Vietnamese Congregation Revitalizes Mouzon UMC, Charlotte
Just over two years ago, a Vietnamese congregation began meeting at Mouzon UMC. They hold worship on Sundays at 10:30 am in the church fellowship hall. They are full members of Mouzon UMC and they have a service in their own language. The transition for the church has been nearly seamless.
Rev. Linwood Brooks, the senior pastor at Mouzon UMC, gives a little detail to their history, “This group of Vietnamese Christians were an independent congregation who were renting space in southwest Charlotte. The pastor, Nam Nguyen, shared his interest in The United Methodist Church with a personal friend who happened to be a district superintendent in the California-Pacific Annual Conference. The superintendent contacted the Western North Carolina Conference and the former Metro District Superintendent Gary Royals approached Mouzon UMC about meeting and possibly receiving the group into membership. After church leaders of both groups met on several occasions, the Mouzon congregation voted unanimously to invite our Vietnamese brothers and sisters to join us.”
On the first Sunday of every month, after both the Vietnamese and English worship services, they host the rest of the church for lunch. Additionally, the two congregations combine every three months or so for a multi-ethnic service.
Members of both congregations worship together on Wednesday nights too. There is usually a combined praise band with both English sand Vietnamese speaking participants. Preaching responsibilities are shared by Senior Pastor, Lynwood Brooks and Rev. Nam Nguyen, pastor of the Vietnamese congregation, while his son interprets. Sometimes Pastor Nam's son is the preacher.
The National United Methodist Vietnamese Caucus met July 8-10, and Mouzon UMC hosted
This is an annual event for Vietnamese United Methodists. This year marked the first time the event was held on the east coast. Rev. Brooks explains further, The National United Methodist Vietnamese Caucus had been meeting on the west coast for a number of years (not sure how many), but had never met on the east coast. Pastor Nam and lay representatives who attended previous caucuses invited the assembly to meet at Mouzon UMC in 2016, and the group agreed to do so.”
There are about 25 Vietnamese congregations in The United Methodist Church in the United States, and eight of their pastors were in Charlotte for the event.
Dozens of lay people from across the country, including California and Colorado attended the three-day event.
On the opening night, there was a combined worship service and many native English speaking members of Mouzon UMC attended.
On Sunday, a combined worship service held before attendees of the caucus departed. Close to 300 were in attendance that day (over double the average attendance).
A youth choir, made up of Vietnamese teens performed. All of Vietnamese pastors and their wives performed a Vietnamese hymn together. English speaking hymns were sung. A sermon was delivered in both English and Vietnamese.
Charles DiRico, Director of Community Engagement at Mouzon UMC, said this about the experience, “This is what the Kingdom of God looks like and sounds like.”
Resources for Vital Congregations
Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor
GBHEM Leadership Resources
Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church
Englewood Book Review
Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
Ted Talks: The Golden Circle
Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability
Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability
Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians
Be A Disciple
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network
Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations
Living As United Methodist Christians
Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials
Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today
John Wesley Sermons: Anthology
Get Their Name
Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit
Canoeing the Mountains
Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People
Community: The Structure of Belonging
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
Institute for Emerging Issues
Congregations 4 Children
The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants
The Duke Endowment
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at email@example.com.