• Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

St. Matthew's Day & 165th Parish Anniversary (September 20, 2020)


The Holy Eucharist: The Liturgy of the Word

The Patronal Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist, &

The 165th Parish Anniversary September 20, 2020


Watch the Livestream at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav/Live/

Sunday at 9:30 a.m. (or anytime afterward)



Preface


I am posting this worship service online because we at St. Matthew's Church in Savannah are unable to gather together in person this week. Due to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak, public health officials recommend avoiding large gatherings of people to avoid spreading the illness to more vulnerable people. Therefore, under the guidance of the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, the Vestry has decided to keep our church building closed to all in-person gatherings.


At 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, I will broadcast the following worship service using Facebook Live at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav. After the service concludes, you can re-watch it at any time.


Today's service is a celebration of the Feast of St. Matthew and the 165th Anniversary of the founding of our parish. Our church is named after Saint Matthew, the Apostle and Evangelist. He is one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. 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. The Episcopal Church celebrates St. Matthew with a “Major Feast” (a holiday) every year on September 21.


Our church was founded on September 24, 1943, through the merger of St. Stephen’s Church (founded 1855) and St. Augustine’s Church (founded 1872), both in Savannah. Because the merger was completed so close to St. Matthew's Day, the Vestries adopted him as their new patron. We celebrate our anniversary, dating to the founding of St. Stephen’s in 1855. every year on the Sunday closest to St. Matthew’s Day.


This service is for use at home while watching the live stream or reading the prayers on your own time when you cannot physically attend worship. Lay people may read the entirety of this service as printed.


May God protect you from this virus and protect the most vulnerable among us. May we be God’s hands and feet of compassion and service to all in need during this time. Amen.


Yours in Christ,

Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda



The stained glass image featuring St. Matthew, the Apostle and Evangelist, on the window next to the pulpit of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Savannah, GA.



The Word of God


Prelude

Hymn #362: Holy, Holy, Holy

Performed on the trumpet by Anthony Blue, Jr.



AAHH #409/410: Faith of our Fathers / Faith of our Mothers (Medley)


#409:

1 Faith of our fathers! living still,

In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;

O how our hearts beat high with joy

Whene’er we hear that glorious word!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death.


3 Faith of our fathers! we will love

Both friend and foe in all our strife:

And preach thee, too, as love knows how,

By kindly words and virtuous life

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death.


#410:

1 Faith of our mothers, living yet In cradle song and bedtime prayer, In nurs'ry love and fireside love, Thy presence still pervades the air: Faith of our mothers, living faith, We will be true to thee till death.

3 Faith of our mothers, guiding faith, For youthful longing– youthful doubt, How blurred our vision, blind our way, Thy providential care without: Faith of our mothers, guiding faith, We will be true to thee till death.


#409

Words: Frederick William Faber, Public Domain

Music: ST. CATHERINE, Henri Frederick Hemy, Public Domain

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #84095. All rights reserved.


#410

Words: A. B. Patten, Public Domain

Music: ST. CATHERINE, Henri Frederick Hemy, Public Domain



Opening Sentences

[BCP, p. 355]


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

And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen.



The Collect for Purity

[BCP, p. 355]


Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Hymn S 280: Glory to God in the Highest

[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 #77081. All rights reserved.


The Collect of the Day

[BCP, p. 357, 244]


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 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 favour 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

[BCP, p. 766]

Read responsively by half-verse (at 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 St. 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.


LEV #189: Great Is Thy Faithfulness


1 Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with thee;

Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not,

As thou hast been thou forever wilt be.


2 Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness,

To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


REFRAIN:

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed thy hand hath provided,

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!


3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside! [Refrain]


Words: Thomas O. Chisholm

Music: William M. Runyan, © 1923, renewed 1951 Hope Publishing Co; arrangement by Guillermo A. Arboleda.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #01658. All rights reserved.



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.

The Sermon

“I Never Shall Forget” by the Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda


For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had this song stuck in my head. Truth be told, I have lots of songs stuck in my head all the time. I always have, as long as I can remember. But ever since we sang it again during St. Matthew’s video worship service last Sunday, I’ve been humming to the tune of “Oh, What He’s Done For Me” (African American Heritage Hymnal #154).


This song is just a perfect representation of what we are celebrating together today. On this feast of our patron, St. Matthew, as we celebrate the 165th Anniversary of our parish’s founding, we have so much to be thankful for. We can look back at all the good things Jesus Christ has done over the last 165 years and smile. As the song says, “I never shall forget what He’s done for me!”


