The Texas episcopalian The Texas episcopalian 2022 in Review Better Together www.epicenter.org
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COVER PHOTO: CLERGY CONFERENCE 2022
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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: Angela Hider, firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTOR: Liz Gutierrez, email@example.com
EDITORIAL SUPPORT: Carol Vaughn and Katie Sherrod The Texas Episcopalian is published annually 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
© 2018 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 nearly 70,000 square miles and encompasses 81 counties. We are headquartered in historic downtown Houston with offices in Austin, Tyler, and Fort Worth. Led by the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, the ninth Bishop of Texas, the diocese is nearly 450 clergy, nearly 180 congregations, 70 missional communities, 27 campus missions, chaplaincies, foundations, institutions, and over 77,000 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.
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THE TEXAS EPISCOPALIAN (SINCE 1874) IS AN OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF TEXAS.
06 Leading with a Purpose 08 A Letter from Bishop C. Andrew Doyle 11 Updates from Our Bishops 18 Rounding the Globe 21 Empowering Missional Communities 26 Discerning and Leaning into the Call to Ministry 32 Planting Churches 36 Campus Ministry Happenings 40 News and Transitions in Leadership 44 News in Ministry 54 Racial Justice Initiative Update 64 Ensuring Access to Healthcare During COVID-19 69 Hispanic Congregations 73 Feeding the Hungry and Serving Our Neighbors 85 In the Midst of Overcoming Disaster 90 Embracing Our Seniors 94 Guiding Our Youth 98 Our Schools 104 Milestones 109 In Memoriam 112 Working for You 114 Small Church Network and Online Community 116 Institutions and Programs CONTENTS 06 Leading with a Purpose 08 A Letter from Bishop C. Andrew Doyle 10 Updates from Our Bishops 23 Rounding the Globe 38 Better Together: Reunification 2022 43 Empowering Missional Communities and Planting Churches 54 Discerning and Leaning Into the Call to Ministry 62 Campus Ministry Happenings 70 Accomplishments and News in Ministry 80 Small Church Network 82 Racial Justice Initiative and Diversity News Updates 104 Equalizing Access to Healthcare 110 Hispanic Congregations 121 Feeding the Hungry 125 In the Midst of Overcoming Disaster 129 Embracing Our Seniors 133 Guiding Our Youth 139 Our Schools 150 Institutions and Programs 158 Saving the Earth: A Look at Creation Care 160 Milestones, Celebrations, and Coming Together 188 Doing Good 202 In Memoriam 205 Working for You CONTENTS Better
Leading with a Purpose
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So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.
e Rt. Rev. Fisher was elected Bishop ragan in 2012 by the clergy and church representatives of the Diocese Texas. As Bishop Su ragan, in addition to other signi cant duties and responsibilities, he helps Bishop Doyle perform con rmations and assists churches in the Eastern and North Eastern Regions of the Diocese.
C. Andrew Doyle
C. Andrew Doyle Bishop Diocesan
The Rt. Rev. Doyle became the ninth Bishop of Texas in 2009. The ministry of a bishop is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as apostle, chief priest and pastor of a diocese; to guard the faith, unity and discipline of the whole church; to proclaim the word of God.
Bishop Su ragan
e Rt. Rev. Ryan was elected Bishop Su ragan in 2019 by the clergy and church representatives of the Diocese of Texas. As Bishop Su ragan, in addition to other signi cant duties and responsibilities, she helps Bishop Doyle perform con rmations and assists churches in the Western Region of the Diocese.
e 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 con rmations for the Diocese of Texas.
Canon to the Ordinary
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 11 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, continuing education, communication, planning and moral support for clergy and their families, and to gather lay members to share ideas and projects. Deans are ex-officio members of the Executive Board of the diocese.
e Rev. Canon Faulstich was appointed Canon to the Ordinary 2019. She mentors rectors, clergy new to the Diocese, bi-vocational priests, transitional deacons, pastoral leaders, pastoral leader interns, and interim clergy.
DEANS OF CONVOCATIONS
(Canonical requirement: Two-year term; no reappointment restrictions)
To Council of 2024
Central: The Rev. Daryl Hay, St. Andrew’s, Bryan
Northeast: The Rev. Mitchell “Mitch” Tollett, St. Francis’, Tyler
San Jacinto: The Rev. Gerry Sevick, Trinity, The Woodlands
within the diocese is called a convocation. It is geographic
To Council of 2025
East Harris: The Rev. Victor Thomas, St. James’, Houston
Northwest: The Rev. A. Zimmerman, St. Alban’s, Waco,
Southeast The Rev. James Pevehouse, St. Mark’s, Beaumont
Liberatore, St. Andrew’s, Pearland
Giblin, St. Paul’s, Orange
e Rev. Oechsel was appointed Archdeacon in 2009. An Archdeacon is a clergy person appointed by the bishop to provide administrative assistance and other leadership to congregations and church organizations in the diocese.
To Council of 2026
Fort Worth: The Rev. Karen A. Calafat, St. Luke’s in the Meadow, Fort Worth
Bi-Vocational Priests: The Rev. Paul Skeith, SoCo, Austin
To Council of 2027
and usually includes one surrounding counties. Texas has ten convocations, the head of which, nominated by the bishop the “dean.” e dean arranges meetings of the convocational clergy to provide fellowship, communication, planning and moral support for clergy and their families and to gather lay projects. Deans are ex-o cio members of the Executive Board of the Diocese.
Southwest: The Rev. Travis Smith, Holy Comforter, Angleton
West Harris: The Rev. James M. L. Grace, St. Andrew’s, Houston
Galveston: The Rev. Mike Stone, St. Thomas the Apostle, (Nassau Bay), Houston
San Jacinto, e Rev. Gerry Sevick, Trinity, e Woodlands
Vocational Deacons: The Rev. Jan Halstead, Christ Church, Cedar Park
Zimmerman, St. Alban's, Waco omas, St. James’, Houston
Austin: The Rev. Bertie Pearson, Grace, Georgetown
Northeast, e Rev. Mitch Tollett, St. Francis, Tyler West Harris, e Rev. Josh Condon, Holy Spirit, Houston
Central, e Rev. Daryl Hay, St. Andrew’s, Bryan
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The Rt. Rev. Fisher was elected Bishop Suffragan in 2012 by the clergy and church representatives of the Diocese of Texas. As Bishop Suffragan, in addition to other significant duties and responsibilities, he helps Bishop Doyle perform confirmations and assists churches in the Eastern and Northeastern Regions of the Diocese.
