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  • Writer's pictureFr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

168th Parish Anniversary Worship for Feast of St. Matthew 2023

The Holy Eucharist

Patronal Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle

168th Anniversary of the Founding of this Parish

September 24, 2023 at 9:30 AM

Celebrant & Preacher: The Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda, Rector

Deacon: The Rev. Ella Roundtree-Davis, Deacon

Watch the Livestream at

Digital watercolor image courtesy of the Right Rev. Frank S. Logue, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia

The Patronal Feast & Parish Anniversary

Our church is named after Saint Matthew, the Apostle and Evangelist. He is one of the twelve apostles (a.k.a. disciples) of Jesus. He is the former tax collector who left his post when Jesus called, "Follow me" (Matthew 9:9). St. Matthew is also remembered as the author of the “Gospel According to St. Matthew” in the New Testament; this account of Jesus’ life and works was likely written in the 70s AD to a primarily Jewish-Christian audience. The Episcopal Church celebrates St. Matthew with a holiday (a “Major Feast”) every year on September 21.

Our church was founded through the merger of St. Stephen’s Church (founded 1855) and St. Augustine’s Church (founded 1872), both in Savannah. Because the merger for formally completed on September 24, 1943, the Vestries adopted St. Matthew as their new patron. Today, we celebrate our 168th year, dated to the founding of St. Stephen’s, on the Sunday closest to St. Matthew’s Day.

Special Thanks

Thank you to all who contributed to the purchase of the new red altar cloths used in worship for the first time today!

  • Red Altar Hangings: Family of Bette C. Milledge, Georgette Kelley, Joenelle and Charles Gordon

  • Red Burse: The Rev. Ella Roundtree-Davis

  • Red Veil: Monica Gray-Williams

Thank you to all who have already contributed to the future purchase of additional white, purple, and green altar cloths!

  • White Altar Hanging: General and Lazola Cope

  • Other Donors: Frieda McDew-Shorter, David and Penny Grinage, Jessie Stevenson, Jeannette Outing

The Holy Eucharist: Rite II

Hymn #690: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

1 Guide me, O thou great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak, but thou art mighty; hold me with thy powerful hand; bread of heaven, bread of heaven, feed me now and evermore, feed me now and evermore.

2 Open now the crystal fountain, whence the healing stream doth flow; let the fire and cloudy pillar lead me all my journey through; strong deliverer, strong deliverer. be thou still my strength and shield, be thou still my strength and shield.

3 When I tread the verge of Jordan, bid my anxious fears subside; death of death, and hell's destruction, land me safe on Canaan's side; songs of praises, songs of praises, I will ever give to thee, I will ever give to thee.

[Words: William Williams; tr. Peter Williams, alt. Music: Cum Rhondda, John Hughes. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #97969. All rights reserved.]

The Opening Acclamation

[BCP, p. 355]

Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And blessed be God’s kingdom, now and forever. Amen.

The Dedication of New Altar Cloths and Hangings

Representatives from the Altar Guild come forward and say:

We present to you this veil, burse, and altar hangings to be set apart for the service of Christ’s holy Church.

V. All things come from you, O Lord; R. And from your own gifts do we give to you. V. Prosper the work of our hands; R. Prosper our handiwork. V. Show your servants your works; R. And your splendor to their children.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, we thank you that you have put it into the hearts of your people to make offerings for your service, and have been pleased to accept their gifts. Be with us now and bless us as we set apart this to your praise and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Antiphon: God said to Moses:

This is the offering which you shall receive from the people: gold, silver, and bronze, blue and purple and scarlet cloth, and finely woven linen. (Exodus 25:3-4)

O Lord my God, how excellent is your greatness: You are clothed with majesty and splendor.

Let us pray.

