Introducing Our New Minister of Music and Worship
Dr. Matt Caine
The Search Group is truly thrilled to announce that on May 12 we will welcome Dr. Matt Caine to our Senior Staff. Raised in a free-thinking Baptist home, Matt is a musician with a strong passion for excellence in liturgy and sacred music. Matt’s focus is on people, building relationships through pastoral ministry, and he is very excited to serve an inclusive and welcoming church.
Matt holds four degrees in music. He received his Doctor of Music Arts in Conducting from the University of South Carolina in 2010 and is equally adept at conducting choral and orchestral works. Matt holds two master’s degrees: a Master in Choral Conducting and Voice (double major) from the University of South Florida and a Master of Music Education, Instrumental Music (trombone) from Samford University. Matt’s Bachelor of Music, Church Music, from Birmingham Southern College focused on voice, organ, piano, and trombone. Matt interned in two progressive Baptist contexts, Baptist Church of the Covenant in Birmingham, Alabama, and at The Riverside Church in the City of New York. Professional musician, MPBC Chancel Choir member, and Search Group Member Janice Bradner confirms, “Matt brings the strong musical education and background we were searching for. His experience and energy indicate he will continue to challenge the choir at the high level of excellence we have had in the past. His vision and varied musical interests will be important in leading MPBC as a growing, vibrant church in the community.”
Matt will fit right in with the questioning spirit and passion for intellectual inquiry at MPBC. He remembers being 11 years old and asking his mother why women weren’t allowed to be pastors. He continued questioning in a transformative college course on Theology in Music where he experienced a life-changing lecture, Jesus Was A Good Buddhist. Matt reflected, “That professor unfettered my ability to process my own faith through a different, broader lens. He gave me permission to hear the voice within.” Currently serving Wesley UMC on St. Simons Island, Matt has 19 years of experience in church music leadership in Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, and Baptist settings, much of it while pursuing his education. Matt has also served as the director of a number of community choirs and currently holds the position of Chorusmaster for the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra.
Additionally, Matt speaks Spanish and Bulgarian, has taught at the university level, conducted university choirs, worked with all ages, served as choral clinician, offered workshops, performed as a soloist, and published articles. His USF professor, Dr. Robert Summer, raved, “Matt is extremely talented, personable, enthusiastic, and passionate. He has a great sense of humor and ability to make music. You’d be lucky to get him.”
Beyond his outstanding qualifications, Matt moved us with the depth of his faith, dedication, diligence, and enthusiasm. Full of energy, upbeat, and positive, Matt impressed our Search Group and Senior Staff. He is collaborative and possesses strong organizational and leadership skills. We personally experienced him as open, honest and direct, a strategic visionary, thoughtful and kind. Matt has a loving energy that appeals to all generations. Colleague David Cole describes Matt as genuine, sensitive, and empathetic; a good pastoral caregiver.
Experienced in classical music, Matt also played in a jazz band and likes Jazz Fusion, New Wave, and New Age music. His wife, Sarah, plays Caribbean steel drums and participated in an educational arts initiative in South Carolina. Matt’s knowledge of music is broad, ranging from various ethnic folk music to opera, from Tom Petty to Broadway. Matt is comfortable designing worship experiences that feature jazz musicians, folk, gospel, Taizé, and music from around the world. Matt is excited to create thematic liturgical worship services for both traditional and diverse worship. Rev. Steve Patterson recalled, “Matt created deep, cohesive worship experiences.” Rev. Dr. Will Browne praised Matt’s “very wide range of skill and knowledge of all music genres. He met the interests and needs of people in contemporary music amazingly.” MPBC Deacon and Search Group Member Steve Cornwell sums it up by saying, “Matt brings MPBC a wealth of knowledge and experience, giving our Church the opportunity both to continue and to expand the music legacy so important to our congregation.”
Matt and Sarah have been longing for an inclusive progressive church home where they can put down roots to raise their young son, Spencer. In his cover letter, Matt described this search: “I journeyed far from home in order to be able to serve God in churches where I could serve faithfully without violation of conscience. I seek to journey home, to a Baptist church that is truly the type of Baptist that I am and will be.”
As the Search Group began last October, we prayed to recognize the one worthy of God’s call, the one whose heart would recognize God’s call to MPBC. Dr. Matt Caine is that person.
Welcome home, Matt, Sarah, and Spencer! We look forward to blending your voices with ours. Together we will live into God’s dreams for our Church and our lives.
On behalf of the Minister of Music and Worship Search Group,
Carol Reid Fricke, Chair