The Texas Episcopalian 2021
Keeping theFaith in Review
eighbors N r u O g in While Serv
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COVER PHOTO: GRACE, ALVIN - FOOD DONATION EVENT 3 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
THE TEXAS EPISCOPALIAN (SINCE 1874) IS AN OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF TEXAS. Our mission is to share the stories of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas; to inform, to inspire. PUBLISHER:
The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle
EDITOR: Tammy Lanier, email@example.com DESIGNER: STAFF WRITER:
Angela Hider, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paulette E. Martin, email@example.com
EDITORIAL SUPPORT: Kathy Hood Culmer
The Texas Episcopalian is published annually in January by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, 1225 Texas St., Houston, TX 77002-3504. Periodical postage paid at Houston, TX. Address changes may be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org POSTMASTER: Address changes: The Texas Episcopalian,
1225 Texas St., Houston, TX 77002-3504 © 2020 The Episcopal Diocese of Texas
Founded in 1838 by the Episcopal Church as a mission to the people of Texas, the Diocese of Texas has been led continuously by the Holy Spirit to plant ministries and congregations to partner with and serve the wider community. Today the diocese spans more than 46,000 square miles and encompasses 57 counties. We are headquartered in historic downtown Houston with offices in Austin and Tyler. Led by the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, the ninth Bishop of Texas, the diocese is more than 400 clergy, 167 congregations, 70 missional communities, 22 campus missions, chaplaincies, foundations, institutions, and over 72,000 parishioners serving our neighbors. We embrace all people with mutual love and respect. We are one Church reconciled by Jesus Christ, joining God’s mission to reconcile others and build up the kingdom of God. 4 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Faith CONTENTS 06 Leadingwith withaaPurpose Purpose 06 Leading A Letter from Bishop 08 A Letter from BishopC. C.Andrew AndrewDoyle Doyle 08 11 Updates Updatesfrom fromOur OurBishops Bishops 11 18 18 21 21
Rounding Roundingthe theGlobe Globe Empowering EmpoweringMissional MissionalCommunities Communities
26 26 32 32
Discerning Discerningand andLeaning Leaninginto intothe theCall Callto toMinistry Ministry Planting PlantingChurches Churches
36 36 40 40
Campus CampusMinistry MinistryHappenings Happenings News and Transitions News and Transitionsin inLeadership Leadership
44 44 54 54
News Newsin inMinistry Ministry Racial Justice Racial JusticeInitiative InitiativeUpdate Update
64 Ensuring 64 EnsuringAccess Accessto toHealthcare HealthcareDuring DuringCOVID-19 COVID-19 69 Hispanic Congregations 69 Hispanic Congregations 73 73 Feeding Feedingthe theHungry Hungryand andServing ServingOur OurNeighbors Neighbors 85 In the Midst of Overcoming Disaster 85 In the Midst of Overcoming Disaster 90 90 Embracing EmbracingOur OurSeniors Seniors 94 94 Guiding GuidingOur OurYouth Youth 98 98 Our OurSchools Schools 104 Milestones 104 Milestones 109 109 In InMemoriam Memoriam 112 Working 112 Workingfor forYou You 114 114 Small SmallChurch ChurchNetwork Networkand andOnline OnlineCommunity Community 116 116
Institutions Institutionsand andPrograms Programs
So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Leading with a Purpose 6 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
ff W. Fisher shop Suff ragan e Rt. Rev. Fisher was elected Bishop ffragan in 2012 by the clergy and urch representatives of the Diocese Texas. As Bishop Suffragan, in dition to other significant duties d responsibilities, he helps Bishop oyle perform confirmations and ists churches in the Eastern and orth Eastern Regions of the Diocese.
hristine M. Faulstich anon to the Ordinary e Rev. Canon Faulstich was pointed Canon to the Ordinary 2019. She mentors rectors, clergy w to the Diocese, bi-vocational iests, transitional deacons, storal leaders, pastoral leader terns, and interim clergy.
C. Andrew Doyle Bishop Diocesan C. Andrew Doyle The Rt. Rev. Doyle became ninth Bishop Bishopthe Diocesan Rt. Rev.ofDoyle became of Texas in 2009. The The ministry a bishop is tothe ninth Bishop of Texas in 2009. The ministry of a bishop is to represent represent Christ and his Church, particularly Christ and his Church, particularly as apostle, chief as apostle, chief priestpriest and pastor of aofDiocese; and pastor a diocese; to guard the faith, unity anddiscipline discipline of of the to guard the faith, unity and thewhole church; to proclaim the word of God. whole church; to proclaim the word of God. Kathryn M. Ryan Kathryn M. Ryan Bishop Suffragan Bishop Suff ragan The Rt. Rev. Fisher was elected The Rt. Rev. Ryan was elected BishopThe Rt. Rev. Ryan was elected Bishop Suffragan in 2012 by the Suffragan in 2019 by the clergy and Bishop Suffragan in 2019 by the clergy and church representatives church representatives of the Dioceseclergy and church representatives of the Diocese of Texas. As Bishop of the Diocese of Texas. As of Texas. As Bishop Suffragan, in Suffragan, in addition to other Bishop Suffragan, in addition addition to other significant duties to other significant duties and significant duties and responsibilities, and responsibilities, she helps Bishop responsibilities, she helps Bishop he helps Bishop Doyle perform confirmations and assists churches Doyle perform confirmations and Doyle perform confirmations and in the Eastern and Northeastern assists churches in the Western assists churches in the Western Regions of the Diocese. Region of the Diocese. Region of the Diocese.
Jeff W. Fisher
Hector F. Monterroso Philip M. Duncan BishopBishop Assistant Assisting Rev. Monterroso TheThe Rt. Rt. Rev. Duncan servedwas as Bishop of Costa Rica for 14 years bishop of the Diocese of the Central before he came to the Diocese of Gulf Coast (2001-2015). Following Texas in 2017 to help Bishop Doyle. his Monterroso retirement, visits he and wife Kathy 45his congregations moved to the Austin be closerinto during year,toprimarily the family and heRegion periodically assists Southern of the Diocese of visitations Texas. He also to grow with and works confirmations multicultural for athe Diocese ofpresence Texas. in our
Phillip Duncan Assisting Bishop The Rt. Rev. Duncan served as Bishop of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast (2001-2015). Following his retirement, he and his wife, Kathy, moved to Austin to be closer to family, and he periodically assists with visitations and confirmations for the Diocese of Texas.
Christine M. Faulstich Canon to the Ordinary Russ Jr.Faulstich was The Oechsel, Rev. Canon Archdeacon appointed Canon to the Ordinary in Th e Rev. Oechsel was appointed 2019. She mentors rectors, clergy Archdeacon in 2009.bi-vocational An new to the diocese, priests, transitional deacons, Archdeacon is a clergy person pastoral leaders, pastoral appointed by the bishop toleader provide interns, and interim clergy. administrative assistance and other leadership to congregations and church organizations in the diocese.
A larger geographical entity within the diocese is called a convocation. It is geographic and usually includes one metropolitan area with surrounding counties. Texas has ten convocations, the head of which, nominated by the bishop and elected by council, is called the "dean." The dean arranges meetings of the convocational clergy to provide fellowship, contiuing education, communication, moral support for clergy It and families and gather lay members to share ideas and projects. Deans are ex-officio hin theplanning dioceseand is called a convocation. is their geographic andtousually includes one members of the Executive Board of the Diocese. ding counties. Texas has ten convocations, the head of which, nominated by the bishop
he “dean.” The dean arranges meetings of the convocational clergy provide • Galveston, • SantoJacinto, The Rev. Jim Liberatore, St. Andrew’s, Pearland The fellowship, Rev. Gerry Sevick, Trinity, The Woodlands cation,• planning moral for clergy and their families to gather layMitch Tollett, St. Francis, Tyler • and Southeast, and The Rev. Keithsupport Giblin (retired) Northeast, The Rev. ects. Deans are ex-officio members of the Executive Board of the Diocese. • Northwest, The Rev. Aaron Zimmerman, St. Alban's, Waco • West Harris, The Rev. Josh Condon, Holy Spirit, Houston
• East Harris, The Rev. Victor Thomas, St. James’, Houston • Central, The Rev. Daryl Hay, St. Andrew’s, Bryan San Jacinto, The Rev. Gerry Sevick, Trinity, The Woodlands tore, St. Andrew’s, Pearland • Austin, The Rev. Bertie Pearson, Grace, Georgetown • Southwest, The Rev. Travis Smith, Holy Comforter, Angleton Northeast, The Rev. Mitch Tollett, St. Francis, Tyler n, St. Paul’s, Orange
mmerman, St. Alban's, Waco
omas, St. James’, Houston
West Harris, The Rev. Josh Condon, Holy Spirit, Houston Central, The Rev. Daryl Hay, St. Andrew’s, Bryan
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A Letter from Bishop C. Andrew Doyle IX Bishop of Texas
Dear Friends and People of the Diocese of Texas, We came to the end of 2021 accompanied by Omicron in the midst of a still raging pandemic. Yet, I could not be prouder of the Diocese of Texas and its response to those in need during such challenging times. You have been faithful, generous, and loving caregivers for the many suffering in our diocese and around the world. We supported our world mission partners. I hope you will read their amazing report. Additionally, we provided over $1 million to the Anglican Communion Lambeth Conference to ensure all bishops will be able to attend and $300 thousand in scholarship dollars to the Episcopal Church to make sure our own brother and sister bishops will be able to attend. We supported the Sudan with a gift to a local thriving and healthy diocese and contributed to global endeavors through Episcopal Relief and Development. In addition, we made contributions to nurture a new idea with Thistle Farms: A Global Shared Trade Initiative, provided mission dollars to Navajoland and Jerusalem, and supported earthquake and tornado relief efforts. We, of course, continued our giving to the Compass Rose Society to support the Anglican Consultative Council and the Archbishop’s office. We especially were attuned to needs in the last year and gave generously to ministries of health in dioceses as directed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and his office. Together with our foundations, we supported our institutions doing local mission work through service, specifically, El Buen Samaritano and St. Vincent’s House. Funding was provided for clinics, vaccines, and vaccine awareness across Texas through the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF). COVID-19 vaccination sites were created by Calvary, Richmond, the Great Outdoor Health Fair, the Plum Grove Church Plant, St. Vincent’s House, El Buen Samaritano, and so many others. We raised dollars to assist all parishes to survive COVID-19 shortfalls. All told, our ministries, great and small, impacted over 14% of the population that lives within our Diocese of Texas borders and had a profound impact outside those borders stretching all the way around the world.
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This, of course, does not even begin to touch on the amazing and miraculous work you are doing in your congregations. We are hopeful of measuring that in the future because we believe our impact is even greater. Some of this work is highlighted in the remarkable stories you have shared regarding efforts to provide food for the hungry. I am so proud of our bishops and of all the work of ministry that they have undertaken. Along with our clergy, we made it a priority to take care of one another so we could shepherd and lead our congregations during a most divisive time. Politics, COVID-19, and racism have created such turbulence that our clergy have had to pivot towards taking care of hurting communities disbursed by the virus itself. You answered the call. You, the people of the diocese, in a turbulent time, rolled up your sleeves and got going! Here are some examples you can read about in the following pages: Grace, Alvin, provided rental assistance and food; St. Mark’s, Beaumont, provided backpacks for the homeless; St. Joan of Arc, Pflugerville, helped with clothing distribution; the Central Convocation helped gather food, as did the Southwest Convocation, for local need; Christ Church, Nacogdoches, participated in the Red Wagon program; Houston Canterbury distributed care packages; Trinity, Marshall, provided local food assistance, while St. John the Divine, Houston, provided meals for people in Zambia. Other parochial ministries like St. Martin’s, Houston, Hope and Healing Center & Institute and St. David’s, Austin, Trinity Center saw more people and helped folks struggling amid a global pandemic. We worked to fund disaster relief in Kentucky and Louisiana. We assisted in Haiti. At home, Calvary, Richmond, provided hurricane storm assistance, as did St. Luke’s on the Lake, Austin. Mosaic in Action and St. Vincent’s House found themselves aiding homeowners after winter storm Uri, while your diocesan staff set to work to support our own congregations in need. We continued our work with youth and seniors while supporting our schools. All of which had to zig and zag to meet the developing needs due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, we supported our small congregations through our network. We planted a missional community for the Deaf; a small poetry community was formed called LOGOS; and our first Urban Monastery has taken root in Bryan/ College Station. We have planted churches, and we are growing our campus ministries! Our racial justice funds are at work! Do not miss the report of the good work our committee has undertaken in the last year. Wow! What a great group, and thanks to the leadership of this diocese, we are slowly beginning to make a difference in the narrative. We are not as diverse yet in representing the populations who live in Texas as we could be, but we are growing that diversity. We are embracing that diversity. We hold that diversity as a high measurable goal for our organization. We celebrate two wonderful hires, the Rev. Marcea Paul who joins us as my chief of staff and the Rev. Leslie Stewart who will oversee our church planting, college missions, and missional community efforts. At the same time, we said goodbye to a dear friend of the church, devoted priest and canon of this diocese, John Logan. He was a true gift to all those who worked with him. We are grateful for the time we were given with him and thank God for his ministry among us. We love him and may not see him any longer, but we know he rests with the saints in light and will rise in glory. Has it been a hard year? Yes. Have our lives been disrupted by discord? Yes. Have we suffered under the weight of communal responsibility for one another? Yes. Has the COVID-19 virus tested us? Yes. But as these challenges came, they met the body of Christ enlivened in the Diocese of Texas by the power of the Holy Spirit. As death came, it encountered heaven through the service, evangelism, and leadership of so many good Episcopalians in our diocese. Christ took the sting from death and gives us victory. In the time of COVID-19, you have removed death’s sting through the gifts you gave. There is no victory by this deadly disease for Christ has acted for those who have died, and we have acted in this world for the pilgrims who remain. Were we perfect? I wasn’t. I don’t think we were all the time. There were times each of us faltered. Some stumbled. Some fell. But we lifted each other up. We cared for and we reminded each other of the hope that is in us. We, together, have made it this far along the way. What have I learned? I don’t want to serve anywhere else but here, with this clergy, and with the people of this diocese. You are amazing! You are the miraculous expectation! I have also learned, that together, we can do good things when we share what we have. I am excited about the year ahead and our future together. 9 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
Updates from our Bishops 10 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
AN UPDATE FROM BISHOP RYAN The Rt. Rev. Kathryn M. Ryan Bishop Suffragan - West Region As we come to the end of 2021, I have learned once again the truth that the ministry of the Church endures regardless of the nature of the present challenges. I have been strengthened and inspired by the faithfulness and resilience of the congregations, people, and institutions of the Diocese of Texas this year and am privileged to serve Christ and you as bishop suffragan. Central to our work as your bishops are visitations and ordinations. I presided at the ordinations to the priesthood of Chris Weis and Elizabeth McManusDail (for North Carolina). Chris’ service was delayed by weather and Lizzie’s by COVID-19. Holy Comforter in Angleton and the Seminary of the Southwest (outdoors on the Mott) were gracious to host. In June, during Bishop Doyle’s sabbatical, I was privileged to preside at the ordinations to the diaconate of the 2021 class. Bishop Monterroso preached, gifting each new deacon with a soccer ball – a reminder to go out into the mission field in creative ways to bring others into the fellowship of the Church. I also ordained Santi Rodriguez to the diaconate for the Diocese of Virginia in a small service on St. David’s, Austin, outdoor labyrinth. Visitations in 2021 returned, for the most part, to in-person worship. To accommodate the dangers of COVID-19, several congregations gathered in creative outdoor spaces. St. James, La Grange, hosted a beautiful Confirmation at the Fayette County Fairgrounds amphitheater. At St. Christopher’s, Austin, I baptized and confirmed on the bluff, with the congregation enjoying one of the best views in the diocese. On a Saturday evening in December, the first Bishop’s visitation to Misión Episcopal de Waco, the Diocese’s new Latino Church Plant in Waco, held in the parish hall at St. Alban’s, Waco, included nine confirmations and 14 receptions, testimony to the dedicated leadership of the Rev. Oscar Huerta. The evening was a wonderful celebration of collaboration and mission! In all, I made 42 visitations, including nine that were fully remote. Most of the in-person visits included confirmations and/or receptions and reaffirmations of baptismal vows; a few included baptisms. Utilizing the technologies adopted during the height of social distancing, many services continued to be live streamed to include those unable to be physically present. I met with most vestries and bishops' committees on Zoom, hearing the hopes, concerns, plans, and challenges of leaders wondering whether and when absent members of the congregations would return, and how to move forward with creative ministries for regathering and incorporating learnings from COVID-tide. Many clergy and lay leaders expressed a renewed awareness of the difficulties inherent in engaging children and young people in the life of the parish, as well as the desire to draw them and their families into the gathered community. One other common theme were the challenges of building relationships and establishing collaborative habits between clergy and lay leaders when transitions had occurred during or just before the pandemic. I had the pleasure of celebrating several installations that had been delayed. At Good Shepherd, Austin, I installed the Rev. Channing Smith; at Trinity Episcopal School, Austin, the Headmaster, Jennifer Morgan; for Christ Church, Cedar Park, the Rev. Richard Pelkey; for St. Thomas, Rockdale, the Vicar, the Rev. Michele Bonner; for St. Mary’s, Bellville, the Rev. John Campbell; for St. John’s, Austin, the Rev. Minerva Camarena Skeith. My portfolio from Bishop Doyle for the diocese includes serving as executive for ministry, with oversight of the ordination process, post-ordination formation, and the Iona School for Ministry. The Commission on Ministry, led by Chair, the Rev. Francene Young, and supported by the Secretary for the COM, Ana Gonzales, is central to this work, and I am grateful for the faithful discernment of the members. The Committee for the Diaconate, led by the Rev. Jan Halstead following the Rev. Pat Richie, and the Examining Chaplains, led by the Rev. Patrick Hall, also handle essential aspects of the diocese’s work in shepherding aspirants, postulants, and candidates through the ordination process. 11 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Continued... To deepen understanding of the ordination process among diocesan clergy and laity, we offered webinars in English and in Spanish and held a Lunch and Learn at Clergy Conference. We also held two Discovery Retreats for those discerning lay or ordained ministry. In January 2021, we held a Vocations Conference, bringing the diocese’s students in the ordination process from seminaries and the Iona School together with the bishops, Commission of Ministry, Commission for Diaconate, Examining Chaplains, and Standing Committee for formation, relationship building, and interviews. Though our vision was for an in-person event at Camp Allen, we were very satisfied with the outcomes from the remote experience. This event took the place of multiple single and two-day meetings that had been spread out over the academic year. In total, 40 students, all preparing for ordination to the priesthood or the diaconate, participated in the remote gathering. Once ordained, both stipendiary and bivocational priests take part in formation designed to help build collegial relationships, provide continuing education, support development of priestly identity, and offer mentoring by senior clergy. The Curate Cohort and First Time in Charge for stipendiary clergy in curacies met in a combination of remote and Camp Allen gatherings, as did Beginning Well, two separate programs for bivocational priests and for priests new to the diocese. Each cohort provided significant relationships and encouragement to the participating clergy. Mentor-facilitators this year were: the Revs. Marcea Paul, Daryl Hay, Les Carpenter, Katie Wright, Trawin Malone, Angela Cortiñas, Terry Pierce, and John Johnson. Post-seminary formation is coordinated by my talented Executive Assistant, Haley Townsend. At Iona School for Ministry in June, the Rev. Mary Lenn Dixon and Mark Crawford, who had led Iona School ably as deans, retired. We celebrated their ministry at Iona School graduation in June at Camp Allen, an event made even richer by the inclusion of much of the class of 2020, whose graduation had been remote. The Rev. Francene Young, dean of administration and the Rev. Dr. Andrew Benko, dean of formation, were called and began their work over the summer. The Iona School was able to meet in person throughout the fall, continuing its excellent work of forming leaders for ministry as ordained and lay leaders. I have been grateful for the opportunity to work with these deans and with the Iona School students. The deans are assisted by Chaplain, the Rev. Carol Petty, and the faculty and instructors, as well as Iona Administrator, Laura McAlister. It was a special privilege this year to teach the senior class course on the theology of the Church and Sacraments in December. I serve as chair of the boards of three diocesan institutions, managing that by relying extensively on three dedicated and skillful executive chairs. At Seminary of the Southwest, Clarke Heidrick serves as Executive Chair and the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Kittredge serves as dean and president. In 2021, the seminary welcomed new members to the faculty, making this the most diverse faculty in the seminary’s history; the board and administration completed construction documents for the library renovation project and paid off the longterm debt; and the seminary enrolled one of the largest and most diverse incoming classes ever. For El Buen Samaritano, Vickie Blumhagen completed her term as executive chair. Vickie’s service carried El Buen between executive directors and bishop suffragans. Gustavo Hernandez took on the role of executive chair and helped the board to articulate goals consistent with the strategic plan on which the board and administration have been working since the spring of 2020. Dr. Rosamaria Murillo, the executive director, continued to lead El Buen ably through the pandemic and to strengthen El Buen’s standing as the leader in service to Austin’s Latino community. Chris Oddo continued his service as executive chair at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin, where Chris Gunnin serves as headmaster. The boarding and day school enrolled nearly 700 students this year, including about 170 boarders. The school’s stability and excellence are a testimony to the strength of the board and administration.
