Logo for St. Matthew’s showing its character as a neighbourhood church in Winnipeg’s West End
St. Matthew’s started as a house church in the West End of Winnipeg in 1896. It replaced its original wooden building in 1908 with a brick building at the corner of Sherbrook and Ellice that has gone on to become the West End Cultural Centre. The parish moved to its current location in 1913. It became quite a community centre for newcomers to Canada from Britain as they settled in the neighbourhood. After that building was destroyed by a fire in November 1944, the present structure was built from the ashes and consecrated in 1947. The building was built for a worshipping congregation of 1200 people and was often full with standing room only. However, throughout the 1950 and 60’s many British families moved to the suburbs in the south side of the city. The church’s neighbours were no longer parishioners.
At that time the parish considered closing and following its parishioners, but decided that its mission and ministry remained in West Central Winnipeg. In 1972, in partnership with Maryland United Church (then also worshipping in the building), St. Matthews-Maryland Community Ministry was founded as an outreach ministry to the neighbourhood and continues to this day. Many other community serving organizations made St. Matthew’s home over the next decades. It became an active mission centre for the neighbourhood.
By the turn of the century, the building needed significant repair. Out of that need and the commitment to continue to serve in this neighbourhood for another 100 years, St. Matthew’s entered into a partnership with Grain of Wheat Church-Community to establish St. Matthews Non Profit Housing Inc and develop the WestEnd Commons. St.Matthew’s gave a 50 year lease of its building to SMNPH and is now a tenant in the building and an active member of the community of communities that is now the WestEnd Commons. With great joy, St. Matthew’s consecrated its new worship space in the southeast corner of the building on September 22, 2014 and entered a new chapter its ongoing life and ministry. Throughout its history, St. Matthew’s has evolved and changed with the city and continues to be a vital presence in the West End of Winnipeg.