ways to SERVE

How you can serve the church, the community, and the world?

Service ministries at St. Matthew's

At St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, the idea of "reaching out as Christ's hands to the world" is not just part of our mission statement - it is a call to action. We are called to serve our church, the greater community, and the world through our service to one another, so service ministries are at the heart of our congregation. Feeling connected through service, therefore, is one of the three pillars of the congregational life of St. Matthew's.

Contact Julie Mushkin, the Ministry Coordinator, for more information on how to contact the leaders of our service ministries listed below.

Food Pantry

The St. Matthew’s Food Pantry operates on the third Saturday every month from around 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Until the pandemic hit in March 2020, for ten years the Pantry had turned Saints Hall into a welcoming supermarket where as many as 350 families (1,000 persons) came each month for groceries provided by Louisville’s Dare To Care Food Bank. Adult and youth volunteers from St. Matthew’s worked side-by-side with volunteers from our neighbors who came as guests to receive food, along with volunteers from the community, other churches, and service organizations. There was something for everyone to do: help set up tables and organize the food, help our neighbors navigate the process, help them load food into their cars, retrieve grocery carts, and clean up at the conclusion of the day.
During the pandemic, though, social-distancing and sanitation requirements imposed by the pandemic changed our approach: the Pantry currently operates as a drive-through, no-touch operation. A limited number of volunteers from the church receive food from Dare To Care and sort it into boxes and bags that are given to neighbors as they line up and drive through the parking lot behind Saints Hall. We take care to represent St. Matthew’s with welcoming smiles, being present for our hungry neighbors and hearing what they have to say. If you're interested in receiving more information or in joining the pantry email information list, contact Lynn Miller or Robin Garr.

Care Team

The Care Team Ministry continues as a volunteer team of 38 parishioners. Teams are composed of one (1) Team Leader and five (5) or more team members. Each team is in rotation for one week, once every five (5) weeks. This is about ten times a year. We make connections with our parish family through cards, emails, visits, phone calls, and meal deliveries. Working closely with our clergy, the Care Team provides support to parish members in need and enables our clergy to focus on areas of ministry beyond the Care Team mission. We welcome new volunteers to provide care and, if you are interested in joining our ministry, please contact Sarah Johansen or the Rev. Kelly Kirby for more information. 

Kentucky Refugee Ministry

Kentucky Refugee Ministries is a local non-profit organization that welcomes and helps resettle refugees from all over the world. They also work with a large group of Cuban arrivals seeking asylum in Louisville. St. Matthew’s has had a long-time relationship working with KRM.  We have also partnered with KRM to co-sponsor resettlement of refugee arrivals. In May of 2022 with Phil Poore and Susan Prater leading our  co-sponsorship team, we welcomed the Alkheder family from Syria. SMEC Vestry allocated money and the parishioners gathered household furnishings, food, clothing and more and helped set up the new home  before they arrived.  While the official Co-sponsorship contract was for four months,  Phil and Susan still keep up with the family and they are doing well In school and/or working and settling into life in Louisville.  In 2017, we welcome the Kabananji family. This summer we celebrated with them as Ngindu graduated from Hanover College.
 Through our outreach ministry, SMEC annually collects in the fall, new and gently used coats, hats, gloves, blankets and scarves for KRM clients. Thanks to the generosity of our church members and friends, in 2022, we again collected over 200 items.  Several members from the KRM ministry team delivered to and sorted items at KRM.  Get ready for an even bigger year this September,  by checking with your friends or neighborhood association. In addition, for the past two years, the Advent tree at SMEC has been dedicated to the children at Kentucky Refugee Ministries.  As a result of over 100 “stars” on the Advent tree last fall , we sent over 75 new coats, sizes from infants to teens, along with  about the same number of new hats, scarves and gloves to KRM.
There is always a need for furniture and household goods at KRM.  Check out their website, kyrm.org, for more information on how to donate items and to see all of the many volunteer opportunities.
For questions or to help with this outreach ministry, contact SMEC KRM liaison
 Denee Bannister.

Creation Care

St. Matthew's is dedicated to protecting and preserving nature's beauty and our resources. To learn more about our Creation Care ministry, please contact Jan Scholtz. 

Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice

In order for deep change to occur in our racially divided culture, it is essential that white people recognize the depth of their continued complicity in creating and supporting unjust systems, even when unaware and unintentional. Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice is part of a national organization working through community organizing and education to
mobilize white people to work for racial justice. That work cannot be done in isolation or disconnected from the powerful leadership of communities of color. It is one part of a multi-racial, cross-class movement centering people of color leadership. LSURJ works with
accountability partners of color to help recognize and end systems created through a culture built on white supremacy. SURJ Values:
We call people in, not out
We build accountability through collective action
We take risks, make mistakes, learn, and keep going
We organize out of mutual interest
We believe there is enough for all
We trust that growing is good
We center class
During 2023, LSURJ is working on efforts to support trans and other LGBTQ+ people, especially kids in our public school system. Another campaign is called Care Not Cages and focuses efforts towards funding mental health, addiction care, housing shortages, and other community needs rather than funding for a new jail. Other initiatives will be critical as another election season approaches. There are many ways to be involved through the work of this group. Their website is https://www.louisvillesurj.org. Their Facebook page has information about activities https://www.facebook.com/SURJLouisville/. Contact Peggy Woolley about joining a regular monthly hybrid meeting to listen and learn about this essential work.

Calvary & St. George's Food Collection

The St. Matthew’s Food Collection ministry is an ongoing effort to support the food pantries of our friends at Calvary and St. George’s Episcopal churches. These pantries help provide relief to those in need in the local downtown communities. Each pantry serves close to 600- 800 or more people/month. In response to an increased demand during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2022, deliveries to the churches were made monthly, rather than quarterly (as was done in past years). In 2023, we resumed the quarterly collections, but the needs have not lessened, so please continue donating your generous gifts! Here’s how to participate: donate shelf-stable, non-perishable food items by leaving them in the shopping cart located in the Narthex during the months of Jan, April, July, and October. The food will be picked up at the end of these months and delivered to the churches by a team of volunteers.
Check the eSpirit for specific requests. Densely caloric foods such as canned meats (with flip-top cans), peanut butter, and side-dish-mixes are always needed, but variety is also welcomed! Household and personal care essentials like toiletries and laundry and paper products will be allocated to St. George’s low-income seniors’ program. If you wish to volunteer or have questions, please contact Amy Tidwell or Dick Hudson. Thank you! Thank you!

Habitat for Humanity

St. Matthew's Episcopal has supported Louisville Habitat home construction financially since 1987, typically in the range of $5,000-$10,000 each year. We have co-sponsored homes in the past with Holy Trinity Catholic church; an interfaith build with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian congregations; and other partners. The 2023 build is our first home sponsored entirely by Episcopal parishes and the Diocese of Kentucky. Louisville Habitat truly makes a difference in our community by carrying zero-interest loans on homes for qualified buyers. Close to 600 homes have been constructed in Louisville since Habitat's formation in 1985, and over 120 families have paid off their mortgages. Volunteers find joy in this work by being part of the solution for our city's housing crisis, developing friendships with partner families and other volunteers, and sharing or learning construction skills. Church members have dedicated many hours volunteering in construction, serving as Advocates for homebuyers, and providing lunches for volunteer workers.  Financial gifts or donations of household items to the Habitat ReStore also support this organization. For more information, please visit www.Louisvillehabitat.org or contact Habitat Volunteer Coordinator Sunny Smith ssmith@louisvillehabitat.org, 502-805-1415.

Kenya Kids @ Rongo

Kenya Kids at Rongo, Inc. is a 501 (C)(3) non-profit corporation operating in Louisville, KY, since May 2017. The focus of Kenya Kids at Rongo is providing financial support for the operation of Ebenezer Children’s Center outside of Rongo, Kenya. Ebenezer is a product of the faith, vision, and long-term commitment of Kenyan Daniel Ochieng and his wife Damaris who have had strong ties with St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church for many years. Daniel and Damaris live on-site with their family and are responsible for the management and supervision of Ebenezer operations. Ebenezer provides for the basic human needs of 60-75 vulnerable Kenyan orphans. Young children attend an on-site primary school. In addition, we support tuition-based secondary school and university education opportunities for older Ebenezer orphan scholars. Vocational training (tailoring and welding) is available for orphans that do not pursue further educational opportunities. Ebenezer Children’s Center is recognized by Kenya as a Charitable Children’s Institute (CCI.) This is the desired and appropriate certification for a Kenyan orphanage. Take a pictorial tour of Ebenezer Children’s Center by visiting our website: www.kenyakidsatrongo.org. There are currently (4) SMEC parishioners of SMEC on Kenya Kids at Rongo, Inc. Board. If you have a calling to help the efforts of this worthy cause, please contact Speed Stodghill.