O glorious God, all your works proclaim your perfect beauty: Accept our offering of this veil, this burse, and these altar hangings, and grant that they may adorn this sanctuary and show forth your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We bless your Name, O Lord, because it has pleased you to enable your servants to offer these gifts for your worship. Remember them for good, and grant that all who benefit from this gift may show their thankfulness to you by using it in accordance with your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Antiphon: God said to Moses:

This is the offering which you shall receive from the people: gold, silver, and bronze, blue and purple and scarlet cloth, and finely woven linen. (Exodus 25:3-4)

A Litany of Thanksgiving for a Church

Let us thank God whom we worship here in the beauty of holiness.

Eternal God, the heaven of heavens cannot contain you, much less the walls of temples made with hands. Graciously receive our thanks for this place, and accept the work of our hands, offered to your honor and glory.

For the Church universal, of which these visible buildings are the symbol, We thank you, Lord.

For your presence whenever two or three have gathered together in your Name, We thank you, Lord.

For this place where we may be still and know that you are God, We thank you, Lord.

For making us your children by adoption and grace, and for refreshing us day by day with the bread of life. We thank you, Lord.

For the knowledge of your will and the grace to perform it, We thank you, Lord.

For the fulfilling of our desires and petitions as you see best for us, We thank you, Lord.

For the pardon of our sins, which restores us to the company of your faithful people, We thank you, Lord.

For the blessing of our vows and the crowning of our years with your goodness, We thank you, Lord.

For the faith of those who have gone before us and for our encouragement by their perseverance, We thank you, Lord.

For the fellowship of Blessed Matthew, our patron, Blessed Stephen and Blessed Augustine, our former patrons, and of all your Saints, We thank you, Lord.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; For everything in heaven and on earth is yours.

Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; And you are exalted as head over all. Amen.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, to whose glory we celebrate the founding of this house of prayer: We give you thanks for the fellowship of those who have worshiped in this place, and we pray that all who seek you here may find you, and be filled with your joy and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn S280: Glory to God

[see also BCP, p. 356]

Glory to God in the highest,

and peace to his people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King,

almighty God and Father,

we worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world:

have mercy on us;

you are seated at the right hand of the Father:

receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High,

Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

[Words: Public Domain. Music: Robert Powell © 1985, Church Publishing, Inc. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #28331. All rights reserved.]

The Collect of the Day

[BCP, p. 357, 233]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray:

We thank you, heavenly Father, for the witness of your apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of your Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Reading from the Book of Proverbs (3:1-6)

My child, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life and abundant welfare they will give you. Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them round your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and of people. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Psalm 119:33-40

Read responsively by half-verse (after the asterisk)

33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes, * and I shall keep it to the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep your law; * I shall keep it with all my heart.

35 Make me go in the path of your commandments,* for that is my desire.

36 Incline my heart to your decrees* and not to unjust gain.

37 Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; * give me life in your ways.

38 Fulfill your promise to your servant, * which you make to those who fear you.

39 Turn away the reproach which I dread, * because your judgments are good.

40 Behold, I long for your commandments; * in your righteousness preserve my life.

A Reading from the Second Letter to Timothy (3:14-17)

As for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Hymn #232: By All Your Saints Still Striving

1 By all your saints still striving for all your saints at rest your holy Name, O Jesus forevermore be blessed You rose our King victorious that they might wear the crown and ever shine in splendor reflected from your throne.

2 We praise you, Lord, for Matthew whose gospel words declare that, worldly gain forsaking, your path of life we share From all unrighteous mammon O raise our eyes anew that we, whate’er our station may rise and follow you.

[Words: Horatio Bolton Nelson; ver. Hymnal 1982, Copyright © 1985 Church Pension Fund. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #28147. All rights reserved.]

The People stand as they are able for the reading of the Gospel.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, According to St. Matthew (9:9-13)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

Hymn #232: By All Your Saints Still Striving

3 Then let us praise the Father and worship God the Son and sing to God the Spirit eternal Three in One, till all the ransomed number who stand before the throne ascribe all power and glory and praise to God alone.

[Words: Horatio Bolton Nelson; ver. Hymnal 1982, Copyright © 1985 Church Pension Fund. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #28147. All rights reserved.]

