By 1957, additional classrooms and another five acres had been added. Frontage on Greenbay included a brick house which became the parsonage. The Methodist Men organized, the WSCS had four circles, and the youth had a choir and MYF. Rev. Hardin accepted a professorship at Perkins School of Theology and was replaced by Rev. Derwood Blackwell in June 1957. The following June Blackwell was succeeded by Rev. Kelly Williams and our first Associate Pastor, Rev. Carey Sayers. The Chapelwood Preschool was established in September 1958, for three-, four-, and five-year-olds.
Dr. Kelly Williams, Senior Pastor
from the 50s through the mid 90s
In the sixties, we sponsored our first missionaries, brought on an associate pastor for education, and added the Fellowship Hall and more classrooms. The Long Range Planning Commission next called for a capital funds drive to build an administration building, another classroom wing, enlarge the Sanctuary and buy five more acres of land giving access to Claymore. The Chapelwood Folk Singers began entertaining our members and community groups. In 1968, Ray Evans came from Dallas to be Director of the Ministry of Music, giving rise to an enduring graded choir program, bell choirs, and a dramatic enhancement of the Wesley and Chancel Choirs. Choral Workshop I was held in August 1968 at Rim Rock Ranch. Some annual services became enduring traditions: August Revival, the Wesley Choir musical, The Christ Child’s Tree, What Gift Have I?, and Come and Go Communion for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Our graduating seniors presented the first Senior Service, "We Believe in God" in 1969.
ChildrenÂ´s Carol Choir
Dr. Carey Sayers, Associate Pastor,
in Fellowship Hall
Scouts in original Fred L. Smith Building
Major renovations in 1970 added Sanctuary transepts and enlarged the choir loft, chancel area and narthex. A bride’s room and porte cochere were built next to the bell tower. The first phase of our Moller pipe organ was installed through the generosity of several families and Chapelwood Charities. A youth minister was hired. The WSCS became the United Methodist Women, began calling their April fundraiser "Spring Thing," and made beautiful Chrismons. The Kenneth Copeland Youth and Family Activities Center was dedicated in May 1974. Our community outreach included sponsoring Manna families, Wesley House, Casa de Amigos, House of Yahweh, and a quarterly blood drive. The first Faith Alive weekend was in January 1975. BOLD organized and were originally called the "The Senior Set." Bethel Bible Classes began in 1978. The Chancel Choir recorded five radio programs for The Protestant Hour. We bought an acre to the east for baseball and soccer fields. Youth members were added to the Administrative Board.
Stained Glass "Omega" in the renovated Sanctuary.
With the 1980s came more building activity - a Sanctuary balcony, larger nursery, and a library. The pipe organ was completed with the addition of the antiphonal. A second story added a new choir complex, offices and meeting rooms. Purchase of a strip of land on the west boundary of the campus added more parking. The scout building was named the Fred L. Smith Scout Building. A business manager and minister for singles were added to the staff. We went online with computers in 1984. Singlefest was an immediate hit. The Chapelwood Foundation was established to receive and manage substantial gifts to the church. The Stephen Ministry started its valuable caregiving.
In September 1990, the Board authorized major kitchen renovations and a two-story educational building: the Williams Building opened in October 1991. The Board also established the Kelly and Sara Williams Mission Fund and made its first dispersal to establish Grace Fellowship Church in West Houston. In June 1994, after 36 years of service, Dr. Kelly Williams retired.
In July, Dr. James F. Jackson began his appointment at Chapelwood. A third worship service at 9:45 a.m. was added in 1994. The Mercy Street service on Saturday nights began in September 1997. The Long Range Planning Committee, beginning with a questionnaire to the membership, developed a master plan for enlarging and improving Chapelwood’s facilities and refocused our ministries on six purpose areas - caring, learning, praying, reaching, serving, and worshiping. The last remaining parcel of land available for expansion, 1.1 acres east on Greenbay, was purchased. The Event in the Tent, November 1998, launched a successful capital funds drive for $12 million. A tithe of the capital monies was committed to help build the Spring Branch Family Development Center. We also began sending global mission teams around the world to places like Kenya, Mexico, Haiti, Guatemala, and Estonia.
Dr. Jim Jackson
Senior Pastor, 1994 to 2014
Dr. Jackson lays cornerstone
on Sanctuary addition (2000)
In April 1992, the Administrative Board adopted a Mission Statement for Chapelwood: Guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will lead people into a relationship with God through the love of Jesus Christ, enable individuals to become Christ-like, and call each member to respond to the needs of others.
Our "Chapel in the Woods," still a friendly neighborhood church after 50 years, has a tremendous legacy. Bishop Smith called us a "miracle church and blessed of God" in 1950. As weÂ´ve gone into a new millennium, we have every reason to believe that the Lord is with us.
Chapelwood’s current mission statement is to "Embody grace as we receive it to those who need it."
Today, Chapelwood consists of many diverse, close-knit communities within our church community at large, and our members are committed to extending God’s love, acceptance, and grace beyond the four walls of the church. We consider it a privilege to share grace with all people, particularly those commonly overlooked by the typical church. Chapelwood ministers to the city’s homeless and recovering addicts through Mercy Street; the Circle of Friends programs help persons who have physical or developmental disabilities become part of the Chapelwood church life; we serve the Hispanic community in Spring Branch through Esperanza; and we reach out to young adults, many of whom are disillusioned with traditional church involvement, through the Emergent Ministry.
Chapelwood uses online communication tools to broadcast messages of grace and biblical truth to those in the surrounding community, region, country, and world! In addition to offering live streaming video of our Sunday worship services, we launched our own Roku channel in March 2011, making it possible for nationwide subscribers to view live worship events as well as archived sermons and events on demand. This technology also makes it possible to provide on-location worship experiences for people such as those living in retirement communities and nursing homes.
In 2012, Jim Jackson formed two teams to support the Senior Pastor identification and transition. The Leadership Transition Team and the Sage Team began meeting in August 2012. The LTT was composed of individuals who had experience on the Board of Stewards and on various key teams such as the Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC). From their diverse backgrounds they provided knowledge of best practices in the secular world, the ability of strategic evaluation, and the capacity of accurate discernment from multiple options before the congregation.
The Sage Team was comprised of members who had long-standing relationships at Chapelwood. These are the persons who were around during the transition from Kelly Williams to Jim Jackson. They brought a sacred memory and wisdom to the process, which was shared in collaboration with the LTT and many others. Their role was to help identify the best practices of transition and support during a Senior Pastor transition.
The LTT worked closely with Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Texas Annual Conference, who ultimately appointed our new pastor, Rev. Dr. John E. Stephens.
On Sunday, April 27, 2014, Dr. Jackson officially passed the mantle of leadership along to Dr. Stephens in a moving Investiture Service in the Sanctuary.
Jim went on to preach his last sermon on Sunday, May 4, and was greeted enthusiastically by hundreds of Chapelwood friends and families after each Sanctuary worship service.
Susan and Jim Jackson look forward to a time of extended travel over the next several months, and after that, Jim’s ministry will continue on, but in a new direction.
In the meantime, Chapelwood awaits the beginning of a new era. John Stephens will preach his first sermon at Chapelwood on Sunday, August 3, 2014.