Day of Pentecost/May 27, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that Pastor’s Paul message from Sunday was just tremendous. Here are a couple of quotes that just stopped me in my tracks:
- I have also witnessed how this same virus pulls us apart. I see it in the “Run and Grab” competition for scarce products, hoarding instead of sharing, the erosion of common courtesy, and the way our actions proclaim it’s “everyone for themselves!” I am deeply troubled by the growing divisions I see between the “Haves” and the “Have Nots,” “Locals” and “Outsiders,” “Healthy and Vulnerable,” and the newest Covid-19 outcasts: “People with underlying conditions.”
- Jesus’ prayer for oneness is not about eliminating differences, it’s about loving people in spite of their differences. Loving like God is the only way we will ever overcome the things that separate and divide us. Over and over, Jesus tells us that kind of love reveals the measure of our oneness: our God-likeness. In love there may be differences, but there are no divisions.
On another note, I really messed up last week with the names of our newly-commissioned Stephen Ministers. Here is the corrected listing of these beautiful servants of God: Ruth Andrews, Mary Ayers, Allycia Brown, Vivienne (Viv) Buszko, Carol Hoffman. Christal Page and Susan Tomasulo.
Resuming On-Site Ministries
Of course, these have been unsettling days for our country and our world, but God continues to do amazing things in and through this Church as many of you continue to be part of its story through your prayers, your efforts and your financial support.
- Our livestream worship services minister to hundreds of real-time worshipers every week.
- Our Global Impact efforts continue to serve persons in our community and around the globe. Just this past week, donations were made to the Charlotte Rescue Mission and the Urban Ministry Center/Men’s Shelter of Charlotte (now known as Roof Above). In addition, our Sewing Sisters, guided by Global Impact, distributed 131 face masks throughout our community.
- Ministries to children, youth and adults continue to engage people of all ages online, with creativity and excellence.
- Your pastors and other ministry staff leaders continue to prepare daily devotions and our congregational care team continues to check on those who are homebound and isolated.
- And as always, you have been a part of it through your financial support. Because of your faithful generosity, we continue to be in stable and steady financial shape.
God promises to provide us with just enough of what we need. And that faithfulness will continue to lead us, even into a future in which we are not yet certain when we can return to on-campus programming. Our bishop, Paul Leeland, has “strongly recommended” that we not return to on-site worship until at least after June 30.
Our key lay and staff leaders are in regular conversation with health officials, denominational leaders and professional consultants in discerning a timeline for returning. Even as retail and recreational establishments begin to reopen, our foremost concern is with your safety and comfort which means that, considering the size of our Church, we are likely still weeks from resuming on-site ministries.
Pastor Paul and a wonderful team of Church members are establishing protocols for monitoring health conditions in our community, deciding when and how to return, and the best practices (entrance and exit, safe-seating spacing, masks, cleaning, etc.) to put in place. It is likely that returning to campus will not happen all at once, or exactly as it was before. We want each step of our return to model these safe practices and build a culture that keeps us all as safe as possible. This work is unprecedented, challenging and dynamic. Read here for an update on May 27th from Pastor Paul on our re-opening plans.
If there is anything that we have learned about God these last few months, it is that He is making all things new, and our future is as bright as ever. I think it’s even more exciting, as we lay claim to the promise of Isaiah 43:19: “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!” Because of your prayers, your faithfulness and your support, you continue to be part of the new thing God is doing. Thank you for all that you continue to do to be the Church for such a time as this.
Last Chance: Congregational Survey
Please take a few moments this week to complete the congregational survey from our Faithful Next Steps Vision Team. The deadline has been extended to this Sunday, May 31. This team has been hard at work meeting with small groups, and requests that each member of the family – Youth, Young Adult and Adults – take this very important survey to help determine our faithful next steps at Matthews UMC. Click here to complete the survey by this Sunday, May 31.
This Sunday (May 31) in Worship
Please join us here this Sunday for one of our two morning online services, at 9:30 am or 11:00 am. This Sunday will be a Pentecostal explosion as we celebrate the important church holy day of Pentecost, signifying to us the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the church. On days like Pentecost, let’s remind ourselves of Annie Dillard’s famous quotation: “Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares at church; they should lash us to our pews.”
We have those moments in worship at Matthews United Methodist all the time, when it just feels like fire is going to fall any minute! You can pretty much feel the rush of a mighty wind in the house. We celebrate Pentecost one Sunday a year, but in fact every Sunday is a Pentecost. Every Sunday is a day when the Spirit of the Lord moves in the worship of God’s people and we walk away knowing that we have felt the flame. Quick! Lash me to the pew!
Hang on to your hats and grab a life preserver! It’s Pentecost, and the Holy Spirit is moving in the life of Matthews United Methodist Church.
We are in this together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that Rachel Rose married Jamie Shapiro in a ceremony in Boulder, Colorado on May 23? Rachel grew up in the life and ministry of Matthews UMC, and is the daughter of Stuart Rose & step-daughter of Susan Rose. Rachel & Jamie will be living in Edgewater, Colorado.
Did you know the Thursday morning Disciple II group are still meeting after finishing Disciple II, and are now doing the “What the Women Saw” series on Zoom? Today they all wore pearls in honor of Mary Lou Brown who underwent a cardioversion last week and is doing well!