About

Welcome to Christ Church!

Thanks for visiting our website. The vision of Christ Episcopal Church is to be recognized as a joyful, spirit-filled community of apostles, reaching out and transforming lives for Christ. We invite you to join us in worship, fellowship, study, and ministry. Our central purpose is to help people have God-Changed Lives through a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We work hard at being a church that cares and would like to have the opportunity to know you better.

If you are in the Tyler area, we encourage you to visit us at one of our many services downtown and at Christ Church South. We worship in the traditional Anglican manner with both Rite I and Rite II services on Sundays. We have a Rite II service at 11:05 a.m. at Christ Church South. If you should attend the Rite I 11 a.m. Downtown Sunday service during our fall and spring schedule, we think you will enjoy the fine singing of the Adult Chancel Choir with the participation of the children of the Choir School of East Texas. Our Canterbury Choir sings at the Rite II 9:00 a.m. Downtown Sunday service and the Epiphany Praise Team sings at the 11:05 a.m. service at Christ Church South.

Summer Worship Schedule Beginning Sunday, May 28, 2017

Downtown:
7:30 am Holy Eucharist Rite I
9:30 am Holy Eucharist Rite I
5:30 pm Holy Eucharist Rite I
11:00 am Sunday School

Downtown service schedule Fall/Spring
7:30 am Holy Eucharist Rite I
9:00 am Holy Eucharist Rite II
11:00 am Holy Eucharist Rite II
5:30 pm Holy Eucharist Rite I

Christ Church South year round
11:05 am Holy Eucharist Rite II
10:00 am Sunday School

If you are searching for a church or just merely searching, we can help you. Christ Church offers ministries for every age group and many opportunities to serve the Lord. If you would like further information about Christ Church please call our church office at 903-597-9854 and we will be happy to speak with you.

Yours in Christ,

The Clergy and Staff of Christ Church

Our Mission & Vision

Our Mission: Christ Episcopal Church exists to seek and serve Christ in all people by sharing the Gospel, ministering to those in need, and offering inspired worship.

Our Vision: The Vision Statement of Christ Episcopal Church is to be recognized as a joyful, spirit-filled community of apostles reaching out and transforming lives for Christ.

As you navigate this site you will get a sense of who we are and what we do at Christ Church. From feeding the hungry in our community to the nourishment of our collective souls--you'll see that we offer a broad array of liturgical and pastoral programs, appealing to a wide variety of individuals and families.

Our History

Christ Church began as an Episcopal Mission, founded in 1867 as the result of the energy and efforts of the Rt. Rev. Alexander Gregg, the first Bishop of Texas. The mission started with seven communicants and occasional services led by the Rev. Benners, Rector of the Church at Marshall. Meeting places included the old A.M.E. church building and the old Federal Court Room.

The Mission's first priest and Christ Church's first rector was a refugee. He was Count Emir Bela Gyeita Carois Hamvasy, born of nobility in Szikis Fehervar, Hungary, in 1820. During his Tyler ministry, the Rev. Hamvasy witnessed the erection of a church building begun in 1873 (and completed in 1874), as well as the organization of a parish which was admitted to the diocese in 1874.

Said to be an able speaker with a knowledge of history and government, the parish is fortunate to have a collection of his original handwritten sermon manuscripts that preserve his legacy.

Ten rectors followed the Rev. Mr. Hamvasy, faithfully serving the parish in its clapboard structure at the corner of Locust and South Bois d'Arc. Then, in 1913, during the tenure of George Edwin Platt (12th Rector), efforts toward a new building were begun with the purchase of two lots, an event duly recorded in the Diocesan Journal.

However, building plans went nowhere until 32-year-old Chauncey Edgar Snowden came to Tyler in 1916, stirring the parish into activity by sheer "force of personality."

Twice Snowden declined calls to larger parishes, staying until construction was complete. On October 6, 1918, he recorded "First Sermon in New Church." On January 15-16, 1919, he was Host Rector for the 70th Annual Diocesan Council. He left immediately after to accept a call to the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas.

