ST. PAUL’S-ON-THE-PLAINS EPISCOPAL CHURCH + Worshipping God in the Beauty of Holiness + + Welcoming and Growing in Faith and Fellowship + + Serving our Neighbors in Jesus' Name +
A brave and resourceful lady, Mrs. J. C. Coleman (Sallie McKee Coleman) is probably
responsible for the earliest presence of the Episcopal Church in the Lubbock area.
She came to the Plains with her husband and two young sons, December 23, 1889, and
was likely the only Episcopalian in Lubbock County for the next fourteen years. A
profoundly religious woman, she brought the Episcopal Church to Lubbock. A small
Episcopal congregation, led by Sallie Coleman may have been established in Lubbock
as early as 1903, probably worshipping in homes without the benefit of clergy. In
1905, Mrs. Coleman became president of a small group of Episcopal church women who
met under the name of the "Guild."
The first public Episcopal worship service in Lubbock was held at the Methodist Church
in 1905. The Rev. Harry Goodman of Clarendon, Texas, conducted this first service.
We made three more trips to Lubbock between 1905 and 1907. The first Episcopal confirmation,
of four people, was held in the Old Opera House on July 8, 1909, located in downtown
Lubbock. Bishop Garrett made the trip from Dallas, traveling partly on horseback
in spite of the fact that he was seventy-seven years old and in failing health. The
following day he administered communion.
In 1910 Mrs. Coleman sustained severe injuries in a fall at the Nicolette Hotel.
Despite her doctor's warning she continued working to build the Episcopal Church
in Lubbock. Mrs. Coleman secured the donation of a communion service from the Church
of the Transfiguration in New York City, later best known as The Little Church Around
the Corner. The inscription on the chalice reads," To St. Paul's on the Plains, Lubbock,
Texas, May 1907." Her son, Max Coleman, contended that she did her best work while
she was a semi-invalid.
The Presbyterians invited the Episcopalians to use their building two Sundays a month,
and the Rev. Edwin Weary came once a month from Amarillo to hold services. The Presbyterian
minister, The Rev. J. P. Word, ministered to both congregations. In return for the
use of the building, the Episcopalians provided a piano and paid the utilities.
St. Paul's on the Plains was officially created as a Mission at the fifteenth annual
Council of the Diocese of Dallas in May 1910 . Later in 1910 the General Convention
created the Missionary District of North Texas and named the Rev. Edward O. Temple
as Bishop. Prominent attorney Roscoe Wilson and his wife, Effie Brownfield Wilson,
together with Bishop Temple, selected a lot on the southwest corner of 15th Street
and Avenue O for St. Paul's Church. Local communicants purchased the lot and the
Bishop provided $1,000 from the mission fund for the building. A communion rail,
also a gift from the famous Little Church Around the Corner in New York City, was
sent to Bishop Temple to be used in this new mission. The Rev. John Showell was the
first resident rector.
In 1927 the original church building was moved to 1609 Avenue Q and enlarged. In
1997 the church building, which had fallen into great disrepair and was in danger
of being demolished, became the property of the City of Lubbock and was moved to
a city park. It was restored through gifts to the Lubbock Heritage Society.
Currently the old St. Paul's is used for weddings, family reunions, and other social
In 1939 the present property at 16th and Avenue X was purchased. The Rev. John A.
Winslow and his family moved into a house at that location using it for a rectory.
The congregation met in Seaman Hall, which was built in 1932 with a United Thank
Offering grant. St. Paul's Church on the Plains was designated as a parish in 1940.
That same year the church property on Avenue Q was sold. The present church was completed
and ready for use by Christmas, 1940.
The Rev. Claude Canterbury replaced The Rev. Mr. Winslow, serving from 1947-1955.
In those post-war years the communicant strength grew, necessitating the building
of a new parish hall, Sunday school rooms, a nursery, and bookstore.
The Rev. Jacquelin Washington came to St. Paul's in 1956 as Rector. During his twenty-eight
years of service a new parish hall, Sunday school rooms, a conference room, and recreational
meeting room for teenagers were added. During the post-war years, St. Paul's was
instrumental in founding other Episcopal churches in Lubbock, St. Christopher's in
1955, and St. Stephen's in 1958.
The Rev. Harold Clinehens, Jr. came to St. Paul’s as Rector in August 1985. During
his tenure he brought a new emphasis on active involvement by the laity in all facets
of church life. A new emphasis on stewardship and outreach was encouraged. A major
capital improvement campaign resulted in the remodeling of the office and Christian
education areas. Fr. Clinehens received a call to another church and left St. Paul’s
in January 1991.
