St Matthew’s Westminster is in the heart of London, close to the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Church House. The church was built in 1849 to the design of Sir George Gilbert Scott, greatly enriched by the addition of fittings and glass by C F Bodley, C E Kemp, Martin Travers and others. The Lady Chapel is one of Sir Ninian Comper’s finest early works.
The church was gutted by fire in 1977 and was reconstructed to a reduced plan and rededicated in 1984. St Matthew’s today is a lively church with a varied programme of ministry.
The location and history of the church present both problems and opportunities for St Matthew’s. There is a small residential community in the parish, a fine church primary school and a very large working population - the new building opposite the church houses the Home Office and more people work in that one building than the number of local residents in the whole parish. Thus St Matthew’s has a unique and exciting mission in the heart of the city.
Any ministry to the working population in an inner city area like this is focused in the church’s daily life of prayer. There are services every morning, lunch time and evening and the church is open all day for quiet and reflection by local workers, residents and visitors. St Matthew’s is a place of peace and quiet in the heart of the rush of Westminster life.
We have very close links with our primary school with a service held in the school every week. There is a Servers’ Club for children of the school, and a programme of Admission to Communion which has proved very popular. We also work with the elderly, lonely, housebound or sick in the area. There are two hostels in the parish for the homeless.
The building on the right of the church is the Clergy House which offers accommodation and hospitality to those in the local community, as well as national and international guests. As Westminster is the centre for the church and secular government a large number of clergy and lay people come to attend meetings and events and we welcome them to stay with us and join in our community life.