The 14th Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/Labor Day Sunday/September 2, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that Sunday was a wonderful day in worship. Since I’m in quarantine (taking precautions), I participated online and loved it. No, it’s not like being present in our sanctuary, but I’m thankful for the connection it allows us to have. I know we had problems with our livestream on the website Sunday, but please know there are always other platforms where you can find the broadcast: YouTube.com/MatthewsUMC and Facebook.com/MatthewsUMC.
Parenting: Circus or Theater
My sermon this past Sunday was on parenting. I hope you heard the part of my sermon where I said, “Parenting isn’t always Instagram-worthy.” The American myth of perfectionism rarely shows that messy middle. Parenthood is one of the great acts of humility. We feel called to be the best mom, the best dad, but so often our best never feels good enough.
I love what Duke Divinity School professor Dr. Kate Bowler says, “Parenting is a gauntlet of managing the precarity of our humanity. Parenting is not just a circus, it’s the theater of life itself. And then sometimes you just have to say, what the heck? This is hard. Can someone give me a permission slip to do this imperfectly?”
As one of your pastors, I’m here to say, “Hey, there are some things you can fix and some things you can’t. And it’s OK that life isn’t always better. Church, we can find beauty and hope and meaning and truth, but there’s no cure to being human. So let’s be friends on that journey. Let’s be human together.”
Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God … We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality … So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
Hebrews 4:14, 16
We have a number of different groups in church life exploring matters of racial justice and equality. We have the Bridge Builders Fellowship with our friends from Mt. Moriah, guided by Howard Nussman. We have over 30 people doing the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge with Amy DeVore. And … we have our Bridge Building Book Conversations where we are reading a book on racial justice each month. This past Wednesday, August 26, we had over 30 people to join me (and MacKenzie, my daughter) in a discussion on the book The Myth of Equality by Ken Wystma. Perhaps you can join us in our zoom conference next month on Wednesday, September 30, 7 pm as we discuss the New York Times bestselling book, The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton.
I hope you’ll watch below my latest interview with Leaton Harris. This is our third conversation in the series Race Matters: A Journey to Understanding.
You can find the previous interviews with Leaton and a host of other information on all these important opportunities by clicking here.
General Conference 2021
Like so many large events this year the pandemic caused a postponement of the General Conference in Minneapolis that was scheduled for May. Because of agreements with the convention center there, the nearest date for rescheduling is a year from now, Aug. 29-Sept. 7, 2021. That leaves a long time for any action to be taken on legislation seeking to resolve our long divide over human sexuality.
The key legislation which representatives from conservative and progressive sides of the church have supported is called The Protocol. The person who first called together a small group of global leaders who produced The Protocol, Bishop Yambasu from Sierra Leone, was killed Sunday a week ago while driving to conduct a funeral. His death, while tragic and untimely, should not have impact on the legislation proceeding. Bishop Yambasu died in pursuit of finding a way forward for our denomination.
This means The United Methodist Church (UMC) is currently living under the Traditional Plan that passed at the special General Conference held in February 2019. The plan not only upheld incompatibility language in our Book of Discipline regarding non-heterosexual persons, it increased penalties of pastors and churches that conduct same-sex weddings and ordinations. The Protocol is intended to provide an amicable separation for those who do not want to remain in The UMC if our current stances change to be more inclusive, but it also allows annual conferences and congregations to determine whether or not they want to remain UM or join a different expression of Methodism more aligned with the current Traditional Plan. This decision is what awaits us next year.
So, it is with great regret that the closure we hoped we would have this past May will now wait for another year. MUMC, like the majority of our denomination, remains committed to the hope that there will be a peaceful, hopeful resolve to this long divide for The UMC. This is our goal!
OnRealm.org & Realm Connect App
Did you know that over 400 individuals have accepted the OnRealm.org invitation to join our new online community tools, including the Realm Connect App, and are now able to access online events, Zoom links, registrations, giving, groups, serving and more? Call Ashley at 704-815-1984 to request an invite. Register for a Zoom Tutoring Session with Ashley Broome (Tuesday at 10 am or Thursday at 7 pm, September 3-24).
Add your skills & interests in your profile so we can get to know more about you and use this information to help you get more connected to the church! Refer to the Realm page on our church website, which we will keep up to date with resources like the 12-minute Info Session video with the basics and a handy Quick Reference Guide which is great to print for quick referral.
This Sunday (September 6) in Worship
This week in our CCH community Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Exodus 14:13-14, and his message is “Facing Your Obstacles.” This begins a new worship series, Intentional Trust vs. Occasional Trust.
In our morning worship services, Pastor Paul is preaching with his sermon titled, “Debt Forgiveness” from Romans 13:8-10. Pastor Paul says, “God’s love for us, and his commandment to love others as we love ourselves is a ‘debt’ based on that continuing love we can never repay. It forms the basis of so much that is good about the Church in the world, especially during these strange times.”
And, as always, during these strange, uncertain and very challenging days remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know Pastor Roldan conducted four adult baptisms over the past weekend?
Did you know that Global Impact made a recent contribution from our Disaster/Crisis Relief/Recovery Fund to Wings of Hope, our partner in Haiti? They have had a significant increase in expenses due to COVID-19 and to the damage from Hurricane Laura. Thank you for making a difference in their lives through your faithful giving!
Did you know that Global Impact has partnered with Heart Math and Read Charlotte to provide virtual tutoring this school year with opportunities to work with students at Greenway Park Elementary? For additional information, contact Sandi Lee.
Did you know that Sheila Meador not only heads the Hearts & Hands Ministry which provides pocket prayer squares, prayer shawls and hats for our congregation and those in need, but she also writes poetry and shares her poems with her classmates in the New Directions class to help uplift spirits during this time of isolation? Her latest poem is here, and you can follow her blog here.