Celebrate Women’s History Month: Marjorie Matthews

Original article may be found here:  Marjorie Matthews

Marjorie Matthews, 1916-1986

The First Woman Elected a Bishop in the United Methodist Church – 1980

 Marjorie Matthews was born in Onawa, Michigan on July 11, 1916.  She married early and lived on Army posts during World War II.  Divorced after the war, and with a young son to support, she obtained an administrative position in industry.  For seventeen years (1946-1963) Matthews was employed by an auto parts manufacturer.

The Bishop earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Central Michigan (1967), which she followed with a Bachelor of Divinity Degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School (1970).  Matthews earned both a Master’s Degree in Religion and a Doctorate in Humanities from Florida State University (1976).

In 1959, Matthews decided to enter the ministry. She was ordained an elder in 1965 at the age of forty-nine.  While pursuing her education, she served as pastor of a number of small churches in Michigan, New York, and Florida.

As her experience grew after ordination, she was selected for the position of district superintendent – the second woman in the denomination to attain that role.  Although she says she never intended to be a bishop, her election was endorsed by three annual conferences.  After twenty-nine ballots, two bishops were elected by acclamation on the thirtieth ballot at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference on July 17, 1980.   One was a senior male pastor, Emerson Colaw.  The other was Marjorie Matthews – a four-foot, eleven inch grandmother.  The episcopal stole that was hung around her neck at her consecration as bishop was designed for a six-foot man, so it hung down her robe and continued along the floor.  Her firmness as an administrator was tempered by her warmth and humanity.  She was the first woman elected bishop of any mainline Christian church.  Bishop Matthews served the Wisconsin Area for four years, retiring in 1984.

Bishop Marjorie Matthews died of cancer on June 30, 1986 at the age of sixty-nine. She was survived by her son, William Jesse Matthews, and three grandchildren

31 March 2013 Bulletin Preview

Mt. Mitchell United Methodist Church

Easter Sunday

March 31, 2013 11:00 a. m.

The Word of God for the People of God.
Thanks be to God.

SERMON    –    “ A Love We Can Count On”    –    Rev. David Raiford


Psalm 118:1-2, King James Version (KJV)

118 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 118:14-24,

King James Version (KJV)

14 The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.

15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of theLord doeth valiantly.

16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.

17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.

18 The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:

20 This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.


John 20:1-23, King James Version (KJV)

20 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.



Bulletin for 31 March 2013

Celebrate the Work of Alma Mathews

Original Article may be found here:  Celebrate Women’s History Month

Care for the stranger is one of the strongest Biblical mandates. It is expected. In the late nineteenth century, hundreds of thousands of strangers came to the docks of New York City. They were poor, friendless, lost and alone. The words of Jesus found in Matthew 25:37-40 were sufficient for Alma Mathews to welcome the stranger to New York City from the 1880s into the 1920s. Today the Alma Mathews House in New York City continues to remind persons of the remarkable ministry of this woman.

The 1880s saw the beginning of the last great wave of immigration to the Western Hemisphere. The Atlantic Seaboard of the United States saw the greatest share of this movement of peoples and New York City was often its focal point. The cities often seemed to be overwhelmed by the influx of immigrants. The immigrants often seemed overwhelmed as well. As they came ashore and encountered this new world they realized that they were indeed strangers in a strange land. We should realize that the dangers were real to these new arrivals. All too often there were people ready to victimize the immigrant. Young single women were especially vulnerable. The Methodists were one of the first to attempt to make the arrival experience of the immigrant as positive as possible.

In 1885, Mrs. Helen A. Mathews, a member of the recently formed Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, began meeting the arriving ships and assisting single women, who were often alone, through the confusing maze of the immigration process, providing them safe lodging, and then helping them to their final destination. The ministry she started became the Immigrant Girl’s Home of New York and would be carried on by her and then her sister-in-law, Miss Alma Mathews, for almost the next 40 years.

The Immigrant Girl’s Home began as the project of the local New York Chapter of the WHMS.  In 1887, the work of the Home was transferred to the entire Society under the newly created Bureau of Immigrant work. In the previous year, work in Boston and Philadelphia had begun. Within a few years there would a similar Home in San Francisco for the Angel Island immigration station.   Looking back from 1928 to the beginnings of the Woman’s Home Missionary Society, Mrs. Seymour Eaton, Secretary, wrote in the 47th Annual Report, 1927-1928,

The problems of immigration are not lessening in the United States of America. The vital concern of the situation is emphasized in the minds of all thinking people by the fact that each political party has found it necessary to insert a plank dealing with the question in its campaign platform. About the time the Federal Government began to deal with this problem seriously, The Woman’s Home Missionary Society came into existence and, in its very early days, undertook the task of helpful service to the strangers entering our gates. That same service is needed to-day–though the number if aliens entering the land is limited, the opportunity of service is unlimited. People are perplexed, are sick, are needing material help–comfort, advice, and guiding–as they have always needed it (194).

