Rev. Dr. Daniel Paul Matthews
The Rev. Dr. Daniel Paul Matthews, rector emeritus of historic Trinity Church, Wall Street, was born in Chicago. During grammar school years, he moved to Western North Carolina where he graduated from high school in the small mill town of Canton. . He spent the first 20 years of his ministry as a priest in parishes in Tennessee.
Since 1972, the hallmark of Dr. Matthews' work has been concentrated in larger, inner city parishes. This phase of his service began when he moved to St. John's in Knoxville, TN. The work of the parish there focused on the broad needs of the city both within and without the church. In 1980 he was called to St. Luke’s in downtown Atlanta and in 1987 he received a call to 300 year old Trinity Church, Wall Street where he served for 17 years.
Honoring Dr. Matthews in 2001 with the Bishop’s Cross of the Diocese of New York, the diocese described him as “a gift to our city and diocese from wide-ranging experience in Tennessee and Georgia.”
The citation continued: “His gifts of creativity and imagination have been expressed in many forms: from the establishment of what is now called Hallmark Television Channel. -- in which he brought together over 50 faith groups including Jews, Roman Catholics, Mormons, mainline churches and historic black churches in joint ownership of this cable channel -- to the Clergy Leadership Project, an intense renewal program open to clergy throughout the nation, to the publication of a national magazine, Spirituality and Health. In service of the street people, he created Frederic Fleming House, permanent housing for the chronic homeless, an eight bed overnight shelter for the homeless on the balcony of St. Paul’s Chapel, and created the award-winning drop-in shelter, John Heuss House, near the New York Stock Exchange.
“His leadership has been recognized by four honorary doctorates; his preaching has been heard throughout the nation as well as in Canterbury Cathedral in England and Nanjing Seminary in China. His magnetism and charm have been evident by his television appearances for the Chicago Series, ‘Thirty Good Minutes’ and ‘The Protestant Hour’, and most recently he was selected to serve as the chaplain at the historic Chautauqua Institution.”
On September 11, 2001, Dr. Matthews saw the second plane fly into the south tower of the World Trade Center from his Parish’s offices, and he was forced to evacuate lower Manhattan with his staff and the children of the Parish pre-school. Trinity’s chapel, St. Paul’s – across the street from the World Trade Center – served as a 24-hour center of refuge and relief for eight months after the attack.
An apostle of hope and healing for lower Manhattan as the district sought to rebuild itself, Dr. Matthews has made appearances on all three major network television evening news shows, and many others both overseas and locally, as an advocate for and commentator on the church’s post-September 11 mission. On March 3, 2006, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his leadership at this time.
In retirement he and his wife Diane live in Manhattan. Dr. Matthews presently serves as co-chair of the development committee at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine where he maintains an office. Mrs. Matthews is an innkeeper during the summer season at The Swag Mountain Top Inn on the boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Waynesville, NC.