4th Sunday after Pentecost
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say thank you for your prayers for last week’s gathering of the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, themed “Grace, Connection and Holiness.” It was the 45th one I have attended in my ministry, and, by far, it was the most hope-filled, energizing, and forward-looking of them all. Videos for all the plenary sessions and worship services are available here and more info on the Conference site here.
Here were a few highlights for me:
- Our Bishop, Ken Carter, offered a stirring and inspiring opening message, a powerful act of blessing on those who have chosen to disaffiliate from our denomination. It enabled us to step out of the past and begin claiming the future together.
- We participated in beautiful centering prayers before each session as well as powerful sermons and Bible study.
- We affirmed a resolution that will comprehensively change the organizational structure of the United Methodist Church worldwide, enabling different countries to tailor their ministries and social positions according to what is most effective in their contexts. If this is approved at next year’s General Conference and later ratified by Annual Conferences, this could finally move us past the painful debate over LGBTQIA+ inclusion. Other resolutions were affirmed to pass along to General Conference as well. You may view them here (Petitions 19, 20 & 21 on pages 109-111). Remember, the General Conference (meeting in Charlotte in late April, 2024) is the only body that can speak for the whole of The United Methodist Church.
- We concluded our time with Sunday morning worship and the “fixing” of the appointments of our clergy to return for another year here at MUMC:
Rev. Paul Craig (elder) beginning his 17th year of service.
Rev. Corey Milliet (deacon) beginning her 11th year of service.
Rev. Roldan Flores (local pastor) beginning his 11th year of service.
Rev. Jenny Savage (local pastor) beginning her 3rd year of service.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II (elder) beginning his 8th year of service.
All throughout the week, there was a spirit of lightness, joy, and expectation, culminating in what was the most meaningful worship service of licensing, commissioning, and ordination I’ve ever attended. I could hear John F. Kennedy’s inaugural words: “The torch has been passed to a new generation.” I’m grateful for the energy, commitment and vision of this new generation of leaders and am happy to be cheering them on!
May I also invite you to join me in remembering that future clergy won’t be found under cabbage leaves or dropped by a stork. They will be nurtured through the work of folks who will encourage children, youth and young adults to hear the call and respond. It will happen when youth group counselors tap kids on the shoulder and say, “Have you ever considered becoming a pastor?” It will happen when youth are given the opportunity to serve in mission and lead in worship. It happens when the still small voice of God’s spirit whispers through the silence calling your name.
Annual Conference 2023 culminated in beautiful Sunday morning worship in Stuart Auditorium where Bishop Carter challenged us (and our 31 delegates from MUMC) saying, “Being a neighbor means being a church that does not exclude anyone. It is a church that welcomes immigrants, that reckons with racism and that welcomes people from across the political aisle from where we may be sitting. It means to see the Image of God in all people.”
Bishop Carter went on to say, “Being a neighbor may be the most powerful form of evangelism we have now. By teaching me to love my enemy, and Jesus did teach that, I am formed into a holiness without which I cannot see the Lord.”
On the home front, thank you so much for welcoming my friend and now your friend, Rev. Luke Maybry, to worship this past Sunday. He is such a fine man and outstanding preacher. Our staff community (Craig, John, Kathy, Joel, Shannon, etc.), and all of you were so good in supporting him. You can participate in worship from this past Sunday morning by clicking here.
This week, our older high school youth/counselors (10th – 12th graders) are away in mission and service in Chicago. Let’s hold them close in our hearts. You will be amazed at the work God does in each of their hearts as they serve others, have fun, and grow closer to each other.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, Making a Different World.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join us 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).
We’ll continue our worship series in the Sanctuary, High Maintenance Relationships … those persons who for one reason or another have the high capacity to exasperate us. This week will be our second in the series, The Volcano, that pervasively angry person who might explode at any moment. Our scripture lesson will be James 1:19-21. This series is based on the book by Les Parrott III, PhD, and you may purchase it here.
In addition, Rev. Brad Hopper from South America Mission will be at all worship services to interview Jake & Lauren Jones with the Wájaro Foundation. Learn about their work with indigenous people during the service and get to know them at their display in the Sanctuary Reception Area between services.
Our Spanish-speaking community will be interviewing our missionaries from Colombia, South America, Jake & Lauren Jones, during worship.
Join us in the Courtyard after each of our morning worship services to assemble Hygiene Kits for United Methodist Committee on Relief to support neighbors impacted by hurricanes & natural disasters. All items are provided by Global Impact, thanks for your generous donations to the Disaster Relief Fund.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. Be sure and invite someone to church. You never know who might want to come and worship the God who can guide us through the chaos of all our relationships.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, but hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
We are better … together.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know Global Impact allows our pastors to distribute $1,000 each quarter for a need, concern or mission related activity they identify? For the Spring Quarter, our pastors identified the Annual Conference Offering of the Western North Carolina Conference (June 15-18 at Lake Junaluska) of The United Methodist Church. The offering will be evenly divided between two important causes: rebuilding churches in post-war Ukraine and the support of clergy and laity in the process of building more trauma responsive and healing centered communities of faith.
Did you know that our dear friends, Reverends Larry and Chris Whitley, will begin 26 years of faithful and fruitful ministry as pastors of the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church here in Matthews? Congratulations to two of God’s finest!
Did you know that Facilities Campus cleanup is underway? The floor in the Eagles Nest is currently being stripped, cleaned & buffed. Stay tuned for other news of cleanup around the campus.
Did you know that the Town of Matthews held the second annual Juneteenth Celebration on Monday? Poetry, dancing, history, food trucks and a jazz concert made it a great day!
Did you know that an advertisement for Matthews UMC is featured on the Worship page of the 2023-2024 Matthews Chamber Newcomer Guide?