St. Matthew's > Welcome!


Grace and peace to you in our Lord Jesus Christ!

Welcome to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, one of more than 80 worshipping communities that make up the Diocese of Alabama, which itself is one of 109 dioceses in the United States and over 12 other nations that make up the Episcopal Church.  The Episcopal Church in turn is one of 38 autonomous churches that make up the Anglican Communion, a body of more than 85 million Christians worldwide who trace a common identity back to Christianity in the British Isles.

Whether you first come to St. Matthew’s for worship or for a social gathering, your initial encounter with the good folks who gather here will be as they welcome you into our space.  Even as the pastor of this community, I continue to be a recipient of that rich welcome, and I hope that you will give us an opportunity to welcome you in person too.

If you join us for worship, you will immediately experience a rich liturgical tradition that traces itself back to the early centuries of Christianity.  Our primary worship centers around the Holy Eucharist (also known as Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper).  Each Sunday as we gather, we join our voices in song and prayer; we listen to several readings from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and sermons that seek to connect those Scriptures to our daily lives; we take bread and wine and share in the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood; and we are sent out to be living Sacraments of Christ’s presence in the world.  All of our liturgies are found in the Book of Common Prayer, a book which unites all Episcopalians in worshipping together, even though we are geographically separate.  Children are particularly welcome in our worship, and we enjoy the holy chaos that they sometimes bring.  We enjoy it so much that we invite the little ones each Sunday to come forward and join the Priest for a special message before the sermon.

Within our worship, you will notice that there are many more people than just the Priest who are active.  On Sunday mornings our very talented St. Matthew’s Choir leads the singing of hymns and other music; on Sunday evenings, the lively Five O’Clock Praise Band takes the lead.  And several times a year the Bells’ Angels handbell choir presents special selections.  Youth from the parish serve at the altar as Acolytes, assisting the Priest in conducting the liturgy.  Other members of the parish serve each Sunday as Readers, Lay Eucharistic Ministers, Ushers, and Altar Guild members.  The Flower Guild helps to keep the worship space beautiful, especially during such festive times as Christmas and Easter.  And then there are Tellers who count the weekly offerings, Hospitality Ministers who host coffee hour after each service, and any number of other folks who help to make everything run smoothly.

Outside of worship, we are a community that continues to take our Christianity seriously.  Our Christian Formation Programs offer opportunities for both children and adults to continue to be educated in the faith.  The Episcopal Youth Community gives youth in grades 6-12 a place to gather and to work together to become stronger Christians.  Our Young Adults Group encourages young singles and families to take a place within the vibrant life of our parish.  The Episcopal Church Women and the Daughters of the King gather women of the parish to work and pray not only for the parish but for the building of Christ’s kingdom in the world.  Men of the parish gather for a weekly breakfast and for Wing and a Prayer.  Members of the parish gather to engage in a variety of Outreach ministries which share the love of Christ in the world and to assist the clergy in a variety of Pastoral Ministries enacting that love amongst the folks who gather here.

It is a humbling privilege to serve at this time as Priest in the midst of such a vibrant community of Christians.  I hope that you will come and experience the welcome that is to be found in this diverse and exciting group of people.  The love of Christ is alive here, and there is room within Christ’s embrace for you as well!

Peace and Good,

The Reverend Jim Pappas
Interim Rector