Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that I love our Sunday mornings together. I’m over-the-moon about this past Sunday (November 19, watch here) in our Sanctuary worship: beginning with the moving short film from our Rainbow Express friends (watch here); exciting songs of praise by our Cherub Choir and Children’s Choir; uplifting music conducted by our Guest Conductor Craig Estep featuring The Joyful Ringers, Sanctuary Choir, Sarah Summers and Kathy White; celebrating the 271 youth and their leaders away on retreat at Lookup Lodge; tender moments of prayer with Pastor Brad; grappling with the Apostle Paul (Acts 27:27-37); filling out our gratitude cards; making commitments to express gratitude; continuing to watch you drop your 2018 financial commitment cards into the Joash Chest; and so much more. It was a splendid morning of thanksgiving worship in the Sanctuary.
Welcome to the season I fondly refer to as “Thanksmas.” Sunday (November 26) is also Christ the King Sunday. This is the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas when our schedules go into high gear. I hope you’ll make plans to join us at Matthews United Methodist where we’ll turn “the holidays” into true holy-days!
Joash Chest Financial Commitment Card for 2018
If you’ve not had the chance to turn in your Joash Chest financial commitment card for 2018, please know that the chest will be open all morning in the Sanctuary this Sunday, November 26. Of course, we welcome your commitment cards all the way through to the end of the year. Remember, this is a commitment between you and God. No one will look at what you’ve written on your card. We’ll take your cards, record the fact you made a commitment, and then place it back in the chest. At some point in 2018, we’ll get it back to you as a reminder of your commitment. If you need a card, please click here or contact the Church Office.
Permanent Endowment Fund
Did you know that Matthews United Methodist Church has an Endowment Fund? I’m hopeful that you might consider including the church in your estate plans. The money you give will be held in perpetuity, with just the earnings spent on church ministries. This ensures each gift makes a lasting contribution through the life of Matthews United Methodist.
Giving to the Endowment strengthens a church to continue its ministry even in difficult economic times, and provides for the long-term future of the church.
An endowment gift may be made at any time, and is frequently made in honor or memory of an individual or as part of an estate plan.
A summary of the Permanently Restricted Endowment Fund program is available under Give at MatthewsUMC.org and can be shared with your estate planning professional when you are updating your family plans. If you have any questions about the Endowment program or would like to discuss it in more detail, I’d love to have the opportunity to visit with you. You can contact me through the Church Office or Chuck@MatthewsUMC.org.
Around this time each year I do the spiritual practice of putting together my gratitude list. My 2017 reflections are as follows:
I’m thankful for old family pictures, old pick-up trucks, movies where everyone keeps their clothes on, and Willie Nelson singing “Amazing Grace.”
I’m thankful for honey butter, meetings that end on time, people who call just to chat, and a chocolate Sunday from Dairy Queen.
I’m thankful for pictures that make me look younger and slimmer than I am, people who are nice to my kids, and birdie (and par … and bogie) putts that drop.
I’m thankful for funny stories, for good food like butter beans and black eyed peas, country ham, and cornbread, and for the wonderful man who cuts my hair, Craig Van Arsdol. (My, oh my … does he have a story.)
I’m thankful for nursing homes that give excellent care, state troopers when they don’t stop me, pens with ink, and MARA coaches who remember the game is for children.
I’m thankful for a hamburger from South 21, a salad from Char Bar 7, and lunch counters where waitresses still ask, “Whatcha want, honey?”
I’m thankful for Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies, a night full of eating chips and salsa, and the that fact that I can’t find our bathroom scales anywhere.
I’m thankful for a warm blanket on a cold Carolina night, little 12 ounce bottles of Diet Dr. Pepper, and the marvelous music that is provided by all our music groups Sunday after Sunday.
I’m thankful for people who are willing to take a risk, the times my golf shot safely crosses a water hazard, and that the influence of Charles and Kathryn Wilson (my dad and mom) continues to be a part of my being.
I’m thankful for children who take the time to show me their sore spots covered by a Band-Aid, for the unbelievable hugs I get from Lucy Turner, Emma Parsons, Elijah Stegall and Benjamin Parkey, a full stocking on Christmas morning, and that only God knows all the facts about me.
I’m thankful for the quiet time each Sunday when we pray together, all the persons who care through Stephen Ministers, Chain of Compassion, and Daily Bread…and for an unbelievable place of care and compassion called The Matthews Help Center.