The Sermon

“Will You Come and Follow Me?” by the Rev. Guillermo Arboleda, Rector

Today, we have the privilege of celebrating the 168th Anniversary of the founding of this parish. As a review for those who may have forgotten or to teach newer members, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church has actually not been around for 168 years. St. Matthew’s was formed from the merger of two older parishes here in Savannah: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (founded in 1855) and St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church (founded in 1872). 

Both congregations were established by and for Black Episcopalians, surviving and persisting in the Diocese of Georgia despite segregation and discrimination in society at large and in the Church. They were based in historically Black neighborhoods in Savannah: St. Stephen’s on the east side (Habersham St) and St. Augustine’s on the west side (West Broad St, now MLK Jr Blvd). William Cleghorn and other free Black people organized St. Stephen’s in 1855. In 1872, Fr. Robert Love and a group of disgruntled members of St. Stephen’s left that parish to form St. Augustine’s Church. 

A couple of generations later, in the 1940s, then-Bishop Middleton Barnwell pressured the vestries of St. Stephen’s and St. Augustine’s to merge back together. The honest truth is that the vestries and congregations were reluctant. They had gotten used to being apart. The reasons the bishop gave them for the reunion were not all wholesome godly reasons. Neither vestry trusted the Diocese at the time to deal with them honestly. We could say more but I’ll leave it at that. But in the end, the vestries looked back at their history and remembered that they were an estranged family. They had been together, they had separated, and they felt that it was time to get back together. 

The vestries of St. Stephen’s and St. Augustine’s churches agreed to this merger exactly 80 years ago today, on September 24, 1943. They would sell both properties and build a new church right here on this location. They also agreed to a new name. They chose St. Matthew as their new patron because, on the Episcopal calendar of saints, his feast day (September 21) was the closest to the date of their merger agreement. They weren’t going to be “St. Stephen’s & St. Augustine’s Church” or “St. Augustine’s & St. Stephen’s Church.” The name “St. Matthew’s” was neutral. Matthew was someone in the middle that both groups would agree on. But he was also an excellent choice for the new congregation that has now been in existence for 80 years.

St. Matthew is one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. He followed Jesus during his earthly ministry for about three years. He hid when Jesus was arrested and crucified. He saw the resurrected Jesus when he appeared through locked doors to the frightened, hiding Eleven Apostles. Matthew witnessed Jesus’ ascension into heaven outside Jerusalem. He was there when the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples like tongues of fire on the Day of Pentecost. This Matthew is said to have written the Gospel of Matthew, one of the four books about the life of Jesus that we include in the Bible. As an original apostle, Matthew became a bishop and leader in the early church. According to tradition, Matthew preached the Good News in Ethiopia and was martyred there for standing up to a power-hungry king. Matthew’s love for African people is just one reason that he is a great patron for our parish.

And so Matthew accomplished many great things in his lifetime. He is remembered as a saint, martyr, apostle, bishop, and evangelist. Those are a lot of titles! You might be thinking that he was extra special, that he was holier than us ordinary folk. Sure, God did great things through him, but God would never do much in my life. 

But the truth is far richer and more grace-filled than that. St. Matthew’s story is not a testament to Matthew’s greatness. It’s a testament to God’s greatness. It’s a testament to God’s ability to heal, forgive, and empower us to do more than we can ever ask for or imagine. And Matthew’s story begins with a call.

In our Gospel reading today, Jesus meets Matthew while he is working as a tax collector. No matter what place or time you’re thinking about in human history, most people don’t like paying taxes. IRS workers and tax commissioners are not usually the most popular people. But in 1st century Judea and Galilee, in the Jewish community, this job was really looked down upon. Jewish people in those lands were conquered people. They used to have an independent kingdom, but those days were long gone. Now they were subjects to the brutal Roman Empire. Things were not quite as bad as they were before the Exodus, when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, but 1st century Judeans certainly weren’t free. It’s fair to say that 1st century Jews were treated like our Black forebears were during the Jim Crow days.

