Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

Published June 9, 2021

3rd Sunday after Pentecost | Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say what a day celebrating our 42 high school graduates on Sunday. Though I was not there in person, I loved watching early on Monday morning the events of the day before. Thank you, graduates, for what you mean to us. You are stepping into the middle of that “time to believe what love is bringing” as was shared in the liturgy for the morning. If you missed it, click here to view the service. Congrats, graduates!

I don’t like missing anything that celebrates our wonderful children and youth, but this past weekend was an exception. My family whisked me away to Atlanta for a surprise two game weekend watching my beloved Los Angeles Dodgers (so sorry all you many Braves fans). The outcome of the weekend was much more to your liking, though, as your Braves drummed my Dodgers.

You will never imagine who I ran into in the middle of Truist Park with 45,000 other people: some of God’s very best, the Adcock family (Kim, Toni, Abby and Hunter). It was a wonderful reminder to give thanks for the remarkable community called Matthews United Methodist Church (MUMC).

Wednesday Devotional

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my “Is the Cup Half Empty or Half Full?” devotional for today.  Please click here to watch.

Regathering Update: Exciting News for Sunday

Beginning this Sunday morning, Contemporary Worship returns to the 9:30 am start time, and we welcome Kids, Youth & Adult Ministries (details on links) back to campus. We want to continue to be adaptive, nimble, careful, science-driven, hopeful, and kind. With that said, here is our latest update:

  • All are invited to attend in-person worship on Sundays (reservation system removed)
  • Masks are not necessary for those who are fully vaccinated on campus (indoors or outdoors). We prefer that a mask be worn by anyone who is unvaccinated but leave that decision up to the individual. We encourage anyone who would like to wear a mask to feel welcome to do so as they participate in ministry and worship.
  • There are some sections within the pews where social distancing may be easier to maintain.
  • We will continue deep cleaning between services and on campus. To allow every effort for cleaning between worship services, please exit the Sanctuary in a timely manner.
  • Coffee House will be on hold until a later date when we are able to mobilize volunteers to make this ministry possible. Complete the following to serve Coffee House Interest Form or Greeter Interest Form.
  • Church opens through-the-week for ministry on June 28.

Please note, Deep Kids will return this Sunday at 9:30 & 11:00 am in The Commons (enter at the Gym Reception entrance) with a special time of Deep Worship just for children. Register for Nursery (Infant – 3 Years of Age) through 6th Grade. To ensure protection of our younger kids who are not able to be vaccinated, children 5 years and older and volunteers will wear masks at United Kids indoor gatherings. Please complete the Kids Interest Form to serve and make ministry possible while feeling the joy that comes from blessing the youngest of our church family with the love and joy of Christ.

Annual Conference 2021

For the second year in a row, we will be “virtual” for Annual Conference (AC) this weekend. This means instead of going to Lake Junaluska, I will be watching from my laptop. Hardly “holy conferencing” in the true sense of the word.

For United Methodist clergy, Annual Conference is more than a yearly business meeting or a church convention. Since we have no local church membership, our church membership resides in the AC. Since we are not hired by the local church, our ultimate accountability is to the AC. We are not local church pastors who are involved in a denomination, we are traveling preachers sent by the conference to places of service on behalf of the larger mission. Ours is not a “call” system, it is a “sending” system and the AC is our home.

So for us, AC is not primarily about the business, as important as that is. As church scholar Russell Ritchie says, it is primarily “revival, fraternity and polity”. It’s about being the church gathered … together.

Which is to say, a virtual annual conference is hardly a conference at all because the key elements are missing. I will miss celebrating ordination with new clergy, honoring my colleagues who have died this year and hearing the stories of the retirees. I will miss the conversations out under the trees of Stuart Auditorium and the late-night bickering over church politics, the laughter of my long-time clergy friends and the joy of meeting new seminary graduates. We will open conference with the hymn that has opened Methodist conferences since the days of John Wesley (the founder of our Methodist movement) – “And are we yet alive and see each other’s face” – but we will not see each other’s face or hear each other’s voice or shake each other’s hand or laugh at each other’s bad jokes.

Charles Wesley wrote the hymn for the traveling preachers who would return to conference not knowing who was still alive since many Methodist circuit riders died before they were 35. But the hymn speaks for the whole church, the local church, wherever the church gathers:

And are we yet alive and see each other’s face?
Glory and thanks to Jesus give for his almighty grace.
What troubles have we seen, what mighty conflicts past;
Fighting without and fears within since we assembled last.
Yet out of all the Lord had brought us by his love;
And still he doth his help afford and hides our life above.

After a year and a half of pandemic separation, thank God we at MUMC are still alive and able to join in worship once again. And hopefully next year we Methodist preachers will see each other’s face at AC, too.

A Note from our Ad Council Chair, Jon Pollack

Jon Pollack is the Chair of our Administrative Council, the governing body of MUMC. He provides an update below on our Preschool/Afterschool Task Force.

“After months of research, community investigation, and discussion the Preschool / Afterschool Task Force under the leadership of Lee Goldstein presented their findings and recommendations around a restart to a Key Leaders meeting this month. The Key Leaders had many questions and concerns including: How do these ministries fit within our vision for MUMC as defined by our Faithful Next Steps initiative and the overall mission of the Church? Does the timing of a restart work with all our current and future challenges facing MUMC? Do we have the bandwidth to do this right given our many other priorities?  The Key Leaders decided not to recommend a restart to a Preschool / Afterschool program at this time. This was communicated to the Administrative Council on May 24th. Leadership recognizes that investment needs to be made in our ministry to children, youth and the youngest among us, and would like to further explore how that can best be accomplished.

Key Leaders have committed to having a discussion to help determine what our next priorities should be using the Faithful Next Steps findings and our mission and vision for the Church as the basis for discussions. The plan is for Key Leaders to present their recommendations at the August Ad Council meeting.”

This Sunday in Worship

We invite you to join us in person or online this Sunday at 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish – in person only).

In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan will continue the worship series, The Clock is Ticking. He will be preaching from Matthew 25:10-13 with his message titled, A Rational or Intentional Preparation.

At 9:30 am and 11:00 am, we conclude our worship series that began with an earthquake on Easter morning. Since Easter, we have been digging deep about the way the resurrection creates a seismic shift in the fundamental assumptions upon which we build our lives. This Sunday we will conclude Easter Earthquake by exploring how the resurrection shakes our assumptions about our role in the civic life of our nation. My sermon is titled The Crisis of Freedom from Luke 20:19-26 and Galatians 5:13-16.  

And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, tumultuous, perilous, and hopeful days of pandemic 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 Fred DeVore, our MUMC Legal Counsel, was elected as the Head of the Mecklenburg County Bar on Friday, May 28? He succeeds Heath Gilbert, another long-time MUMC church member.