Our Church Throughout the Years
St. Matthew congregation had its beginnings in December, 1945 when Pastor Karl Mackensen from St. Paul’s Lutheran in Highlandtown asked Mr. and Mrs. Roland Poos to help him begin a Sunday school in Bowleys Quarters. They agreed and traveled each week to the Long Beach Improvement Association building where they held classes. Due to their faithfulness to God’s calling, efforts began to form a church body by the late 1950’s.
In January of 1961, a steering committee met and voted to form the new congregation. They were supported by St. Paul Church, whose people signed a note to allow the new congregation to borrow funds for their first building. The American Missions Division of the American Lutheran Church and the Baltimore Mission Society, later know as American Lutheran Ventures also provided support.
The newly formed congregation called Rev. Howard Rand as its first pastor in April, 1961. Shortly thereafter, the congregation purchased 4.7 acres of land at Bowleys Quarters and Red Rose Farm Roads from Mr. Vernon Sippel. The sanctuary, narthex, 3 rooms and a separate parsonage house were built. The cornerstone for the sanctuary was laid on July 30, 1961, and the building was dedicated in October, 1961. Pastor Rand continued to serve St. Matthew until 1965 when he accepted a call to begin another mission congregation.
A call committee then accepted the Rev. Clyde (Joe) Bissel who served until March, 1970. During that time, the congregation began to run into building design and heating deficiencies. Improvements were made to the heating system and a small Sunday school facility was built. The cost was approximately $1,500.00 in August, 1969.
In the spring of 1970, the congregation called Rev. Paul R. Kanupp who served until May, 1987. In addition to his regular duties as pastor, Rev. Kanupp served under various capacities in the community and the church at large. He was a member and chairman of the visiting clergy staff at Franklin Square Hospital, member of the Conference council, firefighter and chaplain at the Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Department.
Under Pastor Kanupp’s leadership the congregation accomplished the following: 1974-Remodeled chancel and altar area, 1977-dedicated a multi-purpose addition to the building, installed the pews in the sanctuary. This was made possible thru a loan of $65,000 from Town Line Lutheran in Buffalo New York. 1980-Luther League paid $1,500 as part payment of subsidy debt to ALC-Mission Division, 1982-Large electronic organ was purchased, 1984-Remodeled the Narthex, church office, pastor’s office and nursery room, 1986-Twenty-fifth anniversary celebration and banquet culminating a year of memories with Charter members, present members, and former ministers, 1987-new Apple computer was purchased for office and a new brick sign was built for front of church lawn. In May 1987, Pastor Paul Kanupp accepted a call to a congregation in his native Hickory, North Carolina.
In the fall of 1987, the congregation called Rev. John Kulczycki as pastor. He and his family arrived in February, 1988 and after 25 years, continues to serve as pastor. Before coming to St. Matthew from Peace Lutheran Church in Greenock Pennsylvania, Pastor Kulczycki participated in the unification process of three Lutheran Church bodies in the United States; the American Lutheran Church, of which St. Matthew was a member, the Lutheran Church in America and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. Almost one year from the time of his arrival, St. Matthew voted to join the newly formed Evangelical Lutheran Church America. The ELCA was the result of a desire for unity among Lutherans. It represented the coming together of liberal theological teachings. Through time and changes within the ELCA regarding the view on God’s authority and Word, St. Matthew Lutheran Church, in a very united way, voted to disassociate with the ELCA in February, 2011 and joined the newly formed North American Lutheran Church in March, 2011. We are looking forward to our renewed sense of God’s authority and Word.
During the 33 years of Pastor Kulczycki’s ministry at St Matthew the congregation developed specialized ministries in addition to the regular services, educational ministries and normal functions of the congregation. A new Education building was dedicated in February 1998. The new space of over 6,000 square feet has proved to be the impetus for ever increasing activity in the church building. The most prominent activity came during the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel in 2003 when hundreds of families used the facilities for help in recovering from the disaster. Other programs offered include Alpha, Purpose Driven Life, Reading the Bible in Ninety days, women’s quilting group, numerous adult bible study groups, mission trips to Ecuador, Uganda and Kenya, mission support for HCJB Global, Missionary Ventures, Hope International, and One Life Africa along with trips to Mississippi for disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina. Recently along with many social concerns support activities St. Matthew supports the Streets of Hope ministry, an ecumenical effort to help homeless men in Baltimore County.
In 2021, our beloved Pastor John Kulczycki announced his retirement in June and the celebration of his 33 years of service to St. Matthew Lutheran Church and to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While still struggling to adapt to our world with COVID, we welcomed our interim Pastor Ray Scheck for the duration of our call process to seek a full-time sole pastor. We look forward with a new sense of excitement for the work and ministries to come. We celebrate Sixty years of ministry within and outside the small community that surrounds us. This is only the beginning of greater things to come. But most importantly, whatever we do or whatever we accomplish, only matters if it is done in the name of the Lord. We are in existence not to celebrate what we have done but to celebrate what God has done for and through us. It is God who is our focus, not ourselves. It is what God has done and will do through his son Jesus Christ that makes a difference in our lives and the world. Nothing else matters outside of our Lord.