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Continued... In serving each of these diocesan institutions, I witness and contribute to the diocese’s impact on the broader community and the world. Each inspires generosity from those beyond the membership of our congregations and members. Each nurtures persons to become leaders who impact the world for good. Each testifies to the diocese’s commitment to a ministry of reconciliation through service. By the thoughtful stewardship of these institutions, the diocese continues to make the love of Christ real in the lives of our neighbors. For the broader church, I serve on the planning committee for the House of Bishops. All of our gatherings in 2021 became remote gatherings, but the committee was able to gather in Baltimore for our annual planning meeting with the Presiding Bishop. It was the first time in my two and a half years of service that I was able to meet with them. In addition to the large gatherings of the House, I was invited to present, along with Halley Ortiz, the Rev. Nandra Perry, and Bishop Monterroso, from the Diocese of Texas, as part of a College for Bishops workshop on Bivocational Ministry. I was honored to present on the topic of formation as one of the keynote speakers for the Hispanic Lay Leadership Conference in June. I was moved by the opportunity to hear and learn from fellow Episcopalians and Anglicans in Nicaragua, Brazil, Venezuela, and the Diocese of Texas, and am grateful to Bishop Monterroso and the Commission on Hispanic Ministry for their invitation. I continue to work on my Spanish to better communicate with our Spanish speaking members and clergy and to empathize with those who must communicate day after day in a language they “no hablan muy bien.” In October, I was honored to preach at the Convention of the Diocese of Northwest Texas at the invitation of my Seminary of the Southwest classmate, Bishop Scott Mayer. Tim and I enjoyed our first gathering with the bishops of Province VII and their spouses, held at Camp Capers in the hill country. I finished my work chairing the Church and School Relations Committee of the Sewanee Board of Trustees with my election in October as a regent for Sewanee. My first meeting in December coincided with the resignation of Vice Chancellor Reuben Brigety and initial conversations about the interim period and the search for his successor. What a privilege it is to serve with Bishops Doyle, Fisher, and Monterroso, from whom I am learning so much, and with the other members of the executive team, the diocesan staff, and the people and clergy of the diocese. Tim and I give thanks that God has called us to serve the Diocese of Texas!
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AN UPDATE FROM BISHOP FISHER The Rt. Rev. Jeff Fisher Bishop Suffragan - East and Northeast Regions Recently on Twitter, I saw someone refer to the COVID-19 pandemic as “The Great Reveal.” These last two years have revealed much about our common life—as a nation, as a Church, and as disciples of Jesus Christ. During 2020, my visitation schedule with our congregations was abruptly interrupted. During that year, I spent most Sunday mornings at home watching live-streamed worship, just like many others. In January of 2021, however, I began a regular visitation schedule again. During the year of 2021, I resumed in-person worship with you all— celebrating the Eucharist, preaching, teaching, conducting parish forums, meeting with vestries, and witnessing parishioners “come back” in a variety of ways, all while following local protocols. During “The Great Reveal,” it has been revealed to me, in new ways, the importance of an incarnational presence with you, the parishioners, in our congregations. During these challenging times of isolation, I have had a superb team of Chaplains to the Retired Clergy assist me in providing pastoral care to our retired clergy and their spouses. This team of faithful chaplains (along with the convocations they serve) includes: the Rev. Janne Osborne (Austin, Northwest, Central convocations); Pam and the Rev. John Bentley (West Harris and East Harris convocations); the Rev. Nan and Sam Doerr (Galveston and Southwest convocations); the Rev. Nancy and the Rev. Bill DeForest (San Jacinto and Southeast convocations); and the Rev. Cliff Rucker (Northeast convocation). As Executive for Pastoral Ministries in our diocese, I help to coordinate the responses to the varied pastoral concerns of our clergy and their families. This includes surgeries, illnesses, personal hardships, praise for recoveries, and even the joyous news of a new baby. Episcopal Church Women: In accordance with the bylaws of their board, in January of 2021, the diocesan ECW board resolved to dissolve and to prepare a plan of dissolution. Their plan of dissolution was approved by Bishop Doyle, and it was then ratified by more than two-thirds of the heads of congregations, per the requirement of the bylaws of the board. It should be emphasized that the vibrant ministry of local ECW chapters in our congregations is not affected by this decision; it is just that oversight by a diocesan level board is no longer needed. Daughters of the King: I serve as the liaison to the diocesan Daughters of the King (DOK). DOK is an order for women who devote themselves to evangelism, service, and prayer. Episcopal Seniors Foundation (ESF): I serve as chair of the board of ESF, and Pam Nolting serves as president. During 2021, even with little in the way of solicitation of grant requests, we still made a handful of grants to congregations and ministries who share our goal of fostering healthy living for seniors. ESF renewed the multi-year grant to Camp Allen. Small Church Network: Gatherings in 2020 were moved to on-line offerings, with the exception of an in-person gathering held at Camp Allen in April of 2021. The Small Church Network is for laity and clergy in congregations with an average Sunday attendance of 50 or fewer. In 2022, we are making a renewed effort for spring and fall gatherings at Camp Allen, hopefully focusing on missional formation. Please put Sunday evening through Monday noon, March 27-28 and September 25-26 on your calendars!
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Continued... World Mission Board: In our diocese, the World Mission Board coordinates our global companion relationships with three dioceses: North Dakota, Costa Rica, and Southern Malawi. The board also oversees grants to worthy ministries around the world. It is coordinated by a very diverse and fun group of people and is led by the Rev. Meredith Crigler and me. During 2021, we did not skip a beat in our global relationship building, including the awarding of grants. Diocesan Liturgical Commission: At Bishop Doyle’s request, I chair this commission which includes priests and lay persons, including church musicians. During 2019, the commission worked on drafting an alternative to the liturgy in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer for the Celebration of a New Ministry (Installation of a New Rector). In 2021, the new rectors and the bishops in our diocese were finally able to utilize these new trial liturgies. We will gather feedback on them in 2022. In the fall of 2021, a handful of our congregations tested these trial liturgies in their own contexts, so that we may gain feedback on them in the spring. My hope is that these more inclusive language liturgies, with Bishop Doyle’s approval, will become more widely available across the diocese and also the wider Church. All Saints’ Episcopal School, Tyler: I serve on the board of All Saints’ Episcopal School in Tyler. In May of 2021, it was so refreshing to be back in the school chapel for an in-person baccalaureate service for the graduating seniors, and I was honored to be asked to preach for that occasion. The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church: Both of our 2021 (spring and fall) meetings were conducted virtually. There are now many newer bishops, whom I have never even met. We miss each other! We are hopeful that the House of Bishops can gather in-person in March of 2022 at Camp Allen. The Lambeth Conference: Originally scheduled to meet at Canterbury in the summer of 2020, the Lambeth Conference was also rescheduled to the summer of 2022. The Lambeth Conference is for bishops and spouses from across the worldwide Anglican Communion and only happens roughly every 10 years. In preparation for Lambeth, in the fall of 2021, bishops from all over the world were invited to participate in a monthly Bible study on Zoom Program, Budget, and Finance (PB&F): I serve on the PB&F Committee of The Episcopal Church (TEC), where I was elected Vice-Chair. This committee will work on a budget for the wider Church for 2023-24 to be presented to General Convention in July of 2022. In February of 2022, we will have our first in-person meeting in Baltimore to start digging into the nuts and bolts of the 2023-24 budget. It has been revealed to me, in an even greater way this year, how fortunate I am to work on a team of bishops. In most dioceses, the bishop is solo, without a colleague to share in the episcopate. Yet, I have the privilege to work on a team with Bishop Doyle, Bishop Ryan, and Bishop Monterroso. The four of us meet by Zoom every other Tuesday morning. It is wonderful to share in ministry with them. While COVID-19 has brought death, sadness, and so much heartache, in many ways, I also believe that this pandemic has been “The Great Reveal.” Much has been revealed, and things have changed about how we interact with our neighbors and about the ways in which we do ministry. Yet, it has also been revealed that there are things that are unchangeable: love of God, love of neighbor, and the fact that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday and today and forever. For in the Bible, Isaiah 40:5 proclaims: “Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed…”
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AN UPDATE FROM BISHOP MONTERROSO The Rt. Rev. Héctor Monterroso Bishop Assistant - Southern Region The year 2021 brought new challenges for our churches, and each found the appropriate way to address them. I learned about the creativity and adaptability our churches had been using to stay active and continue worship and celebration in various forms and places, like gathering in parking lots, community gardens, virtually, and in church buildings. The fruitful work of the ministry of the Diocese of Texas manifests itself in many ways. During conversations with our church leaders, I sometimes hear concerns that their actions are too small to solve the critical issues that plague us. However, the truth is that some small leaps of faith turn into life-changing events when practiced at the community level. For instance, many members of our churches distribute food and water; others donate blood, some others visit the sick in person and virtually. All these actions show God's love through service. Ordinations The beginning of the year always brings the good news of the ordination of new priests. I had the privilege of ordaining to the priesthood the Rev. Jacob Breeze (Holy Family, Houston), the Rev. Marcia Sadberry (St. Luke the Evangelist, Houston), the Rev. Luz Cabrera Montes (Trinity, Houston), Jeff Bohanski (St. Andrew’s, Houston), and the Rev. Joseph Yoo (St. Andrews, Pearland). Celebration of a New Ministry At the same time, I was able to preside at the celebration of the new ministry of the Rev. Jonathan Totty as rector of Grace, Galveston, and the Rev. Jimmy Abbott, rector of Trinity, Galveston. St. Vincent’s House Part of my responsibilities includes serving on the Board of Directors of St. Vincent’s House, one of our diocesan institutions in Galveston. In 2021, St. Vincent’s House directly reached and served 36,000 people and distributed 400,000 pounds of food. In addition to other health services, St. Vincent’s contributed significantly to the vaccination process. St. Vincent’s is now working on the strategic planning of its facilities to envision the future infrastructure needed to support the demand for services and the growth of its ministry. This is a very understaffed program that greatly multiplies what they receive to help transform many people's lives. Task Force on Immigration For the last several months, we have engaged in the process of listening and learning about our ministry to our immigrant brothers and sisters, with still more to be done. We are delighted to share that several of our Houston congregations have worked with an interfaith group to support rapid response for short-term stays as people transition to permanent homes with family or sponsors. The group is called Houston Interfaith Rapid Response, and it was convened through the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative. On the other hand, Austin rapid response teams are currently recruiting and hoping to begin serving with Casa Marianela in November. The Immigration Task Force is led by Halley Ortiz, a St. David’s, Austin parishioner. Other task force members include Rosa Maria Murillo, the Rev. Simon Bautista, the Rev. Jim Harrington, and Paula Stevens. Disaster Recovery Outreach Program During the power and water outages due to winter storm Uri in February of 2021, many of our churches suffered damage from broken pipes, and although, insurance covered part of the damages, additional resources were needed to support them. Through the efforts of the Rev. Stacy Stringer and diocesan staff, Episcopal Relief & Development provided us with a donation of $250,000! These resources were
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Continued... used to help affected churches. Some of the churches and institutions that received support include St. James, Austin; SoCo in Austin; St. Vincent's House, Galveston; and St. Alban's, Houston. The Commission on Hispanic Ministries Inspiring lay leaders to follow a path of formation has been the goal of the Hispanic Ministry Commission for the past few years. As the Diocese of Texas continues to grow, so does the need for more committed and well-trained lay leadership. Likewise, there is also the need for more Spanishspeaking and bilingual clergy. The Commission has focused on this effort with various initiatives and events. 1. The Hispanic Lay Leadership Conference The 2021 Hispanic Lay Leadership Conference was held on June, 2021. The conference was held virtually, allowing the participation of interested lay leaders in the Diocese of Texas and opening the opportunity for participants from all over Latin America. Strengthening our lay leadership, planting new Hispanic churches, involving more Latinos in decision-making groups in the diocese, and attracting new people to ordained ministry are all part of the dream we share by hosting this conference. 2. Advocacy Engaged in the immigration effort, the Commission on Hispanic Ministries has focused on different projects that support education and information in other geographic areas of the diocese. Hispanic churches have come together to lead teaching and training programs for asylum seekers or those in the process of requesting their documents and regularizing their immigration status in the country. This promotion process is taking place in both Houston and Austin. The Multiethnic Strategy One of the goals of the Executive Team has been elaborating a multi-ethnic strategy for the diocese. This strategy will allow us to take advantage of and incorporate cultural diversity, ethnic richness, diverse voices and languages, and the multinational representation of people in the Diocese of Texas. This strategy can also be used as an evangelistic tool, an offering to people who are looking for an inclusive community. Eight Strategic Actions to be Achieved: 1. More balanced representation of people of color in some decision-making groups; 2. Emergence of leadership to help promote and empower minority groups in the diocese; 3. Amplification missionary strategy to help determine the places, populations, and the appropriate formation for missionaries to do their work better at the missionary level; 4. Creation of discernment and training materials for those who aspire to Holy Orders in different languages; 5. Intentionally crafting bilingual and multilingual Eucharistic celebrations for diocesan-wide events. 6. Encouraging learning relationships between churches of different ethnicities and cultures with an expectation of mutual learning; 7. Intentional pulpit swaps to allow the churches to meet, listen to, and interact with people of other cultures in the same diocese; and 8. Grant opportunities for immersion language learning to encourage clergy and laity to learn another language, while encouraging congregations to use sections of the liturgy in another language on special occasions. National Church and Anglican Communion Outside of the Diocese of Texas, I participate in the College of Bishops as coach to Bishop Daniel Genovesi, Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Uruguay, the Anglican Church of South America. Additionally, I served as one of the chaplains for the Clergy Conference of the Diocese of West Texas. I was also elected to the Episcopal Relief & Development Board of Directors. In 2021, I was named a member of the World Mission Committee of the General Convention. And lastly, I function as director of the CREDO program for Latin America. This program created by the Church Pension Group is directed to revitalize the vocation, physical and spiritual health of the clergy.
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I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. John 13:34
Rounding the Globe 18 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
World Mission BOARD HIGHLIGHTS Strengthening Bonds with Companion Dioceses, While Creating New Ties with Other Entities Partnerships in the Episcopal Church The World Mission Board had many notable accomplishments in 2021. While their participation in the Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN) continued to expand, their delegation at the conference also doubled. During the conference, World Mission Board Chair, the Rev. Meredith Crigler, was elected board member of GEMN. In 2021, the World Mission Board also collaborated with The Episcopal Church of the Global Partnerships, the Global Episcopal Mission Network, and the Standing Commission on World Mission to publish the Global Mission Digital Toolkit – a resource for individuals, small groups, congregations, dioceses, and our partners across the Anglican World Mission Board meets in Costa Rica pre-pandemic. Communion to use. The lens of the toolkit focuses on the Way of Love: Practices for a Jesus-centered Life and the Standing Commission’s Guiding Principles for World Mission. Partnership with Our Companion Diocese-Costa Rica During the summer, over 40 youth from Costa Rica and Texas came together for a three-day encuentro (an online pilgrimage), led by youth leaders from both dioceses. The funds for this event were designated for education for theological ministry as the Diocese of Costa Rica continues to develop leadership for the training of its future clergy. Partnership with Our Companion Diocese-Southern Malawi 2021 has been a difficult year for the Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi (ADSM) as COVID-19 created many constraints. As COVID-19 caused the government to prohibit large gatherings, the ability of the parishes to collect cash to submit to the diocese was greatly diminished. ADSM collected less than 40% of the funds necessary to meet payroll and benefits, thus causing payments of salaries, benefits, and other expenses to be delayed until cash was available. With that in effect, the World Mission Board contributed $14,000 to assist ADSM in meeting its fiscal commitments. In 2021, ADSM completed the building of a maternity clinic in the rural area of Mindanti. The clinic was a 15-year construction project.
