Last week St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church joyfully celebrated 150 years of worship and service in Huntsville with a festival worship and luncheon.
St. Stephen’s dates back to 1849, worshipping in the Walker County Courthouse, private homes, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and whatever other locations were available. In 1868, land was purchased at the corner of Sam Houston Avenue and 13th Street, with the first real church completed in 1871. Several other churches housed the congregation during the years between 1871 and 1959, when the church moved to a location next to the Sam Houston State University.
The congregation began to reach out to the wider Huntsville community and made substantial gifts to the Good Shepherd Mission and other community projects.
From 1980 onward, St. Stephen’s has been actively involved with the Texas Department of Corrections with various ministries. In 1989, SHSU purchased the land where the church stood, which forced the church to relocate again.
In 1992 St. Stephen’s moved into its present church, located on Highway 75 South near Highway 19 on a beautiful wooded lot on the south edge of Huntsville.
St. Stephen’s continues to be an active church with a wide variety of worship, education, Bible study and organizations for men and women. The church has become more and more involved in community outreach with volunteers serving in Meals on Wheels, Arise 2 Read, prison ministries for both men’s and women’s units, Armatus (programs for veteran’s in prison), C.O.M.E., POP, the Episcopal Student Center at SHSU, Good Shepherd Mission, CASA, Boys & Girls Club of Walker County, Angel Tree, and many other programs that help to meet the needs in the community.
Members of the congregation also hold prayer services in two local nursing home several times each month.
St. Stephen’s continues to thrive remembering the words of Hebrews 13:16 which says, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
Services are at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. each Sunday, at noon each Wednesday, and an informal home Celebration service once a month.