History of All Saints’ Episcopal Church

All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Russellville, Arkansas, has a cornerstone—the Cornerstone of
Christ—but also a physical cornerstone moved several times over many years before coming to
the present building.


As fourth Missionary Bishop of Arkansas, a jurisdiction that included the Indian Territories,
Henry Niles Pierce visited Russellville several times between 1870 and his death in 1899 to hold
Episcopal services in the Methodist Church building. This quiet beginning grew little by little in
the All Saints’ Episcopal Church of today.


Church records indicate that a mission congregation with the name of All Saints’ petitioned and
received admission into union with the Diocese of Arkansas in 1917. The mission existed only a
few years, and, in 1923, they sold their building to the Lutheran congregation, who later sold it
to the Baptists. It is recorded that, in 1942, the mission congregation was holding regular
services, averaging five to ten attendees, under the ministry of The Rev. George W. Culleny.
During this time, Bishop Richard Bland Mitchell visited three times and confirmed three people.
In the late 1940’s, the Reverend John Maury Allin, then Vicar of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in
Conway, (later elected the) Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States) held
services in private homes in Russellville. In September of 1954, the Russellville Episcopalians
had enough members to consider reorganization of the mission.


Discussions led to a formal meeting and Communion service with Bishop Mitchell and the
Reverend Charles Hoglan of Conway. Eight communicants and four children were present.
Father Hogland agreed to hold services in Russellville every second Sunday.


Fifteen communicants, who are considered the founders of the present church, held an official
organizational meeting on March 18, 1955. On May 5 of that year, the 83rd General Convention
once again admitted All Saints’ mission into union with the Diocese of Arkansas. These “faithful
15” held services every Sunday in private homes until All Saints’ Day,1955, when they found a
room they informally christened “All Saints’ Chapel” in the Red Hill Building on the campus of
Arkansas Tech University.


Ground was broken for a new building at the corner of East 18th and South Detroit Avenue on
May 27, 1958. The Baptists graciously returned the cornerstone from the 1917 building, and
Bishop Robert R. Brown dedicated the new church on September 14 of that year. It was 10
years before the congregation was able to sit in pews instead of folding chairs, but growth was
steady. By 1975, the church had grown to 200 Communicants, with an adjacent parish house,
paved parking lot, organ, and space for an office, nursery, and classrooms.


The Reverend Jack Shoemaker led All Saints’ from mission to parish status in early 1976. Over
the next several years, under the guidance of the Rev. Pat Murray, and the Rev. Greg Riley, All
Saints’ continued to flourish. In 1989, under the Rev. Alan Sutherland, a fund drive enabled All
Saints’ to construct a new church building on Phoenix Avenue, more than tripling available
space. Construction began with groundbreaking on October 16, 1990. The original cornerstone
was again moved and set. On August 11, 1991, the congregation paraded joyously down the
streets from the old building to hold services in our present church. With continued growth
came a second fund drive in 1992 for construction of a large parish hall, nursery, classrooms,
bathrooms, and kitchen.


We have been blessed with the leadership of our rectors, Rev. Jack Shoemaker, Rev. Pat
Murray, the Rev. Greg Riley, Rev. Alan Sutherland, Rev. Don Brown, Rev. Walt Friese, Rev.
Evelyn Hornaday, Rev. Jos Tharakan, Rev. Angi Tharakan, Rev. Michaelene Miller, and Rev. Teri
Daily each contributing their special gifts to the growth and well-being of All Saints’.


The Rev. Jos Tharakan was installed as rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church on August 14, 2007.
The Rev. Angie Tharakan officially joined the clergy staff as Associate Rector for Children and
Young Families in August, 2011. With their combined leadership and ministry, they bring their
unique talents which will take us to a new phase in our parish life. Fr. Jos continued to serve
through June, 2017 when he was called to St. James Episcopal Church in Springfield, Missouri.


In October 2017, we were graced with Rev. Teri Daily as our Priest-in-Charge, and later as our
Rector. Under Teri’s leadership and care, we established our outdoor worship area, known
affectionately as Chevaillier Chapel in Silkensen Park. This worship space proved to be
invaluable as we took our services outdoors during the Covid pandemic in 2020. In 2022, we
consecrated a Woodland Garden for Beloved Pets, a memorial garden for pets open to the
community. The garden was dedicated in memory of one of our parishioners, Grace Kellner.
Also during Rev. Teri’s tenure, Rev. Michaelene Miller became our Curate in 2018, and
remained until called to another post after one year. Rev. Teri retired from All Saints’ in March,
2022.

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