Born August 28, 1928 in Conroe, Texas, Fred Walter Sutton, arrived in Galveston at the age of 25. He was made vicar of St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church in June of 1953 by Bishop Hines, who would consecrate him later that year as Deacon, then as Priest in 1954. St. Augustine was recognized as a self-supporting parish in January of 1957 and Rev. Sutton was instituted as St. Augustine’s first Rector in June that same year.
According to an article in the Galveston Daily News, the young vicar was looking for the Island’s area of most need to establish his ministry through St. Augustine. In 1954, he took a walking tour of the Island.North of Broadway, he found the most impoverished area, neglected by social progress.
Another history describes the young vicar as gathering in his small home with some of the black youth he met in his travels north of Broadway. The group, now including children of all ages, quickly outgrew his home. They moved activities to an abandoned grocery store on 27th street, near where the new Fire Station stands today.
In 1956, the importance of the work he was doing with the neighborhood kids was acknowledged when the three Episcopal congregations on the Island, St. Augustine of Hippo, Grace Church and Trinity Church joined forces and resources to charter St. Vincent’s House. This location,2817 Postoffice Street (though not in this building) became headquarters for St. Vincent’s in 1958. There was a corrugated metal building just outside this door. Earlier this year, we were directed by the Diocese to remove all that remained (the rusted roof and very rusted supporting beams) for safety and liability concerns.
That building was home to Bible study and activities for the neighborhood youngsters. A Recreational Director and a Social Worker were hired to provide guidance and supervision. Pictures show the building used for weddings, worship services, birthday parties and funerals…just about every occasion in life.
The vision of young Fred Sutton has grown and changed through the succeeding six decades. Many men and women have followed in his footsteps, sharing his love for the underserved and most vulnerable. From St. Augustine, Rev. Sutton served in Texas City, then in the Diocese of Long Island in 1963. He found his home in Glory March 14, 2008, residing in Ft. Lauderdale Florida at the time of his death.
Among our current programs are a food pantry, take-along snack packs and shower and laundry ministry to the homeless, comprehensive case management setting families and individuals on a path to self-sustainability, financial literacy, free clinics for speech, occupational and physical therapy, general medicine and multiple specialty clinics for chronic and acute care.
The Comprehensive Case Management program at St. Vincent’s House (SVH) is designed to assemble the building blocks of independence and personal sustainability through a focused collaborative effort. It is our goal to incorporate the wide range of available essential services to strengthen our clients in body, mind and spirit, as they become self-sustaining and contributing members of our community. Beginning in 1984, UTMB Student Directed Clinics began providing medical care for indigent and uninsured. In 2008, the UTMB Nurse Practitioner Managed clinic opened to provide acute and chronic care for the same population.
Most individuals served by St. Vincent’s House are members of the most vulnerable population: indigent, uninsured and underserved minorities. Many clients suffer from relatively common ailments that have reached advanced stages due to neglect of basic needs. Physical ailments may be compounded by mental health issues, food insecurity, a lack of stable, safe lodging and a variety of social determinants. These clients have a higher probability of falling through the cracks in the current social, health and community infrastructure of St. Vincent's service area which covers Galveston County.
SVH is focusing its efforts by specifically targeting these clients for improving the social, mental and health outcomes of the overall SVH client community. Through comprehensive case management we will work through a collaborative process that assesses, plans, implements, coordinates, monitors and evaluates the options and services required to meet the client's mental health, physical health and human service needs.
St. Vincent’s House Purpose/Vision: The gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to be agents of hope and transformation in the lives of individuals and families.
St. Vincent’s House Goals/Mission: St. Vincent House provides essential services and resources to empower families & individuals to become self-sustaining and contributing members of our community.
We invite you to join us. Our supporters are our heartbeat!