The Rt. Rev. Monterroso was Bishop of Costa Rica for 14 years before he came to the Diocese of Texas in 2017 to help Bishop Doyle. Monterroso visits 45 congregations during the year, primarily in the Southern Region of the Diocese of Texas. He also works to grow a multicultural presence in our
The Rev. Canon Faulstich was appointed Canon to the Ordinary in 2019. She mentors rectors, clergy new to the diocese, bi-vocational pastoral leaders, pastoral leader
The Rt. Rev. Ryan was elected Bishop Suffragan in 2019 by the clergy and church representatives
other significant duties and responsibilities, she helps Bishop Doyle perform confirmations and assists churches in the Western
e Rt. Rev. Doyle became the ninth Bishop of Texas in 2009. e ministry of a bishop is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as apostle, chief priest and pastor of a Diocese; to guard the faith, unity and discipline of the whole church; to proclaim the word of God.
Kathryn M. Ryan
Russ Oechsel, Jr. Archdeacon
Philip M. Duncan
Christine M. Faulstich
A Letter from Bishop c. andrew doyle
IX Bishop of Texas
Dear Friends and People of the Diocese of Texas,
It has been a very busy year! In the midst of our continued recovery from COVID-19 and later with the onset of a particularly virulent Rhino Virus, we also held Diocesan Council in person. I visited congregations across the diocese sharing the results of our 360 Review. We went to General Convention, then the bishops went to Lambeth. We came back for a glorious Clergy Conference in which we celebrated over 25 newly-ordained priests and deacons and our new clergy kin from the North Region.
In the Diocese of Texas, we also accomplished the reunification with the North Region. Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) was recognized as an outstanding organization with the award of a $20 million gift from Mackenzie Scott. We hired a new EHF CEO and President Dr. Ann Barnes, and Allen Kight for Camp Allen, respectively. We opened a North Region office and called for the hiring of a bishop for that region. Camp Allen became debt free after many years of labor, and we said goodbye to George Dehan and Elena Marks. We welcomed all those studying for ordination for a week-long retreat and had over 40 in attendance!
There has been sadness in the loss of friends along the way. We lost members of clergy: the Rev. Fenton Kovic, the Rev. Sid Gervais, the Rev. Scotty Innis, the Rev. Helen Appelburg, the Rev. Pam Graham, the Rev. Frank Mangum, the Rev. Betty Adam, the Rev. Cindy Engle, the Rev. Lawrence “Hoss” Gwin, the Rev. Ned Bowersox, the Rev. Stephen Butts, the Rev. James Hugh Magers, and the Rev. Frank Reeves (listed in the order of their passing).
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We also have lost some great parishioners who have shaped our congregations and diocese. This sense of loss was palpable at Queen Elizabeth II’s memorial service where we held space for our local Anglican brothers and sisters. In a strange way, the queen’s death marked many deaths and much sadness over the past year.
Parishes have been emerging after COVID-19. The vast majority are doing as well or better than they were before the pandemic. There is a large number of confirmations and baptisms taking place due to the COVID-19 lag. Episcopal Relief and Development recognized St. Mark’s, Beaumont, for its assembly of preparedness kits. Christ Church, Cedar Park, eliminated over $3 million in medical debt for neighbors. St. Stephen’s School, Austin, began a solar array project to get off the grid. The Racial Justice project at St. Thomas, Nassau Bay, will see a first-of-its kind monument built to honor people of color who have contributed to advancements at NASA. We gave away scholarships for people to train for seminary, go to college, and become counselors in East Texas. The New York Times featured a story on the miraculous work of El Buen Samaritano, Austin. The Episcopal Foundation gave away over $35 million in grants – including grants to places like Hope Clinic in Tenaha, Texas, connected to our churches there. Houston churches St. Martin’s and St. John the Divine joined the diocese and others in leading a response to the disaster in Yellowstone. There is so much more that you will read about in this year’s Episcopalian.
Meanwhile, as a diocese, we planted churches, grew churches, helped churches, and increased our mission to college students. We also helped congregations with funds for mission and repair of facilities. We provided health care for all the families of the diocese. We created an opportunity for our bi-vocational clergy to participate in both the pension group and insurance.
Each of us has our struggles. Each of us needs a bit of hope. Let me tell you that I have seen people who have found a home in the Episcopal Church. I have seen people give their lives to ministry. I have sat at the bedside of the dying. I have prayed for the healing of others. We have witnessed what Christ proclaimed, and we have shared what we have. We have–together–done good work in Christ’s name.
My prayer for you while you read this year’s Episcopalian is that you will find in these pages that follow a bit of inspiration and a bit of hope. For the Episcopalian is a reflection of Luke’s Gospel 10:10: “The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!’” Indeed, I can testify to seeing just this, and much more.
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“Each of us has our struggles. Each of us needs a bit of hope. Let me tell you that I have seen people who have found a home in the Episcopal Church.”
- Bishop C. Andrew Doyle
Galatians 6:2 Updates from our Bishops
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Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
AN UPDATE FROM BISHOP RYAN
The Rt. Rev. Kathryn M. Ryan
- West Region
“The gifts that [Christ] gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
2022 has been a year in which Christ’s generosity in pouring out the Spirit’s gifts on Christ’s people has been evident in the generous and faithful efforts of the lay people and clergy of the Diocese of Texas. Continuing to emerge from the pandemic, and expanded with the congregations, clergy, people, and counties of the North Region, the people of the diocese have been giving of themselves to build up the body of Christ.
As I make my way around the west region and the diocese, perseverance through times of struggle and celebration becomes evident. My greatest privilege as a bishop is worshiping with a different Episcopal church each week, visiting with their vestries, and praying for God’s blessings upon them. I made 45 regularly scheduled visitations in 2022, most in the West Region. Confirmations, receptions, and reaffirmations seem to be returning to pre-pandemic levels, with a significant level of energy and commitment shown by the adults and youth presented. For the church plants, St. Cecelia’s, Roundtop, and Jubilee, Austin, were my inaugural bishop visits, complete with confirmations and receptions.
I also participated in congregations’ special events:
• Dedication of St. Alban’s, Waco’s newly refurbished nave;
• Groundbreaking for the construction of St. Julian of Norwich, Round Rock; and
• Celebration of 100 years of ministry at St. John’s, Palacios.
It was a special privilege to serve with Bishops Doyle and Harrison at the funeral for the Rev. Armistead Powell, the former rector of All Saints’, Austin, and to preside at the funeral of the Rev. Sid Gervais at St. Richard’s, Round Rock.
