Parishioners at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church celebrated 30 years in Copperas Cove with a special sermon and a reception party Sunday.

“It’s good to see so many old friends here today,” said the Rev. Richard Barrett, the vicar of St. Martin’s. “Today is a very special day for us. I’m happy that we are still doing well and meeting the needs of the community.”

In February 1983, St. Martin’s Episcopal conducted its first service, in the building that later became Cove Theater. The church was originally called Prince of Peace Episcopal Church until it was renamed St. Martin’s the following year, after being accepted as a mission of the Diocese of Texas.

The church later moved to a location on Georgetown Road where it expanded from one store front to two. In 1991, it moved to its present location atop the hill on south Farm-to-Market 116.

But the church didn’t grow without its struggles.

St. Martin’s was nearly closed in January 1991 by the Diocese. Being located in a military town, Operation Desert Storm weakened the parish numbers because many of its members were sent overseas to fight in the war. But the remaining congregation fought to keep it open.

“We are still here because the people of St. Martin’s stood up and said, ‘No, we will not go away’,” Iona intern Paulette Magnuson said during her sermon Sunday.

Over cake and other refreshments in the parish hall, church members reflected on the milestone anniversary.

“It’s awesome. Thirty years later, and we’re still here,” said Rob Endter, member of the bishop’s committee and longtime parishioner.

Patty Densford, who has been a member since 1988, shared Endter’s sentiment.

“It’s wonderful to see that the work that we did is continuing,” she said.

Those who wish to attend a service at St. Martin’s are welcome to attend or call (254) 547-0331 for more information. The church is at 1602 S. Farm-to-Market 116.

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