Barbara Bush’s funeral Saturday put the church she attended in the international spotlight.
Bush, the wife and mother of presidents, was a cradle Episcopalian. Together with her husband, George H.W. Bush, she attended St. Martin’s in Houston for decades.
The casual observer watching the funeral on television may have thought St. Martin’s was a cathedral, perhaps because of the soaring architecture. While not a cathedral, it is the country’s largest Episcopalian congregation.
Between having 9,100 communicants on the parish rolls and 12 clergymen working under its rector, the Rev. Dr. Russell Levenson, it is comparable to an evangelical mega-church.
It’s also one of the last vestiges of an era when the Episcopal Church was called, at least by some, the Republican Party at Prayer. Today, St. Martin’s maintains church doctrine on the issue of marriage at a time when the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion has been engulfed in endless controversy and schisms over gay marriage and LGBTQ inclusion.
Despite the old-school architecture St. Martin’s is actually relatively new, having been founded in 1952.
In the ensuing decades the congregation grew to the point where it could afford its present-day building, which opened for worship on Easter Sunday in 2004.
Houston architectural firm Jackson & Ryan used the 13th century Gothic architecture of St. Elizabeth’s Church in Marburg, Germany, as inspiration for the exterior. But unlike its muse, which was built in sandstone, St. Martin’s is of brick construction. Still, the twin-towered west front and seemingly endless number of pinnacles are clear imitations of St. Elizabeth’s.
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Source: Christian Post