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Why New Life is different…


We know that there are many churches out there to choose from…and the choice to come to any church is, frankly, rather counter cultural these days, right? So, we want to honor the fact that you’re looking for a place to belong…a place to serve…a place to find purpose and meaning. And that’s why we think New Life is different. We are real people trying to make a real difference with a God who is vibrant and real.


You will recognize the difference the minute you interact with us – whether online or in-person! We want every person to experience a welcome that truly comes from the heart of God’s welcome. “Hospitality” is not just a fancy word to us – it’s a way of life. We want people to feel like they belong here and we make every effort to help that be so. And when we say we welcome all, we mean all! The diversity that already exists in this congregation continues to inspire us to seek more of God’s beautifully diverse creation!


As you find a welcome here, we also invite you into service. Part of the welcome that people experience here involves ways to make a difference in the world in Jesus’ name. The growth of our congregation and its ministry is dependent upon participation and not simply observation. So we offer ways to serve within the congregation as well as within the community in order to fulfill God’s mission and give you purpose and continued growth of faith.


We know you’re on a journey of faith…and we hope you’ll walk in step with Jesus and with us!

Our History

Our community has also been on a journey…since 1955. St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church began as Pastor Howard A. Rice was called on October 15, 1955 to survey an area of eastern Madison in order to form a new congregation of the Lutheran Church in America and the National Lutheran Council. The first service was held on January 15, 1956 in the Community Room of the Gardner Bakery on East Washington Ave. Our church was officially organized on June 17, 1956 with 39 charter families. As we grew, we began offering Sunday school and built a House Chapel next to Gardner Bakery in August of that same year.

In 1959, the anticipated growth prompted the purchase of land on Dempsey Rd., but many transitions and delays meant that groundbreaking on the new church building didn’t take place until May 11, 1969. Our first worship service in the Dempsey Rd. location was on January 18, 1970. We expanded that building again with a need for Sunday school and education space in 1987. We enjoyed great growth and excitement for many years to follow!

As our congregation grew and our mission focus changed, we sought out a new location in order to grow our outreach to those on edge of the community and the church. We were blessed to be able to purchase 10 acres on the edge of the city of Madison on Cottage Grove Rd. – and then, through the Spirit’s call and prayer, the owners of the land, Ron and Trudy Hermsmeier, gifted us another 10 acres! Groundbreaking on the new property took place in 2002, and we celebrated our first worship service in the new building on January 19, 2003 – almost exactly 33 years after our first worship at Dempsey Rd.


With this new location and new mission, we also adopted the new name of “New Life” while retaining the historical connection with our St. Matthew’s history. As our congregation has grown and changed over the years, one thing has stood the test of time – God’s faithfulness and the enduring promise that Jesus is with us. St. Matthew’s “New Life” Lutheran Church has always been committed to offering the same hospitality, forgiveness, and grace that God has shown to each of us. In Jesus’ name, you are welcome to join us in the next leg of our journey!

What are our parishioners saying?

St. Matthew’s New Life is my church home becauseā€¦