Mission, Values , Annual Theme
The mission of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church is to know Christ and make Him known through the power of the Holy Spirit by devotion to Christ, fellowship within the church, and revelation of God's nature in word and deed. Today, members of St. Matthew's consider themselves to be part of a "sent community," commissioned to spread the gospel in our community and beyond.
As part of being "sent out," our members are involved in a number of mission trip opportunities each year, both foreign and domestic. For five years, including 2008, we have sent adult and youth members to Belize for school construction, medical aid, and cross-cultural evangelism (click here for more information). The members of the parish also personally and financially support a wide range of mission and outreach programs locally, including ministry to the homeless and the families of prisoners. We have helped build homes with the Richmond chapter of Habitat for Humanity and in 2006 and 2007 sent mission groups to Louisiana and Mississippi to help in the rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina. Our youth also spend time serving our local community.
Our Long Range Plan
Goal 1: To develop the congregation’s Biblical knowledge and application in Christian living through education for all ages.
Goal 2: To provide intentional care for all persons and groups at St. Matthew’s to enable them to grow as disciples of Christ.
Goal 3: To provide opportunities for members of the congregation to share their time, talent, and treasure in local community outreach.
Goal 4: To make visible the mission and ministries of St. Matthew’s, as we seek to fulfill God’s purpose as a church.
2014 Annual Theme: S.A.L.T.
By Rev. Chuck Alley, Rector
What is a church?
What makes the church different from any other special interest or affinity group?
One significant difference is that the church’s identity is not found in its human leaders or in the attributes of its members. The church is a community that finds its identity in its story and, therefore, in the Author of its story. The uniqueness of the church’s story is that it is the narrative of how God has entered into solidarity with his creatures (D. Bonheoffer, The Communion of Saints.) God has come to humankind through his Word spoken into the world (Holy Scripture) and his Word incarnated in human form (Jesus Christ).
Because God’s Word is the revelation of Absolute Truth, it is also a call to the world to live differently—to repent of the status quo. That is the story given to the church to live by and to illustrate to the world. As Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon wrote in Resident Aliens, the church is a community that presents the world with an alternative way of living that is based on Jesus Christ. That is what it means to be “salty.”
The 2014 theme for St. Matthew’s is S.A.L.T. Throughout the year we will be investigating our call to be salt in the world, remembering that the measure of “saltiness” is the effect of the “salt” on its environment. The two focus passages of Scripture are:
“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other” (Mark 9:50); and,
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
Through these words of Jesus, our goal will be to realize the importance of our communal life to the effectiveness of our response to our call. Taking that call and the chosen Bible verses, we will attempt to practice Sharing And Loving Together (S.A.L.T.).
Yours in Christ,