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Remembering Lex Mathews and His Decade as
Director of Christian Social Ministries, 1975-1985

A Day of Diocesan Story-telling and Celebration

Saturday, April 5, 2014      10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The Church of the Good Shepherd
121 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh


Few individuals have had a greater positive impact upon the life of our diocese than Lex Mathews, who served as Director of Christian Social Ministries from 1975 until his untimely death in 1985. During that decade, Lex revolutionized the way we thought about and did Social Ministry. He inspired many to become leaders, and during his tenure, many projects were initiated that continue to thrive today.

On Saturday, April 5, we will gather to tell the story of Lex and his legacy through the testimony of those who knew him and were inspired by him.

Among the morning panelists who will share their stories of Lex will be four bishops: Michael Curry, Gary Gloster, and Anne Hodges-Copple of this diocese, along with the Provisional Bishop of East Carolina, Peter Lee. Bishop Lee began working with Lex in 1971, when he became Rector of the Chapel of the Cross and Lex was serving as Chaplain at UNC-Chapel Hill. Bishop Curry encountered Lex in 1979, when he came to serve as Rector of St. Stephen’s, Winston-Salem. During that three-year tenure, he joined the Social Ministries Committee, and he and his parishioners worked closely with Lex to establish a summer camp program for black children.

In 1980, Gary Gloster got to know Lex when he came to Christ Church, Charlotte, to serve under the Rector, Frank Vest. Gary and Lex became close friends and camping buddies. A few years later, a meeting between Lex and a young woman thinking about her vocation led Anne Hodges-Copple to enter the ordination process. Also sharing a story of Lex’s power to transform lives and ministries will be Scott Evans Hughes, who was newly installed as President of the Diocesan Episcopal Church Women at the time Lex began his tenure. Scott found Lex’s support for women’s issues invaluable in her own efforts, and she traces her leadership in land stewardship and environmental issues to his powers of persuasion.

In the afternoon, we will turn our attention to the number of programs and institutions that Lex helped to initiate. Soup kitchens and food banks in Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham, and Rocky Mount, Episcopal migrant and farmworker ministries, the establishment of the first hospice programs in North Carolina, and the Lex Mathews scholarships for the educational empowerment of women – all these continue today and are directly attributable to the work that took place under Lex’s leadership and guidance.

For those who didn’t have the privilege of knowing and working directly with Lex, this will be a chance to learn about an important time in the recent life of our church. For those who did, this will be a chance to remember and re-tell stories. There will be time during the morning and afternoon sessions for folk with stories to tell to get those recorded, along with the stories of our designated panelists. And any others willing to write their own “Lex stories” are encouraged to send them to our diocesan Archivist, Lynn Hoke. We would love to have them.

For estimating the lunch order number we ask that those planning to attend call or e-mail Lynn Hoke: 919-602-4305 or lynn.hoke^episdionc#org.

Brooks Graebner, Historiographer