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Partnership with Our Companion Diocese-North Dakota The World Mission Board supported the Diocese of North Dakota with prayer and conversation as they were going through a time of transition while welcoming a new bishop, diocesan missioner, and administrator. They look forward to future collaborations. Partnership Through Grants In 2021, the World Mission Board continued to financially support strategic initiatives. One such initiative is the Diocese of Costa Rica’s Youth Initiative. They also supported multiple entities working to address key United Nations Sustainable Development goals, including Warm Hearth International, the Anglican Diocese of Burundi, the Episcopal Church of Navajoland, and the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. To learn more about the World Mission Board, please visit: www.epicenter.org/get-involved/ world-mission/
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Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 1 Peter 4:10
Empowering Missional Communities 21 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Deaf Ministry Reaches Local and International Individuals with the Aim of Empowering Communities A one-of-a-kind missional community is gaining momentum in the Diocese of Texas. St. Gallaudet Episcopal Deaf Prayer Group (SGEPG), the first Episcopal missional community for the Deaf, has been ministering to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community of Houston and their hearing families. The group was founded in August 2020, by Amy Waltz-Reasonover with support from Trinity, Baytown. On August 28, 2021, St. Gallaudet Episcopal Deaf Prayer Group celebrated its one-year anniversary of ministry with a feast day celebration for its patron saint, Thomas Gallaudet and his comrade in ministry, Henry Winter Syle—the first Episcopal Missioner of the Deaf.
Amy Waltz-Reasonover leads an online meet with memers of the St. Gallaudet Episcopal Deaf Prayer Group.
The group has paired with voice interpreters, hearing clergy, and laypeople to offer prayers, Compline, hymns, and worship in American Sign Language (ASL) with English voicing. The group currently has nearly 100 members—both hearing and deaf. The mission of SGEPG is to offer worship to Deaf Episcopalians as well as to others in the Deaf community in Houston. SGEPG is currently the only deaf ministry serving the Diocese of Texas and has members from as far away as Thailand who participate regularly. The group is, in part, supported by Houston’s Canterbury Ministries, which provided a student interpreter for the voicing of bi-weekly Compline. “Following the Anglican tradition of making worship available in one’s own language, it is the vision of SGEPG that Deaf individuals can worship together with their hearing families without the need of an interpreter and receive sacrament in American Sign Language,” said Waltz-Reasonover. SGEPG welcomes anyone who is curious about deaf worship to come experience ministry in ASL. They also welcome anyone with a proficiency in ASL and who would like to contribute as voice interpreters or in the signing of prayers, hymns, and creeds. To find weekly ministry offerings, visit Facebook and search by the hashtag #deafprayer or by the group’s name.
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LOGOS Poetry Collective Gains Momentum, Amplifies the Work of Minority Poets Since launching in 2019 as a missional community curated by the Rev. Dr. Travis Helms, LOGOS Poetry Collective has continually sought ways to amplify its mission of “evoking transcendence through poetry, ritual, and conversation.” After two years hosting its monthly, liturgicallyinflected reading series in-person at Lazarus Brewing Co. in East Austin (in large part due to support from an EDOT Strategic Mission Grant), LOGOS began partnering with like-souled project EcoTheo Review, an online and print journal committed to “enlivening conversations and commitments around ecology, spirituality and art.” The Rev. Jason Myers, curate of Holy Family, Houston, is a collaborative editor.
Poet presents her work in front of listeners.
Under the constraints of COVIDtide, the two friends began translating LOGOS’ format, which maps elements of the Eucharistic liturgy onto the format of a poetry reading, from analog to digital. What began as a matter of necessity, quickly blossomed into an opportunity to introduce more and more communities to LOGOS’ unique way of gathering and engaged participations with six Pulitzer Prize-winners, as well as former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove. Online gatherings average 60-120 participants. In 2021, the projects merged to create a new canopy organization: EcoTheo Collective, a registered nonprofit with a mission to “celebrate wonder.” The Collective hosted the first annual Wonder in Wyoming Festival this summer, which brought seven renowned poets to the campus of St. John’s, Jackson, WY. In an effort to live into its commitment to justice, ETC established the inaugural Starshine and Clay Fellowship in April, a collaboration with Cave Canem which aims to support and amplify the work and careers of four emerging Black poets. In 2022, ETC will also begin administering the Lorca Prize for Latinx poets. To learn more about all that EcoTheo is up to, please visit ecotheo.org.
The Rev. Dr. Travis Helms at Wonder in Wyoming Festival
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Middleway Urban Monastery, A Place for the Spiritual but Not Religious
The Library Circle is gathered to work at cataloging more than 1,600 books on spirituality that soon will be offered as a lending library for visitors.
In 2019, a Pew Research Institute study on religion in America opened the eyes of an ecumenical group of about 25 spiritual directors in the Bryan-College Station area. The study revealed that more than 100 million Americans reported that they do not feel a connection with a religion, yet at the same time, the majority of this population also reported believing in God or praying regularly. They just do not want “church.” Sometimes these people are referred to as “spiritual but not religious,” and sometimes they are called the “nones and dones,” because they either have no church or they are done with church. Some of the spiritual directors also dug into the county-by-county data and found that the religiously unaffiliated in Brazos County account for about 135,000 people—more than half the county's population. Those kinds of statistics are similar throughout most counties or areas in the nation, which accounts for more than 100 million religiously unaffiliated people. Most think of Bryan-College Station as a big church town, but a look around on Sunday mornings will point to a lot of neighbors, perhaps family members, who are not getting up and going to
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church. That was happening prior to the pandemic and might even be more so in post-vaccination time. With that in mind, a seed fell on fertile ground. Some of the local spiritual directors put their idea of a ministry for people who are “spiritual but not religious” and formed Middleway Urban Monastery in 2020. Middleway was chosen as its name because it comes from the ancient term “via media,” which basically means “by way Students lead opening worship in around the altar area in Middleway's of the middle” or “everything in main room under a cross main from a whiskey barrel and in chairs moderation,” and it had been donated to the monastery by Holy Innocents in Madisonville. known in most cultures since ancient times. The Anglican church was the first to use the term for religious purposes when it formed during the Reformation. So “via media” was modernized as Middleway. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Middleway began virtually in June 2020 with a Facebook group offering various prayer types and styles supplemented by a website and Zoom events. A weekly newsletter quickly grew to 100 subscribers. The new physical place is a quiet space to explore God on one’s own time, with a library, an art area, outdoor space, prayer spaces, a worship area, spiritual direction rooms, and classrooms where retreats and spiritual formation can be led. FIND - School for Spiritual Direction and Formation – is also housed there. In April 2021, Middleway Urban Monastery received a $150,000, three-year Strategic Mission Grant and opened the doors on a leased facility in October. Ultimately, the goal for the center is to become a non-profit and to own their own facility. It is 100 percent volunteer-operated. On October 16, 2021, Middleway Urban Monastery had its first gathering with FIND students and faculty. The center officially opened on November 2 and was blessed on November 6, 2021. More information can be found at www.middlewayurbanmonastery.org
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Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. Psalm 50:14-15
d n a g n i n r e c s i D leaning into the C all to Ministry
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Iona Deans Installed
Pictured from left to right: The Rev. Carol Petty, Bishop Suffragan Kai Ryan, the Rev. Francene Young, and the Rev. Andrew Benko.
Two new deans of the Iona School for Ministry were installed Saturday, September 11, 2021 at Camp Allen by the Rt. Rev. Kathryn M. Ryan. The Rev. Francene Young and the Rev. Andrew Benko, Ph.D., are the new appointed deans. Young was called to be dean of administration and Benko, dean of formation. Previously, Young was rector of St. Luke the Evangelist, Houston. She also worked as the diocesan transition minister and chaired the Commission on Ministry. Benko, who holds a Ph.D. in New Testament studies, has centered his ministry around teaching theology and has also been active in parish, cathedral, and campus ministries. The diocese made the announcement of this transition on June 1, 2021.
Iona School for Ministry Congratulates the Class of '21
2021 Iona School Graduation at Camp Allen.
The Iona School for Ministry held their 2021 graduation Saturday, June 13, 2021 at Camp Allen. The graduates were Jack Karn from the Diocese of Vermont, Lynn Osgood from the Diocese of Texas, and Paul White from the Diocese of Western Louisiana. Jack Karn graduated from the deacon track and both Osgood and White graduated from the priest track. Graduates are serving in the Diocese of Texas and Western Louisiana. 27 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Eight Deacons Ordained at Christ Church Cathedral
Bishop Suffragan Kai Ryan and the eight ordinands.
On Saturday, June 26, 2021, Suffragan Bishop Kathryn M. Ryan ordained eight deacons: Larry Adams-Thompson, Christine Elridge Brunson, Ryan Ashlea Hawthorne, Joel C. McAlister, Jason Phillip Myers, Beth Anne Nelson, Lynn A. K. Osgood, and Jack Mann Karn. The ordination took place at Christ Church Cathedral. One of the ordinands, Ryan Hawthorne, is one of the two inaugural Pauli Murray Scholarship recipients. The scholarship, named after the trailblazing Episcopal priest, is meant to support seminarians of color attending Seminary of the Southwest. Hawthorne pursued a diploma in Anglican Studies. "I am overjoyed to be a newly ordained deacon in the Diocese of Texas, and I am thankful to have been an inaugural recipient of the Texas Paul Murray Scholarship. I think of Pauli as a kind of patron saint, her dedication to the Church as a home and voice of justice, inclusion, truthtelling, and hope shape my own theology and hopes for ministry. I look forward to curacy at Palmer Memorial where I hope to continue a ministry of justice and love," said Hawthorne. Jack Karn, who was also ordained and is following a deacon track, is looking forward to continuing his work of inspiring young people to follow Jesus as a youth minister, preaching the Gospel, and furthering peace and reconciliation among Israelis and Palestinians with Jerusalem Peacebuilders. Now that the pandemic is waning, Karn is also excited to get back involved in prison ministry and encourage others to serve Christ in the needy and forgotten areas of our world. “Being ordained as a vocational deacon feels amazing! This is the culmination of a five-year journey of discernment, faith, and service. It was deeply moving for me to receive Holy Orders alongside seven other men and women whose unique spiritual paths all came together at ordination,” said Karn. The ordination service concluded as each of the new deacons was vested by family members and received a Bible as a sign of his or her authority to proclaim God’s word. 28 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
SCENES FROM 2021 DEACONS’ ORDINATION
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Seven Spiritual Directors Commissioned
Shown are: (front row) Joan Etter of College Station, Diane Norman of Bryan, DJ Olsson of Austin, Susan Joiner of Austin. (back row) Kathleen Phillips, director of FIND, the Rev. Rich Nelson of College Station, the Rev. Jim Reiter of Bryan, Dianna Berg of La Grange, and the Rt. Rev. Kathryn Ryan, who officiated.
The Rt. Rev. Kathryn Ryan, bishop suffragan of the western region of the Diocese of Texas, commissioned seven people as spiritual directors in June 2021. Among the graduates were the Rev. Rich Nelson, college missioner at Texas A&M and Blinn College, and the Rev. Jim Reiter, who is a retired Methodist minister. Joan Etter graduated on the spiritual formation track. The graduation ceremony took place at Camp Allen. FIND School for Spirituality Direction and Formation is a program for both clergy and lay people, and it provides an affordable school for spiritual direction and formation.
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DISCOVERY RETREAT 2022 JUNE 3-5 | SEPT 16-18
God has graced us with many gifts. Do you know what they are? How are you using yours? Discernment occurs in community. Join us in Discovery Retreat to help discern your calls. You are encouraged to contact the Chair of the Commission on Ministry, The Rev. Francene Young, or Ana Gonzales May in the Commission on Ministry Office at 512.478.0580; 800.947.0580 to ask any questions.
The Discovery series is a wonderful weekend opportunity to begin the work of discerning one's call to serve God in His church, community, and the world. Open to all in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Participation is mandatory for those discerning a call to ordained ministry (deacon or priest) in the Diocese of Texas. Participation in the retreat is highly recommended for those discerning a call to ministries as a Lay Leader.
Pray 31 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14
Planting Churches 32 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Clergy Accepts Call to Plant New Congregation to Serve the AAPI Community The Bishop of Texas, the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle, has called the Rev. Isaias Ginson to plant a new congregation to serve the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in the Gulf Coast region. Ginson, a graduate of Seminary of the Southwest, was ordained in the Diocese of Texas in 2010 and subsequently served as curate at Good Shepherd, Friendswood and St. Stephen’s, Houston. “I am looking forward to faithfully serving and reaching out to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community with renewed confidence in today's changing new world,” said Ginson. Ginson was born in the Philippines, obtained both his The Rev. Isaias Ginson bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English and Philosophy from the University of St. La Salle and another master’s degree in Human Kinetics from the University of the Philippines. He served as professor at both universities for more than a decade before he and his wife, Christie, immigrated to the United States in 2002. In his spare time, Isaias practices qi gong, tai chi, and Filipino martial arts. He started his new role as church planter on October 1, 2021.
Church Plant Welcomes Bishop and Members to Their New Worship Space The Episcopal Diocese of Texas continues to amplify its mission. This time around, they did so by consecrating a new church plant—St. Clare’s in Tyler. The Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher, bishop suffragan of the east region of the diocese, consecrated the new church on Sunday, May 1, 2021. In addition to the consecration, Fisher also blessed the altar, baptized and confirmed 13 new members. "It was incredible," said the bishop suffragan. "I think it really just highlights that mission is going strong in the Diocese of Texas." 33 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Church Plant Celebrates Creative Gifts of Musicians and Artists In June 2021, the Rev. William “Bill” Miller accepted the call of vicar at St. Cecilia’s, Round Top Church Plant. Miller joined us here in the Diocese of Texas from the Diocese of Western Louisiana. The relatively new spiritual community meets at the Haw Creek Chapel in Henkel Square in the heart of Round Top. Named for Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians, St. Cecilia’s Church Plant celebrates the creative gifts of all musicians and artists.
The Rev. William “Bill” Miller and members of St. Cecilia’s Church Plant outside of Haw Creek Chapel in Henkel Square.
Church Plant Extends a Helping Hand to Hundreds of Families Plum Grove Church Plant is putting themselves on the map. The new church plant teamed up with Liberty County and the Texas Department of State Health Services to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, over 200 boxes of food, and clothing items to families in need on Thursday, April 29, 2021. “The ministry has taken me to different cities and countries, always with the same vision and call to share the good news to all people,” said Church Planter William Llana in a previous interview.
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East Texas Young at Heart Ministry Expands Programming and Makes Over 175 Food Deliveries Young at Heart (YAH), a ministry initially launched in 2019, began delivering supplemental monthly food supplies in March of 2021. In partnership with the East Texas Food Bank, YAH volunteers are now able to process applications for the Senior Box Program. They also work with the East Texas Cares Resource Center’s food pantry that assists marginalized people. That entity is the main supporter of people living with HIV. Since establishing these new partnerships, YAH has made over 175 deliveries to people unable to pick up food from these area food pantries. YAH’s mission is to promote health and wellness in East Texans among people who are age 50 and older. This initiative is the result of Bishop Fisher's desire to create an outreach program to support senior citizens. Rob Jerger, missioner, and soon-to-be bi-vocational priest has been pivotal to the creation and success of YAH. The group is a former recipient of a grant from the Episcopal Seniors Foundation which helped increase awareness at the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Senior Health and Living Expo in the year prior to the pandemic. While they are a missional community of St. Francis and its church plant, St. Clare's, all area seniors and caregivers of seniors are encouraged to participate. YAH also partners with the Area Agency on Aging of East Texas (AAA) to provide health and wellness classes. The AAA conducts evidence-based intervention programs throughout East Texas. YAH hosted and/or provided lay leaders for the following educational programs: Diabetes Self-Management, Chronic Disease Self-Management, Chronic Pain Self-Management, and Tai Chi for Arthritis and Balance. The devoted volunteers have developed relationships with the people they serve and genuinely enjoy their monthly visits. Each month they include a small gift with the food deliveries. In December, they delivered Christmas stockings filled with hats, gloves, socks, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and candy—all collected by the youth group of St. Francis. Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, YAH visited nursing homes to conduct singalongs and a bell choir Christmas concert. Now, not only are they bringing entertainment to the lives of seniors, but they are also delivering essentials. You can learn more about Young at Heart by visiting them on Facebook at Young at Heart Tyler.
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Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. Psalm 25:4-5
C ampus Ministry Happenings 36 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Campus Ministry Happenings At a Glance Central Canterbury/Texas A&M & Blinn College – The Rev. Rich Nelson Grew to 80 plus active students; expanded programming for graduate students, small group ministries, and on-campus outreach events. In collaboration with The REACH Project, with mentoring from Episcopal Health Foundation, and the Baylor Collaborative. Austin Canterbury/UT-Austin – The Rev. Travis Helms Expanded their counseling center services in an effort to support wholeperson student wellness and enrolled more students from other campus missions across the diocese, including TAMU and SHSU. Northeast Canterbury/UT-Tyler – Uriah Johnson Revamped and relaunched the campus communities at UT-Tyler and Stephen F. Austin University. Northwest Canterbury/Baylor – The Rev. Keith Pozzuto Added Missioner, Rachel Harber (part-time), to reach more students at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Houston Canterbury/UH/TSU/HCC – The Rev. Charles Graves Distributed thousands of care packages to students at University of Houston, Texas Southern University, and University of Houston-Downtown since December 2020; launched an official student organization at UHD for first time; created new advisory board made up of members from area congregations to help build deeper connections. Episcopal Student Center at Sam Houston State University – Chase Kennemer Opened a community fridge which now caters to about 15-20 students every week. Prairie View A&M – The Rev. Rhonda Rogers Became an official student organization at Prairie View A&M.
