2nd Sunday after the Epiphany
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that I’m still reveling in our time of worship on Sunday (1/14). How about our Sanctuary Choir and Libby Preble! Remarkable! Exceptional! They took my breath away! A very special thank you to all our deeply committed people who make up our music and arts community. AND I’m also so thrilled John Woodall is a part of our staff community and being able to call him at a moment’s notice and ask, “John, can you sing a little Garth Brooks for me in worship on Sunday?” He not only has a great “can do” spirit, but he can sing Garth Brooks to Andrea Bocelli with the snap of his fingers. He is truly unbelievable. If you missed Sunday worship, I invite you to click here to worship and participate in it all.
The Martin Luther King Jr. celebration of this past weekend was also deeply inspiring. Thank you for your participation. I loved seeing you walk the Matthews Historic Trail to the Town Hall steps. Then, on Monday morning, at the Mt. Moriah Church, we got to experience joyful worship and my friend, Dr. Luke Maybry, Pastor of the Matthews Presbyterian Church challenging us deeply with his message. Put the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on your calendar for 2025. It is a weekend of remembrance that deserves your participation.
Our resident bishop, Ken Carter, sent us a note this past week about the New Year. There is a part of his message that speaks so deeply to me about who we are as a church. I hope it will to speak to you as well. He writes to MUMC in this post-COVID, post-disaffiliation world saying, “Bear witness, friends, to the love of God in this world. It is a love for all people. This is the ongoing purpose of our journey over the past years. We are on the way to a better church. A church that says, clearly and boldly, that we are here for everyone, no exceptions. Bear witness to the love of God in this world so that. So that. The “why” is important. Bear witness to the love of God in this world, so that those to whom love is a stranger will find in you generous friends.”
Thank you, Bishop Carter, for your encouraging and challenging words to us to be generous friends to all. No exceptions.
On another note, over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to sit and talk with several early 20-somethings and a couple of teenagers. We talked about the difficulties their generation has faced during their brief lifetimes. There generation was born in the aftermath of 9/11, grown up in an era of tragic school shootings, lived in a country that has struggled through economic recessions, experienced significant weather-related catastrophes, and, of course, lived through the trauma of a global pandemic.
All these events have been on top of the typical challenges of navigating adolescence and young adulthood. As I talked with them, my big takeaway was the number of them that are dealing with anxiety, stress, and trauma on a widespread scale. I’ve become convinced that it is incumbent on all of us to bring these issues to light, for the sake of their wellbeing, along with ours.
I want to point you to an amazing book I’ve read recently titled, The Anxiety Opportunity. I think we’ve got some groups doing the study in the days ahead. Be sure to check our website in a few weeks to participate in a small study group starting in the Spring.
In addition, I’ve become aware of an award-winning documentary film, Anxious Nation, that our Hope for Minds and Hearts mental health ministry and our Age-Level Ministries will be showing in The Commons on Wednesday, January 31, 6 pm.
After the screening, we will have a timely opportunity to interact with two licensed therapists, Tessa Martin and Ian Murray. I hope you’ll be present to participate.
You can watch the Anxious Nation trailer by clicking here.
I hope you can take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, The Heart of a Child. In this devotional, I want to tell you about a eulogy I heard recently at a memorial service. The eulogy stunned me.
- Community Bingo Night – Friday, January 19, 5:30-7:30 pm. Registration closes at midnight tonight! Details
- Leadership Connection – Saturday, January 27, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm. Register by this Sunday, Jan 21. Details
- A Charge Conference will be held by the Administrative Council to review pastoral salaries and the church budget for 2024 – Saturday, January 27, 12:30 pm in Room 94. All are welcome to attend, but only Council members are allowed to vote.
- Former MUMC Pastor Rev. Dawn Hand preaching in all morning worship services – January 28
- Anxious Nation – Wednesday, January 31, 6 pm in The Commons. Details
- Global Impact Missions Celebration – February 3-11 Schedule & Saturday Serve Registration
Our Global Impact Missions emphasis provides the congregation with the opportunity to make an annual commitment to a life of missions and service. This year, our theme is HOPE based on the scripture from Romans 15:13 CEB: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Be sure to register now for the February 3 Operation Saturday Serve event to make 1,000 sandwiches for Local Missions Partner, Roof Above.
- Jemar Tisby (author of The Color of Compromise) presents Race and Religion: Challenges and Opportunities for Churches – Saturday, February 10, 9-11 am, at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. Register here.
- Embracing Disabilities Lenten Emphasis: February 18 – March 17
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join in worship this Sunday at 8:15 am (Traditional; in person only), 9:30 am (Contemporary; in person or online here), 9:30 am (Family Worship in the Gym; special January date), 11:00 am (Traditional; in person or online here) or 12:30 (Spanish; in person or on demand here).
Family Worship is an action-packed service for the whole family focused on our Monthly virtue of Responsibility. Music, games, skits and activities will help remind us that we should “Show we can be trusted with what is expected of us,” based on the scripture from Luke 16:10a: “Suppose you can be trusted with something very little. Then you can also be trusted with something very large.” Join us afterwards in The Commons for refreshments and a special mission project to benefit our furry friends at the Union County Animal Shelter.
In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan will continue his worship series, I Keep Moving Forward. His message is titled, Living Under the Correct Order from Ruth 3:5-11.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday as we welcome our scouts and wrestle with the question, Who Could You Call at Two O’clock in the Morning? In my reading of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church at Philippi, I’ve seen a couple of helpful bits of counsel that will sustain us as busy people amid the stresses and strains of life. We’ll be using Philippians 1:1-11 as our scriptural basis. Be sure to invite someone to church because you never know who might need some help with the stresses of life.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and yet hope-filled days. Remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Better … together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that there are 11 nations represented in our Spanish-speaking congregation, Centro Cristiano Hosanna (CCH)? They include the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Dominicana, Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia. How awesome is that!?!
Did you know that our own church member Julia Sain gave a presentation on receiving and accommodating people with disabilities in the church on January 10? Julia has trained hundreds of ushers and staff members in corporations, Knight Theater, Blumenthal Theater and Ovens Auditorium. She was also a representative for ADA in Washington DC. Staff, ushers and greeters were in attendance. View the training here.