13th Sunday after Pentecost in Ordinary Time/August 26, 2020
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say the Wilson family has had a doozy of a week. Last week Karen’s sister, an Acute Myeloid Leukemia survivor, was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that is destroying her muscles. Then Saturday evening Karen’s father fell, broke his arm and nose and is recovering from surgery at KU Medical Center in Kansas City, KS. On Monday, Karen and I hopped in the car and drove to KS again. Hopefully, we can be a source of hope and encouragement to both of them. Karen will stay a few weeks and I will return to Charlotte on August 26. When her father and sister are in better place, I’ll return to Kansas and drive Karen and her father back to NC. Please hold us close in your prayers.
This past Sunday was the first time I’ve preached a sermon for Matthews United Methodist when I wasn’t in the Sanctuary. I’ve been quarantining due to recent travels, so I presented my message to you from my desk at home. I hope you heard my message of FUTURIZE, VISUALIZE and PERSONALIZE from the Old Testament Exodus story. If you missed it, you can watch here.
Also, if you missed our 10th Community Forum on Racial Bridge Building held at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist, you can watch it here under the Archives tab.
I Remain Confident
As I have been checking in with so many people during these months of pandemic, I have been asked over and over how I’m doing. And overall, my answers are similar to yours: I have my good days and my bad days. I feel grateful for our staff community and key lay leaders. We have been in the midst of grieving so many plans and dreams for our year. We’ve had to reinvent in a lot of ways.
As I was driving home from Kansas the other day, I was thinking about what helps me hold on amid so much grief and pain. I realized that recently I have been, sort of subconsciously, looking for a tangible, physical touchpoint of something to hold onto every day that reminds me that the world is still good. This touchpoint is often found in so many of you and in your hearts for the work of God in our community and world. It has also been found in an extra snuggly dog and the absolutely breathtaking sunrises and sunsets in Kansas and Matthews. Each day, when the sky is painted oranges and pinks and purples, I think, “Yes, the world God created is good.”
In this, I’m reminded of two Bible verses. One, from Lamentations 3:22, says, “New are your mercies every morning.” The other is from Psalm 27:13: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
I remain confident that God’s world is created good, even amid so much pain. I remain confident that you are markers of that goodness, and that we will continue to see it. I remain confident that one of the ways we can easily touch upon God’s goodness is by loving and serving our neighbor. We can be a part of creating that goodness in the land of the living.
A Thank You and Update on our Church Finances
On behalf of all our pastors, staff community and key lay leaders, how grateful we are for the generosity you have displayed in 2020. Your faithful generosity is not only a beacon of hope to so many throughout our community right now, it is a model of inspiration to many churches throughout North Carolina and The United Methodist Church. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians reminding them how their generosity was inspiring people in Achaia, he said, “Your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.” (2 Corinthians 9:2) Matthews United Methodist, you are inspiring action in people far and wide!
From the beginning of the pandemic in March, we displayed remarkable generosity for March, April, May and June, actually besting our proposed spending plan for the first six months of the year. Then July came our way. July over the last few years has been one of our best financial months, but not for 2020. We closed the month $95,863 short of our target plan (based on a three-year average of past Julys). Thanks be to God we are doing very well with our budget expenses compared to income.
I know you will want to join my friend, little Lucy Turner (8-year-old daughter of Quinn & Meranda Turner) in what she is doing. Over the weekend I received a note from her where she said, “Dear Pastor Chuck, I want to give my allowance to the church. ~ Lucy.” You may not need to give your allowance, but I know you will want to do everything you are able to do to help us catch up. Thank you for how you Reach, Teach, Praise and Serve.
OnRealm.org & Realm Connect App
We are about a week into our launch of these new online connection tools that aid the church to be community online, and hope you’ve logged in to see all the ways you can use Realm to connect in our church!
- If you haven’t already, please log in! You can refer to the “Join Our Online Community” emails that were sent on August 18 & 25, or simply go to onrealm.org, enter your email (it must be the one we have on file at the church), and click get password or forgot password. Then follow the link that is sent to reset.
- Watch the 12-Minute Virtual Information Session from Tuesday, August 25 here for the basics and learn how to use Realm to connect with announcements, events, registrations, groups, giving, serving and more!
- Realm Tutoring Sessions: Ashley Broome will offer Realm tutoring sessions on Tuesdays at 10 am and Thursdays at 7 pm from September 1st – 24th. You will need a Zoom link to join the session and can register by contacting Ashley at 704-815-1901. Attendance will be limited for each session to the first 20 people who register.
- Add your skills & interests: Help us out by entering your Skills & Interests in your profile! We’d love 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 videos of previous sessions and a handy Quick Reference Guide which is great to print for quick referral.
This Sunday (August 30) in Worship
This week in our CCH community Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Acts 11:27-30, and his message is “Integral Ministry.” This is a continuation of the worship series, A Church Without Borders.
My sermon is titled, “Generation NEXT: A Biblical Parenting Workshop.” I’m going to use Moses and Deuteronomy 6:1-9 to offer some helpful and hopeful counsel for parenting and grandparenting.
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 that five Matthews churches (Matthews UMC, First Baptist Matthews, Cross and Crown Lutheran, Matthews Presbyterian and Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist) joined together to present all Matthews Police Officers with $10 gift cards to Chick-Fil-A? The gift was in lieu of the annual Hug-A-Cop event traditionally held at Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist in August of each year.
Did you know that the campers, buddies, and volunteers of our 2020 Virtual Rainbow Express Camp raised $1,382.50 to support the incredible ministry efforts of Roof Above and the Salvation Army Center of Hope?
Did you know that the Sanctuary Choir gathered in a Zoom call for some Bingo with Pastor Paul on Thursday, August 21? We had a lot of fun. We meet every other week for Zoom meetings to catch up with one another and share prayer requests. Baritone Don Morrison gave a lecture on musical instruments of the Bible one evening, and we have had two voice-training classes with a third one coming up Thursday, September 3.
Did you know that Craig and Jo Van Arsdol celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Sunday, August 23, 2020? Way to go Craig and Jo!
Did you know that we had persons from Mexico, Spain and Chile join our CCH virtual worship services and Bible studies this past week?
Did you know that a donation was made to Roof Above, thanks to gifts to the Global Impact Disaster/Crisis Relief/Recovery Fund? Roof Above offers care to the homeless in Mecklenburg County. The COVID-19 pandemic is adding extra stress to an already stretched homeless service system. On any given day, Roof Above serves nearly 1,200 individuals.
Did you know that the Global Impact Home2Home Ministry has picked up 326 items from 48 different families? These items will go to 5 different families within the Bethlehem Center serving area. They are so excited. God is GOOD!