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!
Every Wednesdays, December 2nd – December 23rd, come join us for our 2015 Advent Series: Finding Bethlehem in the midst of Bedlam. 6:00pm dinner, program starts at 6:30pm.
Christmas of confusion, Bethlehem or bedlam… which will you choose this year?
December 22 is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. In Barrow, Alaska, the winter brings 67 days of total darkness. We begin our ascent to Christmas Eve during this dark time. Come Lord Jesus.
The people of Israel were under the rule of Roman occupying forces when Jesus came into the world. This had been the case for over sixty years. A whole generation of people knew nothing else. Rome governed the occupied lands they had conquered with a heavy hand. A political darkness enveloped the people in this land. Come Lord Jesus.
These “chosen people” believed that God would intervene in history by sending a savior. This savior would be King of Kings, Lord of Lords. These titles were given to “the one” that would rule over the whole world with equity and justice. The Israelites believed that they were in this state of darkness because their leaders had forsaken the one God for other neighboring gods. This and an inability to care for the outcasts and downtrodden had led to an exile of sorts. The Messiah or “anointed one” would change all of this.
Unfortunately, most believed that this would be a worldly King, not the King sent from God that would lead us out of the this world into the Kingdom of Heaven. Because of this image, many Hebrews rejected Jesus as King of Kings, Lord of Lords. Many are still today waiting for
As Christians, we believe that that Messiah has come in the form of a man, and his name was (and is) Jesus. Come Lord Jesus.
In the midst of the darkness, a light will come. That is the image that the Hebrews were looking for, but when he came, they couldn’t see him as God’s anointed. They were unable to find the light in the darkness.
You may be going through your own personal darkness. I am always saddened whenever I hear you are going through something difficult. Where can you find relief? Come Lord Jesus. Try saying this ten or twelve times a day. You will find release in this, and you will find light. Come Lord Jesus.
We have a great Advent time prepared for you. Join us for the Advent series starting December 2, and every Wednesday throughout Advent. Join us for Lessons and Carols on December 6. Take an angel or two off our two trees to give presents for Christmas. Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Come Lord Jesus.
Our annual Lessons and Carols will take place on December 6th, 2015 at 5pm in the Sanctuary. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall. Come join us for this joyous event!
The Art Angels will be hosting their Annual Christmas Art Fair on Sunday, Dec. 6th – after both morning services. Lovely works of art (paintings, photography, jewelry and glass work) will be on display and for sale – just in time for holiday shopping! Mark your calendars and come see some unusual pieces created by the hands of the St. Matthews Art Angels!
TWO PERSPECTIVES: One of my most invaluable resources for this column has been the writings of Debbie Skillman, organist/choirmaster at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Southport, North Carolina. Debbie once wrote of a “new” hymn text her choir sang during their Christmas Eve service, titled “Thou Who Wast Rich Beyond All Splendor.” The lyrics run in part as follows:
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour, all for love’s sake becamest poor; Thrones for a manger didst surrender, sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who art God beyond all praising, all for love’s sake becamest man; Stooping so low, but sinners raising heavenwards by thine eternal plan.
Thou who art love beyond all telling, Saviour and King, we worship thee. Emmanuel, within us dwelling, make us what thou wouldst have us be.
In researching this hymn text recently, I discovered it was set to music more commonly associated with the text “Whence Comes This Goodly Fragrance?”. Those lyrics run in part as follows:
Whence comes this goodly fragrance flowing, stealing our senses all away? Never the like did come a-blowing, shepherds, in flowery fields of May.
Bethlehem! There in manger lying, find your Redeemer. Haste – away! Run ye with eager footsteps hieing! Worship the Savior born today.
While these two texts stem from a common theme (Christ’s birth), what radically different viewpoints they take! The latter offers a more-or-less traditional, pastoral perspective of shepherds running to the stable to see the new-born King. But the former text is much more introspective, more deeply personal: this King gave up all of heaven to become poor; this God became man, stooping low to raise us up. I particularly appreciate the final phrase: “Make us what thou wouldst have us be.”
