The Heart of Summer

The Heart of Summer

Published June 5, 2019

Pentecost/June 5, 2019

Just these lines, my friends …

… to say that last week was quite a week for us at Matthews United Methodist. Rarely in my 40+ years of serving in the church have I officiated four funerals in one week. We shared in celebrating the life of four persons (Judy Reynolds, Caleb Barnhardt, Maddon Shirley, Fairy Moore) who entered life eternal. We had beautiful worship experiences that made God’s love real to everyone who attended. Moreover, our church staff community and many volunteers made God’s love real to these families.

I’m also thinking about this past Sunday (June 2) with Pastor Corey, Caroline Jackson and Bailey Lang who inspired us to make God’s love real to the world. You can watch the message here. If perchance, you were in our 11 am Sanctuary service, you saw 65 high school graduates lined across the front of our Sanctuary. It was a stunning visual of the many years of God’s work in and through our church. These young people are a powerful force we are releasing into the world.

A Few Practical Things to Keep Us Together

It’s summertime! Do you know where the word summer comes from? It’s from the Old English word sumor, which is derived from the early Germanic word sumer, which in turn came from the early Indo-European word sem. And here’s the kicker. Do you know what sem meant? It meant “together” or “one.”

At the heart of summer is togetherness. It can and should be a time of creating memories with others and strengthening relationships. Whether that means going on vacation with your family, spending long evenings in the backyard with friends, or heading to the beach or the mountains with loved ones, summer gives you a chance to feel like you are not alone.

This togetherness should most certainly include your church family. You may have a very busy summer ahead, but here are few practical ways you can stay “together” as “one” with Matthews United Methodist over the months ahead.

Worship Online – Have you worshipped online lately? You can watch at  If it’s been a while, you’ll be amazed at how great the quality of the online experience is now. Our terrific Worship Tech Team, led by Joel Mullis, works very hard to make sure that those who join us remotely feel connected to everything that is happening live. Join us on your computer, tablet or smartphone…wherever you may be.

Modern Family – Our leadership community for Sanctuary worship has put together a terrific worship series that will surely catch your interest. It all begins on June 30 with our “Modern Family” series that will continue through the end of July. What does a modern family look like? How can the relationships in which we live become the tangible expression of the love of God being made real in our world through us? The story of the first family teaches us about our own families. The story paints the living portrait of God’s dream for all of our human relationships. The story reminds us that none of our families are perfect. Come join us and hear what the Bible has to say about our families.

Vacation Bible School – Once again, we are ramping up for a joy-filled, energy-packed week of Vacation Bible School. We will have 400-plus children learning about God’s love, led by hundreds of volunteers. In fact, we are still looking for more adults to serve in some important roles throughout the week. I invite you to call Autumn Shuping at 704-815-1919 to find out more. Even if you’ve never volunteered for VBS, you will get all the training you need so you can have as much fun as the children themselves. All you need is a willing heart and a caring spirit!

Invite – I encourage you to invite people to worship. Have new people moved into your neighborhood? Are there families with kids who do not have a church home? Are there friends or family members you have invited before but they turned you down? (Try again and bribe them with a lunch or brunch after church!) There are many great events to invite people to experience. Scroll down on our homepage to Events, News & Calendar to read about and then share some of the great summer activities at Matthews United Methodist.

Date Night Photo Contest – Our Couples in Christ Marriage Ministry is sponsoring our 2019 Couples & Family Date Night Photo Challenge. We are encouraging families and couples to spend intentional time together this summer! All you have to do is plan a date night and capture a picture while having fun together. Pick up a Date Night card to include in your photo at the Welcome Center. Upload your photo to social media with hashtag #WeAreMatthews in the post description and tag @MatthewsUMC, then email the photo with a short description to our Communications Team. Check out the prizes and official rules by clicking here.

Other Upcoming Dates

Please put the “X” on the calendar for these upcoming events:

  • Marriage Night, Saturday, June 8, at 7 pm in the GymCouples In Christ Marriage Ministry is hosting this event where you can laugh, learn and grow with your spouse as you hear from marriage experts Francis & Lisa Chan, Les & Leslie Parrott, and Comedian Michael Jr. This is your last chance to purchase tickets for this Re-Broadcast Event here ($15 per person).
  • Dr. David Wilkinson on July 14-15 – This is the smartest man on the planet … but he is able to take enormously complex issues and bring them right down to earth for us. He is an astrophysicist and theologian from the University of Durham in Durham, England. We are so excited to have him preach on Sunday morning, July 14, and then lead a series of presentations on Sunday evening and Monday, July 15. You will not want to miss a single moment of sharing time with this marvelously inspirational man.
  • End of Summer/Back-to-School Bash on August 18 – Our morning worship services will feature Summer Brooke and the Mountain Faith Band with a full concert that evening at 5:30 pm followed by an Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social for everyone.

This Sunday (June 9) in Worship

I believe this Sunday will be a Pentecostal explosion as we celebrate the important church festival 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 (June 9 this year), but in fact, every Sunday is a Pentecost. Every Sunday is a day when the Spirit of the Lord moves as God’s people worship and we walk away knowing that we have felt the flame. Quick! Lash me to the pew!

By the way, plan to wear a little red in celebration of this holy day of Pentecost. Pastor Roldan has challenged our CCH friends to bring two offerings on Pentecost Sunday — their deep devotion to Jesus and an offering of clothes for the Migrant Assistance Project. CCH will continue with the series, Power Delegated. Pastor Roldan will preach from Ephesians 4:8-16 and his theme will be: Growing in Christ. Pastor Corey and 801South will kick off a new message series, Altar Ego. Through this series, we will discover that we are not our labels. We are not who others say we are, and we aren’t the broken self-image we see in the mirror. This week we will wrestle with feelings and our idea of personal inadequacies. The Deep Family Worship will celebrate Pentecost with bubbles, pinwheels, birthday cake, and communion! There will be a special processional to bring gifts for the Migrant Assistance Project! Click here for a list of items needed.  And in our morning Sanctuary services, I’m so excited to preach from Acts 2, Gifts the Spirit Brings.

This past Sunday was one of those days where we are bursting with the best kind of pride and popping our buttons with joy. Matthews United Methodist…way to go in shaping an environment where young people are growing to become fully devoted followers of Jesus every week.

Lay claim to some Pentecostal power this week, 

Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that Meg Huyck and Paul Sult were married in a ceremony at the beach on May 18?

Did you know that Karen Grass and Rex Grant were married in the Chapel on May 25?  Pastor Paul officiated the wedding ceremony.

Did you know that our MUMC softball team finished the Mt. Harmony 2019 Spring Season with an overall record of 13-2? Team Black finished first in the standings at the end of the “regular” season with a record of 10-1 and won the season-ending tournament in dramatic fashion…overcoming a 4-run deficit in the bottom of the last inning to become the overall champions! This is the second time in 3 years that the team has been league champions. The team includes Quinn Turner, Will Matthews, Matt Byrum, Ethan Smith, Kevin Smith, Cameron Hamrick, Chet Weaver, Mitchell Rieck, Scott Jambora, Greg Smith, Daniel Smith, Matt Yates, Matt Smith, Alan Rispoli, Scott Perkins, Jeff Powell, Kyle Mahle, Jacob Berry and Andy Grayson, and Coach Vince Rieck. Congrats, guys!

Did you know that five individuals from our CCH congregation served our neighbors in Carthage, NC? They helped rebuild a home damaged during the hurricanes.

Did you know that 93 4-year-olds and 15 Transitional Kindergarten students graduated from our Weekday Preschool Ministry?