Part 1: St. Matthew, the Tax Collector Turned Apostle


Matthew is a saint who really embodies the power of God to change and transform our lives. His conversion story might not be as famous as Paul’s, but it’s no less significant. The Gospel tells us that Matthew was a tax collector, “sitting at the tax booth” (9:9). Matthew was a man who had sold out to the Roman government. He was a Jewish man from Palestine, just like Jesus and the majority of his followers. The Jewish people had been conquered by Rome after centuries of domination by other foreign powers. By the time Jesus was an adult, the nation of Israel had not been independent for over 600 years! That’s more than twice as old as the USA is.


Each new imperial overlord brought the promise of a better life for its people, but that was all propaganda and lies. None of them really cared about their colonial subjects. They just wanted to tax them for their money, food, and resources. They demand these goods with the threat of the sword; the Roman military police enforced these laws and stymied rebellions with brutal efficiency. 


Most Jews put their heads down, paid the exploitative taxes, and tried to stay out of trouble. Some criticized and challenged the Roman overlords or, more often, the middle-managing governors of their region (like Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas). Like John the Baptist and Jesus, they usually didn’t last very long. 


But some found ways to assimilate into the power structures, to cozy up with the Romans, and try to get a leg up while holding their sisters and brothers down. These opportunists took several forms, but the most visible and hated form was the tax collector.


Tax collectors were considered traitors to their own people. They chose to be Roman bureaucrats because it made them wealthy, even though they got their wealth by stealing it from their neighbors. Roman taxes alone were a heavy burden, but tax collectors were given nearly unlimited leeway to add to the taxes for their own gain. So if Rome wanted 100 shekels per year, the tax collector might ask for 150 or 200 and keep the extra. And you couldn’t really get away with refusing to pay the collector (even though you knew he was stealing from you) because the collector keeps the Roman soldiers at bay. All he has to do is say that you and your family are rebels and you’d be in big trouble.


Typical Jewish religious leaders wouldn’t dream of associating with tax collectors. They were liars, thieves, and traitors, and everybody knew it. So you can’t blame the Pharisees for being shocked that Jesus, this new upstart preacher (who was often critical of both Jewish and Roman leaders), was having dinner with “tax collectors and sinners” (9:11). In the 21st Century USA, it might be like Jesus meeting with corrupt and abusive cops, drug dealers, and/or gang leaders. It comes across as both perplexing and offensive. How can this man be holy if his friends are all so openly evil? And remember, Matthew (who our church is named after) was one of them


But Jesus sees past Matthew’s coarse outer shell, all his corruption and evil deeds, and he sees a human being. Jesus sees a beloved child of God. Jesus sees someone who was created in the image of God and who God made good deep down inside. Jesus sees someone with the capacity to change.


So Jesus invites Matthew to take a step of faith. Leave the tax booth and “‘Follow me.’” The scripture continues, “And he got up and followed him (Matthew 9:9). Jesus invited Matthew to become a disciple and an apostle and later a bishop. He became the author of one of the four Gospels in our Bibles today. Matthew was going one way in life, but Jesus picked him up and turned him around. His life was totally transformed by Jesus! As the song says, “He picked me up and turned me around, that’s what He’s done for me! I never shall forget what He’s done for me” (AAHH #154, verse 4).


None of that happened because Matthew earned it. It’s because Jesus gave him the grace and the love he needed to change. As Jesus explains, “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” (Matthew 9:12-13).


Part 2: Origins of St. Stephen’s, St. Augustine’s, and St. Matthew’s Churches


That’s our heritage. We, like Matthew, don’t need to be perfect. We just need to be willing to answer Jesus when he calls, to get up and follow him. And that’s what this church has been doing for 165 years! Here are some examples we shouldn’t forget.


In a time when most Black Georgians were enslaved, Free Blacks like William and Cornelia Claghorn organized and petitioned for the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia to establish a mission for Black people. In 1855, Mr. Claghorn (not the Bishop) invited the Rev. Sherod Kennerly to be the first priest of St. Stephen’s congregation. The Claghorns owned a bakery on Perry Lane and Habersham Street, and they offered the upstairs hall as a meeting place for the new church plant. Mr. Claghorn served faithfully on the Vestry for many years and St. Stephen’s moved into its own church building on September 13, 1860 (Hoskins, 1-3). 