A few excerpts from the annual reports of the Woman’s Home Missionary Society gives a glimpse of this work. From the 6th Annual report, 1886-1887 on page 38:

Mission at Castle Garden. A year ago, the Society entered upon Mission work at Castle Garden. Previous to that time there had been no Protestant Missionary at this place to attend to the wants of the English speaking emigrants. The field for such a work is very great. Eighty-four large steamships arrive at the port every month bringing passengers.  Thirty-two of these are from Great Britain and Ireland. Without any organized cooperation our Missionary, Mrs. Mathews, has already commenced successfully a work of this character.

From the 9th Annual Report 1889-1890, page 87:

Our efficient and devoted missionary, Mrs. Helen A. Matthews, aided by our excellent Matron, Miss Alma Matthews, and Miss Annie Lindahl, a Swedish helper, have met the  immigrant girls and women from day to day with untiring patience and unfailing help and cheer. The Home is a model of neatness and order. Although we have but sixteen beds, we have yet been able, by the aid of cots and extra bedding, to shelter as many as forty-three in a single night . . . . We deeply feel the increasing need of Home which shall be our very own . . . . 3,000 girls have been sheltered and care for, 7,800 meals, [and} 700 girls assisted in finding places . . . .

From the 13th Annual Report, 1893-1894, page 92:

In the early fall of last year, Mrs. M. Butler resigned from the mission work at Ellis Island, and Miss Alma Matthews, a former worker of the Woman’s Home Missionary Society, was appointed in her place. Miss Mathews loves mission work, and has most faithfully and conscientiously discharged the laborious duties connected with island work. She watches for the helpless women and children that land from the different steamers, speaking words of comfort and encouragement to them, takes them to the home for rest and refreshment, provides for their transportation to friends, and attends to the many small details of island work that cannot be understood or appreciated unless one spends a day with here at this place.

From the 15th Annual Report, page 152:

The work of our Immigrant Girl’s Home is one of enlightened patriotism, and its blessed influences are carried to every State in the Union by the girls who bear with them the impression of good received here.   The arduous work of administering the many duties of the Home is ably discharged by our consecrated and faithful missionary, Miss Mathews, who is loved alike by the officers of our Society and by the girls to whom she ministers so tenderly in Christ’s name.

From the 47th Annual Report, 1927-1928, page 195:

In June, our beloved Miss Alma Mathews was retired from active service, but not from the hearts of those she has won in all ranks of life. It was trial to her to sever official relation in the home at Ellis Island and in the organization. She is continuing to give of herself in her public addresses in the interest of the work, is always a welcome visitor at the island, and will always find a welcome in the home . . . . [T]he old name, Immigrant Girls’ Home, is to be replaced by the new and more inclusive one, Alma Mathews House. It is a joy to report honor being paid to this friend of humanity, who during forty faithful years has given of herself so freely. In every corner of our country and in all corners of the world, men women, and children delight to honor her because of her “just being kind,” to quote her own definition of her work.

The retirement notice for Alma Mathews appeared in Woman’s Home Missions 45.8 (August, 1928), page 14 and her Obituary in Woman’s Home Missions 51.3 (March, 1934), page 11. Ephesians 2:19 reminds us, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.” The lonely girl in New York was no longer a stranger for she was a citizen with the saint, Alma Mathews. The Immigrant Girls’ Home was place of welcome indeed.   We can give thanks to God in this Women’s History Month for Alma Mathews and for the work of the Woman’s Home Missionary Society.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

This week’s featured recipe is from Mrs. Ethel Mills. I found it in the recipe book called “Heavenly Delights” by the Mt Mitchell United Methodist Women, Kannapolis, NC. [© 1990]

Sweetened Condensed Milk

  • 1 1/2 cup dry milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Mix thoroughly. This recipe equals 1 can Eagle Brand Milk.

Daily News

RECIPES NEEDED!angel-image-little-cooking-angel-helper
We are looking for “Tried and True” recipes to post in our
Please drop them in the Admin. Asst. Folder outside the office or
email us at mtmitchell@ctc.net or saeudy@gmail.com.

CAMPOUT FRIDAY –  May 3rd at Mt. Mitchell UMC’s Yost Shelter!
Bring your tents, pop ups or campers! It is time for the Mt. Mitchell campout to
be held at the Yost Shelter. We will be roasting hot dogs over the fire and enjoying each others company. The hot dogs will be provided. The fun begins at 5:00 p.m. Even if you don’t want to spend the night come join us for all the fun. Hope to see you then. If you have any questions please contact Susan Carter at 704-706-0615.

Hotdog Sale

Wednesday, March 27 @ 10:00 AM

Come out to the Mt Mitchell UMC Fellowship Building and join us!

Beginning in 2013, all lay speakers will be called Lay Servants. There are local church lay servants and certified lay servants. This program is leading, caring and communicating. This encourages what lay speakers do in ministry. There is a training class being
held at Epworth UMC in Concord on April 6-7 for local church servants and for certified servants. I have a brochure with information if anyone is interested or needs renewal.  Please see Pastor David Raiford or Janice Wensil for information.


