St. Matthias Episcopal Church is located at 6400 Belair Road; the gracious and welcoming English-Tudor style building was constructed in 1935 with a carved reredos in the sanctuary and beautiful stained glass windows which commemorate the lives and ministries of St. Matthias parishioners and their loved ones.
St. Matthias Episcopal Church began in 1906 as the Raspeburg Mission, located in the suburbs of Baltimore in the neighborhood now called Overlea – Fullerton. Initially services were held in the home of a parishioner, and later they took place above the neighborhood volunteer fire station. In 1908, the mission church moved into a newly-built clapboard chapel on Belair Road and Springwood Avenue. In 1909, Raspeburg Mission was renamed St. Matthias after the disciple who was selected to replace Judas as one of the twelve who would carry on Jesus’s teachings. However there was still no pastor; pastoral care of the mission was shared among clergy associated with the Church of the Messiah, Church of the Ascension, and Prince of Peace.
As St. Matthias continued to grow, land for the present building was purchased in 1931 with financial assistance from two other congregations through the William A. Simpson bequest. The sanctuary was completed for the total cost of $2,988 and was dedicated in 1935. More than one thousand people participated in the consecration of the building and in the procession from the previous site at Springwood and Belair Road to the site of the new sanctuary. The parish hall was added in 1961 to accommodate a large children’s program, parish suppers and other events, and dinners and meetings organized by groups in the larger community. In the 1990s, air conditioning was installed and a new digital organ was dedicated. A handicap ramp, built in the early 2000s, allows easy access to the sanctuary from one end of the parking lot, while the parish hall is accessible from the other end.
From 1931 to 1951, St. Matthias was led by four Vicars: The Rev. Charles Mengers (1931-1937), The Rev. Lewis Moore (1938-1940), The Rev. Albert Martin (1941-1946), and The Rev. Charles Hein (1946-1951). In 1951 The Diocese of Maryland approved its designation as an independent congregation at the Diocesan Convention and St. Matthias called its first rector, the Reverend Horace Fairbrother, who remained rector until 1978. From 1978 to 2003, the following priests served as Rector at St. Matthias: The Rev. David Thompson (1978-1983), The Rev. Michael Schumacher (1985-1988), The Rev. Linda Northcraft (1990-1997), The Rev. Louanne Mabry-Loch (1999-2003), The Rev. Eleanor Holland (2004-2011) was St. Matthias’s sixth Rector. Beginning in Advent, 2011, The Rev. Ann Copp became Priest-in-Charge. In 2012 Rev. Ann became the seventh Rector. In February 2018, Rev. Joanne Tetrault became Priest-in-Charge after Rev. Ann Copp’s retirement. In 2020 Rev. Monique Ellison became Priest-in-Charge for St. Matthias and Church of the Messiah (on Harford Road). St. Matthias and the Church of the Messiah are presently on a road to a future merger.
St. Matthias celebrated its Centennial in 2006, and the parish has continued to be actively engaged with an array of vital programs and activities, including Adult Christian Formation programs (with a Sunday forum and a weekly Bible Study for adults, and a variety of Outreach programs that connect the Church to the Rosemont School, Paul’s Place, Harborside Nursing Home, and other neighborhood institutions, as well as the Baltimore Seafarer’s Mission. In 2006, parishioners began a new ministry called Loaves and Fishes that offers a free lunch every Saturday to people from the surrounding neighborhood. St. Matthias also provides a Food Pantry each Saturday for neighborhood people and food baskets for local families at holidays in coordination with a nearby school. In addition to our annual Spaghetti Supper and Holiday Bazaar in the fall, our Pancake Supper on Shrove Tuesday, and our annual Flea Market in the early summer or early fall, parishioners can become involved in the Choir, can serve on the Vestry if elected, and work on a number of committees that focus on mission and outreach, finances and fundraising, and the building and grounds of the church. St. Matthias is a welcoming and affirming congregation, offering beautiful Sunday liturgies, inspiring sermons, and friendly hospitality to anyone who would like to attend and join in. Everyone is welcome!