Any ordination or installation points to the courage and hard work of the candidate who has said “yes” to God and the church. But no ordination or installation ever comes to be without the support, efforts, and prayers of dozens of persons, gifted in their own ways as callers and guides and teachers. Such collective effort – a desire to partner with God for the life of the Church – perhaps explains why I never cease to feel the Spirit’s movement at ordinations and installations. In early 2022, I presided at the ordinations to the priesthood of Lynn Osgood and Larry Adams-Thompson. Both serve bivocationally. In addition, over the course of the year, I presided at several installations:
• The Rev. Samantha Smith, St. Paul’s, Waco
• The Rev. Katie Wright, St. Matthew’s, Austin
• The Rev. Genevieve Razim, All Saints’, Austin
• The Rev. Robin Reeves-Kautz, St. Timothy’s, Lake Jackson
• The Rev. Korey Wright, St. Thomas, College Station
• The Rev. Peggy Lo, St. Alban’s, Austin/Manchaca
• The Rev. Keith Pozzuto, Christ Church, Temple
• The Rev. Aimee Eyer-Delevett, Chaplain, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin
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They and our other priests and deacons serve vibrant and diverse congregations helping God’s people come to know, love, and serve Christ, each other, and God’s people in the world.
At Bishop Doyle’s direction, I serve the diocese as the executive for ministry, with oversight of the ordination process, post-ordination formation, and the Iona School for Ministry. The Commission on Ministry (COM), led by Chair, the Rev. John Newton, 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, and the Examining Chaplains, led by the Rev. Patrick Hall, also handles aspects of the diocese’s work in shepherding aspirants, postulants, and candidates through the ordination process.
The complete report of the COM is included separately in this journal. I want to highlight a couple of aspects of the COM’s work:
For those discerning God’s call to ministry, whether lay or ordained, we offer Discovery Weekends. Participants come to Camp Allen for a weekend and join in learning habits to identify God’s call, reflecting in small groups, and alone, and consulting with a member of the faculty. All adult members of the diocese are welcome to attend a Discovery Weekend. In 2022, we held two weekends. In 2023, in addition to our two adult weekends, we will offer our first Discovery Weekend specifically for youth and young adults, ages 16-22. The weekend will encourage young adults to consider their vocational future with an intent to serve God by living fully into the gifts God bestows upon them, whatever their professional and personal paths. Registration for these weekends is done through the Camp Allen website.
In January 2022, we held our first in-person Vocations Conference at Camp Allen. The spirited event brings together the diocese’s students in the ordination process from seminaries and the Iona School with the bishops; COM; CFD; examining chaplains; and the standing committee for formation, relationship building, and interviews. Forty-five students, all preparing for ordination to the priesthood or the diaconate, participated in the gathering.
Once ordained, both stipendiary and bivocational priests take part in formation designed to help build collegial relationships; provide continuing education and 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 at Camp Allen, as did Beginning Well, two separate programs for bivocational priests and priests new to the diocese. Each cohort provided significant relationships and encouragement to the participating clergy. Mentor-facilitators this year were: the Revs. Daryl Hay, Les Carpenter, Katie Wright, and Eileen O’Brien, Trawin Malone, Angela Cortiñas, Terry Pierce, and John Johnson. Post-seminary formation is coordinated by my talented executive assistant, Haley Townsend.
Continuing to help address the diocese’s need for more clergy and lay leaders, the Iona School for Ministry (our diocesan school of local formation) forms those studying for the diaconate and bivocational priesthood and offers programs for lay formation for ministry. The Rev. Francene Young (dean of administration) and the Rev. Dr. Andrew Benko (dean of formation) are in their second years of service. In 2022, the threeyear lay ministry program was broken down into three, one-year segments to be more accessible to the laity. The deans are assisted by chaplain, the Rev. Carol Petty; the faculty and instructors; as well as Iona Administrator Laura McAlister. Each of the bishops teaches one or more courses at Iona School over the course of the year.
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I serve as chair of the boards of three diocesan institutions, 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 2022, the Seminary began construction of the library and learning center project. Dedication is anticipated for September 2023.
El Buen Samaritano, an outreach ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas serving the Latino community of Central Texas, 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. Gustavo Hernandez serves as executive chair. Dr. Rosamaria Murillo, the executive director, continued to build up the staff and lead the organization beyond the pandemic.
Chris Oddo continued his service as executive chair at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin, where Chris Gunnin serves as headmaster. In 2022, a capital feasibility study informed the board’s work to authorize the initial phase of a major campus building campaign. This fall, I was privileged to preside at the dedication of the new solar array, installed to reduce the school’s environmental footprint and energy expenditures.
Outside, but related to the diocese, I began service in 2022 as Regent for Sewanee. Our year focused on preparations for the search for a new vice chancellor. I was delighted to celebrate with the School of Theology the Episcopal Foundation of Texas’ gift to support the renovation of Hamilton Hall, the home of the School of Theology on the Mountain.
2022 demanded significant preparations for the work of the wider church. I served as the House of Bishop’s Vice Chair of the Constitution and Canons Committee and as a member on the Legislative Review Committee for the 2022 General Convention. Though the convention itself was only half as long as recent general conventions, the shortened time in Baltimore demanded additional committee work in the winter and spring. The delay in the Lambeth Conference, originally planned for 2020, also resulted in prework. I helped to convene a pre-Lambeth Bible study group and then acted as an assigned Bible study convener during the conference. Between General Convention and the Lambeth Conference, much of my summer was taken up with work for the wider church. Praying, learning, worshiping and working with bishops from around the world deepened my commitment to the church’s work of formation of all our people as disciples of Jesus Christ.
That commitment is shared, of course, by key leaders here at home. As 2022 ended, I was privileged to work with the Rev. Andrew Terry, Stephanie Townes, and the Formation Task Force to research effective formation of lay leaders. We look forward to sharing our report in the first quarter of 2023.
I close with a personal note of appreciation. Last spring, my sister, Celia, died after a long battle with cancer. Your notes and prayers sustained me and my family. I am grateful to the Rt. Rev. Neil Alexander who covered a visitation at Good Shepherd, Austin, and for the understanding of Channing Smith and the people of Good Shepherd, and for the other congregations who were gracious about rescheduling visitations. Through all of you, I experience God’s close embrace, especially in the midst of grief.
