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Sep 06, 2012

Wm. Temple Center Moves Student Ministry to Trinity Episcopal Church

Typical student meal served at William Temple Center

With a 62-year history that began at 523 10th Street in Galveston and continued from its current 427 Market St. location, the ministry and presence of the William Temple Episcopal Center will relocate to Trinity Episcopal Church. The board of directors will spend the coming months to revision the ministry, first established to serve UTMB students, faculty and neighbors and the Market St. site will be sold.  Trinity has recently undergone a renovation following Hurricane Ike and is uniquely positioned, both in location and space, to provide an updated home for Wm. Temple Center.


“The Episcopal community is committed to the ministry of the William Temple Center and to the support of college and medical students on the Island,” said the Rev. Susan Kennard, rector of Trinity. She added that the student center will be up and running by September 9 on Trinity’s campus. “The student center opens onto the cloister of the church and students will have access at all times, with wireless, a coffee bar, restrooms and a quiet study area,” she added. The Center will offer compline on Sunday evenings and dinner every Wednesday while they tailor future ministry to the students’ needs.


Since it’s inception as a chapel and Canterbury House in 1955 by Bishop John Hines, the ministry has provided a center for religious life, supported and worked to improve lives in Galveston and offered a chaplaincy to UTMB, St. Mary’s Hospital and the Shriners Burn Institute.  It was originally located in a two-story Victorian house. In 1963, the William Temple Center re-established its mission specifically “to foster cultural, educational and spiritual growth of persons preparing for or engaged in the medical professions and allied services” at the nearby University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston.


The Center offered weekly meals and opportunities for recreation and in later years, a stone labyrinth and meditation garden were added to its present site. Lay chaplains were once trained to serve patients and staff at UTMB and St. Vincent’s House free clinics as part of the Center’s ministry.


The Wm. Temple Episcopal Center has served as a polling station, hosted community groups, including several 12-step programs and self-defense classes, and been the epicenter for early efforts to clear dilapidated properties from the Island. The Center’s staff worked with other non-profits, donating office space and providing volunteers for different service projects including the local food bank.


More recently, Willie T’s, as students call it, has hosted pit-roasted lamb dinners and discussions on suspended animation. Students regularly gathered for a video game or a cup of coffee and quiet study space. In some years, more than 100 foreign students attended a Thanksgiving feast that introduced them to the traditional fare of turkey and dressing and the broader notion of making time to be grateful. Following Hurricane Ike in 2008, the Center housed mission teams from across the country, who came to Galveston to help rebuild homes.


Episcopal churches and institutions on Galveston Island are coming together to strengthen and expand Wm. Temple Center’s mission to medical students at UTMB as well as students at Galveston College and Texas A&M University Galveston. In addition to Trinity, partners include Grace and St. Augustine Episcopal churches and St. Vincent’s House, a social service ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.