4th Sunday of Easter | April 21, 2021
Just these lines, my friends …
… that Pastor Paul must have been beyond amazing this past Sunday with his presence and preaching. John Millen, the Vice-Chair of our Trustees wrote, “Pastor Paul looks great! My wife said he looks younger.” Oh, my! There is no telling where Paul Craig will go with that. By the way, if you missed his outstanding message, you can watch it here.
Also, please be sure to read Pastor Paul’s third letter to us about our regathering for in-person worship beginning on Sunday, May 9. You can read his letter here.
The words above about Pastor Paul got me thinking about friendship. I want to be a friend where those close to me feel no fear to share shameful things or express their disagreements. I want to be the kind of friend with whom others are at ease, where they sense no need to choose their words cautiously, or be on guard, or be “right.”
I want to be a friend who can receive with openness and curiosity another’s half-baked ideas and uncomfortable questions and untamed grief and raucous laughter. I want to be a friend who adds (rather than depletes) energy, a friend where conversation never really ends, navigating silence as easily as words. I want to be the friend that others call, whether they have lost themselves in the bottle or hit the mother lode, with no concern that they’ll meet judgment or envy.
I love the incredible privilege that is mine to be your pastor and friend.
“Some friends play at friendship, but a true friend sticks closer
than one’s nearest kin.”
I hope you will take the time to watch my devotional for today titled, “The Power of Powerlessness (Part 2).” It will only take a few minutes of your time. Please here to watch. (Click here to watch Part 1.)
Covid Vaccination Clinic at MUMC this Monday, April 26
If you are continuing to say “no” to the vaccination, may I recommend to you a podcast/blog with sober/clear-eyed answers to questions I hear people asking about the vaccines: Is this an issue of faith or fear? Or of wisdom? Is taking the vaccine an act complicit with the act of abortion? Was it developed too quickly? What if I’m pregnant? And more. If you or a loved one has questions and vaccine-hesitant, I lovingly ask you to listen to the podcast (or read the transcript – both in the link).
The podcast is done with Dr. Francis Collins, one of my long-time theological, biblical, spiritual, and intellectual mentors. It is titled “How Christians Can End the Pandemic.” Dr. Collins is the long-time director of the National Institutes of Health. He oversees the agencies that approved the current vaccines available in the U.S., so he knows all about the process and content of them. He also deeply understands the Bible and Christians who want to be faithful to God in important matters such as these. You will also appreciate the tone of the podcast. There is nothing that is condescending or judgmental toward those with questions. I hope you’ll listen or read the transcript here.
Then after listening, if you haven’t done so, I hope you will prayerfully make an appointment and receive the vaccination right here at MUMC. We are hosting a free COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic for the community in partnership with Vax Van on Monday, April 26. Click here to register for an appointment (age 16 and over). The link is also located on our site at MatthewsUMC.org.
Quarterly Giving Statements
Our giving statements for the first quarter (January – March) were sent via email yesterday, along with an update from Pastor Paul. We are so very grateful for your support of Matthews UMC.
I hope you will join us for our All-Church Gathering to be held virtually this coming Monday, April 26 at 7:00 pm (Click here at that time to join.) This gathering is held twice each year (April & October) and includes worship, fellowship, and sharing information about what’s going on in and through the ministries of MUMC. Be sure to tune in to hear what to expect as we soon return to in-person worship. In addition, you will learn of some changes happening here at MUMC (playground renovation, Telra Charter School, etc) as well as learn more about one of our newest MUMC ministries.
This Sunday in Worship
This week, in our CCH community, Pastor Roldan will conclude the worship series, And Now, What’s Next? He will be preaching from John 6:60-69 with his message titled, There is No Turning Back.
At 9:15 am and 11:00 am we will be in week four of our worship series titled Easter Earthquake! How the Resurrection Rocks the World. We are wrestling with the following question: What difference does the resurrection make in the way we face the crucial issues/crisis/concerns of our time? This week Pastor Corey will be helping us with The Crisis of Creation Care from Romans 8:18-25 and Psalm 24:1-2. Pastor Corey says, “I hope you will join me in worship as we explore the call for Christians to show themselves actively working on behalf of Creation for the ‘redemption’ that comes through Christ. Even though we may not yet see a world healed from the ravages of humankind, our faith inspires hope, which, in turn, compels us to make that hope a reality.”
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, tumultuous, perilous and hopeful days of pandemic remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
We are in this … together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that we had several volunteers working this past Saturday to help preserve Roseland Cemetery, a historic African-American cemetery here in Matthews? The cemetery was originally known by local African-Americans as “Renfrow Quarters.” The Renfrow family (of Renfrow’s Hardware) allocated a portion of the property for the cemetery. The cemetery contains the remains of slaves and freed blacks from Matthews and areas beyond. Thank you to our volunteers for how you love, serve, and give.
Did you know that our Lay Leader, Carol Hatcher, completed the 10-hour Basic Lay Servant Ministry training on April 16-17? Thank you, Carol, for all you do as our Matthews United Methodist Lay Leader.
Did you know that, in addition to the continuous cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, our Facilities Team is preparing signage to guide us in a safe return to in-person worship? Thank you for keeping us safe!