What a privilege it is to serve with Bishops Doyle, Fisher, and Monterroso, and to have served in 2022 with Bishop Mayer, and with the other members of the executive team and 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
The Holy Spirit has been at work in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Starting in January 2022 in my Sunday congregation visits, I noticed an interesting working of the Holy Spirit. In several churches each Sunday, I was presented with one person to be confirmed or received.
One person was confirmed in each of the following congregations: St. John’s, Center; All Saints, Crockett; St. Michael and All Angels, Longview; Christ Church, Jefferson; Trinity, Marshall; and St. Clare’s, Tyler. When I met with the “confirmation class” in each of these congregations before worship, it was a one-on-one conversation with the one person to be confirmed. I observed that some of the confirmands attracted to these often-small, East Texas churches were in their 20s and 30s.
I was curious, so I asked each person why he or she was attracted to the Episcopal Church. Each had almost the same answer. Congregants had previous exposures to Christianity, experiences that were exclusive, judgmental and not open to all sorts and conditions of people. Yet, they proclaimed to me that the reason they wished to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church is because in our congregations they do not experience judgment, exclusion, and condemnation. They are attracted to the Episcopal Church because we proclaim the good news of Jesus and the good news of grace, forgiveness, and love!
I tell you, my friends: The Holy Spirit is at work in our church. The message of love is being heard, sometimes one person at a time. Please keep sharing this message with others: In the Episcopal Church, we proclaim the good news of forgiveness, grace, and love!
On Oct. 6, 2022, I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my ordination and consecration as Bishop Suffragan of Texas and as the regional bishop of the East Region. Now that I have been with you for 10 years, I am loving the depth of our relationships. Over these 10 years, I have ordained dozens of priests. I have supported lay leaders through several clergy changes. I have presided at the funerals of beloved clergy. I have baptized many people, and I have confirmed many, many more. I love being with you, not only as the celebrant on Sundays; I also love to walk beside you as you mark the spiritual milestones of your life.
As Executive for Pastoral Ministries in our diocese, I help to coordinate the responses to varied pastoral concerns of our clergy and their families, walking beside them in the physical and spiritual milestones of life. This work is especially intentional with our retired clergy and spouses.
Working with me and our retired clergy is an excellent team of Chaplains to the Retired Clergy. These faithful chaplains (with the convocations that they serve) are: 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). In 2023, we will add a chaplain for the Fort Worth convocation. The Holy Spirit is at work in our caring ministry–among our community of retired clergy and spouses.
A yearly highlight for retired clergy and spouses is our annual Retreat for Retired Clergy and Spouses each fall at Camp Allen. In September 2022, the keynote speaker for our retreat was Bishop J. Scott Mayer, who was serving as regional bishop for our new North Region. In his presentation, we learned about the bright future of growth and possibilities for the North Region. The Rev. Canon Joann Saylors and the Rev. Leslie
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Stewart, both of whom are on our Mission Amplification Team, discussed church planting strategies for the North Region. The retreat/conference included a presentation by the Church Pension Group, along with worship, free time, and various activities around Camp Allen. In the future, we hope to augment and improve our offerings at the Retreat and Conference for Retired Clergy, planning presentations that enlighten and refresh the ministry of this group. Come and see what we have in store at next year’s retreat Monday evening through Wednesday noon, Oct. 9-11, 2023.
In 2021, the diocesan board of the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) dissolved after years of faithful service and discernment. The diocesan ECW board formerly operated the Vera Gang Scott Scholarship program, which awards scholarships to young women pursuing higher education. During 2022, the oversight for this scholarship program was organized under a new committee: the Vera Gang Scott Scholarship Committee. In the spring of 2022, this committee on which I serve as the chair received 17 applications, awarding scholarships of $2,500 each to three impressive women in our diocese.
The Daughters of the King (DOK) is an order for women who devote themselves to evangelism, service, and prayer; I serve as the bishop liaison to this group of women. The diocesan assemblies of the DOK were back to in-person offerings, and I presided and preached at the opening Eucharist for each of the two assemblies in 2022. The Spring Assembly was hosted by St. Richard’s, Round Rock; the Fall Assembly was held at Camp Allen. The diocesan DOK has been focusing on the joy of the Lord, and it is a joy for me to be with these women as the Holy Spirit works among them.
The Small Church Network is for laity and clergy in congregations with an average Sunday attendance of 50, usually gathering twice a year at Camp Allen. The Small Church Network gathering in March 2022 focused on “(Re)Building on our Strengths.” This discussion was led by the Mission Amplification Team of the diocesan staff; we identified gifts, strengths, and stories in our congregations as we build again, post-pandemic. In October 2022, we learned about "Asset Based Community Development,” led by the Rev. Nandra Perry. Each congregation came away with one or two concrete ideas to engage and impact the communities in which they are planted. For our 2023 gatherings at Camp Allen, please mark your calendars for Sunday evening through Monday noon, March 19-20 and Sept. 10-11. The Holy Spirit is at work in our small churches!
I serve as chair of the board, and Pam Nolting serves as president of the Episcopal Seniors Foundation (ESF). During 2022, we entertained around a dozen grant requests from churches and organizations who share our goal of fostering healthy living for seniors. ESF continues our support of Camp Allen, assisting with their sponsorship of the successful annual Abundant Living Conference which is offered to seniors and others each spring.
During 2022, the World Mission Board changed our name to the Committee for Global Partnerships in Mission. I share leadership of this diverse group of folks with the Rev. Meredith Crigler. The Global Partnerships in Mission in our diocese coordinates our global companion relationships with three dioceses: North Dakota, Costa Rica, and Southern Malawi. We also approve grants to ministries of impact around the world.
In May 2022, we welcomed six “pilgrims” from the Diocese of Southern Malawi as they traveled across the Diocese of Texas sharing stories of mission and ministry. After a pause during the pandemic, our exploratory trips resumed in 2022 to the Diocese of Costa Rica with diocesan leaders. People of all ages resumed travel there for mission trips. In October, I traveled with the Rev. Meredith Crigler to the Diocese of North Dakota during their diocesan convention. We made new friends in North Dakota, and we were included in poignant and honest conversations with leaders of Indigenous congregations. In the Diocese of Texas, the Holy Spirit is on the move in our global partnerships.
At Bishop Doyle’s request, I chair the Diocesan Liturgical Commission, consisting of priests and lay persons, including church musicians. During the year in conjunction with this work, I field various liturgical questions from priests in our diocese. Since the pandemic, the Liturgical Commission has been somewhat dormant; a goal for 2023 is to reinvigorate the commission.
