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!
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!
With the end of the school year quickly approaching, we have many things going on. Please note the following:
- Sr. High Recognition Sunday – May 22nd, during the 11:00 service. Baskets will be presented. We have seven graduates this year, 2 boys & 5 girls.
- Teachers’ Appreciation Sunday – May 15th – Both services. Teachers, please try to attend.
- Last Day of Sunday school – May 15th, 10:00.a.m.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL 2016 – Mark your calendars! “HOWDY PARDNER: Our Partnership With God” VBS will be June 13th – 16th, 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. for children 4 years old through 5th grade (rising). 6th graders (rising) will be helpers. Volunteers are needed. More information will be coming. (Please note that we are going back to a daytime program.)
Thanks to all who participated in the Lenten Study of the Gospel of John. It was a wonderful program that gave us a better understanding of the glory that awaits us all! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Thank you also to all who donated to the Sawyerville Book Drive. We received more than 200 books!!! The people of St. Matthew’s are always so generous!
- Date & Time: Saturday, April 23rd @ 5pm
- Bring: A side or dessert to share and any board games you enjoy. BBQ will be provided for dinner.
- Details: There will be food and a wide variety of board games that everyone will enjoy from strategy games to classic and party games.
- Child care will be provided.
Contact the church office for more information
ORGAN STUFF: Since last month’s newsletter went to press, our Rodgers digital organ has been repaired – sort of. It took the technician two weeks, and the replacement of the power supply and main processor circuit board, to get the instrument back up and running. Unfortunately, it appears that the failure was caused by some sort of “power-related event;” and this event clobbered some of the organ’s internal settings as well. [Example: the monitor speakers in the choir stalls are stuck at full volume, and are so loud that they’ve been rendered useless, and had to be shut off.] Restoring these settings requires a Rodgers representative and a computer running specialized software, such as that employed when the organ was originally installed nearly nine years ago. This will happen; I’m just not sure when.
In the meantime, we continue our search for a replacement organist. Susan Fletcher, our interim, will be unavailable to us beyond the end of May; so our need is both near-term and pressing. If you know of anyone who might be available to serve St. Matthew’s in this capacity, please email me (email@example.com) her/his contact information; and I will pass this along to the Search Committee. Thank you for your continuing support of the music ministry at St. Matthew’s.
A LOVING FAREWELL: Speaking of “supporting the music ministry,” I can think of no finer example than that set by our own Amy West. Amy could always be counted on to accompany the choir with flute or clarinet solos as needs dictated. [And if she were unavailable, she never hesitated to offer up the services of Olivia or Madeline – with or
without their agreement!] Watching Amy’s face during a rehearsal was always a revelation to me: intense
with concentration on her part; buoyed up by the beauty of the music; infused with laughter at any misstep; eager to learn, to build, and to grow with any and every composition. On those rare occasions when she played together with David or one of her daughters, these facial reflections increased by an order of magnitude. This same show of support was evident whenever Dave and/or Peter played trumpet with the choir; Amy was a terrific “stage mom.” Our music program will miss her participation and influence, but continue to feel the benefit of her boundless love.
March was an eventful month for the Growth Committee. Construction officially began on the new Christian Formation building during Holy Week and is now shifting into high gear now that Easter Weekend has passed. Expect to see the pad completed by early April and the building starting to take form. We thank you all for your support thus far and pray for your continued support going forward. Once construction is complete on the new building in a few months, we hope to shift right into renovations of the existing building. Please feel free to contact me or anyone else on the Growth Committee if you have any questions or concerns.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
We are one body – the body of Christ. It is hard to imagine this when we view as the world does. Jesus said, “Abide in me.” When we live into this reality, incredible things happen. We are once again building at St. Matthew’s. We started as a dream of a few people; then we moved into a warehouse to worship, and to love each other. A few people acting as the body of Christ made this happen. A few more joined and eventually the building that runs north to south became a reality.
We had a wonderful Easter celebration on February 27 (our 24th as St. Matthew’s). The faces have changed over the years, but the same Spirit propels us into the next great vision for our parish. Season after season brings change and growth.
I am leaving on a three-month adventure this month. I will not be with you, and I will be out-of-touch during this time. A sabbatical is a time to re-envision our journey together. This is the body of Christ, not the body of any one person or group. Jesus is our center, and we must never forget this.
The season for me to be away is upon us. The Rev. Van Foreman will be serving you on Sundays, and we have set up a network of pastoral responders while I am away. Your time apart from me is a time of sabbatical for you as well. What do you do on sabbatical?
While I am away, I want you to think about what you really love about St. Matthew’s. When you do this, keep the focus on something that doesn’t involve me, or my ministry among you. When you find yourself wanting to place me in the position of some reason for your love of St. Matthew’s, work to find a reason other than me. I believe if you do this, you will discover a world of reasons. Share these with each other. Share them with people that don’t have a church family.
