Mission or Mission?

Mission or Mission?

Published February 15, 2023

Transfiguration Sunday | Global Impact 3
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say that I still get overwhelmed when I reflect to 1986 when I first stepped on the soil of Matthews United Methodist Church as one of your pastors. I pinch myself every day that I get to be a part of a community to belong to, a cause to live for, and a church to call home. Thank you for the privilege to be one of your pastors.

Our Second Sunday in Global Impact was so special: all the displays, hallways filled with people, our worship interviews, beautiful music and so much more. Diane Hunt, with Changed Choices, was one of our nine we interviewed on Sunday. She wrote Amy DeVore saying, “What a delightful day at your Global Impact fair … I enjoyed talking to many people AND made some meaningful connections with other ministries that we can feasibly partner with. We love Matthews UMC. The people we have met over the years are, without exception, have been so warm and friendly, interested in what Changed Choices does and eager to serve us in any number of ways.  Matthews heart for serving in the name of Christ is what Church should be. Thank you for being such a wonderful model of a New Testament Church.” Oh my! So very encouraging.

This past week, our community impact was on display in other ways as well:

  • A group of Methodist Men cooking breakfast for the folks spending the night at one of our community partners in Charlotte, A Roof Above
  • Hosting Room-in-the-Inn on Thursday night
  • Furniture deliveries with Home2Home Ministry
  • Over 200 people showed up for Operation Saturday Serve where we made 400 sandwiches (delivered to Roof Above on Monday), Blessing Bags and Valentines for our Ministry Partners. Thank you, friends, for SERVING our community partners!

We have read with horror the stories about the earthquake which has caused the death of 35 thousand plus so far in Southern Turkey and Northern Syria. This region played a very important role in the early Christian church. In fact, AntakyaTurkey, the center of the disaster, was at the heart of the formation of the early church.

Antakya was founded by Seleucus, one of the generals who inherited a portion of Alexander the Great’s empire after his death in 323 BC. The city, originally called Antioch, was located in a well-watered and fertile valley on the Orontes River, 12 miles from the Levantine Sea, the eastern most part of the Mediterranean Ocean. By the first century Antioch was the third largest city in the world in the first century (1. Alexandria, 2. Rome, 3. Antioch).

It was in Antioch where the disciples of Jesus were first called “Christians”. When Barnabas discovered the dynamic, generous, multi-racial spiritual community in Antioch, he went to Tarsus, 150 miles northwest, to bring Saul, later called Paul, to join him there. The two men spent a year preaching and teaching in Antioch. After this season, Barnabas and Paul launched their first missionary journey.

For far too long we’ve held on to the idea that the Apostles left Jerusalem immediately after Jesus’ resurrection to go into all the world with the good news. But according to the New Testament, they were still hanging around Jerusalem as late as 50 AD, 17 years after the resurrection (i.e., Acts 15). They only left Jerusalem periodically when persecution made it urgent. It was the believers at Antioch that enabled the church to become obedient to Jesus’ Great Commission.  The story of the Antioch church is found in Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-3

Our very own United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is at work in and through a longstanding humanitarian partner, International Blue Crescent (IBC), which has operations in Antakya, Turkey (Antioch). They are providing tents, heaters, blankets, warm clothes, ready to eat meals and basic first aid kits. I hope you’ll join these efforts by making a gift to our Disaster Relief Fund. You can do so by clicking herechoose “Other” under Fund, and enter “Disaster Relief” in the memo line. We’ll make sure it gets to UMCOR.

I hope you’ll watch this short  video below from UMCOR and the work being done in Turkey.

Wednesday Devotional

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, Mission or Mission?

