Born: Established: 16 Nov 1873 Sandhurst Berkshire
Matthews was the son of Rev. John Matthews and Edith Annie, nee Selfe. His father later became headmaster of Leeds Grammar School where Matthews was educated. He went on to do a B.A. (1896) and M.A. (1902) at King's College, Cambridge. After a brief period teaching Matthews entered Wells Theological College and was ordained a priest in 1899. It was here that he met Frederick Campion who had been to Australia and interested Matthews in the need for a bush mission.
In 1901 Matthews was recruited to the new Brotherhood of the Good Shepherd for service in the New South Wales diocese of Bathurst along with his friend, Frederick Campion. It was a regional component of the Bush Brotherhood which was meant to supplement the traditional parochial structure in lightly populated country areas where clerical resources were stretched. Matthews was appointed Vice-Principal.
Matthews's ministry involved long journeys in the Outback and he showed an understanding of the problems and way of life. His political views were to the left of centre, and in 1907 he stood on the verandah of a Dubbo hotel and proposed a vote of thanks to Spence, the Australian Labor Party candidate. This was in response to the appeal by George Reid, the other candidate, for Christians to vote for him because the Labor party was anti-Christian. This action polarised sections of the community and led some to refuse to attend his services.
In 1904, Matthews became the first editor of the magazine Bush Brother, which he used as a vehicle in defence of the Brotherhood opposed by evangelical Sydney. Matthews had a fair degree of succes in this enterprise and also contributed to the general life of the Church with The Principles and Practice of the Religious Instruction of Children, Together with a Syllabus of Lessons for Use of Clergy and Teachers in Public Schools and Sunday Schools (1903) and Object Lessons for the Church (1906), a study of Church architecture.
In 1908 Matthews returned to England to become Vicar of Catsfield in the diocese of Chichester, and in the next year he married Gertrude Malkin. He remained in the parish ministry until his retirement in 1948 and continued to write books and pamphlets, most notably on Modernism, his chief theological concern. During World War 1, Matthews co-edited Faith or Fear?: an Appeal to the Church of England (1916) and Faith and freedom: Essays in the Application of Modernist Principles to the Doctrine of the Church (1918). His last book was the study Dick Shepherd: man of peace (1938). On the occasion of the golden jubilee of the Brothers of the Good Shepherd in New South Wales in 1952, Matthews and Campion challenged the Brotherhood to found a branch in the missionary diocese of Carpentaria which included the Northern Territory. Due to a shortage of funds and priests it was not until 1957 that this dream was realised.
(Source: K. J. Cable, 'Matthews, Charles Henry Selfe (1873 - 1961)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, MUP, 1986, pp 446-447.); R.A.E.Webb Brothers in the Sun : a History of the Bush Brotherhood Movement in the Outback of Australia (1978).