History of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Galveston Texas
In 1874, the First Presbyterian Church of Galveston organized a mission Sunday School for the "West End" of Galveston, west of 29th Street. Attendance was light, but the efforts continued and in the Spring of 1889, First Church appointed a committee to "organize a Sabbath School and weekly prayer meeting for the West End of the city". Mr. H.M. Trueheart donated a lot on 36th and Broadway, where a "Memorial Chapel" was constructed in 1892.
On October 10, 1895, Brazos Presbytery, Presbyterian Church U.S., organized the Second Presbyterian Church of Galveston with 39 members and Henry Austin, Jr. was ordained and served as Pastor. The next week, on October 17, 1895, the congregation voted to change the name to the Broadway Memorial Presbyterian Church.
The September 8, 1900 storm caused major confusion in the congregation. The very sketchy records of that period list six members who could not be found after the storm and were presumed to have perished. Also, records indicate "15 communicants unaccounted for." The church building was blown from its foundation and wrecked. Services were resumed November 4, 1900.
About 1910, the church again changed its name, this time to the Ann Trueheart Memorial Presbyterian Church. Finally, after 33 years of existence, in 1928, the present name was adopted.
The church functioned at the 36th & Broadway location until 1926, when two lots at 37th & Q1/2 were purchased. The structure that was built at that location is still being used as a church (Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church). In 1957, the congregation purchased the Fort Crockett military chapel for $556, and the cold storage warehouse, and its 1.4 acres at 51st and Ave. U, for an additional $36,000. The chapel was moved to the new site, the warehouse was remodeled, and the congregation began to use its new facilities in 1962.
When Hurricane Carla struck in 1961, the present Educational Building was still under renovation. It had enough open space to allow those who took refuge within the building to pass the time playing volleyball. The only working restroom was in the Sanctuary. We understand the trip, possible if one held tightly to a rope stretched between the two buildings, was a real thrill!
After Hurricane Alicia in 1983, worship services were held in the parking lot since there was no electricity in the city. The present furnishing of the sanctuary was completed in 1983, and the new organ installed in 1987.
On October 7-8, 1995, the congregation celebrated the church's centennial, hosting a large celebration for all members past and present. Many former members returned for the weekend and former pastors James Mosley and Cecil Lang were in attendance. A "Centennial" logo was designed to tie together all aspects of the celebration, including the worship service, special bulletin, the party, the placement of a time capsule, centennial T-shirts and various other remembrances of the occasion. A centennial tree was also planted.
For as long as anyone can remember, and that's quite a long time, this Congregation has reached out to the community and the world, supporting such projects as the local blood bank, Ronald McDonald House, Beacon Place, Presbyterian missions and the Heifer Project International. Since Hurricane Ike in 2008, we serve as the home of the Children’s Coalition Day Care. We take satisfaction in being able to return a portion of what has been given us.
The Reverend Henry Austin, Jr. heads a list of 30 pastors whom have served this Congregation through the beginning of the 21st century. While pastoral leadership has ranged from bland to bold, from enigmatic to energetic, the Congregation has continued to be a strong center of Christianity in the "West End of Galveston". May its years continue and its service to Christ increase!