6th Sunday after the Epiphany | Global Impact 2
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say “thank you” to Rev. Gaston Warner for sharing stories of transformation that we are making possible together. It was a powerful weekend. I was so deeply moved by his vision of hopeful, indigenous, sustained ways of empowering young people. Gaston cast that vision in all three morning worship services on Sunday. If you missed, you can worship online here. By the way, Rev. Warner was very serious when he made his ask for people that would be willing to make a trip to Kenya to say thank you to our 31 youth-led families for completing their three-year indigenous based, community-led, empowerment program. Check out the 2023/2024 travel dates to Kenya. If you are interested in one of the trips, please contact Amy DeVore at 704-815-1985.
This past week was also filled with numerous other hope-filled moments, activities and actions of service: RITI (Room-In-The-Inn) volunteers gather every Thursday evening to connect, feed and house homeless men; 50 persons (plus 30 scouts/leaders) gathered early on Saturday morning with our Methodist Men to hear Rev. Gaston Warner; Friday evening and Saturday morning brought dozens and dozens of people to our Gym for our Youth Basketball leagues; a group of 11 gathered to go deep around their spiritual gifts on Saturday — at MUMC, we call it MAGI (Members Applying Gifts Intentionally); 24 folks played pickleball (try it out for only $3 on Monday & Wednesdays, Noon-3 pm in the Gym); our Stephen Ministers (providing one-to-one care ministry to people experiencing grief, divorce, loneliness, job loss, illness and other difficulties) served us Holy Communion in all our worship services on Sunday.
Friends, as you can see, we are off to an incredible new year, even amid all the chaos. Every day we are bombarded with news, some good and some horrific –earthquakes, mass shootings, book burnings — but alas, we will continue to keep our eyes on the prize, and keep our feet firmly grounded in the love of God.
We are feeling the love early in this new year – bless you for your faithful participation and giving to the work we do together. Let’s make 2023 a year of revolutionary LOVE! AND please don’t miss a single activity related to Global Impact 2023. Join us in dancing in the darkness for the darkness doesn’t stand a chance.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, How to Flourish in Your Marriage.
Global Impact Celebration is Here
Our 13th Global Impact Celebration is underway! We are focusing on the transformation that occurs every day in our partner ministries, as well as transformation we experience by serving.
Take a look at some of the opportunities coming our way:
- Saturday, February 11 – OPERATION SATURDAY SERVE: 9:00 am-Noon in The Commons. Individuals & Families will make sandwiches for Roof Above, Blessing Bags for Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care and Valentines for other ministry partners. All ages can serve! Register Here
- Sunday, February 12 – Visit Partner exhibits in our hallways (9 am – 12:30 pm) & hear stories of transformation in worship. Panelists: 8:15 Service – Diane Hunt/Changed Choices, Natisha Rivera-Patrick/Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity, Bo Bobrowski/Hoskins Park 9:30 Service – Amy Carr/Matthews Free Medical Clinic, Jared Keaton/Alliance Center for Education, Sandra Conway/Matthews HELP Center 11:00 am Service – Jessie Lindberg/Turning Point, Tomorrow Allen-Collins/COSKIDS, Liz Clasen-Kelly/Roof Above
- Sunday, February 19 – Commitment Sunday: Please prayerfully consider the commitment you will make to support Global Impact Missions in 2023 and bring your completed Faith & Life Commitment cards to worship on February 19. You can also pledge online here.
Devastation in Syria & Turkey
The news and images of the recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey are heart-wrenching. The devastation is compounded by winter temperatures, poverty, and warfare. I invite you to join me with prayers for healing amid grief, recognizing that (at the time of writing) over 11,000 people have died. Join me in reading Psalm 46 in solidarity and intercession for people in desperate need.
Our very own United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has released an initial solidarity grant to a longstanding humanitarian partner, international Blue Crescent which has offices in Turkey. The grant will provide tents, heaters, blankets, warm clothes, ready to eat meals and basic first aid kits. You can join these efforts by making a gift to our Global Impact’s Disaster Relief Fund (select other & include “Disaster Relief” in the memo line). Please do not make checks out to UMCOR.
It’s moments like these where we are vividly reminded that our mission for MUMC is more than a statement or quippy phrase. Our “Reach, Teach, Praise and Serve” is a way of living. May continue to restore hope and love and peace in a shaken and fractured world.
