Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that I simply cannot get enough of watching our children tell the story of the first Christmas. Thank you, Alix Arndt, Pastor Corey, Meranda Turner and a host of others in our age-level ministries that help to make this happen year after year after year. If you missed being with us, you can watch here.
I love what the great British wit G. K. Chesterton once said …
The Christian grows younger as the world grows old.
For this is the last proof of the miracle . . .
I have not minimized the scale of the miracle,
as some of our milder theologians think it wise to do.
Rather have I deliberately dwelt on that incredible interruption,
as a blow that broke the very backbone of history.
I have great sympathy with those . . . to whom it seems that it might shake the world.
But it did not shake the world; it steadied the world.
The birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King is that incredible interruption where love came down to steady a shaking world. Whoever we are and wherever we are, it is the steady and steadying God who draws us to Bethlehem.
From Chuck (Chunky), Karen (Kar Kar/Kiki), Chase, Ryan, Gina, Rosa, Molly, Ben, Lola, Lenny, Mackenzie, Tyler and Grandpa (GGP) we say to you, “May the joy of God’s holy love be with each of you and with all people everywhere. Merry Christmas!”
Oh, by the way, our staff community works hard & plays hard! We dressed up as the Twelve Days of Christmas at our annual Christmas party last week. Can you identify the costumes?
Your entire staff community wishes you a very Merry Christmas this year! We are honored to be about the work of reaching, teaching, praising and serving alongside each of you.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, O Holy Night.
Campus Beautification: NEW Trees Will Be Planted Soon
Our Tree Removal & Replacement Project, which will replace trees that are aging out and failing on campus, is underway. In October 2021, Roy Harrington, church member and tree expert who owned a forestry business for over 20 years, spearheaded a project to upgrade our trees on campus. After reviewing his report, Ben Rippy and Brenda Murphy, members of the Matthews UMC Trustees Committee, were tasked with further evaluating our aging tree canopy. Their findings showed that many of our trees were aging out and showing serious signs of failing, which is not unusual for trees planted in parking lots and with limited growth areas. Also, as with all living things, trees have a natural life span as well as being planted in adverse conditions.
Ben and Brenda, with the guidance of a certified arborist and other tree professionals, developed a replacement plan for 52 trees. The plan was approved December 13, 2022, by the Town of Matthews Planning Department. Our Trustees Committee subsequently voted to approve the entire scope of the project. The work is underway & NEW TREES will be planted soon! We are excited for the opportunity to beautify and make our campus more safe by using native species that will thrive in a town known as a “Tree City USA” for the past 10 years, a distinction only achieved by a few communities in North Carolina. Incorporated into the proposed design are the trees donated to MUMC during the most recent Town of Matthews tree distribution events held on our campus.
We are grateful for our Trustees Committee and Facilities Staff, and for the time that our very own tree and landscape experts — Roy Harrington, Brenda Murphy, Ben Rippy and Michelle Edens — have contributed to this project that will have positive implications on our campus for years to come.
Enjoy these photos from past transformations, made possible by Brenda Murphy & her team of campus garden volunteers.
Financial Update & Year-End Giving Guidelines
Thank you for expressing your faithfulness through financial generosity! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We have a long way to go by December 31. We still need $302,713 to meet our 2022 budget.
December is traditionally our strongest month for giving, yet the volatility of the stock market right now has us facing more uncertainty than usual. While we are monitoring our expenses and are hoping to end the year with a modest surplus, we need to finish the year strong to begin next year with confidence. Please prayerfully consider your financial support of the church this month. Know that your faithful response is deeply appreciated, and the ministries we collectively support are truly changing lives!
View our Year-End Giving Guidelines here. Financial contributions to our church received or postmarked by December 31, 2022 will receive 2022 tax credit. Contributions can be sent by mail (postmarked by December 31), online (in transit by December 31) or in-person (by December 31 at 5:00 pm). The week of December 26, the Church Office will be open Wednesday & Thursday, December 28-29 from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. All other days through December 31, you may place your contribution in the designated lockbox on the Admin Hall door at the Church Office (please enter through front doors by the exterior mailboxes between 9:00 am – 5:00 pm). To make a stock or charitable fund contribution or if you have questions, contact Debbie Fitts at 704-841-7672 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, thank you for your Estimate of Giving Pledges you are making for 2023! It is not too late to make a commitment to help support our ministries for 2023.
Christmas Eve at Matthews
I hope you will join us this Saturday for one of our Christmas Eve services at 2 & 4 pm (Kids & Family), 6 pm (Contemporary), 7:30 pm (Spanish), and 9 pm (Traditional). If you can’t join us in person, join us online at 6:00 and 9:00 pm.
This Sunday in Worship
Finally … Christmas Day is on Sunday this year!
Our CCH (Spanish-speaking) community will gather at 12:30 pm. Pastor Roldan’s sermon is from Titus 3:3-7 and is titled, A Trustworthy Message.
Our morning community will gather for one service of worship at 10:30 am on Christmas morning (in person or online). Dress comfortably for a warm, intimate time together. We’ll sing lots of carols, a time for children, and a special message for the entire family. My sermon is from Luke 2:1-20 and is titled, The Memories of Christmas. I hope you’ll consider inviting someone to church who may be looking to shape and build some new memories. There is no better way to celebrate the birth of the Child of Christmas than to bring your family for a time of worship at Matthews on Christmas Day.
And now, during these hopeful days of Christmas, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know Craig Van Arsdol retires on December 31 after spending 52 years cutting hair? He has been working at Standing Ovation Barbershop in Matthews for the past seven years. Congratulations, Craig!
Did you know that the carpet in the hallway from the choir room to the sacristy has been replaced? We give thanks to Flooring Solutions for their great work!
Did you know that Home2Home Ministries gathered on Saturday with 14 volunteers and 8 trucks? They helped a single mom and her 4 children that lost everything from a fire, a Ukraine family and another family that needed beds. These 3 families now have beds and furniture, thanks to Home2Home. Thank YOU for your generosity in supporting Global Impact Ministries so we can help those in need in our community.