A new plant church has been established in Waxahachie. The St. Mark the Evangelistic Anglican Church will open its doors for the first time at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, (Feast of All Saints) at the English Merchant’s Parlour, located at 109 N. Rogers St. in downtown Waxahachie.
Services will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesdays (evening prayer and a quieter, contemplative service) and at 10 a.m. Sundays (Holy Communion with traditional hymns).
During a visit with the Sun, the church’s vicar and senior pastor, Jason VanBorssum, shared how Anglicanism was passed down from the Church in England and noting how it is the third-largest communion of Christianity worldwide after the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.
“We wanted non-traditional space near downtown Waxahachie,” said VanBorssum, who shared how the new church came to be formed. Members of the former St. Athanasius Anglican Church had held their services in Waxahachie’s oldest church building, which had been used by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church until the latter moved to a new building. When the parish priest, Father William Mouser, decided to retire and with the COVID-19 pandemic going on, the congregation was closed.
Members wanted to continue worshipping, however, and reached out to Bishop Ray Sutton in Dallas seeking help to continue their parish, which was affiliated with the Reformed Episcopal Church, a sub-jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of North America.
“Bishop Sutton asked me to go to Waxahachie to lead the new congregation,” VanBorssum said. “He asked that I put my arms around them and grow the church.”
After two months of work and much interest, the church will offer communion on its first day of opening Nov. 1 but, because of COVID, the tradition of receiving wine from a chalice will not be included. The services will include 50 members at a time.
The church’s service is traditional, with candles at the altar and the priest wearing vestments. Prior to the services, the congregation meets for coffee and Christian education at 9 a.m., with communion at 10 a.m. followed by coffee and fellowship.
VanBorssum explained that this is a plant church and a mission church and, when the church grows and is established, it will become a parish. Jerry Young of Waxahachie will serve as the assistant priest, with church plans including pastoral care and working with the homeless.
“The congregation is genuinely excited about this church plant and the members are faithful,” VanBorssum said. “They are united to keep going as a united church family.”
One of the activities sees members gathering Monday evenings at College Street Pub, an activity that’s been dubbed “Theology on Tap” with Bible study and a reflection on the life of saints.
“Many of the College Street Pub regulars join us and some drive from Ennis,” he said. “We have men and women, young and old in our group.”
VanBorssum’s journey to becoming lead priest of the new church is an interesting one.
“I grew up in Los Angeles and was in the entertainment business,” he said. “I was an executive for Sony Pictures. I was an animation producer on Disney films, and I produced ‘Veggie Tales.’ My father, Lee Marshall, was the voice of Tony the Tiger.”
Having grown up in the Anglican Church, VanBorssum realized 10 years ago that God was calling him to something different.
“Professionally I realized I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing,” he said. “I earned my Master of Divinity from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and I was ordained this year by Bishop Sutton at our cathedral, the home church of the bishop, Church of the Holy Community. I get great satisfaction knowing I’m doing God’s work.”
He lives in McKinney with wife Lisa, an entertainment marketing executive, and his 14-year-old son Elliott.
For additional information on the new plant church, contact VanBorssum at 818-245-2470. Information also can be found on the church’s official Facebook page.
Editor's note: Updated to correct service times and days.