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Music of the Season

Just these lines, my friends …

… to say what an amazing Sunday (December 3) it was, with service, praise and worship from morning to night! Sunday morning was filled with meaningful worship in all our communities. You can watch Sanctuary worship here. The afternoon was filled with so many volunteers preparing our Angel Tree gifts for children all over Mecklenburg and Union counties. In the early evening hundreds of us were overwhelmed with the beautiful music of the season. Thank you to all our music groups for giving us a special gift. In case you missed all the participants in Holy Light: A Candlelight Service of Carols on Sunday evening, click here for the listing of the dozens and dozens of women and men, girls and boys, who give us music leadership. Thank you Pete Leo, Kathy White, and all the rest of our music and arts staff for leading us in a beautiful experience of Advent light.

I’m so pleased to mention that the following persons joined our transforming community this past Sunday: Bob Saleska, Ron/Jean Clair, Scott/Paula Moser, John/Carolyn Sanders, Kevin Sanders and Stan/Joan Spilman. Please join me in welcoming the newest group of persons who have completed A Disciple’s Path and have covenanted with us to reach, teach, praise and serve.

Announcing our New Youth Associate
I am over-the-moon to announce to you today our new Youth Associate, Rob Hunter. This position opening was created when Corey Millet was named to serve our 801South community. Corey will continue to give overarching direction to our United Youth. Rob’s coming to be with us is beyond even my wildest dreams. My heart is resplendent to know God has sent us this man to continue our outstanding work among high school age students (10th grade through 12th grade).

In case your memory is failing you a bit, Rob is the recently-retired Chief of Police for the Town of Matthews. That’s right! The Chief of Police is going to be a part of our Staff Community! He served as Chief for 24 years while serving a total of 30 years for the Town of Matthews. We are crazy fortunate to have this man among us!

Let Rob tell you in his own words some things about himself and God’s call upon his life: “My wife, Connie, and I joined MUMC about 25 years ago. Our two children, Debbie (24) and Jarrett (20) were both raised and mentored in our church, where my wife and I both taught children’s Sunday School & Confirmation. I became a Small Group Leader when my daughter entered the 7th grade. I served as a 7th grade Small Group Leader for 11 years, then ‘retired’ when my son graduated, believing it was time for me to move on. But I returned a few months later, realizing God wasn’t yet finished with me here. I now serve as a 10th grade Small Group Leader.  I’ve had the wonderful experience of traveling on at least three Reach and eight Senior High mission trips, and each has changed my life — watching and serving with our youth as they pour their hearts into the service of others. I am so thankful to God that this opportunity has been provided.”

Rob began his work with us on December 1.

Sign Up for Financial Peace University
Did you know you can make changes to your financial future?  You can do that now by participating in Financial Peace University (FPU). Let FPU help you to take control of your money. Classes begin in January.  In nine lessons, you’ll learn to take control of your money, invest for the future, and give like never before! The cost … $95 per kit (one kit per person/couple). The time … Wednesday evenings, January 10 -March 14, 6:30 – 8:15 pm. (Register here.) Or Tuesday evenings, January 16 – March  13, 7:00 – 8:45 pm, at Wesley UMC 3715 Rea Rd(Register here.) Watch here a short video on FPU.

Christmas Eve
As you make your holiday plans, remember your friends want a reason to celebrate Christmas, too. By inviting them to Matthews United Methodist, you are inviting them to experience God and the true meaning of Christmas. In the services we have planned, the message of Christmas will be delivered in a simple, elegant, powerful way.

We have several worship services planned for you and yours over the days ahead. For more information about our Christmas Eve schedule, click here.

