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Family Of Faith

Webster Presbyterian Church, a Bay Area tradition, has been serving the community since 1892. The church was founded by Midwestern farmers, enriched by the local Japanese rice settlement and greatly impacted by NASA's Manned Space Center when it moved into the Bay Area in the early 1960s.

Highlights Include:

  • Webster church was destroyed and only the Bible survived the great storm of 1900.

  • The first woman elder in the Synod of the Sun was ordained on April 12, 1931.

  • The original church building was moved to Harris County’s Clear Lake Park in 1981 and currently houses the Bay Area Museum.

  • Elder Buzz Aldrin celebrated Holy Communion on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969.

  • The original church building was awarded a plaque by the Texas Historical Commission in 1989 and was recognized as a Registered Presbyterian Historical Site by the Presbyterian Historical Foundation.

  • The current sanctuary was dedicated in January 2004, and features magnificent stained glass based on Matthew 13:15: " Look with your eyes; listen with your ears, understand with your hearts."

  • The original church building was constructed in 1896 and destroyed in the hurricane of 1900. Volunteers immediately rebuilt the church in 1901 and the new church became known as the "little white church." Along with its 1940 addition, the little white church was moved to Clear Lake Park on February 22, 1981 and is now the home of the Bay Area Museum. The Texas Historical Commission awarded the Bay Area Museum a commemorative plaque and the Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA, has declared the Webster Presbyterian Church buildings and grounds a Presbyterian Historical Site.

    The book "The Little White Church on NASA Road 1" was written and published as part of the church's centennial celebration and presents much of the significant history of this local landmark. Copies of this book are available for purchase at the church office and at the Bay Area Museum. The following is a quote from "The Little White Church on NASA Road 1" and still holds true today:
    "The story of Webster church is an important one. It is the story of those people who came to this area in search of a better life, who understood the importance of education for all, who trusted in God, believed in themselves, and were committed to work for their church, their culture and their community."

    The building that houses the current Webster Presbyterian Church office space was the third sanctuary from 1960 until 1983 and the current Fellowship Hall was the fourth sanctuary from 1983 through 2003. In January of 2004, the congregation moved into its current sanctuary featuring brilliant stained glass Nebulae windows inspired by artist Steve Wilson's view of the universe through the Hubble telescope. These windows present a glorious message. When you look from the farthest windows to the center window, you see movement. Feet stepping forward, faces lifting up, hands stretching out, ears struggling to hear, and a heart beating in the middle. At the focus of it all lies the most ancient image of our faith, the cross. The cross window also contains a unique piece of history. The Allende meteorite fell in Mexico in February 1969. Pieces of the meteorite were used to test the Lunar Receiving Laboratory procedures in preparation for handling the rocks brought back by the Apollo 11 crew. Webster Presbyterian Church has a 1 cm by 1cm thin piece of Allende mounted in the cross window (actually two pieces - the glass artist sat on the thin section and broke it in half). Allende contains white fragments that are the oldest material formed in our solar system and tiny diamonds older than our solar nebula created in a supernova. Look for this tangible sample of the solar nebula in the beautiful Nebulae windows.

    Webster Presbyterian Church was nationally known as the Church of the Astronauts while John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin, Jerry Carr, Charlie Bassett, and Roger Chaffee were active members during their service with NASA. On July 20, 1969, when the first Apollo mission landed on the moon, ruling elder Buzz Aldrin, as an act of thanksgiving, celebrated Holy Communion as an extension of the WPC congregation with the chalice and elements given to him by the church before he left Earth. WPC members were unique participants during the historic service as they gathered for communion in the same hour. Lunar Communion Sunday continues to be celebrated annually at Webster Presbyterian Church on the Sunday nearest the anniversary of the first moon landing.

    Webster Presbyterian Church, as a rural community church, did not have an ordained pastor until 1955. In 1931 Gertrude Seubold, graduate of Presbyterian Training School, Richmond, Virginia, joined Webster Presbyterian Church. Gertrude was ordained as a Ruling Elder, became Moderator of the Session, handled pastoral care, and preached "Bible Stories." She was one of the nation's first women ordained as a Ruling Elder, and the first woman to be ordained in the Synod of the Sun, which encompasses Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Webster Presbyterian Church continues to support women in leadership.

    The first ordained pastor was Paul Young, a graduate of Yale Divinity School. Paul served as pastor from 1955 through 1960, followed by W. D. Kuenzli from 1961 through 1964, Ernest Dimaline from 1964 through 1967, Dean Woodruff from 1967 through 1985, John Musgrave from 1987 through 1995, and Woody Berry from 1997 through 2004. In 2006 Mark Cooper became the seventh senior pastor in the life of this historical church.

©2013 Webster Presbyterian Church • 201 West NASA Parkway • Webster, TX 77598 • Phone 281.332.1251 • Fax 281.557.9552