A Fiesta at St. Elisabeth's in River Oaks
and All Are Invited
St. Elisabeth's Episcopal, 5910 Black Oak Lane., River Oaks is holding a Fiesta on August 26th to celebrate the renewal of the church. The festivities begin at 10:30 A.M. in a Celebratory Mass with the Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, 2nd Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, officiating. From 11:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. the celebration continues with Mexican food, a Mariachi band, a kid's waterslide and piņata. Many guests are anticipated and all in the area are invited.
A new Priest-in-Charge, the Rev. Sandra (Sandi) Michels, was appointed by Bishop Ohl in March and since that time church members, with the help of the diocese, have been renovating and rejuvenating the grounds and facilities. Bishop Ohl will bless the new entryway (called a "narthex") during the service.
Sandi Michels in a native of Fort Worth and is the first woman ordained to the priesthood in the state of Texas. She retired as rector of a parish in Indianapolis, Indiana and has already started building St. Elisabeth's with a goal of becoming a self-sustaining parish. The diocese has advanced some funds to finance some of the renovations and The Episcopal Church has awarded a financial grant for churches in Hispanic areas (the population of River Oaks is over 50% Hispanic). Members themselves are helping finance some of the renovations through a program they call "$1 a Day Improvement Fund," in which they contribute $1 per day ($7 per week).
Saint Elisabeth's was organized as a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas under the sponsorship of All Saints Episcopal Church in February 1963. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth was split off from the diocese of Dallas as of January 1, 1983. The church building was dedicated on the feast of St. Elizabeth, November 5, 1964 at which time the membership was reported at 100. Future plans call for the entire unit to become the parish hall with the permanent church and church school buildings to be constructed in the same style around open court yards in what might be called a modern Spanish architecture. The officiant at the dedication service was the Very Rev. James P. DeWolfe, Jr. as Dean of the Tarrant Deanery and rector of All Saints Episcopal Church.
The first priest appointed to St. Elisabeth's, the Rev. Paul Bigger, was called to a church in Louisiana in 1969. At that time, the church listed 230 members. Since that time, primarily due to the de-activiation of Carswell Air Force Base, but also due to many other reasons, the membership has declined and 88 baptized members were reported as of December 2011.
Although small, the congregation of St. Elisabeth's is blessed with a wonderful mixture of old and young, Hispanic and non-Hispanic, retired and working, and blue collar and professional people. The goal of Sandi and the congregation of St. Elisabeth's is to grow the church and become an active, contributing member of the community. All are welcome at St. Elisabeth's.