24 March 2013 Bulletin Preview

Mt. Mitchell United Methodist Church

Palm Sunday
March 24, 2013 11:00 a. m.

The Word of God for the People of God.
Thanks be to God.

SERMON    –    “When the Cheering Stopped”    –    Rev. David Raiford


Psalm 118:1-2, King James Version (KJV)

118 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.

Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 118:19-29, King James Version (KJV)

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:

20 This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.

26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of theLord.

27 God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.

28 Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.

29 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.


Luke 19:28-48, King James Version (KJV)

28 And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.

29 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,

30 Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.

31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.

32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.

33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?

34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him.

35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.

36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.

37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,

44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;

46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.

47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,

48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

Bulletin for 24 March 2013

The Circuit-Riders

[Original Article:  The Circuit – Riders]

The Circuit – Riders in Early American Methodism

Dr. Robert Simpson

John Wesley’s Methodist plan of multiplemeeting places called circuits required an itinerating force of preachers.  A circuit was made up of two or more local churches (sometimes referred to as societies) in early Methodism.  In American Methodism circuits were sometimes referred to as a “charge.”  A pastor would be appointed to the charge by his bishop. During the course of a year he was expected to visit each church on the charge at least once, and possibly start some new ones. At the end of a year the pastors met with the bishop at annual conference, where they would often be appointed to new charges.  A charge containing only one church was called a station.  The traveling preachers responsible for caring for these societies, or local churches and stations, became known as circuit- riders, or sometimes saddlebag preachers.  They traveled light, carrying their belongings and books in their saddlebags.  Ranging far and wide through villages and wilderness, they preached daily or more often at any site available be it a log cabin, the local court house, a meeting house, or an outdoor forest setting. Unlike the pastors of settled denominations, these itinerating preachers were constantly on the move.  Their assignment was often so large it might take them 5 or 6 weeks to cover the territory.

Brother Harwood in New Mexico, when asking how to begin his work, was told: “Get your pony shod. Then start out northward via Fort Union, Cimarron, and Red River until you meet a Methodist coming this way… thence westward and eastward until you meet other Methodist preachers coming this way. All this will be your work….I saw at once that I had a big field.”

Francis Asbury (1745 – 1816), the founding bishop of American Methodism, set the pace. He traveled 270,000 miles and preached 16,000 sermons as he traveled the circuits. Peter Cartwright (1785-1872) described the life of the circuit- rider. He wrote in his Autobiography: “A Methodist preacher, when he felt that God had called him to preach, instead of hunting up a college or Biblical Institute, hunted up a hardy pony, and some traveling apparatus, and with his library always at hand, namely, a Bible, Hymn book, and Discipline, he started, and with a text that never wore out nor grew stale, he cried, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.’ In this way he went through storms of wind, hail, snow, and rain; climbed hills and mountains, traversed valleys, plunged through swamps, swollen streams, lay out all night, wet, weary, and hungry, held his horse by the bridle all night, or tied him to a limb, slept with his saddle blanket for a bed, his saddle-bags for a pillow. Often he slept in dirty cabins, ate roasting ears for bread, drank butter-milk for coffee; took deer or bear meat, or wild turkey, for breakfast, dinner, and supper. This was old-fashioned Methodist preacher fare and fortune.”

Not only did the preacher face physical hardship, but often he endured persecution. Freeborn Garrettson (1752-1827) wrote of his experience: “I was pursued by the wicked, knocked down, and left almost dead on the highway, my face scarred and bleeding and then imprisoned.” No wonder most of these preachers died before their careers had hardly begun. Of those who died up to 1847, nearly half were less than 30 years old. Many were too worn out to travel.

What did they earn? Not much in dollars. Bishop Asbury expressed their reward when he recruited Jesse Lee, “I am going to enlist Brother Lee. What bounty? Grace here and glory hereafter, if he is faithful, will be given.”


Tipple, E. S. Francis Asbury, the Prophet of the Long Road. The Methodist Book Concern 1916.
Cartwright, Peter, Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, Abingdon Press 1956.
Maser, Frederick and Simpson, Robert Drew, If Saddlebags Could Talk, Providence Press 1998.
McEllhenney, John G, Editor United Methodism in America, Abingdon Press 1992.

Grandmother Bean’s Bread

This week’s featured recipe is from Mrs. Bettie Bean. I found it in the recipe book called “Heavenly Delights” by the Mt Mitchell United Methodist Women, Kannapolis, NC. [© 1990]

Grandmother Bean’s Bread

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 pkg yeast
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp soda

Mix yeast, water and 2 tbsp sugar together and set aside. Heat buttermilk, butter and 1/4 cup sugar until warm. When milk mixture is cool, add yeast mixture. Add the remaining ingredients. Put in 2 loaf pans and let rise about 2 hours. Bake at 300 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes.