Peace & Hope in the Midst of Trials

Peace & Hope in the Midst of Trials

Published March 13, 2024

5th Sunday in Lent
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say how grateful we are for all who participate in our worship, music and the arts ministry. I’m stunned each week by how you show up week after week to prompt us in so many ways with our worship. YOU mean so much to us.

I do hope you have been participating at some level in Embracing Disabilities: Creating an EVERYBODY Mentality with Wednesday Dinners and/or study, daily devotionals (printed copy or PDF), Sunday Morning Groups (curriculum written by our planning team), guest speakers in Worship, reading the study book (My Body is Not a Prayer Request by Amy Kenny), and so much more. We are coming to the conclusion of our powerful study. If you missed worshipping with us this past Sunday, featuring Dr. Jeff McSwain, you can do so by clicking here. And … if you’d like more information about where you can plug in, please click here.

Here are a couple of important quotes from Dr. McSwain’s message:

  • There is one gospel for all or not a gospel at all.
  • We don’t know who we are until we know whose we are.
  • The gospel is not you will be forgiven, if you repent. It is you are forgiven, therefore repent.
  • Jesus is not only the main character in our play, he is the stage.

Thank you, Dr. McSwain, for putting the Word into words for a people called Matthews United Methodist. He came to be with us on Sunday despite a couple of huge losses in the past days: the death of his 26-year-old son and the death of his mother. I marveled that he could even be standing. As he was leaving on Sunday afternoon, he told me, “Thank you for this morning. Your people were so encouraging. It was so good for me to be here.”

By the way, did you know that this Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day? Like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day, it is a civic and cultural day rooted in religious history. While many people will be celebrating with all things green (including clothes, shamrocks, etc.) and an array of Irish food (corned beef and cabbage?), it is nice to remember the legacy of Patrick himself, and the faith to which he devoted his life.

Patrick was not born in Ireland, but in England, then captured as a youth and enslaved for years in Ireland as a shepherd. He had little formal education, but he had a depth of spiritual experience. He escaped his captivity and returned to Britain, but amazingly, he later volunteered to return to Ireland to bring the experience of Christ to his former captors.

He had a knack for connecting the truths of the Christian faith with commonplace aspects of Irish culture. He used bonfires to celebrate Easter because the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He superimposed a sun (a powerful Irish symbol) onto the Christian cross, so that it would seem more natural to the Irish; the result was the iconic Celtic cross. His most famous connection was between the three-leafed clover, or shamrock, with the three persons of the Holy Trinity.

Most importantly, Patrick reminded people of the presence of Jesus, who offers us protection and guidance. His prayers include one of the most famous prayers ever written, which is now commonly known as the Prayer of St. Patrick’s Breastplate. It is a prayer that speaks of Christ’s constant companionship and assurance:

Christ ever with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me
Christ to my right side, Christ to my left side
Christ in his breadth, Christ in his length, Christ in depth
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me.

No matter what you are going through today, know that Christ is with you, before you, behind you, and within you. May I be the first to wish you, Happy St. Patrick’s Day.


As we continue our Embracing Disabilities Lenten emphasis, I invited another one of my friends to help with our weekly devotional. Please click the video below to watch “Peace & Hope in the Midst of Trials” with Jared Young. 40-Day Devotional: Complete PDF or Week 4.

Watch Jared Young’s devotional HERE

Upcoming Events

  • Everyone is Invited! Our Last Wednesday Dinner for this Lenten Season is May 20 (5:30 pm) with Optional Book Study (6:30 pm) on My Body is Not A Prayer Request. Required Registration HERE (due Monday 3/18) – includes Sloppy Joe Meal and one FREE item from the Treats with Friends Ice Cream Truck!
  • Jerusalem Marketplace – Palm Sunday, March 24, 9:00-12:00 in the Gym. Details
  • Easter Sunday, March 31Details
  • A Christian Guide to the Enneagram – Sundays at 6 pm starting April 7. The Enneagram is like a mirror for the soul, reflecting dimensions of ourselves that are sometimes hard to see. This group will help us understand each number of the Enneagram and take us deeper into the spiritual journey, Led by Carolyn Perlman. Register here.
  • General Conference 2024 in Charlotte – The General Conference of The United Methodist Church is coming to Charlotte April 23 to May 3. I hope you take the time to read through this beginner’s guide to General Conference. You can do so by clicking here. Volunteer opportunities are available to provide hospitality at local hotels as delegates check in from around the world. Visit to register as a volunteer. I look forward to seeing many of you there!

This Sunday in Worship

We invite you to join in worship 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).

In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan continues with the worship series, Learning from the Teacher. He will teach from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:5-10). His sermon is titled: The Ingredients to Make a Quality Prayer.

This week we have the opportunity to listen to one of our finest church and community leaders: our very own Laurie Little. She will offer our final sermon in our Lenten series, Embracing Disabilities: Creating an EVERYBODY Mentality. Her sermon for Sunday is titled, Sharing Gifts and Body Parts from I Corinthians 12:14-27.

In addition, each week in preparation for Sunday, I trust you’ve been reading through the Top 10 list from our study book, My Body is Not a Prayer Request. This is the book many of us are using to guide our learnings during this season. There are several Top 10 listings we will not be able to use but let me offer a final one. Dr. Kenny writes, “Folks share these with me, unsolicited.” Please click here and read through the Top 10 listing “Disability Theologies” in preparation for Sunday.

Be sure to invite someone to come to church this Sunday. The love of God is bursting forth from our midst each week. This Sunday will be no exception.

And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and yet hope-filled days. Remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.

Creating an EVERYBODY Mentality,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that Matt Packey and Janet Dickerson were united in Christian marriage on Saturday, March 9 at Belk Chapel on the campus of Queen’s University? Pastor Chuck officiated the wedding. Congratulations, Matt & Janet!

Did you know that families enjoyed gathering for refreshments and activities while collecting their caterpillars at our Butterfly Bonanza event this past Sunday? Kids also had the opportunity to learn about our Creation Care Ministry as they decorated a rain barrel for the inner courtyard and created a butterfly card to remind them how to make their backyard into a better place for God’s creatures to live and raise their young.

Did you know that our Genesis Garden, a Global Impact partner, has new signage? Rules for garden helpers are posted at the garden entrance. Watch church publications for an upcoming workday in the garden! Spring is here!!