St. George's Scholars Institute

St. George’s Scholar Institute is a youth development agency that provides quality, out-of-school time programming for social, emotional, and academic learning for vulnerable youth in the California, Parkhill, and Parkland neighborhoods. Our mission is to embrace, educate and empower youth in Louisville. SGSI has been serving families for over 59 years. Its primary participants are middle and high school students. Over 91% of the young people we serve are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Significantly, all SGSI’s programming is offered free of charge. Nearly all the youth served live in West Louisville, which data has consistently shown year after year to be the poorest and sickest people in this area. Specifically, 98% of SGSI’s participants are black, and almost all live in South and West Louisville. The majority reside in zip codes 40210, 40211 and 40212. People living in these zip codes are documented to have both the unhealthiest residents and the lowest life expectancy in Metro Louisville. Further complicating these statistical facts, it also has the highest unemployment, poverty, and violence rates. For example, the homicide rate continues to escalate in the West End, which is the most violent area in Metro Louisville. Continued on the link below. For more information, contact Executive Director, Arthur Cox, at: acox@stgeorgesky.org, or our Programming Director, Walter Murrah, at: wmurrah@stgeorgesky.org.

Planned Giving

Many people like to leave a gift to charity in their will. The Planned Giving Committee was established in 2010 to encourage parishioners to include St. Matthew’s in their will or estate plans. In 2014, the Planned Giving Committee created a legacy society known as the Stewards of St. Matthew’s. Individuals are part of the Stewards of St. Matthew’s when they share with the rector or a member of the
Planned Giving Committee that they have included a gift to St. Matthew’s in their will or trust, or named St. Matthew’s to receive a future gift as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, tax-deferred retirement
plan, charitable gift annuity, or other type of planned gift. To learn more, contact the Rev. Kelly Kirby or Joanne Coleman, parish accountant. 

Social Justice

We have many social justice ministries at St. Matthew's. Visit our social justice page for more information.


The Vestry is the governing body of the church. Vestry members are appointed to three-year terms and are elected by the parish. For more information, visit the Vestry page. 

Flower Delivery

Each week, the Sunday altar flowers are divided and sent out to let people know we are thinking of them and care for them. Thoughtful volunteers divide and rearrange the Sunday altar flowers, and other volunteers deliver the flowers to the selected recipients. If you are interested in volunteering for this ministry, please contact Julie Mushkin. 

Daughters of the King

The Hildegard Visionary Chapter of the Order of the Daughters of the King was installed at St. Matthew’s Episcopal in January 2005. It is a religious order founded in 1885, with chapters all over the world. The Reverend Jan Scholtz is our chaplain.
As a Daughter of the King, each Daughter takes a lifetime vow to live by the rules of life: prayer and service. A Daughter pledges herself to a life-long program of prayer, service, and evangelism, dedicated to the spread of Christ’s Kingdom and the strengthening of the spiritual life of her parish. Each Daughter is given a cross of the order, which she wears proudly. We welcome all women of the parish to become a member of the Daughters of the King. We offer training for women who are interested each year. Please let us know if you feel called to this ministry! For more information, contact President Connie Savells. 

Buildings & Grounds

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church is fortunate to enjoy beautiful facilities within a park-like setting.  As such, it is part of our responsibility as a congregation to maintain our buildings and grounds, not only for ourselves, but for future generations. Do you have a passion for gardening? We hope you will consider getting involved with our community garden. Do you have professional experience in the building trades? We would be happy to consider your expertise as we make important decisions regarding the care of our buildings and grounds. Maybe you just like rolling up your sleeves and getting involved with various chores that need to be done during the course of the year and, if so, we would love to have your help. Please contact Speed Stodghill for more information. 

Moms Demand Action

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. We pass stronger gun laws and work to close the loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our families. We also work in our own communities and with business leaders to encourage a culture of responsible gun ownership. We know that gun violence is preventable, and we’re committed to doing what it takes to keep families safe. We were founded by Shannon Watts, a mother of five. The day after the Sandy Hook tragedy, Shannon started a Facebook group with the message that all Americans can and should do more to reduce gun violence. The online conversation turned into a movement of moms, dads, students, families, concerned citizens and survivors working together with our partners in the gun violence prevention movement to end this uniquely American crisis. Moms Demand Action has established a volunteer chapter in every state of the country and Washington, D.C. and is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with more than six million supporters and 375,000 donors. Anne Shelby has been a member of Moms since she moved back to Louisville in 2015. It is a vital organization of mostly women (men are welcomed, too!) that gets things done, though we still have a lot of work to do. For more information, contact Anne Shelby. 

Scarf Ministry

On a Sunday in November, you may have been in church when baskets of colorful scarves were blessed at the altar. You, too, can be a part of this rewarding ministry if you enjoy knitting or crocheting. Hats and cowls may also be created, and all these beautiful handmade items are gifts for those in need. Easy-to-follow patterns are located on the bulletin board at the top of the staircase. Please contact Sarah Weston for more information. 

Backside Ministry

Behind the glorious Twin Spires of Churchill Downs lives a vibrant community with a culture, flavor, and personality of its own: the Backside. During training and racing season, hundreds of individuals live in dorms/apartments on the Backside. When they are not working, they are just like any other community: they share food, fun, friendship, and fellowship. This ministry cooks for these workers. For more information, contact Rosemary Drybrough. 

