Welcome to St. Matthew’s!
St. Matthew’s is a vibrant, welcoming parish of the Episcopal tradition located in Madison, Alabama. We love welcoming guests to our church, whether you’re just in town for the weekend or are looking for a new church home. We hope you will enjoy your visit with us!
- Wednesday, March 5th - Ash Wednesday services at 7am, 12pm and 7pm, all with imposition of ashes.
- Sunday, April 13th – Palm Sunday services at 8am, 11am and 5pm.
- Monday, April 14th – Service at 7am.
- Tuesday, April 15th – Service at 7am.
- Wednesday, April 16th – Services at 12pm and 7pm.
- Thursday, April 17th – Maundy Thursday service at 7pm, including foot washing.
- Friday, April 18th – Good Friday, Stations of the Cross at 12pm, service at 7pm.
- Saturday, April 19th – Holy Saturday, vigil service at 8pm, including baptisms.
- Sunday, April 20th – Easter Sunday services at 8am and 11am. No 5pm service!
Evening Prayer will be led each Wednesday during Lent, at 5:00pm, by Daughters of the King. We are inviting you to be present with us as we pray for our church family and the world around us. The first offering will be Wednesday, March 12.
Lenten Series: Let Us Pray: LifeSource A Five Lesson Series on Prayer:
At times prayer can seem like hard work or a bit of a mystery. At other times it’s an encounter with the Living God. Wherever you are on the journey of faith, Let Us Pray will encourage a discovery of new-found joy and delight in prayer – for novices and old-hands alike. The course combines Bible study and discussion with a creative, hands-on exploration of five prayer patterns drawn from the richness of Christian heritage. This series will be held at 5:45pm beginning with a soup supper, followed by the program at 6:30pm. The dates are:
- March 10th
- March 17th
- March 24th
- March 31st
- April 7th
Keep this date: June 6-8, 2014 for this years Parish Retreat at beautiful Camp McDowell. A wonderful way to spend your day in God’s country with our fellow parishioners. Sign up sheets are available in Gruman Hall. Lots of pictures too of past retreats. Contact the church office for more information.
The St. Matthew’s Flower Guild will be meeting on Saturday, March 15th, 9:00am, at Panera Bread (Hwy 72 W, Madison). Everyone is welcome – you don’t have to be an existing member and we love to have new folks join us. No experience is necessary to become part of this lovely Guild, so please don’t let that thought keep you away!!! We will be discussing Easter plans and schedules. Please join us for a lovely time of fellowship and great plans.
A seminary professor taught me that a “professional” is someone that knows who he/she is and what she/he is about. With this self- understanding in hand, a person is prepared to “profess”, or better yet, to be a “professor”.
When I was in the financial services industry, if I was going to be successful I had to develop a business model that would separate my firm from the pack. It became clear to me and my employees that we must be able articulate what we were uniquely about in a clear and concise statement. Think about it this way. I’m in an elevator (or at a cocktail party, or dinner or luncheon) and someone asks what sort of work I do. If I respond that I’m in the financial services business, the best response I can hope for is a stifled yawn. But what if I say something like, “I have an independent financial planning and asset management firm that works very hard to deliver financial advice unique to each client and with personal care and understanding”? My experience was that interest was piqued and probing questions ensued.
At our Vestry Retreat there was a lot of conversation around the question, “Who are we?” Seems simple enough, but when you start to mine the topic at a deeper level, it fast becomes clear that the task is more complex than it appears.
“Why go to the trouble,” you might ask. Because at St. Matthew’s we have a great thing going; just have a conversation with a few of our newer members and ask them why they chose to affiliate with our parish. What we have going is truly Good News in a world beset by depression and anxiety, a world yearning for spiritual connection, a world bereft of place and belonging. Don’t we want to share what we have with others? Aren’t we excited about who we are and what we’re about? And if indeed we are, how do we articulate this succinctly and with passion?
“Hey, you really should try us out at St. Matthew’s because…..” What follows the “because”? Your Vestry is working hard on this: as a Super Power Summit and as Ministry Teams. Got any ideas? Please share them with Poppa, Queenie, Rock, Slick, Whisperer, Alien, Sherlock, Hot Rod, Shaman, El Toro and Maverick.
Of course I couldn’t end this piece without sharing a few of my ideas. I know I’m still the new guy, but here are a few bullet points: Intentionally Anglican; committed to openness and inclusion; sacramental world view; spiritually seeking; prayerful; healing; open arms; fun; hugging; concerned; giving; trying to follow Jesus; gifted; grace oriented …..
So, how do we put this into an “elevator statement”? Blessings,
The mission of the church is: to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ (BCP 855). St. Matthew’s adopted a mission statement years ago that says: our mission is to walk with Jesus, to be with Jesus, and to let Him be known. I was asked to write about our mission this month, and this is my humble attempt.
We are called. That is evident in all of Holy Scripture. God calls. Jesus Calls. The Holy Spirit calls. What are we called to? Firstly, we are called to love God and our neighbor. That is non-negotiable. Scripture tells us that if we do not follow this call, we will not be part of the Kingdom of God. Next, we are called to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8). This is really a subset of the first call. Everything falls within the boundaries of “Love God, love neighbor.”
Forever, man has tried to find wiggle room in these calls. Good luck on that. There is no wiggle room – remember this is non-negotiable.
When we heed God’s call, we will be led in ways we wouldn’t choose naturally. Man is naturally self–focused. When we heed God’s call, we begin to learn how to see things through God’s eyes. “not I, but Christ living in me” (Gal. 2:20).
