A brief history of The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration (1980 – 2015).
The first gathering of Episcopalians in western St. Charles County was on Sunday September 21st, 1980, with Fr. George Quarterman of St. Charles celebrating. The group met in the McDowell home, coming together, feeling that there needed to be an Episcopal presence / ministry in western St. Charles County.
Later in 1981 they contacted Bishop Jones about possibility of founding a new mission in this area.
They originally met in homes and then they moved to the Senior Citizens Center in Elder Court in Wentzville for a time. Later, they started meeting in a pub/saloon in Wentzville while looking for a place to continue to meet and grow. In that location they used a pool table as their altar.
The first Annual Meeting of “The Episcopal Community at Wentzville” was held on January 25th of 1981.
Eventually they found an electric company building on May road in Wentzville where they rented their show room as a more permanent place to gather and worship.
A few months later that same year the Diocese granted the group mission status as a congregation. On March 16th of 1981, Bishop Jones came out to meet with the group to discuss the name for the new mission. “The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration” was suggested by the Bishop himself, and the congregation voted to accept that name on April 5th that same year.
While at the May road location, they acquired their first priest, The Rev. Colin Keys. He started on the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6th 1982, as their first Vicar.
During that time people started finding out the mission was active, word began to spread about the new congregation, people started to visit and the church began to grow. They began to discuss acquiring their own property and planning for their own building.
A formal search for property began, and the current location 1860 Lake St. Louis Boulevard in Lake St. Louis was purchased in 1983. In conjunction with the Diocese, the congregation began formalizing plans for their own building at the site. During this time the group began meeting briefly in a local funeral home.
Construction of the new church began in 1984 and was completed in 1985. The first service in the new church building on Lake St. Louis Boulevard was on Sunday November 10th 1985 with 60 people attending.
After the first Vicar resigned, The Rev. Richard Baker served as Interim for a time.
The second Vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration was The Rev. Bennett G. Jones II. He celebrated his first service as Vicar on Sunday April 24th 1988 and stayed until his last service on Sunday November 6th 1994.
During the last years of the second Vicar’s service, the church had begun to experience conflict, and The Rev. Richard Baker returned to serve as Interim for the congregation a second time, to assist them in working to discern their future direction and vocation in ministry.
The Rev. Jason W. Samuel came to Transfiguration on Sunday January 12th 1997, to serve as their third Vicar.
The church then took a new direction in its evangelism and ministry, re-directing its efforts to outreach and radical hospitality in the surrounding communities in Christ’s name.
In 2000 the church made a conscious decision to become one of the founding congregations in the Diocesan “Oasis Missouri” ministry. This decision cemented the church’s commitment to hospitality and welcome to all persons into the full ministry of the church.
Over time the congregation once again began to experience growth, and it became clear that the congregation needed more space to continue this growth and development in their ministry. After a time of discernment, it was decided to conduct a capital campaign to raise funds for a needed renovation and expansion of their current facility. A building fund was established in 2001, and plans were drawn up and approved for a new expansion.
The groundbreaking for the new building was celebrated by Bishops Hays Rockwell and Fr. Samuel on April 21st, 2002, with the building expansion being completed and then dedicated by Bishop Wayne Smith on May 11th 2003.
In the years that followed, the congregation continued its growth with the development of the surrounding community; establishing new ministries and programs, including re-visioning their Christian Education and Outreach ministries.
The congregation became financially self-sufficient in 2007, and informed Bishop Smith of their desire to become a Parish after the canonically required 2-year period of financial independence.
After completing the necessary requirements, Transfiguration officially petitioned the Bishop for Parish status to be granted with the consent of Diocesan convention on November 20th 2009. More than 100 members attended the convention and were recognized as a Parish. A celebration was held in November of 2009, recognizing this significant milestone for The Church of the Transfiguration.
In September 2014, The Rev. Jason W. Samuel announced his resignation and preached his last sermon on Sunday, October 12th. Leading up to his departure, the congregation showered Fr. Samuel and his family with their love, hosting numerous social gatherings where parishioners shared their goodbyes.
In February 2015, the Vestry appointed Fr. Al Jewson to lead Transfiguration as our Interim Rector. Fr. Al led our congregation as our priest, pastor, counselor and teacher while we searched for our new permanent Rector. The Church of the Transfiguration looked forward to our future and joyfully awaited to welcome our new Rector in 2016.
On September 1st, 2016, the Rev. Lu-Anne Conner was appointed as the new permanent Rector for the Church of the Transfiguration. More to follow soon.