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!
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:14)
The Sunday after Christmas tends to have very sparse attendance. It was so here at St. Matthew’s. I’m sure there are many reasons for this, however it makes me wonder – “If not in worship on Sunday, where?”
People fill the pews in churches all over the country on Christmas Eve. This will be the only participation in a worship service for some the entire year. Others will make Easter service as well; these are sometimes referred to as “Chreasters.” Paul wrote one of the most powerful pieces of Holy Scripture when he penned the book of Romans. St. Augustine of Hippo and John Wesley were both changed in an instant from the words of this letter. They were moved to the point of dedicating their lives to the sharing of God’s message of salvation. These and many others find worshiping with others a necessity for their faith development
As I sat in a worship service in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida the Sunday after Christmas Eve (Dec. 28), I thought of St. Matthew’s. I prayed for the worship here. When I returned from my week away, I found that we had one of the lowest attended worship services since I arrived 14 years ago. I hope it means you were worshiping in other areas of the country as I was. I noted that the choir at this Episcopal Church on the beach had about sixteen members. The nave had beautiful accoutrements. The Stations of the Cross
lined the walls. Huge crossbeams lined the ceiling. Every space showed great care and love for the worship there.
My daughter Nissa worshiped there when she lived in the area. Trudie’s sister Priscilla did as well. They have a soup kitchen every Sunday there to feed the homeless. Priscilla and Nissa served several times together. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as we prayed and sang, listened to the sermon, and partook of the Eucharist. I was glad I was there. I suppose I could have felt God’s presence somewhere else, but my faith has been strengthened by my worship (and the faith communities I have worshiped with) throughout my lifetime.
As I look forward to this year, I wonder if we have a strong faith community here. I wonder if we love our parish in a way that lets those that worship here know that we do. I witnessed many of our members taking great care as they dismantled the Christmas decorations. I witnessed a strong since of commitment to each other, and a true love and care for the sacredness of our space on that day. I do witness this many times each week.
We have been given a great honor in the stewardship of this parish. Our worship changes lives. Our commitment to each other changes lives.
We have a great challenge to continue to provide space for this to happen. Our facilities are continuously in need of care and upkeep. We need to build a space that will provide venues for spiritual renewal, learning, and a crucible for mission. We have a plan for that space, however the parish hasn’t fully gotten on board in supporting this vision. Two thirds of our congregation hasn’t yet made a pledge to this project. My hope is that we can move forward in faith to complete this vision, trusting that God will increase our community as we do so, giving us the resources to move forward. Faith will decide this. Many of my closest moments to Christ have occurred while praying in a sacred space – created by the faith of many who came before me. We can be those people for others.
If you sew and would like to work on your project with others who are sewing, you can come to St. Matthew’s on the first Monday of every month at 6:30pm. We have a great time together sharing our talents and project ideas. You may even get some fresh ideas, suggestions, and assistance! Bring your project & your supplies.
We have a new church librarian. Thank you Katie Sewell for taking on this important ministry for us. Katie will soon begin the task of taking inventory of what we currently have in the library, and what we need to obtain for the library. You are always welcome to bring any books you wish to donate.
We are reorganizing the St. Matthew’s library! Please check your night stands, coffee tables, and back seats, and return any books you’ve borrowed. Please also excuse the temporary disarray as we move the books around, re-label the shelves, and ready the library for active use again.
Stephen Ministers are trained and ready to assist you should a need arise. If you’ve reached a point in your life where you feel like the answers are just beyond your reach, your Stephens Ministers are ready to serve you. No, they don’t have all the answers, but they are ready to accompany you on your search for them in a confidential, Christ-filled way. Contact the church office for more information.
This past July, a group of St. Matthew’s parishioners went on a mission trip to Honduras. There was excitement and energy in all of the team members during the team meetings leading up to the trip and even more excitement and energy among the team members during the mission trip. What sparked all of this excitement and energy in a group of parishioners from an Episcopal Church in Madison, Alabama?
- The anticipation of visiting a beautiful Central American country?
- The chance to learn a little Spanish?
- A means to brush up on your farming skills?
- A way to meet new people and make friends that live in a different environment with a culture that is unfamiliar to us living in the United States?
- The ability to take on a project during the course of a week that will improve the lives of teenage boys?
- The opportunity to spread God’s love and the good news we hear in church every Sunday?
- The journey towards a God filled experience in which memories will be made that will last a lifetime?
The answer to all of the above questions is a simple “yes”. However, one must be cautious when performing mission work. Your intentions during a mission trip are to complete the assigned projects while spreading the gifts God has given us to others, in other words, giving a blessing. Then out of nowhere while working on this project comes a blessing from God you were not expecting that changes your life. The blessing could be from the adults and children in Honduras, a fellow parishioner, a sunset over the lush green mountains, the birth of a baby calf, or viewing the very bright constellations in the night sky of the southern hemisphere.
