ABOUT US

We enter the stream of life here at SMPC at different points, carrying with us a variety of faith stories and life experiences. 

From these entry points we embark on a journey together, irresistibly drawn to the God who made us and claims us. 

 

Regardless of your faith journey or age, there should be a point where every person may step into the flow

at SMPC and join us in journeying toward maturity in Christ. - Dr. Matthew S. Brown, Pastor

South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church is part of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

 

Church Office Hours

Monday – Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Friday, closed

For assistance on Fridays, call Mary Katheryne Zagora at 980.265.2840.

 

OUR STORY

Our first worship service was held on February 24, 1991 at McAlpine Elementary School on Pineville-Matthews Road in Charlotte, NC. Two years after that first worship service we moved into a new multi-purpose building at our present site, 8601 Bryant Farms Road, in what is now the Ballantyne community.

We have experienced exponential growth through the years, with current membership reaching more than 1,100 plus 450 children. Our members hail from more than 30 states as well as Finland, Great Britain, Jamaica, and South Africa.

 

To accommodate our growth, we built constantly: a preschool wing and fellowship hall (2000); classroom cottage (2002); and administrative offices, additional classrooms, a chapel and choir wing (2006). In 2008 we broke ground on a 675-seat permanent sanctuary and held our first worship service in the sanctuary on November 8, 2009.

 

Our staff has grown as well and includes Dr. Matt Brown, senior pastor; Rev. Whitney Bayer, associate pastor for congregational care; Rev. Diane Giannola, parish associate; Rebecca Guzman, director of spiritual formation; Rev. Jessica Tidwell, director of youth ministry; and Zach Boyer, director of music and organist. Support staff includes Nancy Metzler, director of hospitality and connection; Donna Rogers, director of communications; Freda Smith, property administrator; and Mary Katheryne Zagora, business administrator.

 

At SMPC we emphasize strong worship services in the Reformed tradition, based upon Scripture and the Sacraments. We provide inspirational preaching and a vibrant music program at two worship services every Sunday morning, at 8:10 a.m. and 10:10 a.m. On the first Sunday of every month at 9 a.m. we also offer Common Ground, a worship service for families with special needs.

We offer a variety of Christian education programs for children, youth and adults on Sunday mornings including Faith Practice, an innovative, interactive and intergenerational approach to the traditional Sunday school hour. The Joy Class offers Bible study, and All Things Considered offers discussion of contemporary Christian issues. Our eighth graders continue their faith journeys in a year-long confirmation class.

We also offer a variety of Bible studies, book studies, and discussion groups throughout the week, including Monday Morning Bible Study, Pastor Matt Brown’s Wednesday Morning and Evening Bible Studies, an early morning men’s group, women’s circles and our Rain or Shine Moms’ Group.

Our Board of Deacons seeks to bring Christ’s love to those who are homebound, ill, those who are caregivers, and the grieving. Ministry teams include bereavement, transportation, home assistance, food teams, prayer chain, care mail, baby ministry, and more. Our deacons also host a continuing series, Living Well, with speakers on a variety of topics, including most recently on Alzheimer’s disease.

 

We provide many opportunities to enjoy fellowship together, including Lemonade on the Lawn, Coffee Grounds, Shrove Tuesday pancake supper, lunch on the grounds, golf outings, and special receptions. Small groups include softball teams, supper clubs, a photography group, and a book club.  SMPC Meetups offer ways to make connections based on special interests in an informal setting: International Dining, Hops Around Town, Take a Hike, Ballantyne Business Group, Lunch Bunch, and more.

 

We support the greater community with our time, talents and financial resources through organizations such as The Salvation Army’s Center of Hope, where we prepare and serve meals, and A Child’s Place, where we are tutors, lunch buddies and snack providers.  Roof Above: Our Shelter Ministry uses discarded prescription bottles to package laundry soap, body wash, and shampoo for Roof Above (formerly The Urban Ministry and Men’s Shelter of Charlotte). We provide conduct food drives for Loaves & Fishes, serve as tutors at area elementary schools, and hold quarterly blood drives for the American Red Cross. We have a long-standing commitment to provide support to a church and school in Bayonnais, Haiti; child sponsorships are available.

 

Additionally, we open our campus to a number of community groups and organizations, including Boy and Girl Scouts, Alcoholics Anonymous, and various HOA’s and other non-profits. 

 

As we continue to move forward, our prayer is that we remain a vibrant and growing congregation, welcoming to all, full of energy and eager to serve God faithfully in this corner of God’s kingdom.  It is an exciting journey we are on as we seek to follow Jesus Christ. Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place!

 
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OUR PASTORS

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Dr. Matt Brown
Pastor

ROLE: My calling is centered on the core tasks of ministry: Preaching, Teaching, and Pastoral Care.

