For 60 years, St. George has been welcoming those who share in the Episcopalian philosophies while opening their doors to those in need.

On Sunday, Sept. 7, St. George Episcopal Church in Camdenton will celebrate those 60 years of fellowship and community service.


For 60 years, St. George has been welcoming those who share in the Episcopalian philosophies while opening their doors to those in need.
On Sunday, Sept. 7, St. George Episcopal Church in Camdenton will celebrate those 60 years of fellowship and community service.
The church has been in the same location on Route 5 for years.
The church and its congregation have come a long way from the “little mission that could,” as it was once referred to by the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri.
Friar L. Owen Henderson is the spiritual leader of the St. George congregation. He will preside over the 12:30 p.m. anniversary celebration at the church.
From the days of holding services on the front porch of the Harper home in Camdenton to now, the church has built a firm foundation for those who worship there, said Suzanne Sherman, a member of the church.
“St. George is well-known for the beauty and tranquility of its communion-centered worship service, the supportive and loving bond among its parishioners, and its faithful service to the people and communities that comprise the Lake of the Ozarks area,” she said.
There was a time when, as the story told by Gail Barnes still goes, “my childhood memory was of Vera Moulder, wife of long-term Camden County Clerk Jack Moulder, vigorously playing her reed pump organ on the front porch of her Camdenton home.
“We would all gather ‘round to sing “Onward Christian Soldiers”, “Holy Holy Holy” and, of course, “How Firm a Foundation”. About midway through the third verse, Vera would begin to tire from the exertion of pumping that organ. As the pumping diminished, so did the volume of air needed to maintain the organ’s tone.”
Inevitably, Still said, the instrument would begin to sag and wheeze, much like an accordion winding down. “Of course, we did the same. We’d usually end the hymn in lower key from where we began, but always with great style.” 
That was back in the late 1940s before the church had a home. When the congregation held its first communion in 1948, it was at the home of A. A. Harper.
By 1952, the congregation had acquired a prefabricated cottage that was built on the same site as the current St. George location. It wasn’t until nearly a decade later, the congregation built the existing church.
“The sanctuary is a tribute to the love and care of local craftsman, Will Sayers, owner of an area woodworking shop and a member of the church at that time, who created the altar, cross and other physical elements of worship,” Sherman said.
“The pews, that were donated by the diocese from an older church, were transported and installed by the gentlemen of the congregation,” she said. “Most of the interior work was completed by church members.”
At that time, Sherman said, the alter was regularly adorned with wildflowers gathered by parishioners who would get up early to gather the bouquets.
The congregation has opened the church building and their hearts to many worthwhile projects over the years. Our Savior Lutheran and a Presbyterian church have used the sanctuary when in need of a place to worship.
For a time following the fall of Saigon in 1975, Don and Martha Branham and Bob and Helen Branyan taught English to a group of Vietnamese refugees. The church also served as a shelter for residents or strangers in need of a hot meal or a night’s shelter, Sherman said.
Although small by comparison to other congregations in the lake area, Sherman says the spirit of the congregation and its mission to serve the community have sustained St. George for six decades.
Today, new members are finding a church filled with a strong message, compassion and music.
Contact this reporter at joycem@lakesunleader.com