Are you interested in both giving and receiving God’s blessings? We are in the process of recruiting a team to
travel to Honduras during July 3 – 10, 2015 for a mission trip. The trip will be similar to the one St. Matthew’s
parishioners participated in during this past summer. We will be assigned a project to complete on a school/farm for teenage boys known as Escuela Agricola Hogar de Amor y Esperanza (El Hogar Agricultural School) that is part of the El Hogar Ministires Inc. The details about the El Hogar Ministires are located on their website at http://www.elhogar.org/. The mission of El Hogar is:
“…to transform and empower abandoned and hopelessly poor children in Honduras by providing a loving home and education. Our goal is for them to fulfill their ultimate potential as productive, caring and independent Honduran citizens.”
You will hear a testimonial during a Service in December and January from team members that participated on the previous trip. We will also hold an information session about the trip during January that will explain the details of the trip. The mission team will be selected by the end of January and team meetings will be held once a month until the departure date of July 3, 2015. If you are interested in attending the mission trip to Honduras, please contact the church office. There will also be opportunities to support the mission trip such as praying for the team and children in Honduras, as well as donating funds, clothes, school supplies and card games. Stay tuned for additional information on posters and in future newsletters.
The Art Angels meet on the 4th Thursday of every month. Our January meeting will be Thursday, January 22nd, at 7pm. Anyone with a talent or an interest in art is welcome. For more information, please contact the church office for more information.
Are you interested in hockey or have you never been to a game and don’t know what all the fuss is about? Either way, your opportunity to attend a game is here! On SATURDAY, January 17, 2015 the UAH Chargers are playing the Anchorage, Alaska Seawolves at Von Braun Center and Rick and I are getting a group together to attend the game. The ticket price will depend on how many people we get to attend, but it will be less than $11.00 per person and kids 12 & under get in free. Please contact the church office for more information
The men of St. Matthew’s meet every third Tuesday for wings & prayer. This month, we will meet on Tuesday, January 13th @ 6:00pm at Crickets in Madison. All men are invited to attend. Contact the church office for more information.
Happy New Year to one and all! 2015 is going to be such an exciting year. Your ECW Board has lots in mind for you over the coming year, starting with a Potluck Supper for our January meeting.
Our January ECW meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 6:00pm. We want to invite all to participate in our January “Warm Your Soul” potluck meeting. There will be no 10:00am meeting on this day, so dig out your favorite recipe and come along to share great food and warm fellowship with your friends. Please contact the church office for more information.
After our tummies are full, we will be voting on where our monies will be distributed. Our Rummage Sale last November was a huge success! We made over $6,000.00. Thanks so much to all the ‘worker bees’ who made this possible and allowed us to have so much money to pay it forward. We Shined! Shined! Shined!
Looking forward to February, we’ll have a guest speaker at our 6:00pm meeting, so watch your email for further announcements. As always, all women of St. Matthew’s are automatically members of the Episcopal Church Women, so you don’t need a special invitation to attend our meetings. We’re looking for fresh perspectives and new ideas all the time, so please come share yours with us!
Happy New Year, Everyone! Here’s looking forward to an exciting 2015 for the St. Matthew’s EYC! Mark your calendars now so you don’t miss a thing.
We will have our first Mission Trip 2015 meeting on January 14th at 7:00 PM in Gruman Hall. This meeting is for both youth and their parents. The EYC Mission Trip is open to all EYC members who will be in the Sr. High EYC in the Fall of 2015 (that is, anyone who will be in 9th grade and up). EYC alumni are welcome to join in as well. We will be returning to Copperhill, TN after having taken a year off of our mission trips. We are ready to rev things up again now and are excited to see what God has in store for us on this year’s adventure! We are looking at dates in early June but, as of the release of this article, have not yet gotten our specific dates. The exact date will be announced at the meeting on January 14th. Please attend this informational meeting if you are interested in going on the mission trip.
We are having an EYC Skate Night on Friday, January 16th. Both PrEYC and EYC will meet at the church at 6:00 and carpool to the Wilcoxon Ice Complex on Leeman Ferry Rd. We will have a private party room and pizza! We will return to the church at approximately 9:00 PM. Parents, please let me know if you can help with this event.
- January 14 …. Mission Trip Meeting. See above for details
- January 11 …. Second Sunday. The EYC (all Sr. High) will meet at church for the 5PM service to worship together in a more contemporary environment. Afterwards, we will go to the West home for dinner and a movie!
- January 16 …. Ice Skating. See above for details.
- January 19 …. Pizza With the Padre, 6-7:15PM. PrEYC meet in the Jr. High classroom to hang out and enjoy pizza and good conversation!
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.