The Claghorns were hungry for Jesus and didn’t wait for the white Church leadership to feed them. They took initiative and met Jesus themselves. They answered His call to “Follow me!” (Matthew 9:9), and God blessed their labors! “He feeds me when I’m hungry, that’s what He’s done for me! I never shall forget what He’s done for me!” (AAHH #154, verse 3).


In September 1872, the Rev. John Robert Love, the first black clergyman in the Diocese of Georgia, left St. Stephen’s after a short time and founded St. Augustine’s mission in Yamacraw Village. St. Stephen’s continued to thrive, and St. Augustine’s was composed of 30 entirely new church members in its first year. The mission began alongside a day school because at the time, the Savannah Board of Education provided no public education to Black students (Hoskins, 11). 


Because he trusted in Jesus to supply the people’s needs, Fr. Love built a mission in West Savannah to match the work in East Savannah. They cared for their children and prepared for the future. Though bogged down by the mud and mire of racism and discrimination from the Diocese and the wider society, Fr. Love answered Jesus’ call to “Follow me!” (Matthew 9:9) and God blessed his labors. “He took my feet out the miry clay, that’s what He’s done for me! I never shall forget what He’s done for me!” (AAHH #154, verse 2).


In the early 1940s, then-Bishop of Georgia Middleton Barnwell began to pressure St. Stephen’s and St. Augustine’s churches to merge and move together to the west side of Savannah. After years of consideration and some tense negotiation, the two vestries agreed on September 24, 1943. The newly-formed St. Matthew’s Church was led by Fr. Elliott L. Guy and then, in 1946, Fr. Gustave H. Caution as rector; Marion Johnson was senior warden; Leonard Law, Sr., was church school superintendent; Boles Ford was clerk of the Vestry; Henry Solomon was treasurer; and Mrs. F. Robinson was mission treasurer (Hoskins, 56-57). 


These men and women (and many others) led our church through a controversial merger. They navigated the differences between the two churches and helped us to attain unity, as symbolized by this beautiful building that was completed in 1949. They took what seemed to be lemons from the bishop and by God’s grace they made lemonade. They trusted Jesus enough to follow him, knowing that He would lead them in this new direction together as St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. “He picked me up and turned me around, that’s what He’s done for me! I never shall forget what He’s done for me!” (AAHH #154, verse 4).


We have a long heritage of courageous leadership in St. Matthew’s history. We come from a line of Christians who trusted in their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ enough to follow him into the unknown. Today we continue into the great unknown, during a pandemic, in an election year, with so much uncertainty. Yet we know that if we trust and follow Jesus, like St. Matthew and so many others did, it won’t all be easy, but God will carry us through. Jesus has done it before. Look at what He’s done for us! So God will be with us in this, our 166th year, and beyond. Amen.



Bibliography

  • African American Heritage Hymnal [AAHH]. Edited by Dolores Carpenter and Nolan E. Williams, Jr. Chicago: GIA Publications, Inc., 2001.

  • Hoskins, Charles Lwanga. Saints Stephen, Augustine and Matthew: 150 Years of Struggle, Hardship and Success. Savannah, GA: Gullah Press, 2005.


A Litany of Thanksgiving for a Church

[BCP, p. 578]

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.

The Celebrant concludes:

Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Song of Thanksgiving: "Thank You, Lord"


1 Thank You, Lord,

Thank You, Lord,

Thank You, Lord,

I just want to thank You, Lord.


2 Been so good,

Been so good,

Been so good,

I just want to thank You, Lord.


Words: Traditional [see AAHH #531], Public Domain.

Music: Negro spiritual, Public Domain; arrangement by Guillermo A. Arboleda



The Nicene Creed

[BCP, p. 358]

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

[Adapted from Form III, BCP, p. 387]

Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church; That we all may be one.

Grant that every member of the Church may truly and humbly serve you; That your Name may be glorified by all people.

We pray for all bishops, priests, and deacons; That they may be faithful ministers of your Word and Sacraments.

We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world; That there may be justice and peace on the earth.

Give us grace to do your will in all that we undertake; That our works may find favor in your sight.

