The History St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church
The St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1943 as the Second Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. L. H. Francis led this small body of Believers as they worshiped at a site on Suwannee Avenue. The Church grew and in 1948, relocated to a site on Miller Avenue. In 1955 a Church edifice was constructed at the current location of 270 Withlacoochee Avenue now 270 Selma Daniels.
In the seventies, Pastor W. C. Troup and the congregation embarked upon a renovation project to enlarge and improve this House of Worship. It was at that time that legal problems surfaced as to the actual name of the church, as legal records failed to support the existence of a St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church. Through much effort and with the aid of attorneys armed with affidavits from two original members, Will Archie and Erie Bell Plummer (Williams), the Courts declared that Second Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church as one and the same.
On March 23, 2010 the Church was incorporated under the laws of the State of Florida as the St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church of LaBelle, Inc. St. Matthew is a member of the Kissimmee Valley Missionary Baptist Association, the Progressive Missionary and Educational Baptist State Convention of Florida, Inc. and the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., International.
Rev. Kenneth C. Holley was called to pastor this congregation on July 1, 1986 and has remained at the helm for the past thirty-three years. On June 30th, 2019 Rev. Kenneth C. Holley retired from St. Matthew M.B. Church and now holds the title of Pastor Emeritus. Horace L. Dozier, Sr. was called to pastor this congregation on July 1, 2019.