Don’t Finish What You Can’t Start

Don’t Finish What You Can’t Start

Published March 29, 2023

Palm Sunday
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say it was a week of study, service, retreats and worship at Matthews United Methodist (MUMC): our Confirmands were away on retreat with Pastor Corey; 49 of our women enjoyed a day retreat in the Commons; and, a couple of dozen or so were working in our church/community garden preparing for planting.

Our Women’s Retreat, An Invitation to Peace, was a day of learning about peaceful heroes, inner peace and peace with others. At the end of the day, all participants left with resources on how to be better peacemakers. Some comments made to me on Sunday morning were as follows: “It was the best retreat I’ve been on.” “Such a timely and needed topic.” “I had time to interact and meet new women and share with friends not often seen.” And thank you, Chuck DeLong and David Shepherd, for the wonderful scrumptious lunch you prepared.

My heart is so in need of peace this morning with so much suffering around the world. Today I’m particularly concerned about our friends in Mississippi dealing with the devastation of tornadoes. Our Global Impact Team is in discussions on how to respond. They are awaiting to hear from our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). In addition, I’m jolted again by violence in one of our schools. This time in Nashville, TN. I’ve driven by Covenant Presbyterian Church many times as my daughter lived only a few minutes down the hill from the church.

MUMC, I do invite you to pray for the many families affected by these tragedies. But prayer is not the only response to the gun violence gripping our nation. Yes, prayer helps us keep our hearts open, connects us to God and one another, and strengthens our resolve to live into our baptismal vow “to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” My scripture reading this morning from Matthew 17, v. 23 concluded, “and they were all heartbroken.”

The United Methodist Church in the News

The United Methodist Church of Western North Carolina made the front page of the Charlotte Observer this past week. Thirty-six churches in the Western North Carolina Conference have been seeking to sue our bishop, Ken Carter and the Trustees of the Conference (our very own Fred DeVore is a Trustee of the Annual Conference) for another way to disaffiliate from The United Methodist without following through with the responsibilities outlined in Paragraph 2553 in our Book of Discipline (the law of the church). You can read the press release from the Bishop and the Annual Conference here.

What does this have to do with Matthews United Methodist? For MUMC, it just deepens our resolve of ordinary faithfulness to be a thorough going United Methodist, fully inclusive church. We are here to bind up each other’s wounds, to carry each other’s burdens, to celebrate each other’s joys and successes. We are here to serve each other as Jesus served us, in quiet, every day, unseen ways.

May I encourage you to review the deep level commitments we’ve made in our This Is Us document. It lays out clearly our Mission, Vision, Values, Welcome and Means of Grace (Rule of Life).

Wednesday Devotional

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled: Don’t Finish What You Can’t Start.

A Note from Pastor Corey

We have a great and exciting staffing announcement to share with you all from Age-Level Ministries. Skye Humphries, or as many of you may remember her, Skye Cooley, is joining our staff team as the United Kids & Youth Associate for (4th – 9th grade).

Skye started with us this past Sunday and is already in the process of getting settled in during the busy Lent & Easter season. Skye and her brother Sean grew up here at Matthews UMC, and she actively participated in youth ministry during her middle school and high school years (Fun fact – when I first joined the staff at MUMC. she was a senior in high school). Her whole family has been very involved in ministry life here at MUMC as her mom was on staff with the United Youth Team for over 11 years, and her dad, Doug and brother were small group leaders for several years as well, and Skye has continued to serve with Rainbow Express Camp for many years. It feels like we’ve come full circle to have Skye on the team now, it’s great how God works! Skye brings great creativity, energy, and a love for young people to the position, as she is coming to us after serving on staff at The Metro School and COSKids, and we are thrilled to have her on the team.

Her office is by the Gym Entrance across from Room 158, so be sure to stop by and welcome her when you are on campus.