Have compassion on those who suffer from any grief or trouble especially for our Day Care’s staff, students, and families, and for those on our Parish Prayer List: Martha Avery, Zavier Bradley, Raleigh Bryant, Christine Brown, Mark Case, Genella Chamberlain, Annie Colbert, Lazola Cope, Alice Dailey, Beryl Dandy, Mark Dashiell, Brittany Dawson, Imani Ferguson, Ruby Fernandez, Harry Frazier, Gary Gordon, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Enoch Henderson, Charles E. Hines, Kenneth Howard, Terri Howard, Dale Hundley, Jared Hundley, Tracy Hundley, Milinda James, Alvin Jenkins, Dana Jenkins, Frances T. Jones, Lori Jones, Robert L. Jones, Sr., Ronald Jones, Tonya Jones, Whitney Kennedy, Leonard Law, Jr., Ralph Lovett, Ryan Lovett, Tammie Lovett, Marcus Marzen, Joan Maty, Craig Maxwell, Sada Maxwell, Carmelita Maynard, Bette Milledge, Hollie Moultrie, Patricia Murry, Russell Nails, Dorothy Neal, Glenzy Payne, Robert Payne, Dison Washington Slaughter, James Small, Gwendolyn Smith, Willie Stephens, Lori Ward, Gertrude Washington, Noel Wheeler, and Dean Williams; That they may be delivered from their distress.

Give to the departed eternal rest. Let light perpetual shine upon them.

We praise you for your saints who have entered into joy; May we also come to share in your heavenly kingdom.

Let us pray for our own needs and those of others, especially for Edward Vaughn (9/22), Alex Jenkins (9/24), Kevin Harris (9/25), and Paul Berksteiner, Jr. (9/25), on their birthdays; and for Donald and Marilyn Jones (9/25) on their wedding anniversary.

Silence. The People may add their own petitions.

The Celebrant adds a concluding Collect.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles, "Peace I give to you; my own peace I leave with you:" Regard not our sins, but the faith of your Church, and give to us the peace and unity of that heavenly City, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.



The Peace

[BCP, p. 360]


The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

Announcements

A. Fall 2020 Virtual Christian Education Survey: Help Fr. Arboleda plan for the Fall 2020 Virtual Christian Education offerings! Take the survey here!

These meetings will take place over video or phone conferencing (Google Meet or Zoom), not in-person, in order to protect the health and safety of all participants. They will last no longer than one hour. If you need help using video conferencing technology from home, we are happy to coach you through it! Please answer as honestly as you can about your interest and availability to attend Christian Education this fall.


The survey closes next Sunday, September 27, and we will announce a Christian Education offering on Sunday, October 4!


B. St. Matthew's Day & 165th Parish Anniversary Fellowship Hour: Join us after worship for a virtual fellowship hour over Zoom, as we celebrate this historic day for our church! The call will begin at 10:30 AM (or right after the worship video ends, whichever comes later). Check out the e-Newsletter or email Fr. Arboleda for the direct link and/or password for the Zoom call.


Topic: St. Matthew's Anniversary Fellowship

Time: Sep 20, 2020 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting

See e-Newsletter or email Fr. Arboleda


Meeting ID: 839 5312 0175

Passcode: See e-Newsletter or email Fr. Arboleda


Dial by your location

+1 929 205 6099

Meeting ID: 839 5312 0175

Passcode: See e-Newsletter or email Fr. Arboleda


C. Children’s Godly Play @ 11 AM: This Sunday the Diocese will begin a series of virtual Godly Play offerings. Godly Play is a Montessori-based curriculum that focuses on telling stories using physical materials and allowing participants to play and work with the stories at their own level. 


On Sunday, September 20, on the Diocesan Facebook Page at 11:00 a.m., the Rev. Canon Joshua Varner will host a Zoom call during which children (and their associated adults) can gather to hear the Creation story again and reflect on it together, sharing their ideas and wonderings. These sessions are appropriate for young people of all ages, and many adults find that the Godly Play method allows them to think about stories they have known for a long time in new and different ways.


The link to the Zoom Call will be available both from the Diocese of Georgia FB Page and through From the Field (the Diocesan Newsletter). Please contact Canon Varner at  jvarner@gaepiscopal.org with your questions.


D. 2021 Quilt Raffle for Building Renovation Fund: In October, the St. Matthew's ECW will launch a Quilt Raffle to support the Building Renovation Fund. Tickets will be available for purchase on October 4 at $15 per ticket. More details coming soon!