We are calling the new addition that we are asking everyone to be a part of our “Mission” building. This is because the Growth committee found the overwhelming responses to our survey, interviews, and constant probing revealed a deeper need for mission oriented space. Our mission is accomplished through ministries that bring people closer to a realization of the love of God through Christ Jesus.
A few of these ministries have no regular meeting space, and most share space with others. Our mission of Christian formation involves Sunday School and other teaching forums. The three adult Sunday School offerings are over crowded. Fr. Rick’s class meets in his office. Michael Cape’s meets in the library, and Alan Ballentine’s meets in the old trailer outside. The youth classes meet mostly in the modular unit across the parking lot. Most of these classes have been full to capacity on many Sundays.
We have had Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts groups using our facility. Kairos Inside and Outside have also used our space. We have weddings and funerals that stretch the capacity of our kitchen and Gruman Hall. The choir uses a tiny space behind Gruman Hall to keep their robes, books, etc. When we have an event in Gruman Hall, the choir must come into that space to get their stuff. This often means that everyone’s attention is disrupted.
I could go on about all of this, but the bottom line is that if we want to continue these ministries, and many more, we must build this Mission Building. We are urging all of you that have pledged to see if you can pledge a little more. We are urging all of you that haven’t pledged to make a pledge. Our mission depends on all of us doing our part.
The Apostle Paul wrote about the Church in his first letter to the Corinthians. He emphasized over and over that all of us are important to the furtherance of God’s Church. Paul was imprisoned and eventually executed for his efforts. The Church grew exponentially after his death.
I write you this to let you know that we are building for the future. This parish is strong. I was thinking about our leadership the other day. Our current vestry has started the year with lots of laughter and positive energy. The budget information for the first meeting of the month told us that we have a surplus, even though the projections were we would have a deficit budget. One of the bright spots was that our Building Fund has $300,000 in it. We owe $640,000 on our mortgage and are still making double payments each month. If we chose to, we could pay this down to $340,000 and still function fully. We had a mortgage of $350,000 when we built the last time.
Another positive sign came to mind last week. I started thinking about our leaders on the vestry over my thirteen years here. The Senior Warden is privy to more information and inner-workings of the parish than any other member. This puts a great stress on these to remain positive about the parish. I was able to remember every Senior Warden in order (by name). All of these are still active and fully participating in the life of the parish:
Combs (youth, etc.), Windham (choir, etc.), Lewis (EFM, etc.), Holcomb (Daughter of the King, etc.), Bagwell (Lessons and Carols, etc.), Clem (ushers, etc.), Scott (Fund drive overseer, etc.), Christopher (building maintenance, etc.), Modrall (choir, etc.), Glasgow (Kairos, etc.), Gissendanner (LEM, etc.), Holcomb (greeter, etc.), Michal (communication, etc.), Jones (Senior Warden, etc.)
We also have three still with us in active ministry who were Senior Warden before I arrived. These are Mack (Christian Formation, etc.), Morehead (Ushers, etc.), and Vaughn (reader, etc.) I put these – last name only, for a reason. Each played a part, and each continues to play parts in our parish. Our leadership is strong. Each of these represents a family unit. Many of these have children that have grown in their faith here. Some of these children are building the Church through mission elsewhere. All of this was born out of the faith of a few that started this parish in 1991. Keep dreaming. God will provide the resources if we seek God’s direction to further the mission here.
We will have our annual Mardi Gras celebration on Fat Tuesday, March 4th, 2014. Watch for details in bulletins & in Gruman Hall. Cajun Fun, Cajun Food, Cajun Music. So get your green, gold & purple beads ready and find your mask!
Our annual EYC Lock-In will be held on February 21st! This is an event for both Jr. and Sr. High Youth and you won’t want to miss it! The Lock-In will begin at 7:00 PM on Friday and end at 8:00 AM on Saturday, 2/22. The Sr. High will head right out on an exciting Road Rally (scavenger hunt with parent drivers), while the Jr. High has fun activities at the church. The remainder of the night will be filled with fun and games for all! You may not get a lot of sleep, but I guarantee you’ll have a ton of fun!
We have a full team now that will be heading to Honduras in July. If you would like to contribute toward the expense of the trip, please make your contributions payable to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and write “Honduras” in the memo section of the check. Your financial assistance will be used to offset expenses for those going on your behalf. THANKS!
Contribution statements for CY 2013 are now on the table in the Narthex for you to pick up. Please pick yours up on Sunday. We track giving and provide year-end contribution statements for all who turned in a pledge card in 2013. If you have not yet pledged for 2014, it is not too late. Pledge cards are available on the table as well.
2/9 Second Sunday. Sr. EYC will meet at church for the 5PM service to worship together in a more contemporary environment. Afterwards, we will go to my house for dinner and a movie!
2/16 Madison Manor Visit. Meet at the church at 1:45 and carpool to Madison Manor to spend some time with some of our local senior citizens. Back to church by 4PM.
2/17 Pizza With the Padre, 6-7:15PM. Jr. High EYC – in the Jr. High classroom. Hang out, enjoy pizza, & good conversation! 2/21 LOCK-IN (see above for details)
2/26 Gatlinburg Informational Meeting, 7:00 PM, Gruman Hall
8:30am - Holy Eucharist, Traditional
11:00am - Holy Eucharist, Traditional
5:00pm - Holy Eucharist, Contemporary
12:00pm - Holy Eucharist, Traditional
Visit our worship page for more information.