“Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23
Words cannot begin to express my personal gratitude to you for your years of service for the National Service Committee. There are many qualities I could identify but the ones that are outstanding are steadfastness and perseverance, commitment and dedication, deep love of God, wisdom, vision and tenacity. You have seen the work of the Committee through its ups and downs. You have worked with chairs and members with a variety of personalities, including myself. Throughout it all you were the ballast that kept things going.
Personally, I am grateful for your friendship and all the details you took care of in your capacity as Executive Director. You extended yourself in service, many times behind the scenes, to provide for other people. You have a gift of recall for past meetings, events and situations that amazes me. One of the things I would hope that you will do in your “retirement from the office” is compile a history of the National Service Committee and its endeavors over the time you served. That would be invaluable to the Renewal for the future.
I pray that God will continue to bless you and Claire as you move into the future. Your new ministry has just begun.
As a former member and chairperson of the National Service Committee, I had the privilege of working alongside Walter Matthews for nine years. I know Walter to be a person of deep faith whose life reflects the gospel he preaches. He is quick to forgive and quick to love. He has encyclopedic knowledge of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Our relationship blends a mixture of my Southern culture and his Northern roots. My fondest memory of our time together was during a visit to the Vatican Museum where Walter drew from his vast knowledge to explain to me all the nuances of the artwork. When I reflect on the many years of Walter’s dedicated service this scripture comes to mind from Psalm 115: “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to thy name give glory, for the sake of thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness!”
Faithful. Walter Mathews has been faithful.
The first time I met Walter was over lunch. I had been asked to serve on the National Service Committee and wasn’t entirely sure what this meant. I called Walter and asked if he would meet me for lunch and answer a few questions. Walter was happy to meet with me.
Our lunch probably lasted ninety minutes. During this meeting Walter shared with me the story of the NSC as well as the history of the renewal. It seemed to me as if he knew every significant person involved in the renewal since it’s beginning. His vast knowledge was impressive, but it wasn’t what impressed me the most. What I remember was at each twist and turn in the story was that Walter was there, like a faithful friend. Walter’s life was profoundly changed by the grace of baptism in the Holy Spirit and he spent much of his life working to invite others into this transformative encounter. Through times of grace and challenge, Walter continued to spend himself in order to share the grace that had changed him. Countless people’s lives have been changed due to Walter’s faithfulness.
I have known Walter from the early 1990’s from the Advisory Council to the National Service Committee (NSC); as a member of the NSC and its chairperson; and as a member of the NSC Council. Walter has done great work as the Executive Director of the NSC and of Chariscenter. I want to emphasize what a great blessing he has been to the Renewal by being a scholar of Charismatic Renewal. Walter kept up with the writings and activities of the Renewal around the world. He would keep the NSC aware of important literature and events in the Renewal, and in the wider Church, which would help us to better discern the leadings of the Holy Spirit. Walter served on the Pentecost Today Editorial Board and the committee that publishes literature for the NSC. I am grateful to him for being the editor of my book, Celebrating a Charismatic Jubilee.
My first strong memory of Walter was on the occasion of an Upper Midwest Regional Conference in St. Paul where he was serving as a principal pastoral administrator. I say strong memory because he was so gifted in his service. Wise, learned, discerning, with fine executive skills, he was clearly a Spirit-filled leader. Shortly thereafter he joined us on the staff of the NSC, then located in South Bend, where his work for the Renewal was outstanding in many areas. I want to highlight his service to the Renewal and the Church as a bridge builder. Walter has worked tirelessly to promote Christian unity among the many ethnic expressions of the Catholic renewal. Furthermore, he has facilitated constructive exchanges among many of the different Catholic ecclesial movements. Finally, he has invested himself on behalf of the NSC in many ecumenical efforts along with other Catholics and Pentecostals and Protestant Charismatics. Such work for our Lord is hard yet fruitful. May the Lord continue to empower Walter for service in the future.
Walter Matthews welcomed this stranger into the midst of the Council meeting in Albuquerque and my life has been so enriched because of it. I was invited by Msgr. Griesedieck to accompany him to the council meeting and attend the Conference in Albuquerque and the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me be quiet during discussions for which visitors were not to speak. Walter saw the Holy Spirit and gave me an opportunity to speak. Well the rest is history, serving with him on the Service Committee and then as Chairman allowed me to see up close the way in which Walter’s ability to see the Holy Spirit has guided, enlightened and given direction and discernment to the ministry of the Renewal he has led as Executive Director and I pray that the light of the Holy Spirit will continue to be his beacon in the future endeavors the Lord has for him.
As I looked back over the years working with Walter, I was impressed by his commitment to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the National Service Committee. Walter’s faithfulness, tenacity, compassion and caring were only a few of the qualities that I so admired in him.
Over the years Walter was challenged in many ways. The changes of Chairpersons and committee members were constant. He had to adapt. He did that so often.