Episcopal Church at Rice – Autry House - The Rev. Sarah Condon Established a mission to support schools and teachers in Houston's Third Ward community. In 2021, packed weekend meals for over 1,000 kids. This year, hoping to provide snacks for STARR testing and offer encouragement, letting the students know the Rice community loves and supports them and that it’s a place where they could have a future. 37 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Campus Ministry Highlights Central Canterbury/Texas A&M & Blinn College Over the last year, Canterbury at Texas A&M has grown to over 80 active students, with expanded programming for graduate students, small group ministries, and on-campus outreach events. They’ve partnered with The REACH Project, with mentoring from Episcopal Health Foundation and the Baylor Collaborative. With Area Missioner, the Rev. Andrew Terry taking the lead, Canterbury at Texas A&M is working to find ways to give back to the contracted service workers at the university- fostering a community where students serve those who serve them daily. They have also begun new on-campus ministries, Noah’s Art and Check Meet, where students serve other college students in higher stress academic programs–like business and engineering–by providing space for community to form and allowing students to decompress by engaging them in creativity and play.
Episcopal Church at Rice - Autry House The Episcopal Church at Rice has established a mission to support schools and teachers in Houston's Third Ward community. In 2021, their ministry packed weekend meals for over 1,000 kids. The hope this year is to expand this work into providing snacks for STARR testing and to give encouragement and support to the teachers and staff in underfunded schools. Ultimately, they want students to know that the Rice community loves and supports them and that Rice University is a place where they could have a future. As the only LBGTQ+ affirming ministry at Rice University, they have seen enormous growth and feel like God has really called them to serve students who would not otherwise have a church home.
Ministry's trip to the Renaissance Festival.
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Rice's logo, with other institutions, painted in a mural at one of the schools served by this ministry
Students packing food for elementary school kids in Third Ward
Campus Ministry Highlights University of Texas-Austin Canterbury In its on effort to support whole-person student wellness, the UT Episcopal Counseling Center, directed by Rebekah Johns, LPC, added a part-time counselor and two interns from the SSW Graduate Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, as well as two trained Spiritual Directors, to its staff. The center is currently serving over 70 student clients based on either donations or at no charge—approximately 25 of whom access services via Telehealth from campus ministries at Texas A&M, Sam Houston State, Rice University, and other colleges throughout the Diocese of Texas. To meet the needs of this growing ministry, they are currently working with a grant-writer, hoping to expand their SSW interns this year.
Ash Wednesday 2021 during Winter Storm Uri.
Houston Canterbury Distributed thousands of care packages to students at University of Houston, Texas Southern University, and University of Houston-Downtown.
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We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Mark 16:15
News and Transitions in Leadership 40 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Priest for Pastoral Care Named New EDOT Chief of Staff The Bishop of Texas announced the appointment of the Rev. Canon Marcea Paul as his new chief of staff for the Diocese of Texas in December of 2021. In her new position, Paul will support Bishop Andy Doyle in his engagement of amplifying the vision of the Diocese of Texas, supervising the Bishop’s office team, overseeing a variety of substantial projects, events and initiatives that support Bishop Doyle in his work. “I am excited to invite the Rev. Marcea Paul to join our staff. Her gifts in administration and pastoral care will help us maintain our strong goal orientation while caring for those we work with,” said Bishop Doyle. Paul succeeds the Rev. Canon Joseph M.C. Chambers on the diocesan staff, after he accepted the call of rector at Trinity, Danville, at the Diocese of Lexington. Paul, who enters the position with a background that is ideal for this role said, “It is an absolute honor to have been selected by Bishop Doyle to support him and the diocese in such an intricate way. I look forward to this opportunity and I am eager to contribute my God-given gifts and talents as chief of staff for the Diocese of Texas.” With a history in pastoral care, she joined Good Shepherd, Austin, in May of 2018. There, Paul focused her ministry on increasing Good Shepherd’s lay capacity to care for the homebound, the grieving, the sick, and those recovering from surgery or adjusting to life with a newborn. Paul was born in Jamaica and raised in Canada. She was baptized and confirmed in the Anglican Church. After a career in accounting and administration, she was ordained to the diaconate and served as deacon and parish administrator before attending seminary, and later earning her Master of Divinity (M.Div.) at Virginia Theological Seminary.
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Manor Vicar Serves as Missioner for Congregational Vitality The Rev. Alex Montes-Vela accepted Bishop Doyle’s invitation to serve as a Missioner for Congregational Vitality on the diocesan staff, the Diocese of Texas announced August 9, 2021. Prior to this position, Montes-Vela was the vicar of St. Mary Magdalene in Manor (SMM). After an initial service in January 2010, the congregation spent four and a half years gathering in the Manor High School cafeteria, as well as at the Manor Lions Club Hall and Manor area parks. SMM broke ground on its future home in June 2014 and moved to its current campus in December 2014. Montes-Vela is fully bilingual, and since their early days the SMM services have been conducted in English and Spanish. Montes-Vela served as assisting priest/campus missioner in Baylor at St. Paul's Episcopal Church/Episcopal Student Center prior to becoming a church planter. In the announcement to the SMM community, Montes-Vela thanked the congregation for their journey together and added, “I am excited that through this new position I will have the opportunity to share with other churches, faith communities, and their leaders what I have learned these past years, and to have the opportunity to encourage them in their work and ministry.” He began his new ministry September 15, 2021.
Missioner for Congregational Vitality Named The Bishop of Texas, the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle, has called the Rev. Leslie Stewart to serve as missioner for congregational vitality-new communities for the Diocese of Texas. Stewart most recently served as church planter and then as vicar of Resurrection Church in Plano, Texas since 2016. She began her new position November 1, 2021. “Leslie Stewart knows what it means to commit, set up and take down worship space, and build a community without space. Stewart’s firsthand passion and compassion for the innovative work of the church will be a gift to us all,” he added. The Mission Amplification team is charged with the support and coaching 42 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Continued... of 154 existing congregations, 12 churches planted in the past four years, six campus mission hubs, and 14 other campus missions. The team continues to plant new congregations and missional communities and expand to additional campuses. “The ones who are called to the difficult and rewarding work of church planting are a very rare breed of leader. I'm thrilled about the opportunity to support and encourage planters. I look forward to working with them as we accomplish the bishop’s vision for planting in the Diocese of Texas,” said Stewart. Stewart graduated with honors from Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology in 2014 with a Master of Divinity and certificates in Pastoral Care and Anglican Studies. Before answering a call to ministry, Stewart had a long military career. Stewart follows Jason Evans who served as missioner for missional communities.
Kellaura Johnson Appointed Canon for Transition Ministry The Bishop of Texas, the Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle, appointed the Rev. Kellaura Johnson to Canon for Transition Ministry in the fall of 2021. Bishop Doyle named her as one of his canons in recognition of her excellent work as transition minister. Johnson joined the diocesan staff in the summer of 2020 as New Transition Minister. Prior to that, she was rector of St. Stephen’s, Huntsville, a parish with a long history of both campus and prison ministries. “When engaged faithfully, times of transition can become times of transformation. I hope that I can be a resource as churches and clergy make the choices that will allow them to thrive in the future," said Johnson. Today, Johnson wholly walks in this truth.
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We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Mark 16:15
News in Ministry 44 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Clergy Conference in Review: This year’s Clergy Conference had a unique energy among attendees after having been separated for so many months because of the pandemic. In addition to that was Bishop Doyle’s return from sabbatical just days before. During his Fireside Chat with clergy, the bishop shared how he spent his time away, which ranged from finding an interest in a new sport—cricket to be exact— to spending time with nature and his family, to working on his Ph.D., to reading lots and lots of books and engaging in a plethora of other activities and the many exciting adventures he and his family endeavored together. He spoke frankly about the ways the pandemic has challenged us, about the trauma associated with these times that seem to be changing so rapidly, and about the need for clergy to take care of themselves just as he found it necessary to take care of himself. Likewise, he offered words of hope and encouraged a deeper renewal of faith. The conference also offered clergy an array of engaging workshops, plenary sessions, presentations, and worship. In addition to their other valuable offerings, Bishops Ryan, Fisher, and Monterroso, along with many clergy and the choir, participated in what was nothing short of a memorable Eucharist. Through the creativity of the Reverends Patrick Miller, Samantha Smith, Bertie Pearson, David Goldberg and Jacob Breeze, along with the dedicated and fully committed staff at Camp Allen, the Chapel was transformed into a sight for all to behold. The guest homilist, the Rt. Rev. Jennifer BaskervilleBurrows, bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis (and the first Black woman to lead an Episcopal Diocese), shared a poignant message that filled the space with both acceptance of the present and hope for the future.
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Clergy Conference in Review:
Author Priya Parker
Zoom Discussion among Bishop Andy Doyle, Cornell West, PhD, and Robert George, PhD, JD
The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville Burrows - Bishop Diocese of Indianapolis
Deacons' Reunion AT CLERGY CONFERENCE
(Photo credit: The Rev. Greg Buffone, deacon at St. John the Divine, Houston)
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Clergy Conference in Review: The Voice Behind the Piano A Familiar one Liz Gutierrez, a diocesan employee, found herself singing solos in front of her largest audience ever at the 2021 Clergy Conference. Liz is a talented musician, having learned to play the piano, taught by her dad, when she was about 12 years old. She began playing the piano and singing at San Mateo, Houston, when she was 13 years old. She continued until she got an opportunity to lead the music for the youth service at San Pedro, Pasadena, in 2013. Later, Liz transitioned to playing and singing for San Pedro’s Spanish service. Because her plan is to visit other churches around the diocese on Sunday mornings as part of her role within the Mission Amplification team, she has taken a break from Sunday morning music commitments; however, she’s in her happy space currently leading the evening English worship service at San Romero, Houston. This year’s Clergy Conference was the first she’s ever attended, and what made it all the more memorable for her was that she was able to share her gifts before so many clergy! Liz recounts that she was very nervous; however, she apparently became quite comfortable once her spirit-filled voice met the piano. Liz says that she enjoys singing and considers her talent a blessing. From the Piney Woods of Camp Allen, Liz sang “Gloria a Dios,” “Busca Primero El Reino de Dios,” and “Bautízame Señor Con Tu Espíritu.” She says she considers her talent a blessing. In the Houston office of the Diocese of Texas, Liz is a member of the Mission Amplification team led by Canon Joann Saylors. There, Liz serves as the administrative assistant for new communities, working with the missioner for congregational vitality to provide support to our mission-oriented communities—including church plants and missional communities. Liz offers administrative assistance in a variety of areas that leads towards the flourishing of these mission outposts.
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St. Martin’s Hosts Advent Quiet Day with Presiding Bishop Curry as Special Guest
The Most Rev. Michael Curry led a reflective day of prayer, meditation, and contemplation on December 11 at St. Martin’s, Houston—part of the church’s Advent Quiet Day celebration. The event was co-hosted by St. James’, Houston, and sponsored by the Order of the Daughters of the King of St. Martin’s. Other clergy who participated included: the Rev. Victor Thomas, rector of St. James’, Houston; the Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, dean and president of Seminary of the Southwest; the Rev. Dr. Leigh Spruill, rector of St. John the Divine, Houston; the Very Rev. Barkley Thompson, dean of Christ Church Cathedral; and the Rev. Dr. Russell Levenson Jr., rector of St. Martin’s. St. Martin’s Director of Contemporary Music, Wayne Watson, performed several meaningful handpicked musical selections to accompany Bishop Curry’s messages. The purpose of Advent Quiet Day is to slow down, be quiet, and wait for the coming of Jesus.
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Scenes from Advent Quiet Day with Presiding Bishop Curry as Special Guest
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LITTLE CHURCH AT ST. MARK’S
The Rev. Canon Christine Faulstich preaches a message about the Bible as the family story at Little Church
The Rev. David M. Goldberg, associate rector of St. Mark’s, Houston, preached under a marquee, initially set-up in the courtyard for a cocktail party. “This morning we worship in a tent just like the Israelites did thousands of years ago when they were wandering through the desert…The tent reminds us that God is with us wherever we go, at all times,” Goldberg said. While the marquee was not an initial part of the St. Mark’s 9:00 a.m. children’s service; it was significant for the parish’s ability to adapt to the challenges of providing a safe space for children during the pandemic. “Little Church was conceived in 2021 as a solution to a problem: Since parents did not feel comfortable bringing their children into the church building, why not do church outside?”, said the Rev. Patrick J. Miller, rector of St. Mark’s. Over time, Little Church began to develop a culture of its own, independent from the pandemic.
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“It is a simple service, really—families come as they are, sing fun songs, hear the gospel, read, and leave to go to the playground. The wonder of Little Church is not so much the liturgy as the community that has formed. Families, mostly with pre-school and early elementary aged children have created a community that has sustained church life during the tough times of the past couple of years,” said Miller. As the pandemic waned, Little Church attracted new families from surrounding neighborhoods. What started as a gathering of longtime church members expanded. Today, about half of the fiftyto-sixty people in attendance are new. Lauren Lobaugh, the mother of two boys, ages two and four, remarked: “We love our church family. Church feels more like a social than a church service. We come to receive God’s grace and we leave with new friends and a renewed sense of community.” Goldberg recalled how the name “Little Church” came to be. “Initially, we had planned to have an outdoor church for families in the summer. One Sunday, a parent asked me where ‘the Little Church was’ and I thought, ‘hey, that’s what we’ll call this experiment.’ The name stuck. In the same way, Little Church has worked because we have allowed the Holy Spirit to inform our liturgy and community. It has not been a manufactured ‘worship experience’ it has truly been the work of (and for) the children, and people of God.” Little Church at St. Mark’s continues to meet every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. in the Church Courtyard or, when the weather is unpleasant, in Houser Hall.
Families attending Little Church in the Spring of 2021.
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St. Francis, Tyler, Begins Widow Ministry
L to R Barbie Haynes, Gloria Coughneour, Gipsy Schneider, Jewel McGraw, Carol Lanthrum, Lynn Scruton, Sandra Dugan. (Four women who routinely attend are not pictured.)
With a significant number of widows in their midst, St. Francis embraces women who have lost their husbands and created a group where they lift up, offer support, and create an outlet for the women to lean on each other. During COVID-19, it has been especially warming with so many people in isolation. The women tell stories, share memories, and some give encouragement to new widows, offering some perspective for hope. Together, they’re learning that, while grief lessens, it may never dissipate. The group had a counselor from East Texas Hospice speak to them and new widows are also receiving support through the Stephens Ministry Journeying through Grief series. The group is a diverse one with a woman who lost her husband 40 years ago to women who lost their husbands over the past year. Fortunately, none of the more recent women lost their husbands to COVID-19. Nonetheless, they bear the pain of such a loss. Currently, the group meets weekly, although this may decrease as the grief lessens. St. Francis is making what has been a traumatic experience for the women one where they can bond with others.
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Musicians Unite at the Diocesan Choral Festival 2021
Given the pandemic, this year’s Choral Festival at St. Thomas’, Houston, was considered a success. Held on Sunday, November 14, several churches from the Diocese of Texas were represented. Jackson Hearn served as the festival conductor, and the Rev. David Browder, St. Thomas’, Houston, served as the officiant. Much thanks to Dr. Linda Patterson, director of music at St. Andrew’s, Bryan, for her unwavering commitment to music throughout our diocese in so many ways and with so many groups. Despite circumstances within the pandemic, she has continued this work in creative ways. She looks forward to having even more participants next year as we work to embrace this new normal.
