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Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church - National Fund For Sacred Places
2016 Cohort

Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church

San Antonio, Texas

Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church was founded on the west side of San Antonio as a mission of the Presbyterian Church in 1915.

Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church courtesy Divine Redeemer

Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church courtesy Divine Redeemer

2016 Cohort

Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church

San Antonio, Texas

Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church was founded on the west side of San Antonio as a mission of the Presbyterian Church in 1915.

The House of Neighborly Service was founded two years later as Divine Redeemer’s settlement house and community ministry. In 1929, architect Harvey P. Smith, who oversaw the renovation of the historic San Antonio Missions, designed a Mission Revival-style building for both the church and settlement house. According to the congregation, this multi-functional building demonstrated Divine Redeemer’s identity as a “congregation committed to ministry and to partnership.” Due to the expansion of the church and House of Neighborly Service, the congregation commissioned a new sanctuary in 1948. Church members sold tamales and dresses in order to purchase the roof tiles for the sanctuary, which they laid themselves.

Today, the congregation of Divine Redeemer remains almost 90 percent Latinx, mostly of Mexican origin, and leads services in English and Spanish. Education is Divine Redeemer’s highest outreach priority, and its multi-level educational youth outreach program provides K-12 families with tutoring, personal development, community service opportunities, and assistance with college applications. Students enrolled in the program have a 100 percent high school graduation rate. In collaboration with the House of Neighborly Service, Divine Redeemer runs activities for senior citizens, a day care for at-risk children, emergency food assistance, gardening programs, and a community thrift store.

A National Fund grant of $250,000 with over $2 million in matching funds raised by the congregation supported a total restoration of the 1929 building. Work involved restoring the exterior to prevent ongoing water infiltration; upgrading all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems to meet code; installing more environmentally sensitive equipment such as insulated windows; and expanding the kitchen facility. The congregation expressed that these repairs have met the goal of creating a “safe, functional and accessible facility for the hundreds of individuals who come here every week to be served and for the staff that give their heart and soul to that service!”

Sharing More Than Space

“How in the world are we going to be able to raise over a million dollars?” That was the response of Divine Redeemer in 2013 after learning about the extent of repairs needed to maintain and preserve their physical plant. Situated in one of the most economically challenged ZIP codes in the nation, with a membership of only 125, the church faced the seemingly impossible task of repairing its building to continue serving the congregation and its neighbors.

Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church courtesy Divine Redeemer

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church by Luis P. Gutierrez