Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest




On a cold winter evening during the Depression, Rev. Willis Gerhart sat in the office working on his sermon when a parishioner came to visit. Noticing how cold it was, the parishioner went to turn on the heat – but the stove was missing. It had been given to a family in Abilene who had twelve children and no heat in their home. It was far better for 13 people to have heat, than just one.


This tradition of service and spirit of community is alive in the Church of the Heavenly Rest through our reverent worship, parish activities and community outreach programs. We engage the Abilene community with the love of Christ and look to share this love through intentional faith and encouraging words.


Faith prompted Dr. J. M. Isbell and Mr. Ed Starkey Kean to write the new missionary bishop, the Rt. Rev. Charles Garett, just months after Abilene was founded as a city. They desired to create a place where people could care, share, create and serve together in reverence to the Lord; they said Abilene needed an Episcopal church.


In just four short years, the little mission in Abilene had procured full parish status; a remarkable feat of faith, hard work and ingenuity. The original church at North Third and Orange streets in Abilene was built of native stone and was the only building constructed of permanent material in the town for nearly 25 years.


From 1920-1957 the Rev. Willis Gerhart, or “Parson” Gerhart as he came to be called, led the Church through a period of growth and transition. The church moved to South Sixth and Meander, the current location of the church and church membership had climbed from 200 to 595 communicant parishioners. Yet, what people remember most about Parson was that he was “everybody’s preacher” – because he served everyone.

In 2017 Heavenly Rest honored Parson with the completion of "Gerhart Hall". Gerhart Hall is a beautiful and reverent fellowship hall that is truly an extension of our Nave. Gerhart Hall will serve the Church of the Heavenly Rest and the community for years to come.


Holy Eucharist Rite I Sunday, Aug 25 @ 8:00 AM
Back to School Bash Sunday, Aug 25 @ 9:00 AM
Holy Eucharist Rite II Sunday, Aug 25 @ 10:30 AM
Swahili Morning Prayer Sunday, Aug 25 @ 1:00 PM
Breakfast On Beech Street Monday, Aug 26 @ 5:30 AM

August 11, 2019
Sunday, August 11, 2019
The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest | ADDRESS: 602 Meander Street • Abilene, Texas 79602 PHONE: (325) 677-2091 |  Site by Church Website Design
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Welcome to Heavenly Rest



Welcome to Heavenly Rest! We are glad you are visiting our site and hope you will accept this invitation to become part of this faith community.  Together we seek to know the reconciling love of the God and share that love with everyone.  Beautiful worship, exquisite music, inclusive fellowship, generous outreach and excellent Christian education await you. We thank God that more and more people are making this church their spiritual home.  Feel the caring, sharing, creating and serving that God intended for your soul at Heavenly Rest.


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