HOMETOWN: Mexico, Missouri

FAMILY:  Donna; sons Noah & Seth

FAVORITE RESTAURANT:  Home

FAVORITE RESTAURANT DISH:  Donna's lasagna

BEST VACATION EVER TAKEN:  Switzerland, France, England, Scotland in 2011 for Sabbatical

FAVORITE SCRIPTURE PASSAGE: Ephesians 2:8-10

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life."

FAVORITE SONG: Almost any jazz standard, and when Ella sings or Oscar plays, thou shalt not touch the radio dial!

FAVORITE HYMN: "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful"

FAVORITE MOVIE:  "To Have and Have Not", "Michael Clayton", and "Hoosiers"

FAVORITE BOOK (other than the Bible):  A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A DAY OFF:  A run, a movie, a good book, jazz music, and time with family.  (Oh, and let's not forget the nap! The nap is essential!

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Rev. Whitney Bayer
Associate Pastor

ROLE: I am responsible for the care needs of the congregation and work closely with the Board of Deacons.

HOMETOWN: High Point, North Carolina

FAMILY:  I’m married with two children, ages 9 and 7, and a golden retriever.

FAVORITE RESTAURANT:  Firebirds

FAVORITE RESTAURANT DISH:  Grilled Salmon Salad

BEST VACATION EVER TAKEN:  The beach! Either Fripp Island, SC or Ocean City, NJ

FAVORITE SCRIPTURE PASSAGE: Isaiah 43:1-5

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you;

FAVORITE SONG: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"

FAVORITE HYMN: "Christ Be Our Light"

FAVORITE MOVIE:  "My Fair Lady"

FAVORITE BOOK (other than the Bible):  Little Women

FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A DAY OFF:  Spend time with my family, read a good book, and enjoy time outside.

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Diane Giannola
Parish Associate

ROLE: Staff liaison for Missions and Outreach and virtual pastor.

HOMETOWN: York, Pennsylvania

FAMILY:  Rich and I are proud parents of two children and we have three granddaughters.

FAVORITE RESTAURANT:  The Lobster House, Cape May, NJ

FAVORITE RESTAURANT DISH:  Seafood

BEST VACATION EVER TAKEN:  Hawaii

FAVORITE SCRIPTURE PASSAGE: Isaiah 30:15

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.

FAVORITE HYMN: "Be Thou My Vision"

FAVORITE BOOK (other than the Bible):  Seabiscuit

FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A DAY OFF:  Spending time in nature, the beach particularly, is a "thin space” for me.

 

OUR STAFF

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Zach Bowyer
Director of Music & Organist

ROLE:  I am grateful to serve as the musical leader of our vocal and handbell choirs, as well as for our congregation!

HOMETOWN: Roanoke, Virginia

FAVORITE RESTAURANT:  Epic Chophouse in Mooresville

FAVORITE RESTAURANT DISH:  Smokin' Hot Couple

BEST VACATION EVER TAKEN:  Hawaii

FAVORITE SCRIPTURE PASSAGE: Psalm 150

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty firmament!

Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!

Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!

Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

FAVORITE HYMN: "For All the Saints"

FAVORITE MOVIE:  "Knives Out"

FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A DAY OFF:  Go hiking and lay in my hammock!

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Rebecca Guzman
Director of Spiritual Formation

ROLE: If it involves adult or children's education, it's probably mine! I like to tell strangers that I do all of the most fun parts of church.

HOMETOWN: Summerville, South Carolina

FAMILY:  Husband, Rafael; Daughter, Clara (9)

FAVORITE SCRIPTURE PASSAGE: Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

FAVORITE SONG: I love all music, but the Hamilton soundtrack is still on repeat at our house!

FAVORITE HYMN: "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus" (it's not in our hymnal)

FAVORITE BOOK:  This is like asking me to choose a favorite song. I've read 44 novels in 2021 so far, and the best one has been This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger.

FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A DAY OFF:  I love to go outside and play with my family! A hike, an outdoor picnic, a day at the beach--anything where we can see the beauty of creation.

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Nancy Metzler
Director of Hospitality & Connection

ROLE: I'm responsible for creating a hospitable atmosphere at SMPC that welcomes all, encourages new membership and promotes membership connection, assimilation and engagement.

HOMETOWN: Can't claim one! I was born in Winston-Salem but never lived there. As a PK (Preacher's Kid), we moved around a lot as I was growing up.

FAMILY:  Husband, Charlie; grown children, Elizabeth, Andrew and John, all confirmed at SMPC; and a 6 month old grandson, Henry, who was recently baptized in our sanctuary.

FAVORITE RESTAURANT:  Gulf Stream Cafe, Garden City, SC

FAVORITE RESTAURANT DISH:  She Crab Soup (topped with sherry!)

