A History of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church
St. Matthew’s Anglican Church began in May 1955 when the Bishop of Toronto sent Ronald Sharp, a young theology student from Wycliffe Theological College in Toronto to conduct a survey on community interest in an Anglican Church. There was an empty field at the corner of Wilson Road South and Orchard Avenue (later to be called Hoskin Avenue), which was considered to be an appropriate site for a church. Over a three month period, Mr. Sharp visited approximately 1200 homes in the immediate vicinity. One hundred and seventy-eight families expressed interest and support for the establishment of an Anglican Church in the area. Mr. Sharp was then appointed as the first minister of the church. During the autumn of 1955, a small wooden portable was constructed with most of the furnishings and required items being donated from other congegations within the Toronto Diocese. The portable held approximately 56 people. There was no electricity and it was heated by an oil space heater. It was extremely cold on Christmas morning in 1955. Overnight the pipes had frozen and burst. The men rolled up their sleeves and got busy cleaning up all the water!
Father Sharp called a special meeting for the congregation to select a name for the parish. One lady said she “liked St. Matthew because it was the first book of the Gospels” and that she had attended three other churches named St. Matthew. Someone else felt that “St John was a good choice”, but as both our neighbouring towns had parishes named St. John, it was decided that it would be too confusing. Father Sharp wrote to the Bishop stating that St. Matthew was selected and the congregation would like his approval. The woman who suggested the name St. Matthew has never been seen since.
In 1958, a building committee was formed and an architect was hired to build the basement of the future church. Father Sharp made up a time capsule using a tin box containing coins, postage stamps and the signatures of the parishioners who attended the first service held in June 1955. It was inserted behind the conerstone as the church was being built.
On Easter Eve, 1958, people were busy preparing the basement church in readiness for the opening worship services on Easter. The men had put in many hours laying the floor tiles and at 2 a.m., the ladies from the Altar Guild were still washing the floor and preparing the elements for communion. That morning the parishioners had to “walk the plank” to enter the church as there were no sidewalks and no grass.
The church building, as we see it today, was completed in 1966.
Father Sharp retired in December 1986 after ministering with St. Mathew’s for 31 years. He died in March 2002.
The Rev. Roger Maggs, was inducted as our incumbent on August 16, 1987 and served the church until June 1994.
The Rev. Richard Miller became the parish priest in 1995 and was with us for 11 years (until September 1996). In 1995, the church celebrated its fiftieth year with many celebrations held throughout the year.
September 2007 marked the beginning of The Rev. Lisa Newland ministry. Reverend Newland enjoyed many years of ministry at the parish venturing out to the local community through the community garden and shared her deeply compassionate pastoral heart. St. Matthews’ was honoured to be the parish where her two children were born.
April 2015 our current Priest-in-Charge Rev. Ian Martin (an awesome guy by the way …) arrived from Trinity Aurora Anglican Church with his family. Since he is the one writing this history, Ian is an amazing minister and preacher who employs a fantastic sense of humour. Come and be part of a new chapter of St. Matthews as Family Friday’s is launched along with our new website, (which you are currently enjoying).
2015 brought many changes to the parish. Significantly the Parish Secretary of 10 years Cheryl Gargal retired along with the Music Director and organist of 8 years, Bill Scoffield. Each retirement party was bitter sweet as we were sad to see them go, yet joyful for the new life in their retirement.
The parish celebrated the new additions of Barbara Horsburgh as the Parish Administrator and Nancy Davidson as our new Choir and Music Director in the spring of 2016. The parish celebrated the new additi0ns and are grateful for their many gifts and talents.
One year after Rev. Ian Martin was appointed Priest-in-Charge, the Area Bishop appointed Ian as Incumbent of the Parish 2016. This was not only an acknowledgement of the entire congregations incredible stewardship and faithfulness, but was also an acknowledgement of how awesome a guy Ian is too! (It is great being the one who write this stuff …)