The service, which will begin at 10 a.m., will be held in The Chapel of the Press Building at the seminary located at 475 E. Lockwood Ave. The Chapel is on the second floor.
Mr. Mathews died Wednesday, two days after being involved in a car crash on Interstate 44 near Berry Road, according to an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. He died just hours after being released from the hospital, and officials are trying to determine if his death was caused by injuries from the accident.
Mr. Mathews, 28, had arthrogryposis mulitiplex congenita, or AMC, which is a rare disorder that affects joints and limits their range of motion. He used a motorized wheelchair and had limited use of his limbs.
In December, Patch spoke with Mr. Mathews about his unique challenge of finding a church in which to permanently serve that was accessible to ministers with disabilities. He discovered that there were few available, but was determined he would succeed in his goal.
Martha Robertson, professor of contextual education at the seminary, said Wednesday that Mr. Mathews was fearless, very confident and had an incredibly healthy sense of self esteem.
"Ryan's disability made him on fire to help others and eager to connect within the community," she said.
Last fall, Mr. Mathews served as a student pastor at Webster Groves Christian Church. His arrival there highlighted the need for changes to make the building more welcoming to people with disabilities – both in the congregation and in the pulpit.
"We lift up our prayers for his family, friends the Eden Seminary community, and all who knew and loved Ryan," the church stated in an email sent out Tuesday to its congregation. "He was very involved in the community, organizing the Eden softball team, playing the trumpet in music ministry and representing the UCC Disabilities Ministry for the UCC’s Office of General Ministries."
Robertson said an informal memorial fund has been set up for Mr. Matthews in hoped of raising money to make some apartments at the seminary accessible for students with disabilities.
"Ryan very much wanted to live on campus and was not able to because we have no handicapped accessible apartments," she said.
To contribute to the memorial fund, you can mail a check to Advancement, Eden Theological Seminary, 475 E. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, MO 63119. Checks should be made payable to Eden Theological Seminary.
Mr. Mathews will be laid to rest in Ohio, according the the Post-Dispatch article. He is survived by his mother, Karen Thomason; his father, Robert Mathews; his stepfather, Richard Thomason; a sister, Melanie Zaidman; and two nephews, Daniel and Benjamin Zaidman.