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Pastor J.B. Woodley, Founder (1st)
Bishop Randall.png


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

Current Ministries



All Male Usher Board - President, VACANT

All Widows Usher Board - VACANT

Junior Usher - Sister Shirley Tarpley, Directress

Junior Usher Board - Sister Nevaeh Williams, President

Usher Board #1 - Sister Christine Gipson Sheffield, President

Usher Board #2 - VACANT

Usher Board #3 - VACANT


Adult Choir - Deacon J.C. Smith, President

Audio & Video Ministry - Deacon CASSIUS TURNER, SR., Chairman

Baptism Ministry - DEACON JOHNNY BRINSON, President, 

Benevolent Ministry - Sister Shirley Tarpley, President

Board of Trustees - Deacon Cassius Turner, Sr., Chairman

Deacon Board - Deacon John BARBER, Chairman

Deaconess Board - Deaconess Claudette Randle, President

Decoration Ministry -  Deaconess Shirley Brinson, President

Education Ministry -DEACONESS JESTINE SOUTER Chairman

Floral/Condolence Ministry -  Administrative Office

Food Ministry - SISTER YESMIN TURNER,  President

Hospitality Ministry - , President,  VACANT

Job Ministry - Administrative Office

Kitchen Ministry -  Sister NEVAEH WILLIAMS, President

Male Chorus - PBROTHER BYRON RANDLE, resident 

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 - MOHER BERNEICE MOSS, 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 JUANITA MARTINEZ, Chairlady

Pastor's Steward - Deacon John Randle

Planning & Evaluating Ministry - VACANT

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 -  VACANT

Women Home Mission Ministry -  Deaconess Jestine Souter, President

Women Ministry- Mother Berneice Moss, President

Youth Choir - Sister Stephanie Etienne, Directress

Youth Ministry - Sister Yesmin Turner, Youth Directress


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