Our Parish History

The fourth rector was the Rev. Ralph Nelson McMichael who served from April 1970 until his death in April 1986. During this time Saint Matthias continued to grow and plans were made in the mid-1970's to buy property in West Shreveport. The acreage on Lakeshore Extension was purchased 22 May 1975.

Saint Matthias' first deacon, William C. Graff, was ordained 5 March 1977. Phase I of the buildings on Lakeshore Extension was begun in November 1979, and the first service was held in the new Phase I facility on 25 May 1980, the Feast of Pentecost. At this time the church staff consisted of Father McMichael, rector; the Rev. Deacon William C. Graff; the Rev. Deacon Kenneth R. Dimmick; Ms. Maurine Locke, coordinator of missions, and Ms. Phyllis Orbaugh, organist and parish secretary.

In 1980 over 100 parishioners were involved in various mission projects, including The Pines, Westwood Nursing Home, and a mission church in Reynosa, Mexico. Saint Matthias' commitment to tithe - that is, to "give away" ten percent of the church's received pledges - to mission projects was established at this time. In July 1981 the Rev. Robert Kenwood Cooper came to Saint Matthias as curate and served until August 1983. The Rev. Kenneth Ray Dimmick served as curate from June 1984 until January 1987.

Construction on the church building and office wing, Phase II, began 24 February 1985, and the first service held in the new building was on 13 April 1986. The stained glass windows and the Christus Rex from the first location were incorporated into our current church building. The altar rail from the original church was made into the paschal candle stand, and bricks from the 

demolished Venus Theater comprise the walkway from the drive to the bell tower.

On 1 October 1986, the Rev. Robert K. Cooper became St. Matthias' fifth rector. He served until October 1989. The Rev. William J. Echols was Curate from June 1987 until October 1989 and served as priest-in-charge from November 1989 until August 1990.

Subsequent clergy serving the parish were the Rev. Dale D. Coleman, August 1990 to June 1996; the Rev. Paul W. Bigger, June 1996 to January 1997; and the Rev. John W. Raish, February 1997 to December 2006. Curates were the Rev. Reid Hensarling, July 1992 to June 1994 and the Rev. Morgan S. Allen, from June 2003 to June 2005. The Rev. Bill McBride, who served as priest-in-charge during the search, accepted the call to be rector and served until 2015.

The parish, having experienced numerical decline as demographics changed, became a mission of the Diocese of Western Louisiana in June 2017 and the Rev. R Christopher Heying was appointed by the bishop as vicar of Saint Matthias in July 2017. Under Father Heying's leadership the worship space has been modified to enhance vitality for the congregation and the lighting throughout the campus has been converted to LED along with solar panels being erected on the roof of the church.

Honoring the past and building upon a sure foundation of Jesus Christ and strengthened through generations, Saint Matthias is experiencing a renewal of ministry in the present and is open to the future God has prepared.

Come worship with us and see for yourself what God is doing!

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