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!
- Sunday, March 29 – PALM SUNDAY (services as usual)
- Monday, March 30 – Holy Eucharist 7:00am
- Tuesday, March 31 – Holy Eucharist 7:00am
- Wednesday, April 1 – Holy Eucharist 7:00am & Noon
- Thursday, April 2 – MAUNDY THURSDAY – Holy Eucharist & footwashing 7:00pm
- Friday, April 3 – GOOD FRIDAY – Stations of the Cross at NOON, Holy Eucharist at 7:00pm
- Saturday, April 4 – HOLY SATURDAY – Easter Vigil, Holy Eucharist & Baptisms at 8:00pm
- Sunday, April 5 – EASTER DAY – Holy Eucharist at 8:30am & 11:00am (no 5pm service)
The men of St. Matthew’s meet every third Tuesday for wings & prayer. This month, we will meet on Tuesdays, APRIL 7th & 28th @ 6:00pm at Crickets in Madison. All men are invited to attend.
Tom Killian likes to tell the congregation on Christmas Eve that “The First Noel” is my favorite hymn. I do like to hit that high tenor note when we sing this, but “Welcome Happy Morning” is right up there among my favorites. It is number 179 in our hymnal. We sing this on Easter morning as we recess from worship.
“Loose the souls long prisoned, bound with Satan’s chain; all that now is fallen raise to life again; show thy face in brightness, bid the nations see; bring again our daylight: day returns with thee! Welcome Happy Morning! Age to age shall say.” This last verse speaks to me. Wehave lots of chains that bind us. The stories of our lives often weigh us down to the point of despair.
The Easter story is filled with joy – Welcome Happy Morning! Joy is the by-product of a life lived in God’s way. This is God’s promise. Joy is the spirit that spills forth when we sing “Welcome Happy Morning!” It feels better than any feeling – joy. I want to live my life in joy, but often find it difficult.
The cares of the world, negotiating the feelings of others, and the day-to-day tasks of living often get in the way. “Don’t let them steal your joy, Steve,” I find myself repeating often. Wouldn’t it be great if people focused on joy? One of the great parts I get to play (in my role as priest) is to be with people when they are dying. It does my heart good to be with people that find joy when they are dying. It gives me hope.
Some of us are struggling with many things. We have loved ones in trouble. We struggle with financial issues. We struggle with children in difficulty. We struggle with parents aging and dying. We struggle with our jobs or neighbors or friends, or family, or just making it through the day. We often use copping mechanisms that are destructive to our bodies and souls.
In A.A., the participants have sponsors. These are called when the challenge to remain sober becomes great. Christians believe that we can go to Jesus when the challenges become great – how about a sponsor? What if we go to each other, finding someone who exudes joy? What if we become that person?
Welcome Happy Morning! Age to age shall sing… difference in each other’s lives.
The men of St. Matthew’s meet every third Tuesday for wings & prayer. This month, we will meet on Tuesday, MARCH 17th @ 6:00pm at Crickets in Madison. All men are invited to attend.
As I’ve reiterated many times in this column, the Internet is an amazing tool. It has shrunk distances between individuals, making our virtual world smaller than the physical one. Yet it has expanded groups of persons with a common focus – and increased our knowledge in the process. Case in point: While searching online for additional sample sets to incorporate into our Hauptwerk virtual pipe organ installation, I was introduced to Piotr Grabowski, a grad student of Sound Engineering at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Poland.
As part of his thesis, Piotr digitally sampled three pipe organs in the Warsaw region, and imported those sample sets into Hauptwerk. All three instruments are modest by most standards, with two keyboards, a pedalboard, and pipe configurations ranging from 15 to 22 ranks. [By comparison, our Rodgers organ contains the digital equivalent of 33 ranks.] Yet one of these organs interested me mightily – partly because of its full, rich sound; and partly because of the story behind it. This organ was constructed in 2012 by a local organ builder named Kaminski, and is installed in St. Anne’s church in the small village of Długa Kościelna (good luck with that one!), about 15 miles east of Warsaw. The original church at this location was destroyed by fire – not in Hitler’s blitzkrieg of Poland during World War II, but by some unknown arsonist in 2000! The congregation began rebuilding in 2001; the new church was completed in 2004, and the organ installed eight years later. What a testament to the human spirit!
I was determined to have a virtual copy of this organ for our Hauptwerk installation. But I had to download it (from Poland); and organ sample sets are huge. Piotr steered me to a utility called a download manager; and using this tool, I was able to get a copy of the instrument, and add it to our setup. Marlene will be playing it very soon; when she does, let me know what you think. [Here’s a hint: when you hear sounds from the organ you’ve never heard before, and see an Apple MacBook on the console with its logo lit up, you’ll know “there’s something Hauptwerk going on…”
So here’s a young man I’ve never met (and never will meet), helping us add sounds to our organ which we can use for years to come – and he hasn’t charged us one red cent for his efforts. Remember I told you recently that you would soon have an opportunity to help expand our organ? Well, here’s an opportunity. I understand from experience the plight of the “poor, starving college student”; and I imagine Piotr is no exception to the rule. On behalf of St. Matthew’s, I’m going to send him a donation to thank him for his help, and to assist him in creating other sample sets from other organs. You are welcome to join me in this donation. It doesn’t have to be much; just a few dollars, or even pocket change. I just want him to know that his work has been a blessing to our parish.
