Church History

History of Our Church


A group of about 15 Episcopalians living on and around Randolph AFB were looking for a church home in that area.  They held their first meeting in the early fall of 1964 at the Universal City home of Howard and Bidda Reed.  Ten days later, at the second meeting, they decided to ask for help from Fr. John Daniels of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.  He presided over two services at the Reed home, using their Telefunken TV, covered with Bidda’s best bridge cloth, as the altar. 


By Christmas the group had found a new home in an old storefront on Main Street in Schertz.  There was no heat, and it was filthy, with only one light fixture to see by, but they swept, scrubbed, and dusted until it was ready for use.  The first service was held on January 17th of 1965.  On the 29th of that month, an organizational meeting was held with the Rt. Rev. Everett Jones, who accepted the group’s choice of St. Matthew’s as the name for the new mission.


There was a partition down the middle of the large former hardware shop, with folding wooden chairs and an altar on one side, and Sunday School classes and a hospitality area on the other.  This wonderful church was always full, and the Sunday School groups were crammed into their areas, allowing the loud, boisterous voices to be heard everywhere.  There was no doubt about the love and sincerity of the congregation!


The voices were not the only things that were loud: much louder were the trains that came through Schertz, with the tracks so close that the building shook.  The service originally began at 10:30 but was moved to 10:00 to avoid one such regular train.  However, if the sermon went a little long and/or there were extra folks for Communion, everyone knew it without checking their watches!  If the service ended on time, the children would get a thrill by standing on the building’s steps as the train went by, right behind the store across the street!!


That first year the church was supplied with men from the roster of available priests, but Father Bob Creasy was appointed to be their permanent vicar beginning Easter, 1966.  In 1968 the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas purchased property on Kitty Hawk, an unpaved road in Universal City, and ground was broken on June 17, 1970.  The old storefront was used for a total of six years, with the final service held on January 24, 1971.  A week later, Sunday, January 31st, the congregation gathered in their new church home on Kitty Hawk for the first service.  The next week, St. Matthew’s was dedicated by Bishop Harold Gosnell.


There are several pages in the 50th Anniversary History listing the donations of items from the parishioners to their new church home.  Both architects got into it as well.  Robert Morris designed all of the “furniture” for the Sanctuary, and Bill McDonald hand-tooled all of the copper work (the Paschal Candle stand, the Processional Cross, the Baptismal Font, and the altar, to name a few of the pieces) and gave them in memory of William Dukes.  Another truly special donation was the figure of the Crucified Christ which hangs sans cross in the back of the church.  Legend has it that David Swift hand-carried it all the way from Oberammergau, Germany, refusing to allow it to be shipped as cargo.


Fr. Bob was visiting in Corpus Christi when he found some lovely foot-square mosaic tiles that were about to be discarded by Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, where he once served.  He asked if he could have them and was delighted to bring them all home.  Once there, a parishioner, CPT Steve Newell, put eleven of them together into a 5x7 cross for the storefront church.  It was eventually moved to the new sanctuary, where it still hangs today. Some of the leftover tiles were eventually put together as a smaller cross for the Christian Education Building.


Speaking of the Christian Ed Building, Sunday School was originally held in the balcony of the new church building.  Later, a portable building was placed behind the tower to serve as an office and nursery.  Sometime in the 1980’s, the top floor of an old barracks building was obtained from Lackland AFB to replace the portable, and it was big enough for the office, a kitchen, a fellowship hall, and the nursery.  It now houses the nursery, Sunday School rooms, a chapel, and storage.


There have been many changes over the years that are common to most new churches.  Padded Chairs were replaced by pews. Donated organ was replaced by a new one (paid for by the members of St. Matthew’s before it was even delivered!).  That organ was replaced by the current one through a donation in early 2008 by BG & Mrs. George Webster, residents of the Army Retirement Community (ARC) in appreciation for the worship services held there by first, Fr. Bob, and then, Fr. Tim.  Fr. Bob retired in 1998, and Fr. Tim Vellom and his family were called to be the next generation of pastoral leadership.  He ushered in the era of Alpha, prayer ministry, and, eventually, Cursillo.  Lay leadership and ministry were opened up and encouraged. 

In 1997 ground was broken for the new Parish Hall, and Creasy Hall was dedicated to God’s Glory in 1998.  It has a state-of-the-art kitchen, a library, a suite of offices, and a large open meeting space.  The church campus now also boasts a Reflection Garden, and a playground.   StMattsAcolytesWeb

History of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church prepared for the 50th anniversary at this link:

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