2nd Sunday after the Epiphany
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say Sunday was a wonderful day. Thank you to Pastor Corey for her sermon on Sunday. It is one of the finest New Year sermons you’ll ever hear. If you missed her excellent message, you can view it here. During the 9:30 hour for the Homebuilder’s Sunday School Class, Janet Dagenhart gave a moving dramatic reading of some of her reflections on the life of Mary. Then on Sunday afternoon, we welcomed the newest group of persons walking through our process toward church membership, Disciple’s Path. These amazing persons will be spending the next several weeks preparing to unite with our community of faith.
Christmas at MUMC was truly special, and I want to thank everyone who welcomed a guest, hung an ornament on a tree, passed out a bulletin, or walked down the aisle to light an Advent candle. This church thrives because of every volunteer – so please know that as a staff community, we are grateful for each and every one of you!
On the first Saturday of each month our United Methodist Men gather for breakfast. This Saturday we heard from a ministry started during COVID by Earl Coggins, Home2Home. Their mission is to gather furniture from donors and then distribute it to needy families. In Earl’s talk he mentioned a few things: 3100 pieces of furniture given by 380 donors; 300 families served with 3000 pieces of furniture delivered; 140 pieces of furniture in storage; all of the above with 35 volunteers. Does that not just blow you away! Thank you, Earl and Team, with how you love.
By the way, our United Methodist Men are all about putting their faith into action. If you are looking for a way to give back, they can plug you in to Hoskin’s Park, Roof Above, or the Charlotte Rescue Mission (info on these local partners is here) for some amazing efforts taking place among men in our community.
All the above reminds me of the wonderful quote from Thomas Merton, the great Trappist priest and theologian saying, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business, and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can.”
I hope December’s turn of the calendar into January is filling you with anticipation for what God will do this year. Longing is an essential part of the Christian life as we lean into a future where God is already present and waiting for us.
One of the things I’m working on in 2023 is looking for and recognizing the image of God in all. In a society divided over the color of skin, supremacies, nationality, and ethnicity, recognizing the image of God in everyone provides good news to end our divisiveness, discrimination and exclusion.
On that note, I’ve been reading a wonderful book titled The Colorful Image of God by Katherine B. Martin. She is a young adult Charlottean with a powerful message. You might want to order a copy of her book (click here). I’m hoping to introduce you to her at some point in early 2023.
“So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God,
he created them, male and female, he created them.”
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch my devotional for the week titled, When Justice and Moderation Collide.
Global Impact Celebration is Coming!
Our 13th Global Impact Celebration is coming up in February, and our theme is Transformation. We will focus on the transformation that occurs every day in our partner ministries, as well as transformation we experience by serving.
- Saturday, February 4 – Rev. Gaston Warner, CEO of Zoe Empowers, will also present at the UM Men’s breakfast at 7:30 am.
- Sunday, February 5 – Rev. Warner leads worship at all three Worship Services.
- Saturday, February 11 – OPERATION: SATURDAY SERVE: We invite individuals & families to come to The Commons & serve 9:00-12:00 noon. We’ll be making sandwiches for Roof Above, Blessing Bags for Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care and Valentines for other ministry partners.
- Sunday, February 12 – Our focus is on our Local Mission Partners, featuring speakers in worship & the Local Ministry Fair in our hallways.
- Sunday, February 19 – Commitment Sunday: Prayerfully consider the commitment you will make to support Global Impact Missions in 2023.
This Sunday in Worship
We invite you to join 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 will be preaching from James 1:2-4 and his sermon is titled: A Necessary Path.
In our morning Sanctuary services, as we worship God, we will remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. My sermon is titled Jesus, Justice, and Jubilee, from Leviticus 25:8-12a and Luke 4:16-21. I want to build my thoughts around an experience I had as a young adult in the Suffolk County Correctional Institute just outside of Boston and three words I heard that day that have powerfully affected my life.
On Sunday and Monday, two opportunities are available for you to reflect upon the work and ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
- January 15, 2:30 pm – Gather at the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church for an educational activity and then in the peaceful tradition of the Civil Rights movement we will make a peaceful march to the Matthews Town Hall by way of the Crestdale (one of the oldest historically black communities in North Carolina) Heritage Trail. At 3:30 pm there will be a brief program on the Town Hall steps.
- January 16, 10 am – MLKing Jr. Commemorative Worship Service at the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church. We will be awarding two scholarships to Crestdale Community High School students.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, and hopeful days, remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
Humbled to be in this Adventure with you,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that the Tree Removal & Replacement Project is in full swing? Tree replanting is beginning this week! Read this Just Theses Lines from late December to learn more about this project.
Did you know that Roof Above, one of our Global Impact partners, is a Lowes Hometowns grant recipient for 2022? As a recipient, they created an outdoor gathering space at their newly created affordable apartment complex, The Rise on Clanton. The space will be used for both formal and informal community-building activities. “We are very excited for our partnership with Lowe’s and the beautiful space they have created. Through this community’s generosity, we are able to offer the stability and dignity of home to 88 of our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Liz Clasen-Kelly, Roof Above, CEO.