5 minutes with Matthew Williams
Tell us a little about you
I am the husband of Jenny and the father of Pippa (8) and a son of God. All three of them give me regular astonishment and delight.
I began ordained ministry on my thirtieth birthday (cf. Luke 3:23. Joke.) I turned forty this year without a crisis. (Not a joke.) I am vicar of St James’ Old Cathedral, Melbourne West; Chair of Finance for the Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, and host the Year of Discernment Program for those considering ordination here. I love getting alongside people and helping them discover the good works that God has prepared for them to do.
What’s your favourite bible passage & why?
2 Corinthians 5:14-15. I never felt called to ministry, but I did feel compelled to do it. Everything else felt too partial or peripheral. I find these verses resonate as a purpose statement for my life. I’d paraphrase them, but I’d only say it worse:
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
I can’t pretend I always do. But when I do, it’s because I’ve paid careful attention to the word of Christ, I’ve paid careful attention to the least of his brothers and sisters, and I’ve given thanks in all circumstances.
When I don’t, it’s usually because I have forgotten that it is ‘very meet, right and my bounden duty’ to recite thanksgiving to God until true joy finds its way back to the surface of my thoughts, so that I am refreshed and ready to serve.
What would you like the next generation of Christian women and men to know?
Firstly, that the word of God is not chained (2 Tim 2:9). I wish we trusted the bible more to just speak to people, giving it space to unsettle us all.
Secondly, that gentleness is still a fruit of the Spirit. For men too.
What’s one thing you love about your local church?
I love that they dwell in unity. Truly. They just don’t let conflict get traction. They’re a sheer pleasure to pastor.
What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
That nothing is wasted. Like Japanese Kintsugi, God repairs us with gold. It’s those old fractures that become the resources of empathy later.
What are you passionate about?
Apart from Jesus? I love the opera. It’s my drug of choice, and most likely idol. We plan whole holidays around it.
What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
Sleeping. Really. I love sleeping. For active rest, I like wandering about places I’ve never been to without a plan. And playing piano – especially Bach and Schubert.