Saint Stephen's had its beginnings in 1973 as an outreach effort of Saint Mark's Episcopal Church in San Marcos 18 miles away. The tiny band of Episcopalians met initially in the Lion's Club field office, then in a ranch bunkhouse across the highway from the present campus.
The first church building, now Saint Stephen's Chapel, was patterned after Mission San Francisco de la Espada in San Antonio. It was completed in early 1977 and was dedicated in February of that year. While the chapel was under construction, work proceeded to accomplish the organization of Saint Stephen's cemetery on four acres of the church property. This was constructed in the tradition of the early church missions; it was the only non-profit cemetery then existing in Texas with a trust fund that provided for the perpetual care of its grounds and facilities. This work was completed in early 1976, and the first burial took place in April.
In late 1980, members of the congregation formed a provisional vestry and petitioned for separation from Saint Mark's. Until that time, the two churches had been served by the same rector (the Rt. Rev. James Folts, who went on to serve as bishop of the diocese) and the same vestry. Separate parish status was granted by Diocesan Council in February 1981. The first rector, the Rt. Rev. Earl McArthur, served until 1987 when he was elected bishop suffragan of the diocese. The Rev. Phil Parham served as the second rector until 1989 when the Rev. Mac Keeble became the third rector of the church, serving until 2003. Saint Stephen's then welcomed the Rev. Patrick Gahan as rector, who served until early 2012. At three different times the parish clergy has included a full-time assistant rector. The parish has been well-served during interim periods by various retired clergy of the diocese.
The parish's current Rector, The Rev. Sandra Casey-Martus had her Institution ceremony on January 30, 2013. Sandra Casey-Martus presided at her first service as rector of Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in Wimberley on Sunday, December 16, 2012. Most recently Associate rector of All Saints-by-the Sea in Santa Barbara, California, she has served more than 17 years as vicar, associate rector and rector in parishes in Wyoming, Austin, and Corpus Christi, Texas in addition to Santa Barbara, California. The Rev. Casey-Martus, holds a bachelor's degree in teacher education and a master's in counseling from Springfield College in Massachusetts, a master of theological studies from Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio and an advanced degree in theological studies from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, where she also served as an adjunct faculty member for nine years. She has published three
books on prayer and spirituality and is a nationally recognized retreat leader. "Certainly the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and Mediterranean climate of the California coast are well known for their allure, but I am enchanted by the big Texas sky, bluebonnets along the highway come spring, Mustang Island in the summer, the hills of Wimberley, and the hospitality of the state I have come to call my home," she said. "To serve as rector of a vibrant, radically welcoming, and mission orientated parish is a gift for which I am deeply thankful to God and the people of Saint Stephen's." "The Spirit is clearly at work and has led us to this call," said Richard Jordan, senior warden of Saint Stephen's, "and we are excited that Sandy is here to lead us. She is warm, loving and full of energy." A search committee from the church worked for almost a year before recommending Casey-Martus to the vestry, the church's oversight body.
The Rev. Casey-Martus succeeds Rector Rev. Patrick Gahan, who was called to Christ Church, San Antonio, and interim rector Rev. Ned Bowersox. She is the mother of two adult children and the grandmother of four.
The Rev. Michael Koehler serves Saint Stephen's as the Assistant Rector. He was ordained to the priesthood at the church on December 5, 2012. Michael began his ministry at Saint Stephen's in June of 2012, having earned a Master of Divinity degree at the University of the South School of Theology in Sewanee, Tennessee. As the son of an Episcopal priest, Michael and his family moved around the country, finally settling in South Texas. He graduated from Baylor University, earning a degree in Speech Communication. He previously served as Youth Minister at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in San Antonio before entering seminary. Michael is particularly drawn to relational ministries, especially mission opportunities. Michael and his wife, Erin, married in 2007 and have 3 boys: Kenny (4), Joseph (2), and Stephen! Michael enjoys spending time with his family, being at the beach or in the mountains,
disc golf, playing guitar, woodworking, and "playing" golf.
Much of the ethos of Saint Stephen's is both set by and reflected in the 51-acre church campus in a natural Hill Country setting. The original church structure is now used as a chapel, while the sanctuary, built in 2002, provides 350 seats and reflects the early, traditional Spanish mission-style in Texas. Adjoining the chapel is an open courtyard surrounded by native stone buildings that house the parish hall, church and school offices, and other facilities. Also on the campus are the cemetery and columbarium. The campus includes an outdoor chapel, a permanent stone labyrinth, and a one-mile-plus nature trail featuring folk art Stations of the Cross and Stations of the Resurrection that were designed by a parishioner and crafted by parish members. The grounds lend a sense of pastoral beauty that is treasured by the congregation.
Nestled in the verdant Wimberley Valley, the Village of Wimberley is an oasis in the rocky Hill Country.
A comfortable commuting distance from Austin and San Antonio, Wimberley has long been a retreat for artists, musicians and writers, inspired by its natural beauty and water features, such as Blue Hole.
Wimberley's exemplary public school district and a High School that Newsweek Magazine just ranked in 2012 as one of the top 1000 High Schools in the country, a State Football Champion in 2012 Class 3-A football, and our beautiful St. Stephens Episcopal Private Pre-school and Elementary Schools continue to attract young families to the our area.
The official population of the Village of Wimberley is approximately 3,000, but the Postal Service delivers to more than 14,000 homes in the immediate vicinity.
In addition to Wimberley, parishioners hail from Kyle and Plum Creek, South Austin and Canyon Lake, as well as the Driftwood area.
A vibrant arts community, excellent schools both public and private, mild climate and beautiful scenery make Wimberley a unique spot in the Hill Country of Texas.
The Vestry, together with the Rector, defines, enables and supports the mission and ministries of Saint Stephen's. Vestry members lend support to various parish programs and functions and help support and make possible the many lay ministries of Saint Stephen's. They are also responsible for the financial stability of the parish.
2013 Vestry Members:
Click here for our financial position.
Click here for a Statement of Activities for August 2013.
Click here for a Statement of Activities for July 2013.
Click here for a Statement of Activities for June 2013.
Click here for a Statement of Activities for May 2013.
If you have financial questions regarding these reports please contact: Carol Kaufman, Vestry Treasurer.
If you have questions regarding the Vestry minutes please contact Karen Morris, Vestry Secretary.
"This ministry gives us an opportunity to try to represent all members of our parish family and move the parish forward in our mission and ministry as a caring Christian community." - Bob Reed, Past Senior Warden