Church Tree Project
You may remember back in December seeing the tree canopy of our church going through a change. Our Board of Trustees, led by John Millen, are charged with supervising and maintaining the physical property of MUMC, determined that many of our trees were aging out and showing serious signs of failing, which is not unusual for trees planted in parking lots and with limited growth areas. Our Trustees then, guided by outstanding tree professionals came up with a replacement plan for 52 trees. The plan was then submitted to the Town of Matthews Planning Department and approved.
Well, the project that began just before Christmas is nearly complete. The only thing remaining is to fill three stump holes, but dry fill dirt is at a premium with all our rainy weather. All will be completed when the ground dries. The new trees are Ginko, Discoverer Zelkova, Serviceberry, Merlot Redbud, Tuscarora Crepe Myrtle, Cryptomeria, Princeton Elm, Yellowwood, and Willow Oak as well as the tree species donated by the Town of Matthews – Bald Cypress and Hornbeam.
Thank you to our Trustees and the Town of Matthews for their guidance on this project. Thank you, Brenda Murphy and Ben Rippy for all your efforts. Thank you, Roy Harrington, for your vision of beautiful trees on our site. Finally, thank you to the nearly 100 families who contributed over $102,000 to our ReFresh & ReNew Fund in 2022 — You made this possible!
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 continue the series, Careful Choices. He will be preaching from Mark 2:1-5 and his sermon titled: Special Friends.
In our morning Sanctuary services this week, we continue our Global Impact emphasis. We will have the unique opportunity to hear from nine different local service groups. I can’t wait for you to hear these amazing leaders telling us about their compassionate responses for hurting people in our area. Be in your seat early to not miss a thing. Between services, see and converse with representatives from 30 of our Global Impact Ministry Partners in our hallways to see how you can get connected!
Our Family Worship at 9:30 am in the Gym will be an action-packed service for the whole family focused on this month’s virtue of Respect. Music, games, skits and activities will help remind us to show others they are important by what we say and do, based on the scripture from Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you want them to do to you.“ Following the service, families will have an opportunity to take part in a Mission Project for our local Global Impact partner, Blessed Assurance. Everyone is invited to enjoy coffee and fellowship in The Commons between 10:30-11:00 am on Family Worship Sundays! We ask that children and teens be accompanied by an adult.
I hope you’ll also invite someone to come along with you. Invite them to Sunday worship, Sunday Morning Groups, Family Worship in the Gym or our Operation Saturday Serve. There is nothing more powerful than a personal invitation. See you Sunday!
And now, as always, during these turbulent, 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 the song Lift Every Voice and Sing is the Black National Anthem? In 1919 the NAACP dubbed this song for its power in voicing affirmation for African Americans. As we Celebrate Black History Month and share resources linked from our website, we recognize this hymn as a prayer of thanksgiving, faithfulness and freedom. While not required, standing when this song is played shows respect. Listen and watch this great video of a performance by the Stanford Talisman Alumni Virtual Choir and view song lyrics here.
Did you know that our Feed the People food ministry delivered 60 bags of food each month last year to Union County Crisis Assistance Ministry? There were 26 items (outlined below) in each bag with 720 bags total delivered, which makes for 18,720 items contributed in 2022! Each bag contained 2 cans of baked beans, 2 cans of corn, 3 cans of green vegetables, 3 cans of fruit, 4 cans of tuna, 2 cans of pasta, 3 cans of soup, 1 box of cereal, 1 box of saltines, 1 box of oatmeal, 3 boxes of mac & cheese, and 1 jar of peanut butter. Thank you to everyone who donated food (link to donation list) and money, and a special thanks to Doug Hunter and the team of volunteers who shop, package and deliver this important source of food to those in need right here in our community. This group of faithful volunteers also provided 30 turkeys and food boxes for Greenway Park Elementary at Thanksgiving!
Did you know that 10 participants from the most recent New Member Class and 1 person moving onto elected leadership completed our MAGI Spiritual Gifts Discovery Workshop on Saturday? Their names are Jimmy & Kim Bradley, Beverley Fifer, Steve & Susan Higgins, Mackenzie & Steve Miller, Judy & Travis Silberquit, Suzy Wilson, and Julie Jones. Discover your spiritual gifts, identify your personal style, and name the passion God has put in your heart for service in our May workshop. Learn more or link to register.
Did you know that you should have received 2022 Global Impact Highlights and 2023 Faith & Life Pledge Cards in the mail (also available at the Welcome Center)? Please prayerfully consider your 2023 commitment to the mission work Beyond the Walls of the Church and bring your completed cards to worship on February 19. You can also pledge online.