Matthew Stengel


Matthew Stengel

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Rev. Matthew Stengel

I was born in Buffalo, and raised in its suburb of Snyder, close enough to walk to the city line to catch the bus, so we didn't have to pay the suburban fare.  I graduated from Amherst High School (1975), SUNY at Geneseo (1980) and Colgate Rochester Divinity School/Bexley Hall/ Crozer Theological Seminary (as it was then known) (1988). I spent a semester abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the business school of the Paris Chamber of Commerce. I can still speak French.

I worked for a few years as a Paralegal at law firms in Chicago and Rochester. In high school and college, I worked in the kitchens of a bakery, a bar, a diner, and college dining halls. Summers from 1977 to 1980 were spent at Tyrand Cooperative Ministries in Mill Creek, WV as the coordinator of work teams at the mission site.

My wife, the Rev. Dr. Cathy Hall Stengel, is a retired pastor, District Superintendent, and seminary professor. We have 3 adult children, and 3 grandchildren.   I have been a pastor since 1986, and a pastor’s spouse since 1982. Cathy and I served one charge together as co-pastors, but have had separate charges at all the others.

I like woodworking, woodcarving, gardening, and enjoy working on cars (when its not too cold or too much of an emergency).  I like to have the proper tool to do the job, and yet I can make a pocket knife do many things. The work that pastors do day to day often does not show immediate, tangible, results. Like many pastors, I like to have my leisure activities do it instead. So, I coax plants up out of the soil; I cut straight lines in wood; I fix things that are broken.

I believe that God loves us and that we are only able to love God and others because God first loved us (1 John 4: 7-12). I believe that people need to know that before they can accept God's judgment and grace. I believe that faith and good works belong together. I receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, but I know that I am called, with all Christians, not to keep it to myself, but to take my personal relationship and make it a public ministry. The public ministry is one of personal piety, stewardship, working for social justice, and caring for all the people God gives us to live with. I believe it matters to God how we act (Matthew 25: 31-46). I believe that God loves us regardless of whether we believe or not, but that God's love calls all to believe, and to love the people that God loves (1 John 4: 19-21). I believe that Christian love is lived out in how we treat other people - people nearby and far away.