The Christian Education Committee coordinates Christian education opportunities within our congregation: Sunday Church School, Vacation Church School, 1st Communion, Confirmation, Youth Activities, Men’s and Women’s programs, Family programs, Bible Studies, Seminars, Advent and Lenten programs, Staffing and Support, and Library and Audio-visuals.
Events – Select each event for more information
What is it?
Advent Friends in an unique opportunity to celebrate the Advent season; to heighten the anticipation; to enjoy fellowship of others and have some fun keeping secrets. If this sounds intriguing to you, then consider signing up to be an ADVENT FRIEND. Registration forms are included in the November Newsletter, available at church, or by the link at the bottom of this page.
How does it work?
After signing up, you will be notified that you are an Advent Friend to someone or some family (only you will know who), and someone will be notified that they are your Advent Friend (unknown to you).
- Keep your identity secret
- Give little gifts or do things for your Advent Friend (suggested one thing each week during the season of Advent)
- The object is to keep your identity secret while you either give little gifts or do things for your Advent Friend
- Some suggestions of things to do: send an Advent/Christmas card or send an Advent message, greet your friend during the Peace at church, you might leave some cookies on their doorstep, or you could send little inexpensive gifts
The identity of Advent Friends is revealed at the Epiphany Dinner held in early January. Download the form from the Forms page under Resources when you are ready to get into the mix!
Advent Potluck Dinner
When is it?
The First Sunday of Advent @ 5:30pm
What is it?
This congregational potluck dinner kicks off the Advent season at Saint Matthew’s. During the evening, a program based around an Advent tradition, is presented. Families participate in games, discussion and devotions. 7th through 12th grade youth participate in a service project after dinner. A craft activity is available to take home and work on as a family during the season.
What is Epiphany?
The celebration of Epiphany is a time of worship, of light, and of witness. Epiphany marks the culmination of the Advent and Christmas season as it celebrates the magi coming to worship the newborn Christ child, the light of the world, and the powerful witness that would come from this child and his disciples.
What is the Epiphany Dinner?
The Epiphany dinner highlights this event at Saint Matthew’s with an additional revelation for our congregation. During the dinner, the Advent Friends, who have been working in secret to share the blessings of God with one another, hopefully have all arrived. After the dinner, our entertainment is a Saint Matthew’s version of Clue, as families attempt to guess which other family was their Advent Friend. The night features good food, great fellowship, and plenty of laughs.
When is the Epiphany Dinner?
What is Fastnacht?
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the church year’s Lenten season. Around the world, Christians prepare for Lent with traditions which not only use up butter, eggs, and meat – traditional Lenten denials, but which also offer a bit of hilarious frivolity just before the somber season of Lent begins.
Pre-Lenten foolishness goes by various names: Shrove Tuesday, Carneval, Mardi Gras, and Fastnacht.
Saint Matthew’s gives a nod to both Fastnacht and Mardi Gras origins by borrowing the German name to describe a fellowship event featuring an Italian potluck supper for all and a carnival for the young children.
Saint Matthew’s talent show, however, employs the farcical costumes and uninhibited revelry of Fastnacht and Mardi Gras. Fastnacht at Saint Matthew’s occurs on the Sunday Evening before Ash Wednesday.
Each year, Fastnacht has a theme chosen by the Christian Education committee and has ranged from Disney-themed nights to this year’s A Night at the Oscars. Great food and fun are staples of this night, and this night is one that will not be soon forgotten! Come Join the Fun!
Vacation Church School
At Vacation Church School, students from Preschool to 9th grade are invited to participate in a week-long voyage into the stories of the Bible. With stories, songs, crafts, games, worship and other learning experiences, children are able to immerse themselves in the early stories of faith.
Registration runs throughout the summer up until VCS starts, and participation is possible for all ages. Grade teachers, assistants, volunteers, and other support staff is possible for anyone 10th grade or beyond.
Beginning the last full week in July and running from that Monday to Friday, Vacation Church School currently begins at 9:00am and concludes with worship at noon. The Thursday night of that week features a cook-out dinner for the congregation where VCS-themed food is prepared and the VCS participants share some of the music and experiences of their week at VCS.
“This was the best day of my life” and “I never want this to end” are just two quotes from recent VCS children- your children will enjoy their week at VCS, and we ask you to please consider becoming involved with VCS yourself.
Watch upcoming newsletters for additional information.
Groups – Select each group for more information
Starting two years ago, the young adults at Saint Matthew’s began gathering for fellowship, food, and fun over Nintendo Wii, some pizza, and various versions of Cranium amongst other things. Since then, the group has expanded to include a Sunday Church School class, outings to the local minor league baseball team, parking lot volleyball afternoons and more.
But the biggest question is: Who exactly is a young adult?
