Saint Matthews United American Freewill Baptist Church
Saint Matthews Freewill Baptist Church was organized in 1942 by the late Reverend J. B. Woodley. Reverend Woodley was the founding Pastor and accompanied by his side was his wife, the late Sister M. Woodley and a small group of members. Saint Matthews first location was N.W. 4th Avenue and 8thStreet.
During this time, the #1 Choir was organized as the Church's first Choir. Sister O. M. Woodley was elected as the 1st president. During this time the church appointed their first church mother, the late Mother Rebecca Jones. Mother Jones was a faithful member until her death in November 1991 at the age of 102. Among the members going with St. Matthews into the old St. John in 1942 was the late Sister Mildred Gibson, Deacon Roosevelt Jenkins, Sister Lillie Jenkins, Sister Luesendia Martin. the late Reverend W.L. Gober and Sister Lillie M. Gober who have all departed this earthly life.
In 1947, Old St. John was damaged while the Reverend LC. Hines was running a revival meeting. The church then began to have worship service in the New Hope Primitive Baptist Church edifice. From the New Hope P.B. Church, they then moved to B. Solomon Funeral Home, into tents and into the home of Reverend and Sister Woodley on two occasions. In 1949, the church began to use the edifice of an A.M.E. church. In 1949 Usher Board #1 was organized with Sister Bessie Robinson as its initial president. In 1952 the church moved into little Saint Matthews on N.W. 4th Court (its own facility).
Saint Matthews became a stationed church in 1952, when the church edifice was located at Northwest 4th Street and 8th Avenue. Sister Ora Crummer became the first secretary of the church. Also, in 1956, the #2 Choir was organized with Brother John L. McSwain as the president. During the year of 1958, the #2 Usher Board was organized with Brother Ike Hester as the first president.
In 1962. the church was blessed to move to 2014 Northwest 5th Court, which was a much larger building. We remained there until the third Sunday in September 1966. On the fourth Sunday in September 1966, we held our first regular service in this edifice: 6700 N.W. 2nd Avenue. Miami FL where the Lord has continued to bless us.
During these many years. 1942-2012 this church has had only two (2) pastors. The late Reverend J.B. Woodley, who organized it and remained as it grew from " A Seed" to a tree and then began sprouting its own branches - (other churches), as it grew from Saint Matthews to the now "South Florida Annual Conference "B" Division." He was also the founder of this Conference and became its first Moderator on June 27, 1973 in Homestead. FL.
Just as it was with Adam, Eve, Cain and righteous Abel "time" ran out for Reverend Woodley. It was an early morning on January 16, 1968 that the late Reverend J.B. Woodley, whom we learned to love and respect dearly was called home to be with our Heavenly Father.
Fortunately, Rev. Woodley had been grooming another minister while serving as Pastor of Saint Matthews. The minister God sent was the Reverend Abe Randall with his late wife, Sister. On April 4, 1968, Reverend Randall became the second Pastor of Saint Matthews. Due to Reverend Woodley's failing health the officers and members of the church had asked Reverend Woodley to preach only when he really wanted to and Reverend Randall would deliver the majority of the sermons. He expressed his appreciation of their request and consented. Of course, we now see the will of God in these proceedings.
During Bishop Randall's tenure as Pastor, Saint Matthews has experienced a great deal of growth and continuance in the name of the Lord. This church sits on a corner which has been well known in this community.
God blessed Saint Matthews with administrative staff. The Church secretaries were Sister Mamie Johnson, Sister Martha Roberson, Sister Mattie Turner and currently Sister Jestine Souter as Administrative Assistant since March 2000.
The original history was first written in March 1971, utilizing the memories of several founding members and others. The founding members met over a three (3) month period to gather historical data.
After 44 years as a dedicated servant and anointed leader, Bishop Abe Randall officially retired as Pastor of Saint Matthews United American Freewill Baptist Church on December 31, 2012. We are so thankful and grateful to God for sending Saint Matthews Bishop Randall. The Church is thankful and grateful to Bishop Abe Randall to have groomed another minister in the personality of Elder Paul E. Moss. Jr. to carry on the legacy of Saint Matthews. Bishop Moss brings only the third Pastor in the church 73 years of existence.
Today, Bishop Paul E. Moss. Jr. is the current Pastor and he is the sitting Chairman of the Planning and Evaluating Ministry that will help lead our Church into a righteous future with our God.
The following members held membership when Saint Matthews was house at N.W. 4th Avenue and N.W. 8th Avenue. This is the first building that the church was called: Saint Matthews Freewill Baptist Church:
Deacon Curby Sneed Sister Lula M. Gardner
Elder R. L. Lewis Sister Rosie L. Rushing
Sister Leila McNeal Mother Vera White
Sister Pearl Lewis Deacon Willie Shotwell
Sister Teresa Shotwell Deacon James Lomax
Sister Beatrice Lomax Sister Mildred Gibson
Mother Luesendia Martin
Information is added and revised as members submit and agreed upon by the Trustees. It is possible that there are names that should have been listed, however were omitted due to “not knowing or lack of remembering”. If any relevant persons or information have been left out we wish to apologize now with honest regrets. This is the third revision.