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The Tyler Diocesan Office is on the campus of All Saints’ Episcopal School in Tyler where I also serve on the school board. During 2022, I was honored to participate in the Ash Wednesday services. (Imposing ashes on over 700 students and faculty is quite moving). We presided over the baccalaureate service for graduating seniors, and the “Lessons and Carols” service in December. The Head of School resigned in May. During the fall while searching for a new Head of School, I interviewed each of the finalists, chiefly with an eye on increasing the Episcopal identity of the school.
From a wider church perspective, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church was able to finally meet again in person in March 2022 at Camp Allen. We had not met in person since fall 2019. Consequently, about one-third of the bishops hadn’t attended an in-person House of Bishops meeting before! So that we could rebuild relationships and make new ones, the meeting was extended and lasted a full week.
After a year's delay, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church met in Baltimore in July 2022 with a shortened schedule. I served on the Program, Budget, and Finance (PB&F) Committee, where I was elected as vice-chair. At the General Convention, I addressed a Joint Session of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies to present the budget for the wider church for 2023-24. Leadership of the PB&F Committee related to approving a budget for the Episcopal Church was a large part of my work in 2022.
I also served on the Task Force on the Budget Process, formed by General Convention 2018 to look at streamlining the cumbersome budget process. The recommendation of the task force was to eliminate the PB&F Committee so that the executive council can guide the proposed budget through General Convention without handing it over to a separate committee for a few months. At the General Convention in 2022, this proposal to eliminate PB&F was adopted, which I regarded as a successful conclusion to my work and leadership of PB&F.
In addition to my work on the budget at the convention, we approved our reunification with the Diocese of North Texas. This was so exciting, and it was great to have Bishop Mayer join our team for the remainder of 2022. I am looking forward to 2023, as the Holy Spirit is at work in our larger Diocese of Texas!
The Lambeth Conference is for bishops and spouses across the worldwide Anglican Communion and only happens roughly every 10 years. After delays during the pandemic, Lambeth was finally held in the summer of 2022 in Canterbury. My wife Susan and I attended, and it was an amazing experience.
For me, Lambeth included both grand and intimate moments. On the grand scale, processing with hundreds of bishops into Canterbury Cathedral for the opening Eucharist was amazing, a once-in-alifetime experience. On the more intimate side, at the heart of the Lambeth Conference is small-group Bible studies each morning. It was in these studies that I experienced profound conversations with other bishops. Within the group there were bishops from nearby Dallas but also from faraway countries like Ireland, England, the Philippines, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
At Lambeth, Susan participated in a program for spouses, and she also had a diverse Bible study group which met each morning. We give thanks for the opportunity to attend the Lambeth Conference. I have so much to reflect on, yet I will say that the conference expanded my concept of what it means to be a part of a global Anglican Communion, to be a part of the worldwide family of God.
Closer to home in my work as one of your bishops in this diocese, I am not alone. I share this work with Bishop Doyle, Bishop Ryan, Bishop Monterroso, and Bishop Mayer (until he completed his time with us at the end of the year). The executive team of our diocese goes on a planning retreat each August, and the retreat for 2022 was in Tyler. It was fun to host all of us in my hometown, sharing the best places in Tyler to eat burgers (Jucy’s) and BBQ (Stanley’s).
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Looking ahead to 2023, I will be taking a sabbatical break over the summer. My last sabbatical was seven years ago in 2016. I look forward to the Holy Spirit working through me during this upcoming time away, including significant time with family and longtime friends.
“Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more that we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).” The power of the Holy Spirit is working in us, my friends, proclaiming the good news of love for all people.
AN UPDATE FROM BISHOP MONTERROSO
The Rt. Rev. Héctor Monterroso Bishop Assistant - South Region
The year 2022 marked our ministry with varied work and service forms. It provided new opportunities and significant challenges for the clergy and the leaders of all the churches. Each church experiences particular challenges and accepts them, using the unique gifts they bring. These gifts include worship location, facilities, economic resources, education, service, leadership, alliances, and connections.
I visited churches in the South Region, and others, where I learned about the creativity and adaptability that our churches continue to use to strengthen themselves. They continue to be a light that illuminates the community in which they are located.
One of the experiences that I can highlight is in recognition of the constant renewal in our churches. New leaders emerge and new campaigns are launched. Reconstructions or renovations of spaces take place in church buildings. Vibrant music and ministry with youth and children are sources of hope for the church that constantly needs to be renewed.
The ministry of the Diocese of Texas is a transformative experience that manifests itself in many ways. It manifests itself when we decide to take the risk and send missionaries to plant new churches and missional communities where we do not know if it is possible. Still, we have faith that the Holy Spirit will guide us to continue with the ministry of transformation, healing, and reconciliation that comes when we share the message of Jesus.
This transforming ministry is only possible through Jesus, the “verb” that promotes action and change. The changes begin with small steps that become significant transformations through the participation of many people who come together in the same effort.
These small acts of faith become visible when the members of our churches make the decision to go out into the streets to be part of the community and contribute in some way to solving the needs that afflict the most vulnerable: the sick, people living alone, the unemployed, and the undocumented. All represent a population that seems invisible but is present in most of the neighborhoods of our cities.
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When our church members distribute food and fresh water, donate blood, visit the sick and pray for them, there is a direct connection with the gospel. Once again, the stories and miracles we preach every Sunday are replicated.
These acts of service are inspiring; we often cannot measure their impact on people. We however, we know that it is in this way that God acts, through small acts of love that become incredible transformations. This is the responsibility that characterizes our churches to be part of the solution to the problems afflicting the community, trusting in the divine provision and God's transforming power. I am grateful to the bishops, priests, and all the members of our churches who are an image of the living God that we adore and follow.
The ordination of new priests is always good news for the church. Vocation and service are manifested through this sacrament in which we celebrate the call of God, who raises men and women for his service through the priesthood. This year, in January and October, I had the privilege of ordaining to the priesthood Ryan A. Hawthorne, Palmer Memorial, Houston; Jason P. Myers, Holy Family, Houston; and Leah Wise, Grace, Houston.
Celebration of New Ministry
January and September 2022, I presided at the celebration of the new ministry of the Rev. Greg Seme as vicar of St. Alban's, Houston, and the Rev. Justin Briggle, rector of Good Shepherd, Friendswood. I presided over the dedication and consecration of the Emmanuel New Church, Houston building in November 2022.
