The town of Boerne was settled first by German immigrants in the 1840’s when they came to the banks of the Cibolo Creek some 45 miles northwest of San Antonio. Realization of the excellent, dry, clear atmosphere and clean, sweet water came early. The spell of the land enchanted George Kendall as early as 1847; and his reports back east in the New Orleans Picayune established a nation-wide reputation for the Boerne area as a resort and health spa.
In 1881, Bishop Robert W.W. Elliott, the first bishop of the Missionary District of Western Texas, reported to the Diocese of West Texas: “ ...as Boerne is a favorite resort for those invalids who come to us from every State of the Union for the cure of pulmonary troubles, we have need there at once of a church whose doors will be open to the invalid and stranger, and minister blessed Consolation to those afflicted and far from home. The erection of this little Church has a catholic and national interest.” (cont'd below)
History records that the first Episcopal service in Boerne was conducted in 1878, possibly by the Rev. J.T. Hutcheson from Seguin. The mission was likely formally established in July, 1880; and in January 1881, property for a church was obtained at a site 3 blocks north of the town square on Main Street. The cornerstone of the first church was laid on May 16, 1881.
Bishop Elliott, in order to meet the needs of both the fast-growing English population and the transient invalids, chose the name St. Helena who was the person most responsible for Christianity’s early comfort to the English people. The cornerstone described its members some twenty strong, living in a radius of twelve miles and the town of four hundred inhabitants as “German and Infidel”. The church grew so that by 1887 there were 110 persons with 45 active in Sunday School.
Union with the new Diocese of West Texas was approved on May 11, 1905 at the first annual Diocesan Council. The first rector was the Rev. Albert Massey.
Within a few years, St. Helena’s was serving as the parish church of Kendall County with mission work being done in other communities like Sisterdale, Waring, and Comfort.
In 1914, World War I began and soldiers stationed at Camp Stanley attended worship services at St. Helena’s. The years brought financial hardship for the area, and the community was wracked by tension and resentment between the English and German populations. Following the war, the church continued to struggle with financial hardships and the Women of St. Helena’s began to shoulder some of that burden with significant fundraisers. In 1929, the parish mustered enough resources to build the present stone church.
During World War II, many of the men at St. Helena’s and the community went off to war and the Women of the Church continued to carry much of the responsibility. The Parish Hall remained a community meeting place for many organizations as it was the largest community-wide meeting spot available in Boerne at the time.
Over the years, adjacent properties have been acquired including the older stone homes that now house the Youth House and the church offices.
The Wendler Hall was built in 2006. The Hall was named for a significant pillar of St. Helena’s church, Dr. C. Clifford Wendler, whose family dates back to one of our founding families. Wendler Hall is our largest meeting place now, the sanctuary for one of our worship services, and the home for the thriving St. Helena’s Early Enrichment Program. The school grows every year and is now a center of knowledge and Christ’s teachings for two year olds through second grade.
- James Albert Massey 1905-1915
- George A. Belsey 1916-1935
- William W. Stewart 1935-1940
- Charles Wayne Buchanan 1941
- Thomas Stuart Mathews 1942
- Richard C. Talbot 1947-1953
- Francis Sheridan Newman 1955-1958
- Joseph Sheldon 1960-1962
- George N. Taylor 1963-1976
- Thomas White 1977-1981
- William Calhoun 1984-1998
- David G. Read 1998-2009
- William H. Allport 2010-2012
- Patrick R. Soule 2013-2016
- David G. Read 2017-Present