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“For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13
Racial Justice Initiative 55 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Racial Justice Initiative Update 2021 HENRIETTA B. WELLS SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS Awarded to eligible students across the Diocese of Texas attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Texas SPRING 2021
• Barrett Bailey, Texas Southern University Church affiliation: Hope, Houston • David Burrows, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: Prairie View A&M University Cantebury • Sean Cooper, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: St. James, Houston • Jojo Mill-Graves, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View • Jalyn E. Jones, Texas Southern University Church affiliation: St. James’, Houston • Ian Tynes, Texas Southern University Church affiliation: St. James’, Houston • Craignal Wright, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View FALL 2021
• Ruben Anvenue, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View • Shadiamon Bain, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View • Barrett Bailey, Texas Southern University Church affiliation: Hope, Houston • Jojo Mill- Graves, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View • Bernard Nyarko, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View • Craignal Wright, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View SPRING 2022 (Recipients completed the application process and funds were allocated during the 2021 calendar year for the Spring 2022 semester )
• Oluwole Akande, Prairie View A&M University Episcopal affiliation: Prairie View A&M University Canterbury • Ruben Anvenue, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View • Shadiamon Bain, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View 56 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Racial Justice Committee Chair’s Report for Calendar Year 2021 Created in 2020 as a result of Bishop Doyle’s commitment to forming The Episcopal Diocese of Texas Racial Justice Initiative, the Racial Justice Committee (RJC) has been hard at work to fulfill his vision. The Racial Justice Initiative consists of several funds. The RJC oversees the following: • Henrietta B. Wells Scholarship Fund Supports African American students attending Texas historically Black colleges or universities (HBCUs) • John & Joseph Talbot Fund Supports projects around the diocese that tell the stories around the history of slavery and other racial injustices, as well as projects that uplift the community • Thomas Cain Fund Supports deferred maintenance projects at historically Black churches in our diocese In addition, the RJC works with the Episcopal Health Foundation to leverage its outreach. While only entering its third year and with a committee consisting of ten members, each of these funds has disbursed significant amounts since inception of the Racial Justice Initiative. We invite all members of the diocese to learn more about our work at edotracialjustice.org. Submitted by Sam Dodson
Continued... • Kennedy Harris, Prairie View A&M University Episcopal affiliation: Prairie View A&M University Canterbury • Talyce Hays, Huston Tillotson • Andre Johnson, Prairie View A&M University Episcopal affiliation: Prairie View A&M University Canterbury • Darryl Johnson, Prairie View A&M University Episcopal affiliation: Prairie View A&M University Canterbury • Jalyn E. Jones, Texas Southern University Church affiliation: St. James’, Houston • Bernard Nyarko, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View • Celine Okwusogu, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: Epiphany, Houston • Regan Reid, Prairie View A&M University Episcopal affiliation: Prairie View A&M University Canterbury • Chantanice Taylor, Texas Southern University Episcopal affiliation: Houston Canterbury • Craignal Wright, Prairie View A&M University Church affiliation: St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View • Ruel Wright, Prairie View A&M University Episcopal affiliation: Prairie View A&M University Canterbury 2021 REV. THOMAS CAIN FUND FOR HISTORIC BLACK CHURCHES RECIPIENTS Awarded to historic Black churches for mission, programming and/or maintenance
• • • • •
Hope, Houston St. Francis of Assissi, Prairie View St. Luke the Evangelist, Houston St. James’, Austin St. James’, Houston
2021 JOHN & JOSEPH TALBOT FUND FOR RACIAL RECONCILIATION RECIPIENTS Provides a gift to underwrite a program of church community racial reconciliation initiatives, bringing together the work of the Equal Justice Initiative’s Lynching Memorial work and justice in local communities. Congregations an apply for grants to do works of racial justice in their communities
• St. Thomas the Apostle, Nassau Bay • Trinity, Longview
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Rectors Appreciative of Cain Fund Award Recipients of the Rev. Thomas Cain Fund have been announced. These five historic black churches in the Diocese of Texas have been awarded grants to continue their mission, programming, or maintenance of their campuses. The five recipients include the following: St. Luke the Evangelist, Houston; St. James’, Austin; St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View; Hope, Houston; and St. James’, Houston. These grants are part of a Missionary Vision for a Racial Justice initiative that the Bishop of Texas, The Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle, announced in February of 2020, which included a $13 million commitment towards racial reconciliation projects and scholarships for the future training and education of people and churches of color. For the Rev. Eileen O’Brien, rector of St. James’, Austin, the grant will allow the church to take care of issues that have been of perennial concern for over a decade. “The Cain Grant will help the St. James', Austin, community outfit its sanctuary for hybrid worship and address long-standing acoustic and accessibility issues. What a great relief and step forward!” said O’Brien. For St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View, the grant will be used to further enhance and improve their church. “We feel blessed to receive the RJI Cain Fund Award. The funds will be used to purchase new computers, printers, and a water filtration cooler. Additionally, we secured an electronic LED sign for the church which will greatly enhance our announcements to the broader community. Finally, we will install extra external lights for the parking lot and around the property,” said Seab Smith, junior warden of St. Francis of Assisi. According to the Rev. Victor Thomas, rector of St. James’, Houston, the grant couldn’t have come at a better time. “The Thomas Cain Fund has made a huge difference in our parish. With its help, we were able to upgrade one of our buildings and leverage it as a resource for the community,” said Thomas. 58 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
St. Thomas the Apostle, Nassau Bay, Awarded Funding for Art Installation to Honor Diversity in Achievements in Space St. Thomas the Apostle, Nassau Bay, which has long served as the home parish to many notable contributors to the nation’s space program, has been awarded funding for an art program to honor the diversity of space professionals. With Major General Charles “Charlie” Bolden, former astronaut and the first Black American to serve as NASA administrator on a permanent basis, having played an integral role in the leadership and ministries of St. Thomas the Apostle, the vestry recognized a unique opportunity through the Racial Justice Initiative of the diocese to celebrate their former parishioner along with other former members who have served in the space program. Because the church has been home to a number of astronauts, including Jim Lovell, Frank Culbertson, and Mike Foale, as well as to engineers and flight directors, including the first chief flight director, Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., it was nearly a no-brainer, once the Racial Justice Initiative was announced, that the church’s vestry could utilize this to do its part in helping to repair the breach in racial justice by honoring Black space professionals. The church’s vestry submitted an application and was approved to receive funds to cover the costs to erect landmarks and produce collateral resources for children around these achievements in space by the diverse group of professionals associated with the parish. Because of St. Thomas’ proximity to NASA, it serves as a legacy parish to astronauts, NASA administrators, and engineers. Then, given the history with Bolden’s extensive work in ministry, the most organic thing to do was to seek to erect monuments that will stand the test of time, serving as reminders of these contributions for years to come. Although worthy of significant recognition, there is very little—and hardly any represented in area art. The art installations will increase awareness and strengthen the recognition of the diverse faces and roles that have not only supported the space program for more than 55 years but have also made great strides towards its successes. The creations will also serve as a celebration of Black Americans in the space industry and diversity in general. Even more exciting, because of their distinguished and prominent placement, they will welcome the parish, neighborhood, and visitors to both the Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston. Both venues are literally within blocks from the church. Hopefully, this will stimulate the imaginations of children and the memories of others, while highlighting the diversity that has always been a part of the NASA program and inspiring current and future generations. The parish school is also working to author and illustrate a children’s book, by children celebrating 30 of the often-forgotten figures who helped take the space program out of this world.
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Difficult Conversations – Talking About What Matters By Denise Treviño-Gomez Robert Redford may be most famous for his acting, directing and producing roles, but there’s also something you may not know about him and that’s his leadership role in how he shows up for difficult conversations. Here’s how he leads, “I’ll tell you what I think and then I want you to tell me what I am missing. I am inviting you to influence me. I’d like to be different when this conversation is over.” Redford says, “Everyone wants one person in the world to whom they can tell the truth and from whom they will hear the truth. Become that person.” But we all know that not everyone, including ourselves, is always open to hearing what someone has to say. Sometimes talking about difficult things is just plain hard. We’re much more willing to jump into things that make us comfortable and talking about hard things is usually not one of them. I often find myself working with very complex topics that often involve a wide range of emotions and reactions from people. There’s a common denominator I see whenever I bring up having a difficult conversation. Regardless of the community, large or small, geographic area, or cultural differences, the reaction is the same… avoidance. Eyes start to divert, the room becomes quieter, people change topics, etc. When I ask, “What is the one thing we should be talking about but are not?” There’s usually complete silence…at least at first. Whenever and wherever I bring up having difficult conversations, the most common response I hear from laity is “we never talk about hard things here,” and from clergy, “but things are going pretty smoothly, and I don’t want to rock the boat” or “I don’t want to make people mad at me.” And I get it. I really get it. Been there, done that. I’ve lost count of how many conversations I’ve avoided over my lifetime and the consequences that came with avoiding them, as well as the number of hard conversations I have had to have and the consequences that came with those, too. But one thing I’ve learned for sure is that avoiding those hard conversations robs us in every direction of positive change. As leaders, we’re taught so many skills, but how to actually engage in hard conversations normally isn’t one of them. I often hear from leaders that it’s not so much that they don’t want to talk about hard things, it’s that they don’t even know where to begin, how to do it, and that the unknown of what might happen scares them, so they avoid it. At the Diocese of Texas, we understand that. But we also believe that to live into our full calling as a church, we can’t skip over the hard parts. It’s one thing to know that there’s a hard conversation we might be avoiding, but it’s another to know how to actually have it and to do it well. So, to help all of us in these situations, the diocese is introducing a new resource called Fierce Conversations. People around the diocese can begin to learn new ways of approaching hard topics with one another. Fierce Conversations offers practical, positive ways for us to engage in safe, non-conflictive ways that can and have led to real, positive change. We’ve been piloting it around the diocese for the past several months with great results. Lay and clergy are using it to address things they’ve been avoiding for sometimes years which is already resulting in positive changes and deeper relationships in their community. Fierce Conversations offers different types of conversation processes for teams, one-on-one, coaching and feedback because we understand that different situations call for different types of conversations. Susan Scott, author and founder of Fierce Conversations built the entire program with the idea that “Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can.” She teaches us to, “Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person. It could be. Participate as if it matters. It does.” I’ve seen and been a part of some very difficult conversations around many different topics. Some people were willing, curious, and courageous enough to dive in, others were a no-show, and some eased into these tender conversations little by little. But whatever the entry point, what I’ve seen time and again is that on the other end of that conversation were profound changes in relationships and a deeper understanding 60 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Continued... of the issues at hand. I have also seen God’s hand at work in the midst of these tough conversations. Not every issue may have been resolved in that one conversation…but some were. I’ve seen first-hand that when we care enough and take the time to learn how to engage well, these difficult conversations can literally change the trajectory of relationships, ministries, how communities live into the gospel, deepen trust and can move God’s work forward. If you’re interested in learning more about Fierce Conversations, please reach out to me, Denise Treviño-Gomez, at email@example.com to learn more about how it could help your community!
Seven Principals of Fierce Conversations Fierce Conversations is built on seven principles. Without these seven important foundations, we‘re probably not really engaging in difficult conversations in a way that we should. Susan Scott, the author of Fierce Conversations teaches us to, 1.
Master the courage to interrogate reality. Humans have a tendency to seek out and connect with people who are similar to us, think like us, look like us, talk like us. We follow their blogs, Instagrams, podcasts, buy their books, draw them even closer to our inner circles, invite them to serve on our vestries, hire them, and do other things that can keep us isolated in our bubbles. This can lead to shielding ourselves from interrogating other realities.
2. C ome out from behind yourself, into the conversation and make it real. Scott tells us that it is not the genuine conversations we should dread, but the unreal ones. The comfortable conversations can sometimes be the ones that are most detrimental. She says that talking for the sake of talking does not solve anything and in the end, proves to run rather expensive both for the individual and for the community.
Be here, be prepared to be nowhere else. There is a lot of value placed these days on a thing called 3. “mindfulness.” It’s the art (or skill) of being in the moment and dealing with it as it happens instead of wishing it could have gone differently. Be prepared to show up and give it your full attention. Tackle your toughest challenge today. We all tend to avoid or postpone things that make us 4. uncomfortable. While this is natural, it is also counterproductive because we end up carrying around a burden, frustration or worry a lot longer than it would be necessary. Obey your instincts. Our instincts are responsible for our survival and evolution. They come from 5. the oldest part of our brain and to this day are still responsible for our decision making. In difficult conversations, it’s important to not only trust, but actually go with your instincts. It’s yet another way of being present, aware and in control. ake responsibility for your emotional wake. For a leader, there is no such thing as a trivial comment. 6. T Something you might not even remember saying, may have had a devastating impact on someone who looked to you for guidance. Remember that conversations form the basis for the relationship. One of the most powerful insights of Fierce Conversations is that it teaches us that the conversation is not about the relationship; the conversation is the relationship. et silence do the heavy lifting. Often our greatest insights occur in the spaces between the words 7. L being spoken. Memorable talks have breathing time and allow for the inner dialogue to have space. That’s were an a-ha moment can happen and that is how true change can occur. For more information on how to bring Fierce Conversations to your community, contact Denise TrevinoGomez at firstname.lastname@example.org Adapted from Fierce Conversations from Susan Scott
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Documentary Commemorates Pauli Murray’s True Legacy Although many Episcopalians recognize Pauli Murray as the first African American woman to be ordained in the Episcopal Church, her personal path and tireless advocacy as a women’s rights activist, lawyer, and educator have paved the way in which individuals now refer to gender, race, equality, and sexuality in 21st century. A documentary recently released, My Name Is Pauli Murray, uses Murray’s own voice and words as narration, and is drawn from interviews, oral histories and her own prolific writings — books, poems and a collection of argumentative, impassioned and romantic letters — that Murray meticulously filed away with an eye toward her legacy. An article written by The New York Times explains why Pauli Murray should be a household name and how the film highlights her legacy and impact all these years. You can catch My Name Is Pauli Murray on Amazon Prime.
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k n a h T ou . Y
g n i t r o p p u S r
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2022 HONOREE The Honorable Vanessa Gilmore, United States District Judge (Retired)
A Texas PAULI MURRAY SCHOLARSHIP Event
A Garden Party IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO GIVE.
IN HER NAME
SCAN HERE TO VISIT WEBSITE www.TexasPauliMurray.org
SHORTCUT TO MAKE DONATION ssw.edu/donations/the-texas-paulimurray-scholarship-2/
T E X A S P A U L I M U R R A Y S C H O L A R S H I P A T S E M I N A R Y O F T 63 H E| Texas S O UEpiscopalian T H W E S2021 T
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
Ensuring Access to Healthcare During COVID-19 64 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Partnership Helps Ensure Access to COVID-19 Vaccines by the Underserved in Houston's Third Ward The Episcopal Diocese of Texas connected St. Luke's Episcopal Health with Texas Southern University, TSU to open a COVID-19 vaccination hub in the historically underserved Third Ward community. On Inauguration Day, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, District D Councilwoman Carolyn Shabazz, TSU Board Chair Albert Myres, St. Luke's Health System CEO Doug Lawson, University President Ken Huewitt, and St. Luke's Hospital President Elizabeth Youngblood were all in attendance, along with diocesan representatives. The clinic facility was blessed by the Rev. Francene Young, formerly of St. Luke the Evangelist, who also served on the Board of Directors at St. Luke's Episcopal Health System for two terms (in the mid 1990s and the early 2000s), prior to the sale of the system to Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI). Located on the campus of TSU, the COVID-19 vaccination clinic is literally steps away from the diocese's 100 plus year-old gem, the historic Black St. Luke the Evangelist Church, Houston. First row, left: The Rev. Charles Graves, IV, and the Rev. Francene Young bless COVID-19 clinic; right: TSU and St. Luke’s officials discuss collaboration Second row, right: U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Doug Lawson, PhD, St. Luke’s CEO/Sr. VP Operations Texas Division, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Elizabeth Youngblood, COO/Sr. VP CHI Texas Division, and TSU Regent Stephanie Nellons Paige shown with clergy and diocesan representative. Third Row, left: Diocese of Texas Communications Director Tammy Lanier with clergy and St. Luke’s Joel James, Sr. VP, Mission Integration, Texas Division; right: Dr. Rashid Mosavin, Dean, TSU School of Pharmacy discusses partnership with elected officials 65 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Episcopal Health Foundation’s Commitment and Dedication to Engage Faith Communities Across the Diocese During the Pandemic By Brian Sasser Like many congregations, St. Paul’s in Navasota faced many challenges during COVID-19 as they sought to minister during the pandemic. They realized the need to modify existing ministries, but also began to see their community differently. They witnessed challenges like growing health disparities, increasing poverty, and the effect it was all having on the well-being of children in Grimes County. But members at St. Paul’s also knew they couldn’t begin to help with any of those issues if they didn’t listen to what the community really needed. “They started to think about relationships they had in the community that they could build upon,” said the Rev. Andrew Terry, area missioner of Central Convocation at the Diocese of Texas. For St. Paul’s, those relationships revealed a desperate community need to set up support and supplies for children removed from their homes by Child Protective Services during the pandemic. This new focus led to a unique partnership with county and state agencies that help children in need and included setting up space in the church for this work. “Part of the process is to find out how the new partnership could open up the door to larger conversations about the welfare of children in our area,” Terry said.
Members at St. Paul’s developed this new community focus with help from Episcopal Health Foundation’s Congregational Engagement team. Through new challenges and various setbacks brought by COVID-19, EHF remained dedicated to engaging faith communities across the Diocese of Texas to help congregations organize and focus their efforts to have the greatest impact on their community’s health. Congregations demonstrated incredible resiliency in 2021, and this
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Continued... critical work would not have been possible without their ongoing commitment to improving their communities. As congregations began to return to in-person gatherings and meetings, St. Paul’s, Navasota, and four other congregations joined EHF’s new Poverty Transformation Cohort to take on some of the ongoing challenges highlighted by the pandemic. This cohort aims to help congregations with existing outreach ministries transition from a charity-based focus toward a transformative and community-engaged ministry that helps bring long-lasting change. The cohort included five groups of congregations and other organizations working in their community. All the congregations dedicated significant time to fully understanding the needs of their neighbors and community members. The groups attended several sessions with key partners dedicated to community engagement such as Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, the East Texas Human Needs Network, the Kaleidoscope Institute, and the Texas Rural Leadership Program. Participating congregations teamed up with one of the partners to get one-on-one coaching about developing the specific project in their community. St. Paul’s, Navasota, worked with the Texas Rural Leadership program to learn more about developing the partnership with the Department of Family and Protective Services and Grimes County to build a local Rainbow Room of supplies for children moving into the foster care system. St. John’s, Sealy, already has many existing connections to outreach ministries, including a food pantry, emergency medical funds for senior housing residents, and initiatives aimed at helping address poverty in their community. St Mark’s, Austin, has an interest in building on their previous work with the local elementary school. The congregations are now working with the Texas Rural Leadership Program and the East Texas Human Needs Network to look at ways to move those ministries into targeted, transformative work. Along with working with individual congregational ministries, EHF also launched important statewide initiatives in 2021. The Health and Justice Advocacy Network (HJAN) is a network of Episcopalians and community members interested in health policy. HJAN was created to engage and equip congregations to identify current issues concerning health, share information, and take the lead on moving forward with advocacy. HJAN spent the last year focused on Medicaid expansion -- an effort that could extend affordable health insurance to more than 1.2 million low-income uninsured Texans. During 2021, 28 congregations engaged with HJAN, 150 congregations were informed about Medicaid expansion, more than 65 parishioners spoke to Texas state legislators about Medicaid expansion, and members made 600+ contacts with legislators. HJAN’s outreach connected with all 31 state senators and 87 of 150 state representatives. Despite several close efforts, state lawmakers did not pass Medicaid expansion during the legislative session or in various special sessions during the summer. However, HJAN representatives and others were critical in passing a new state law that extends Medicaid health insurance coverage to babies and new mothers. Coverage will now jump from 60 days after a baby is born to six months. HJAN will continue to build on this solid foundation to advocate for meaningful health policy issues. As the pandemic continued to have devastating effects in Texas, EHF’s research division released a report that showed significant pre-existing health differences for Black and Hispanic residents in Texas lead to higher COVID-19 death rates. The report estimated that if Black and Hispanic
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Continued... residents in Texas had the same COVID-19 mortality rates as White residents, there would have been 5,000 fewer deaths just in 2020. These dramatic health disparities prompted EHF to lead an effort with other philanthropic organizations across Texas to ensure that people of color, specifically, Black and Hispanic Texans, and rural communities had equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. EHF’s Your Shot Texas initiative has raised more than $3 million in funding from 12 other foundations and became philanthropy’s first statewide collaborative response to raise confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and increase access among those priority groups. To date, Your Shot Texas has invested more than $1.8 million with 34 organizations and community collaboration efforts. “The first results from these grants show that trusted messengers and established community groups can battle the misinformation keeping many people from wanting a vaccine, and then they can help eliminate some of the everyday hurdles that prevent them from actually getting the shot,” said EHF President and CEO Elena Marks. The pandemic has changed our world in so many difficult ways, but St. Paul’s, Navasota, and congregations across the diocese showed us how it also opened new opportunities to meaningfully connect and engage with the communities we serve. During 2021, the poverty transformation cohort, HJAN, and the Your Shot Texas effort were just some of the ways EHF worked with congregations and communities to improve the lives and health of Texans most in need. And we know whatever comes in 2022, EHF and EDOT congregations stand ready to work in new and different ways to improve the well-being of communities across the diocese.
