How we believe
- It's all about Jesus Christ as he is revealed in Scripture. Our faith is summarized in the statements of the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, which we affirm as a congregation at every worship service.
- One popular slogan is "The family that prays together stays together," and at St. Matthew's (as in all Episcopal churches), The Book of Common Prayer focuses our worship. Our unity is not so much a matter of what we say about God as it is a matter of what we say to God.
- By the way, if you follow those links above, you will arrive at a page which has links to much more complete explanations of Episcopalian beliefs.
- Our historic roots reach back to the Celts of northern Britain, and this Celtic influence leads us to a tradition of quiet contemplation before God, appreciating His natural creation, and protecting the environment. (Yes, many of us do see recycling as a religious duty!)
- We don't like to draw boundaries to keep people out of our church or out of the Kingdom of God. We see Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and non-religious folk as our neighbors, people whom Christ tells us to love and care for.
Beyond our parish
- Bellwether Farm is being developed by the Diocese as a summer camp and retreat center. More than that, though, it will be a farm that demonstrates and teaches sustainable agriculture as one small step to preserve the environment. St. Matthew's has participated in the development of Bellwether through the "Planting for Tomorrow" capital campaign program. Bellwether is located in Wakeman, Ohio, about 30 miles north of Ashland. After the property is developed, we expect to use it for retreats and youth events.
- St. Matthew's is part of the South Central Mission Area Council (MAC), a cooperative effort of eight Episcopal churches (elsewhere, they would call it a deanery). Among the recent activities of MAC:
- We collected household items to help resettle several immigrant families from the Middle East.
- We provided money for solar panels for schools in Belize. (If a school has no electricity, it cannot have lights or computers.)
- We helped provide financial support for meal centers in Mount Vernon and Wooster.
- We gave money to a program to refurbish junk bicycles for needy children in Shelby.
How we think about ourselves
We have a deep respect for the intellect. Serious thinkers such as David Souter, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Thurgood Marshall (all Supreme Court Justices) as well as writers such as C.S. Lewis, John Steinbeck, and Madeline L'Engle have been part of our tradition. Other famous Episcopalians who made things happen include Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, Molly Ivins, Margaret Mead, and Walter Cronkite. Our typical approach to "doing theology" has been described as a Three-Legged Stool, where Scripture, Tradition, and Intellect all work together to lead us to a conclusion.
Our worship tends toward the deep and profound. Our Book of Common Prayer has been developing for centuries, and our hymn-writing tradition includes giants such as Isaac Watts, John Newton, Charles Wesley, and Ralph Vaughn Williams.
Though the clergy/laity distinction might lead one to think the priest does everything, we are actually a very democratic church. Our Vestry is elected from the congregation, and makes most of the decisions about daily operation of the parish. Larger policy decisions for the Episcopal Church as a whole are made through a process of representative democracy. Even our bishops are elected.
We also have a sense of humor about ourselves, whether it's the Robin Williams Top Ten Reasons (which you can buy on a coffee cup or T-Shirt at the National Cathedral), or an ongoing stream of Episcopalian Memes. Serious-minded is not the same as grim, and some of the most relaxed, welcoming times you will experience are our coffee hours and our Winter Convocations.
Top 10 Reasons for Being an Episcopalian (According to Robin Williams)
- No snake handling.
- You can believe in dinosaurs.
- Male and female, God created them; male and female, we ordain them.
- You don't have to check your brains at the door.
- Pew aerobics.
- Church year is color coded!
- Free wine on Sunday.
- All of the pageantry, none of the guilt.
- You don't have to know how to swim to get baptized.
- And the number one reason: No matter what you believe, there's bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.
Copyright © 2017 St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Ashland, Ohio
This page was updated 8/2/17