I’m thankful for speakers who realize when they are through, the excellent job our church leaders have done during our times in leadership transition, and the good folks who will be giving leadership in 2018.
I’m thankful for divorced fathers who keep in touch with their children, couples who find love again after the first marriage didn’t work out, and when parents ask me to baptize their children.
I’m thankful for the finest church staff community on the planet, when my size clothing is on sale, for Beth Lynn who helps to order my life each day, and the opportunity that is mine to worship with each of you week after week.
I’m thankful for a full house on Sunday, a little rain in western North Carolina, and for the privilege of doing something that counts forever.
I’m thankful for the sound of a college band playing our national anthem, the Iron Bowl, stores who wait until at least the first frost to begin the Christmas season, and for Charlie Walling who greets all of us every Thursday at Feast with Friends.
I’m thankful for mistakes and the ability to laugh at them, a short line in the grocery store, those who keep the law, pick up the trash, deliver the mail, put out the fire, and church and community volunteers who say “yes.”
I’m thankful for the smell of barbecue cooking, fresh tomato sandwiches, friends who keep secrets, the privilege that is mine to pick up the tab for lunch, and a father-in-law (Bill Payne) who never fails to ask, “Chuck, did you have a great day?”
I’m thankful for the beauty of the uptown Charlotte skyline, the vibrancy of Matthews on a weekend night, and the golf swings of Chase and Ryan Wilson.
I’m thankful for shoes that fit, button down collars, a warm fleece pullover, and my mother-in-law (Dorothy Tucker) who has put up with me for 36 years.
I’m thankful when the mother of the bride is pleased, for the call to be a pastor, that my sister always seems to remember my birthday, and the extraordinary choices my children have made when it comes to spouses (Gina and Ben).
I’m thankful for my true Texans, Chase and Ryan; my Tar Heels, Molly, Ben, Gina and Mackenzie; and my Kansas girl, Karen. She is indeed, the finest wife and mother on the planet, AND I know I’ve told you before about how good she looks when she wears red!
I’m thankful for the presence of the almighty God, and the patience God has had with me as one of his pastors over the years; and for the privilege of standing before you Sunday after Sunday to proclaim the love of God.
Finally, I’m thankful for healing that comes with time, for love that’s unconditional, for mysteries beyond my comprehension, but most of all, that “neither death nor life, nor principalities or powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God.”
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. In our morning Sanctuary worship we will celebrate Christ the King on the final Sunday of the year (according to the liturgical calendar), November 26. In our Centro Cristiano Hosanna (CCH) community we will finish the worship series, Leaving the Ordinary. Pastor Roldan will be preaching under the theme: Think Beyond from 2 Corinthians 9: 6-11. In our 801South worshipping community, Pastor Stephen will be speaking on the Family of Christmas using the genealogy of Jesus in the opening of Matthew’s account. We will celebrate Pastor Stephen and his family on Sunday, December 3, in The Commons from Noon to 1 pm. I hope you’ll drop by for the reception and also consider making a financial gift for the Knopp family. Please make your check payable to Matthews UMC with “Pastor Stephen Love Offering” in the memo line. Their final day to be with us will be Christmas Eve.
I am so thankful to be your Pastor and friend,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know that seven new families have come to be part of our church through the new Rainbow Ark Special Needs Sunday School classes? Rainbow Ark has classes for all ages: 9:30 and 11:00 am for elementary age in Room 104, 9:30 and 11:00 am for teens in Room 110, and 9:30 am for young adults in Room 180.
Did you know that the UMW Bake Sale at the Arts & Crafts Extravaganza raised $863.50 for Christian Education Scholarships? These scholarships provide the opportunity for women of the church to attend Women’s Retreats and UMW District and Conference Events. A special thanks to Lena Martin for coordinating the sale, and to all the women who participated!
Did you know that our 80 Confirmands will be sharing special one-on-one time with an adult friend in faith during the winter and spring months, and you can be one of those mentors!
Did you know that 93-year old Bob Adams, WWII veteran and long-time member of MUMC, was featured in the November 13 edition of the Carolina Panthers Gametime publication for his military service? We are deeply grateful for all our service men and women and their families!
Did you know that Global Impact is giving $3,000, which is enough to help 20 women, through the Changing Our Outlook On Life (COOOL) program at Changed Choices? This mentoring program is providing hope and bright futures for women 16 and older in the Mecklenburg County Jail, and has served 80 women in the last 12 months!