Biographical Stories of Women in the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren —
From 1990 to 2005 Janet Kay Hughes Matteson served as Christian Ed Director at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. During those 15 years, we grew to love her as a sister in Christ, a friend, and a trusted colleague in ministry. After retirement, Jan chose to continue as part of our congregation and served in numerous capacities, most recently as church clerk. On several occasions she coordinated the work to produce a church pictorial directory.
To Jan, we owe persistent initiative to hold an annual family advent celebration. To Jan, we owe creative initiatives in our Vacation Bible School beginning with “Marketplace” at the College St. Church in the early 90’s and continuing with “Bug Safari,” “Scuba,” and others after moving here to this facility. To Jan, we owe devoted initiative to establishing a pre and after-school child care center that continues to serve children in this community. To Jan, we owe the benefit of a prayer shawl ministry that has touched scores of people facing traumatic times in their lives. These are only a few of her initiatives; some of you can remember many more. Who we are today is partly the result of Jan’s ministry with us.
Jan always had time for conversation with someone, even with the loads of work she needed to do as evidenced with her full office and many piles of projects. She encouraged youth and youth ministry attending their events and being a role model for a woman in ministry. She joined me in leading our annual membership-discipleship classes during most of her tenure. One special contribution to that ministry was her skill in creating a banner-size format of the upcoming Annual Conference logo and working with the class participants to complete it. You may still see those banners distributed throughout this building. She promoted outdoor ministry at Brethren Words, served there as dean in summer camp, and was a frequent outdoor-school volunteer. After retirement, Jan gave some of her service as a guide for the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center. Throughout those twenty-five years, Jan was an active participant in the Friendship Circle.
Jan carried the training and skill of a minister-pastor but always declined whenever she was approached about ordination. At least once, she preached for us in the College Street Church on Sunday morning and in that worship included the newer hymn “There are many gifts.” It accentuated the focus in her sermon as well as in her ministry. Another time, she even arranged a wedding when she planned the marriage of two declining older adult S.S. classes to become one. The Berean Class and the Friendship Class married to become the Berean-Friendship Class! The occasion was complete with a meal at Evers Family Restaurant, a litany, and vows.
Jan carried a beacon of light wherever she went. In this season of light, when we celebrate the coming of the Light of the World, I trust that in God’s providence Jan has entered into the fullness of that light, a light which she gave to us, to our children, and to all she met. What more appropriate salutation may we give than the words of our Lord: “She has done what she could.” “Well done good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord.”
— by Robert Earl Alley, edited, from the Worship Service Celebrating the Faith and Life of Jan Matteson, December 28, 2015