25th Sunday after Pentecost | Thanksgiving Sunday
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that Sunday was probably one of my favorite worship services in which to ever participate. It was so very holy and moving. As is our tradition on the 2nd Sunday in November, we begin by honoring our Veterans. It is four minutes that will bring a tear to every cheek and a smile to every face as we saw many of them wearing their uniforms. Honoring these women and men who have served still matters. Remembering our history and learning from it still matters.
I pray my grandchildren will grow up in a world of fewer Veterans because there will be fewer wars; a world where we can turn swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. Frankly, right now, the prospects aren’t all that promising, but in gratitude for what my Dad (Charles W. Wilson) and my son (Charles W. Wilson III) have done, I pray for the day “…when peace shall over all the earth it’s ancient splendors fling, and the whole world give back the song which now the angels sing (from It Came Upon a Midnight Clear).“ I pray for a world without Veterans.
If you missed worshipping in person with us this past Sunday, please take the time to click here and experience our joyous Commitment Sunday: Pastor Roldan’s incredible sermon of putting the Word into words; music by our Orchestra, Stumptown Brass, Children’s Choir, CCH and MUMC Praise Teams; and our incomparable Sanctuary Choir directed by Craig Estep and accompanied by Kathy White that just knocked me over … and over … and over; a challenging prayer by Pastor Corey; and our talented interpreters (Miguel Cabrera and Andres Rodriguez). Of course, there are so many others involved as well: ushers, greeters, welcome desk volunteers, children and nursery workers, sound/visual/broadcast booth folks led by Joel Mullis and Rick Turski. And a special shout out to David Shepherd and his community of volunteers for preparing our scrumptious BBQ meal. What a day of powerful worship on one end of the building and then great food and fun on the other end. It takes a whole community to do what we do. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Plus, if you missed Sunday and haven’t had a chance to make your pledge for 2024, you can bring it to church this Sunday. The Joash Chest will be open for you to drop it in … Commitment Cards are available at the Welcome Center, or you can pledge online here. Thank you for offering yourself as we join Jesus in loving our community, our church, our world.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, Grace.
Matthews Community Thanksgiving Service
I hope you’ll make every effort to join us on this Sunday evening, November 19, 6 pm in our Sanctuary. It will be a beautiful evening of Thanksgiving worship as we join our friends from Mt. Moriah, Matthews Presbyterian and Morningstar Lutheran. My sermon for the evening is titled, Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ based on a wonderful book I share at our Thanksgiving table most every year. In addition, I will be sharing my annual I’m Thankful listing, along with a couple of other surprises. We will also have cider and seasonal desserts in the Sanctuary Reception Area following the service. Please do make every effort to be present. Let’s make sure we fill our Sanctuary with a bunch of United Methodists to welcome our friends from other churches.
Advent/Christmas Worship Series Begins on December 3
During the weeks of Advent, we are called to prepare our hearts, our lives, our relationships, and our world to receive the mysterious, amazing, life-transforming gift of God’s love made flesh among us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. When we receive the gift from God, we are called to be the gift to others. Therefore, on December 3, we will be called to Be the Gift of Love; on December 10 to Be the Gift of Hope; on December 17 to Be the Gift of Joy; on December 24 (in our morning service) to Be the Gift of Peace; and then finally on Christmas Eve to Experience the Gift. I hope you are already planning not to miss a single Sunday.
Check out our plethora of opportunities for connection during Advent & Christmas here!
If you will, please do something for me. At some point in the next couple weeks, please send Pastor Paul a note telling him of your excitement for him to return on December 3 (1st Sunday in Advent) after his renewal leave. He will be over the moon to receive dozens of cards sharing your excitement for his return. Paul’s address: 9476 Man O War Rd., Indian Land, SC 29707. Thank you. Your notes will be a source of great hope and encouragement for him.
By the way, he does not know we have removed him from our mailing list for a couple weeks. So, he will not be reading this Just These Lines.
Thank You from Karen and Chuck
Words are woefully inadequate for Karen and I to use in saying thanks. Dozens and dozens of you have sent us notes, email, and so much more to express your sincere sorrow for our loss of Karen’s father, Willard (Bill) E. Payne. There is a big hole in our hearts where he has been for many years. In the last 144 months (12 years), he has been in our home, 92 of those months … and we have loved every moment. I’ve never met a more compassionate, kind, considerate, uplifting, cheerful and goodhearted man … ever. His impact on me is beyond profound. You can read a Facebook post Karen wrote about her father by clicking here.
Many of you have asked if there is going to be a service. Well, the answer to that is yes, but it is going to be in LaQuinta, CA. For many years he liked to travel to the desert of Southern California. In fact, for many years he had home in LaQuinta. Well, on the first weekend of February 2024, our entire family including grandkids, as well as Karen’s sister’s family, will travel to the desert, and join some of his dear friends to celebrate his life. Grandpa would be so pleased to know we are going to the desert. We’ll make some special memories for our kids and grandkids.
Some of you have also asked how you might make a memorial gift of remembrance. In my sermons, I’ve told you no one loved the game of golf more than Bill Payne. So, Karen has identified First Tee of Central Carolina, P.O. Box 236, Clemmons, NC 27012 to honor her dad. Our son, Ryan, is the CEO/Executive Director of First Tee of Central Carolina. You can click here to make a memorial gift and read all about the unique non-profit work of the First Tee.