And remember that Matthew worked for the oppressors. He collected money for the Romans to pay for the Emperor’s opulent palace back in Rome. Those traces also paid for the occupying soldiers and police force that used and abused Jewish people. So Matthew was considered a traitor to his people. He was in cahoots with the enemy and everyone knew it. 

So, when a well-respected holy man, a popular preacher like Jesus passed through, nobody expected him to even speak to Matthew. People like Matthew were shunned by the rest of the Jewish community. 

But instead, Jesus says to Matthew, “Follow me” (Matthew 9:9). Not only that, but Jesus honored Matthew by eating dinner at Matthew’s house with a bunch of other “tax collectors and sinners” (9:10). 

What do you think was going through Matthew’s head at that moment? Why would Rabbi Jesus call me? What use could I be to this Jesus Movement? Nobody is going to listen to me preach. I’m not even sure I believe all the things this man is saying about love and forgiveness. God clearly doesn’t love me. I’m a traitor and all my kin hate me. I don’t deserve forgiveness for all the horrible things I’ve done. I’m not worthy to host him in my home. I’m not worthy to be one of his closest companions. 

The details in our lives are different, but most of us have had some of those thoughts. We know all of our own deep, dark secrets. We know the things we have done that we are ashamed of, the things we hope never see the light of day. Some of us might have been publicly embarrassed or lost respect from others because of something we did. If you resonate with any of those feelings, Matthew is the saint for you… because Jesus healed them all. 

Jesus showed Matthew truelove and forgiveness in action. He showed us what mercy looks like. He showed us that no matter what we have done, God still loves us. God wants to give us a chance to change. God wants us to be transformed. When Matthew answered the call, he did not instantly become perfect. Becoming holy and following Jesus are lifelong processes. Saying yes to Jesus meant leaving some things behind. Saying yes to Jesus meant saying no to other things. Matthew had to get up and leave the tax booth. He had to abandon that unethical, treasonous profession. He had to get up and go from his hometown. He had to leave his home country to share the Good News in Ethiopia. He even had to leave his safety behind to speak the truth in love to those in power. 

Through these little sacrifices, God accomplished great things. God healed old divisions. God’s reign of love spread to new places and people. And it started when Matthew said yes to Jesus, got up from the tax booth, and followed him. This is our story too. 80 years ago, God wanted to heal the divisions between the people of St. Stephen’s and St. Augustine’s. In 1943, God used the witness of St. Matthew to help them to do it. God wanted to end the oppression of the Jews in the 1st century and the oppression of Black people in the 19th and 20th centuries. God still wants to end oppression for all persecuted peoples today. God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness can and will heal the world, but it starts with answering the call. “Follow me."

The choir and I are about to sing a song about this very theme. It’s called “The Summons (Will You Come and Follow Me)” by John L. Bell. The first four verses are written in the voice of Jesus, calling us to follow him. The fifth and final verse is our faithful response, our yes to Jesus’ invitation. The song reminds us that answering Jesus’ call means going to new places and being transformed. Verse 1: “Will you come and follow me if I but call your name? Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?” Like St. Matthew in Ethiopia, following Jesus and loving the unlovable may make others hate us as they hated Jesus and St. Matthew. Verse 2 asks, “Will you risk the hostile stare?” And finally, following Jesus requires us to accept his forgiveness. We need to be able to love our neighbors as ourselves, so we cannot hate ourselves or despair. The fourth verse very poignantly says, “Will you love the ‘you’ you hide if I but call your name?” God loves even the hidden parts of us and invites us to be transformed by grace. God transformed Matthew; God transformed St. Stephen’s and St. Augustine’s Churches; and God is transforming the people of St. Matthew’s Church today. 

Let us pray as we listen to this song…

Choir Selection: “The Summons (Will You Come and Follow Me)”

1 Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?

Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?

Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,

will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

2 Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?

Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?

Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?

Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

3 Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?

Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?

Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,

and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

4 Will you love the "you" you hide if I but call your name?

Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?

Will you use the faith you've found to reshape the world around,

through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

5 Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.

Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.

In Your company I'll go where Your love and footsteps show.