The Rev. Stacy Stringer filled an exceptional role as director of disaster response. “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit” (Luke 12:35) was the mission for our disaster response ministry in 2022. Diocese of Texas has earned a reputation as a vital responder in disaster relief and recovery. Partnering with our congregations, we expanded our toolkit this year by highlighting emergency preparedness.
“Blue sky times” outreach grants were provided to congregations already in trusting relationships with communities that struggle to make ends meet. Congregations listened to neighbors to learn and to secure items they would find most helpful to have on hand at home before the next disruptive event arrived. Unfortunately, a “next one” came in the form of one of the hottest summers on record, and at the opposite weather extreme, a “next one” blasted Texas with a bomb cyclone the week before Christmas 2022. Ready for action, congregations quickly distributed lifesaving items and made check-in phone calls to lessen the impact of these life-threatening events on their vulnerable neighbors.
Tornadoes and other severe weather events affected the properties and people of our congregations in 2022. Throughout the year, we activated our emergency response communication system to quickly connect with heads of congregations so EDOT leadership could provide prompt response and support as needed.
When congregations responded to disaster-struck neighborhoods, grants were provided through this program to assist families who lost everything due to a narrow but vicious tornado.
Commission on Hispanic Ministry and the Conference
This commission meets regularly, and one of the most important events we organize each year is the Hispanic Lay Leadership Conference. The 2022 conference was held on June 17-18, 2022, and 270 people participated with the theme of evangelism. We had participants from all the churches with Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of Texas and guests from the Diocese of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the Episcopal Diocese of Easton, who sent 16 representatives.
The series of conference workshops are led by Hispanic leaders who have emerged, thanks to this conference and the discipleship many Hispanic clergy promote to support lay leadership in their churches. At the end of the conference of 270 participants, we challenged 12 participants to commit to starting an evangelism project. Together with the Mission Amplification Team, we will accompany them to develop these ministries in their congregations and neighborhoods.
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The commission is also determined to reorganize itself and include more lay leaders within its organizational structure. The new chair of the commission is the Rev. Simon Bautista, pending the appointment of a female lay leader to serve as co-chair.
Some Hispanic churches came together to lead education and training programs for asylum seekers or those applying for their documents and regularizing their immigration status in the country. This process has become ongoing in recent years, and Hispanic churches in the diocese are committed to actively continuing this ministry.
I am grateful to the Rev. Eileen O'Brien and the Rev. Uriel Lopez, who served as co-chairs of the commission in the last term of three years.
St. Vincent’s House
This diocesan Galveston-based program continues its excellent work. Here are some of the achievements during 2022:
1. Assistance Services: 79,856 duplicated individuals. 8,505 distinct individuals received assistance services from St. Vincent’s House. (December is not reported yet.)
2. More Active Than 2021: 58 percent more active in FY 2021 (46,389 duplicated individuals served).
3. SVH Pantry: This comprehensive pantry includes cleaning and hygiene supplies, child and adult diapers, and fruits and vegetables. 7,097 snack packs distributed. 4,678 home-bound deliveries. 4,245 baby and adult diapers distributed. 4,469 distinct individuals and 12,548 duplicated individuals received groceries. Over 50 home-bound seniors received Christmas goodie bags. 315 families received Thanksgiving food boxes, feeding over 1,000 people.
4. Transportation/Bus Service: 267 individuals received 2,306 rides.
5. Comprehensive Vision Program: 171 people received free eye exams and glasses, (133 through Sight for All, Dr. Mehta volunteer optometrist). Patients are referred from clinics that are diabetics and chronically ill need eye examinations and glasses (38 through Prevent Blindness Texas).
6. Integrated Care Model (ICM): The outreach program was established at Central Church/SVH Hope Clinic and Sandpiper Cove. The complexity of population we serve continues to grow. St. Vincent’s House developed the ICM Outreach Program to decrease barriers to accessing services and respond to the increased complexity of needs. Our goal is to break the multigenerational poverty cycle with goal to build trust by meeting clients where they are.
7. Master Facility Site Planning: Thankful to The Episcopal Foundation of Texas for funding the master facility site planning completed this year. The final document that contains the conceptual design and the project budget is finalized.
Other Diocesan Activities
• The House of Bishops – spring meeting, Camp Allen
• Dedication at St. Andrew's, Pearland – Plaque for Rev. Jim Liberatore
• Vocations Conference – Camp Allen
• Deans of convocation meetings
• Spring 2022 Executive Team and Directors Retreat – Camp Allen
• General Convention World Mission meeting
• Executive Team retreat – Tyler
• Clergy Conference – Camp Allen
National Church and Anglican Communion
The College of Bishops invited me to serve as a coach for Bishop Juan Carlos Quiñonez, Bishop of the Diocese of Central Ecuador, Province IX. Like my other fellow bishops, I participated in the General Convention. At the General Convention, I participated as a member of the World Mission Committee and am now appointed to serve on the Translation and Interpretation Committee. I also participated in two meetings of the Episcopal Relief and Development Board of Directors in New York and Seattle. In addition, I function as director of the CREDO program for Latin America.
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AN UPDATE FROM BISHOP MAYER
The Rt. Rev. J. Scott Mayer Former Assisting Bishop - North Region
The year 2022 was transformative for the new North Region of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas (EDOT) as we learned once again that love can overcome fear and grief. It can stand side-by-side with discernment, and service can have immense healing power.
The year began with the people of the former Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (renamed the Episcopal Church in North Texas) coming to terms with the reality that their viability as a diocese had been swept away by the February 2021 refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear our appeal in the litigation ongoing since 2009. This let stand the decision of the Texas Supreme Court awarding Episcopal Church property and our name to people who left the Episcopal Church in 2008.
The resulting months-long discernment process led us to approach Bishop Doyle and other leaders of the Diocese of Texas with the possibility of reunion. Soon bishops were talking to bishops. Chancellors were talking with chancellors. All of us were praying that God’s blessing be revealed in our work. And it was.
In early summer, both dioceses approved the reunion in special meetings of their convention/council. In July, General Convention’s unanimous vote of approval confirmed our reunification with the Diocese of Texas. The grace-filled welcome of Bishop Doyle, the staff, and the people of the Diocese of Texas has been balm to hurting but faithful hearts in the North Region.
Through all this upheaval and change, worship, ministry, and mission continued unabated. Having served this area for more than seven years–first as provisional bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth/Episcopal Church in North Texas and then as assistant bishop for the North Region–I introduce these ongoing and growing ministries of our resilient and faithful congregations.