Lenten Study on The Lord’s Prayer

I hope you’ll find some way to participate in our all-church (Children, Youth, Adults) Lenten Study on The Lord’s Prayer. If you will, make sure you purchase a copy of the book, The Lord’s Prayer: The Meaning and Power of the Prayer Jesus Taught by Adam Hamilton. Adam Hamilton says, “No other prayer is more important to Christians than this prayer – the prayer Jesus taught us to pray. There are a host of other prayers we overhear Jesus praying in the Gospels. But only with this prayer does Jesus say, ‘Pray like this.’” We’ll, also use the prayer as our preaching focus during Lent beginning on Sunday, February 26. Register here to be a part of our Wednesday in-person group (led by me in conjunction with our Kids Wild Wednesday groups & optional dinner) OR Tuesday online group (led by Connor Johnson). Our In-Person group will meet each Wednesday in March with meals beginning at 5:45 pm in The Commons and the study starting at 6:30 pm. Register kids for their own version of the study with our Wild Wednesday groups for Preschool – 6th Grade or sign up for Nursery.

Moving into Lent

I hope you can join us for Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Our annual Fat Tuesday Pancake Supper will be on Tuesday, February 21 from 5 pm to 7:30 pm in The Commons and Gym. Then we move into the Lenten Season the next day with the solemnity of our Ash Wednesday Service and Imposition of Ashes on Wednesday, February 22, 7 pm in the Sanctuary. I hope to see you at both of our gatherings.

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 onlinehere) or 12:30 (Spanish; in person or on demand here).

Our Spanish-speaking CCH community will be gathering on Saturday for a special couples time together. Pastor Roldan will be teaching on Four Elements to a Healthy Marriage. Then on Sunday morning, he will continue the series, Careful Choices, preaching from Acts 3:1-10, and his sermon is titled: Who Holds Your Hand.

Sunday is our Commitment Sunday for Global Impact. Commitment cards were mailed to homes a few weeks ago. Please come to church ready to bring your financial commitments forward to the work of MUMC Beyond the Walls of our physical setting – into the community, into the world. If you missed getting your card, extras are available at the Welcome Center or one of our ushers on Sunday, or you can click here to make your commitment online.

I hope you’ll also invite someone to come along with you. Sunday will inspire them deeply as they watch the people of God called Matthews United Methodist make deep commitments to make the love of God real and tangible in our community and world. There is nothing more powerful than a personal invitation from YOU. See you Sunday!

And now, as always, during these chaotic, turbulent, uncertain, and yet, hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.

Dancing in the darkness,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that our Music Library renovation project was just completed by two faithful members, Deborah Morrison (left) and Sue Demick (right)? With their help, we have refurbished and renewed over 500 titles in our music archives, preserving some titles that are no longer in print, and will now be available to our music ministry for many years to come. Sue and Deborah devoted many hours to this project, and have now undertaken continuing this project to extend to all of our Advent music titles, and more! Hats off to Sue and Deborah – their work will leave a legacy of stewardship and excellence in music for many years to come!

Did you know that 96 people registered for GriefShare groups in 2021-2022, including Surviving The Holidays and Loss of a Spouse? Over the past two years, we’ve hosted 48 sessions where people found care and compassion as they grieve the loss of a loved one. We thank leaders, Ted Smith and Lesley Edwards. We celebrate Lesley’s dedication (since 2017) as she just finished her last class. Please contact Kim Layton if you feel called to serve.

Did you know that Ruth Andrews is our newest Stephen Ministry Leader? She recently completed the Stephen Leader’s Training and is grateful for this opportunity to grow spiritually and to deepen her understanding of what it takes to build and maintain a strong Stephen Ministry in our church. Register here for the Zoom Info Meeting about becoming a Stephen Minister on March 1 from 7-8 pm.

Did you know that Home2Home Ministry was able to help two families with furniture last week?  One family is from Honduras and another family lost everything in a fire. Both families now have a full house of furniture with 57 pieces of furniture and household items delivered.

Did you know that our Global Impact Partner, Changed Choices, is hosting a viewing of the documentary, “Tutweiler” on Saturday, February 25? Tutwiler takes audiences into Alabama’s only maximum security women’s penitentiary, Julia Tutwiler Prison and explores the Alabama Prison Birth Project, helping expectant and new mothers learn childbirth and parenting skills while dealing with the pain of being separated from their children.

Did you know our Matthews United Methodist Sanctuary Choir and Pastor Chuck are featured in Week 1 of the Metro District of The United Methodist Church Lenten Series 2023? You can register to receive the weekly emails here. They will be emailed every Monday during Lent.