Your Easter Invitation

Can you believe Easter Sunday is just a few weeks away? Easter is my absolute favorite day of the year because Easter reminds us that no matter what is going on in our lives and world, God is working to make all things new!

With Easter quickly approaching, I would like to personally invite you and your family and friends to join us at Matthews United Methodist Church for Easter Sunday, April 9, at 6:45 am Sunrise Service, 8:15 am in the Sanctuary, 9:30 am in the Sanctuary, 9:30 am in the Gym, 11:00 in the Sanctuary, and 12:30 pm Spanish-speaking service in the Sanctuary.

We will celebrate with a beautiful service, special music from our outstanding musicians and artists, coffee and snacks, a fun experience for kids, an inspiring message of hope, and a few fun surprises. You don’t want to miss it.

I hope you will plan to join us and invite your friends and family to come along too and make this a celebration to remember. We look forward to worshiping with you. See the entire schedule of Holy Week here.

This Sunday (Palm 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).

In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan will be leading in meaningful Palm Sunday worship. He will be preaching from Luke 19:32-40, and his sermon title: Let’s Celebrate with Integrity.

In our morning Sanctuary services, we will conclude our study of The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:7-13) in beautiful, joyous Palm Sunday fashion. The phrase of the prayer that concludes our worship series, “For Thine is the Kingdom, power, and glory…” We will conclude our Palm Sunday time together with the Sacrament of Holy Communion in all three of our morning hours. It will be a high, holy day. Also, I hear there just might be a donkey leading a Palm Sunday procession!

United Kids and Youth invite everyone to Jerusalem Marketplace to travel back in time for a special Palm Sunday Experience! Drop-in to the Gym and Commons this Sunday between 9 am – 12 pm and experience the city with all your senses as you visit food markets, ancient crafters and market stalls. There will even be a chance for an up-close encounter with our visiting donkey as together we learn more about Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

I hope you’re already thinking of someone you can invite to church on Palm Sunday or Easter. There is so much power in an invitation, and you never know who might need a word of comfort, or hope, or encouragement, or even challenge and engagement this week. I can’t wait to be with all of you. I love being one of your pastors!

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

Lenten mercies,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that our very own Melissa DeLong was the headline speaker for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Guys & Dolls Gala in Uptown Charlotte this past Saturday?

Did you know that Matthews United Methodist is the sponsor for the Town of Matthews Great Easter EGGspedition? Look for hidden “Easter Eggs” around town from clues provided and be entered to win a prize basket. Event dates: March 31 at 7 pm – April 9 at 8 pm. See details & participate in the fun!

Did you know that members of our United Youth & College-Age Ministry have been sharing The Lord’s Prayer through social media, inviting others to pray the prayer with them as a part of a 30-day challenge Pastor Corey gave at Youth Group? The challenge invites everyone to pray The Lord’s Prayer at least once a day for 30 days. Check out “therealmumcy” on social media to join our young people in prayer.

Did you know that our own Jill Willis, former MUMC Contemporary Worship Leader & Children’s Choir Director, will be presenting a lecture-recital as part of her requirements for her voice degree at Queens University? It is this Sunday, April 2 at 3:30 PM in the Kathryn Greenhoot Recital Hall on the Queens University Campus. It is free and open to the public.

Did you know that United Youth sponsored the 23rd year of MUMC’s participation in The Souper Bowl of Caring. Some of United Youth’s 9th & 10th graders met to prayerfully discern what organizations to share support from collection. $1,250.00 & 563 lbs of food will be dispersed between the following organizations, whose efforts work to try and end hunger in our local communities: Matthews Help Center, Common Heart, Turning Point, MUMC’s Feed the People Food Pantry, Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, and West Stanly Christian Ministries. Thank you MUMC for your love and support of this outreach opportunity.

Did you know that a team of 25 volunteers from MUMC and The Males Place (one of our Global Impact partners) prepped the Genesis Garden for planting at the workday on Saturday? It was a great morning!