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About

Historic St. Matthew's Episcopal Church is known for great liturgical music and progressive preaching in an inviting, traditional setting.  Since 1867 souls have given thanks through prayer, fellowship and sharing.  Fall worship times are at 8 am (Rite I) and 10 am (Rite II).  Summer worship time is 9 am.

  • St. Matthew's is one of 48 Episcopal Churches in the Diocese of N.H.
  • Our bishop is the Right Reverend A. Robert Hirschfeld.
  • Our Interim Rector is the Reverend Celeste Hemingson.
  • The other buildings on this property are the Parish Mission House which houses the church office, Sunday School classrooms, and the Bishop’s Lounge and the 9 North MAST Building two doors down which houses the Community Clothing Center.
  • This historic Church sanctuary where we now stand was constructed in 1867. At the time the cornerstone was laid there were 58 members. Today there are over 1300 members of this church.
  • Actual Episcopal presence goes back to 1758 in Goffstown when a small group held prayer meetings in a building on the Goffstown Common. Their priest was a circuit rider.
  • The first resident clergy was the Rev. Southard Compton in 1866.
  • For additional information on the history of St Matthew's Church see the History of the Town of Goffstown 1733-1920 Volume One Narrative page 411-412 published by the Town: c 1922 George P. Hadley, Goffstown, NH, The Rumford Press, Concord, NH.
  • The pipe organ, restored in 1995, is a William A. Johnson Tracker Organ. It is a quality instrument built specifically for this worship space in 1869. This organ is in the National Registry of historic pipe organs. The Johnson complements St. Matthew's Senior Choir, Jr. Choir, and lively congregational hymnody.
  • In 1900 the church got electric lights
  • 1919 - 1933 the Rev. Francis Banfil from Boston remodeled the church to resemble a chapel of reverence to the Blessed Virgin Mary. During the remodeling the Altar window was covered and many 'high church' appointments like a rood beam, the crucifix above the altar and the dark wainscot were added.
  • In the mid 1970's, about the time of the ordination of women and updating of the worship service, the main altar was moved forward allowing the priest to face the people.
  • At the same time the parish outreach committee received a grant to serve local needs by networking local resources. Today the Goffstown Network represents the dream coming to fruition. St. Matthew's Outreach is involved in a number of other local partnerships serving young and old.
  • In 1982 the first woman Priest was called to serve as interim priest. The Rev. Anne Webb served her term with distinction.
  • In 1985 The Rev. William E. Exner was called to be the 33rd priest and 15th Rector of St. Matthew's Church. He and his wife Jane have enjoyed a long pastorate.
  • The Altar window was uncovered and completely restored in Advent 1987.
  • In 1989 the access ramp was designed by a member and built by local craftsmen. The semi-circular Altar rail was built at the same time.
  • In 1991 the rectory, an 1890's home, which stood next door where the new Parish Mission House now stands was transformed into classrooms, administrative and outreach space. It was destroyed by fire in February of 2002.
  • The New Parish Mission House was dedicated on Palm Sunday 2004. It serves pastoral, educational, outreach and administrative needs beautifully.
  • We hope this description has been helpful and informative. This holy space is open to visitors during office hours to enter, pray and rest. All people of faith are welcome here.

 
Please accept our hope for God's blessing to follow you and for God's grace to guide you today and tomorrow.