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Our History
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Jesus is the Cornerstone and we are the temple. As members of his body, each has used their God given talents to show their love for Christ. Our work is reflected in the history of St. Matthew United Methodist Church.


1955… Three acres of land were purchased by the East St. Louis District Board of Missions and Church Extension of the Methodist Church from Al Young, who also gave an additional acre to the fledgling church.

January 15, 1956...Reverend James Simms, District Board of Missions, conducted the services at Harmony School with a tiny congregation of thirty.

April 15, 1956…A mere three months later thirty Charter Members were inducted and an Affidavit of Organization was filed with St. Clair County Government. The name St. Matthew was selected by the members because “it’s good teaching.”

October 21, 1956…Reverend Kenneth Young, full time pastor, conducted the inaugural service in the new building on Moreland Drive named St. Matthew Methodist Church. The church services were conducted in a room now referred to as the Vine Café. The faithful members sat on wooden folding chairs and Kurrus Funeral Home supplied the cardboard fans. Also, the new building included the Brides Room, the Library and the Park Room.
Spring 1957...The original Parsonage was constructed.

1961-August 1965 …Reverend Bill Travelstead led St. Matthew United Methodist Church.

August 1965 …Revered Robert Souders began his 37 year tenure as the Senior Pastor. At this time the membership was at 56, by the time he retired in 2002 the membership had reached 1,764.

1968… The church broke ground for its third addition. A beautiful new Sanctuary was consecrated in

June 1969 that is presently referred to as the King Chapel.

1972...The St. Matthew Early Learning Center was developed to care for the many families in this area who need Christian child care.

1974 ...The second floor was added above the library and the other existing rooms on the main floor for an Education wing, which is now Kid’s Town.

1976…Rapid membership growth, expansion of vital ministries such as the Youth Ministry and Senior Citizens Ministry, required the construction of an educational wing and expansion of the sanctuary.

1978…Two apartment buildings containing thirty-four units were constructed for senior adult housing.

1980...During the early 1980’s the Wednesday meal ministry and the expansion of the Wednesday night ministry became a midweek anchor time of worship, study, music rehearsals, and fellowship for all ages.

1982...Construction began on a new foyer, staff offices, youth center, the Thrift Shop and two additional floors of Christian education classrooms.

1983...The present parsonage was constructed for the Senior Pastor. The old parsonage was used by one of the Associate Pastors.

1984… The present staff offices and additional classrooms were built.

1991… Our present Sanctuary was constructed. Not only was a 1400 seat worship center constructed but space was also built for music ministry and Christian education.

1992...The old parsonage that was moved to make way for the present sanctuary was destroyed by fire.

1994… On Good Friday, April 1 a horrific fire destroyed the Sanctuary. The fire started during a lighting check before the performance of The Joy of Easter. Everyone was able to exit the building safely. Had the fire started later there would have been over a thousand people in the sanctuary. The Sanctuary was immediately rebuilt. Click Here to watch video and news reports of the fire.

2002...Rev. Robert Souders retired after 37 years of effective and fruitful ministry. A celebration of his pastoral leadership was held on June 30, 2002, his last Sunday as senior pastor. Click Here to watch the church history video produced for Rev. Souders retirement.

July 1, 2002…Rev. James Slone was appointed Senior Pastor of St. Matthew United Methodist Church by the Bishop of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. His primary focus is the spiritual growth of the church through Bible study such as the Disciple Bible Study Program and through prayer along with other avenues to glorify God.

2006…Year of Jubilee! We give thanks for fifty years of making disciples and growing as a congregation. However, Jubilee is also a new start. A look into the future. We also look forward to where God is leading us next.

2009…The Lord has blessed St.Matthew with the ability to construct a brand new parking lot to allow further growth in the life of the church! The church also installed state of the art sound system and larger video screens in the sanctuary and adds a third Sunday morning service which features contemporary musicians and music.

Sunday Times
9:00 a.m. - Blended
10:15 a.m. - Sunday School
11:00 a.m. - Contemporary
6:00 p.m. - Cornerstone Deaf Church
6:30 p.m. - Bible Study

6:30 p.m. - Pray, Praise, and Preaching
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Address:  1200 Moreland Dr.
                  Belleville, IL 62223
Phone:  618-397-5994
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