Our Story

How it all started...

Officially, we are called 'The First Church of the Nazarene.' The church began in 1911, in downtown San Antonio.
In the summer of 1911, Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Griswald organized a Sunday school in their home at the Golden Rule Grocery Store, 452 North Flores.  

In January 1912 Reverend W.E. Fisher, District Superintendent of the Abilene District of the Church of the Nazarene, moved to San Antonio.  The Abilene District then included all of Texas, parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico.

God seemed to be in this little Sunday school and at the suggestion of Reverend Fisher a tent was stretched on to the lot near The Golden Rule Grocery, pictured at right.
God seemed to be in this little Sunday school and at the suggestion of Reverend Fisher a tent was stretched on to the lot near The Golden Rule Grocery.  Mrs. Bessie Williams was called to hold a meeting.  The frequent rains caused the crowds to be very small.  When possible the services were held in the Salvation Army Hall at 110 ½ N. Flores.

This little group of people did not give up.  With God’s help, on April 16, 1912, The First Church of the Nazarene was organized with 16 charter members.  A small hall was rented at 923 Avenue D and in the summer of 1912 Reverend J.E. Threadgill was called for revival services.  People came and were gloriously saved.  The little church began to grow.  Reverend W.E. Fisher acted as pastor and District Superintendent until November 1915.  During this time Mrs. Fisher pastured the Baby Church.

Pictured at left: Rev. Fisher's sermon topic for Sunday, Dec. 29th, 1915, "Heaven's Opened Windows."  

Reverend W.E. Fisher acted as pastor and District Superintendent until November 1915.  During this time Mrs. Fisher pastured the Baby Church.  

In 1915 Reverend W.O. Self came to pastor the church and located at 110 Princeton.  The church moved to West Laurel and the I & GN railroad in a two-story building.  Later the church moved to Five Points and occupied a part of a storeroom.  A creamery was in the other end of the building with only a canvas partition between it and the church auditorium.  As summer came on, the odor became so offensive the church moved to a tent in the rear of Brother and Sister Hatfield’s home on North Comal.  A wind storm blew the tent down but this did not dampen the people’s spirit.  Their faith in God and love for Him caused them to work that much harder.  

Reverend Self and Miss Emma Barrett solicited for money to make a down payment on a lot located on the corner of Princeton and Colorado Streets.  The property had a three-room house on it.  The partitions were removed and services were held in this building while the new church was being constructed.  Later the small building was remodeled and made into a parsonage at 1816 North Colorado.  In October 1915 the church was completed in November 1915 the second Annual District Assembly, now called the San Antonio District, convened in the new church provided by General Superintendent W.C. Wilson.

The church was making progress and now had a membership of 70, and in 1917 Reverend H.B. Wallin was called as pastor and served until 1919 at which time the church had a membership of 155.

Reverend Clyde E. Green was called as pastor in 1919 and he organized a band of 42 people and on Sunday afternoons held street meetings in front of the main post office on Alamo Plaza.  There was good gospel singing and preaching and people seemed hungry for the gospel.  The church would be packed on Sunday nights with a crown standing on the outside listening to the services.  Many people were converted through these street meetings.  

In 1951 under the leadership of Reverend Fred Reedy who has gone on to Heaven, new property was purchased at 141 West Woodlawn and a lovely new church was built.  While the new church was being constructed the congregation worshiped in Harace Mann Junior School auditorium.

Reverend R.W. Kornegay followed Reverend Reedy and pastured our church for 10 years of progress and growth.

In 1967 the rains came followed by the flood that washed out the basement of the church which had to be replaced with new walls and also furnishings like pianos etc. had to be replaced.  Again this congregation met the challenge and with everyone working together got everything back in good shape, only to be hit again one year later with a fire caused from bad wiring and burned all through the roof.  The firemen were great and with the help of the Lord, there were able to save the pews, organ and piano.  While the roof was being rebuilt, again the congregation had to go elsewhere for their worship services and the Spanish Seminary was gracious by allowing the congregation to use their facilities’
Under the leadership of Reverend Darrel Mile property was purchased and a new church was built at 10715 West Ave. and was dedicated October 16, 1977.  In 1983 a 12,500 square foot educational wing was added with 6 spacious children’s classrooms and 10 adult classrooms.  Under the 8 year leadership of Rev. Keven Wentworth (1988-1996) all that space was needed as the church reached its largest numbers in history for worship attendance and membership.  

In 2005 Rev. Wentworth returned to San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene as special speaker for a “Dream Big” weekend.  The vision that he presented for the future of SAF was the need for it to connect to its community.  That vision started becoming a reality when in 2007 as La Vid Verdadera under the leadership of Rev. Jesus Navarro began conducting services at SAF and a partnership between congregations was born. In 2008-2009 the church leadership participated in Strategic Planning and Vision 2015 was given birth.  It stated that we are “Followers of Christ, connecting with our community feeding body, mind and spirit.”  

In 2009 West Avenue Compassion was started to meet the food and clothing needs of the community.  Since that time over 13,000 distributions of food have been given out by hundreds of different volunteers and the ministry now includes over 100 students enrolled in ESL and GED classes.  

Now SAF.Church is a staple in the community. Offering an open park campus, we host pick up basketball, Community run children's fitness programs, open fields, a community garden, and a playground. Our facilities host the San Antonio Police Department's Crisis Intervention Training which educates officers in deescalation and mental health crisis response. We  also host the Friday School homeschool co-op.  All this falls under our current vision: Vision 728.

Where we are headed...

This vision is outward looking, seeking to expand our efforts to serve our community and serve them in their journey of faith with Jesus Christ.  Our current facilities are scheduled for renovations and restorations over the coming years that will expand our capability for our church services, upgrade our campus amenities like the sports fields and basketball court, and increase the utility of our building for community needs. Our mission is "to make Christlike disciples by investing in body, mind, and spirit because of God's grace."

Be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together in person at 9:00am and 11 am and on FaceBook and YouTube LIVE at 11am.