In December of 1961, several residents of Gastonia, North Carolina met to discuss the possibility of establishing a new parish in the eastern part of town. This initiative was led by The Rt. Rev. Matthew George Henry, Jim Perry and Roland Whitemire. After meeting with twelve local families and discussing that the focus of this new church would be missionary work, the group recruited The Rev. Robert E. Johnson to be their priest. A site for the future church was determined to be at the corner of New Hope Road and Robinwood Road. Subsequently, their first worship service was held in an old house located on the property in February of 1962. Seeking to be officially recognized by the Western Diocese of North Carolina, the now twenty-member congregation petitioned Bishop Henry for acceptance. On March 4, 1962, All Saints Episcopal Church was officially recognized by the diocese. By May of 1962 a temporary chapel was erected and by 1968 a parish house was completed.
The Rev. Robin Johnson worked tirelessly for twenty-four years to bring into fruition, the concept of a missionary driven church. During his tenure he established outreach ministries such as Alcoholic Anonymous and the Hospice program in its infancy. He provided pastoral care to both members of the church and to the wider community of Gaston County.
To assist us through a transitional period, The Rev. Stephen Stanley was called to be our rector in June of 1987. Father Stanley served in this capacity until June of 1990.
In March 1991, The Rev. J. Houston Matthews, III was called to be the third rector of All Saints. He served from June 1991 until his retirement in January of 2005. Under Father Matthew’s
Outside of All Saints Gastonia.
leadership, the sanctuary underwent a major renovation, a new parish hall was constructed, and a fifty-five-niche columbarium was built under the oak trees in the parish yard. Continuing with our goal to be a mission driven church, All Saints became actively involved in Family Promise, a program where area churches house the homeless for a week. Additionally, the Towel Ministry and the Order of St. Luke were introduced into our parish community.
After Father Matthew’s retirement, The Rev. Ben G. Robertson, IV, became our priest. While at All Saints, he encouraged Christian youth education. The Godly Play Curriculum was adopted and the senior high school youth group became very active: traveling to many conferences. Under his sponsorship, Anita Ware was ordained as a Deacon. Working as a team, Deacon Anita and Father Ben, created the Ecclesiastical Garden which continues to provide vegetables for the Salvation Army Kitchen. To promote social gatherings within the church family, the Foyers Dinner Groups began. Father Robertson served All Saints until September 2010.
The prayer labyrinth at All Saints.
The Rev. Dr. Gary Butterworth answered God’s call to become our fifth priest in the summer of 2012. Recognizing the importance of community outreach, Father Butterworth supported our participation in the Back Pack Weekend Food Program of Gaston County and a local food pantry was established at the church. To honor the lives lost in the Sandy Hook shooting, a labyrinth prayer walk was built. Christian education of the youth was encouraged through the implementation of the Children’s Word during Sunday morning worship services. To also promote community partnerships, Father Butterworth extended an invitation to the Metropolitan Community Church and our Spanish speaking community to share our church space. In 2018, Father Butterworth accepted the position of an interim priest as a first step toward retirement in the mountains of North Carolina.
We continue to introduce new programs and worship experiences to meet the needs of a changing world. We are also committed to outreach, both within and outside the church. We are open and accepting of all who wish
to worship with us. With God’s blessing, All Saints will continue to be a strong light of hope for our world.
In February 2019, the Rev. Dr. Alicia Alexis was called to be the interim rector of All Saints.