May the rapidly-approaching Advent season bless you richly; and may the living Christ make us what He wouldst have us be.
Due to the holiday, there will be no Holy Eucharist celebrated today.
Plans for Thanksgiving have likely started and Christmas decorations have started to show up in stores. For kids and the young at heart, this is the start of magical time of the year. Halloween costumes, talks at schools about Pilgrims and Indians and the first Thanksgiving, and letters to Santa listing the latest ‘must have’ toys and (for the older kids) the latest gadgets are at the forefront of their minds and imaginations.
For others, though, this time of year is something to be endured as quickly as the calendar allows. Family relations may have gone awry, the atmosphere at work might be deteriorating, and things in general are ‘going south’. In short, those folks feel like they’re in a hole but they continue to dig as fast as they can.
If you find that this describes you, I might have a way for you to climb out of that hole and throw the shovel away. It’s called Stephen Ministers. This is a group of folks who have been trained to walk with you through the dark times and help guide you to the light. We’re not counselors, trained psychologists or anything of the kind. However, we have been trained to listen, we care, we are confidential, and we firmly believe that Christ does have the answers and that He is that light at the end of the tunnel. Life may not end up being a bed or roses, but it surely won’t be a briar patch.
If this has struck a chord with you, please see either Debbie Heckler or Father Steve. They will point you in the right direction.
The annual Parish meeting and chili cookoff is scheduled for Sunday, November 22nd. Judging starts at 5:30pm and dinner starts at 6pm.
This year’s competition includes: our traditional chili cookoff, best casserole, and best dessert! We need cooks, competition judges, and set-up/clean-up crews. Signup sheets for all of these are in the parish hall.
The annual parish meeting & celebration will follow in the sanctuary. You will hear the state of the Parish report, treasurer’s report, individual ministry reports, we will elect delegates to the Diocesan Convention, and we will select three new Vestry members.
St. Matthew’s ECW would like to congratulate our two ECW 2015 Scholarship winners — Katherine Ruth Mack and Kristen Marie Alley.
Are you asking: “What ECW Scholarships? Free money? How, where, how much?” If so, the information is posted on the latest ECW bulletin board. The applications are in a white envelope in the ECW mail box. It would be a shame if upcoming high school graduates did not apply.
I found this in the latest issue of the Reader’s Digest and thought it was not only appropriate for our RUMMAGE SALE, but funny too.
“I spotted several pairs of men’s Levi’s at a garage sale. They were sizes 30, 31, and 32, but I was looking for size 33. So I asked the owner if he had a pair. He shook his head. “I’m still wearing the 33s,” he said. ‘Come back next year.’ ”
If last year was any indication, this won’t happen at our RUMMAGE SALE. I saw tables and tables of jeans and people scarfing them up as quickly as they could – bags of them! RUMMAGE SALE November 6th and 7th – POD is already on site and ready for you to bring your “stuff”.
This current executive board’s term ends in December. Please consider serving on this wonderful church mission (no airplane tickets required!). This group will help your soul — we make money to give money. Many church committees, Community organizations and the Alabama Diocese have benefitted from our church’s communitys’ generosity. (Ask around the Church Committees Chairs – you’ll be surprised how many have received funding from us.)
Remembering the words attributed to St. Francis – “For it is in giving that we receive.” And I can assure you, he didn’t mean money only. Time and talents are just as valuable and probably even more so — one can always bring out the checkbook or wallet, but to give your talents and especially your time …..
Matthew 19:24 “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Again, thank you Parishioners, for helping us be so successful!
Looking for an opportunity to give back to your community? CASA Weatherization Support to local residents is the perfect way! KEY DATES: November 4-6 Working/Prep Days at Trinity Methodist Church & November 7th Actual Work Day. Sign up in the Narthex or contact the Church Office for more information.
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.