Saint Matthews First Ministries and Leaders
Deacon Board - Deacon Roosevelt Jenkins, Chairman
Women's Home Mission (Old St. John) - Sister Pearl Balley, President
Sunday School - Deacon Roosevelt Jenkins, Superintendent
Young Peoples' Christian League - Sister Emmie L. Towns, President
Women's Day Sister - Luesendia Martin, Chairperson
Men's Day - Deacon Roosevelt Jenkins, Chairperson
Pastor's Aide Club - Sister Emmie L. Towns, President
Willing Worker's Club - Sister Ada Mann, President
Presidents' Club - Sister Bessie Robinson, President
Treasurer - Sister Luesendla Martin
Male Chorus - Deacon Ellis Hewitt, President
Junior Choir was organized in 1946
Junior Usher Board was organized in 1961
Saint Matthews Special Chorus was organized in June 1973
Boy Scout Troop # 465 was organized in February 1977
Usher Board #3 was organized in March 1979
Young Adult Choir - February 1977 with Mattie Turner, Directress and M. Riley, President
Youth Church - 1991 with Deacon Larry Souter, Sr., Director
In September 1995, all Church Choirs were dissolved with exception of the Youth & Young Adult Choir;
One (1) Adult Choir was formed to replace the three (3) that were dissolved.
The Tape Ministry, the Sick and Shut-Ins - October 1995, with Deacon James Sander
Men Fellowship Breakfast was organized in November 4, 1995 with Deacon Grady Dixon
Evangelism Training Class - November 1995 with Deacon James Sanders
In July 1996, the Male Chorus was re-organized with Deacon George King as President.
Treasures Out Of Darkness Ministry - September 1996 with Evangelist Jenell Dean
Tuesday Night Baptism - September 1997
Women Fellowship Breakfast - June 13, 1998 with Evangelist Patricia Randall
The Food and Clothing Ministry - September 11, 2001 was organized by Sister Christine Forbes
The Substance Abuse Ministry was organized In April 2003 with Brother Robert Blake as Chairman.
The "I am Ministries" was organized in March 2005 by Sister Mae Brantley as President.
Spiritual "B's" was organized in 2008 by Mother Addie Torrence.
Church Planning & Evaluating Committee was organized August 29, 2010 by Bishop Abe Randall.
Rainbow Love and Grief Ministry was organized in 2011 by Mother Patricia Brown
Saint Matthews Freewill Baptist Church
All Male Usher Board - President, VACANT
All Widows Usher Board - Sister Refonia Price, President
Junior Usher - Sister Shirley Tarpley, Directress
Junior Usher Board - Sister Nevaeh Williams, President
Usher Board #1 - Sister Christine Gipson Sheffield, President
Usher Board #2 - Sister Jacquelyn Williams, President
Usher Board #3 - Sister Daphne Thompson, President
ALL OTHER MINISTRIES
Adult Choir - Deacon J.C. Smith, President
Audio & Video Ministry - Deacon Johnny Brinson, Chairman
Baptism Ministry - President, VACANT
Benevolent Ministry - Sister Shirley Tarpley, President
Board of Trustees - Deacon Cassius Turner, Sr., Chairman
Deacon Board - Deacon John, Chairman
Deaconess Board - Deaconess Claudette Randle, President
Decoration Ministry - Deaconess Shirley Brinson, President
Education Ministry - Sister Jimmie Ann King, Chairman
Floral/Condolence Ministry - Administrative Office
Food and Clothing Ministry - Mother Dorothy Dixon, President
Hospitality Ministry - , President, VACANT
Job Ministry - Administrative Office
Kitchen Ministry - Sister Crystal Corner, President
Male Chorus - President, VACANT
Minister of Mission - Eldress Lillie Edwards, President
Mothers Board - Mother Dorothy Dixon
Mother of the Church mother - Mother Dorothy Dixon
Music Staff Ministry - Sister Stephanie Etienne, President
New Membership Ministry - Deacon John Randle, President
Nominating Committee - Deacon John Randle, Chairman
Noon-Day Prayer Ministry - Sister Desiree West McPherson
Nurses Ministry - Sister Phyllis Lacroix
Pastor's Aide Ministry - Sister Dorothy Frierson, Chairlady
Pastor 's Appreciation Ministry - Sister Francis Simmons, Chairlady
Pastor's Steward - Deacon John Randle
Planning & Evaluating Ministry - Bishop Paul E. Moss, Chairman
Program Committee Ministry - Administrative Office
Public Relations Ministry - President, VACANT
Rainbow of Love/Grief Ministry - Deacon & Deaconess Larry & Jestine Souter
Saint Matthews Ensemble - Sister Stephanie Etienne, President
Sick Committee Ministry - Sister Shirley Tarpley, President
Spiritual "B's" Ministry - Mother Addie Torrence, Founder
Substance Abuse Ministry - Brother Robert Blake, Chairman
Sunday School Ministry - Deacon Larry Souter, Sr., General Superintendent &
Sister Jestine Souter, Youth Superintendant
Voter's Registration Ministry - Administrative Office
WebSocial Ministry, Sister Yesmin Turner, Administrator
Willing Workers Ministry - Sister Shirley Tarpley, President
Women Home Mission Ministry - Deaconess Jestine Souter, President
Women Ministry- Mother Berneice Moss, President
Young Men of Positive Impact (YOMPI) - Bishop Paul E. Moss, Jr.
Youth Choir - Sister Stephanie Etienne, Directress
Youth Ministry - Sister Yesmin Turner, Youth Directress