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Communion of the Saints

Just these lines, my friends …

to say that this past Sunday (October 29) was quite a Sunday. It included a beautiful film about Operation Christmas Child (watch here), a mom and son baptism (Kristen, Davis and Drew), a video witness from Blaydes Moore, one of our wonderful young adults, magnificent music, and the continuation of our worship series, Flourish: Earn, Save, Give (watch here). We also welcomed a host of new members to our transforming community. These persons have completed A Disciple’s Path with Mary Asbury as their facilitator: Franck Allou; Kyle/Amy Benjamin (Tyler); Christa Boggs (Leah, Logan); Ron/Nancy Bourgeois; Bernadette Buttafuoco; Roz Piccolo; Julie Edwards; Nancy McDaniel; Reese Symanowski; Michael/Toni Vento; Killian Wright; Dave/Mary Lou Brown; Luis/Mary Beth Luciani; and Carol/Mary Ann Milano.

By now you’ve heard of Pastor Stephen’s transition to begin a new faith community here in Charlotte. Click here to read the complete correspondence to the congregation. We wish Stephen and his lovely family the very best in their new adventure. His last Sunday/day to be with us will be on Christmas Eve. We’ll be communicating the ways you’ll be invited to celebrate his ministry among us in the days ahead.

In addition, we’ll have news for you next week about who will be leading our 801South community into the future.

Room in the Inn
Room in the Inn (RITI) is about to kick off its 21st year of ministry at Matthews United Methodist (MUMC).  RITI provides meals, shelter, showers, and extravagant hospitality to 14 homeless men weekly on Thursday evenings/Friday mornings during the months of December through March.  This season, due to the closing of the Uptown Shelter for renovations, RITI will be extended until the end of June 2018.

RITI is a ministry that welcomes any and all at MUMC to serve.  Individuals, families, groups, and people of all ages can sign up to show the love of Jesus to our homeless neighbors.  Information can be found at www.globalimpactmumc.org/local.  Scroll to RITI. Visit this site to sign up and see our donation needs.

This year we are in need of people to join a list of “on call” servants in a few critical areas:  overnight host; breakfast servers; and bus drivers. Specific information about these task are under “RITI Task Descriptions” on the website.

Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Event
On Tuesday, November 7, at 8 pm we’ll be live streaming Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money event in The Commons.  It’s absolutely free! Many of you are familiar with the life-changing Financial Peace University class and the impact it is making on families in our congregation. Millions of people have found the freedom that getting out of debt can bring to their lives. This event is going to lay out a seven-step proven plan for getting you and your family out of debt, and on track to live and give like you never have before. You can sign up here, or click here to see a short video about this event.

Thursday Prayer Vigil with Rainbow Express
Our deep-level partners, Rainbow Express, invite us to gather and pray on Thursday, November 2, from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm in the Chapel. Prayer guides will be available.

Joash Chest Sunday
“Take your everyday, ordinary life and place it before God as an offering …” (Romans 12:1, The Message)

I love the Bible verse above. I think it is the perfect description of what we will be doing on Sunday, November 12, when we place our financial gift commitments for 2018 in our Joash Chest. The Chest will remain open for November 19 and 26 services for those who are unable to be with us on November 12. It is one of my favorite days of the year — watching children, youth and adults streaming forward to express their commitment and gratitude.

All Saints Sunday
Today, November 1 is All Saints Day, and this Sunday, November 5, is All Saints Sunday. When you take a look at the list of names of the members of this church who died in the last year, you will realize how much we have lost – some of our long-time members and a few newcomers, great saints and quiet servants, some full of years and some gone much too young. Since we experience these losses one at a time, it isn’t until you come to All Saints’ Day/Sunday that you realize how much we have lost. There they are. All named together. Names and faces sacred in our memory. What a loss!

Nicholas Anthony (Nick) Frattini, Robert E. (Bob) Lee, Romaine Floyd (Bill) Horn, Barbara Jean Austin, Gabe Spil, Barbara Graham Moss, Carrie Wagner, Kerry Leeann Lambert, Lorene Poteat Barnhardt, Rick Edwards, Lee Anne Norcross, Ralph M. Willis, Daniel “Dan” Edward Marion, Charles “Charlie” Woody Holt, David William Beall, Scott Hamilton Williams, Barbara Finley Bynum, John Creta, Tom B. Turpin, Maxine M. Huggins, James “Jim” Herbert Coble, William M. “Marvin” Scruggs III, Ronnie Dwayne Blanchard, David Lynn Large, Charles William “Bill” Sain, Gordon Robert Carmer

But of course, in the eternal sense, we haven’t lost them at all. All of them are still with us in the “Communion of the Saints.” They live on in our transforming fellowship, in the ministry of this church, in the worship and fellowship and praise of God’s people. Charles Wesley, one of the founders of our Methodist movement, wrote these words:

One family we dwell in him, one church above, beneath;
Though now divided by the stream, the narrow stream of death.

I love All Saints’ Day and All Saints’ Sunday. John Wesley, another of the founders of our Methodist movement, said it was his favorite day of the church year, and it is becoming that for me as we honor all these folks who have blessed our lives, now gathered in eternity and still very much present with us. I can’t explain it. All I can do is believe it and proclaim it. Someone once said, “We don’t believe in eternal life because we can’t explain it, but we never stop trying to explain it because we can’t help believing in it.” All I am sure of is that those whom we have lost are not really lost at all, and sometimes the stream that separates us seems very narrow.

This Sunday, November 5, we will honor all the saints and talk about eternity. Thanks be to God.

Do you remember Sunday, October 22, when we celebrated 140 years of making God’s love real in this community and around the globe? One of our special guests on that day was Betsy Hardin Hoak. Her father was Bishop Paul Hardin Jr., who was the pastor of Matthews United Methodist from 1927-28. Betsy wrote me a note saying, “I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed being included in your special celebration … I not only felt the presence of God, but the presence of my own earthly father.” Friends, I feel the presence of God, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. I look forward to seeing you on All Saints Sunday as the community called Matthews United Methodist gathers to Reach, Teach, Praise and Serve.

Please remember to set your clocks back one hour this Saturday night as Daylight Savings Time ends.

So grateful for you,

Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II

Did you know that $200 in donations were given through the Pumpkin Sunday contest sponsored by our United Kids Ministry? The Kingombe family will receive the proceeds as they move into their home provided by Matthews Habitat For Humanity!

Did you know that 60 K-9 Unit teams from police departments across the country trained in Matthews last week? Our parking lot was a centrally located starting point for many of the tracking dogs and their handlers. Office Kevin Osuch, who often helps with our traffic on Sunday mornings, coordinated this nationwide training event.

Did you know that our 2017-2018 Confirmation Class continues to grow and we now have 80 Confirmands in this year’s class?

Did you know that Tyleta Morgan, our Church Historian, narrated eight short videos on the history of our church and campus? Watch a compilation of the videos here, or view each short clip individually by clicking on History under About MUMC at MatthewsUMC.org.