For the Young Adults group at Saint Matthew’s, we invite all of those post-college aged adults through age 35, married or not, with children or not.
More information is to come, but please check in with this group and this page if you would like to be a part of this group.
DC Young Adults – Looking for information about Young Adults in the Metro-DC Synod? Check out their page, here, for more information!
You’re invited to share Christian community as part of the Women of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church. There are a number of ways to participate.
- Offered the second Tuesday of each month, September through May, 7:30 p.m. at church unless otherwise noted
- Speakers, crafts, service projects, devotions, updates on women’s activities, refreshments and community
- Topics address the particular needs and interest of Christian women today.
Women’s Evening Study Group
- Offered the third Monday of each month, September through May, 7:30 p.m., in member homes
- Participants volunteer to facilitate discussion, lead prayers, provide refreshments, and serve as hostess
- Opportunity for sharing in informal, small group setting
- Topics include Bible study, theology, church life, daily witness and Christian leadership. 2012-2013 study is Signs of the Kingdom a study of the Gospel of Matthew. Next meeting is listed in the weekly bulletin.
Women’s Evening Study Group
- Meets at church, as needed, the fourth Tuesday of each month
- Welcomes members of the congregation who wish to help with planning, implementing, and evaluating activities
- Participates in Women of the ELCA through synodical events, board meetings, retreats and conferences, publications, conventions, financial support
- Annual retreat
- Summer field trip
- Mother-Daughter Tea
- Annual Cookie Bake to provide care packages for college students.
Information about women’s activities and program topics appears in the church bulletin, the parish newsletter, and on the narthex bulletin board.
Activities are planned primarily for adult women, with occasional events for daughters or other family members.
~Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.~
St. Matthew’s Church Men meet for several different activities throughout the year. On select Saturday mornings at 8:30 a.m., Men’s Breakfasts provide an opportunity to hear interesting speakers and share in discussion and fellowship.
~Be joyful always~
The Prime Timers are a group of retired people who enjoy meeting for lunch and a variety of other activities throughout the year. This energetic group usually meets on the third Thursday of each month unless the church calendar requires a schedule change.
We welcome you to come and join the fun! If you have any questions, please speak to Pam Orr, or Pastor Scott Zimmerer or contact us!
Programs – Select each program for more information
Sunday Church School
Descriptions of the Sunday Church School program are found here.
Bible Studies provide an opportunity for small group discussion of the scriptures as they apply to the people and time they were written as well as what they mean in today’s world. There are a variety of Bible Study groups at St. Matthew’s. All Bible Studies meet during the program year, from mid-September through early/mid-June. New Bible Studies provide an opportunity for small group discussion of the scriptures as they apply to the people and time they were written as well as what they mean in today’s world. There are a variety of Bible Study groups at St. Matthew’s. All Bible Studies meet during the program year, from mid-September through early/mid-June. New participants are welcome throughout the year.
Daytime: Daytime Bible Study, Thursdays, 10 a.m. Led by the pastors, this group discusses the scripture lessons from the lectionary for the upcoming Sunday. This study is open to all adults.
Classes are divided into three levels during the 7-9 grade years, as follows:
- Small Catechism Apostles’ Creed Church Doctrine
- 10 Commandments Worship Christian Ethics
- Lord’s Prayer Prayer
- Holy Communion
- Apostles’ Creed
- Church Doctrine
- Christian Ethics
These courses are part of the Confirmation Series, “Here We Stand.” This format covers the catechism over a three-year period.
- The objectives of this series are to help confirmands:
- gain a basic understanding of the Bible and Luther’s Small Catechism
- develop a sense of connection with their congregation and the greater church
- develop faith relationships with peers and other adults
- appreciate the theological value in the biblical story
- value the Bible and Small Catechism as living books and tools for daily living
- gain skills in dealing with doubt, in discerning and expressing faith, and in making healthy choices and life decisions
GUIDELINES FOR PARTICIPATION
Regular Sunday Church School, Church and Class participation;
9th Grade: Monthly Sermon Synopsis
For fairness, comfort, and security of all students: NO MP3’s, cell phones, electronic devices, outside food, school homework, or leaving the building until dismissal.
The cost of meals is $100.00 –
$50.00 payable on/before 1st class
$50.00 payable on/before 2nd half begins
Parents of students model Christian service by preparing and serving Confirmation meals. Cooking Teams include an EXPERIENCED cook familiar with Saint Matthew’s kitchen facilities, plus at least one other parent.
A week before the meal, the cook receives a detailed menu with suggestions from a previous meal. The cook phones the cooking team and makes assignments for shopping, cooking, and cleaning up. More details are available in New and Abridged Confirmation Meals included in the Youth and Parent Information Packet.