Our Foundation is Strong
The community of mostly third-generation descendants of German settlers to the richly forested lands along and near the Island Ford Road north of the village of Lincolnton were prospering. Tanners, millers, carpenters, smiths, and shoemakers—all of whom were also hardworking farmers agreed toward late 1835 it was time to build a meetinghouse for the Reformed congregants in the community.
On Sunday the 23rd of May 1836, a few dozen interested local residents met at Fingers grist mill with about twenty influential Lincoln county citizens and elders from other churches under the direction of John Coulter, sheriff, planter and one of the organizers of the NC Classis. Following a sermon by Rev. John Fritchey, Coulter asked those gathered for consensus on building a new meeting house. He was rewarded with a unanimous ‘YES’. John Ramsour donated 5 acres of land and sufficient money for construction was donated that very day.
Building on Tradition
The 30-foot by 40-foot frame structure was completed in the Spring of 1837. Founding members, forty-seven charter members who attended Pastor Fritchey’s first service plus children formed a congregation of about a hundred individuals.
In 1908, our brick structure twice the size of the original meeting house was constructed. That structure still serves as St. Matthew’s Sanctuary. In 1950 the educational wing was completed providing classrooms, meeting, and storage space. And in 1989, the fellowship hall was dedicated.
Several St. Matthew’s members are direct descendants of the founders and charter members. Our enrollment stands at a little more than 200 members. Our Sunday attendance averages about 110 active members. We are a faithful and welcoming congregation.