DOK members will lead an Evening Prayer each Wednesday during Lent at 5:30 PM. Although this is a short service (about 15 minutes) it is an excellent way to wind down after a long hectic day and transition to the Lenten soup supper and program which begins at 6:00 PM. Please make plans to attend.
Also, Quiet Day is scheduled for March 14th 8:00 AM until 12:00 PM. This year will have a different format than previous years. Karen Price will provide brief introduction to the day and then there will be four hours of quiet mediation. You can come at any time during that four hours and stay as long as you like. Light refreshments will be available.
Welcome spring! We hope! Your ECW has been hard at work paying it forward (distributing monies) to worthy causes, and preparing for the annual Italian Night! It will take place on May the 2nd starting with appetizers at 6, followed by amazing auction items to bid on. We are looking forward to a fun, appetizing and productive evening. We would love to share in the work of this experience. Please check out the ECW board to sign up to help with this fun worthwhile fellowship experience!
Our disbursements for January are listed on the ECW board; take a moment to look at the good works we are contributing to.
We plan to have our March evening meeting be a social. Come join the fun on Tuesday, March 10, at 6pm, Las Trojas Mexican Restaurant (Highway 72 in Madison).
Winter weather got the best of us in February and sadly, we had to cancel our much anticipated Lock-In and Road Rally. But have no fear, we are actively looking for a new date for this event. Keep an eye on your email for an announcement soon!
On March 4, we will be having our “Big Group Date” as a way to celebrate the conclusion of our Dateable book study! Details to come soon.
The next installment on your EYC Mission Trip fee will be $50 due on Sunday, March 15. Please put your check in my church mailbox and make sure you note “EYC Mission Trip” in the memo.
EYC Calendar Of Events
- March 4 …. Dateable Group Date
- March 8 …. Second Sunday, EYC will meet for worship at the 5PM service. Afterwards, we will go back to the West home for dinner and a movie. March 15 …. EYC Mission Trip payment due, $50.
- March 16 …. Pizza With the Padre, 6:00-7:15PM. PrEYC kids are invited to gather for pizza and conversation in the Jr. High classroom. This is a great opportunity to build relationships and have some fun!
- June 14-20 …. EYC Mission Trip to Copperhill, TN.
At times in my life, people have viewed me as, very smart, somewhat smart, not so smart, or very stupid. I appreciate that I am neither and all at the same time. I have done some very stupid things in my lifetime, and I have done some really smart things as well. It seems that when I’ve done the very stupid things, there has always been someone close by that made sure that as many people as possible knew of this stupidity. Sometimes when I’ve done something really smart, there seems to be no one around.
From time to time, I assess my performance. Am I a success? What tools would I use to measure this? What defines success or failure? Our God is an awesome God. Jesus said if we have the faith of a mustard seed, we could move mountains. How much faith is that? When I read the things
Jesus says about faith, it seems to me that the best way to define success is by the criteria of faithfulness.
When I was in my fourth year of college, I was pretty lost. I wasn’t much of a student back then. I rarely put in the effort needed to make good grades, and I had very little interest in the subjects I was taking. I was so lost that I rarely attended classes the second semester of that year. I finally decided I couldn’t keep doing this. I went to drop out and I was one hour late. I wasn’t allowed to drop out!
After that, I just quit going to classes. I showed up for one final exam. My grades that semester were four F’s and a D. I hadn’t studied for the one final, and I’m pretty sure my final score was reflective of this, yet the professor gave me a D for my showing up. Four F’s and a D – what if that was the measure of my success or failure? I’d come up woefully short. God wasn’t finished with me yet however.
The world can be a harsh judge of all of us. I once knew a very successful man that was convinced that he wasn’t a success until he won a national award for something he produced. I suppose we are our own harshest critics. Jesus can turn this around. Whenever our faith is lacking, we need only ask Jesus to support us and strengthen us. Jesus will turn us around. I am witness to this.
I went back to school. I made spectacular grades. I was running a business and taking overloads every semester. I had four children. This was accomplished because of faith and hard work, not my superior intellect. Remember four F’s and a D – that was my previous scorecard.
My faith has been tested many times. As I have moved through the challenges in my life, I have found some very helpful tools. Faith is essential in order to face any challenge. Forgiveness of others and ourselves keeps us from losing focus. Trusting in our Father’s promises gives us the impetus to move forward. Life is forever, so we need not fear when we fall momentarily. Be determined to finish the race. We can change, and God will help us. Those four F’s are constant reminders for me that if I set my face toward God’s Kingdom, man cannot determine my destination. God has a plan, and I’m grateful that I’m part of this plan. Four F’s and a D – we can change the world if we change the way we measure success, seeking to follow Jesus in all we do.
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.
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.