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home : religion : religion November 20, 2017

10/25/2017 12:11:00 AM
Emmanuel Lutheran To Have Hurricane Relief Concert
Event is coming up, Oct. 28
Unspoken Tradition will perform a benefit concert at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.
(Photo Courtesy Unspoken Tradition)

Unspoken Tradition will perform a
benefit concert at Emmanuel Lutheran
Church on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.

(Photo Courtesy Unspoken Tradition)

Thomas Lark
Staff Writer

LINCOLNTON, N.C.––Emmanuel Lutheran is having a hurricane relief benefit concert.

The Lincolnton house of worship, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will host the event in its sanctuary on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. According to its pastor, Rev. Michael Collins, the concert will feature Unspoken Tradition.

“Unspoken Tradition’s upbeat intertwining of the ‘newgrass’ and bluegrass genres leaves folks feeling good and just wanting to move their feet,” Collins said Wednesday. “While three of the band members hail from Cherryville, their influence in the music world is gaining ground with a much broader audience. They have played at MerleFest, as well as other festivals, and their music can be heard on such radio stations as WNCW and WSGE. 

“This effort is in response to the overwhelming needs following hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria,” he continued. “While the news cycles have moved on in the wake of fires, the Las Vegas shootings and other stories, those directly affected by the wrath of these storms are just now beginning the work of putting their lives back together. It was my desire to have the church, of which I am the pastor, take an active role in making a difference in people’s lives.”

He added that Hurricane Irma had a familial significance for him, and he cited his brother, Matthew Collins.

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“It became personal for me when my brother, who lives on Marathon Key, experienced this living nightmare called Irma,” the pastor said. “Matt lived on a rented 25-foot sailboat with his dog, Harley, and had for many years. Hurricanes had come and gone. But the spaghetti models of Irma’s path and her ferocity gave him pause. This was not to be a wait-her-out kind of storm. A total evacuation of the Keys was ordered. Working at Napa Auto Parts in Marathon, he waited as long as he could and then removed the few things he could get out of the boat and loaded them in a borrowed van and headed north. It took him two full days of stop-and-start, bumper-to-bumper traffic to get to us in Lincolnton. For the five days he stayed with us, he was glued to the TV, Facebook and anywhere else he could catch a glimpse of the storm as it ravaged the Keys.

“Finally,” Collins continued, “visual images began to appear. Aerial photographs of the devastation were being taken and viewed. While scanning the enlarged pictures, he stopped abruptly, and an overwhelming sense of sadness crept over him. Before him was a photograph of where his boat had been docked––only there was no dock. There was no boat. It was gone. He was homeless.”

But fortunately, as he revealed, the Napa Auto Parts was not affected by the storm.

“So he still had a job,” said Collins. “Napa called all employees back to work, so Matt drove back to Marathon. For over a month now, Matt and Harley have slept on a leaky air mattress on the floor of the office at Napa Auto Parts, with no shower facilities and no kitchen.”

Finally, Tuesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (or FEMA) let him fill out an application.

“Matt is one of literally thousands of people whose lives and livelihoods have been affected by these three massive hurricanes,” said Collins. “This concert is an attempt to bring relief to the victims of these storms. Lutheran Disaster Response (or LDR) is the agency through which we are channeling our funds.”

He added that 100 percent of all the funds designated for disaster relief would go to the relief efforts. 

“LDR’s track record for disaster relief is outstanding,” he said. “They are in there for the long haul. They are not there for photo ops and out. They have a tried and true record for staying the course. They still have folks working in New Orléans, following Katrina.

“The concert is free,” he continued. “Light refreshments will be sold. But we encourage folks to come out and hear some great music and make a contribution to help better the lives of those affected by the storm.”

To learn more about the band, check out the Website at

And to learn more about Emmanuel Lutheran, Collins encourages you to see the Website at

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