Houston’s First African American Church Continues to Rise to the Occassion

St. Luke the Evangelist Episcopal Church, Houston, is the oldest African American Episcopal Church in the city of Houston. St. Luke’s was originally established in 1920 as St. Clement’s Episcopal Church through the organizational efforts of Dr. R.O. Roett and others.

Next month, however, under the leadership of the Rev. Francene Young, the church will celebrate a tremendous milestone: 100 years of being a pillar in the historic Third Ward community. With an already-established and rich history within the Diocese of Texas, the parish continues to evolve to meet the needs of the community it serves.

St. Luke’s has served as a beacon of light for those in need in its vicinity. The church has been involved with the Manna House Food Pantry; has partnered with M.D. Anderson in a Health Awareness Program; and even offers healthy alternative cuisine by way of a vegan food truck, just to name a few initiatives and partnerships.

Home to Houston Canterbury

Just as other churches, the parish has made the pivot from in-person gathering to virtual worship and other web-based activities. From a pastoral perspective, St. Luke’s has Evening Prayer each Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. on Zoom and the church livestreams its Sunday Services on Facebook at 9:30 a.m. Sunday Bible Study takes place from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon via Zoom.

While Houston Canterbury is a ministry of the Episcopal Church serving the college communities of UH, TSU, HCC, UHD, SJC and more, it is physically based out of St. Luke’s and is led by the Rev. Charles Graves.

Everyone is Welcome

St. Luke the Evangelist Episcopal Church is an open and welcoming jewel in Houston. The parish takes great pride in being an inclusive congregation where everyone is welcome. This is evident from a conversation with its rector, to the homepage of the church’s website.

 The Rev. Marcia Sadberry, New Deacon-in-Charge 

Moreover, the parish is also celebrating the Rev. Marcia Sadberry as the recently-assigned Deacon-in-Charge, on the cusps of the church’s centennial celebration. Sadberry was recently ordained as a Transitional Deacon in the Diocese of Texas.

Sadberry is on the Bi-Vocational track in her ministry journey, also serving as the Orchestra Director at Cardiff Junior High School in Katy Independent School District. Well-known for her musical talent and extraordinary abilities in that art genre, she has also performed with the Houston Grand Opera, Opera in the Heights, and the Houston Ebony Opera Guild. Additionally, she serves as the Assistant Director of the Community Music Center of Houston.

Sadberry is a proud graduate of Jack Yates, Sr. High School and Texas Southern University- both in the heart of Third Ward. She is also a graduate of the Iona School for Ministry.

Interestingly enough, Sadberry believes that she is the first member of the parish to transition into ordained ministry, and she couldn’t be happier to return to St. Luke’s during this special time in the life of the church. It is important to note that St. Luke served as Sadberry’s sending parish.

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