History of
Christ Episcopal Church, Mexia

505 E. Commerce
Mexia Texas 76667-4125

Mexia Episcopalians Will Dedicate Newly Remodeled Structure Sunday

Mexia’s Christ Episcopal Church members can reflect with pride on accomplishments as they hold dedication services Sunday afternoon at 5 o’clock for their remodeled facility at 505 East Commerce Street.

The Right Rev. J. Milton Richardson Bishop of the Diocese of Texas, will be asking his first trip to Mexia and will be principal speaker for the special service. A confirmation service will also be held.

The Chapel and Parish Hall of the church have been remodeled and refurbished. Following the Dedication and Confirmation services, there will be a reception in Parish Hall, announced the church’s vicar, the Rev. Paul Taft, Jr.

Some of the early residents who sustained and kept the Episcopal church alive in Mexia were A. T. Schulz, Mrs. Estelle Booker, Mrs. Wallace Mason and Wallace Welch. Some Christ Episcopal Church members purchased the old Mexia library building for $4,000 in January of 1950 at 505 East

Commerce. But, prior to the purchase, many services had already been held in the building. Episcopalians had previously been holding services in the Pittman Building, which was destroyed by fire in December of 1945.

Immediately after members worshipped in a corner of the old library’s front reading room just to the left of the fireplace. Members grouped around the table, which was also used as an altar. They kneeled on the hard floor.

Among seminary students who served the church as vicar were Tom and Charles Summers, Malcolm Riker, John Holt and others. Rev. Taft has served the congregation as vicar for about two years. The late Arthur Lord of Hempstead also served the church in the same capacity. Rev. Lord died several months after he underwent heart surgery.

Arthur Pitkin preceded Rev. Lord as vicar. Others have been Reginald Ennis, Jack McKee, Jim McKeoun, Stephen Carter and John Donovan.

Local Episcopalians also feel honored to have had some bishops to visit them. Among them have been Bishop [Frederick Percy] Goddard and Bishop [Clinton Simon] Quin.

Christ Episcopal members have had many ways to make money in support of their church. Included have been bazaars, book reviews, square dancing classes and a concert by Mike Brown, popular New York nightclub entertainer who is also a writer and composer. Mr. Brown, known as “Sonny” is the son of the late Dr. and Mrs. M. M. Brown. Also, local members have put on many pie and cake sales to support the church’s income.

There have been many families whose names are synonymous with Christ Episcopal Church. Some of the other families are the Dan Lambs, the Brooks Evans, Lonnie Parks, Charles Crane, Robert DeLong, Ruth Clinton, Pat Schulz, Helen Little, and Beth and Oz Wilson.

The Thrift Shop in downtown has been a fine source of income to supplement the $20,000 remodeling project. Volunteers to operate the store have been numerous. Mrs. Dick Scott, Mrs. Blake Forrest and Mrs. Rufus Peeples are among the most faithful in running the Thrift Shop.

First resident minister of Christ Episcopal was the Rev. John Holt. The first service in the remodeled church was on Sunday morning, Dec. 21, 1969. During remodeling, members held their worship service in Fellowship Hall of the First United Methodist Church.

Of the original group in 1950 at Christ Episcopal, attending the first service in 1969 at the remodeled building were Mr. and Mrs. L. P. (Bob) White, Mrs. Rufus Peeples, Robert E. DeLong of Houston, Mrs. Don Caldwell, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. V. A. McClullough and children, Bill and Carolyn.

P. F. Thomas of Teague was Building

Committee chairman who helped in getting the project underway. Carl Smith of Teague was general contractor for the project. The project began in September of 1969 and resulted in “a complete rejuvenation” of the facilities, says regular member L. P. White.

The project included extension of the walls in a southerly direction and includes the two porches that were formerly the city library. The fireplace that was once a part of the library was removed. Three big memorial windows honoring the memories of Wallace Welch, Mrs. Wallace Mason and Mrs. Lonnie Parks have also been installed into the north portion of the chapel. One of the striking parts of the project is the white steeple, which is illuminated at night by lights. Also, the Rose window has been installed in memory of Barnett Canon. Memorial pews will be added in March. Among those to be honored will be the late Rip McKenzie.

The Episcopal move began in Mexia about the turn of the century. Rice Institute deonated a lot to the Episcopal Church. The lot was where the present building if the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company is not located.

Included in the new remodeling project of Christ Episcopal are bricks which came from the old Methodist church building that was torn down. The bricks were used in the vestibule and steps of the remodeled church.

Bricks used on the exterior of Christ Episcopal building came from the old

city library. The altar rail came from the hoe of Dr. J. P. Cook in about 1880. He had been a doctor in the Civil War.

In addition to the old Pittman building, city library and the current site of the Southwestern Bell, another site used for worship services of Christ Episcopal was the Schultz building. It was downtown.

Reproduced from an article in
The Mexia Daily News
Sunday, Feb 22, 1970


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