1st Sunday after the Epiphany/January 8, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say “thank you” to Pastor Paul for his excellent message on Sunday, January 5. I was able to watch the service on our live stream. I was amazed at the quality and some of the creative camera shots. “Thank you” to Joel Mullis and his team for all the efforts. You can watch the service here.
The United Methodist Church: Reconciliation and Grace through Separation
You may have read multiple news articles over the last few days that make it sound as if The United Methodist Church (UMC) has already decided to split. However, many of these articles are misleading. Decisions over how we will move forward will be decided only at General Conference which will be held May 5-15, 2020, in Minneapolis. Until then, the news you read is speculation, even if well founded.
On Friday, January 3, 2020, the Office of the Council of Bishops released a statement explaining that a group made up of United Methodist traditionalists, centrists, progressives, and bishops unanimously signed a proposed agreement on the separation of The UMC. The agreement, which is called the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation, was agreed upon by this influential group through a mediation process. They have released the protocol along with a FAQ statement. Those involved arduously worked together while being facilitated by a renowned pro bono mediator to reach a place of compromise and agreement.
This plan is still a work in progress. It will continue to be drafted into a complete document for General Conference and it will no doubt be amended and worked on by the General Conference delegates before voted on in its entirety. It is also one of several similar proposals on which delegates will vote. Many of the proposals that have been submitted offer a way to separate for those who have decided they must leave The UMC. Many are saying the plan released Friday is likely our best hope going forward and it may be, but it is not without its imperfections and heartbreak.
Here are some of the other plans that have been submitted to be voted on at General Conference:
- Bard-Jones Plan: A New Form of Unity
- Indianapolis Plan
- UMC Next Plan
- N.E.W. Plan: New Expressions Worldwide
- The Plain Grace Plan
- Oppose Dissolution: Preserve Unity Plan
- Connectional Table Proposal
I want to assure you that Matthews United Methodist (MUMC) will host learning sessions prior to General Conference to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to be as informed as possible about what is being decided. For now, I want to encourage you to remember I Corinthians 13:8-13 (The Message) which states, “Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
Truly, right now we know only in part, and the path forward is still dim even though the sun is beginning to dawn on the horizon. Without a doubt, what will lead The United Methodist Church towards a healthy and hopeful future is LOVE. While we cannot control the path the larger church takes, we absolutely have the ability to ensure the path of Matthews United Methodist. We will “trust steadily, hope unswervingly and love extravagantly.” So, don’t be anxious. We are in this together!
A Note from Amy DeVore
Amy DeVore is one of the many fine leaders that make up MUMC. Not only is she the Chair of our Global Impact Committee, she was elected a delegate at last year’s Annual Conference to represent The United Methodist Church of Western North Carolina at a regional level. I asked her to share a bit of her work with you, in light of the news of this past week regarding General Conference 2020.
At the June 2019 Western NC Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, elections were held for the 2020 conferences. I was elected as a Lay Delegate for the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference (SEJ). The elected group of 46 individuals includes 10 Lay Delegates, 10 Clergy Delegates for the General Conference in Minneapolis in May, 2020 and also 10 Lay Delegates, 3 alternates, 10 Clergy Delegates and 3 alternates for the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference (SEJ) to be held in Lake Junaluska in July, 2020. I was elected to serve in the latter group, as a Lay Delegate for the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference (SEJ).
All 46 (lay and clergy) of us have been meeting together monthly since September to discuss the upcoming petitions for the General Conference to be held in Minneapolis in May 2020. My responsibility includes the nomination and election of Bishops for the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference (SEJ) of The United Methodist Church. At our meetings we are reminded to pray daily for our 2020 delegates and for our Church. We pray for guidance of the Holy Spirit and we seek to respond faithfully.
In these meetings, I can feel the hope and love for The United Methodist Church and the dedication of every single person in the room. The mix of clergy and lay people, young and old (delegates range from 17 to 92 years of age), black, white, Asian and variety of social demographics is refreshing, and gives us a texture of connection and hope for the future.
As a member of MUMC for more than 20 years, I feel the warmth and strength of family as I see these new friends each month. We have heated discussions, but we always pray for discernment and unity. Every individual brings a different story of their faith and vision for the church, but we all share the beautiful love of Jesus Christ and hope for transforming the world. We are all disciples together and we pray for guidance and connection in the days ahead. Somehow God has brought me into this new time and place for The United Methodist Church. I pray daily for discernment, strength and wisdom for this process.
Our discussions have been insightful and thought-provoking. We meet one Saturday (9am-3pm) each month, as a group. Our next meeting is Saturday, January 11, in Burlington, where we are having a joint meeting with the NC Conference (representing the other half of the state).
In the coming months, we will meet more frequently as our General Conference delegates prepare for the meeting in May. I am honored to have the privilege of serving as a Lay Delegate.
I ask for your prayers for me and for our delegation — and every UMC delegation — as we prepare for the road ahead.
Grateful to be part of the MUMC church family,
Amy Fincher DeVore
Thank you, Amy. We are grateful for your incredible service to MUMC and to The United Methodist Church.
Upcoming Dates & Sunday Worship
I hope you’ll participate in the upcoming ministry events, including Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Jan 19-20), Leadership Connection with Charge Conference to follow (Jan 25), Celebrating 10 Years of Centro Cristiano Hosanna (Feb 2), and Celebrating 10 Years of Global Impact (Feb 9, 16, 22 & 23). Also, if you are looking for a good film, I highly recommend Just Mercy, which premieres on January 10 in area theaters.
Please plan to join us this Sunday (January 12) for one of our morning worship services in the Sanctuary. I’m really excited for you to hear Pastor Corey Milliet preach for you. It will be good for you to hear this wonderful preacher/communicator apart from a Youth Sunday or Graduation Sunday. Her sermon title is “Frequency,” and the Scripture lesson is John 10:3-5, 25-30 from The Message. I know Pastor Corey has a special word for all of us.
Have I told you lately how honored I am to be your pastor?
I Continue to Count My Blessings, as your
Pastor and friend,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that our steeple is scheduled to be repaired on Thursday, January 9? The Sanctuary Parking Lot will be closed beginning Wednesday, January 8, at 9:00 pm until the work, requiring large construction, cranes is complete. Repairs are anticipated to be finished Thursday or Friday.
Did you know that Vivienne (Viv) & Roland (Ron) Buszko celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a Vow Renewal in the Chapel on December 27? The ceremony was officiated by Pastor Judi Hunt.
Did you know that the dumpster gate was repaired by our Handyman Ministry before Christmas? “Thank you” to everyone who helped with the repair!
Did you know that Connie Barth, Lee Wilson and Doris Coble from MUMC prepare and serve lunch to approximately 300 neighbors at Urban Ministry Center twice a month? The three are referred to as “The Golden Girls,” and someone recently had aprons embroidered for these faithful servants!