St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church began as a Sunday school in 1890 serving the spiritual needs of those who lived in what was then a sparsely populated area of Charleston known as South Hills, located across the river from downtown Charleston. It began as an interdenominational fellowship, with gatherings at a local school. About eighty members attended.
In 1891, a bridge was built across the Kanawha River, and members of St. John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston became interested in the little Sunday school on the hill. In 1893, St. Matthew’s became a mission of the diocese. That same year, six acres of property were purchased and a native stone church was erected on the site. The mission achieved parish status in 1945.
In 1955, the congregation, having outgrown the little stone church, devised a long-range plan to build a larger facility. It would occur in three phases consisting of a new church, a companion education building and a new rectory. The new church held its first services on May 29, 1960.
The present campus includes the church (refurbished in 1987); a gymnasium built in 1924, and remodeled with the kitchen and bathrooms in 2022 as the Sutherland Family Life Center to serve the greater community; Mathes Hall, the education/fellowship building that also houses the parish’s administrative offices (built in 1972 as a wing to the gym); a cemetery and columbarium, and the Payne Memorial Garden (adjacent to the church) that can serve as a place for spiritual renewal as well as a place to hold receptions, weddings and other special events.
What We Believe
We believe there is One God who creates all things and redeems us from sin and death. We follow Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. We believe that the Bible guides our Christian faith.
We strive to love our neighbors as ourselves and to respect the dignity of every person.
The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Much of our theology is Protestant in nature, while much of the Episcopal worship, spiritual practice and church structure resembles Catholicism.
Both men and women are eligible for ordination as deacons, priests and bishops. Lay people play a vital role in the governance and ministry of our church.
All baptized Christians, and not just members of the Episcopal Church, may receive Holy Communion.
We celebrate our unity in Christ and honor our differences. We promote thoughtful debate about what God is calling us to do as followers of Christ. And we welcome all to find a home in the Episcopal Church.
How to Join
If you are interested in becoming a member of St. Matthew’s, please feel free to call the church office – we welcome and encourage your questions.