Continuing their ministry with 4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry are St. Luke’s, Fort Worth; St. Martin-in-theFields, Keller; St. Stephen’s, Hurst; All Souls, Arlington; and Trinity, Fort Worth. (The pantry is housed at St. Luke’s and is a partner of the Tarrant Area Food Bank.) When 4Saints had to move because St. Luke’s lost its building in the wake of the litigation outcome, it relocated to Texas Wesleyan University and never missed a day of food distribution. The pantry served an average 100 families through 2022 and now serves approximately 125 families. About 200-300 families are served at a truck distribution each month.
St. Luke’s in the Meadow, Fort Worth, continues its weekly racial justice study via Zoom. St. Luke’s also supports Eastside Ministries and is very active in the mission of 4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry. The congregation and the food bank will move together to a new location in 2023, remaining there while a capital campaign is conducted to build a permanent location in east Fort Worth.
St. Stephen’s, Hurst, lost its building back in 2008 at the time of the schism. Parishioners worshiped in various locations until moving into their current, growing location in 2014. The message of radical welcome has resonated, particularly among people who know the pain of exclusion and discrimination by the church. As more and more members of the LGBTQIA+ community joined St. Stephen's, the church discerned the need for a ministry to support transgender folk and their families. In 2018, they partnered to create a transgender support group. This support group focuses on affirming, welcoming, sharing resources, and answering questions.
All Souls, Arlington, formerly St. Alban’s, discovered that many students at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) experience food insecurity. The needy include international students not permitted to work due to their student visas. With the help and continued support of All Souls, the university established a permanent, on-campus food pantry. All Souls also ministers to Arlington ISD’s Crow Leadership Academy
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by providing money for school uniforms and listening to and encouraging emerging readers. Parishioners partnered with the Crow Math Instructional Specialist and parents to provide a holiday market for all 600 students. Additionally, All Souls supports the local shelter for the unhoused.
St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Keller, honors its patron saint (who sacrificed his cloak to a homeless man) by giving to the needy. An annual parish winter clothing collection of coats, hats, scarves, and gloves benefits the homeless served by Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County. The congregation also supports Fever United, a youth soccer program. Weeknights, hundreds of kids learn and play soccer in the parish’s fields.
Trinity, Fort Worth, continues to award grants to nonprofits that welcome and serve all people and promote Christ’s love through service and community. These grants support 4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry, All Church Home for Children Child and Family Services, protecting children and preserving families through 17 programs, including a shelter for youth. Another grantee is the Center for Transforming Lives at the YWCA which provides safe housing for homeless women and children, early childhood education, and financial coaching. More grantees include Habitat for Humanity; Burleson’s Harvest House; Pathfinders; the Day Resource Center of Fort Worth; and Navajoland.
Trinity is a collaborating partner in Opening Doors for Women in Need, a faith-based nonprofit providing services for women and their children rebuilding their lives, especially women released from prison. Funds go towards educational and life skills programming, as well as Christmas gifts. Trinity helps sponsor the women and children’s facility at the Presbyterian Night Shelter for the homeless by donating cleaning products and kitchen supplies for clients moving into a new home. Trinity continued its Zambian Ministries by bringing professional therapy training services to the disabled in Zambia.
All Saints, Fort Worth, lost its building and rectory in the litigation aftermath and is now worshiping in the chapel at All Saints’ Episcopal School. It is also the only remaining congregation still dealing with the litigation regarding property. In the midst of this stress, ministries continue to grow. Last year, All Saints added weekly Sunday Solemn Evensong to the worship schedule; reached every continent on the globe with their Daily Office podcast; and opened a new Godly Play classroom for children. Outreach and mission grew tremendously. In 2022, All Saints fed more than 14,000 hungry children at four Fort Worth ISD schools. It founded the Amazing Grace Children’s Home and Schools in 2005 in Awasi, Kenya and continually serves as Amazing Grace’s sole supporter. In 2022, All Saints committed to supporting 26 additional orphans and continues its 17-year relationship with Holy Cross Anglican School in Belize. In 2022, All Saints sent a 15-person mission to serve at the school.
St. Christopher, Fort Worth, lost its building and is worshiping in a local Lutheran Church. Its unique Laundry Love ministry sets it apart. The ministry partners with groups and local laundromats to do laundry for the needy, low-income or no-income. The laundromat becomes a sacred space. During the pandemic, parishioners supplied clients with laundry baskets of laundry detergent, laundromat cash cards, cookies, and gifts for children. In-person ministry resumed July 2021. St. Christopher sponsors Hopewallah, a medical mission to lepers in Hyderabad, India by sending medical supplies and funding work of doctors: “Dr. Andy” and Latha Babbili, church members.
The Church of the Good Shepherd, Granbury, has been a supporter of Hood County Habitat for Humanity for decades, and that relationship continues. Members volunteer and support Mission Granbury, which oversees a county-wide food bank, the shelter for women and children, and veteran’s assistance. Congregants volunteer at court appointed special advocates for children in nearby counties. They also support Joseph’s Locker, a food and clothing outreach ministry. Good Shepherd members volunteer as drivers and helpers to deliver meals for Meals on Wheels. Yearly during the Christmas holidays, congregation volunteers provide toys for children in Hood County (2,000 gift bags and 600-plus bicycles). In Chiapas, Mexico, Good Shepherd is a major supporter of Hogar Infatil, an organization which serves street children.
Our church plant in Wise County, the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Decatur, has continued its Ministry of the Month outreach program whereby a small congregation makes an impact far beyond its size. Among the groups they have supported in significant ways are 4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry; volunteer fire departments in Wise County; Wise Hope Shelter and Crisis Center; Disabled American Veterans, Chapter #70, Decatur; Wise County Committee on Aging; Refugees Services of Texas; Children’s Advocacy Center in Bridgeport; Wise County Animal Shelter; and Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children. In addition,
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congregants supported the Moses Project, where incarcerated men in a nearby prison sew items to present to new parents.
Resurrection finished out the year by helping families in our surrounding counties retire their medical debt. They did so by working with RIP Medical Debt, a charitable organization that buys up medical debt from collection agencies and uses donations to cover costs. With a 100 percent rating from Charity Navigator, every dollar donated pays off $100. By raising $5,000, they will pay off $500,000 in debt.
St. Luke's, Stephenville, proudly proclaims itself a place of "worship, reflection, and peace.” Congregants are challenged to live into this vision. They have an active Education for Ministry (EFM) group, one of the greatest grounding tools they have realized. In years past, St. Luke's has hosted EFM mentor training. The other grounding tool they have found is laughter. St. Luke’s has a food pantry that partners with the Tarrant Area Food Bank to provide for 150-plus families, twice a month. The congregation also addresses food insecurity at Tarleton State University (neighboring the church). St. Luke’s also hosts Monday night ”U R Loved Library,” student networking in the parish hall.
