggins: Won Nancy Glenn Community Servant Award for senior aid
- Natisha Rivera-Patrick: Habitat helped 72-plus families & built 115th home
- Sue Sproat: The C.O.S. Kids leader retired in May after nine years
- Larry Whitley: His church sought to develop affordable housing
Did you know that Greg Smith was honored as the Matthews Veteran of the Year by the Town of Matthews at their board meeting this past Monday? Read the article here. Congratulations, Greg, and thank you for your service.