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Our History

The ministry of Matthews Orthodox Presbyterian Church first began in the spring of 1975. Three families and a young single woman began meeting for Bible study and fellowship, led by Elder Ray Waggoner, an ordained elder from the OP Church in Sewickley, PA. In September of 1975, the group petitioned the session of First Church in Raleigh, NC to take them under their care and allow them to continue meeting as a fellowship group in Matthews. The group was soon examined and received as members of the Raleigh church, and given permission to hold services. In September, 1975, they began meeting in the community room of the American Bank and Trust Building of E. John Street in Matthews. Some local ministers provided pulpit supply for the group, along with Rev. Henry Krabbendam from Covenant College.

In June of 1976, Douglas Felch, a recent graduate of Westminster Seminary and a licentiate of the Presbytery of New Jersey, became the fellowship's resident supply pastor. He came under oversight of the denominational internship program to help evaluate the ministry. Those reviewing the work recommended that it continue, and Doug and his wife Susan remained as self-supporting home missionaries.

The ministry continued to grow and in April of 1978 the fellowship moved to the facilities of Charlotte Christian School for morning and evening worship. In May of 1978, members of the home missions committee of the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic visited the work After the committee's visit, the fellowship was recognized as a chapel of the presbytery in September of 1978. In December of the same year, Mr. Felch was ordained and installed as associate pastor of the Raleigh congregation with particular responsibilities in Matthews. In January of 1979, the fellowship began receiving financial aid from the presbytery.

On September 20, 1980, the congregation was granted particular church status under the oversight of a temporary session appointed by the presbytery. Mr. Felch continued as supply pastor and on August 6, 1981 he was installed officially as pastor of Matthews Orthodox Presbyterian Fellowship. On the same day, Mr. Ray Waggoner and Mr. Chris Williams were installed as the first elders of MOPF and the first two deacons, Mr. David Matthews and Mr. Phil Porter were installed in the summer of 1982.

In the spring of 1980, the congregation purchased five acres of land on Rice Rd. in Matthews and the construction of a 3200 sq ft meeting place was begun. The first services were held on Rice Rd on November 1, 1981.

In 1984, Pastor Felch accepted a call to the OP church in Leesburg, VA and the congregation sadly said goodbye to its founding pastor.

In the spring of 1985, the Rev. Robert Y. Eckardt of Columbus, OH was installed as the second pastor of Matthews Orthodox Presbyterian Fellowship. Pastor Eckard, a graduate of Westminster Seminary, and his wife Karen ministered at Matthews for six years, during which time the church grew in size and outreach. During Pastor Eckard's ministry, the first Woman's Fellowship was organized, the nursing home ministries grew, the church oversaw church plants in Lenoir and Etowah, NC and the name was changed from "Fellowship" to "Church."

In December of 1991 Pastor John Carrick of Cheltenham Evangelical Church in Cheltenham England was called to serve as the third pastor of Matthews Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Pastor Carrick was installed in the spring of 1992. He faithfully preached the word and lectured at Reformed Theological Seminary. He served as pastor of MOPC for two years before taking a call to serve on the faculty of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Dr. George W. Knight III graciously served as stated supply for Matthews OPC from the summer of 1994 until January of 1996. During Dr. Knight's ministry the church continued to prosper as she awaited her fourth pastor's arrival.

Nathan Trice accepted the call to serve as the fourth pastor of Matthews Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1995 while a student at Westminster Theological Seminary, working to complete a year long internship at Franklin Square OPC in Franklin Square, NY. Nathan Trice's first pastorate began in January of 1996, with a combined ordination and installation service. When Pastor Trice arrived in 1996 the church consisted of about 80 members. The congregation grew and prospered to the point of needing a new building, which was built along side the first structure in 1999. In the spring of 2003 a group from Matthews left to form a daughter congregation in south Charlotte, Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Under Pastor Trice's ministry Matthews has continued to grow in grace, ministering to the Charlotte area on Sunday mornings and evenings and on its local radio program "The Gospel of the Kingdom."