We Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

09.22.17 | by The Very Rev. Dr. Neal Michell

    I love St. Matthew's Cathedral. I love our rich history. I love knowing the various stories of God's-and the people of this congregation's-faithfulness over the years, decades, 160 years of existence.

    The risk that Mr. George Rottenstein took in coming to Dallas in 1856 to serve here on a full-time basis when there were only two churches in Dallas at the time and both of them only circuit riders. In February of that year the city had just been granted a charter to incorporate as a city. Population in 1860: 678. What a man of faith and commitment.

    Answering the call to serve in the army during the War Between the States, he returned to redevelop the fledgling congregation-that had been devastated by the Great Fire of 1860-only to die several years later. He had raised $1,000 to build a church building that he would never see.

    The relational generosity of our first Dean, Silas Davenport, who befriended the gamblers in town. When they heard that he was trying to raise money for a church building, these gamblers, out of love for the priest who had befriended them, took up a collection to advance the campaign.

    During the time of Hudson Stuck, the congregation raised $100,000 ($2.8 million) to pay off the mortgage of the Cathedral so the Cathedral could be dedicated in honor of the 25th anniversary of Bishop Garrett's consecration. During Dean Stuck's tenure, the Cathedral congregation also established a school for boys, an orphanage, was heavily involved in revising the child labor laws, and introduced football to Dallas all at the same time!

    And that is all in the first third of our life as a congregation!

    We stand on the shoulders of giants. Are you "liv[ing] your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ"?