Vietnamese Congregation Revitalizes Mouzon UMC, Charlotte

August 4, 2016

Mouzon-1-sm 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. Mouzon-2On 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.”