Blair Road United Methodist Church
Blair Road United Methodist Church is a sibling church of ours in Mint Hill. They are struggling deeply after a recent vote around disaffiliation (which did not pass), but dozens have left the church. I’d like for you to consider two things:
- If you can, please attend a Sunday morning in the next few weeks. The Interim Pastor, Mary John Dye requested the 11:11 am (that is not a typo) service. It will mean so much.
- They have a job opening for Church Administrator. Click here for the job description. The hours are Monday – Thursday, 10 am to 5 pm. Might there be someone in MUMC who would be perfect for that position? (Click here for current job opportunities at MUMC.)
Our United Methodist Bishop’s Release Statement
Amid Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza in response to Hamas’ terrorist assault, the United Methodist Council of Bishops called for both prayer and work toward lasting peace in the Holy Land. Our bishops also denounced the antisemitism, Islamophobia and hate crimes that are brutalizing people well beyond the war-torn region.
“We value all life,” the bishops said in a statement released on November 10 during their fall meeting at Lake Junaluska. “We encourage every effort toward a peaceful solution. We call for the release of hostages and for the killing to stop. We also call for the immediate allowance of unrestricted humanitarian assistance.” You can read the statement by clicking here.
The Annual Charge Conference of MUMC
I will guide us through the Annual Charge Conference of MUMC on Monday, November 27, 7 pm in Room 94. You may also join via Zoom by clicking here. We will be praying, covenanting, recognizing faithful service, affirming new leadership, setting clergy salaries, membership roll audit and expressing gratitude for connectional giving. All are welcome but only members of the Charge Conference will be able to vote.
Update on General Giving
Together, our giving makes the transforming work of the church possible. As we head towards the end of the fiscal year, it is important to share this update on General Giving and ask that you continue to prioritize ministry in all that you do. Matthews UMC makes God’s love real right here in our community in impactful ways. Please consider helping to close the gap between now and December 31 so that we can continue to fulfill our mission to Reach, Teach, Praise & Serve.
- Arts & Crafts Extravaganza – This Saturday, November 18. Details
- Angel Tree – Sanctuary Reception area. Sign out an angel tag and return gifts by December 3.
- Advent Studies – Starting the week of November 26. Details
- Advent & Christmas happenings here.
This 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 (Centro Cristiano Hosanna) community, Pastor Roldan begins a new worship series titled A Necessary Moment from Genesis 48:1-4. His sermon is titled, The Best Inheritance We Can Leave.
I’m so pleased to announce that the Rev. Linda Kelly will be our preacher in all three of our morning hours this Sunday. Rev. Kelly served as clergy for 34 years in the Western North Carolina Conference. She was a member of the MUMC clergy community as one of our associate pastors from 1999-2002. She retired in July 2021, after serving as the District Superintendent of the Smoky Mountain District. Linda is now in a new season of life and ministry living in Sunset Beach, NC. Linda’s daughter, Kasey, is now 28 years old and graduated in May from Boston University with a Master of Social Work and a Master of Divinity. MUMC is so very honored she has placed her retired Charge Conference membership with MUMC. Linda will be preaching the final sermon in our fall series, The Pathway of Discipleship. She will be preaching from Luke 17:11-19 with her sermon titled, The Pathway of Gratitude: Remembering to Remember.
I hope you’ll encourage someone to join you in church on Sunday to hear Rev. Kelly. I know her sermon will be a straight arrow for people looking to believe and belong. Might someone you know need the sense of community that comes in and through the love of God being made real in and through MUMC?
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and yet, hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
We are the church, together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Camp4Heroes, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting veterans and first responders as they transition from their lives of service back into civilian living, held their fifth annual HeroFest celebration this past weekend on Veteran’s Day? They raised over $50,000 to help in their efforts to build more amenities and provide services for these amazing men and women who protect our country and communities. Camp4Heroes was founded six years ago by our very own Director of Contemporary Worship, John T. Woodall and his father, Captain “Woody” Woodall. To find out more about the camp or to donate to their cause go to www.camp4heroes.org.
Did you know that our church has contributed over $19,800 to UMCOR Disaster Relief funds in 2023? Through Global Impact, we sent hygiene kits to US locations and funds to Alabama, Turkey, Maui, Morocco and to victims impacted by Hurricane Idalia. Thank you for your generosity and prayers to support neighbors across the world.
Did you know that families at our Family Worship Service earlier this month experienced three meals of thanks to God as they learned about Gratitude? A Sedar Passover Meal and Family Communion were followed by making a “Gratitude Sundae” where each ice-cream and topping reflected a different way in which we are thankful to God.
Did you know that, at our BBQ & Bluegrass lunch this past Sunday, we fed approximately 400 people for less than $1500 thanks to David Shepherd and his incredible team? Some fun numbers include: 324 lbs. of hog, 16 #10 cans of baked beans, 115 lbs. of potato salad, 3 cases of collards, 8 #10 cans of green beans, 21 lbs. of red slaw, 23 lbs. of white slaw, 150 bags of potato chips, 160 buns, and 336 cookies, 12 gallons of tea and 14 gallons of lemonade.