“It should be noted that the MEN of the ORANGE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH is a loosely structured organization. Most of the time there is only a leader and one to take care of the funds. Elections are not conducted - individuals are only appointed to serve after agreeing to do so.
Their meetings are regularly on the third Sunday of each month, beginning in September and ending in May. Usually, we have a speaker following an 8:30 am breakfast. Those attending make a donation to defray the cost of the food.
A group of four or five men meet in the kitchen on or about 5:00 am to prepare eggs, bacon, biscuits, juice, and sometimes stewed apples.
The cooks are under the direction of Newton Sparks. Delbert Faulconer is on biscuits; Ted Scott on eggs. Skinny Redmon is in charge of setting up tables and arranging napkins, silver, and coffee cups. Others from time to time in the kitchen offering advice and assistance are Atwell Somerville, Oliver Lyne, and Dan Sale.”
David Halpin, President MOC
Legendary breakfast fellowship
The Men of the Church (MOC) breakfasts were something to look forward to. One year, the MOC prepared breakfast for the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Service and White Gift party. The entire congregation was invited. Another year, they entertained the choir and their spouses at breakfast.
Once, they served a loyalty supper. It was a pancake supper, giving each person a chance to affirm his or her loyalty to Christ and his church.
Sometimes, the men attended a joint breakfast program with the Methodist and Baptist MOC.
Also, they invited all the ladies in the church family to breakfast on Mother’s Day. The men’s choir and Lois Shanks presented a delightful “Ladies Day” musical program. The list of groups the MOC entertained goes on and on.
Good food, with food for thought
In addition to enjoying breakfast together, members heard excellent speakers from the community. They discussed current affairs and other interesting topics.
Subjects included Team Mission work in Guinea and relief work in Guatemala. Speakers shared the spiritual experience of hiking the Appalachian Trail. and reported on Orange County Natural History Day Camp.
Orange County Sheriff Bill Faulconer told of some sheriff needs. Rev. Forrest Porter came to talk about the local Food Pantry. Ellen Ober (Pitera) spoke about teaching in Kenya. Barry and Craig Jacobs shared stories about their mission trip to Nicaragua. Howard Berckman spoke about growing up in China.
The Honorable Frank W. Somerville was a guest speaker in 1997. The Women of the Church were invited to hear him speak.
Stewards of God's house
The MOC sponsored several clean-up days a year at the church, with pruning, raking, etc. They painted and made repairs to the manse. They built new shelves and painted the Pastor’s Study.
The group added new storage cabinets for the handbell choir and nesting tables for their performances. They renovated the choir room with new carpeting and a new ceiling. And they painted the wall.
MOC member Charles Bowman handcrafted and installed by new bookshelves in the library. In 1982, the group installed a chair rail in the Fellowship Hall and painted the room.
The MOC joined with the Women of the Church to have yard sales and divided the proceeds. They made monetary contributions to different missionary and local causes. And they donated funds toward the church debt.
Fellowship in softball
In 1981, the MOC sponsored a softball team made up of members of OPC. It was an enjoyable time of Christian fellowship in friendly competition.
Buckshot “Cool Hand” Clements was the pitcher and team manager. The infield was Roger “Boom Boom” Gardner, Glenn “Flash” Morris, Scotty “Trigger Arm” Clements, Terry “Slick” Buyer, Ted “Hard Hat” Buyer and Charles “Slugger” Bowman.
Covering the outfield like a blanket were Lynn “Trigger” Clements, John “Big Man” Lee, Ricky “the Rocket” Sherman, “Joltin” Joey Miller, Andy “The Hawk” Hutchison and Howie “Hairy” Berckman. Injuries temporarily sidelined the Fitch boys, “Peerless” Perry and “Tearless” Jim.
Passing the baton
The MOC continued on with their work. They invited Bob Eason, Bill McClellan, Rick Sherman and others into their kitchen to cook. Newton Sparks, Delbert Faulconer, and Carl Roberts retired in 1992, after 25 years of service as cooks for the Men of the Church. That’s dedication.
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team