1st Sunday of Advent | November 25, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that we have had some special days around here since we last communicated, beginning Thursday night with a wonderful, creative, imaginative celebration of Rainbow Express Ministries. The benefit raised thousands of dollars to serve persons with and without disabilities. Rainbow is dramatically affecting the landscape of our community. Thank you, Laurie Little and company, for our deep-level partnership with you. You can read more about Rainbow and the benefit here.
I had the beautiful honor of officiating the wedding of Sam Kinkade and Lindsey Packey at Belk Chapel on the campus of Queen’s University. Lindsey grew up in our church and is the daughter of Matt and Karen (deceased) Packey. Then on Sunday I conducted the memorial service of Bill Hankins in the courtyard of the church. Bill is the brother of Nancy Hankins Standley and uncle of Shannon Williams, our Director of Communications. I feel so honored to stand with people in the highest and lowest moments of life.
This was also a big weekend for our United Youth. Typically, they would have traveled to Lookup Lodge for their annual Fall Retreat. Due to COVID-19, the “retreat” was held in our MUMC parking lot. Our Youth Staff and adult counselors led “The Best Weekend Ever” for our youth. I drove by a couple of times and it looked fabulous: worship, Christmas lights, young people everywhere. What a sight! Thank you, young people, Pastor Corey, our United Youth Staff and all our volunteer youth leaders.
Tuesday at 1 pm, we prayed for God’s blessings for the beginning of the work on our beautiful new Columbarium. This lovely memorial garden will be a wonderful new addition to our site. Construction will take approximately two months.
Saturday was also the last day of our daily video devotionals. I asked our staff community to join me in these devotionals nearly nine months ago. They joined me in putting these together despite the myriad of other things on their plates. I’m so thankful to them for joining me in helping keep people connected. My plan is to continue with a filmed devotional each Wednesday and Friday.
Let me add a very special “thank you” to everyone who has submitted a financial pledge to our 2021 budget. To date, nearly 200 of you have done so. WOW! Your support, especially during this time, means the world to me and our staff. You can still pledge by mailing in our card or pledging online. Click here for more info.
Finally, I have never been prouder of our clergy, church staff, and lay leaders who have so tirelessly provided new ways of worshipping and connecting together. We had made plans weeks in advance to return to in-person worship on November 22, but when the numbers began ticking upward, we determined to continue loving our neighbors by worshipping at home.
I hope you’ll click here to watch my Thanksgiving video devotional, titled “I Hope Tomorrow.”
First and foremost, thank you so much for your generosity and faithful partnership during the most difficult of seasons. Your prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness all matter and add to the substance, mission and integrity of Matthews United Methodist. I know you’ll help us to finish the year strong in these last few weeks of the year. Please consider the following:
- General Fund – This is the heart and soul of financial giving for MUMC. If the General Fund is not strong, then nothing is strong.
- Global Impact – For the last decade this ministry has defined our work beyond the walls of MUMC.
- Refresh and Renew – For the last few years we’ve encouraged you to consider a gift to this work of keeping up with our facility needs.
- Endowment – In 2017 we founded this new arm of giving that will fund many projects in perpetuity. You can make a gift to the Endowment and designate how you’d like for your gift to be used, or you can consider leaving a gift in your estate. For more information on the MUMC Endowment, please click here.
Perhaps you’ll consider a gift to all of these worthy opportunities for your financial giving. Click here to give.
A Couple of Advent/Christmas Giving Opportunities
Our special Christmas Eve Offering for 2020 will be collected throughout the Advent Season this year, not just on Christmas Eve. Please indicate “Christmas Eve” on your gift. Global Impact will split the offering between three ministries: Matthews HELP Center as they continue their life-changing work by helping ease local poverty; Changed Choices as they assist women and their families in transitioning their lives from incarceration to restoration; and Est/Her International as they provide hope and courage for young women to step into a new life that God has for them.
Angel Tree 2020 – You can support local individuals in need as identified by Global Impact’s Ministry Partners. This year we are partnering with Blessed Assurance, Changed Choices, COSKids, Matthews HELP Center & Turning Point. Select your Angel through registration on REALM November 13-30. Gifts are to be returned December 5, 5-7 pm in a special Drive-Thru Bethlehem Event. Click the following links to register for your Angel: Children, Women and Children, Senior Adults, or Bikes, Scooters and Gift Cards. If you need help registering, you can watch this instructional video for a step-by-step guide.
Advent Begins on November 29
Our Sunday morning worship services during Advent are being built around the theme, The Many Moods of Christmas. In these worship services we’re trying to shape the scenes of Christmas via human feelings.
- On November 29 (Christmas Anticipation from Luke 1:5-22), we’ll talk about Zechariah’s feelings of anticipation as he looked forward to the birth of his baby boy, who would grow up to be John the Baptist.
- On December 6 (Christmas Catastrophe from Genesis 3:13-15), we will reflect on the catastrophic side, the heartbreaking side of Christmas.
- On December 13 (Christmas Laughter from Matthew 1:18-25), we’re going to have a chance to laugh at the joke God plays on Joseph, a young man who learns his young fiancé Mary is pregnant . . . and he knows he isn’t the father.
- Then the next Sunday, December 20 (Christmas Ambiguity from Luke 1:26-38), Dr. Seuss will help us define the birth of Jesus as an instance without category.
I’d love for you to consider taking some steps toward connecting more deeply with your church during these Advent days. One of the ways you can do so is participating in one of our Advent group opportunities. They will go right along with our Advent worship series, The Many Moods of Christmas. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to spend special moments connecting more deeply with God and one another. You can sign up to be a part of a group here.
This Sunday (November 29) in Worship
This week our CCH community will gather for worship at 12:30 pm and begin a new Advent worship series, The Most Anticipated Return. Pastor Roldan will be preaching from I Corinthians 1:4-8 with his message, “In Christ We are Covered.”
In our morning services at 9:30 am and 11:00 am on this first Sunday of Advent we will be sharing in Holy Communion. You might even consider having your Advent Wreath and elements as we prepare to gather together.
And, as always, during these strange, uncertain and tumultuous days remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Onward Together … with Love,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Matthews UMC packed 591 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child this year? Thanks you to everyone who participated in this ministry this year! Special thanks to Lynn Robison and her dedicated team of volunteers for delivering the boxes last week.
Did you know that Rehobeth Circle collected supplies, and Beth Hayslett and her team of volunteers packed 100 Operation Christmas Child boxes this year? Thank you to Beth and the Rehobeth Circle.
Did you know that CCH, in partnership with Global Impact, provided funds for HELP Pregnancy Center in Monroe to purchase supplies such as diapers, cleaning products, children’s clothes & office supplies? This organization educates and supports clients when they are facing difficult situations and tough choices.
Did you know that Servants Heart Circle donated 41 sets of pajamas and folded over 200 sets for Promise Pajamas? Thank you to this wonderful mission-focused group of women!