"I made the claim for this Church that it meant light: that it meant more light here in Fairbanks." - Archdeacon Stuck, 1904
So wrote Archdeacon Stuck about the first services held at St. Matthew's. It was Sunday, October 16th, 1904. The Church filled for services both morning and night. Though an Episcopal service (thanks to the mission in Circle) had been held the previous year in the Fairbanks Saloon, this was the formal beginning of St. Matthew's. Since the calling of the bell that first Sunday, the log church has continued to bring together, across all racial, cultural, and economic boundaries, from Fairbanks and throughout the Interior, everyone - prospectors, trappers, business leaders, visitors, dreamers, pioneers and the newly arrived. St. Matthew's contributed the first Hospital (built on the adjacent lot, providing the only medical care in the area, see 'Founding of St. Matthews Hospital', from the Alaska Churchman, the first library (a reading room in the church), the first kindergarten, and the first Boy Scout troop to the life of Fairbanks. From the doors of St. Matthew's, Stuck led the first successful ascent of Denali; churches were established along the Tanana River; and the first meeting of the Tanana Chiefs was held with the Federal Government.
St. Matthews is one of the three oldest churches in Fairbanks, located on First Avenue, across the street from the Chena River, in Fairbanks, Alaska. The original church building burned in 1947, but the great wooden altar and other carvings were saved, and were replaced with the present St. Matthew's Church building. First services in the new church were held Christmas Eve, 1948. We are the largest Episcopal Church in Interior Alaska and is a diverse congregation.
St. Matthew's has a large outreach, especially for a church it's size. In times past, St. Matthew’s has been pleased to be able to offer regular services at the Pioneer Home, Denali Center and the Fairbanks Correctional Center. In more recent years, those services have been modified due to availability of clergy and public health concerns. In 2018 a renewed emphasis was placed on a Cold Weather Gear Room to help keep our community members warm during the harsh winter months.
The icon that comes to visit St. Matthew’s was written (icons are “written”, not painted) by Master Iconographer Sherry V. Lynch and presented to the Episcopal Church in Alaska at the Diocesan Convention in Anchorage in October 2009. The image, a joint project of the artist and her husband Ron Ridnour of LaCenter, Washington (who prepared the 16 ¾” X 26” wooden support…Read More »
St. Matthew's contributed the first Hospital (built on the adjacent lot, providing the only medical care in the area. Read the first-person description of this initiative from Deaconess Clara M. Carter as printed in The Alaska Churchman.Read More »