THE NAMING OF ST. CHRISTOPHER’S
On September 15, 1957, the coldest Sunday in September anyone could remember, seven families met in Foster Park on Trail Lake Drive for a picnic in the afternoon. There were 13 adults and many children present for the business of establishing a mission of the Diocese of Dallas.
The families attending the picnic were John M. Chervenak (his wife, Virginia, was unable to be present); Charles A. and Betsy deBedts; Winthrop C. “Bud” and Nancy Sherman; McConnell H. “Me” and Virginia Terrell; Luther L. and Constance “Connie” Weinbrenner; Sam N. and Floy Whitthorne; and William S. “Bill” and Ma~orie Zaczek. Connie’s uncle. Lee Parker Boone also was unable to be present.
The first order of business was to name the new mission. Many suggestions were made, all the way from Shepherd of the Hills to St. Whatever. The Whitthornes, who had just moved from Oklahoma, suggested the name of their previous church, St. Christopher’s. We talked about St. Christopher, how he was the patron saint of travelers, and since we planned to locate somewhere in the vicinity of the new highway (which became Southwest Loop 80 and then 1 20) we felt this would be very appropriate for our new church.
After selecting the name, the petition to the Bishop was signed by I I members present and for two who were unable to attend, making 13 signers of the petition. The Whitthornes did not sign, as they knew they would be returning to Oklahoma shortly, but they pledged to support the new church and have been counted among the 15 founding members.
Fr. Don Clark, Executive Secretary of Missions of the Dallas Diocese, who guided us through the establishment of St. Christopher’s, appointed Bud Sherman as our lay reader incharge and Connie Weinbrenner as secretary. The first Eucharist was held the next Sunday, September 22, 1957, at the Weinbrenner home, beginning the worship of the Lord at St. Christopher’s by many dedicated people.
THE HISTORY OF THE PARISH
St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church was founded on September 15, 1957, as a mission of the Diocese of Dallas. Of the 15 people who signed the petition to the Rt. Rev. C. Avery Mason, Bishop, seven are still members of the parish. For the first month the Sunday services were held in the home of Luther and Connie Weinbrenner; then the ballroom of the old Wedgwood Country Club was used. After six months at the club, Price Hall at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary became St. Christopher’s home for a year.
Each year has brought progress toward the present church facilities. In 1958, 880 feet of frontage on the Southwest Loop was acquired, and the first building used for church services was constructed in 1959. In 1960, the mission became a parish, and a large rectory was built. The present church and church school buildings were completed in July 1961. In 1973 the original building was remodeled to become the parish hall, nursery, and chapel, and the office complex was added. In 1984 the church sanctuary was completed with the addition of the narthex, church parlor, and enlargement of the choir loft. The 100-year-old pipe organ, which was given to St. Christopher’s in 1961 and reconstructed in 1983-1985, was installed in the enlarged choir loft and played for the first time following its reconstruction at Christmas Eve Mass in 1985. The former rectory, now known as Christopher House, is used as an activity center for various church groups.
St. Christopher’s School began as Christopher Robin School in 1960, with classes for 4 and 5 year olds. Ritsu Clark and Bet Amis were its first teachers. The school now has classes for children 2, 3, and 4 years old and is directed by Valerie Perkins.
Priests who have served the church are the Rev. Thomas Keithly, May 1958 to June 1959; the Rev. Don Clark, June 1959 to August 1965; the Rev. Fred Davis, September 1965 to December 1977; the Rev. George Luck, August 1978 to July 1987: Rev. Edward L. Busch, June 1988 to May 1992; Rev. Irvin Sherm Gagnon, October 1992 to 2000; and our current rector. Rev. William Stanford, who was installed by Bishop Jack Iker of the Diocese of Fort Worth in 2000. Founders of St. Christopher’s were John and Virginia Chervenak, Charles and Betsy deBedts, W.C. “Bud” and Nancy Sherman, Mc and Virginia Terrell, Luther and Connie Weinbrenner, Sam and Floy Whitthorne, Bill and Marjorie Zaczek (now Trisler), and Lee P. Boone.
Established in 1957