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Alabaré al Señor porque él es justo; cantaré himnos al nombre del Señor, al nombre del Altísimo. Salmos 7:17
Hispanic Congregations 69 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Curate Reaches Thousands Through the Airwaves Spreading a New ‘Breath of God’ Isolation Brings Word of God To Thousands Around The Globe Paulette E. Martin On Palm Sunday 2020, the Rev. Dr. Alvaro Pinzon, curate at St. Peter’s, Pasadena, received a message from God—one calling him to carry out what at that time felt like an unimaginable task. God had told him to find a way to share the Good News, and not just to members of his church— but to thousands of people around the world. As the pandemic worsened, “more parishioners kept telling us they wanted to start a prayer group,” shared Pinzon. Technology was, at first, their biggest adversary. The prayer group began on Facetime. When more people joined, they transferred to WhatsApp, then to Zoom, and finally to Google Meet, which allowed them to invite more people. As the prayer group gained momentum, Pinzon reached out to a friend in Florida who had his own radio station—and that’s what set everything in motion. On January 1, 2021, Pinzon launched his radio station called “Aliento de Dios” (Breath of God), where he produces a daily show Monday through Friday. The show explores the different dimensions of the Holy Spirit as they relate to taking care of your heart, mind, body, and soul. The fraternity he created in Florida now assists him with the production and the booking of guests for the different topics he covers. Every Monday through Friday at 7 a.m., Pinzon goes live from St. Peter’s where he reaches over 60 thousand listeners all over the world—39 thousand of whom are here in the United States. Pinzon’s initiative to start his own radio station is also inspiring other Hispanic congregations in the diocese to explore different ways to reach people through the airwaves and digitally. “This radio station is helping people learn about God’s greatness and promoting a new breath of God,” said Pinzon. To tune in, visit: alientodediosradio.org/
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Hispanic Ministry Holds International Conference Motivating Lay Leaders to Follow a Formation Track Inspiring lay leaders to follow a formation track has been the aim for the Commission on Hispanic Ministry for the last few years. As the Diocese of Texas continues to grow, the need for more Spanish-speaking clergy is also in demand. "The Church Advances When You Prepare" was the theme of the 2021 Hispanic Lay Leadership Conference held on June 18-19, 2021. Although the conference is usually a gathering at Camp Allen, the 2021 conference was held virtually, allowing interested participants from all of Latin America to join. This was the first time the Hispanic Lay Leadership Conference was held live, via Zoom. A technical team of volunteers assisted with English-to-Spanish translation services and guided participants to the workshops of their choice. "Empowering our lay leadership, planting new Hispanic churches, involving more Latinos in decisionmaking groups in the diocese, and attracting new people to ordained ministry, are all part of the dream we shared by hosting this conference," said the Rt. Rev. Hector Monterroso, bishop assistant of the Diocese of Texas.
Plum Grove Church Plant Holds First Spanish Language Service Plum Grove Church Plant held its first Spanish language service on Sunday, February 7, 2021, led by William (Will) Llana. The service took place in a brand-new community center, and members of St. Stephen's, Liberty, including their senior warden and the county judge, brought liturgical vessels as a gift for the new community. St. Stephen's rector, the Rev. Ted Smith, personally donated materials he used when he was a church planter over 20 years ago. 71 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Hundreds Attend Hispanic Heritage Month Festival at San Mateo, Houston A celebration that never fails to impress is San Mateo’s Hispanic Heritage Month Festival. It is an annual festival that is highly anticipated by many residents in the community and the church.
Volunteers at the Hispanic Heritage Month Festival sport their El Salvador Jersey
More than 250 parishioners and members of the Southwest Houston community attended the event to honor and celebrate diversity and culture from over 20 Latin American countries. According to the Rev. Janssen Gutierrez, rector of San Mateo, Houston, “The festival serves two purposes: first, to pay homage to our patron saint, St. Matthew (San Mateo) the Evangelist, which according to our liturgical calendar falls on September 21, and second, to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (which takes place September 15 - October 15)—an excellent occasion to honor our cultural roots and at the same time, share the diversity of our people in one place, the church.” The outdoor event which followed COVID-19 guidelines, began with a worship service dedicated to immigrants and proceeded with a festival. During the processional entrance and exit, flags of over 20 Latin American countries, along with the United States and Episcopal flags, were displayed by children. The festival included a variety of music, delicious foods that included appetizers and dishes, desserts, drinks, a puppet show, rounds of Lotería (a popular Mexican board game), jumpers, and a table of arts and crafts for kids. Attendees also dressed up in their traditional clothing from their countries. Gutierrez shares that San Mateo parishioners come from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Argentina, with El Salvador being the majority group. “The service and festival reminded us that even if we are far away from our towns, we can still find a safe place full of new friends where we can celebrate our heritage and our Hispanic roots,” shared Gutierrez. 72 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12
If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. Isaiah 58:10
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Hundreds of COVID Shots Administered at Calvary, Richmond In March and April 2021, nearly 300 shots were administered during Calvary, Richmond's COVID vaccine clinics. The parish partnered with Katy Medical Pharmacy where they held one clinic for school faculty, staff, and families. The other clinic was for parish members and their extended families over the age of 16.
Great Outdoor Health Fair Scores Success; Promises Annual Return The goal was to minister to residents of the Third Ward who have suffered the crushing effects of COVID-19 with job loss, family disruption, illness and even death. And the Great Outdoor Health Fair, a COVID-safe event, did exactly that. Despite the cloudy weather and the intermittent drizzles, residents of Houston’s Third Ward and beyond, arrived at the St. James’ campus and received Moderna vaccines, food and water services, health literature, travel size toiletries, clothing, and other items. The event came together thanks to the collaboration among various Episcopal churches—St. John the Divine, St. Martin’s and St. James’, all in Houston, as well as corporate sponsors like H.E.B., Walgreen’s Pharmacy, Houston Methodist Hospital, the University of Houston, and many more. During the fair, the three parishes, announced a ministry partnership and more collaborations in the future.
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Grace, Alvin, Volunteers Help Residents Receive Rent Assistance Funds On June 14, 2021, the federal government granted over $11.3 million to Brazoria County as part of the C.A.R.E.S. Act to help these individuals. Volunteers from churches throughout the county, specifically, Grace, Alvin, and from other denominations, took the initiative to help people complete forms so they could qualify for assistance. Churches and volunteers stepped in by simplifying the process for the benefit of the applicants, helping them apply for the funds.
Shown above, from left, front row, are Ginny Davis and Harriet Sturgen with Grace, Alvin. Standing, left to right, are Michele Gunn, with Sacred Heart of Jesus Church; Hilda Deleon, St. John’s Catholic Church; the Rev. John Taosan, pastor at St. John’s and the Rev. Ed Carrette with Grace. Photo taken by The Alvin Sun.
Beaumont Parish Aims to Combat Homelessness St. Mark’s, Beaumont, teamed up with Matityahu Homeless Ministry to combat homelessness. Parishioners at St. Mark’s were encouraged to purchase a CityPak backpack fully equipped to fit the needs of the underprivileged population. The backpacks were blessed Sunday, August 15, 2021, and were distributed. Matityahu Homeless Ministry is a non-profit that feeds and assists the homeless of downtown Beaumont.
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St. James’, Houston Serves Community Through Outreach Commission and Partnerships with St. Martin’s, Houston and St. John the Divine, Houston The Outreach Commission is one of St. James’ Episcopal Church’s strategic pillars. The purpose is to create a deeper Christian missional connection within the community by bringing awareness of God’s Kingdom. The church is also excited about its partnerships with St. Martin’s and St. John the Divine. Rector Victor Thomas is mindful of the Christian responsibilities to feed the hungry, homeless, widows, orphans and the sick, as well as to provide for their spiritual needs. St. James’ collaborative commitment with St. Martin’s Episcopal Church and St. John the Divine is meeting the needs of the surrounding communities during the evolving pandemic. The church is also consistent with the mindset of the church throughout the ages. Because of this commitment, the parish is stronger, growing in faith, and making a difference in the lives of many. 2021 Outreach Projects alongside and outside of partner parishes included:
• Hosting a Food Giveaway in March where community families received over 300 food boxes via a drive-thru distribution in the church parking lot; • Supporting M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital through a Blood Drive hosted at the church; • Hosting the Great Outdoor Health Fair and Free Food/ Clothing Distribution along with St. Martin’s and St. John the Divine. There, COVID testing and vaccinations were offered along with health and wellness screenings, social services and eligibility assistance, mental health resources, cancer care resources, healing activities (prayer, meditation, labyrinth), a “Kidz” Fun Zone, and many other opportunities to benefit the community. • Hosting a Summer Food Giveaway via drive-thru distribution in the church parking lot; • Continuing the tradition of the Blessing of Backpacks in anticipation of students’ return to school; • Collecting over 40 backpacks, more than 200 notebooks, countless pencils, crayons, and other school supplies, as well as facemasks, hand sanitizer, and other COVID necessities, all donated to third graders at local MacGregor Elementary School; • Collaborating with St. Martin’s during a Veterans Day Service, honoring all veterans, with the Buffalo Soldiers’ Color Guard presented the flags. The Rev. Victor Thomas was one of the speakers, with the Honorable and Mrs. James A. Baker, III, 61st Secretary of State and she, 76 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Continued... co-founder of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and John Dalton, former Secretary of the Navy. • Hosting a Thanksgiving Food and Turkey Giveaway in the church parking lot where both St. James’ and St. Martin’s procured over 250 turkeys as part of the meal giveaway; • Ensuring that members of the community had coats through a coat drive that yielded over 130 coats, jackets, and sweaters for the less fortunate; and • Partnering with The Metropolitan Organization (TMO), St. James’ continues to ensure that members of the community are educated on issues ranging from voter registration to COVID-19, healthcare and area flood prevention, workforce development and education, to immigration and police reform. With all hands on deck from the parish staff, parishioners and numerous in-house ministries and even the Troop 212 of the Boy Scouts, the parish is able to serve the community with great ease, and without a shortage of love and enthusiasm.
The Rev. Victor Thomas makes donation to neighborhood school.
Coat drive donations
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St. Joan of Arc, Pflugerville, Organizes Clothing Drive for Correctional Center
Susan Meyer and the Rev. David W. Peters deliver clothes to the recently released inmates.
Susan Meyer, who regularly visits the Travis County Correctional Center, organized the St. Joan of Arc, Pflugerville, clothing drive for recently released inmates. The congregation collected clothing and was distributed in January of 2021. Suitable clothing is a vital element of the re-entry process after incarceration, and these donations have the potential to transform lives.
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Central Convocation Congregations Join Efforts to Enhance Food Ministries
Members of Central Convocation gather for a Zoom Food Summit.
On July 14, 2021, representatives from ten congregations in the Central Convocation, as well as two Canterbury missions, gathered for a Zoom Food Summit to share information about their foodrelated ministries. Representatives from the Brazos Valley Food Bank, the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, and Grace Episcopal, Alvin, were also present. Ministries highlighted were wide ranging: blessing boxes, Meals on Wheels, ecumenical food pantries, sending school children home with backpacks of food, and countywide food coalitions. A key component of these ministries is the opportunity to provide hospitality and a listening ear to those who are served. The pandemic hindered the ability to offer such hospitality as food distributions became drive-through. To complete the Food Summit, Willie Bennett from the congregational engagement team at Episcopal Health Foundation invited congregations who desire to build deeper relationships with those they serve through food ministries to participate in a Poverty Transformation Cohort. Through this cohort, congregations would have the opportunity to work with top consultants on food security, poverty, and congregational development.
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Houston Parish Packs 30,000 Meals for Children in Zambia
On Saturday, April 17, 2021, more than one hundred St. John the Divine, Houston, parishioners came together to pack 30,000 nutritious meals for children living in Zambia in Southern Africa. The recipients of the meals are served by the international, faith-based, Christian non-profit, Family Legacy. The meal-packing event was also a wonderful experience for children and families. While parents packed meals, younger children decorated the shipping boxes. Older children had the opportunity to learn about the needs of children in other countries and situations. John Rosson, a parent who brought his two daughters, said, “Our two young girls, Genevieve and Michelle loved meal-packing for Family Legacy! My 9-year-old daughter was especially sad for these young children her own age, many who are orphaned, who lack food, resources, and education. Knowing what was at stake, both of my girls worked extremely hard to assemble and pack as many meals as possible.”
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East Texas Youth Give Back During Mission Week Trinity, Marshall, youth go the extra mile when it comes to helping their community. Although their efforts were halted in 2020 due to the pandemic, in 2021, they wasted no time.
They are also big when it comes to mission trips. They traveled to St. Louis to work the intercity, assisted with flood relief in Southeast Texas, ministered to the homeless in New Orleans, and helped restore a day care for the underprivileged after it was destroyed by flooding in Baton Rouge. During mission week, from May 31-June 3, 2021, the youth helped people at Carver Community Center by cleaning, planting, and doing some landscape work at the front entrance. Trinity’s youth also volunteered at Mission Marshall by packing boxes for nursing homes, handing out boxes of food to vehicles, and storing food at their food pantry. These are just some of the many examples of how these teens have gone above and beyond to help communities. 81 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Central Convocation Leaders Build and Strengthen Community Support for Its Residents By the Rev. Andrew Terry In August 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, area mission work in the Central Convocation began. The Central Convocation is comprised of 13 churches in mostly rural towns and one college town, Bryan-College Station. Our churches are served by a mixture of full-time, bi-vocational, and supply clergy. At an initial clergy gathering, priests and deacons were asked to help identify lay leaders who had a historical knowledge of the area in which their church served. The The Rainbow Room, where CPS workers can stop by and gather new clothes for children. area missioner then scheduled time with those lay leaders for tours around communities throughout our area. This was an important place to start. While church tours were often included in the visits, the ask for a community tour, by both foot and car, helped us to focus on the core of area mission: building relationships with neighboring institutions, churches, and people. The premise of the area mission work is that congregational vitality is intimately linked to our relationships in our community. Our congregations would undertake new initiatives together flowing naturally from our relationships with our neighbors. After the initial community tours, we began to gather via Zoom. Lay leaders and clergy together identified potential joint projects across congregations in geographic proximity to one another. These project proposals ranged from a community garden, a mental health initiative, a food distribution, and an English as a Second Language offering. In all cases, the projects began with forming new relationships with neighboring congregations, with agencies that have specialization in that field, or people who had expertise that we needed. While our ability to gather in person was limited, Zoom allowed us to gather in a way we most likely would not have prior to the pandemic. Because our geographic area spans more than a 2-hours’ drive, using Zoom allowed all our churches to participate and build relationships with each other and with other organizations serving our area. However, through the insights of several key lay leaders, we began to realize that projects were not the best next step, even though all the projects mentioned above are still in progress. We needed to take a step back and do what a former Texas Rural Leadership Program director calls “Sitting a Spell.” He learned it from his grandfather, this way of visiting with neighbors without any agenda other than getting to know one another and spending time together. Then when it 82 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Continued... came time to mobilize community, his grandfather had the relationships to make it happen. We began a series led primarily by lay leaders on developing this spiritual practice of sitting a spell, building relationships while withholding our own agenda to “make things happen.” Relationships began to deepen across our congregations as we began to get to know one another and not merely get things done.
More supplies at the Rainbow Room. In July 2021, two of our convocation’s deacons, Charlotte Love and Carol Peterson, prompted us to gather for a specific purpose. We realized that at least one person at each of our thirteen congregations was involved in some area of food ministry. Our deacons and area missioner called us together for a Food Summit to share via Zoom what each congregation was doing around food. This first Food Summit provided an opportunity to learn from one another and to begin to prepare for an upcoming school year with several of our churches providing food to students at schools. At the conclusion of the Food Summit, the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) Congregational Engagement team invited us to a new opportunity to participate in a Poverty Transformation Cohort. The focus of the cohort would be to move from transactional forms of ministry (giving things to people) to relational forms of ministry (forming relationships with people). This offering aligned well with the area mission work up to this point, and eight of our congregations responded, forming four cross-congregational teams to go through the EHF process together. After hearing from a range of EHF consultants on how to focus on relationships in our communities, our congregations have formed another wave of new initiatives. One example is happening at St Paul’s, Navasota. The EHF cohort’s emphasis on relationships caused St Paul’s vestry members to examine their already existing relationships. One vestry member serves on the Grimes County Child Welfare Board. She went to the board asking if there was any way St Paul’s could be a partner. From this conversation, they identified the need for a Rainbow Room in Grimes County. A Rainbow Room is a place where Child Protective Service workers can stop and gather new items for children who are removed from their homes. Grimes County had a Rainbow Room some time ago but then the closest were in Bryan-College Station and Brenham. The issue in Grimes County prohibiting the establishment of a Rainbow Room was available space in government buildings. St Paul’s had classroom space, accessible via a side door, that was not currently being used. The St Paul’s vestry voted to transform one of these classroom spaces into a Rainbow Room. From this, a unique partnership has been formed between St Paul’s, the Grimes County Child Welfare Board and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Already two substantial donations have been made to furnish the space and begin purchasing new items for the Grimes County Rainbow Room at St. Paul’s, Navasota. The Rev. Andrew Terry is the area missioner for the Central Convocation of the Diocese of Texas. 83 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Christ Church, Nacogdoches, Community Donates Thousands of Pounds of Food Christ Church, Nacogdoches, is making a difference in food security in their community. During the pandemic lockdown, the Rev. Wanda W. Cuniff, deacon at Christ Church, discovered Helping Other People Eat (HOPE), a food pantry in Nacogdoches. She soon found out that the food pantry was lacking many items such as peanut butter, beans, rice, and boxed cereals to meet the needs of their clients. Cuniff placed a red wagon on the porch of the church office and asked parishioners and friends to donate those items. A year later, over 3,700 pounds of food had been donated to their pantry to supplement what people could receive from the East Texas Food Bank.
