Outreach and service are a key component to living out our faith and St. Matthew’s mission statement. Jesus said, “If you love me, feed my sheep.” God calls us to reach out to our brothers and sisters and live in partnership with them.
Meal Outreach Ministry
The Meal Outreach Ministry has grown very quickly through the efforts of dedicated volunteers. Our Meal Ministry encompasses many areas, including five opportunities that are described below. Volunteers for these areas of ministry are always needed and appreciated. Please contact the church office. firstname.lastname@example.org or call 414-774-0441.
Serenity Inns is a transitional living program for homeless men recovering from addictions. St. Matthew’s members provide a meal on the second Sunday of each month for about twelve men and take the meal to Serenity Inns to eat with the residents.
Guest House of Milwaukee
The Guest House of Milwaukee is a homeless shelter providing services and housing for about 100 men per evening. A varied group of people from St. Matthew’s provides and transports the dinner to the Guest House and serve it to the guests.
Just One More Ministry
Just One More Ministry began at St. Matthew’s in 2008 and has grown quickly. Volunteers from St. Matthew’s and elsewhere pick up “rescued” food from area stores and restaurants, about 25 sources. This food is repackaged and distributed in family size portions to over 75 Milwaukee city churches and programs. The Just One More weekly meal packing now takes place on Tuesday mornings at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, whose facilities can accommodate JOMM’s growth. St. Matthew’s volunteers, who now travel to their independent location in the Glendale, make up a large part of the volunteer labor for the ministry.
Bob Zwaska interviewed Chris Capper, the founder of Just One More Ministry, in 2020. To hear about the JOMM story, read the article in Media Milwaukee.
Cross Lutheran Church in Milwaukee
St. Matthew’s provides a monthly meal at Cross Lutheran Church in Milwaukee on the fourth Wednesday of each month which is attended by those in the surrounding neighborhood. The St. Matthew’s coordinator secures an entrée, sometimes from the Just One More Ministry rescued food, and then members of the congregation provide salads, jellos, and desserts. A large quantity of food is needed, as the attendees can number between 150 and 300 people. Servers and food providers are needed each month.
Repairers of the Breach in Milwaukee
Bag lunches are provided to homeless people at the shelter Repairers of the Breach in Milwaukee. On two Sunday mornings per month, members of St. Matthew’s gather to assemble about 100 bag lunches, with food provided through donations. A volunteer transports the lunches to the shelter.
Cross Lutheran Church
Members of Cross Lutheran Church and St. Matthew’s have learned to know one another by working, worshiping, studying, and celebrating together. The third Wednesday of every month we share in a meal held at Cross, and members of St. Matthew’s are welcomed on the board of Cross’s Bread of Healing Empowerment Ministry. We have attended retreats and special events together and have worshiped in each other’s churches. We are blessed to see again and again that we are all one in the Body of Christ.
Reformation Lutheran Church
St. Matthew’s and Reformation have a long-standing relationship, which has been formalized as an official partnership within the last ten years. Members of all ages from both congregations have collaborated in educational, relational, financial, outreach, and neighborhood improvement ministries. Tutoring and mentoring relationships have grown into deep friendships. Each year high school kids from Reformation participate with St. Matt’s kids on their mission trip. Youth and adults work side-by-side to build and maintain the Angel Gardens, a raised bed garden project in Reformation’s neighborhood. The Just One More ministry housed at St. Matthew’s provides meals each week that are distributed through Reformation’s food pantry. And it is in worship that we see so clearly that in the Body of Christ there is no “us” and “them,” according to Reformation’s Pastor Wohlfeil, but only “us.”
Sharing God’s love and care to others is an important way to live out our faith. We have several more structured programs for doing this – other ways are lived out daily through relationships among caring Christians. Our pastors make regular calls on those who desire a pastoral visit. St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church offers a variety of opportunities for you to express your faith and love for others. Please see the descriptions below. For more information about any of these ministries, contact the church office, 414.774.0441 or email@example.com.