BEST VACATION EVER TAKEN:  Turkey, specifically Istanbul and Cappadocia, visiting our daughter who was teaching English there.

FAVORITE SCRIPTURE PASSAGE: Romans 8:38

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

FAVORITE SONG:  "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King

FAVORITE HYMN: A tie: "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past" and "Lift High the Cross"

FAVORITE MOVIE:  "The Sound of Music" (hokey but true)

FAVORITE BOOK (other than the Bible): The Harry Potter series; have reread numerous times!

FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A DAY OFF:  Coffee to start, then a long early morning hike in the mountains or walk on the beach followed by a leisurely lunch and an afternoon curled up with a good book.

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Lindsey Odom
Director of Youth Ministry

ROLE: In my job, I nurture and guide the youth at SMPC in grades 6-12 on their journey of discipleship and help them explore how God is using them to make a difference in the church and in the world. I also develop, oversee, and lead youth ministry programs designed to meet the spiritual, social, physical, and emotional needs of the youth, leading them to grow in their life of faith.

HOMETOWN: Atlanta, Georgia

FAMILY:  My mom, Sherri, is still living in the Atlanta area and works in children's ministry at our home church. I also have a fraternal twin sister, Ashley, and a younger sister named Gracie who are two of my best friends. Lastly, I have a miniature goldendoodle named Cassie who sometimes comes to work with me.

FAVORITE RESTAURANT:  Flower Child

FAVORITE RESTAURANT DISH:  Avocado Caesar Salad with Mac n Cheese and Sweet Corn & Quinoa  

BEST VACATION EVER TAKEN:  Santa Rosa Beach

FAVORITE SCRIPTURE PASSAGE: 1 Corinthians 16:14

Let all that you do be done in love.

FAVORITE SONG:  "Brown Eyed Girl"

FAVORITE HYMN: "For Everyone Born"

FAVORITE MOVIE:  "The Greatest Showman"

FAVORITE BOOK (other than the Bible): Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A DAY OFF:  I enjoy running, walking my dog, Cassie, playing piano, watercolor art, trying new coffee shops and restaurants, spending time in God's creation, and being with friends and family..

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Mary Lynn Rawls
SMPC Preschool Financial Administrator

 

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Donna Rogers
Director of Communications

ROLE: I work to keep our staff, congregation, and community informed and inspired by all that is happening at SMPC through all channels, including print, web, video, and social media.

HOMETOWN: Mint Hill, North Carolina

FAMILY:  A huge local family!  My husband, Trip, and I are blessed to be Uncle & Aunt to a dozen spectacular nieces and nephews.

FAVORITE RESTAURANT:  Coyote Kitchen, Boone, North Carolina

FAVORITE RESTAURANT DISH:  The Taos Boat  

BEST VACATION EVER TAKEN:  Always Ireland!

FAVORITE SCRIPTURE PASSAGE: Jeremiah 33:3

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

FAVORITE SONG:  "Your Song" by Elton John

FAVORITE HYMN: "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"

FAVORITE MOVIE:  "The Sandlot"

FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A DAY OFF:  Canoeing with my husband at our lake property in eastern NC or a mountain hike at Doughton Park or the Biltmore Estate.

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Freda Smith
Operations Manager

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Carol Watkins
SMPC Preschool Director

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Mary Katheryne Zagora
Financial Administrator & Office Manager

ROLE: I do all the bookkeeping for the church and make sure the office is running smoothly.

HOMETOWN: Charlotte, North Carolina

FAMILY:  My husband and I have two daughters that grew up at SMPC, Anna and Grace, and two dogs that sometimes hang out in my office, Bo and Bear!

BEST VACATION EVER TAKEN:  St. John

FAVORITE HYMN: "For All the Saints"

FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A DAY OFF:  I love to hike with my husband, Michael.

 

OUR LEADERSHIP

SESSION

Class of 2021
Meghan Bartholomew
Curtis Guy
Nancy Parrish
Doug Rhodes

Class of 2022
Andrew Brown
Geoffrey Lee
Wendy Sinclair
Denise Wilcox

Class of 2023

Kathy Graham

Leisa Lackey

Jim Loftus

Courtney Parrish

David Wooley

Moderator:  Matt Brown
Clerk of Session:  Meghan Bartholomew
Recording Clerk:  Geoffrey Lee

BOARD OF DEACONS

Class of 2021
Donna Brown

Jennifer Hurlburt

Judy Jameson

Bill Ramsey

Ron Stephany

Manny Villa

Class of 2022

Tony Castle

Kathy Galati

Kara Guy

Charlie Metzler

Emily Williams

Steve Williams

Moderator: Rev. Whitney Bayer

Moderator:  Donna Brown

Secretary:  Kara Guy