Who We Are As Lutherans
St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church is a welcoming congregation of believers who strive to share with everyone the life and love of Jesus Christ our Savior.
The mission of St. Matthew Lutheran Church is to bring broken and repentant sinners the free gift of forgiveness in Jesus Christ through preaching the Word of God and administering the Sacraments.
St. Matthew Lutheran Church is an Evangelical ("gospel-centered') congregation. We hold God's Word, the Bible, as our sole authority and source of truth. Worship at St. Matthew is traditional and liturgical. In worship, you will hear biblical, Christ-centered preaching of God's Law and Gospel.
A Brief History of
St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church
Barberton, OH and Norton, OH
“109 Years of God’s Blessings”
1910 – 2019
The congregation of St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized on March 16, 1910 by Dr. A.L. Ramer of Cleveland, Ohio. The Rev. A.L. Ramer was a traveling missionary of the United Lutheran Synod.
In 1911 the City of Barberton was selling three school buildings. The congregation purchased one of these buildings for $1,600 (across the street from Barberton’s old hospital) and remodeled it for church use. In 1916, a bell was installed. In 1940, the full basement was excavated and the church elevated.
For a number of years, with no resident pastor of her own, the worship services and spiritual instruction at St. Matthew were performed by a host of Lutheran pastors traveling from congregations in Cleveland, Akron, and Lakewood, Ohio.
The Rev. Andrew Rolik became the first resident pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church on June 12, 1921. Pastor Rolik served from 1921-1926. The congregation then extended a Call to Rev. Andrew Bomba. Rev. Bomba was installed as pastor on July 3, 1927 by the Rev. L.A. Jarosi and Rev. J.J. Pelikan, Sr. Pastor Bomba served the congregation for 30 years.
In 1957, the congregation extended a Call to Rev. Paul Visoky. During the ministry of Pastor Visoky, a Parsonage was purchased with help from the Church Extension Fund of the SELC. In 1958, the congregation purchased five and a half acres of land for the building of the present church.
Pastor Visoky served the congregation from 1957-1959.
In 1959, St. Matthew extended a Call to Rev. Paul Grexa. Pastor Grexa began serving in January of 1960 and served until his retirement in 1994. Rev. Paul Grexa was called to heavenly glory on September 21, 2017.
During Pastor Grexa's ministry, the original church property was sold and the congregation moved to its current location. On November 5, 1961 groundbreaking ceremonies were held with Pastor Grexa officiating. On July 29, 1962 dedication and laying of the cornerstone was held. On November 4, 1962 the church was dedicated.
On January 15, 1995, the Rev. John Mashek was installed as Pastor of St. Matthew. In 1997, the church pavilion was constructed where we hold our annual church picnic and other events.
On March 14, 2010, by the Grace of God, Pastor Mashek and the congregation of St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church celebrated their 100th Anniversary at a special afternoon service and banquet. The Anniversary sermon was delivered by the Rev. Dr. Carl Krueger, SELC District President, and former Pastor Paul Grexa was the Liturgist.
Pastor John Mashek announced his retirement in the spring of 2016. On March 25, 2017, the Rev. Curtis Stephens was installed as St. Matthew's new (and current) pastor. On March 24, 2018, Pastor Stephens, his wife, Naomi, and his son, Jonah, moved into the congregation's newly purchased and renovated parsonage. The parsonage was formerly the home of the late Dr. Carson who served faithfully as a chairman and elder of St. Matthew for many years.
Presently, St. Matthew Lutheran Church continues under the mission of her Savior Jesus Christ to be a beacon of the true Gospel and a place of hope for broken sinners in need of their Savior.