Our Faithful Next Steps

Our Faithful Next Steps

Published September 4, 2019

13th Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/September 4, 2019

Just these lines, my friends …

… to say that we have concluded week #2 in our worship series called The Spirited Life. Why, even my wife (Karen) was quoting back my sermon to me on Sunday afternoon as we were driving to Linville to have dinner with my sister. She reminded me of the statement, “I want my life to be marked by the word love … agape love. Too often, my life is marked by selfishness because there are huge amounts of insecurity in me that make me afraid to love the way God loves. But I sure want to learn.” If you missed being with us on Sunday, I hope you take the time to watch here.

Also, our little town of Matthews was teeming with activity all Labor Day weekend. Thank you, Meg Moore (Director of Hospitality and Invitation) and the many persons who volunteered to extend hospitality to our guests who came by the church before and after the Matthews Alive parade on Saturday.

Our Faithful Next Steps Planning Process

Have you ever wondered what God is calling Matthews United Methodist to do? If so, you are not alone. In fact, Christian congregations are expected to regularly discern how we are answering God’s call. At Matthews United Methodist we have a nearly 150-year legacy of listening to God’s call upon our lives, and now we have an opportunity to do so as we consider the next few years of ministry for us.

Our name for this process of visioning, strategic planning and discernment is Our Faithful Next Steps. As we embark on this planning journey we will be listening for God’s guidance through prayer and discernment, listening to our communities inside and outside our walls and through the insightful review of our information and history. The goal of listening would include developing a 3-5 year strategic plan, which might encompass overall ministry focus, programs, staffing and resources. Watch for opportunities to participate, as members of the visioning team will be hosting “listening” sessions and seeking your input in a variety of ways. Regular communication will be shared over the next months as the process continues.

If you are interested in learning more, feel free to contact the church office or fill out this form to contact Hampton Hopkins and Scott Lyons, Our Faithful Next Steps leaders.

Scott and Julia TenBroeck

Scott, Julia, Hudson, Martin and Corin are wonderful new members of Matthews United Methodist. They are active in so many ways, including our Becoming One Sunday School class. Julia wrote me a note on Sunday in which she said, “Matthews United Methodist feels like home.” That is a description that speaks to the heart of the family God is shaping at 801 South Trade Street.

Recently, Scott/Julia contacted Amy DeVore, our Global Impact leader, and asked about serving through our Migrant Ministry. They asked to serve on the actual date of the 14th anniversary of their marriage. You can read here the beautiful description Julia wrote of their experience.

Upcoming Dates

If you will, please consider putting an “X” on the calendar for these upcoming dates:

  • Pilgrimage to Peace on Tuesday, September 24, 7 pm, in the Sanctuary: On this special night we welcome Dr. Mae Elise Cannon and her friends from Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). Dr. Cannon is the Executive Director of CMEP, a consortium of churches seeking to be a part of conversations for peace among our Middle Eastern friends. That night, Dr. Cannon will be hosting a conversation with Rabbi Dr. Daniel Roth from Israel and Palestinian-American Aziz Abu Sarah, about multi-faith dialogue and engagement in constructive conflict, peace, and the reality of life in Israel and Palestine. They hope to discuss the role all of us can play in hosting dialogues about disagreements and becoming peacemakers and reconcilers in the midst of conflict. Dr. Cannon says, “We believe we can bring hope to broken communities through the world – even to Israel and Palestine. Click to learn more.
  • Inclusive Grace on Wednesday, September 25, 7 pm in Room 97/99: Inclusive Grace Ministry is a new ministry of our church. It’s mission is to support LGBTQIA+ persons, their families and friends, both within and beyond the church community. All who would like to learn about Inclusive Grace’s mission, activities, community, and serving opportunities are invited to attend this meeting on September 25. For more information please visit Adult Ministries.

This Sunday (September 8) in Worship

We often hear, “Well, summer was fun while it lasted. Now it’s back to THE GRIND.” Some even describe their end-of-summer feeling as a grieving process. From the fun and freedom of summer we return to “survival mode.” We think of normal life in terms of joyless routines that leave us feeling only half alive.  Is there a way to eagerly look forward to the fall months of work, school, carpooling and childrearing with passion and spiritual purpose?

One word holds the key to living beyond The Grind. Jesus speaks of it in John 15. After saying “I’m the vine. You’re the branch,” Jesus adds that there’s just one thing that a branch is supposed to do ─ “Remain.” The old word is “Abide.” Moment by moment receive the unceasing flow of life and nourishment and love from God. “Remain in me and I will remain in you.”

If I do that — if I abide — the fruit will come. But if I don’t abide — if I don’t stay plugged into God — then I’ll never be fruitful. I will never know his abundance.  1 Peter 2 says, “Grow into your salvation.”  You and I already have the divine nature in us in some very small seed form.  It’s all in there.  All we need to do is grow up.

That’s our assignment over the coming weeks. Grow the fruit.  This Sunday’s fruit in our Spirited Life study is joy, inextinguishable joy.

I’m Choosing to Love,

Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that Kelsey Havican folded, stuffed and addressed letters to thank all of the children who made commitments during the generosity campaign last year? Thank you, Kelsey!

Did you know that Joe Culpepper found a bench that is now proudly displayed in a shady nook in our Courtyard Memorial Garden? Joe not only found the bench but repaired, painted and installed it for us to enjoy!

Did you know that Skye Cooley created an amazing graffiti wall for the guys and gals in Preteen Deep Kids on Kick-Off Sunday? The kids had fun finishing the art with markers!

Did you know that nearly 1,000 people were served during our Matthews Alive Hospitality outreach event on Saturday?  Thank you to everyone who was present for the event!