The Story We Wish Wasn’t There

The Story We Wish Wasn’t There

Published January 3, 2024

Epiphany Sunday
Just these lines, my friends …

… to say that I hope you were able to worship with us this past Sunday. The music was beautiful, and Pastor Corey was deeply inspiring with her message. If you missed it, you can worship with us by clicking here.

As we’ve begun the New Year having experienced an inspiring Advent Season that culminated in eight amazing services on Christmas Eve, let us collectively pause, reflect, and give thanks for the countless ways that God has been at work in our congregation. Some of our blessings from the last year are:

  • The in-depth study of The Lord’s Prayer during Lent; our study of High Maintenance Relationships in the summer; Pathways to Discipleship in the fall; and then Be the Gift during Advent.
  • 97 children (and 51 volunteers) learned and then shared a beautiful musical during our Music & Arts Camp.
  • 245 excited children attended Vacation Bible School.
  • 10 young people confirmed in their faith.
  • 2,500 kids and adults attended our Trunk or Treat event on a beautiful October evening with 46 creatively decorated trunks & over 45,000 pieces of candy distributed.
  • Over 2,600 people joined us in worship on Christmas Eve including 960+ in our Family Worship times. In addition, we collected an offering of $17,729 for the Matthews Help Center, COS Kids of Matthews and Wajaró.
  • We provided Christmas gifts for over 300 families through our Angel Tree Project.
  • 75 of us were the hands and feet of Jesus on Mission Trips to Chicago, Georgia, and Lumberton, NC.
  • Our Global Impact partners, local, national & international, offered goods & services to hundreds of folks in our Matthews area & beyond.
  • Hundreds attended our combined worship service on Commitment Sunday, November 12 and enjoyed Bluegrass music & a BBQ lunch with all the sides & fixins immediately after. 350 households pledged to support the General Budget in 2024.
  • We welcomed 62 new members to the Matthews UMC family last year!
  • We received many beautiful notes from church members, including this one: “I can’t think of a faith community more representative of the love of Christ – to champion and cheer each other on, to stand alongside those in need, and to radiate joy that can only come from a cup overflowing.”

These highlights were made possible by your faithful and generous financial support. Thank you!!

Also, at the start of a new year, please allow me to recommend a book for you: Life Worth Living: A Guide to What Matters Most by Miroslav Volf. I have long been a reader of Volf and this book seems to be the culmination of his life’s work. Maria Shriver interviewed him for a segment on the Today Show asking Volf about how we should relate to those who disagree with us. In response, Volf quoted one of the shortest (and most difficult) verses in the New Testament: “Honor everyone.” (I Peter 2:17) I was thrilled a Bible verse did not make the cutting room floor of the Today Show. You can watch the four-minute clip by clicking here. The Bible quote is around the middle of the clip.

May these early days of 2024 give you time for reflection, a sense of gratitude for arriving at this moment, and a renewal of courage to face what lies ahead.

Wednesday Devotional

I hope you can take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, The Story We Wish Wasn’t There. I want to talk just a few minutes about the gruesome accounting (Matthew 2:16-18) of Herod’s order to slaughter all the boys under two years old in Bethlehem.

Upcoming Events

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 begins a new series on the book of Ruth, titled Keep Moving Forward. This Sunday, the title of his sermon is,Turning Point from Ruth 1:15-18.

This Sunday morning, Pastor Paul will be preaching as we share in time of Baptismal Renewal and Holy Communion. Paul writes, “Sunday in Church many Christians will be celebrating the Baptism of the Lord. So, we will travel from celebrating Christmas to Epiphany and the Magi finding their way to the child. This weekend we leap forward some thirty years to the baptism of Jesus and we remember.” Paul’s scripture lesson for his sermon is Mark 1:4-8.

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

Better … together,  
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that The Micah Connection received a Mustard Seed grant for Immigration/Refugee work from the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church? These funds will be used to help newcomers to our community.