April 5, 1979
58 people met with Bishop Child to discuss the organization of an Episcopal church in Snellville. A formal organizational meeting was held in July of that year, at which time St. Matthew’s was given its name.
Regular Sunday services began on August 5, 1979, at Centerville Elementary School, with Fr. Gene Ruyle serving as priest-in-charge. In January of 1980, Fr. Franklin Thomas was appointed full-time vicar, and St. Matthew’s received full mission status.
A building fund drive launched in April of 1981 resulted in the completion of the new church building one year later; 592 people, representing 130 families, joyfully celebrated Palm Sunday in the new church on April 4, 1982.
In November of 1982, Fr. Thomas departed and Fr. Paul Gerlock became interim vicar.
On September 4, 1983, Fr. Edward Hanson was called as full-time vicar. During Fr. Hanson’s tenure, the church grew in membership to approximately 300 families and the budget increased from $60,000 to $195,000. St. Matthew’s attained full parish status during this period.
In November of 1989, Jim Crews became the first youth director at St. Matthew’s. He remained with St. Matthew’s until June of 1995.
Fr. Hanson resigned in January of 1991. Fr. John Dukes and Fr. Scott Harris began serving as priests-in-charge.
On August 22, 1992, Fr. P. Douglas Coil was called as rector.
On January 5, 1997, the parish broke ground for the new Strickland Education Building. On May 18 that same year, ground-breaking for the new sanctuary was held. The new sanctuary was dedicated on April 19, 1998.
Fr. Jim Johnson came to St. Matthew’s as an assisting priest on February 22, 1998. He remained with the parish in that capacity until May 31, 2005.
Dan Mitchell joined the St. Matthew’s staff as music director on August 16, 1998 and continues in that position.
Jeff Tait, St. Matthew’s second youth minister, served between July of 1996 and May of 2002.
On June 1, 2003, St. Matthew’s called Sally Ulrey as full-time youth minister for the parish.
In July of 2005, Fr. Bradford Smith was called as associate rector of St. Matthew’s. Fr. Brad served the parish until November of 2009.
Fr. Doug retired on July 1, 2013, after twenty-one years as rector of St. Matthew’s and forty years in service to our Lord.
At that time, Mother Debra Metzgar Shew was appointed as priest for the interim.
STAY TUNED …