There have been three major additions to the church structure. First, in 1953, was the addition of the Henry M. Bell Memorial Building. Funded by donations from within the parish and from throughout all East Texas, its construction honored a beloved, civic-minded churchman. The building was designed specifically with the needs of children of the church in mind, consisting of offices, classrooms, library and chapel.

The second major addition was November 1969 with the dedication of the Grelling Memorial Building, named in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Alden Grelling. Mr. Grelling was a community leader and philanthropist, while his wife, May, was active in church and the first woman to be president of the then United Fund.

The Grelling Building provided space for a larger Parish Hall, kitchen, audio-visual room with tiered seating, offices and a new home for the church library.

In 2001, another parish dream was fulfilled with the construction of a Columbarium in the church's Memorial Garden, a fixture since 1953.

Under the Rev. Harrison McLeod's leadership from 2002-2008, Christ Church experienced steady growth and a renewal of our pastoral ministries. 

The Choir School of East Texas was formed in 2007, an after-school program that trains boys and girls to sing professionally with adult singers. For more information, please see the Music Ministry tab on this website.

During 2007, Bishop Don Wimberley, Rector Harrison McLeod and the Vestry, identified the need for additional space. A feasibility study was conducted and church leaders proceeded with the planning and fund raising through the “Lift High the Cross” campaign. 

The result was razing the Grelling Building, and replacing it with the Grelling-Spence Building. Upon completion, it was dedicated by Bishop Andy Doyle in November, 2009.

The new building consists of four floors. The lower level houses a choir room, the Organist-Choirmaster’s office, and a large nursery. The street level includes the reception area, the Terra Sancta Gift Shop, the Parish Hall, and a state of the art commercial kitchen. The third floor consists of a coffee/meeting area, library, and three classrooms used for adult education and meetings. The fourth floor or Youth Floor has a games/relaxation area, classrooms, offices for the youth ministers, a gymnasium, a kitchen, and worship space for the Epiphany worship service on Sunday morning.

As a result of the added space in the Grelling-Spence Building, there is more room for congregational gatherings, adult education, youth ministry, music ministry and a greatly expanded nursery for our youngest members.

In September 2009, The Rev. David A. Luckenbach became Rector.

Christ Church has continued to grow in all areas of ministry.

  • A new worship service, “Epiphany Eucharist” designated especially for younger adults, was added in February 2011 on Sunday mornings at 11:05.
  • Adult Christian Formation developed additional Bible studies and Neighborhood Groups for mid-week study and fellowship.
  • Mission and Outreach opportunities were initiated and enhanced through partnerships with local agencies such as PATH (People Attempting to Help), Bethesda Health Clinic and Samaritan Counseling Center of Tyler.
  • Pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Turkey, and Greece were initiated.
  • In 2011, Christ Church began a new ministry to students at the University of Texas at Tyler and other area schools.  Our college minister meets weekly with area university students to support and spiritually equip them as they walk through their college years.
  • In 2013, Christ Church began to develop a new ministry to people who live in south Tyler.  In partnership with the Diocese of Texas, we have purchased and begun to develop twenty-six acres of property to establish the Christ Church South Campus, a complement and extension of our historic ministry based in downtown Tyler.  In 2015, we welcomed Travis Albea to our team as the new South Campus Missioner, and work is underway to create Christ Church South, transforming Christ Church into a multi-site Episcopal Church worshipping and ministering on both our downtown campus and the south campus.
  • in December 2016, Christ Church South opened its doors. To learn more about it, click here.

And for the first time ever, Christ Church hosted an Episcopal Ordination, celebrating the Consecration of Suffragan Bishop Jeff W. Fisher on October 6, 2012.

Since 1867, God has richly blessed Christ Church, and equipped our congregation to share the Gospel, train disciples, and serve the community in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

 FAQs

How do I join Christ Church?

We welcome you to participate in our worship at any time. Christ Church is a house of prayer for all people.

If you are new to the parish, we encourage you to set up an appointment with a priest so that we might be able to serve your pastoral needs more effectively. Please call the church office at 903-597-9854.

I'm an Episcopalian new to the Tyler area. What do I do?

If you want to transfer your membership from another parish, please call the church office (903-597-9854) to begin this simple process. It is important to know of your presence and your decision to become directly connected with Christ Church.