Kitchen Ministry

The Kitchen Committee strives to keep the kitchens of the parish clean and orderly. The Committee makes sure that the Saints Hall kitchen is well stocked with the necessary cooking utensils and equipment, and it maintains supplies for the coffee ministry. The Kitchen Committee also inspects, cleans and re-establishes order in the Saints Hall kitchen and the serving bar area of Saints Hall on a regular basis, particularly following an event using the Saints Hall kitchen. Members also check the Staff and Choir kitchens each month. Periodically, the Committee does a major cleaning and organizing of all drawers, shelves and cabinets in the kitchens of the Parish and the bar area of Saints Hall.
We are happy to report that since mid-2022, the Sextons have taken more responsibility for cleanliness in the Saints Hall Kitchen. This change has led to a much cleaner and more orderly Saints Hall Kitchen and has significantly reduced the amount of work required of the Kitchen Committee.
The members of the Kitchen Committee are:
Ann Hendren, Sharon Nesmith, Diane Perry, Julie Stodghill, and  Barbara Uligian. The Kitchen Committee welcomes suggestions for using the kitchen and we welcome any interested parishioner to join in this ministry. For concerns and questions or to volunteer, you may
contact any member of the committee or Sharon Nesmith or Betsy Coomes (bcoomes@stmatthewsepiscopallouisville.org).

Sacred Ground

Sacred Ground is part of Becoming Beloved Community, the Episcopal Church's long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation and justice in our personal lives, our ministries and our society. The series is open to all, and especially designed to help white people talk with other white people. Participants are invited to peel away the layers that have contributed to the challenges and divides of the present day, all while grounded in our faith, hope, and love.
It is an 11-part series built around a powerful on-line curriculum of documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories. Small groups are invited to walk through chapters of America's history of race and racism, while weaving in threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity. Participants envision a labyrinth walk as a way of learning to live out our baptismal vows. Nearly 23 members of St. Matthew’s have participated in this life changing experience. In 2022, we had the first group in our diocese to be based in a single parish. In 2023, St. Matthew’s sponsored 2 new groups, which included 5 participants from outside of our parish. The significance of the experience is highlighted by the fact that some participants have decided to be trained as facilitators for future groups. This is a growing resource for racial understanding and healing within our diocese. For more information, please contact Peggy Woolley

Women's Board of the Episcopal Church Home

We are eleven members from St. Matthew’s that serve on the Woman’s Board of the Episcopal Church Home. We are a volunteer organization that has been active since 1975, and we are made up of representatives from Episcopal churches in the area. Volunteers have been fundraising, working in the Gift Shop, and helping with mail delivery and other activities for the welfare and comfort of the residents. We are always interested in new volunteers and look forward to our active role when the Home returns to an open-door policy. The volunteers include the following individuals: Diane Clark, Peggy Enriquez, Cecy Grisham-King, Ann Hines, Mary Johnson, Susan Kimbrough, Janis Lotz, Marilyn Quinn, Lynn Reese, Ann Yates, Barbara Uligian and Gwen Parkins. Contact any member for more information.

Third Act

Third Act and Third Act Faith, 2 organizations one mission: Third Act, a national organization of elders concerned about the threats to our democracy and planet, succinctly describes its mission: "We are building a community of experienced Americans over the age of sixty determined to change the world for the better. Together, we use our life experience, skills and resources to build better tomorrow."  
Third Act Faith, launched in 2021, is one of the organization's first "working groups" formed to help carry out this mission by bringing to this work prophetic, spiritual voices and actively engaged elders of faith. Specifically, Third Act Faith members, as its website states, "are motivated to explore how their spirituality and faith directs them to rise from their places of worship to stabilize the climate and our democracy."  
To that end, Faith group members, as Third Actors in general, have been involved in all sorts of climate- and democracy-related actions, ranging from writing letters to editors to monitoring social media for election  misinformation, from contacting and meeting with banking officials who finance the fossil fuels industry to marching to protest this continued funding. They have also been in contact with their individual faith communities, enlisting their help in campaigns, and providing spiritual and pastoral support for activists engaged in local actions and the movement. Because Third Act Faith members come from a broad range of faith backgrounds and spiritual traditions from across the county, the Faith group recognizes and reinforces the extraordinary work of existing religious interfaith formations. It is committed to developing relationships with religious groups and denominations, and partnering with religious environmental groups such as GreenFaith and Interfaith Power and Light.
To learn more about what we are about and doing, follow us on Substack, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Contact us at thirdactfaith@gmail.com.