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!

Come See Fr. Mike!

As we kick off our 25th anniversary celebration, Rev. Mike Cleckler, St. Matthew’s first Rector, will be here to preach on August 28th at both morning services. You will want to be present to hear him revisit St. Matthew’s earliest days.

Interim Rector Selected

The St. Matthew’s Vestry is pleased to announce the selection of The Rev. James (Jim) Pappas as Interim Rector. Father Jim will assume the pulpit on Sunday, 18 September.

The Rev. Jim Pappas was born and raised in Belleville, IL (just across the river from St. Louis, MO) and moved to Sewanee, TN in 2002 to attend seminary at the University of the South. He is married to Professor Jennifer Michael, the Chair of the English Department at the University. Together they have one son, Jamie, who is 4 years old.

Fr. Jim has been a priest since 2010. He currently serves as an assisting priest at St. Mary’s Convent in Sewanee (a non-stipendiary ministry that he will be continuing while at St. Matthew’s). His most recent full-time ministry was as the Interim Rector of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, TN.

In his free time, Fr. Jim enjoys cooking, fishing, gardening, reading, and hiking. He also plays the timpani with the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra. His special interests in ministry include liturgy, church music, spirituality, and outreach ministries.

Parish Pig Roast is right around the corner!

On Friday, September 9th, the pig will arrive and be put on the grill; the briskets will be wrapped and smoked; and the whoppers and other “true” stories will be told through the day and night. On Saturday, September 10th, the now roasted pork and beef will be pulled and shredded, the chicken will be grilled; the potluck salads and desserts will arrive; and the picnic feast will be enjoyed by one and all.

Since this is a slight change to the past many years – a Friday-Saturday event instead of Saturday-Sunday – It’s not too soon to volunteer to help with the organization. We need volunteers to arrange shifts for cooking the pig, purchase supplies for the grill and pig roast, pig roasters, and guys who just want to hang out. If you feel called to help with this annual rite of roasting and toasting, please contact

Musical Musings

“ADVENT IN AUGUST”: No, I don’t actually propose that our Advent celebration begin in the heat of summer. However, this is the tagline, which announces the inaugural rehearsal for our annual Service of Lessons and Carols, sponsored by St. Matthew’s Choir. This year’s Service will be held on Sunday evening, December 11, at 5:00 PM (that’s the “Advent” part). But the kick-off luncheon/read-through/listen-to event is scheduled for Sunday, August 21, immediately following the 11:00 AM morning worship service.

We will begin with finger foods provided by the choir, with enough to share so that no one has to skip lunch. This will be followed, beginning about 1:00 PM, with distribution of music for the Lessons and Carols’ service, and an opportunity to listen to recordings of that music as we read along. We should be finished with this initial rehearsal around 3:00 PM. Thereafter, regular Lessons and Carols’ rehearsals will be held on Wednesday
evenings beginning at 6:30 PM, for about thirty minutes or so. As always, we welcome additional singers to join us for this once-a-year program of readings, anthems and hymns.

We particularly are in need of additional sopranos; but singers of all voice ranges are encouraged to attend. Please let me know if you would like to be a part of this wonderful experience. Contact the church office for more information.

Christian Education News

School will be back in session soon and it is time to prepare for Sunday school!
A Christian Education “Meet and Greet” will be on Sunday, August 28th at 10:00 a.m. Please bring your child by his/her classroom to meet the teachers, view the curriculum and have some refreshments. The first official day of Sunday school will be September 11th at 10:00 a.m. Please sign up in the Narthex.

The 2016-2017 classroom breakdowns are as follows:
Pre K/Kindergarten – (for children 4 years old and older as of August 1, 2016) – CE Building

  • 1st and 2nd grade – CE Building
  • 3rd and 4th grade – CE Building
  • 5th and 6th grade – CFMU
  • Jr. High – 7th and 8th – CFMU
  • Sr. High – 9th through 12th – CFMU
  • Two Adult classes: Bible Study – Michael Cape, facilitator & Contemporary Study – Alan Ballentine, facilitator. Both adult classes will meet in the new CE Building.

We have a beautiful new Christian Education building with four classrooms (replacing the old trailer and previous classrooms that are now the nursery.) We may be consolidating some of the smaller classes in order to get as many students in the new building as possible.

I look forward to all the members of St. Matthew’s finding their place in these classes!

The Daughters of the King

The Order of the Daughters of the King is a religious order who are communicants of the Episcopal Church, churches in communion with it, or churches in the Historic Episcopate not in communion with it. Our membership includes women in the Anglican, Episcopal, Lutheran (ELCA) and Roman Catholic Churches. Our Anglican tradition includes Episcopal oversight, Holy Scripture containing all things necessary for salvation, recognition of the gift of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, the real presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist and worship according to the Book of Common Prayer. Members undertake

a Rule of Life, incorporating the Rule of Prayer and the Rule of Service. By reaffirmation of the promises made at the Baptism and confirmation, a Daughter pledges herself to a life-long program of prayer, service and evangelism, dedicated to the spread of Christ’s Kingdom and the strengthening of the spiritual life of her parish. Empower by the Holy Spirit, our vision as Daughters of the King is to know Jesus Christ, to make Him known to others and become reflections of God’s love throughout the world. – The Daughter of the King Handbook.

If you are interested in becoming a Daughter of the King, please prayerfully consider joining our order. Through membership in our Order, women are strengthened through prayer, study, and communion with other Daughters. There is a three month study and preparation period starting August 14, 2016, so if you are ready to take the next step please contact the church office for more information.

The new Christian Formation building is complete!