The Hill School Outreach Ministry Responds to the Needs of Students Around Good Shepherd Campus A new school ministry is putting The Hill (a Good Shepherd, Austin, campus) on the map. Although the ministry is still in its infancy stage, they have wasted no time since their launch in the fall of 2021. Their work is primarily focused on finding ways to access and support the needs of children in The Hill’s neighborhoods. They began doing this by reaching out to local school principals and their staffs and building relationships with them. During the last quarter of 2021, ministry participants volunteered at school events; donated water bottles, books, clothes, and gift cards; provided teacher appreciation gifts; and began to develop supportive partnerships across the Good Shepherd community. Some of their plans for 2022 include establishing the first group of trainees to participate as mentors and/or reading buddies and establishing deeper ties with communities in area schools.
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do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
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“What Then Should We Do?” Disaster Response and Resilience in 2021 And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ (Luke 3:10) By the Rev. Stacy Stringer & Kécia McBride
In 2021, we learned that disaster in the Diocese of Texas can show up as a deadly winter storm, chilling every corner of our state. Referred to as “Uri,” this unwelcome stranger brought freezing temperatures inside our homes as utility infrastructures failed to meet this moment. Our vulnerabilities and dependence upon each other for safety and sustenance became strikingly clear.
Isabel has found support and guidance from the Rev. Ed Gomez, vicar at St. Paul’s/San Pablo, Houston.
The urgency of reaching out to the most vulnerable among us was also clear. Diocesan congregations and your Disaster Recovery team met the moment by offering shelter, food, transportation, prayer, and emergency items to neighbors in need. A holy trinity of faith, determination, and concern for neighbors propelled this Body of Christ into action in the middle of the storm. Uri’s effects were especially hard on individuals and communities traumatized from the aftermath of past disasters of various types. All this was layered on top of the pandemic, a very present danger throughout 2021. In the days and months after the freeze, we learned about families struggling to recover. Broken plumbing, water damage, exorbitant utility bills, shortages of repair supplies and lost wages were common among our vulnerable neighbors. The Gospel of Luke gives voice to the pressing question of this time: What then shall we do? Your Diocesan Disaster Response team partners with EDOT congregations and institutions that focus on the people in the deepest need during and after a disaster. We contribute resources and disaster response expertise tailored to meet the unique needs of those being served, because one size does not fit all. Executive Director, Paula Tobon with St. Vincent’s House in Galveston, explains, “Your funding allows us to fully be a beacon of hope and healing. People who don’t qualify for typical forms of assistance can quickly access these funds.” Honoring the dignity and belovedness of every person we encounter is at the heart of this disaster recovery ministry. “We get to be the bearer of little moments of justice through this program,” said Lizzie Cain Clark with the Welcome Table of St. James' in Austin. She added that “there is a cumulative effect to being in relationship with our neighbors. It contributes to the community glue. It builds resilience.” A key objective of this long-term disaster recovery ministry is that new and deepening relationships between church members and disaster survivors would be a means of transformation for individuals and communities, both for the givers and receivers of assistance. Unlike other fine disaster response nonprofits, our congregations do not leave town after the worst is over. We are here for the longterm because we are neighbors. Clark reflects how “reaching deeper into our underserved and diverse communities of people from many lands has provided me a precious window into people's hopes and fears.” In 2021, we met Isabel, who has lived a life with plenty to fear. She has also lived a life of relentless 86 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Continued... hope. During the violent civil war in El Salvador, she was sent by family to the United States for safety. “Her story is like many women who come here, not for opportunity, but to simply survive,” explained the Rev. Ed Gomez. Isabel carried the past trauma of the deaths of her husband and two children into her present-day difficulties which were caused by repeated tropical storm damage and the 2021 freeze. When the people of San Pablo, Houston, visited Isabel and saw a sheet instead of a wall in one of her rooms, they wondered what they could do. Isabel had done what she could: work, pray and resurrect her frozen garden. The good people of San Pablo and this outreach program did what it could do – extend dignity and restore her home to safety. Despite the manifold tragedies that have fallen upon her, Isabel told us, “God always sends me someone. Always.” How blessed are we when given the chance to answer someone’s prayer! Over 12,000 families received storm recovery assistance through this program between 2018 and 2021. Homes have been repaired. At-risk youth and older students received a leg up to equip them for good jobs with steady incomes. Children and adults have benefited from age and culturallyappropriate behavioral health services. Families have been fed fresh, healthy meals. Dozens of other forms of assistance flowed into vulnerable households, thanks to generous Episcopalians and a diverse community of partners in the mission field who don’t let what we can’t do get in the way of what we can do. We are servants, not saviors in this mission field. Disaster assistance may begin the conversation, yet the distinction between giver and receiver becomes blurred as we open ourselves to the mystery of transformation. As we reach out beyond the edges of our comfortable boundaries, our capacity to love is stretched and strengthened. It has been our hope that this disaster recovery program would facilitate increased community resilience and disaster recovery capacity as we help survivors rebuild their homes and lives. We give thanks to all! The cumulative effects of this disaster outreach ministry are far greater than the sum of the parts. We know that more disasters will come. What then should we do? With God’s help, we will respond beyond our fear. With God’s help, we will do some preparing in advance, a little or a lot. With God’s help, we will respectfully get to know our neighbors. With God’s help, we will choose not to let what we can’t do stand in the way of what we can do, because in the Diocese of Texas we don’t just weather disasters. With God’s help, we will activate our faith through service.
Children and adults have benefited from age- and culturally-appropriate behavioral health services.
Thanks to generous multi-year grants from Episcopal Relief & Development and our diocesan Quin foundation, in addition to individual donations, the Diocese of Texas Disaster Recovery team has partnered with congregations and neighboring dioceses to support our highly vulnerable sisters and brothers in their recovery from Hurricane Harvey, Tropical Storm Imelda, Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Delta, Hurricane Ida, Hurricane Nicholas, and the February 2021 Winter Storm. The EDOT Disaster Recovery team is led by the Rev. Stacy Stringer, director of disaster recovery, and Kécia McBride, program officer.
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IN THANKSGIVING The Diocese of Texas Disaster Response team recognizes the many congregations that assisted their vulnerable neighbors in the midst of the winter storm Uri. We are also grateful for our congregation partners who deepened relationships with under-resourced communities in the months that followed Uri through service, material assistance, prayer, and caring community. In support of these sustained outreach ministries and through generous funding from Episcopal Relief & Development, we were able to provide disaster recovery grants to St. Alban’s in Houston, SoCo in Austin, St. Vincent’s House in Galveston, and the Welcome Table of St. James in Austin. We also give thanks and praise to congregation partners who have remained active in disaster recovery outreach ministries dating back to Hurricane Harvey in 2017. A great example of such a commitment is four years and four months later, at Christmas in 2021, the Flores family finally made their journey back home. This family is just one of more than 12,000 families that has received storm recovery assistance through this program! Prayerful, committed leadership from Church of the Holy Apostles (COTHA) in Katy and Calvary Episcopal in Richmond made this complex home rebuild possible, and the Disaster Response team was grateful to participate in this holy work. “Let us not grow weary in doing what is good.”
St. Vincent's House Helps Galveston Recover from Winter Storm Uri Galveston residents were hit hard by Winter Storm Uri. In response, St. Vincent’s House coordinated a mass multi-agency “pop-up” recovery and distribution event on March 5, 2021. The collaborating organizations were able to provide food, water, cleaning and hygiene supplies, and clothing. The Lighthouse Charity Team cooked and served over 1600 hot meals. Cars lined up for 20 blocks, and 75 volunteers served 349 households and 1,456 people.
Photos taken by Stuart Villanueva with the Galveston Daily News. 88 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Calvary, Richmond, Assists Hurricane Ida Victims On Sunday, September 5, Calvary, Richmond, made the first of several drops of needed supplies for Hurricane Ida victims in Thibodaux, LA.—a small town about an hour from New Orleans that was devastated by the hurricane. The parish partnered with Creekside Cares and the Bayou Boys in Needville and The Thibodaux Family Church. Calvary Church EYC and Calvary School collected cleaning and personal hygiene supplies, flashlights, baby items, non-perishable food, and pet supplies. Thibodaux Family Church, with help from the National Guard, established a distribution center serving five neighboring communities.
Mosaic in Action Helps Community Rebuild After Winter Freeze In the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri, Mosaic in Action provided relief for their community. The non-profit partnered with Brazoria Responds and Craftsmen for Christ Texas, as well as local volunteers, handymen, and plumbers in Brazoria County. They worked with these community partners to coordinate disaster relief and volunteer opportunities. Founded by St. Andrew’s, Pearland, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Mosaic in Action is a nonprofit dedicated to improving single family housing conditions through repair, rebuilding, and barrier removal programs for homeowners in Brazoria County, Texas in order to provide safe, sanitary, and secure housing for those in need. While Mosaic in Action primarily focuses on Brazoria County, they also worked with Houston Responds and SEWA International who provided relief and support to those in the Greater Houston area. Mosaic in Action coordinated the delivery of $4,000 of plumbing equipment from Phoenix, Arizona, which they distributed to local handymen, plumbers, and Craftsmen for Christ Texas.
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even to your old age I am he, even when you turn gray I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. Isaiah 46:4
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Embracing Our Seniors
Episcopal Seniors Foundation Expands Assistance to Seniors In 2021, Episcopal Seniors Foundation (ESF) continued to enrich the lives of the aging population in the Diocese of Texas. The foundation did so by promoting the health and wellbeing of seniors, especially those who are least served; fostering the faith formation and spiritual growth of seniors; and by providing education and information to seniors, caregivers, congregations, and others. Another notable achievement was the awarding of grants, ranging from $5,000-$25,000, that went to Episcopal organizations, as well as to non-Episcopal organizations. Last year, ESF approved the awarding of five grants—three to entities within the Church and two to outside entities with Church connections. Grace, Alvin, and Holy Comforter, Angleton, both received a one-year grant to help fund ministries to seniors. Additionally, Camp Allen was awarded a threeyear grant to support the popular Abundant Living retreat held for seniors every winter. It is a retreat that welcomes, on average, more than 100 seniors for a few days of geriatricianled seminars, cooking classes, fishing sessions, nature walks, happy hour socials, movie nights, fellowship, and more. Mission of Yahweh, a faith-based shelter that empowers, enriches, and restores the lives of homeless women and children, also received a three-year grant to assist senior women who seek shelter there. The fifth entity that received a three-year grant from ESF was the Institute of Spirituality and Health at the Texas Medical Center, whose president is the Rev. Dr. John K. Graham. They will use the funds primarily to provide end-of-life spiritual care to seniors who are homebound or live in healthcare settings that do not provide chaplains.
Senior participant enjoys fly fishing at Camp Allen’s Abundant Living Retreat.
ESF is proud to have been able to expand the scope of assistance to new groups of seniors in 2021, and for 2022, they aim to further increase that.
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Loyalty, Faith and Fellowship Unite Seniors at St. Martin's, Houston
St Martin's, Houston.
Two groups that have stayed intact by faith and fellowship for over thirty years are the OPUS (Old People Up to Something) and Seekers at St. Martin’s, Houston. Members of these two classes still meet or stay in touch, despite the pandemic, and continue to be very active in the life of St. Martin’s. OPUS meets every Tuesday morning and allows seniors to participate in Bible study, learn about church history, forms of prayers, theology, and more. Seekers, on the other hand, uses the lectionary readings to get a deeper understanding of what they will hear during the Sunday service. These groups are led by the Revs. Nick Dyke, Robert Wareing, and Dick Elwood. According to Dyke, St. Martin’s most senior member of the church is Mrs. Betty Workman who is 103 years old. He shared that Workman got her driver’s license renewed at 102 and has been part of OPUS and Seekers classes since the 1980’s. These two seasoned groups are a tight-knit family that have been supporting one another for decades.
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Good Shepherd, Austin, Creative In Maintaining Connections with Seniors In the absence of being able to visit homebound parishioners for nearly two years due to the pandemic, Good Shepherd pastoral care staff have maintained contact by calling those they previously visited. Other seniors have also participated in contacting their contemporaries. Through these efforts, members of clergy are updated on the well-being of older parishioners. This has also been the case for parishioners who may have had other life issues to arise. To brighten days and maintain multigenerational connections, young families have delivered small flower bouquets to the homebound. To that end, school-age children who have always been involved in the church’s senior ministry, have made seasonal cards since they could not have contact with the elderly. The children have made colorful placemats with a meal blessing on it for the past two Thanksgivings for those in assisted living facilities to use while eating in their rooms. Last Christmas, a high schooler wanting to engage in an outreach project for the seniors, made Angel Christmas cards which were sent to older parishioners. Additionally, on Monday mornings, Flower Guild members rearrange the altar flowers into small bouquets which are then delivered by the Love on the Run volunteers to any parishioners, not just the seniors, who have been sick, in the hospital, or have lost a loved one. Good Shepherd has worked to ensure that although seniors and other parishioners have been in isolation, they have not been isolated. In doing so, their seniors know they’re being thought of during these challenging times.
Youth creating seasonal items for seniors
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My child, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. Proverbs 23:26
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Guiding Our Youth
Priest Plants Food Ministry Outreach at Camp Allen
Grace, Alvin, took their food ministry to another level! The Rev. Suzanne Smith and Craig Harland, lay youth minister at Grace, reached out to 100 seventh and eighth grade campers and asked if them if they could bring canned goods to their first day of camp. To their surprise, campers showed up with 150 lbs. worth of non-perishable food items! Then, with the help of the Jones family, Smith showed up to Camp Allen with an additional 400 pounds of rice and beans and about 200 pounds of bread. The youth had a blast bagging rice and beans to distribute to the Navasota community. Once packed and ready to go, Smith and Craig delivered two carloads of blessings to the Christian Community Center in Navasota. This holy experiment turned out to be the first community service project of its kind at Camp Allen’s Summer Camp, but it won’t be its last.
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Adventure Bible School Offers Children an Opportunity to Escape from Reality In a COVID safe environment, 30 children participated in an adventure themed bible school at San Mateo, Houston. It was a program where participants were able to escape from reality with games, music, and dance. “The purpose of this program was to give children a safe place (and a break from screen-time) to socialize and nurture their faith in God,” said Mariely Gutierrez, director of children’s formation at San Mateo. She also explained that the parish took excessive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by verifying that those who could receive the vaccine were fully vaccinated. The use of face masks for the 20 volunteers and participants was also a requirement. The parish offered sanitizing stations, and volunteers cleaned every table station after its use. Thanks to some donations, participants also took a field trip to the Children’s Museum of Houston.
Adventure Bible School at San Mateo, Houston.
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The Brotherhood of St. Andrew Announces Scholarship Winners
Emily Sharp from Holy Comforter, Spring, was named first place for the Brotherhood of St. Andrew Scholarship
The Texas Assembly of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew announced the scholarship recipients of 2021. Emily Sharp from Holy Comforter, Spring, was named first place and received the $2,000 scholarship. Nicholas Norman from St. Alban’s, Austin, was the runner up and received $1,000. Both recipients graduated with a 3.5 GPA or higher, were in good standing, active in church and school, and are baptized members of a congregation in the Diocese of Texas. The ceremony took place in May. These scholarships were made possible from the annual Brotherhood of St. Andrew Golf Tournament which took place in 2020. The 2021 tournament took place September 30 at Cypresswood Country Club in Spring, Texas.
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Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. Proverbs 22:6
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All Saints School, Tyler, Rebuilds Outdoor Learning Center After Winter Storm Fire A new space has been built after a fire destroyed the Outdoor Learning Center at All Saints Episcopal School during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021. During the storm, the school’s outdoor learning cabin experienced power surges before catching fire. On June 1, 2021, All Saints, Tyler, began to rebuild three cabins which are now joined with an outdoor chapel and an outdoor dock system. The Outdoor Learning Center is a unique classroom that allows students to learn about science in a natural, experiential environment that supports teamwork, stewardship, empathy, and real-world problem solving.
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St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Houston, Offers Generous Scholarships to Aspiring Middle School Students St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Houston, in order to make middle school more affordable for a greater number of families in the community, is offering generous tuition grants along with financial aid to qualified applicants who are rising sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. Scholarships range in amounts up to the equivalent of a 50% reduction in tuition costs. They are seeking students who are motivated learners and interested in STEM, robotics, film, photography, theatre, vocal or instrumental performance, foreign languages, and more. St. Stephen’s meets students where they are on their academic journey and guides them through honors-level courses to high school. Their high school prep and counseling yield academic success, developing students who are prepared for high school and beyond. St. Stephen’s Episcopal School students perform exceptionally well on standardized entrance exams, including the ISEE, and gain entrance to the top high schools in Houston. Students are able to join their peers in the da Vinci Lab makerspace, make radio contact with astronauts on the ISS, build a robot, produce an independent film, earn accolades in the National Spanish Examinations, and cultivate lifelong friendships at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Houston. Interested parents and students should visit www.ssesh.org/admission.
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Saint Thomas' Episcopal Church and School Celebrated Current, Future Openings in Renovated Campus In October 2021, Saint Thomas' Church and School in Houston reached a new milestone along with a road to recovery after 70% of their facilities were damaged by storm waters from Hurricane Harvey. After four years of construction, the newly renovated campus will be fully open for learning and worship during the 2021-22 school year. Although a renovated church sanctuary and a renovated lower school building already house kindergarten through fifth grade students, the 85,000-square-foot Shaw Hall, for sixth through 12th graders, is expected to be ready in early 2022. Members of the student body, family members and faculty gathered for a grand reopening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 30 for Shaw Hall, which will also be used as a new Scottish Arts Center named after Donna and Mike Cusack.
St. George’s School, Austin, Celebrates Arrival of New Building The Rt. Rev. Kathryn M. Ryan joined staff, faculty, parents, and children on Wednesday, September 29 to dedicate and bless the arrival of a new building at St. George’s School, Austin. The arrival of the long-awaited building sparked joy and enthusiasm for many, as it marked the culmination of years of looking forward to the much-needed additional space. The building is named after member and volunteer project manager, Bridgette Beinecke, who put countless hours towards helping the private school complete this project.
