The Episcopal Church of the Messiah is located at 721 Saint Louis Street in Gonzales, Texas

Our office phone number is 830.672.3407. 

Our mailing address is P.O. Box 139, Gonzales, Texas 78629.  

Our parish email address is messiah@gvtc.com 

 

WEEKLY SCHEDULE....

10:30 AM Sunday Worship (Holy Eucharist) 

7PM Monday & Friday: (AA Meetings) 

WOMEN'S GROUP, 2nd Wednesday, 6 PM at Elk's Lodge (Except in Lent)

MEN'S GROUP, 2nd Wednesday, 6 PM at Elk's Lodge (Except in Lent)

Vestry Meetings normally 3rd Wednesday 6pm 

The Rev. Shanna Neff

 

 

 

 

 


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History and Photos of the Church           

 

  The Church of the Messiah, described as Rural Gothic in style, was organized as a mission congregation of the Episcopal Church in 1852. Services were first held in private homes and in public buildings. Soon the vestry requested that south half block between St. Louis and St. Lawrence Streets, East of Hamilton, be leased to the Episcopalians in the same manner that land had been eased to other churches. Permission was granted by the city for a lease on this land for 99 years at the cost of $1. The church is in its 2nd hundred year lease for the same price. By 1855, the church was listed as a parish in union with the Diocese of Texas.     

 Front entrance to the church.  

  

 Back of Church

The present church building was erected in 1880-81, and consecrated in 1882. The Church of the Messiah is the oldest church building in Gonzales, and is believed to be the oldest public building in the city used continuously for its original purpose. The church building is of wood construction, with coupled stone foundation.  Much of it is built with lumber and timbers hauled from the Gulf Coast and Florida by ox-cart.  The finished wood is of rare Guadalupe walnut, harvested from the local river bottoms. Hand wrought structural iron supports the arches throughout the church, one of the earliest uses of this kind of support in the area.  The stained glass windows in the nave (where the congregation sits) are original to the church, dating from the mid 1800's are quite rare.

 

The stained glass windows are quite rare and are at least 130 years old.  

 

 The present bell is original to the church, donated in 1884 by the Ladies Protestant Prayer Book Society of St. James Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  

  The original bell tower was built of wood in 1885. it was replaced by the present stone tower, erected in 1928 with stones from the Moran quarry near the town of Dilworth.  An extensive renovation was made in 1928 when the stone bell tower, reredos (panels behind the altar), and Baptistry were added.   

 

   The lectern (where the Bible lessons are read from), in the form of an angel, was beautifully carved by craftsman Anton Lang, who for many years played the part of the Christ in the Passion Play at Oberammagau, Germany.  The lectern was given to the church in 1910.  

 

 

The hand-carved pews, altar, and wainscoting, all part of the original building of the church, are of the Guadalupe walnut. The reredos (panels behind altar) and communion rail were added at a later date.  The lectern, altar rails, altar, reredos and pews represent some of the finest hand-carved works in Texas. The Organ and organ pipes were added in the renovation of 1928. The steel support beams are among the first to be used in this area.  

 Lenten altar 

 The original rectory (where the priest typically lives) was built in 1890. 

 

It was replaced in 1912 by the current Rectory. 

 

       


   

 

 

A beautiful stained glass window, Suffer Little Children, frames the baptistry. 

 

 

The Parish House was built in 1951 and includes offices, parish hall, kitchen, restrooms and playground.

 

Church Playground 

 Every family contributes a unique cross to our Wall of Crosses collection in the Parish House hallway. 

 

The Urban Building was built in 1998 in honor of Fr. Richard Urban, who served this parish for 10 years. Its used for Sunday school and Vestry meetings, and also for acolyte/choir and lay reader vesting area. 

 

 

 The patio of the Urban building makes a very nice site for outdoor receptions and live music. 

 

Jazz reception on the patio

Enjoying the evening Reception with music, food, fun and fellowship out on the patio.

 

 

 Beautiful Parish grounds.  The landscaping of the property seeks to combine both South Texas charm and Anglican tradition. Included are palms and post-oak, along with English Laurel and Double-pink Althea “the Rose of Sharon” which is the traditional flower of the Messiah and thus of a church that calls itself by that name. 

 

 

 

A night time wedding on the steps of the church. The crowd was too big to get everyone inside. What a magnificent scene that was...stunning wedding... 

 

 

 

Just a very cool picture of the altar on Christmas Eve.

 

Another recent picture of the Church at Christmas.  

 Another angle of the church. Is it a water color? You decide.  

 

 

 

 

 

Another inside picture, water-color style.   

 

 

 

 The parish purchased the property across the street and converted an old gas station into a building that now houses the Gonzales Community Assistance Ministry, an interdenominational ministry that acts as a screening and distribution center for various resources, including food, furniture, clothing, books, and financial assistance. 

 

 

 BELOW ARE SOME HISTORICAL PICTURES, MANY WELL OVER 100 YEARS OLD. 

 

 1881 or so, before the bell tower renovation of  the 1920's. 

 

 A bit later, as the trees are bigger. 

 

 

 After the new stone bell tower around 1920 or so.

 

 

 Landscaping evolving, but it is certainly much prettier today! 

 

Probably around 1928... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 This has to be close to 1881, very original, minus reredos (panels behind altar).