If you do this, you will be rewarded beyond your imagination. This is what sabbaticals are intended to achieve. We are the body of Christ. As we grow into this, we find ourselves falling in love with the ideas of being a part of this body. The idea is to fall in love again with the love that brought those people together long ago with a vision for St. Matthew’s – even before it was called St. Matthew’s.
This is the season for love. Find that love that is the tie that binds. May God lead you and reward you for your efforts.
Fr. Van is an Alabama native. He was born and raised in Gadsden. He attended Birmingham-Southern College where he majored in psychology and was active in music programs. After college he worked in the area of mental health before studying theology at the University of Tubingen in Germany as an International Rotary Fellow. He then attended Yale Divinity School where he earned his M.Div. degree.
Fr. Van has served parishes in Decatur, Pell City, Albertville and Gadsden/Rainbow City. Over the years he has been active in numerous departments and committees of the Diocese and served for a time as Secretary of the Diocese. After over 31 years of parish ministry, Fr. Van retired in 2012 . He presently serves as an assisting priest at Church of the Nativity in Huntsville and is happy to supply in parishes around the Diocese as needed.
Along the way Fr. Van earned a Master of Arts in English Literature from Jacksonville State University and pursues a lively interest in literature and storytelling and in their relationship to theology and spirituality. He also continues to be very interested in classical music.
Heidi was born in Germany and came to Huntsville as a child when her father went to work as an aerospace engineer for NASA. She is a graduate of Samford University where she majored in Art. She continues her artistic interest by working in iconography. Her passion is horseback riding and she would love to connect with others who share this interest!
Heidi and Van recently bought a house in Huntsville because they are looking after Heidi’s mom who will be a vital 100 years young in just a few months. Remarkably she still lives in her own home with her beloved cat and her flower garden. Heidi and Van are here to help her out so that she can continue to do so.
Fr. Van and Heidi look forward to being with the St. Matthew parish family April through June. We look forward to getting to know all of you. Til then, our blessings and best wishes!
On Sunday, 13 March your Vestry is holding a “Coffee With The Vestry” in Gruman Hall between the 8:30am and 11:00am services. We want to give all of you the opportunity to hear about what we, the Vestry, are working, highlight some of our church’s recent accomplishments, and spent a few minutes answering questions. Informal but Informative!! So grab a cup of coffee and come spend 30 minutes with your Vestry.
Easter is my favorite day of the year. We celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord with Christians all over the world each year. We begin with the great Vigil of Easter on March 26 this year. We will have baptisms (one so far), and candles, and the church will be decorated with Easter lilies and greenery. We will have lots of people here Easter Sunday with all the children dressed up running around gathering eggs.
For all of you that do so much to make this possible, thank you. Some clergy plod through Holy Week like it is a death march. It is, I suppose. We finish Holy Week with Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. These two services are somber and tell of the events of Jesus’ Passion. For me, this is a glorious journey to remember the enormous sacrifice that was made for us.
I am grateful for the sacrifices that have been made to make this parish what it has become. We will celebrate 25 years here as a parish on September 10. Many have made it what it has become. People have given their time, talents, and treasure to make this possible. We have much to celebrate.
It is the tradition of a parish to celebrate when a new priest begins their journey with a parish. We have done this three times in 25 years. Mike Cleckler became St. Matthew’s first rector, then Paul Bailey, and then I started December 1, 2000. When I came, we had a grand celebration to mark my beginning. I fasted that day, and I walked through the woods to get to the parish. I needed the fast and the solace of the walk to prepare for what God had in store for me here.
After Easter, I will be going on Sabbatical for three months. I will return to be with you July 1. During this time, I will be emptying myself (working among the homeless in Hawaii) and finding a peace that will enable me to listen clearly to God. My hope is that you will be doing the same. What is God’s will for us?
We proclaim Alleluia at Easter and beyond. This proclamation (if it has meaning) will be about our future, not just our present. I want for all of us to live an Alleluia life. We can, you know. We do this by hearing and heeding God’s call. We do this by finding Jesus on the road. We do this by experiencing what the Apostle Paul wrote about when he said, “not I, but Christ living in me.”
Live this during our sabbatical separation. Dream dreams, seek the stars, find God in all things.
- Sunday, Mar 20 – Palm Sunday services at 8:30am, 11:00am, and 5:00pm.
- Monday, Mar 21 – Holy Eucharist at 7:00am.
- Tuesday, Mar 22 – Holy Eucharist at 7:00am.
- Wednesday, Mar 23 – Holy Eucharist at 7:00am, Noon, and 7:00pm.
- Maundy Thursday, Mar 24 – HE at 7:00pm, including foot washing.
- Good Friday, Mar 25 – Stations of the Cross at noon, Good Friday service at 7:00pm.
- Holy Saturday, Mar 26 – Easter Vigil Holy Eucharist at 8:00pm, including baptism.
- Easter Sunday, Mar 27 – Services at 8:30am and 11:00am (no evening service). Children’s egg hunt at 10:00am.
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.