Austin to Evanston. Joseph Wesley Mathews ( JWM) was a graduate of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and, from 1952–1956, a professor of Sociology of Religion at Perkins. In 1956 he and his wife Lyn, joined the Christian Faith and Life Community (CFLC) in Austin, TX, where he served as Director of Studies.
In 1962, JWM was called to be Dean of the Evanston Institute for Ecumenical Studies, by Edgar Chandler, Executive Director of the Chicago Council of Churches, to fill the vacancy left by Walter Leibrecht who was called by his church in Germany to be their representative at Vatican Council II. [The Evanston Institute was reorganized and renamed the Ecumenical Institute.]
JWM, his wife Lyn and family, along with six other families from the CFLC, moved to Evanston, Illinois. Joe was Dean of the Ecumenical Institute, and adult members of the other families were accepted as faculty without pay. At that time, the Ecumenical Institute was a training division of the Church Federation of Greater Chicago.