Stephen Ministry is a ministry in which trained and supervised St. Matthew’s laypersons provide one-to-one Christian care to individuals facing life challenges or difficulties. This may include the bereaved, hospitalized, terminally ill, separated, divorced, unemployed, relocated, and others facing a crisis or life challenge. Stephen Ministers are caring, Christian friends who listen, understand, accept and pray for, and with, those who are working through a crisis or tough time. Stephen Ministers are trained caregivers whose role is to listen and care, not to give advice or counsel. Stephen Ministry helps our pastors and congregation provide quality caring ministry for as long as people need it.
Many congregations have had this program in place for over 20 years. The Stephen Ministry is active in over 10,000 congregations.
Learn more about becoming a Stephen Minister or get connected to a Stephen Minister by contacting the church office – firstname.lastname@example.org or 414.774.0441.
Sharing and Caring Program
Making a warm meal for someone who has been ill, has a new baby, or in another situation makes a big difference. Through the Sharing and Caring Program members make meals for those in need.
Stitches of Love Quilt Ministry
The quilt ministry strives to make beautiful quilts, afghans and receiving blankets from donated fabrics for distribution to individuals who are in physical, emotional or spiritual need. Quilts are donated to ministries serving the needs of the Greater Milwaukee area, charities and foreign missions.
Prior to the quilts and blankets being distributed, all receive a prayer of blessing on Mother’s Day as they are displayed in the sanctuary of the church.
Bev Etzelmueller is the coordinator and she can be contacted at church with questions, 414-774-0441.
Prayer Chain Ministry
The Prayer Chain of St. Matthew’s is continuously praying for the needs of the congregation and the community. These prayers are sent out weekly or more often as needed by email.
If you would like the prayer chain to be praying for your circumstances or needs, on Sundays you may use the blue cards in the pews. You may also fill out the prayer request form HERE. Or if you wish to speak to a staff person or pastor about your prayer request contact the church office at 414-774-0441.
Care for Creation
God created the heavens and the earth and gave them to us. We show thanks to God for these gifts by caring for them. Our Care for Creation team plans projects and events to care for God’s creation as well educates others on how to do so. Care for Creation ministry has coordinated projects such as gardening classes, canning classes, salsa making, solar panels, crafting with repurposed items, river clean-up, medicine collection, recycling items such as toner and inkjet cartridges, toy swaps, clothing swap and more. Your ideas are welcome! If you would like further information or have ideas, contact the church office at 414-774-0441.
The Covenant for Creation is given to each household to build awareness of ways that we can care for the earth.
Check out statistics from St. Matthew’s rooftop solar panels!
A list of links to guide your sustainability efforts:
St. Matthew’s partners with the Sing’Isi congregation of the Meru diocese in Tanzania. We are always united by prayer and in person on a regular basis. A group from St. Matt’s travels to Tanzania approximately every three years and helps sponsor visits by members from Sing’Isi to Wisconsin usually every other year. St. Matt’s provides financial assistance to the congregation as well as to several students so that they can receive a secondary education. Pastor Elias Kitoi provides an especially strong link with the Meru diocese. The Greater Milwaukee Synod’s Meru Diocese Committee meets monthly at St. Matthew’s.
Every January a group from St. Matthew’s travels to El Salvador to walk in solidarity with members of the Salvadoran Lutheran Church. With the help of social media, the friendships that form can be sustained through frequent contact. Members of both church bodies hold one another in prayer.
St. Matthew’s is privileged to sponsor approximately 25 Salvadoran students, enabling them to pursue secondary education. The students and their sponsors maintain a close and enduring relationship. On each January journey, the St. Matt’s group visits Casa Esperanza, a homeless shelter in San Salvador, which St. Matt’s supports financially. Recently we provided funding for a hydroponic garden, which significantly increases the nutritional value of meals served at the shelter.
People who have traveled to El Salvador are always ready to spread the word about the remarkable Salvadorans who have blessed them in their journey. “El Salvador” means “the Savior,” and many travelers from St. Matthew’s have learned that El Salvador changes lives.