The new Christian Formation Building is complete and is as beautiful as it is functional. You will have an opportunity to tour it on our Open House Day, Sunday, August 28th. Please say THANK YOU to Jim Bennett, Lee Edminson, and all members of the Growth Team who made this dream a reality. They have put many long hours of thought, prayer, and hard work into making this happen for St. Matthew’s.

We give thanks for all the time and talent they have shared with the St. Matthew’s family to make this a better place for our children to learn about the love of God. They are continuing their work on the renovation of our original building.

Introducing Sara Galyon, St. Matthew’s new Youth Director!

Sara Galyon moved to the area for her husband Philip’s job at Wesley Memorial UMC in Decatur in June of 2016. Sara holds a bachelors degree from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in Spanish and International Agricultural Economics, as well as a Masters Degree in Youth Ministry from Memphis Theological Seminary. She has been in professional youth ministry for the past 6 years and is very excited to be joining the staff at St Matthew’s as our new Youth Director!

Prior to working in youth ministry Sara worked with English Language Learning students in a North County St Louis MO school district. She is originally from Frederick, Maryland, where she was active in church, band, and FFA. Her denominational background is with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and she attends Messiah Lutheran church in Madison, however she was very active in the formation of Tyson House Lutheran/Episcopal campus ministry at UT and is eager to learn even more about the Episcopal Church. Sara and Philip live in Decatur with their two boys Andrew (12) and Christopher (7), two dogs Colby and Skeeter, and Sara’s Grandmother, Rose.

From Fr. Steve, August 2016

By now, you will have gotten my retirement announcement. As I said, this wasn’t a decision made lightly. Our time together is a rich tapestry of love, joy, pain, celebration, and heartache. Each step along the way adds to the tapestry, and it is never easy to say goodbye to those we love.

When I was away, I spent a great amount of time alone. This is difficult for an extrovert, and yet this was the most important part this experience. I spent it meditating, studying, writing, and praying. I discovered hidden sources of life that had lain dormant for years. I cherished these discoveries and knew that these would be the light that would help me find my way “home.”

I spent hours talking with people living in parks, on sidewalks, underneath bridges, and places most would not understand. These people have lives. Some work, and some don’t. Some are young, and some are old. Some are war veterans. Some are drug addicts. Some have serious health issues. Few have access to good dental care. Some are so overcome with mental illness that these would remind you of the demoniacs of Biblical times. Each added to the tapestry of my life.

I wrote in my book about a man I met in 1971 in Miami. He knocked on my back door one afternoon (back door friends are always the most interesting). He had long curly dark hair. He had an equally long dark beard that came to the middle of his chest.

“Hi, I’m Hippie Harry,” he introduced himself to me. “Everyone calls me that. I used to live in the tree house up there.” I looked up and there it was. I hadn’t noticed it, as I’d just moved in. It was a large tree house in an old oak tree. “I paid your landlord $20 a month to live there.”

I was amazed, but in Miami, there is much to amaze. Harry told me he had moved into a garage down the street with the same rent. His reason for being there that afternoon was he had always taken showers inside the house. He had an agreement with the previous tenants. I let him use our bath, and I was glad I did. Harry became an important part of my story. He took me later to the garage, and I was once again amazed. He had created a home in this space. Rich colors decorated the floor and the walls. He had many creature comforts that he could not have in the tree house.

Home is not about the right space. Many of the people on the street had created elaborate dwellings for themselves. I stumbled onto one of these while on a walk. I saw a woman cooking on a makeshift stovetop. I saw a man with three children fishing along the stream nearby. I didn’t stop and disturb them. This was a grace filled moment. I was on holy ground.

I have experienced many holy moments in my almost sixteen years here. I have come to a point in my life where I want to spend as much
of my time left on holy ground. Hippie Harry wasn’t concerned with much of the trouble of the world. He spent his free time helping the elderly in the community. If he is still alive, he would be the age of those he helped back then.

Some of you have expressed much love toward Trudie and me since I announced my retirement. Trudie and I are very appreciative this outpouring of affection. My leaving parish ministry is a good thing. It will be good for me, my family, and for you. The many connections I have made in my life have made me who I am, and these continue to add to my story. I haven’t seen Hippy Harry in almost fifty years, yet he is still close to my heart. Knowing him helped me understand home.

I have pitched my tent among you for all these years. I have been faithful to my call as priest as I understand that call. You have been faithful in your loving me in return. We can’t ask for anything else. Continue to look for Grace among you. There are a dozen new “Hippie Harry’s” among you. Some are young, and some are not. Some are new to the Episcopal Church, and some are life long members. Introduce yourselves to these new members. Your home will be more colorful, and your story will grow.

Fr. Steve+

St. Matthew’s 25th Anniversary Celebration

On September 10th, 2016, St. Matthew’s will celebrate 25 years as an Episcopal church in the City of Madison. We will also be celebrating the retirement of our long-term rector, Father Steve Gruman, who has served our parish for the last sixteen years.

For more information on our 25th anniversary celebration, check out our 25th anniversary hub!

Worship Schedule

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.

Parish Events

Confirmation ClassTime: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
ChoirTime: 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Ladies Bible StudyTime: 9:30 am – 11:00 am
Stewardshp CommitteeTime: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Holy EucharistTime: 8:30 am – 9:45 am
Holy EucharistTime: 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Holy EucharistTime: 5:00 pm – 6:15 pm
Newcomer CommitteeTime: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Men's BreakfastTime: 7:00 am – 8:00 am
Holy EucharistTime: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
ChoirTime: 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Ladies Bible StudyTime: 9:30 am – 11:00 am

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