Open main menu

St. Martin's Episcopal Church (Houston)

St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas was founded in 1952 by J. Thomas Bagby as the largest parish of the Episcopal Church in North America with nearly 9,000 members. The parish worships in both traditional and contemporary liturgical styles in the evangelical Anglican and mainline Anglican tradition. The church offers Christian education programs, as well as numerous outreach and missions opportunities, and a variety of programs and events for all ages.

St. Martin's Episcopal Church
St. Martin's Episcopal Church - Houston 02.jpg
LocationHouston, Texas
CountryUnited States
DenominationEpiscopal Church
ChurchmanshipLow church
StatusParish church
Founder(s)J. Thomas Bagby
StyleGothic Revival
Spire height188 feet (57 m)
RectorRussell J. Levenson Jr.



The church is located at 717 Sage Road at Woodway. The campus is seven acres in area and the church spires are 188 feet high. The church was completed on 11 April 2004. It was designed by Jackson & Ryan Architects based on the Gothic St. Elizabeth's Church, Marburg, Germany.[1] It has won numerous awards and been featured on the covers of three national magazines.[2] Also on the campus are Founders' Hall (the first church building constructed in 1954), Old Church (second church building constructed in 1959), chapel, offices, classrooms, an activity center, library, Wayside Chapel and Cloister Garden. The Hope & Healing Center and Institute, along with the Scout Center and The Island youth center, opened in 2011.


St. Martin's was founded on 7 September 1952 by J. Thomas Bagby. One hundred and twenty-five people attended the first service at a home belonging to the Hollyfield family on Post Oak Road. It was accepted as a self-supporting parish with 263 communicants in January 1953. Four acres of land on Sage Road were purchased in 1954 and the first church building was constructed. This building is now Founders' Hall. A large expansion was completed with new chapel, parlor, offices and classrooms in 1959. A new sanctuary was complete by March 29. This building is now Old Church. St. Martin's had grown to 2,791 baptized members by its tenth anniversary on 7 September 1962.

Schoenstein organ in St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Houston, Texas

An expansion took place in 1984, adding an Education Building, Library, and Choir Hall. In 1986, an activity center was opened. By the 1990s, the church had become one of the largest Episcopal churches in the United States, and by 2002, had grown to more than 7,000 members. Regular worship in the New Church (now renamed The Church) began with Easter services on 11 April 2004. A new Cloister Garden was dedicated on 29 April 2007. A new Garden of the Holy Cross – Riverway was consecrated and dedicated on 24 June 2007. A 15th-century museum-quality Altarpiece, a triptych depicting the life of St. Martin, was acquired in 2007. The Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, visited St. Martin's in January 2008. Three acres were acquired east of campus and the master planning process for its use began in spring 2008.

A "Building for Life" groundbreaking for new buildings, The Island/The Scout Center, and The Hope and Healing Center, took place on 10 April 2011. A Welcoming Christ tympanum was unveiled on 29 January 2012. St. Martin's acquired the 5005 Woodway property in spring 2012. George Carey presided the confirmation services on 10 May 2015.

The funeral of Gene Cernan, the last astronaut to walk on the moon, was held in the church in January 2017.[3] On 5 February 2017, Lady Gaga attended Mass, during which she listened to a sermon and received Holy Communion from Sarah Condon, at St. Martin's Episcopal Church prior to her performance at the Super Bowl LI.[4]

External video
  Barbara Bush funeral service, St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Houston, Texas, April 21, 2018, C-SPAN

The funerals for former president George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush were both held at the church, Barbara Bush's on April 21, 2018[5] and George H. W. Bush's on December 6, 2018.[6]

Notable membersEdit

  • Barbara Bush (Until her death on April 17, 2018. Her public viewing was held at the church on April 20, 2018, and her funeral was held there, the next day.)
  • George H. W. Bush (Until his death on November 30, 2018. His public viewing was held at the church on December 5, 2018, and his funeral was held there, the next day.)


  1. ^ "Matrix Structural Engineers: Award-Winning Projects". 30 April 2007. Archived from the original on 30 April 2007.
  2. ^ Civil Engineering magazine (April 2005); Modern Steel Construction magazine (May 2005); and Structure magazine (December 2005)
  3. ^ Hundreds attend Gene Cernan's funeral KHOU, 2017-01-24.
  4. ^ Pugh, Clifford (6 February 2017). "Lady Gaga's Super Day: Church visit and a suite time with Pats owner". CultureMap Houston. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  5. ^ Kamath, Tulsi (April 17, 2018). "Bush family releases details on Barbara Bush's funeral, public visitation". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Rhor, Monica; Jervis, Rick; Bacon, John (December 6, 2018). "Houston says goodbye to former President George H.W. Bush, a 'devoted' man of faith". USA TODAY. Retrieved December 7, 2018. The service for Bush, who died Friday at age 94, was held at his beloved St. Martin’s Episcopal Church

External linksEdit