Thus, I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

[As found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship #798. Words and Music: John L. Bell, Copyright © 1987 Iona Community, GIA Publications, Inc. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #00076. All rights reserved.]

The Nicene Creed

[BCP, p. 358]

All standing as they are able, the People pray:

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Prayers of the People, Form VI

[Adapted from BCP, p. 392]

In peace, we pray to you, Lord God.


For all people in their daily life and work;

For our families, friends, and neighbors, and for those who are alone.

For Joseph, our president; Brian, our governor; Van, our mayor; Chester, the chair of our County Commission; and all other civic officials; For this community, the nation, and the world;

For all who work for justice, freedom, and peace.

For the just and proper use of your creation;

For the victims of hunger, fear, injustice, and oppression.

For all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble;

For those who minister to the sick, the friendless, and the needy.

For all the churches in Savannah, that we may be one as you are one with the Son, and the Holy Spirit; For the peace and unity of the Church of God;

For all who proclaim the Gospel, and all who seek the Truth.

For Michael our Presiding Bishop, Frank our Bishop, Guillermo our Priest, Ella our Deacon; and for all bishops and other ministers;

For all who serve God in his Church.

For the special needs and concerns of this congregation, especially for our Day Care’s staff, students, and families, and for those on our Parish Prayer List: Mary Bonaparte, Jacqueline Bryant, Lazola Cope, Enrique Davis, Aaron Duplechien, Jr., Charles Gordon, Marva Harris, David Jones, Beverly Kemp, Whitney Kennedy, Sada Maxwell, Jeannette Outing, Jewel Wheeler, and those we remember now… Hear us, Lord; For your mercy is great.

We thank you, Lord, for all the blessings of this life, especially for all visitors, those celebrating birthdays: Kevin Harris (9/25), Alex Jenkins (9/27), and Sigmund Hudson (9/29); those celebrating anniversaries: Donald & Marilyn Jones (9/25); and any other thanksgivings we offer now... We will exalt you, O God our King; And praise your Name for ever and ever.

We pray for all who have died, that they may have a place in your eternal kingdom, especially Cynthia Parris (9/10) and Noel Wheeler (9/18), and those we remember now... Lord, let your loving-kindness be upon them; Who put their trust in you.

The Celebrant says:

Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant, Saint Matthew, who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock; and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life, we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Peace

[BCP, p. 360]

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

Parish Announcements

168th Parish Anniversary Celebration TODAY: Please join us for a Reception after the worship service in Toomer-Walker Hall. Suggested Anniversary donations are between $120 (price of river cruise tickets) and $168 (in honor of 168 years since the founding of St. Stephen’s Church).

St. Anna Alexander Eucharist in Pennick TODAY: Racial Justice Georgia (RJGA), the diocesan racial justice and healing ministry, invites you to attend this year’s celebration of the Feast of St. Anna Alexander (September 24). The lone Black deaconess in the Episcopal Church, and the most recent person from the diocese recognized as a saint, St. Anna selflessly pursued a ministry of teaching, preaching, and community work for decades in the early 20th century, despite the confinements of Jim Crow. The closing Eucharist service will be on Sunday, September 24 at 3:00 PM at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 780 Pennick Rd, Brunswick, GA 31525 and feature St. Timothy’s choristers from the Diocese of Atlanta. Fr. A and others will carpool from St. Matthew’s at 1:00 PM.

168th Anniversary Collection for Babies & Mothers at St. Mary’s: In keeping with our parish vision, we will celebrate our parish’s 168th Anniversary with worship, fellowship, and service to our neighbors! We are collecting supplies for St. Mary’s Community Center (St. Joseph/Candler Hospitals) to support new mothers in Cuyler-Brownsville. There is a box for receiving donations in Toomer-Walker Hall. St. Mary’s requests donations of: Baby formula (any brand); Diapers; Baby wipes; Baby soap; Baby cereal; Strained food for older babies; Nonperishable foods (canned goods, rice, grits, peanut butter, etc.)

