Pastor Matt was raised in a Roman Catholic family as one of six children. Because his father was in the Air Force, the family lived in several places, including Trier, Germany. His family was very musical, and played music at a folk mass at the chapel on Fort Dix, NJ for three years in the early 1970s. As a young boy he had a strong sense of call to the priesthood, but also felt called to be a husband and father. After graduating high school in 1982, Pastor Matt worked a number of jobs, including HVAC technician, and technical school teacher. Music and faith have been strongly connected throughout his life. He was a volunteer church musician at Corpus Christi Roman Catholic church in Willingboro, NJ, for 8 years. In 1984, he met Karen, the daughter of Pastor C. Paul and Dolores Strockbine. Karen and he married on April 12, 1986, and were blessed by the birth of their daughter, Jillian, on March 2, 1994.
Pastor Matt, still a Roman Catholic at the time, was certified in youth ministry in 1984, and participated in many forms of ministry, from youth and prison ministry to teaching bible studies and writing, performing, and recording contemporary Christian music with Karen and others. During this time he realized that his understanding of the faith was not what was taught by the Roman Church, and he discovered a theological home in the writings of Luther and Melanchthon, as well as a worshiping home at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Tabernacle, NJ. Under the mentorship of Pastor David Jones, Pastor Matt served as High School Youth Director at Lord of Life, and was heavily involved in the Music Ministry.
In September, 1991, he first inquired about becoming a Lutheran pastor. He then completed an Associate of Arts Degree at Burlington County College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Thomas Edison State College, studying part-time while working two jobs. Starting in 1999, in which year he was also a voting member at the Churchwide Assembly, Matthew attended The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia full time, from which he graduated in 2003.
Karen has served for six and a half years as a community mental health counselor. In 2013, she earned her Masters Degree in Psychological Rehabilitation Counseling. Karen was awarded the 2010 Direct Service Provider of the Year Award from the Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey.
Jillian, is a professional actor, is studying at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in West Hollywood, CA. as a member of the class of 2014.
Pastor Matt, pictured here at his ordination with Bishop Riley, former Bishop of the New Jersey Synod of the ELCA, was called as Senior Pastor of Reformation on July 25, 2010 and began serving in October of the same year. He is a member of the Synod Council until 2014, serves on the Synod Executive Team, serves as the Synod Partner in Worship, serves as a member of the Synod Assembly Planning Team, serves as a member of the Synod LGBT Task Group, is a member of the Board for Garden State Equality, is Executive Director of the NJ State Diakonia Program, and previously served as a member of the ELCA Presiding Bishop’s Roundtable on Student Debt from 2008 – 2010, and as a member of the Board of the Flemington Area Food Pantry.Work and Education