6th Sunday of Easter | Mental Health Sunday
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that my heart is deeply saddened again. This past Saturday, a young man entered a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York and opened fire. By the time he surrendered, he had shot a total of 13 people, most of them Black, and left 10 of them dead. They were senior citizens, retired law enforcement, churchgoers, grandparents, sisters and brothers.
I think commentators are right to identify the perpetrator as a white supremacist. He had written a 180-page manifesto and posted it online. He left no doubt of his intentions to target Black people. The camera he wore captured an anti-Black racial slur on the assault rifle he used. He wrote in his manifesto about the “great replacement” theory — the crazy idea that there is some sort of conspiracy attempting to replace white Americans with nonwhite people through immigration, interracial marriage and violence.
Dr. Jemar Tisby, pastor and historian, has been helpful to many of us in our racial bridge building work. He writes, “To identify someone who targets, plans, and homicidally attacks Black people and other religious and ethnic groups as a white supremacist, while accurate, can obscure the ways many others are complicit with white supremacy.”
Dr. Tisby goes on, “It is convenient to point to slave traders, plantation owners, and Klan members as the ‘real racists.’ We tend to think that only the most severe examples of prejudice constitute racism. But even if only a small number of people actually commit acts of violence in the name of racism, the ideas that lead to such acts are often co-signed by the masses.”
If we look at shooters like the one in Buffalo as the only type of people to whom the phrase “white supremacist” applies, then we miss all the daily and common ways that countless others endorse the same ideas that undergirded his murderous actions. We can look in horror at the actions of a white supremacist terrorist in Buffalo. But he is simply the extreme version and the logical end of what many other people believe and support in other ways.
Friends, you don’t have to pull the trigger on an assault rifle to support white supremacy. All you have to do is nothing at all. Dr. Tisby echoes Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail when he says, “The refusal to act in the midst of injustice is itself an act of injustice. Indifference to oppression perpetuates oppression.”
The Week Past
This last Sunday was a glorious day in the life of our church as 14 students were confirmed into the faith and 4 of them baptized. The Sanctuary was filled with family and friends coming to celebrate this significant accomplishment of the confirmands: to profess their faith and join the church. But what happens next is equally important because it is living into the vows that were taken: to be faithful to Jesus Christ through Matthews United Methodist Church (MUMC), with their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Surely not an easy undertaking and not one that takes place in a day or even a year but over a lifetime. The thing is, we don’t do this alone, we do this together. After all, this is what it means to be the church, we do life together. If you missed worship, you may watch here.
Sometimes, it seems we don’t take time to celebrate the wonderful things that are happening in our lives and in our church. So, I want to take this opportunity to celebrate and give thanks to God for all the wonderful things that are happening right now. These good things serve as a reminder that God is still with us.
- Our community sharing the Queen City Ringers with us on Tuesday night. Enjoy watching & listening here.
- College students serving in New Orleans last week.
- Learning from experts about refugees coming our way.
- A stay-at-home Men’s Retreat with nearly 60 participating from MUMC, Hoskin’s Park and Mt. Moriah.
Young people confirmed and joining the church: Abigail Arndt, Blane Barnes, Claire Jacobs, Juniper Mattes, Zaynah Nacarato, Nathan Rippy, Samantha Rogers, Grant Sallee, William Whitmore, Peyton Harrison, Heidi Meadows, Christopher Meadows, Katie Meadows, and Jennifer Stewart.
A couple of other things:
- 5th Sunday Fellowship is coming up on May 29 with our friends at Mt. Moriah. Please register for a wonderful lunch with our friends on the MMMBC campus.
- We have a real need for Nursery & Childcare Assistance for Sunday morning Sanctuary services, special events & ministry functions (time opportunities vary). Register your interest for occasional volunteer opportunities OR regular part-time positions ($12/hr). Candidates must be at least 18 years old and submit to a background check. Experience is preferred, but not required. Training will be provided.
We need each other. In fact, we are better together. I know I am better with you
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week, titled “We Are Not Worthy.”
Our Path Forward: The Future of The United Methodist Church
We’ve been working hard over the last few weeks to share in-depth information about things happening in and around The United Methodist Church.
View this webpage to learn what is happening, how we got where are, and to provide resources and conversations that will help you better understand the complexities of the issues before us. I have found a lot of misinformation being shared about our denomination and other issues going on in our society. You can always reach out to me or any other pastor for coffee or a phone chat if you have questions. We are always glad to meet with anyone, anytime. As Bishop Bev Jones used to say, “Keep the main thing the main thing!” That is what we continue to do at MUMC as we make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!
Please plan to join us at the Our Path Forward Session on Sunday, June 5 at 9:30 or 10:45 am in The Commons.
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).
In our Spanish-speaking CCH community, Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Joshua 5:12-15 and his sermon title, What Team Are You On?
In our morning Sanctuary services, we are going to focus on the subject of mental health. We can have a tendency to ignore these kinds of things … but not here at MUMC. In addition, we will premiere a new GodStory that has an amazingly vulnerable and helpful witness about mental illness. I will be preaching on the unique mental health struggle of depression. The title of my sermon, I Keep a Grip on Hope from Lamentations 3. Be sure to see our opportunities to learn more about mental health below.
I believe God has a special word for all of us this Sunday. Be sure and invite someone to church or back to church. You never know, they may be looking for some understanding and hope with their struggles.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
We are better together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month and that MUMC’s very own Hope for Minds & Hearts offers Christian fellowship to support and educational opportunities for individuals and families? Check out these current opportunities:
- Mental Health Support Groups – Monday evenings at 7:00 pm for families who support a loved one (Room 158) and for individuals who live with mental health challenges (Room 208).
- Suicide Awareness Workshop – Wednesday, May 18 from 7:00-8:00 pm at Light of Christ UMC (9106 Bryant Farms Rd, Charlotte). This will be a time of sharing information, support, and resources for those whose lives have been impacted by mental illness and suicide. Register at LOCumc.org.
- 4TH Tuesdays Mental Health Education Series – May 24 at 7:00 pm in Room 158. Atrium Health’s Kevin Champion, Chaplain for Behavioral Health Charlotte will lead the May event.
Did you know that we are searching for an MUMC GROUP to plan, organize and manage the Arts & Crafts Extravaganza for 2022? This event is usually held the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving and a new sponsor group may have the opportunity to raise funds by managing the logistics for this event. if you and your group have interest in sponsoring this event, express interest here by Monday, May 30. Previous event coordination details are available. A group is needed to move forward with this event.
Did you know that 92 people attended one of the 2 sessions on Refugees on Sunday, May 15? Four experts shared how their organizations serve Refugees in the Charlotte area. This event was sponsored by The Micah Connection, our MUMC Justice Ministry.
Did You Know that 60 men from MUMC, Mt. Moriah and Hoskins Park enjoyed a wonderful retreat at the church on Friday and Saturday? Thank you, Earl Coggins and team for planning and Howard Nussman for guiding our two days.
Did you know that MUMC’s 5-octave handbell set and 2 sets of chimes were recently sent to the Malmark Handbell Factory in Pennsylvania for refurbishment? This was made possible by a generous gift from the Iris DeVore estate. Iris was an original handbell ringer of The Joyful Ringers herself for many, many years, and was instrumental in purchasing our first set of handbells.