Burial for Noel Wheeler on Sept. 30: St. Matthew’s mourns the loss of Noel Wheeler, 79, who passed away peacefully, on Monday, September 18, 2023. Mr. Wheeler’s burial service will take place at St. Matthew’s on Saturday, September 30, at 12:00 noon, with a repast to follow immediately in Toomer-Walker Hall. Matthew H. Lovett & Sons Funeral Home, Inc., of Statesboro, GA, will hold a viewing on Friday, September 29, from 12:00-5:00 PM, and St. Matthew’s will have a viewing on Saturday, September 30, from 10:00 -12:00. May Noel’s soul and the souls of all the departed rest in peace. Amen.

Thank You Card for MJ Harris: MJ Harris has volunteered faithfully as our parish administrator since July 2019, and her tenure ends at the end of September. She brought diligence, skill, humor, and lots of fun to all those who worked with her in our office. Please help us express our gratitude for her four years of dedicated ministry with St. Matthew’s. There will be a large card available in church next week for people to write notes and/or sign.

Now Hiring: Parish Administrator: St. Matthew's Episcopal Church is searching for a new part-time Parish Administrator to begin work in October 2023. Read the full job description here: Interested applicants should send a cover letter and résumé to Fr. Guillermo Arboleda at

St. Matthew’s at the SSU Homecoming Parade on Oct. 21: St. Matthew’s will have a walking unit in the Savannah State University Homecoming Parade on Saturday, October 21 at 9:00 AM. More details to come.

“Why We Are Apart” Symposium on Oct. 28: Sociologist Dr. Bertice Berry is organizing an educational symposium at St. Matthew’s called “Why We Are Apart: The Slave Bible and the Church in Black and White.” This event will take place on October 28 from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM and feature presentations by St. Matthew’s Rector, Deacon, and Music Director, Dr. Berry, and local historian Hermina Glass-Hill. This event is free and open to the public.

Diocesan Youth Events

  • New Beginnings on Oct. 20-22: New Beginnings, an event for youth in grades 7-9, will take place October 20-22. This event, which helps middle schoolers and young high schoolers center themselves in who they are as God’s beloved children, even in the middle of all the calls on their time, energy, and attention.

  • Happening 108 on Nov. 17-19: Happening is a Christian experience presented by teenagers, for teenagers in grades 10-12 with the help of clergy and lay adult leadership. The Happening Weekend begins Friday evening, November 17 and continues through Sunday afternoon, November 19.

T/W/Th Evening Prayer on Zoom and Facebook: On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, St. Matthew's invites you to pray Evening Prayer with us over Zoom at 5:00 PM. If you want to be in the Zoom call, please join by 4:55 PM using the link in the e-Newsletter. Thanks to a technical fix, these Zoom calls will once again be live-streamed to our church’s Facebook page.

The Offertory

[BCP, p. 376]

Giving to St. Matthew's:

  1. Mail us a check or money order at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 1401 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd, Savannah, GA 31415; OR

  2. Make a secure online gift to St. Matthew’s and/or automate future gifts at:; OR

  3. Text “stmattsav” to 73256 to make a secure online donation through your phone.

NOTE: Donations made online (#2 or #3) through Realm incur a processing fee of about 2.5%. Please consider adding an additional 2.5% to your online gift to cover these costs.

Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself to us, an offering and sacrifice to God. [Ephesians 5:2]

LEV #72: Just a Closer Walk With Thee

1 I am weak but thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong; I’ll be satisfied as long As I walk, let me walk close to thee.

REFRAIN: Just a closer walk with thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

2 Through this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares? Who with me my burden shares? None but thee, dear Lord, none but thee. [R]

3 When my feeble life is o’er, Time for me will be no more; Guide me gently, safely o’er To Thy kingdom shore, to thy shore. [R]

[Words: Anonymous. Music: American Folk Song. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #95172. All rights reserved.]

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

Praise God, Praise God, Praise God!

