St. Matthews By the Sea History

Our Mission Statement:     To offer our service, facility, and church programs to meet the needs of       our  community and beyond so that lives are transformed to the glory of God.

Our Vision: To be a loving community that supports all people in finding new life in Christ.

St. Matthews By-The-Sea began in a tent in Fenwick Island in the summer of 1961 under the direction of the Reverend David Baker, then pastor of Salem Methodist Church in Selbyville. Three lots at Dagsboro Street and Highway 1 were purchased and construction began in June, 1962. A concrete floor was laid and services were held with the sky as the roof. Construction continued and the Cornerstone was laid in September, 1962. In the fall of 1963 two lots adjacent to the church were purchased to provide parking space. Additions and improvements continue at the church on a regular basis.

As Fenwick Island and the surrounding area grew and many people began to make this their permanent home, the decision was made to have a permanent congregation at St. Matthews. On January 13, 1990, the Rev. Dr. Donald O. Clendaniel, Sr. was appointed pastor and served until 1999 when Rev. Bruce Miller became the pastor July 1, 1999.

Under the leadership of Rev. Miller many new ministry opportunities began here at St. Matthews.  It was then St. Matthews received it's first Associate Pastor, Rich Evans.  Together, Rev. Miller and Pastor Rich Evans worked with the people of St. Matthews to establish the Samaritan Thrift Shop.  The Thrift Shop's success should be credited to Nancy Scheffey, its director for its first six years and to the current director Janice Slaysman, as well as all of the shop's many volunteers.  Rev. Miller and Pastor Rich Evans were also instrumental in responding to the call of the Bishop and District Superintendent to establish a new church in, what was then, our rapidly growing area.  It was one more way that we could remain true to our Vision Statement of helping "all people find new life in Christ."   It was then that Bayside Chapel opened its doors in 2008.

Rev. Bruce Miller faithfully served at St. Matthews By-The-Sea for 20 years until June 30, 2019 when he retired.

Rev. Michael Hurley was appointed Pastor on July 1, 2019, and served as our Pastor through some challenging times.  We wish Rev. Hurley and his wife, Ann, God's blessings.  Rev. Hurley retired on June 30, 2021.

We are now pleased to have Rev. Jake Macklin as our new Pastor!  He was appointed to our church on July 1, 2021!

Our church is more than a building; it reaches out to the community and provides a welcome place of worship for hundreds of visitors as well as our own members. This is our mission.