Give to the Building Renovation Fund Now:https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now


E. (Re-)Watch The Voter Education Seminar: On Wednesday, September 2, St. Matthew's held a voter education seminar with Sharyl Sutton, Voter Education Coordinator for the Georgia Office of the Secretary of State. Feel free to watch or re-watch it any time to learn critical information about the upcoming General Election! https://www.facebook.com/stmattsav/videos/354012282670839


F. Virtual Coffee Hour 9/27: We will hold a virtual "Coffee Hour" over Zoom next Sunday (September 27), and again on every other Sunday at 10:30 AM. (Thank you to Mrs. Rachael Blue-Jones who is donating a professional Zoom login to the church for our use.)


For security purposes, below is the Meeting ID only; please check your St. Matthew's e-Newsletter for the password (or email FrGAA@StMattSav.org to request it).


Topic: St. Matthew's Coffee Hour

Time: Sep 27, 2020 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Meeting ID: 825 7251 1175

Passcode: SEE e-NEWSLETTER


Dial by your location

+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 825 7251 1175

Passcode: SEE e-NEWSLETTER


G. Weekly Worship Schedule: St. Matthew's Church building remains closed to in-person worship and all non-essential activities due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Vestry will monitor the public health data to determine when is the appropriate time to begin the Diocesan Phase 1 Re-Gathering Plan. We will maintain online worship options for the foreseeable future on Facebook Live video and in writing on our Blog. Many other updates are available via the Facebook page.


The worship schedule is as follows:

  1. Sundays - 9:30 Worship (You can find all of the upcoming Sunday and Holiday readings at http://www.lectionarypage.net.)

  2. Tuesdays - 5:00 Evening Prayer

  3. Wednesdays - 5:00 Evening Prayer

  4. Thursdays - 5:00 Evening Prayer


H. New Parish e-Newsletter: Check your email and read it if you haven't yet. If you did not receive it, then please go to our homepage (www.stmattsav.org) and scroll to the bottom of the page, where you can enter your email to sign up. The e-Newsletter includes our preliminary financial reports for the first two quarters of 2020 (January 1 - June 30). They are available via our new e-Newsletter.


I. Become a Video Reader or Singer: St. Matthew's is pre-recording Sunday services to ensure higher quality video and audio for our worshippers at home. This provides a new opportunity for church members to be a part of the service! Mrs. Pearson and I will reach out to parishioners about recording themselves reading Scripture lessons and/or the Prayers of the People for use in these Sunday videos. If you want to get involved, please email me about your interest at FrGAA@StMattSav.org.


J. Giving to St. Matthew's: Many people are feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, including the church. We still need your support to pay our staff, pay our bills, and provide for these online live streams. If you pledged a donation in 2020 and are able, please continue making those contributions. If you have not pledged, please consider donating to St. Matthew’s now and in the future. There are several ways to give, but the simplest are these:

  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: https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now; 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.


The Offertory

[BCP, p. 377]


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


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LEV #71: In Times Like These

[Featuring St. Matthew's Virtual Choir]


1 In times like these, you need a Savior,

In times like these, you need an anchor,

Be very sure, be very sure.

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He's the One

This Rock is Jesus, The only One!

Be very sure, be very sure.

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


2 In times like these, you need the Bible,

In times like these, O be not idle,

Be very sure, be very sure.

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He's the One

This Rock is Jesus, The only One!

Be very sure, be very sure.

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


3 In times like these, I have a Savior,

In times like these, I have an anchor,

I'm very sure, I'm very sure.

My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He's the One

This Rock is Jesus, The only One!

I'm very sure, I'm very sure.

My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


Words: Ruth Caye Jones

Music: Ruth Caye Jones © 1944 Singspiration Music/ASCAP; used by permission of Benson Music Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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 Blessing & Dismissal

[Adapted from The Book of Occasional Services 2018, pp. 15-16; BCP, p 366]


May Almighty God, to whose glory we celebrate this festival of Saint Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist, be now and evermore our guide and companion in the way. Amen.


May God, who has bound us together in the company of the elect, in this age and the age to come, attend to the prayers of God’s faithful servants on our behalf, as God hears our prayers for them. Amen.


May God, who has given us, in the life of Saint Matthew, a pattern of holy living and victorious dying, strengthen our faith and devotion, and enable us to bear witness to the truth against all adversity. Amen.


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


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!

Thanks be to God!




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


Cover Image: A photo of the stained glass window featuring St. Matthew, located next to the pulpit in St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Savannah, GA; photo taken by Guillermo A. Arboleda.

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