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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Unable to pay for repairs, Houston area Episcopal church will open its facility for the last time

H/T: Titus 1:9

The Titus 1:9 post is of our first Episcopalian parish from 38 years ago.  This is the place, and people, that God used to introduce SWMBO! and me to the reality of the Holy Spirit.

The mural used to extend both left and
right before the "new" organ was built.
htt p://www.ccct.co.uk/Library/redeemer.html
We still recollect, with a smile, going there for the first time in the summer of '73.  We thought we were good little fundalmentalistic Southern Baptist (we didn't drink or dance or go with them that did!) young married couple awaiting our first child.  We were prepared to dispute the giving of the charismatic gifts.  We had been taught, and thoroughly believed, that the miracle gifts ceased with the Apostles.  We recall being awed by the experience of receiving a hug before we could even get in the door!  Entering at the rear of the church, we were immediately awestruck by the huge mural in front of us, behind the altar.  Look closely at the mural pictured above.  The Risen Christ, showing his nail-wounded hands, is worshiped by all races and classes of mankind.  It was there that we heard the congregation break in to other worldly singing.  "Singing in the Spirit."

It was in the basement chapel, after the main service, that we kneeled and prayed to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Nothing happened.  So we thought.  We had been discussing this subject amongst our adult study group and continued to investigate until many months later, God showed us what He had for us.

In '74 we moved to a rent house about a mile from the church.  A couple of years later, we bought our first home not too far from the first.  We changed to another Episcopal church and came back to Redeemer.  Finally we left in about '86.

A blurb from the Community of Celebration UK (an offshoot of Redeemer ministry) seems to express my recollection of those times.

From Celebration UK:
From small beginnings, members of the church began to meet together to pray, worship and study the scriptures. Had it stopped there, possibly little more would have been heard of Redeemer. But the time spent together was extended until people and families were drawn in and homes and incomes were being shared. Eventually there was a community several hundred strong at the heart of the church. An experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit became a shared experience of love, rather like that described in Acts 2.
The community was especially known for its powerful corporate worship, a ministry in which Betty Pulkingham was largely instrumental. It existed for a ministry purpose, seeing itself as the presence of Christ in that particular neighbourhood. Many received healing and personal renewal. Various social initiatives reached out into the local area. A coffee bar (The Way Inn) pioneered outreach to young people, including the hippie and drug culture, generating many new songs. The church attracted international attention, which in time led to an invitation to try to establish something similar in Britain. In 1972, Graham and Betty Pulkingham and others left for England. This was the genesis of the Community of Celebration.
As of today, Church of the Redeemer Episcopal, as I knew it, is gone.  As a beacon of God's light into the East End of Houston and the rest of the world, it rose and has now fallen.  Decayed. 

Church of the Redeemer's physical plant is much like Redeemer's parent church, TEo.  Its Biblical foundation is neglected and crumbling.  Its membership is declining while the non-Christian leadership declares "All is well!"


Update:  2/28/11
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7445234.html
http://ultimateeastend.com/stories/234624-unable-to-pay-for-repairs-east-end-church-is-on-the-move
  (Better images of the mural behind the altar.  Same article.)


God Bless Ya'll !

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