The History of St. Matthew
On November 13, 1969, 78 communicant members from several Lutheran congregations met to form a new congregation of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in Spring Lake, Michigan. The charter members adopted the name St. Matthew Lutheran Church of Spring Lake. The Rev. Kenneth Schroeder became their pastor. He held the first worship service on Reformation Sunday, November 2, 1969, at Holmes Elementary School in Spring Lake.
St. Matthew purchased a 14-acre parcel located on Rannes Street, south of Lloyd’s Bayou, on February 4, 1971, financed by the Church Extension Fund of the Michigan District. The Mission Board and the Church Extension Fund authorized the erection of the new church building.
Robert Cain was the architect and Stephenson Construction of Zeeland was the general contractor. The church building covered 5,950 square feet. St. Matthew Lutheran congregation broke ground for their new house of worship on July 25, 1971, and laid the cornerstone on Reformation Sunday, October 31, 1971.
The Rev. Thomas A. Fischer, pastor of Trinity, Corona, South Dakota accepted the call and became the first called pastor of St. Matthew. He served from May 28, 1972, until January 22, 1978, when he accepted the call to be the pastor of Trinity, Davenport, Iowa.
After Pastor Fisher accepted the call to Iowa, the congregation engaged the Rev. Richard A. Nelson, pastor of St. Luke, Nunica, as vacancy pastor. Rev. Charles H. Pool of West Bethlehem, Detroit, was installed on April 22, 1979.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, church membership grew. The building was expanded to include an education wing which was put into use in the early 1990s. Currently, it is used for childcare and preschool rooms and offices. Rev. David Davis, a 1984 graduate of Concordia Seminary, came to the church following Pastor Pool’s retirement, He guided St. Matthew during these building years.
Upon Pastor Davis’s acceptance of another call within Michigan, Rev. George Hamilton began to serve St. Matthew in 1995. Rev. Mark Yeager and Rev. Michael Goers have followed in service to St. Matthew.
In 2016, a major building renovation and addition to St. Matthew was completed. The sanctuary was expanded and Cedar Commons was built to serve as a new entrance for both the church and preschool.
The Pastors of St. Matthew Lutheran Church
Rev. Kenneth Schroeder (1969 to 1971)
Pastor Schroeder was the first pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church. He was selected by the mission board as the missionary for this young, growing congregation.
Rev. Thomas Fischer (1972 to 1978)
Pastor Fischer was the first called pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church. He served in this capacity until he accepted a Divine Call as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa in 1978.
Rev. Charles Pool (1979 to 1983)
Pastor Pool accepted St. Matthew’s Divine Call on April 22, 1979. He retired from St. Matthew and continued to serve the congregation in a pastor emeritus role.
Rev. David Davis (1984 to 1994)
Pastor Davis accepted the Divine Call from St. Matthew directly from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO. He served in this capacity until he accepted a Divine Call to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Trenton, Michigan, in June of 1994.
Rev. George Hamilton (1995 to 2003)
Pastor Hamilton accepted the Divine Call to St. Matthew from Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in New Buffalo. He was installed as pastor at St. Matthew on December 17, 1995. He served in this capacity until he accepted the call to Cross and Resurrection Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on May 4, 2003.
Rev. Mark Yeager (2004 to 2005)
Pastor Yeager accepted the call from St. Matthew directly from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO.
Rev. Michael Goers (2006 to 2019)
Pastor Goers accepted the Divine Call to serve St. Matthew directing from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO. He led the congregation through the addition of a new church organ and expansion of the sanctuary and addition of Cedar Commons in 2016. He accepted a call to Trinity Lutheran Church in Traverse City, MI, in 2019.