When we gathered, Walter prepared us well and kept us on course. He made sure all that needed to be accomplished at our meetings was completed. He made us feel welcome, comfortable and brought us up to date on happenings within the Renewal.
The times we had to relax and enjoy one another were always so special. He made sure we had time to pray, laugh and play together.
I pray that this gifted, kind and loving man enters into the next phase of his life with joy and is open to the many blessings God has for him and his wife Claire.
A job well done, good and faithful servant, dear friend.
The years I worked with Walter as Chairman were years of excitement and challenges for Chariscenter and the NSC during which we were greatly blessed. I could describe Walter as a Faithful Spouse to the Renewal in that he was always there during good times and in bad, in rich and in poor, in sickness and in health. No matter what was happening Walter was the blessed leader who led Chariscenter with a deep faith, steady hand and numerous gifts. Walter is filled with the Spirit and at times of prayer the gifts of the Spirit burst forth from him in praise, tongues, prophecy and wisdom. During the business portion of our meetings these gifts were the foundation for his clear, objective ability to prod the NSC to remain focused on the business before us. I see myself as being truly blessed for the many years we worked together in various capacities and even today I find myself using what I learned from him.
Walter Matthews’ service in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the USA has been an outstanding gift to all who have served the Renewal in various capacities. God has blessed him with extraordinary gifts, especially in his capacity to remember – almost total recall of events of the past.
His service to the Renewal is second to none. Many of the qualities he has displayed throughout the years are exemplary: leadership with humility, generosity and availability, loving and a sincere desire to be a beacon of light for all who actively pursue the kingdom of God. Perseverance and encouragement, accompanied with wisdom, have been a hallmark of his service to the Renewal.
Enjoy your retirement, knowing you have given your very best to bringing about the Culture of Pentecost.
My thoughts and meanderings about Walter Matthews: A man of God with a servant’s heart. WOW!!
The grace of Vatican II was to renew the Church as by a new Pentecost. The people of God were born anew and on fire. The Lord was doing new things.
Lay persons began giving direction and formation to this renewal through teachings and seminars. Unordained leaders stepped forward and convoked conferences. National committees were formed and from this the National Service Committee was born.
Walter ultimately became executive director of the NSC. He grew in this ministry. Working efficiently and effectively, he encouraged the people of God to use our gifts for God’s glory, bringing together people in Catholic, ecumenical and ethnic circles. He relied more on grace and trust in the Lord.
Outside the office he presented conferences with clarity and precision, often traveling with family.
I enjoyed our working together, during hard times and blessed times. Truly he is a man of God with a servant’s heart. Thank you, Uncle Walter.
In the almost fifty years of working with Walter, first in the New York Diocesan Charismatic Renewal and then the National and International Renewal,
I have known and loved Walter….
- as a Faithful servant of God,
- a passionate promoter of the grace of baptism in the Holy Spirit,
- an anointed prophet, a gifted preacher and teacher
- and an extraordinary administrator.
- What I have admired most has been:
His unfailing efforts to be positive and charitable in difficult circumstances.
His willingness and ability to adjust to the changing styles of leadership of multiple chairs of the NSC has been awesome!
He will be sorely missed as Director of the NSC:
But I’m so happy he will be free to preach and teach and work to keep the fire of the Holy Spirit going!
There’s still more, Walter and Claire!
I remember when Walter shared with me his experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. He talked about his life before, during, and after that encounter with the Divine.
As I listened to his testimony, I knew I was looking at a man who had been “grasped by Christ,” someone who was forever changed by the sovereign action of God.
Walter told me how he wished everyone would experience what he had experienced. He knew if God could touch his life, God could touch everyone and give them this life-giving relationship.
Over the years, I have worked with Walter on many projects. I have heard him speak on several occasions. Behind everything I see or hear from him, I can still hear that testimony of a man touched by God, who strives mightily to share that experience with others.
For Walter, baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a fad or catch phrase. It is the life-altering encounter with God.
He has never shifted from that focus. I don’t suppose he ever will.
For many years Walter Matthews has faithfully and selflessly served hundreds of thousands of Catholics who have been renewed by baptism in the Spirit. I honor him and am grateful for his care for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. He brought us together in conferences, fostered leaders, provided us with sound teaching, represented us to the Church, served the worldwide Renewal, kept us informed about the Lord’s work, and much more. May the Holy Spirit reward you, Walter, with many years of joy, and peace. And may the Lord enfold you in his love all your days.
I served on the National Service Committee in the mid-1980’s. Afterwards I retreated into my den to write full-time about Scripture, and I largely lost contract with the national Renewal. To try to stay abreast, I would call Walter every October to get his perspective on the state of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, what was happening, where things seemed to be headed. Walter always had his finger on the pulse and would graciously fill me in. Every year I came away from our lengthy conversations with even greater respect for Walter and his service to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. I am in grateful awe of his persisting in the vineyard through the long heat of the day, quietly and patiently bringing in the harvest.