5th Sunday after the Epiphany
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that I hope you had the chance of hearing my youngest daughter, MacKenzie, speak this past Sunday. I know you picked up on her passion to walk in the way of Jesus. Also, I hope you heard our orchestra and their arrangement of the classic hymn, Be Thou My Vision, at the 11 am service, and our Praise Team singing Shower the People and Tremble at the 9:30 service. Finally, during our 11 am service we celebrated the work of Scouts in our midst. If you missed our Sunday worship services, you can watch here.
January is our transition month for servant leaders throughout our church. A very special thank you is due to Curt Walton (Staff Parish Relations) and Gene Monago (Trustees) for their amazing leadership. We are profoundly grateful. And we are most grateful for all our persons who have completed their terms of service on Administrative Council, Trustees, Finance, Staff Parish, Global Impact, Endowment and Leadership Development: Wes Broome, Sheila Shirley, Andrea Main, Hampton Hopkins, Kristi Byrum, Josh Ponder (completed in May 2021), John Branin, Marty Hinson, Charleen Bush, Evie Humphries, Linda Williamson, Sam Hatcher and Sid Riddick. Click here to see our outstanding group of elected church leaders slated for 2022.
Our annual Leadership Connection was held this past Saturday over Zoom, with 97 in attendance. We launch our new leadership year (February 1 – January 31) with this gathering. The morning was filled with helpful presentations from Grant Overbey, members of our Leadership Development Team (Carol Hatcher, Suzanne Pugh, Wes Wetmore, Beau Snyder), Fred DeVore and our District Superintendent, Rev. Dan Pezet. Thank you so much to each of them. You can watch the 2022 Leadership Connection by clicking here.
Yes…it is true. It does feel like Covid is everywhere! We are hopeful, though, we’ll get beyond this challenging chapter and you’ll begin to feel comfortable about gathering in-person for worship. I miss so many of our Matthews United Methodist family members whom I have not laid eyes on for quite some time. Remember, if you are feeling isolated, have needs, prayer concerns, or just want to check in, please feel free to give us a call at the church office, send me an email, or give me a call on my cell phone (336-848-5085).
On Saturday during Leadership Connection, I quoted from an insightful consulting faculty of Duke Divinity School and Senior Fellow at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is a Gen-Xer, the generation born between 1965 and 1981. Recently he wrote an essay encouraging his generation with the words, “We’re the adults now.” A paragraph really struck me that I thought was instructive for all generations. He writes,
We’re the adults now, even if we don’t feel qualified to comprehend
all the problems facing our nation and planet, we must try to repair
the fissures we do see right before us, before it’s too late. It will be
complicated and costly, but it’s a sacred honor to live during pivotal times.
This January is an opportunity for each of us resist the temptation to despair
by resolving to step up anew. It’s our turn to love our corner of the world
such that subsequent generations will be able to call it home.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, whether in-person, livestream or on demand. Be sure and invite someone to church. You never know who might need some of the warmth and grace of Matthews.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week, titled, “Thoughts and Prayers – Part 2.”
A Note from our Finance Committee Servant Leader, Greg Klein
For the second year in a row, despite what was going on in the world around us, 2021 was a very good year financially for our church. Revenue/Offerings for the General Fund totaled $2,775,301 and were $13,000 over budget and prior year, thanks to the generous hearts of our church family. This is amazingly good in the current environment! Expenses totaled $2,630,626 and were under budget by $132,000 and slightly over prior year which shows extremely good management by church leaders and staff.
The combination of strong revenue and lower expenses resulted in a positive Net Income of $144,675 which increased the General Fund for future projects within the church. The Finance Committee approved the use of a portion of the excess funds to increase the maintenance reserve ($25,000) and to fund additional work with Our Faithful Next Steps strategic initiatives ($42,000). The overall cash position of the church improved and remains strong.
A few other financial numbers:
- We partnered with 28 local, regional and global organizations, contributing $185,626 (regular Global Impact giving) plus another $56,297 (Christmas Eve Offering, Disaster Relief, and other designated giving), totaling $241,923.
- We sent $237,491 to our Western North Carolina Conference and Metro District of The United Methodist Church as our fair-share connectional support.
- We received $128,215 for ReFresh and ReNew.
Thank you, MUMC, for another year of faithfulness.
Racial Bridge-Building Forum on February 15
For six years now, we’ve been designing community forums on racial bridge-building. Matthews United Methodist will host our next one on Tuesday, February 15 at 7 pm in the Sanctuary, featuring Dr. Lucretia Carter Berry, President & Learning Community Director for Brownicity. Dr. Berry is an antiracism curriculum specialist, course designer and author of What LIES Between Us – Fostering First Steps Toward Racial Healing, a TEDx speaker, and a writer. She earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Iowa State University and her BA from South Carolina State University. Her subject for the forum: “If we don’t keep them in the dark, our kids will light up the world”. We are especially hoping this will be helpful for our community families with children. This event will be in-person in the MUMC Sanctuary and online by clicking here.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join us this Sunday in person or online at 8:15 am (traditional – in person only), 9:30 am (contemporary), 11:00 am (traditional) or 12:30 (Spanish – in person only).
On February 6, we will be serving the Sacrament of Holy Communion in all our worshipping communities. Those of you participating online, please be sure to have your candle and Communion elements ready.
In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan will be preaching from I Corinthians 10:11-15 and his sermon title: We Need Quality Members. In our morning services, I want to do a bit of a jump start on Lenten emphasis where we will be studying the parables of Jesus. We’re calling our series, I Wish Jesus Hadn’t Said That. It’s disturbing to me to realize how often my reaction to Jesus’ parables is the same as his disciples. It’s usually when they get it wrong or just don’t get it at all. That’s when I find myself saying, “Jesus, I wish you hadn’t said that.” I’ve found that it helps to think of the parables as windows through which we catch a glimpse of the kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven, the terms of interchangeable. You could say that each parable is like a ship’s porthole through which we see one small part of the ocean of God’s life and love becoming a reality on earth as it is in heaven. This Sunday, the parable that I’m calling The Story of a Mugging is from Luke 10:25-37.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days of pandemic remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
It’s going to be a good year,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that our Military Ministry reaches out each month for support and encouragement to our persons who are connected to Matthews United Methodist? If you’d like to volunteer, please reach out to Jean Bryan (contact the Church Office for her info).
Did you know that a group of our mailing volunteers worked last week to prepare our Global Impact letter & commitment cards for mailing? You should begin receiving these later this week, and extras will be available at the Welcome Center beginning February 12. Don’t miss any of our Global Impact Celebration events this month!
Did you know that United Kids families joined together Friday evening, in-person and virtually, for dinner and a paint party? What a creative bunch!
Did you know that the youngest attendee at Leadership Connection was 9 months old? Faye Carpenton, daughter of Andrew & Elizabeth Carpenton, is already preparing to be a leader and is very happy about it!