November 2, 2009

Church Experiment #44: Mason Vineyard

I write this week with a heavy heart.

I am confused, angry, and in shock.

Saturday, October 31, 2009, Charlie Matthews passed away. Charlie was the lead pastor at Mason Vineyard Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. [I think Mason Vineyard has closed. The website no longer exists, and although the lead pastor’s LinkedIn profile still says he works at Mason Vineyard, I can’t seem to find any online presence for the church.] Charlie served in various roles at Vineyard Community Church for many years. One of those roles was Director of Alpha. I was a speaker at Alpha. While in that position, I worked with Charlie for over a year.

But I knew Charlie long before that. He was a star volunteer many years ago when my ex-girlfriend helped lead outreach at the Vineyard. That was Charlie—he loved the church; he loved people; he loved serving.

I was incredibly conflicted this week. I had planned on visiting Mason Vineyard before hearing the news. Charlie had been sick for about a month, and I was curious how a relatively new church was functioning without its leader. But I also didn’t want to exploit Charlie’s tragic death. No matter where I ended up, I knew my thoughts would be with Charlie, his family, and the Mason Vineyard.

To finish reading about this experience or any of the reflections from my 52 visits, please purchase the full book here.