From song and dance to car washes, Bowie church prepares for 50th anniversary -- Gazette.Net


St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church congregation members are prepping for the church’s 50th anniversary — not by arranging streamers or blowing up balloons, but rather improvements to prepare it for the next 50 years.

The Bowie-based church has planned multiple fundraising events in advance of the 50th anniversary in July, said Christin Vare, who leads the 50th anniversary committee.

The church needs around $20,000 as it seeks to fund improvements and repairs at the church as well as a celebratory banquet, she said.

The congregation has about 350 members, said Gene Saderholm, a member of the church since 1980.

St. Matthews itself has gone through a number of changes and additions since its inception with a new sanctuary built in 1973, Saderholm said.

The original sanctuary now serves as the congregation’s fellowship hall and performance space.

“The spirit of the church remains the same,” said Jody Rudd, a Bowie resident and church member since 1985. “For 28 years, it has been a caring community of people. If you have a joy we all have a joy. If you have pain, we all come to support you.”

On April 14, members plans to host an auction of donated items as well as donated time as members will volunteer their knowledge of things such as computer skills to fund raising, Vare said.

In June, the church is looking to do a carwash and sell food in a final push to raise money, Vare said.

From March 8 to March 17, the church hosted dinner theaters that raised about $5,000 — half of those funds will be used for long-standing projects such as repairing a stained-glass wall at the church and replacing the church’s digital chime system in its bell tower, while the other half will go toward paying for equipment for the church’s music program, Vare said.

“It was wonderful to see the support not only from our volunteers but from the community at large,” she said.

While the church gets closer to celebrating its anniversary, Saderholm said she hopes the future sees younger families joining St. Matthew’s.

“There’s not a lot of grey hairs now, but what we’re missing is people between 20- and 35-years-old,” she said. “It seems families are so busy they don’t have time for church.”