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Church organizes concert series
By Cathy Shouse
The Chronicle-Tribune
Published: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 2:05 AM EST
(Used with permission by Cathy Shouse)

MATTHEWS — Damon Moorman and the congregation of the Epworth United Methodist Church of Matthews saw a need and they filled it. And the entertainment offerings in Grant County have benefitted from their efforts.

The result is something they call the Epworth UMC Concert Outreach Ministry. They have brought several professional Christian musicians to the area and have more concerts scheduled.

“Last May, I thought I would like to try promoting a gospel concert, so I decided to e-mail a couple of artists out of curiosity to see if it was a possibility,” Moorman said. “A lot of the members in my church are elderly and it’s difficult for them to travel, and I wanted to give them the opportunity to see high-caliber concerts locally. I also wanted to provide this opportunity to the community who may not have ever experienced the power of worship through music.”

The concerts are given in the church sanctuary. It has pew seating and a balcony and can seat around 180. The seating capacity is around 200 after adding some chairs.

“We offer a wonderful intimate setting and all seats have an excellent view and this has added to our appeal,” Moorman said.

He said he had no idea what the response would be, but he “aimed high” by approaching two Gaither Homecoming artists. After negotiating on the costs and the dates, the result was a concert June 12, 2010 by Christian musician Gordon Mote.

“Timing allowed us to have Logan Smith, Gaither’s youngest artist, come on Aug. 8, 2010 to hold a mini concert during a morning service,” Moorman said.

He is determined to keep the cost of tickets down, and several of the concerts only request a love offering be paid. Moorman admitted concerts are an expensive venture, and funding is his greatest challenge.

The church has implemented an Epworth UMC Concert Outreach Ministry Fund that will be used supplement the costs in hosting concerts. Nov. 14, Woody Wright, a gospel singer and songwriter, performed for a set amount and allowed them to collect a love offering to help establish a fund. They are also accepting tax-deductible donations.

They also plan a freewill donation chicken and noodle dinner April 10 that will be dine-in or carryout.

Pastor Jan Bunch has been pleased with the programming.

“It’s gone very well,” Bunch said. “All four concerts have been very well attended.”

Moorman has been pleasantly surprised at the artists’ reactions to his invitation to perform.

“I’ve found that some artists enjoy on occasion ministering at a small church venue, within their budget constraints,” Moorman said. “Gordon Mote loved our church so much he has offered to come back sometime.”

Moorman is excited about future concerts and especially wants to get the word out that Michael English is coming in June and tickets go on sale March 7. The ticket funds go to the concert ministry.

“Michael English is an extremely blessed singer who is has won many Dove Awards and is the current lead singer for the Gaither Vocal Band,” Moorman said. “This will be a rare opportunity to see Michael English sing in an intimate setting with limited seating capacity.”