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Circling through earth so all may grow

Vanquishing fear so all may give

Widening grace so all may live


[Words: Eric H. F. Law, Copyright © 2015 Eric H. F. Law. Music: Old 100th, attributed to Louis Bourgeois, Public Domain. Reprinted with permission from Kaleidoscope Institute. All rights reserved.]

Eucharistic Prayer B

[BCP, p. 367]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give God thanks and praise.

It is right and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth through the great shepherd of your flock, Jesus Christ our Lord; who after his resurrection sent forth his apostles to preach the Gospel and to teach all nations; and promised to be with them always, even to the end of the ages.

Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:

LEV #255:

Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts

Heaven and earth are filled with your glory

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest, hosanna in the highest.

[Music: Grayson Warren Brown, A Mass for Soulful People, Copyright © 1979 North American Liturgy Resources, Published by OCP. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #83420. All rights reserved.]

The people stand or kneel.

We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love which you have made known to us in creation; in the calling of Israel to be your people; in your Word spoken through the prophets; and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus, your Son. For in these last days you sent him to be incarnate from the Virgin Mary, to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world. In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy to stand before you. In him, you have brought us out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.

On the night before he died for us, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me."

Therefore, according to his command, O Father,

We remember his death, We proclaim his resurrection, We await his coming in glory;

And we offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to you, O Lord of all; presenting to you, from your creation, this bread and this wine.

We pray you, gracious God, to send your Holy Spirit upon these gifts that they may be the Sacrament of the Body of Christ and his Blood of the new Covenant. Unite us to your Son in his sacrifice, that we may be acceptable through him, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. In the fullness of time, put all things in subjection under your Christ, and bring us to that heavenly country where, with Blessed Matthew and all your saints, we may enter the everlasting heritage of your sons and daughters; through Jesus Christ our Lord, the firstborn of all creation, the head of the Church, and the author of our salvation.

By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. AMEN.

The Lord’s Prayer

[BCP, p. 364]

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy Name,

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those

who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

and the power, and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread

Silence may be kept.

The Fraction Anthems

[BCP, p. 364]

Hymn S-152:

Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;

Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia!

[Music: Ambrosian chant; adapt. Mason Martens, Copyright © 1971 Mason Martens.]

This Far By Faith #36:

O Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;

have mercy and grant us peace,

we pray, O Lamb of God.

[Words: Traditional. Music: Grayson Warren Brown; arr. Larry Adams, Copyright © 1979 Grayson Warren Brown. All rights reserved.]

The Gifts of God for the people of God.

The Distribution of Holy Communion

All baptized Christians of any denomination are invited to come forward to participate fully in Communion. Baptized children may receive at the discretion of their parents.

You may receive Communion kneeling or standing. Please extend your hands forward to receive the Body of Christ (bread). If you would like to receive the Blood of Christ (wine), the minister will take the bread from your hand and dip (intinct) it in the wine for you, then place it in your mouth. If you would only like to receive the bread, you may consume it and return to your seat. If you need gluten-free bread for Communion, please raise your hand when you are at the altar rail.

If you would not like to receive Communion for any reason, please cross your arms over your chest, and the Priest will say a blessing over you.

If you are worshipping online, you may pray to receive spiritual communion using the following prayer:

In union, O Lord, with your faithful people at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is now being celebrated, I desire to offer to you praise and thanksgiving. I remember your death, Lord Christ; I proclaim your resurrection; I await your coming in glory. Since I cannot receive you today in the Sacrament of your Body and Blood, I beseech you to come spiritually into my heart. Cleanse and strengthen me with your grace, Lord Jesus, and let me never be separated from you. May I live in you, and you in me, in this life and in the life to come. Amen.

LEV #154: Taste and See

REFRAIN: Taste and see, taste and see the goodness of the Lord. Oh, taste and see, taste and see the goodness of the Lord, of the Lord.

1 I will bless the Lord at all times. Praise shall always be on my lips; my soul shall glory in the Lord; for God has been so good to me. [R]

2 Glorify the Lord with me. Together let us all praise God's name. I called the Lord, who answered me; from all my troubles I was set free. [R]

3 Worship the Lord, all you people. You’ll want for nothing if you ask. Taste and see that the Lord is good; in God we need put all our trust. [R]

[Words and Music: James E. Moore, Jr., lyrics adapted from Psalm 34, Copyright © 1992 G.I.A. Publications, Inc. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #00155. All rights reserved.]

