Friendship United Methodist Church sits out in the country on Mount Pleasant Road, between Mount Pleasant and Midland. It's one of those churches with a cemetery, a baseball field and a parsonage on the property.
It's the kind of church where families belong for generations. Even if you've never attended Friendship yourself, you probably know someone (or someone's cousin, neighbor or daughter-in-law's mother) who has.
On Saturday, the church will launch a yearlong celebration of its 100th anniversary. The congregation is inviting everyone with who has ever had any kind of connection to the church to come back for a day of celebration and reunion.
Pastor Dale Bost said they haven't been able to nail down the exact date of when the church was founded, but they know it was in fall 1911. Over the years, the church has had probably three dozen or so pastors, five of whom are still living.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Two will be present for Saturday's celebration: the Rev. Charles Guy, now retired, and Dr. Jody Seymour, now at Davidson United Methodist Church.
Lay leader Greg Furr said he's enjoyed hearing stories from and about former pastors. The church's organizing committee has been working for months to write the church history and to prepare for this special anniversary.
The plan for Saturday is simple. Beginning at 2 p.m., people are invited to bring their lawn chairs to the ball field and spend time sharing memories of the church. Food will be available for a small fee, and everyone is welcome to stay until dark.
Along with visiting and remembering, you can enjoy good music. At 2 p.m., Carolina Homestead (featuring Georgeville's Alan Widenhouse) will play Southern gospel music. Around 4 p.m., Soldiers of the Cross of Christ, from the Rimer community, will play.
Finally, about 5:30 p.m., the Hatley Family, a very popular bluegrass/gospel group from Stanly County, will perform. Furr said his organizing committee has been praying for good weather so that everyone can enjoy a pleasant day to sit outside reminiscing and listening to good music.
It's fitting that Saturday's activities will take place on the ball field, since baseball is one of the things for which the church is best known.
Furr remembers all-night softball tournaments when 10 or 20 church teams from all over would play around the clock. Though the ball field doesn't get used as much these days, those memories are still an important part of the church's history, and surely softball and baseball stories will be told Saturday.
Both Bost and Furr said they hope everyone with any connection to Friendship church will visit Saturday.
For details about the celebration, find Friendship United Methodist Church on Facebook or call Furr at 704-784-9322.