As the council unanimously approved the petition of Church of the Holy Spirit, San Antonio, to move from mission to parish status, the attendees stood to welcome a long line of parishioners who flowed through the council doors, all in red shirts and sporting signs that said, “Thank You.”
Lynne VandeWalle, senior warden of the new parish, said the congregation was, “honored and blessed to be here as we move to parish status.” VandeWalle thanked the diocese for 35 years of support, noting especially “the blessing of a great diocesan leadership.”
“It’s been a long and challenging road to bring us to this point,” said VandeWalle. “Parish status will provide us with more opportunities for growth plus a structure for our members to have a bigger impact on the community around us.”
The Rev. Jason Roberts, rector of the parish, thanked council for giving its consent to parish status and especially for the diocesan Restart Program that offered them the opportunity to focus on ministries and growth intentionally with some accountability and financial support. “Without the restart program, we would not as easily be where we are today,” said Roberts.
The Church of Holy Spirit was conceived in 1975 to be located on a piece of property across from the rear of the new University of Texas at San Antonio. The Rev. Cliff Waller was first vicar of Holy Spirit, and the first service was held in a private home in March 1980. Ten people attended. Two years later, the fledgling group moved into five portable buildings on the property. For the next 15 years, the Rev. Christopher Ashmore led the congregation, and it became a parish at the 92nd Council in 1996.
Unfortunately, for the next four years, the congregation suffered reversals and returned to mission status a few years later.
In 2008, the property near UTSA was sold, and the congregation began to worship at Pedrotti’s North Wind Resort in northwest San Antonio. Roberts was called to serve the congregation throughout its transition to new quarters, and two years later the church purchased property on Bandera Road in northwest San Antonio, in the heart of a growth area. The church planned and built a new sacred space into which they moved in 2013.
During the transition time, Holy Spirit and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio joined together to be one congregation. Today the average Sunday attendance at the church is 183.