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Profound Sense of Gratitude

Just these lines, my friends …

to say that Sunday was filled with awe and wonder: celebrating veterans and their families, music that was out of this world, what seemed like hundreds of children leading us to the Joash Chest, the reading and study of Holy Scripture, a short film featuring our United Youth making their Joash Chest commitments (watch here), making eye contact and saying thank you to so many of you at the Chest, prayers that were prayed, a funny story about a top hog, and so much more. You can watch here.

Joash Chest
Speaking of the Joash Chest, here is what we received on Sunday:

  • 362 United Adult commitments
  • 265 United Youth commitments
  • 187 United Kids commitments

Thanks be to God! What a wonderful first Sunday.

The Joash Chest will remain open the next couple of weeks. Please feel free on Sunday to place your financial commitment for 2018 in the Chest. Of course, we will be grateful to receive your financial commitment cards all the way through to the end of the year.

Annual Charge Conference 2017
This past Monday night (November 13), Paul Craig and I conducted the annual Charge Conference for Matthews United Methodist and Wesley United Methodist (Pastor Judi Hunt). We elected leaders for 2018, told GodStories, celebrated ministries, and expressed deep, deep gratitude for extraordinary service demonstrated by some of our remarkable leaders who have given themselves to Matthews United Methodist so completely in the last years: Tim and Gwen Stokes, Richard and Erma Martin, Mike and Pam Poe, Terry and Kathy Efird. These persons reflect the heart of spiritual leadership in our transforming community. Please be sure to join me in saying “thank you.”

Commission on a Way Forward
The Commission on a Way Forward held its sixth meeting from October 30 – November 1 in Nashville, TN. You’ll remember, The Commission was assigned by the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, in response to the action of the 2016 General Conference (the only body that speaks for the entire United Methodist Church), to help the denomination explore new ways of embodying unity that will move the church beyond our impasse around ministry and human sexuality. You can click here for the latest Status Report.

In the October/November meeting, The Commission on a Way Forward drafted an interim report (read here) to share with the Council of Bishops in its task of finding a way forward for The United Methodist Church (UMC) on the extent of LGBTQ inclusion.

The Commission is grateful for the prayers of many across the world.

Celebrating Pastor Stephen Knopp and Family
Please join us in celebrating Pastor Stephen Knopp and his family on Sunday, December 3, from Noon to 1 pm in The Commons. The Staff Parish Relations Committee of Matthews United Methodist will host a reception and an opportunity for you to drop by and express your deepest thanks to Pastor Stephen, Emily, and their beautiful family.

We will also be collecting a love offering for Pastor Stephen and his family during these final weeks of his ministry with us. If you would like to contribute, please make your check payable to Matthews UMC with “Pastor Stephen Love Offering” in the memo line. His final Sunday/day to be with us will be Christmas Eve.

Thanksgiving
Let me wish you a Happy Thanksgiving 2017. For most it will be a great time of family, friends, feasting and deep gratitude. Among the many things for which I am grateful, I count serving among you as one of your pastors as one of my richest blessings. Matthews United Methodist is a place of abundant life. I am grateful for music that stirs my soul, and for children who laugh with their whole bodies. I am grateful for a staff community that has more talent and faith than any staff community I know. I am grateful for your commitment to be a church of mission seeking to serve with compassion and wisdom so that lives are transformed every week. I am grateful for your obvious care for one another and your spirit of hospitality to those who are new to us. I am grateful for your recognition that we are on a journey shaped by hope, and therefore the days ahead of us are as important to the Kingdom of God as the heritage behind us. All of this is to say, on Thanksgiving Day I will greet the day with a profound sense of gratitude for Matthews United Methodist!

I will also be mindful of those for whom the day will be totally different from mine. Many will carry sadness on next Thursday (November 23) because of empty places at the table. Some will struggle through the day because of illness. There are soldiers risking their lives in complicated war zones, and there are families who would give anything to welcome them home. For all of these, I will be offering prayers of thanksgiving to a God who promises that weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

More than turkey, more than the break in the ordinary flow of schedule, more than the leisure activities that will be shared, thanksgiving provides a moment to stop and remember that which is important in life. If we remember these things, perhaps we will prompt ourselves to commit more to them in the year to come … which will, of course, cause us to be even more grateful.

Friends, it is my privilege today to remind you that we are not called to be the Church in Matthews … we are called to be the Church of and for Matthews.

Profoundly grateful for you,

Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Chuck@MatthewsUMC.org

Did you know four of our church members were elected to local Town Council positions? John Higdon was the leading vote getter for the Matthews Town Council, Kress Query was re-elected to Matthews Town Council, David Scholl was re-elected to the Stallings Town Council, and Jeff Perryman was elected to the Weddington Town Council.

Did you know 271 youth and adults are going on the Youth Retreat, November 17-19, and 265 students have signed up for our basketball league? These are record numbers for our Youth Ministry!

Did you know Rev. Patricia Pegram will be one of the Spiritual Directors on Flight 61 for the Central Carolinas Chrysalis Community, November 16-19?

Did you know Kim Holt and Caleb Barnhardt were honored by Wingate University with Distinguished Alumni Awards? Congratulations to Kim and Caleb!