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Recorded Service: November 22
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An Important Message from Sr. Warden, Anne Bowen
Sunday, November 8, 2020
To our Saint Andrew’s family,
As many of you know, the vestry recently restarted the work for our Rector search. One of the vestry subcommittees focuses on clergy compensation, and this committee works together with the diocese office to ensure we have a realistic picture of the total cost for calling a Rector. After crunching the numbers our compensation review committee quickly realized that our finances were in dire shape. The committee reported the numbers to the vestry and we realized that St. Andrew’s was not in a financial position to call a full-time Rector at this time. We were not just a little in the red but over $60,000 off-budget if we were to continue our search process to call a full-time Rector.
After several conversations with the diocese (Canon Eric Cooter - Canon to the Ordinary and Canon Will Buchanan - Canon for Finance and Administration) the vestry had a very hard decision to consider — whether or not to petition the diocese to change from parish to mission status. If a parish cannot pay their rector they technically do not meet the standard for parish status. Please know none of us took this decision lightly. All of us struggled with this, but unfortunately we did not see any other option.
After a few emotional Zoom calls with Canon Eric and Canon Will, they realized we were beyond tired and feeling defeated. Canon Eric asked us to have a Zoom call with him and Bishop Poulson. Reverend Mary, Jim, and I were on an evening call during which our church was given an extremely generous offer from the diocese. Bishop Poulson and Canon Eric recognized something we already knew: St. Andrew’s was meant to be a parish!
The Bishop and Canon Eric, after some "out-of-the-box" thinking, asked us to consider a candidate with ties to Stillwater who was very interested in Saint Andrew’s. This approach was outside the usual process for calling a new Rector, but the Bishop and Canon recognized we were in a very unique situation. They envisioned so much potential in this possibility that they also offered generous financial support. It was up to us to decide whether we wanted to interview this candidate and to see if this plan was a good fit for our church. The vestry agreed and we spent two hours on a Friday night Zoom call getting to know this candidate.
After talking with the candidate and learning a few more details about the very generous offer of financial help from the diocese (which will span a three-year period), it was time to make a decision, and it was a unanimous vestry decision. We all felt as if this opportunity was a “no brainer“. Many of our vestry members used the words “encouraged,” “enthusiastic leadership,” “strong yes!” and “exactly the qualities we need” when talking about the candidate.
So, after our official vestry vote, we have decided to call The Rev. J. Michael Matkin to be our next Rector!
Fr. Michael shared this with us:
“My name is Michael Matkin. Prior to being received into the Episcopal Church, I worked for twenty years in pastoral ministry in Pentecostal and evangelical churches, including four church planting teams. In 2004 I also founded and led The Brendan Center, an urban missional center in downtown Bellingham, Washington.
In 2008 my family and I returned to Oklahoma, at which time we became Episcopalians. After several years of community development work and a career as a freelance writer and editor I submitted to a discernment process with the Diocese of Oklahoma. In 2019, I graduated from Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas with a master’s in divinity. I accepted a call to serve as curate to Emmanuel Episcopal Church, where I was ordained a priest in August 2019 and where I currently serve.
I have a degree in history from the University of Tulsa and did graduate work in early church history at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. I am the author of two books on early church history: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Gnostic Gospels and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Early Christianity, as well as other books and articles.
My partner in crime for almost thirty years is my wife Christine, a pharmacist with Walmart (she was born in Stillwater before growing up in McAlester). Our oldest daughter Emily is in her second year at Texas A&M and our youngest, Elaina, is a junior in high school. Both of our girls are originally from China. Our dog Penny and cat Lily round out the Matkin clan.
I am an avid player of tabletop games of all kinds, an unrepentant lover of all things scifi & fantasy and I am perpetually failing to learn how to play guitar (but hope springs eternal). I make a pretty mean paella and I love conversations in coffee shops with friends and complete strangers alike. Most of all I love sitting in silence, alone or with others, listening prayerfully and resting in the Lord’s presence.
I am convinced that St. Andrew’s is called to and capable of being at the forefront of what God is doing in Stillwater, so I am honored to be invited to serve as your new Rector and I am excited to be saddling up for this adventure with all of you.”
Please feel free at any time to talk to me, Jim, or any vestry member if you have any questions. We are encouraged. We are beyond excited, and look forward to our future.
On behalf of the Vestry,
St. Andrew’s Stillwater
From the Office of the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ at Saint Andrew’s,
I am absolutely delighted with this announcement that the Reverend Michael Matkin is to be your new Rector. As Anne has said, this call comes out of a wonderful series of “outside of the box” conversations that really were, from my point of view, guided by the Holy Spirit.
Saint Andrew’s needs to be a strong parish, with a vibrant mission to Stillwater and to the university community. But you are at a place right now where you need some partnership with the diocese to get there. That’s why we’re here! As your bishop, I will always seek to be with you, alongside our congregations, to serve together for the sake of the Gospel.
Michael is a gem! He may be a relatively new Episcopal priest, but he has a wealth of experience in growing churches. And he and his family have great love for Stillwater. With him as your Rector, with some temporary financial help from the diocese, and with the support of the diocesan staff, I have confidence that Saint Andrew’s will be back on your feet in no time.
I also want to add my thanks for the ministry of the Reverend Mary Korte, who has served admirably as your interim in these unprecedented times.
I look forward to seeing you soon in person. Until then, you remain in my prayers. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, to Canon Eric, or to Canon Will if we can be of further help.
The Right Reverend Poulson Reed
The Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma
924 N. Robinson Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73102
WELCOMING YOU HOME
St. Andrew’s is a church rich in tradition and ritual, but with a forward-looking attitude that welcomes all people, no matter where they are on their Christian journey. The members of St. Andrew's commune with God and each other through worship, prayer, and fellowship. As persons of reason and faith, we believe there is space in our worship to know God on an individual and collective level. Therefore, our community values each other's right to have a personal relationship with God—we do not let ideological differences disturb the community we have created together.
OSU CANTERBURY CENTER
The OSU Canterbury Center is the Episcopal Campus Ministry at Oklahoma State University. Though we are a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, everyone is welcome. Through worship, fellowship, community outreach, and hospitality our aim is to grow in faith and share God’s love with friend and stranger alike.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We Episcopalians believe in a loving, liberating, and life-giving God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in following the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection saved the world. We have a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being; women and men serve as bishops, priests, and deacons in our church.
We believe that God loves you – no exceptions
The Book of Common Prayer is a treasure chest full of devotional and teaching resources for individuals and congregations, but it is also the primary symbol of our unity. We, who are many and diverse, come together in Christ through our worship, our common prayer. The prayer book, most recently revised in 1979, contains our liturgies, our prayers, our theological documents, and much, much more.
Music in The Episcopal Church can be as diverse as its worship services. Although final authority over the music used in an Episcopal service is "the duty of every Minister" (Canon 24, Section 1), our hymnal draws all Episcopalians together musically in the same way that the Book of Common Prayer draws us together in prayer and liturgy.
Information referenced taken from episcopalchurch.org