“San Felipe Secrets Unveiled: Beauty Strength and Wisdom in Colonial Texas”
by Linda Berthelsen, Christopher Dalrymple and Kathryn Berthelsen Tees
Many founding fathers of the Republic of Texas were Freemasons. This book explored the role that pioneer Methodism and Freemasonry played in the birth of the Republic of Texas. In 1837, more than a decade before Texas entered statehood, historic San Felipe Church was built as an exercise of new spiritual freedom, giving birth to Texas’ oldest continuing Methodist congregation. The upper room, above the tiny sanctuary, houses the most astounding examples of early Texas artwork. Located some forty miles west of Houston, San Felipe Church stands on Constitution Square in Stephen F Austin’s original first colony, as a tribute to Texas’ enduring pioneer spirit.
In 2016, the Smithsonian Institute came to south Texas gathering research on churches built before the Civil War. When they visited San Felipe Church, forty miles west of Houston, they returned home with a copy of our book, with a sense of how deep Texas history runs. My coauthors and I wrote this book as part of a project to preserve and restore this tiny church.
Warmest gratitude to Clara Miller of San Felipe United Methodist Church and the Grand Lodge of Texas for their partnership in the restoration of efforts.
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