4th Sunday in Lent | March 10, 2021
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that do you feel our collective hopes rising as our numbers are improving? More people are vaccinated each day. New infections are falling. Perhaps this long pandemic exile will soon end, and we can gather again. Even as we hope, we remember that “love is patient, …” (1 Corinthians 13)
This past week, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky shared how we are making progress, but there are about 67,000 new cases and 2,000 American lives lost to the virus each day. It’s nearly a third of what the U.S. was seeing during its holiday surge but still no better than during the summer peak. Walensky cautions, “I am really worried (that folks) are rolling back the public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19… I understand the temptation to do this — 70,000 cases a day seems good compared to where we were just a few months ago — but we cannot be resigned to 70,000 cases a day, 2,000 daily deaths. Please hear me clearly. At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained… Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know could stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close.”
Who does not long to be back together at church, unmasked, free to hug and to sing with gusto (or some version of being together)? Yet, we know that wearing masks and passing the peace with deep bows will be a part of best worship practices for the foreseeable future.
Our Returning to In-Person Worship Team is meeting each week. We are laying plans for limited in-person worship gatherings for worship in the Sanctuary beginning April 11 (small groups of persons will be invited to help us refine our protocols and processes) and then on Mother’s Day, May 9, we will begin to regather with 175 persons in each of our worship services 9:15 am, 11:00 am and 12:45 pm (Spanish-speaking). Please note the time changes. This Friday we will announce details for an exciting opportunity for Easter Sunrise on-site worship in our Large Parking Lot at 7:00 am. Advanced reservations are required for all on-campus worship services. See this coming Friday’s announcement in our Celebration newsletter for those details.
It is hard to imagine, but during the pandemic new people have found our church, professed faith, and joined MUMC … without ever stepping inside our building. Ponder that! The pandemic has shown us the previously underutilized connective power of live-streaming worship and the usefulness of Zoom for discipleship and committee gatherings. We are grateful.
A global pandemic has not stopped the extraordinary action of service by our Methodist Men either. For several years now, our men have partnered with our Matthews Police Department in something called the Secret Santa Project. The group provides the Police Department with $100 bills to distribute to 40 different individuals during the Christmas season. Hugs and tears of joys are exchanged between members of our community and our local law enforcement officers. You can watch here.
“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all!” (Galatians 6:9-10)
I’m following Pastor Paul’s outstanding sermon from Sunday on The Way of Forgiveness with one of the most powerful examples of forgiveness I’ve ever known. It is highlighted in my Wednesday devotional and titled, “Forgiveness at Ebenezer.” Please click here to watch.
This Sunday in Worship
This week our CCH community will gather for worship at 12:30 pm and begin a new worship series, Priorities that Do Not Change. Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Ephesians 2:4-10, with his message titled, A Well-Crafted Plan.
At 9:30 am and 11:00 am we continue the journey along The Jesus Way, our Lenten worship series. If you missed Pastor Paul’s outstanding sermon on The Way of Forgiveness this past Sunday, you can watch it here. This Sunday will be a bit different for we are designing the entire service around The Way of Worship. You can prepare by familiarizing yourself with the story of Elijah (I Kings 17-19). Click here for a snapshot view of the sermons between now and Easter. I hope to see you on Sunday.
And, as always, during these strange, uncertain, tumultuous, and perilous days remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
We are in this … together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Briana McClendon is the new Children’s Director for KidGen at ReGeneration Church in Boone? Bri already serves faithfully with their youth and as the president of Regeneration Church Ministry. Briana is a child of MUMC & served as a Youth Intern in 2019. We are so very proud of you, Briana!
Did you know that we have had 80 views of “Your Best Night in Date Night”? You can still spend a fun evening together at home by viewing this on our YouTube channel now.
Did you know that our Home2Home Ministries (H2H) delivered 84 pieces of furniture to Lumberton where it will be used for flood victims suffering from our last NC hurricanes? The persons who delivered and unloaded the 26′ truck then spent the rest of the day building a deck for one of the families. To date H2H has picked up 986 pieces of furniture from 152 families and delivered 928 pieces of furniture. H2H has 58 pieces in storage and will deliver 38 of those pieces to 5 families in Charlotte on March 20. On that same day H2H will pick up 26 pieces from 9 families.
Did you know that in addition to the resealing and striping of our parking lots, we now have two speed bumps at the Country Place entrance of the Large Rear Parking Lot?