Stuffed with shrimp, full of fellowship: Semi-annual dinner connects church with the community

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Oct 06, 2010 - 04:21 PM

Photo: The shrimp dinner committee of Central United Methodist Church, Mathews, checks out the kitchen and all of the supplies before the big event on Friday. Ben Leigh, left, Peggy Leigh, Sylvia Woodcock and Stuart Woodcock prepare the serving area. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day.

The shrimp dinner committee of Central United Methodist Church, Mathews, checks out the kitchen and all of the supplies before the big event on Friday. Ben Leigh, left, Peggy Leigh, Sylvia Woodcock and Stuart Woodcock prepare the serving area. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day.

What began in 1997 as a shrimp and spaghetti dinner at Central Methodist Church, Mathews is now in its 13th year. The spaghetti has been omitted but the much anticipated shrimp dinner for the fall of 2010 (there is one dinner in the spring and one in the fall) is being held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday in the Fellowship Hall.

The sponsor of these two annual events is the Central United Methodist Men assisted by the entire church membership. Ben Leigh is serving as the president and recalls how it all began.

"Moe Griffith was our first president. We started with eight to 10 members and at our first meeting we passed the hat around to collect money for our treasury. Moe said to put money in if you could and if you did not have any, then take some out. That was our first year and now we have around 25 members. The spaghetti/shrimp dinner was one of our money raising projects in our first year. Without the help of the Central United Methodist Women and other members it would be impossible for us to do this twice a year."

It may still seem impossible to those on the outside once you learn how much planning and work it takes to serve 400 people a pound of shrimp each with sauce, coleslaw, hush puppies, baked beans, homemade cake and beverage (coffee, tea, lemonade).