St. Matthew ministries offer something for every age through both educational programs and fellowship opportunities. There is a wide range of programs to fit everyone’s interest and level of participation.
Children are one of the greatest gifts God has given us. They are placed in our hands to nurture so that they may grow to rejoice in God’s love in their own way and time. We at St. Matthew UCC accept with joy the privilege and responsibility of helping children grow in their faith. Our programs reflect this commitment and children have opportunities to be full partners in the ministries of the church.
Children’s Worship: During Sunday service, children participate as they are comfortable. All children beyond nursery age start in the service with their families. The beginning of the service offers music and messages appropriate to all ages. We believe that worshiping together shows the children that they are an important part of our church family. During Sunday morning service the children are called to sit on the sanctuary steps for the children’s sermon. Using the morning scripture reading, the children’s ministry director shares a sermon that our young children can relate to. Pastor Allen closes this time in prayer. Once dismissed, the children gather upstairs for children’s worship, where they share blessings and bummers (prayer requests), music, announcements, Lord’s prayer, etc.
Nursery: The nursery at St. Matthew UCC provides care in a safe and secure environment for the children of those attending worship service and church events. Children begin to understand God’s love by experiencing the love of caring adults. We encourage caregivers to play, talk, read, and sing with the children while keeping them safe, comforting them and affirming their accomplishments. When services are in person, children from infants through age 3 are welcome from 9:15 through 11:00 am on Sunday mornings. We have an excellent Nursery Supervisor on staff who offers exceptional care, consistency, and a familiar face for our little ones.
Sunday School: We believe strongly in the workshop rotation model. The children will spend four to six weeks on one Bible story and rotate to a different class each week to learn the lesson in a new way. They attend workshops such as drama, storytelling, art, cooking, science, God’s creation, etc. Each workshop has a leader who teaches the story and plans the activities. In addition, each group has a shepherd who stays with the same group of children from week to week, building a relationship. We also have a library available for our children, parents and teachers. There is a quiet place to read and check out a rotating selection of books, movies and DVDs.
Vacation Bible School (VBS): Each year St. Matthew UCC highlights the summer with five days of music, activities and fun while learning about God’s love. The week ends with a musical performance and family ice-cream social. Our VBS has become a community favorite that draws children from around the area.
M&M, Moments Together & Memories Forever: This ministry creates friendships between children and adults at St. Matthew. Each year, adults and children are paired to spend “Moments Together” to build “Memories Forever”. For twelve months, they will have an opportunity to establish a special friendship with each other. Our M and M leader plans several group events where partners get together to share in an activity, often mission related.
Special Events: In addition to the educational ministries, we offer numerous special activities for children to participate in throughout the year. Some of our favorite activities are the Rally Day Fun Fair, Blessing of the Backpacks, Fourth Grade Bible Presentation, Trunk or Treat, Birthday Party for Jesus, Easter Egg Hunt, Teacher Appreciation Sunday, mission projects and children’s choir.
The St. Matthew UCC youth group, Crazies, offers many ways for middle and high school students to learn, serve, and have fun throughout the school year and summer. It serves our youth grades 6th through 12th. The group usually meets on Sunday evenings, and activities include a shared meal, games, and a lesson. There is always time to share “blessings and bummers”.
We believe youth ministry is of three equal parts: education, service, and fun. Our education focuses on biblical knowledge, theological thought, moral development, and spiritual discipline. Service is local and global.
We serve our community through volunteering, and we also go on an annual Boundary Waters or mission trip. Fun activities throughout the year often include: Summer car wash, Sleep Out Saturday, family game night, Christmas party and Lock-ins. www.facebook.com/groups/StMattCrazies/
If you have any questions or would like to be put on the Crazies weekly email list, please email email@example.com.
There are a variety of programs, events and ministries for adults to get involved in at St. Matthew. We are also always open to new ideas – please let us know if you are interested in something you don’t see listed here!
Our Adult Education Program is largely a lay led team consisting of Adult Faith Enrichment classes conducted on a weeknight evening or on Sunday mornings. Topics have included bible and spiritual enrichment classes, video and book-based studies. Occasionally, parent and relationship enrichments classes are offered. Other various small groups meet regularly.
Our Men’s Fellowship meets at 8:00am every Tuesday with a light breakfast when we meet in person. During COVID-19 we have been meeting via Zoom. Topics include reflections on our faith journey, social issues (e.g. social justice, reflecting of issues of race), science and religion, the pastor’s sermon, book studies or studies of articles. We typically have 8 to 12 people who gather each week.
Women’s Prayer Group
St Matthew’s prayer group meets on Wednesdays, at 1pm, both at the church or through Zoom. It is an hour of sharing prayer requests, fellowship and faith. Prayer requests are considered confidential. We do distribute a summary of our meeting to participants only. You can send your prayer request through the office. All are welcome.
Novel Approaches is a St. Matthew UCC book group for both men and women that reads a variety of authors and types of books. They read one book per month and discuss it in its entirety on a Friday evening with the help of reader’s guides and group discussion questions. Members take turns hosting discussion in their homes and provide light refreshments. Everyone is welcome, all are encouraged to express their opinion, and all opinions are respected.
Yoga in the Sanctuary
Yoga with Marla Mothershed takes place on Thursdays from 10am-11am in the sanctuary and via Zoom. All are welcome! Contact the office if you would like to attend. Masks are worn and generous social distancing will be practiced. Donations accepted and will be given to Missions.
St. Matthew has an outstanding music program, with many opportunities for people of all ages to become part of this important ministry. These opportunities include a vocal choir, two handbell/chime choirs, vocal and instrumental soloists and ensembles, a praise band and special musical events. Whether your gift is singing or playing an instrument, there is a place for you.
St. Matthew has two outstanding bell choirs, the IntergeneRingers and the Chancel Ringers. These groups perform monthly during worship services, in addition to special Sundays. The IntergeneRingers are for beginner ringers to intermediate ringers, while the Chancel Ringers are for those that have more advanced ringing skills. Rehearsals are Tuesday evenings. For more information, email our Handbell Director, Kim Congdon.
St. Matthew offers our children many opportunities to share their musical talents. Children in preschool through 5th grade participate in children’s songs, presented in the Sunday worship service from time to time. Children and adults participate in IntergeneRingers side-by-side in bell choir, and perform during Sunday worship. Our middle and high school youth have prepared praise music and string quartets for our services.
The St. Matthew Praise Band plays inspiring Christian music during most Sunday worship services. These can be contemporary worship songs to traditional hymns with a modern rhythm and feel. Rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. For more information, email our praise band coordinator Brian Dobbelaere.
View our performances on YouTube:
The St. Matthew UCC Sanctuary Choir provides beautiful music for the Sunday morning worship services, covering traditional music, contemporary choral selections to gospel. A Christmas Cantata is presented each Advent to help set the tone for the Christmas season that is open to all singers while offering a shorter rehearsal commitment. Open choir Sundays are offered monthly for those that want to sing but are unable to commit to a regular rehearsal schedule. Rehearsals are Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. For more information or if interested in joining the choir, please email the Director of Church Music, Jamie Craig.
The Membership Life ministry is charged with encouraging, developing, and maintaining relationships with current, inactive, new and prospective members of St. Matthew UCC. This ministry ensures visitors to the church are welcomed and receive a follow-up from the church. The members of this ministry also plan fun, engaging events throughout the year when we are meeting in person, like Wafflepalooza, the June summer picnic, and meet-ups at local restaurants to keep our members engaged.