About the time the Vestry was beginning to search for a new rector, Bishop Robert Atkinson raised the question of St. Matthew's becoming the cathedral church of the diocese. After several exploratory meetings, no action was taken, but in a real sense the church had already served much of the cathedral function since it was the site of consecration for five of the six bishops of the West Virginia Diocese. It has also been the church for many of the other diocesan celebrations.
Bishop Atkinson recommended The Reverend Kenneth L. Price Jr., the rector of Trinity Church in Parkersburg, W. Virginia, for the rectorship at St. Matthew's. Rev. Mr. Price was invited to visit in late February and subsequently was issued a call by the Vestry which he accepted on March 4, 1984. Rev. Mr. Price attended the anniversary celebration in May and was introduced as the rector-elect. In preparation for the arrival of the Prices, the Vestry sold the Belle Fern Place property and bought a home on Rockledge Road for use as the rectory.
A report of Rev. Mr. Price from one of his first meetings with the Vestry explains the degree to which the church continued to meet social needs of the community. He reported that, in the last month, he had dispensed more than $800 from a discretionary fund to help those in need who appeared in his office. He said that it was essential to his other pastoral commitments that he limit his office time to an hour a day to hear requests for assistance.
The election of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States marked a conservative time in America. Attendance at St. Matthew's increased and various committees and departments of the church began to function once again. The Food Pantry was opened in November 1984. Discussion commenced with the Vestry of St. Luke's about coordinated ministries. In 1984, the Erb property adjacent to the church was purchased and, in 1985, the church office installed its first computer. It was clear at the annual meeting in 1986 that St. Matthew's was strong and willing to accept new challenges.
In February 1987, the St. John's congregation voted to reunite with St. Matthew's Church. The bishop suggested a delay until all the alternatives were explored. But, by the end of the year, the bishop agreed that St. John's should again be an extension of St. Matthew's.
In 1988, Dr. William P. Crosbie resigned as organist and choirmaster to accept a similar post at St. James Cathedral in Chicago. He as succeeded in 1989 by Robert F. Troeger who continued the tradition of excellence in church music.
Rev. Mr. Price was supported by the Vestry in his desire to continue academic work at Virginia Seminary toward the doctor of ministry degree. He also was chosen to serve as archdeacon of the diocese's Northern Archdeaconry (consisting of the Northern and Ohio Valley deaneries), earning him the title of "the Venerable." In 1994, Ven. Dr. Price left Wheeling to become the suffragan bishop of southern Ohio. He is the eighth person associated with St. Matthew's who later became a bishop.
The Reverend Mark E. Seitz, who had been serving as rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church at Oak Hill, W. Virginia, was welcomed as rector of St. Matthew's in 1996.
In 1989, the Wheeling Episcopal Cluster was formed, consisting of St. Matthew's, St. Luke's and St. Paul's. The cluster's mission was to work together as the Body of Christ; to provide a united witness about issues; to enhance local outreach resources and interdependence for a stronger ministry; to strengthen local congregations; and to provide a stronger sacramental, educational, youth, outreach, pastoral and evangelistic thrust to ministry. Rev. Mr. Seitz serves as the missioner of the cluster.
Recognizing the vast contributions of founding generations to the spiritual development and social growth of the parish and the larger community, and mindful of the responsibility to continue and to expand those ministries to current and future generations, the Vestry adopted, by unanimous vote, a mission statement for St. Matthew's Church on March 15, 1995.