Advent
For a number of years Samuel Wells was the Dean of the Chapel at Duke University. Not too long ago, he returned to his native England to become the Rector of St. Martin-in-the-Fields on the corner of Trafalgar Square in the heart of London. He recently wrote, It is time to turn anger, grief and dismay into renewed ministry and mission. I pray that the U.K. finds a kinder, gentler way … but if it doesn’t, St. Martin’s must remain a place of hospitality and belonging to those on whom our society has turned its back. I pray that the U.K. continues to be a model of tolerance, diversity and respect. But if it doesn’t St. Martin’s will still seek to be a blessing to all in our country.  It may be that a witness like ours can begin to heal our country and inspire it to take a different … more hopeful direction. But even if it doesn’t, we’re going to do it anyway.”

In the light of the angry rhetoric of our politics and the rise of hate, it is easy for those of us who claim the name of Jesus to become despondent and discouraged, wondering if our work will do any good.  But for those who follow Jesus, our mission hasn’t changed. Our desire to see the values of the Kingdom played out in the human community is still the same. The Biblical vision of a world where the wolf will lay down with the lamb and a little child will lead them still inspires us. Holding on to the promise and modeling the Kingdom is still our calling and it is more important now than ever.

And that is, of course, the message of Advent.  Into a dark world, The One True Light still comes, the light still shines and the promise is that the darkness will never overcome it.  Into Herod’s world, a world of unfair taxation and forced registration, the Baby is born.  Into a world where Bethlehem’s children are slaughtered and a young couple with the new-born Son are forced into exile to live the first three years of his life as refugees, the Word was made flesh. Into that kind of a world, the task of the church is still to be a witness to the promise that one day hatred, bigotry and war will give way to sister/brotherhood and peace.  Our task is to witness to the One who died for the sake of the whole world and calls us to the work of reconciliation.  Our job is still the same.

If by our work and witness we can bring the vision of Advent and the Prophets a little bit closer, to God be the glory. But even if it doesn’t, we’re going to do it anyway because we are the people of Advent, the people of hope and healing and wholeness.  That’s what it means to wait and work for the coming of the Jesus…until he comes again.

Sam Wells says it best:  “It may be that a witness like ours can begin to heal our country and inspire it to take a different … and hopeful direction.  But even if it doesn’t we’re going to do it anyway.”

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Amen.
Henri Nouwen

This Sunday (December 10) at Matthews UMC
This Sunday we continue with Advent themes in our worship experiences. Centro Cristiano Hosanna (CCH) and Pastor Roldan continue with the series Celebrating with Understanding from Galatians 4:4-6. In 801South, Pastor Stephen continues with a Hidden Christmas. In The Deep we will be learning about “Generosity – making someone’s day by giving something away.” In our morning Sanctuary services, we launch into week two of The One and True Light. We’ll be learning about stratospheric, incandescent, hopeful light from Isaiah 9.

We’ll see you Sunday in the community that is filled with hope!

Until He Comes,
 
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Chuck@MatthewsUMC.org

Did you know that the Methodist Men presented $4,700 to the Matthews Police Department to fund the 2017 Secret Santa Program! The proceeds will be used by the Officers to present to under-resourced families throughout the Matthews community. Funding from Global Impact was also part of this gift.

Did you know Jim Moore has been the “Voice of the Charlotte Christian Knights” for 21 years! He composed weekly prayers and then prayed for the football teams, their families and our community over the public address system on Friday nights. Jim was recently honored by Charlotte Christian School for 21 years of faithful service!

Did you know Marge Averill and Ben Icard helped make a mission project possible for the Candy Cane Christmas event for families! Our Room in the Inn guests will receive love in the form of Christmas bags filled with toiletries, candy canes, and a special note! Families packed the bags during the Candy Cane Christmas event!

Did you know that the handprint tiles which were made in 2005 by many church members are still available to be picked up. Email Gwynn Aycock at gwynn@matthewsumc.org.

Did you know that the Matthews UMC Angel Tree, coordinated by the Homebuilders’ Sunday School Class, provided Christmas gifts for 256 children and adults through the love of individuals in our congregation? Global Impact Mission partners provided the list of “Angels” in need in our community. Thanks to everyone who blessed these families in need!