Born in Palestine sometime in the 1st century, St. Matthew was one of Jesus's 12 apostles and also one of the four Evangelists, according to the Bible. Matthew authored the first Gospel of the Bible's New Testament, now known as the Gospel of Matthew. Prior to preaching the word of God, he worked as a tax collector in Capernaum. Matthew is the patron saint of tax collectors and accountants. The Feast of St. Matthew is annually celebrated on September 21.
The best way to describe the people of St. Matthew's
Church is to study the St. Matthew's Banner. This interesting
device uses common features of Guildford as a symbolic representation
of our religious understanding. It is an expression that theology
can be related to the unique place where we come together from diverse
locations and backgrounds to worship as one family.
Guildford is bound on three sides by rivers - the Swan and the Helena.
Biblically, the Jordan River was significant Holy water, a place of
Baptism, cleansing and life giving. The rivers of Guildford remind us
of Christ the living water of the Gospels.
There are three bridges in Guildford. We are challenged to go into the
world to show the light of Christ - the bridges allow us to forth.
Three also reminds us of the Trinity. We are sent our in the name of
the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Tree of Life:
The roots go down and anchor the tree - we are rooted in God. The tree
also represents the growth in becoming the person God has created us to
The tree is encircled by a gold circle representing the sun, an ancient
symbol of God and eternal life. It also represents the Light of Christ.
Both the tree and the sun are placed in the centre of the banner. St.
Matthew's Church has the central place in the design of the
Guildford townsite. The Worship of God is a centre point in the life of
the people of God.
Moving out from the circle, the rays symbolise the pilgrimage of God's
people, carrying the light of Christ. The embroidery of the rays range
from simple to intricate, also symbolising the diversity of the
These are representative of the two races who claim Guildford as their
special place. The black swan, like the Aborigines they represent, is
found only in Australia (naturally). However they belong to the same
family as the white swan, an import as are the European Australians.
The placing of the two birds signifies a need for reconciliation and
unity between the races.
The Wild Geese
The wild geese flying high also belong to the same genetic family as
the swans and represent a model of how Christians can be. Flying high
and free, in formation, supporting each other and so increasing their
power to move through the air by seventy percent. Christians are
challenged by the Gospel to live in formation and support, flying high,
with increased energy to be and to do great things for and with God.
The St. Matthew's Hymn
This hymn is sung at St Matthew’s Church every year on St Matthew’s Day (mid-September).
Sung to the tune of “There’s a Light Upon the Mountains”
by Maurice Lawton Wostenholm, 1887-1959. (the tune has been
adapted in 2012 for use by the church orchestra and organ by organist
We’re the people of Saint Matthew
and like him we have a call:
To rise up from fruitless labours,
to be people of the Word;
To forsake all vain vocations,
pointless pride and empty greed,
To be servants with the Saviour,
and the friends of those in need.
From the table of his custom,
from the seat of his success;
Jesus called the Saint to follow,
and his theme was righteousness.
Breaking bread with sorry sinners,
Jesus dealt with social scorn
In a message of God’s mercy,
and new hope for those reborn.
At the Stirling Square of Guildford,
near the wattle and the rose,
In a place of many memories,
where two rivers always flow;
We are making Christ’s connection
with the future and the past
In the presence of creation
dreaming visions built to last.
We are people of the story,
we are people of the song.
God expects that we’ll do great things,
though the way is hard and long.
We are people of the footpath,
we are people of the sky,
In the wind of God the Spirit,
we’re the wild geese flying high.
Words by Rev Bob Waterhouse
Rector of St Matthew’s, Guildford, 1992-1996