First conceived of in 1965 by Bishop Richardson and local priests serving in parishes in Temple, Belton, and McGregor, St. Francis Episcopal Church this year celebrates over forty years as a parish. St. Francis held its first service as a mission on October, 2, 1966 in temporary space. In February 1971, the mission dedicated a new church on land in south Temple donated by Compton and Peg Broders. The nave overlooked its beautiful wilderness site, full of pecan trees and wildflowers. St. Francis held its first service as a parish on February 28, 1972. Though the parish no longer sits on the edge of Temple as it once did, as the city has grown southward, it still overlooks the same wilderness, now graced by an outdoor chapel and a labyrinth.
Throughout its history, an active, caring congregation has blessed St. Francis. The parish evolved into a vibrant place of worship and Christian education through the leadership and vision of several dedicated rectors.
With the Reverend Robert Bonner (1970-1976), St. Francis parish developed a focus on Christian education, expressed through its Sunday school program for children and adults, as well as its youth program for teens, and the St. Francis Day School (established in 1971).
Under Father George Udell's leadership (1977 until his retirement in 1996), membership and services expanded, and parish facilities grew to accommodate the needs of the congregation and the School. These expansion efforts resulted in a separate wing for the Day School, a large Parish Hall, beautiful new Nave, and an Outdoor Chapel.
Through the leadership of the Reverend Todd Ousley (1997-2001), St. Francis extended its reach beyond the borders of Temple through an annual medical mission to Honduras. Although the leadership of this mission has since relocated, the members of St. Francis continue to participate. In November 2001 a labyrinth was donated to St. Francis by the family of a friend of the church. This labyrinth is open to the public for prayer and meditation. The parish also added a columbarium in 2007.
The Reverend Mary Wilburn served from 2003 to 2006 and Father Stan McGraw served St. Francis from 2007 until the summer of 2010. Since that time St. Francis had been in search of a new rector until September 2011 when the Reverend Brad St. Romain joined St. Francis after serving churches in Austin and Waco.
St. Francis has been richly blessed with leadership from dedicated Bishops and fine clergy, a wonderful music ministry, a thriving day school and gift shop. The parish has been presented with many gifts both large and small. Many lay people have served this parish well and continue work in their ministries. With the leadership of such dedicated people St. Francis continues to flourish.