Hymn #660: O Master Let Me Walk With Thee

1 O Master, let me walk with thee in lowly paths of service free; tell me thy secret; help me bear the strain of toil, the fret of care.

2 Help me the slow of heart to move by some clear, winning word of love; teach me the wayward feet to stay, and guide them in the homeward way.

3 Teach me thy patience; still with thee in closer, dearer company, in work that keeps faith sweet and strong, in trust that triumphs over wrong,

4 In hope that sends a shining ray far down the future's broadening way, in peace that only thou canst give, with thee, O Master, let me live.

[Words: Words: Washington Gladden. Music: Maryton, Henry Percy Smith. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #97763. All rights reserved.]

The Post-Communion Prayer

[BCP, p. 366; Enriching our Worship 2 [2000], pp. 56-57]

Let us pray.

For In-Person Worshippers:

Almighty and everliving God, we thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of your Son, and heirs of your eternal kingdom. And now, Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

For Online Worshippers and Those Receiving Spiritual Communion:

Faithful God, in the wonder of your wisdom and love you fed your people in the wilderness with the bread of angels, and you sent Jesus to be the bread of life. Though we cannot consume now these gifts of bread and wine, we thank you that we have received the sacrament of Christ’s presence, the forgiveness of sins, and all other benefits of Christ’s passion. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we embody your desire and be renewed for your service through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

The Blessing of the People

[Book of Occasional Services 2022, p. 19]

May God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, to know the hope to which God has called you. Amen.

May God, who has given you an example of holy living and holy dying in the witness of Saint Matthew, bring you to share the glorious inheritance of the saints. Amen.

May God, who calls you friends and fellow citizens with the saints, give you grace to walk in the way of Christ. Amen.

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you forever. Amen.

LEV #161: Go Preach My Gospel

1 “Go preach my gospel,” saith the Lord, “Bid the whole earth my grace receive, Explain to them my sacred word, Bid them believe, obey, and live.”

2 “I’ll make my great commission known, And ye shall prove my gospel true By all the works that I have done, And all the wonders ye shall do.”

3 “Go heal the sick, go raise the dead, Go cast out devils in my name. Nor let my prophets be afraid, Though man reproach, and will blaspheme.”

4 “While thus ye follow my commands, I’m with you till the world shall end. All pow’r in trusted in my hands; I can destroy, and can defend.”

5 He spake and light shone round His head, On a bright cloud to heav’n He rode. They to the farthest nation spread The grace of their ascended God.

[Words: Isaac Watts. Music: Thomas Hastings. Public Domain. All rights reserved.]

Parish Photo

The Dismissal

[BCP, p. 366]

Let us go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.

Thanks be to God!

The Parish Prayer List

PRAYER LIST: Mary Bonaparte, Jacqueline Bryant, Lazola Cope, Enrique Davis, Aaron Duplechien, Jr., Charles Gordon, Marva Harris, David Jones, Beverly Kemp, Whitney Kennedy, Sada Maxwell, Jeannette Outing, Jewel Wheeler

BIRTHDAYS: Kevin Harris (9/25), Alex Jenkins (9/27), Sigmund Hudson (9/29)

WEDDING ANNIVERSARIES: Donald & Marilyn Jones (9/25)

RECENT DEATHS: Cynthia Parris (d. 9/10/2023), Noel Wheeler (d. 9/18/2023)

May the souls of all the departed rest in peace; and may light perpetual shine upon them. Amen.

Permissions and Credits: This service is reproduced from The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (BCP), Enriching Our Worship 1 (EOW1), The Hymnal 1982 (Hymn), Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (LEV), and other sources cited. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.

Image Credits: Digital watercolor based on a photograph, both created by the Right Rev. Frank S. Logue, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. Reproduced with permission.

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