ATASCADERO — Fr. Matthew Conrad of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atascadero is trading in his clerical collar and sandals for an Aloha shirt and flip-flops on June 30, 2018 after faithfully serving the community of Atascadero and the surrounding areas for more than 34 years.
Conrad was installed as Vicar of St. Luke’s in January 1984. In 1999, he became the Rector when St. Luke’s was admitted to the Diocese of El Camino as a parish church. Besides offering comfort and kindness to those in need, attending the sick, and officiating at services, Fr. Conrad has led, guided and encouraged the members of St. Luke’s to participate in numerous community service projects. His smile and sense of humor are infectious.
Living a life of service, Conrad was a founding member of Loaves and Fishes, helped establish the Atascadero homeless shelter (El Camino Homeless Organization), and the North County Mainline Churches Clergy Group. Conrad served many years on the local board of the Salvation Army, was a longtime member of the Atascadero Rotary, and served as chaplain for both the Atascadero Police Department and Twin Cities Community Hospital while tending to the needs of his congregation.
Music has always been an integral part of Conrad’s life. He is a well-known member of the Community Band where he plays the tuba. He also has a wonderful voice which enhanced the weekly Taize service of meditation and song on Sunday evenings and could often be heard while he rang the Christmas Kettle Bells for the Salvation Army. During his years at St. Luke’s, Conrad instituted the Visiting Musician Program to showcase the talent of Atascadero High School musicians, helped to start a before and after school care program for young children, the Youth Arts Activity Center and the Cottage Montessori preschool. In addition, Conrad has married, baptized or buried a significant portion of the population of our town.
In celebration of his ministry, Conrad’s many friends, colleagues and family are hosting a Celebration of Ministry and retirement reception on Saturday, June 23, 2018 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the United Methodist Church located at 11605 El Camino Real, Atascadero. The party is a family- style, alcohol-free appetizer potluck with live music. Bring your favorite appetizer, your favorite Fr. Matt story and join us to celebrate his ministry.
Matthew and Diana Conrad are looking forward to embarking on a leisurely road trip to kick off their retirement. Should you be unable to attend the reception, video messages, cards and gifts to their “retirement travel fund” may be sent to Mike Ferree, 7495 Pinal Avenue, Atascadero, California, 93422.