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St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin, Students Enter XPRIZE Carbon Removal Competition By: Anne Marie Becka, Communications Director, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin
Students at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School recently joined forces with the Austin-based biotech company Reactive Surfaces to compete in the XPRIZE Carbon Removal Competition. Funded by Elon Musk, the competition was created to help accelerate innovation for low-cost, scalable and sustainable carbon-removal solutions. Natalie Kim, a member of St. Stephen’s Class of 2022, has worked as an intern at Reactive Surfaces since last summer. The company bioengineered a carbon-isolating surface coating that mimics the photosynthesis of ocean-bound algae and sequesters carbon in the form of nanocellulose. Excited about the surface coating’s potential, Kim engaged a team of her St. Stephen’s peers to work on a student submission. “I was interested in XPRIZE because of the multifaceted societal implications of climate change,” she explained. The student team’s carbon-removal idea involved constructing a small greenhouse, the inside of which would resemble the environment on Mars. The greenhouse would contain six garment racks with hangers holding butcher paper coated with Reactive Surface’s carbon-isolating surface coating. Their greenhouse would be equipped to monitor carbon concentration, light intensity, temperature and humidity — conditions conducive to algae health. “CO2 concentration would begin at 2 to 3 percent,” Kim explained. “However, as the coating photosynthesized, a drop in CO2 concentration and increase in O2 concentration are expected. The efficacy of the experiment was meant to show that the coating could sequester carbon from high-CO2-emitting facilities, produce O2 for extraterrestrial environments, and produce biomass 102 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Continued... for barren soil, as well as function under extreme terrestrial conditions. “Such multidimensional problem solving is critical to advancing the fight against climate change, as well as the frontiers of science,” Kim added. The Spartan team went to work, testing a scaled-down version of their Mars experiment to ensure the carbon-capturing coating would retain adhesiveness in an environment with high CO2 concentration levels, a premise of their XPRIZE proposal. They hung the coated paper on wooden dowels inside a sealed fish tank, rather than using a greenhouse and hangers. They discovered that, when applied over massively iterated vertical surfaces, the coating could sequester carbon safely. Although the team’s submission was not selected for trial by the XPRIZE judges, Kim is still proud of the work they did — on top of their regular school workloads. “When we began devising a proposal and creating the experiment, we encountered many challenges,” she explained. “As a result, we spent countless hours researching carbon-capturing coatings and reading relevant scientific literature. I’m proud of our tenacity.” Students at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School recently joined forces with the Austin-based biotech company Reactive Surfaces to compete in the XPRIZE Carbon Removal Competition. Funded by Elon Musk, the competition was created to help accelerate innovation for low-cost, scalable and sustainable carbon-removal solutions. Natalie Kim, a member of St. Stephen’s Class of 2022, has worked as an intern at Reactive Surfaces since last summer. The company bioengineered a carbon-isolating surface coating that mimics the photosynthesis of ocean-bound algae and sequesters carbon in the form of nanocellulose. Excited about the surface coating’s potential, Kim engaged a team of her St. Stephen’s peers to work on a student submission. “I was interested in XPRIZE because of the multifaceted societal implications of climate change,” she explained. The student team’s carbon-removal idea involved constructing a small greenhouse, the inside of which would resemble the environment on Mars. The greenhouse would contain six garment racks with hangers holding butcher paper coated with Reactive Surface’s carbon-isolating surface coating. Their greenhouse would be equipped to monitor carbon concentration, light intensity, temperature and humidity — conditions conducive to algae health. “CO2 concentration would begin at 2 to 3 percent,” Kim explained. “However, as the coating photosynthesized, a drop in CO2 concentration and increase in O2 concentration are expected. The efficacy of the experiment was meant to show that the coating could sequester carbon from high-CO2-emitting facilities, produce O2 for extraterrestrial environments, and produce biomass for barren soil, as well as function under extreme terrestrial conditions. “Such multidimensional problem solving is critical to advancing the fight against climate change, as well as the frontiers of science,” Kim added. The Spartan team went to work, testing a scaled-down version of their Mars experiment to ensure the carbon-capturing coating would retain adhesiveness in an environment with high CO2 concentration levels, a premise of their XPRIZE proposal. They hung the coated paper on wooden dowels inside a sealed fish tank, rather than using a greenhouse and hangers. They discovered that, when applied over massively iterated vertical surfaces, the coating could sequester carbon safely. Although the team’s submission was not selected for trial by the XPRIZE judges, Kim is still proud of the work they did — on top of their regular school workloads. “When we began devising a proposal and creating the experiment, we encountered many challenges,” she explained. “As a result, we spent countless hours researching carbon-capturing coatings and reading relevant scientific literature. I’m proud of our tenacity.”
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Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. James 5:11
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St. Alban's, Waco, Celebrates 75 Years of Ministry On December 11, St. Alban’s, Waco, celebrated a big milestone—75 years of ministry. It was a festive evening full of food, laughter, fellowship, and giving thanks to God for serving the community of Waco. Among the special guests present were the Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher, bishop suffragan of the eastern region of the Diocese of Texas who served as rector number 10 in the lineage of St. Alban’s. Waco Mayor, Dillon Meek, was also in attendance. The Rev. Aaron M. G. Zimmerman serves as the current rector of the parish.
The Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher, bishop suffragan of the eastern region of the Diocese of Texas, poses with the Rev. Aaron M. G. Zimmerman, current rector of St. Alban’s, Waco. Both are part of the lineage of rectors during the church’s 75 years of ministry.
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Trinity, Marshall, Dubbed Pioneer During "Sunday of Celebration" Trinity, Marshall, celebrated the blessing of a new ministry, officially welcoming the Rev. Sean Duncan to his position as rector. The Rt. Rev. Jeff W. Fisher officiated the service on May 2, 2021. Prior to his arrival, Trinity was without a rector for almost two years. Additionally, two youth were confirmed, and the parish dubbed the day, “Sunday of Celebration.” The celebratory atmosphere provided a bit of normalcy returning after a lengthy period of instability and social distancing. Bishop Fisher called the congregation pioneers of the liturgy because Trinity was the second parish in the Episcopal Church to use a new liturgy for this service (and the first to do so on a Sunday morning). Bishop Fisher is the chair of the liturgical committee that created this new liturgy. He went on to preach that the true fuel of ministry for a priest is not administration, as important as that work is, but a living and growing faith in Jesus Christ. Clergy and laity alike are called to abide in the vine of Jesus Christ (John 15:4). The church body can assist their rectors by making sure that the work of a rector does not separate him or her from the vine.
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Trinity, Marshall, officially welcomes their new rector, the Rev. Sean Duncan
St. Martin’s, Houston, Celebrates $66 Million “Building for the Ages” Campaign
St. Martin’s, Houston, celebrated the culmination of their $66 million “Building for the Ages” campaign with blessings, fireworks, and fellowship the weekend of August 21-22, 2021. The ambitious project added more than 65,000 square feet of renovations for new and existing buildings, gardens, and stainedglass pieces. The Honorable James A. Baker, III, honorary co-chair of the campaign committee, remarked that the successful campaign means that St. Martin’s is “better positioned to share the light and the love of the Gospel with a wider audience.” The weekend's festivities kicked off on Saturday with a parish picnic and fireworks, and continued Sunday with a service for the dedication and consecration of the new Parish Life Center, Children’s Life Center, and Crosswalk Garden. At a later celebratory service on Sunday, the Rt. Rev. Don. A. Wimberly blessed the recently-completed construction projects, including Christ Chapel, the Pastoral Care Center, The Music Center, and the Chapel Reception Hall. At the campaign’s outset, the late President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Pierce Bush, honorary co-chairs, voiced their support: “Barbara and I have reviewed the expansive vision of the Master Plan for St. Martin’s buildings and grounds. Clearly, the parish leadership and those who have worked so hard on this plan for the last two years have not only created a vision to serve the needs of our growing church, but also taken into consideration the generations to come. We are pleased to support this plan and celebrate with you that our fellow members of St. Martin’s have once again looked with boldness into the future.” The “Building for the Ages” campaign title was chosen not only to indicate an enduring legacy, but also the intention to create a campus for members of all ages. 107 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
First Woman Ordained a Priest in El Salvador, The Rev. Hannah Atkins Romero, Celebrates 25 Years of Ordination
A third-generation Episcopal priest, the Rev. Hannah E. Atkins Romero was ordained in 1996, the first woman ordained a priest in El Salvador. She is now rector of Trinity, Midtown. She was ordained by the Rt. Rev. Martin Barahona who was the first Salvadoran bishop of El Salvador. He ordained her on behalf of her sponsoring diocese, the Diocese of New Jersey. Romero shared pictures of her ordination and another one in which she celebrated her first Advent service at her church. “It was a street mission in a gang-filled MS-13 area in a housing project for folks who had been displaced from the countryside during the war, la Iglesia Santisima Trinidad,” recalled Romero. Congratulations to the Rev. Atkins Romero for her continued service and dedication in the Diocese of Texas! 108 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7
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The Rev. Canon John A. Logan, Jr. entered glory Saturday, August 14, 2021. After gracefully battling bouts of illness for several months, he gracefully passed away at Methodist Hospital at the age of 93. Logan grew up in La Grange, Texas, and graduated high school at age 16. Immediately after, he enrolled at the University of Texas in the summer of 1945. At age 21, he completed law school. Although he aspired to become a lawyer, life led him onto a different path after discovering the Episcopal Church his sophomore year and becoming an active member of All Saints’, Austin. Logan entered Virginia Theological Seminary in 1950. He was ordained a deacon in July 1953 at St. James, La Grange, and he became an ordained priest in July 1954 at Good Shepherd, Austin. Since that time, Logan has served churches in Austin, Waco, and Houston, and earned an MA from the University of Virginia, studying religion in literature.
Canon Logan with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
On June 24, 1979, Christ Church Cathedral welcomed Logan. He served the Cathedral in various roles, including as sub dean to Dean Pittman McGehee for more than a decade and then as acting dean. Logan often said: “I ran the Cathedral so that Pittman could lead it.”
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Canon Logan with former Bishop of the Western region, Dena Harrison.
A Life Devoted in Service: The Legendary Canon Logan In addition to his Cathedral work, Logan had served as secretary for the Diocese of Texas since 1986. From 1996 to 2000, Logan also served Bishop Claude Payne as canon to the ordinary until he reached mandatory clergy retirement age at 72. Most recently, Logan was canon emeritus for the Cathedral and the diocese and served seven of the nine bishops of the Diocese of Texas. “It is difficult to fathom what the Cathedral might be without John’s long presence and influence,” said the Very Rev. Barkley S. Thompson, dean of Christ Church Cathedral. It was with a fervent spirit that Logan served the Diocese of Texas for more than 67 years. He touched the lives of many people along the way.
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Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3
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NEW DIOCESAN STAFF
Financial Services Manager Houston Office
Executive Assistant to the Cheif Financial Officer Houston Office
Director of Real Estate and Facilities Houston Office
The Rev. Alex Montes-Vela
Cheif of Staff Houston Office
Missioner for Congregational Vitality Houston Office
Missioner for Congregational Vitality Houston Office
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For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. Romans 12:4-5
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Small Church Network: A Tight Knit Community During the Pandemic The Small Church Network gathered at Camp Allen in the spring with 30 people in attendance. The gathering allowed lay leaders to share and be part of a great series of discussions on the following: Pandemic Takeaways and Missional Impacts. They were joined by the Rev. Canon Joann Saylors and the Rev. Beth Fain from the diocesan Mission Amplification team.
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We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
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St. Vincent’s House: A Beacon of HOPE Galveston Families Find Support through Integrated Care Model—An Update from St. Vincent’s House
St. Vincent’s House (SVH) continues to experience an increase of needs within the community. Since 2020, SVH has seen a 25% rise in clients walking through our doors in need of services (over 36,000 duplicated individuals). Because they serve a tourism industry that continues to be affected by the pandemic, many clients suffer from income volatility. They may be able to make it one or two weeks without income, but if this turns into a month, or longer, it casts a net that grows larger each day, impacting a family’s basic needs to survive. “You cannot be well if you are hungry or scared of being homeless. You cannot be well if your anxiety or depression is so high that you are unable to function. You cannot be well if your blood sugar is so high that you become sick. This is the premise of the work of SVH. We see ourselves as a beacon of hope and healing for all of God’s people,” says Paula Tobon, executive director. Right now, SVH is uniquely positioned to offer an Integrated Care Model that provides holistic services under one roof to vulnerable families, many of whom are uninsured, underserved minorities, and truly the most at-risk of the population in Galveston. Mental health issues, food insecurity, homelessness, and a variety of social determinants compound health issues, and these clients have a higher probability of falling through the cracks in the current social, health, and community infrastructure deficiencies in the area. SVH is blessed to have excellent relationships with UTMB providing clinical services, churches on the island helping clients through spiritual counseling, and the Family Service Center (FSC) offering mental health services. At the beginning of the pandemic, SVH's pantry was a small closet only open once a month. It has now grown to a full pantry and is open every day. It is stocked with cleaning supplies, diapers, baby food, and anything that will keep our families clean and healthy. SVH hosts a weekly drive117 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Continued... through where homeless travelers receive snack packs, and individuals can pick up groceries with fresh fruits and vegetables grown in the community garden. Executive Director Paula Tobon recently spoke at Grace Episcopal Church where she shared an experience the SVH team had that truly brought the Integrated Care Model to life. Dolores, an undocumented, widowed mother walked ten blocks in the heat with her children just to receive food. The hotel where she worked shut down during the pandemic, so she lost the small income she had and was on the brink of losing her home, with three mouths to feed. Dolores was desperate to the point of thinking she would be better off not living, and her blood pressure was extremely high due to stress that manifested physically. FSC’s bilingual mental health therapist started her in the counseling program, and through the Case Management Program, they were able to organize weekly food deliveries. Because she was undocumented, SVH was only able to help her 17-yearold son find a job. SVH was also able to provide them a phone, help with rent and utilities, enroll them in clinics, and supply eyeglasses for the whole family. Dolores’ story inspired the homebound food delivery program, created so families do not have to travel long distances to receive food. SVH now delivers weekly groceries to about 80 families in Galveston. They also organized distribution of 200 Thanksgiving meal packages to families, worked to find sponsors for 150 families in the Christmas Angel Tree Program, and distributed new socks and blankets to homeless. SVH's mission is one that guides the staff in all their work, providing services and resources to empower people to become self-sustaining, contributing members of the community. Since 1954, the Episcopal Diocese of Texas has continued to provide hope to families of every demographic and ethnicity. SVH is incredibly thankful to all who continue to help keep Hope alive in Galveston County.
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St. Vincent’s House Aids Galveston Fishermen St. Vincent’s House partnered with UTMB Health to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, glucose and blood tests, physician consultations, and other health services at the Vietnamese fishing dock. The outreach event took place Monday, July 12, 2021. Executive Director of St. Vincent’s House, Paula TobonStevens, shared that one of the clients they assisted had to be transferred to the hospital after one of the medical personnel discovered his blood pressure was dangerously high. Another client had to receive additional testing to evaluate his health. Along with health services, residents also received sunscreen, water, and antibacterial hand sanitizer. Transportation was provided to those who needed it. Over 50 fishermen in the community were served. St. Vincent’s House is a faith-based social ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas that extends a helping hand to economically and resource-challenged citizens throughout Galveston County.
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El Buen Samaritano: Committed to Improving the Lives of Latinos and Spanish-Speaking Communities El Buen is committed to recognizing the dignity of all by ensuring access to healthcare, education and essential needs that lead to healthy, productive, and secure lives. El Buen was founded in 1987 to improve access to food and health services while focusing on the systemic factors and social determinants of health negatively affecting Latinos and immigrants. El Buen has served as a bridge to resources and opportunities that move clients closer to equity and mutual prosperity for 30 years. This mission is critical to the community they serve - 92% of whom are Latinos and mostly low-income immigrants, living on incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level. El Buen provides an array of programs and services that enable the community to engage in a critical social support network by providing adult education and workforce development, youth afterschool academic support, leadership and development summer camps, health access and promotion, financial and rental assistance, and food security (year-round food pantry). During the pandemic, El Buen has become an emergency response organization for the communities most adversely impacted by COVID-19. El Buen scaled food equity and access (pantry) operations to serve four times its capacity – responding to 26,100 pantry visits serving 7,719 families (30,000 individuals). They pivoted adult and youth services online, retaining 90% of its students. El Buen narrowed the digital divide by ensuring 100% of adults and youth participating in our online education services had access to technology, internet, and connectivity support. In addition, in the middle of the pandemic, they scaled up again to respond to the damaging impact of the 2021 Uri Winter Storm – during the storm and within a span of two weeks afterwards, El Buen assisted 3,400 families. El Buen implemented a cash distribution infrastructure that allowed them to distribute $5.5 million dollars in cash and rent assistance to 14,379 individuals in 2021. They also served over 500 individuals via their coordinated care network by connecting clients to health and social services, including facilitating COVID-19 vaccines to 1,300 individuals. El Buen’s focus on equity and access efforts can be seen across Central Texas. The map represents their equity and access efforts – highlighting El Buen’s services footprint. The map tells a significant story about the distance individuals travel to access El Buen’s services. It additionally indicates the depth of El Buen’s 120 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
Continued... reach across Central Texas. Partnerships have helped expand services. For deeper reach into the community and equitable distribution of resources, El Buen collaborates with organizations such as AVANCE, Any Baby Can, Todos Juntos, Refugee Services, SAFE, Austin Voices for Education and Youth, Lone Star Circle of Care, CommUnityCare, Community Coalition for Health, and LifeWorks. In addition, critical to community engagement and ability to provide access to basic needs has been its formal collaborations with the City of Austin and Central Texas Food Bank. El Buen is driven by social justice principles – co-creating with community, leading in collaboration with diverse individuals, and engaging clients, patients, providers, community health workers, and funders. Equity has been a part of El Buen’s mission since 1987. Today, as a Latina led organization, they are steadfast in their commitment to transforming communities where race and ethnicity do not determine fate, health, or prosperity.
Thank You for Helping to Make El Buen’s Samaritano’s Hands for Hope a Success! In November, 1,800 local families were served as part of El Buen Samaritano’s Hands for Hope (H4H) campaign. 800 families received HEB gift cards to purchase Thanksgiving meal items, and 1,000 families received Thanksgiving meal kits that included all the essentials to cook a holiday meal, with enough to share with friends and family. Additionally, another 500 families received a meal kit in December. El Buen’s annual H4H campaign raises awareness about hunger in Central Texas and supports year-round pantry services. 121 | Texas Episcopalian 2021
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1225 Texas Street Houston, TX 77002-3504 www.epicenter.org