The Rector We Seek
The rector we seek is the one the Holy Spirit guides to us. We seek a rector with the preaching capacity to inspire and connect people to God’s word. We seek one that is theologically conservative and has a gift for pastoral care, engaging people empathetically in times of need.
We had 51 respondents (102% of average attendance) to Holy Cow’s Congregational Assessment Tool (CAT). It showed we should prioritize a strategy to reach new people, particularly families with children and youth, and incorporate them into the life of the church. We have strong spiritual vitality but really must work to cultivate a common sense of purpose. The majority of our congregation is “on the fence” on many church issues indicating we are ripe for a reawakening. We are committed as a congregation to be the change we want to see in our community and we pray to God to bring to us the shepherd we need.
We were established in Palestine, one of the most important communities in early Texas, in 1859. Our church burned to the ground in 1982 and we rebuilt it exactly as it was, on the exact same site, only with slightly more aisle room. We added a large fellowship hall for dining and outreach and have a very fine physical plant. Our church proudly displays its Texas historical marker, in a town with more designated historical structures than any other Texas community other than Galveston.
Palestine is a Texas main street city, and many beautiful Victorian homes and buildings are scattered throughout our tree lined avenues. St. Philips is on the parade route for our city festivals and we are always open and engaged with the community at these times. We provide church tours, bake sales, quilt shows, chili fiestas and free harp and piano/organ and classical guitar concerts. Our choir director and organist has three advanced musical degrees and is quite renowned. Our church building and properties are in good repair. A 3D virtual tour is available below. Our finances are solid for now and are currently debt free.
We recognize that we are at a low point in our long history in Palestine. We have always proven to be resilient and have high fidelity to tradition. We are quite conservative, as most church communities in East Texas are. We are largely white (94%), elderly (85% > 65 y/o) and educated (67% college grads) but realize we must evolve our diversity, equity and inclusivity to have a viable future. Our rector should be comfortable with small town living but have expansive ideas for outreach and growth. We have begun the effort to reconnect our church after the trauma and pervasive soul injury of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have gathered together to commit everything we have to become the church we know we can be.