The Rev. William Jarvi, who had served as Associate Rector, remained as Priest-in-Charge
until the Rev. William B. Wright became Rector of St. Paul’s in August 1992. Fr.
Wright continued the emphasis on stewardship. St Paul’s Playschool, which had previously
been a two day a week “Mothers Day Out,” became a five-day-a-week licensed day care
for children of parishioners and the community at large. An addition to the church
property was the purchase of a house now called St. Paul’s House, immediately west
of the church parking lot.
Fr. Wright served until March, 1998. He was followed by the Rev. Peter Fritsch. His
first Sunday as Rector of St. Paul’s Church was February 9, 1999. In April 2000 St.
Paul’s kicked off its three year capital funds drive, “ St. Paul’s 2000…Revitalizing
our Heritage.” Over the next two years extensive repainting and remodeling took place
inside upstairs rooms and the parish hall. The interior of the nave was repainted
in the summer of 2003 and in September 2003 the columns were replaced. St. Paul’s
parking lots were re-paved in 2005.
The Rev. Fritsch left St. Paul’s in January 2002 and the Rev. Harry Allen served
as Interim Rector until the next rector was called. In September 2003 St. Paul’s
Playschool closed. The campaign, “Windows of Opportunity” began in 2004. It was designed
to replace decaying windows around several areas of the church facilities. The campaign
was successively completed in 2005.
The Rev. Dr. Steve Sellers answered the call of the Vestry to become Rector of St.
Paul’s Church and his first Sunday was August 1, 2004. With his coming there was
a renewed optimism for the future. St. Paul's experienced an upgrade in church music
through a renewed connection with the Texas Tech School of Music. The Neighbor to
Neighbor Thursday morning breakfast program was begun for those in the city who were
in need. From a small beginning the numbers grew over time. Fr. Sellers answered
the call to become Dean and Rector of Gethsemane Episcopal Cathedral in Fargo ND
in 2007. He preached his last sermon at St. Paul’s on August 5, 2007 and moved away
The Rev. Ryan Kuratko had returned home to Lubbock after graduation from Virginia
Seminary in 2006. He was ordained to the priesthood at St. Paul’s Church on July
22, 2006 and joined the church staff as Associate Rector. In 2007 he married the
Rev. Lauren Browder, who had been appointed Chaplain of Canterbury House the year
before and who was on hand during the complete renovation of old building, constructed
in 1932. When the Rev. Sellers left St. Paul’s in 2007, Ryan was given the title,
Priest in Charge of St. Paul’s Church. For someone so young and recently out of seminary,
he amazed many with his maturity and depth of knowledge and tradition. When Lauren
was called as Assistant Rector of Grace and Holy Trinity in Richmond, VA, Ryan followed
her to Virginia, where he became a priest in the Diocese of Virginia.
St. Paul’s called the Rev. James P. Haney V home to Lubbock in 2008. His first Sunday
at St. Paul’s was August 17, 2008. The service of his installation was held on September
13, 2008. Fr. Jim was the son of the Rev. James P. Haney IV, retired Rector of St.
Christopher’s Church, Lubbock and the nephew, grandson and great-grandson of Episcopal
priests. Jim and his wife, Renee, both attended Lubbock schools and were high school
sweethearts. Jim also attended Texas Tech and received his BS in Chemistry there
The economic recession that affected the nation affected St. Paul’s Church as well.
When it became necessary to tighten the church’s budget in 2010, it was deemed necessary
to end the employment of St. Paul’s Associate Rector, the Rev. Kiah Webster, after
less than a year on the job. Mother Kiah’s last Sunday was January 24, 2010.
St. Paul’s on the Plains Episcopal Church made note of its 100th Anniversary with
a yearlong celebration, beginning in May 2010. Two special services kicked it off.
On May 9th Fr. Jim celebrated Holy Communion from the 1892 Book of Common Prayer
in a manner as similar as possible to 1910. On Sunday, May 16, 2010, the three Episcopal
Churches of Lubbock, St. Stephens, St. Christopher’s and St. Paul’s came together
for an outdoor service in and around Lubbock’s St. Paul’s Historic Church in Clapp
Park. The Rev. Canon David Veal and St. Paul’s former rector, the Rev. Bill Wright
joined Fr. Jim in conducting the service. The noteworthy event received nice publicity
on television and on the front page of the Lubbock newspaper. A centennial history
of St. Paul's, Rodney Goebel’s book, A Look Back in Time, was also published.
More about St. Paul's on-the-Plains history.
St. Paul's on the Plain's Historic Church at Lubbock Garden and Arts Center at 40th
and University, Lubbock, Texas