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Mary Matz

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Rev. Dr. Mary Matz BETHLEHEM, PA - Rev. Dr. Mary Matz, a theological pioneer and the first woman to become an ordained minister within the Moravian Church in America, passed away at Moravian Village in Bethlehem on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, concluding an eight month illness. Raised a Lutheran, she grew up in Havertown, Pa. Following her graduation from Grove City College with a B.A. degree, Mary became Director of Christian Education at the First Presbyterian Church in Athens, Ohio. In 1955, she married William W. Matz Sr., of Bethlehem. They assumed their first pastorate in founding Hilltop Community Moravian Church near Utica, NY. After sixteen years in four congregations in NY, OH, and Lititz, PA, they moved to Bethlehem where her husband answered the call to become Dean of Moravian Theological Seminary and Vice President of Moravian College. That gave Mary the opportunity to go to Seminary and graduate with a Master of Divinity Degree. After serving for three years as a Assistant Pastor of Central Moravian Church she was appointed as Director of Educational Ministries in the Northern Province of the Moravian Church in December, 1979. During her pastoral education to congregations she authored two books, the first in 1983 entitled Ministry Together, featured developing Shared Ministry of Pastor and laity. Her second book in 1990, entitled Choices, Choices, Choices deals with Bible study of choices and values in a radically changing world. In 1982 she received her Doctor of Ministry from Drew University Graduate School of Religion. Dr. Matz assumed assignments in Intentional Interim Ministry involved in the change of Pastoral Leadership. As such, she undertook parish leadership to assist in methods of change in NY, NJ, OH, and PA. Nationally, Reverend Matz served as Vice President of the National Council of Churches, leading the department which produced the latest English translation of the Bible- The New Standard Revised Version. Within the Lehigh Valley, Pastor Matz was active in community activities as Co-Founder of the Lay Academy and served on various committees and boards within the United Way, YWCA, Rotary International, and New Bethany Ministries. She also provided leadership in a variety of youth camps for needy children in MD, NC, NY, NJ, and OH. Mary served as Co-Director of the Grand Camp, dealing with Grandparents and Grandchildren at Camp Hope in Hope, NJ. She is survived by her husband, the Reverend Dr. Bill Matz Sr., her brother Charles of New Holland, PA, two sons Bill Matz Jr., a Bethlehem based Attorney and his wife Debbie, and Randall Charles Matz, Director of Wealth Management at McGladrey LLP in Charlotte, NC., and his wife Cindy, and four grandchildren, Brandon, Ashley, Jennifer, and Chelsea. A Memorial Service will be held at 2 PM on Saturday, August 17, at East Hills Moravian Church, 1830 Butztown Rd, Bethlehem, PA 18017. Arrangements entrusted to Long Funeral Home, Bethlehem. Online condolences may be placed at In lieu of flowers, to the Memorial Fund at East Hills Moravian Church.

Published in Charlotte Observer on Aug. 18, 2013
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