History of St. Matthew’s
Over fifty years ago, the idea to form a new church began in the living room of Harry and Phyllis Barbin. They invited others to join them in discussing the idea of establishing a new Episcopal Church in Maple Glen, Pennsylvania.
Conversations with Diocesan officials and local parishes in the area soon followed. The Holy Spirit led the group and the first worship service of Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church was held in a rented church building in nearby Prospectville on September 10, 1967. Over 60 people were in attendance and the Vicar and Celebrant was Albert Mahan.
In 1969, the van Steenwyk family made ten acres of land available on Tennis Avenue in Maple Glen to build our church. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 2, 1971, followed by the first regular worship service which took place on March 19, 1972. In October 1975, Saint Matthew’s became a self-supporting full parish church in the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
In 1976, Ed Ranck accepted the call as Rector. During this time a new Sunday School and Administration building was built to accommodate the growing Parish. In October 1985, David Robinson accepted the call as Rector. The parish flourished during Father Dave’s tenure. Under his guidance, many new ministries and programs were implemented including Saint Matthew’s Nursery School, which is open to preschool children in the local community. This ministry provides the foundation of Christian education to approximately 120 students between the ages of 2 ½ and 5 years and welcomes students with various disabilities. A Memorial Garden was established in 1990. There are over 60 parishioners presently interred there in this garden.
In 1997, a new sanctuary was built and the original church became the Parish Hall. In 2000, a modular unit became the home of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) Sunday School program. In 1999, Saint Matthew’s began offering a third service that included contemporary music from our Arise Band. Complete with keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, flute and vocals, the Arise Band continues to delight and inspire parishioners with their music, while another more traditional service continues to feature outstanding choir and organ music.
After 34 years of ministry, Father Dave retired on June 6, 2019. A little over a month later, the Reverend Canon Dr. Peter B. Stube joined Saint Matthew’s as interim rector. That October, Jay Walton, our beloved associate rector, became the rector at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Torresdale.
Throughout the winter and spring of 2020, our Parish Profile committee met, conducted focus groups and surveys, and wrote our Parish Profile. On June 18, 2020 our Parish Profile was approved by the Bishop’s office and we started accepting applications for the rector position at Saint Matthew’s. On October 25, we announced that we called our new rector, the Reverend Rodney Roehner. Father Rodney and his family joined us in December; he celebrated his first service with us on December 20.
Currently, Saint Matthew’s has about 600 members. We are involved in a wide variety of ministries and outreach programs. As a vibrant, multi-generational congregation, we exist to honor God and serve Christ. We have built a community of worship and caring fellowship where each member can grow spiritually and be fulfilled. Each member is encouraged to offer their gifts and talents for ministry, reaching out to others in the power and love of God’s Spirit.