St. Catherine's Episcopal Church in Hamilton County (formerly St. Mary's) has chosen a new name representing its new spirit in mission and ministry. In 2022, St. Catherine's adopted a new logo and signage reflecting this identity.
St. Mary’s, Hillsboro, was locked out of their historic building following the 2021 end-of-litigation. The church eventually secured a former drive-in bank that faces a main street in Hillsboro, providing a highly visible location. It is the oldest continuing Episcopal parish in the North Region, founded in 1872. Parishioners celebrated their 150th anniversary spring 2022 with a reception at their building at 301 South Waco Street, Hillsboro. Members regularly pack food for school children on the free lunches and breakfasts program, making more than 200 “snack packs” at a time. Over that time, school children have been fed for 10,000 weekends.
Faith Episcopal Church (FEC) is a new name for the Episcopal Church of Wichita Falls. Following the loss of their building in 2021, parishioners worshiped at Faith Lutheran Church with the Episcopal Eucharist on Sundays at 8:45 a.m. A longtime supporter of Interfaith Outreach Services, FEC now has five members volunteering weekly in various roles. They donated more than a ton of food items in 2021. Interfaith Outreach Services provides appropriate temporary assistance to the needy in Archer and Wichita Counties.
The clergy and people of the North Region have continued their work on racial reconciliation and justice. Almost all individual congregations participate in study groups on how to be effectively anti-racist. Several clergy work with the county-wide Circle of Clergy, a group founded by Black clergy concerned with the growing racial upon the 2019 death of Atatiana Jefferson by white police officers. They worked actively to keep the community peaceful during-and-after the officer’s trial, the first on-duty police officer in Tarrant County history to be convicted of manslaughter of a civilian.
The people of the North Region are grateful they were given seat-and-voice on key diocesan governing bodies by the Episcopal DIoceses of Texas. They know from experience the value of the shared governance embraced by the polity of the Episcopal Church. They experienced not only the grave harm that can result when governance gets out of balance, but also the grace-filled growth that can happen when the laity, deacons, priests, and bishops work together to bring the Good News to the world.
As the people of the North Region move into 2023, they are exploring ways to participate more fully in the life of the whole Diocese of Texas and to continue their participation in the church beyond diocesan borders. Displaced congregations are moving ahead, creating exciting visions for new locations and expanding ministries as a reality. All the congregations are actively exploring ways to work within the Diocese of Texas, with new partners and resources. They do indeed believe that we are better together.
On a personal note, it has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with Bishops Doyle, Fisher, Ryan, and Monterroso and other leaders of the Diocese of Texas during this transition. As the bishop “next door,” I look forward to watching the North Region grow and thrive alongside the Diocese of Texas. May God bless this work.
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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.
Rounding the Globe
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An Update From Committee For Global Partnerships
In Mission For 2022:
Nurturing Meaningful Partnerships
The Committee for Global Partnerships in Mission had a full and meaningful year across the globe. From partnerships within the Episcopal Church to other areas of the world, lives were touched and made better.
Within the church, the Committee for Global Partnerships in Mission continued its work and involvement as a changemaker in the Global Episcopal Mission Network. This year's annual conference focused on Women in Mission. There was engagement with the Office of Global Partnerships and the Standing Commission on World Mission to support and host Diocesan Mission Advocates, a new initiative to promote global mission work from the General Convention.
Visiting Costa Rica
In spring 2022, seven leaders from the Diocese of Texas attended an exploratory trip to Costa Rica where they had an opportunity to spend time with Bishop Orlando Gomez and Roger Pennant Grant, Church Deployment Office (CDO) and project manager. They also visited Hogar Escuela locations (Barrio Cuba and Heredia); El Buen Pastor, Todos los Santos; and Iglesia San Lucas, Guacimo. Leaders explored Iglesia Santa Maria, Siquierres; San Francisco de Asis, San Marcos; and San Jose Obrero (site of the future diocesan center).
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Hispanic Lay Leadership Conference
During summer 2022, leaders hosted the Rev. Kattia Corella Cubillo and Tony Wynter, both delegates at the Hispanic Lay Leadership Conference.
Mission trip to Limon
Later in 2022, Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, and St. James’, Austin, sponsored a mission trip to Limon to continue construction work at San Jose Obrero. They also held “Descubriendo Nuestro Encanto: Discovering Our Spiritual Gifts” lock-in for youth from across the Diocese of Costa Rica.
Mission trip to San Jose
St. Alban’s, Waco, hosted a mission trip to San Jose where they held a week-long vacation Bible school at El Buen Pastor.
Partnership with companion dioceses continues
In January 2022 after months of planning and collaboration with Project C.U.R.E., over $400,000 in medical supplies arrived in southern Malawi for the purpose of furnishing a medical clinic in Mindanti.
In March, over $10,000 was provided to Malawi for flood relief (in response to the flood Malawi endured in early 2022).
Soon after in May, six people from Malawi made a pilgrimage to Texas. It was an exciting time as the visit came to fruition after having been delayed by the pandemic in previous years. The committee contributed $3,000 to help fund the pilgrimage. During the visit, the Malawians were able to spend time in Waco, Austin, Houston, and Galveston. Multiple parishes were blessed by their presence, gifts through song, and willingness to serve.
In August, the Mindanti clinic saw a proverbial finish line for completion, and we contributed $35,000 as a final push to this goal.
Southern Malawi Delegates Visit the Diocese of Texas
Six delegates from the Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi visited Texas in May 2022. Warm Heart International, along with the World Mission Board, hosted the delegates through June 6.
While in Houston, they toured the diocesan office and Christ Church Cathedral. The Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi is one of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas companion dioceses.
Delegation visits Houston Diocesan Center
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(Funded in part by Committee for Global Partnerships in Mission)
Partners in North Dakota
As our partners in North Dakota continue in a time of diocesan transition, co-chairs the Rt. Rev. Jeff Fisher and the Rev. Meredith Crigler visited North Dakota during their October Diocesan Convention to listen and learn. Particular attention was paid to the Indigenous ministries, their work towards reconciliations with boarding schools, environmental reparation, enculturated liturgies, and the Lakota story of place.
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Privileged to listen and bear witness to sacred stories of the North Dakota Council on Indian Ministries at their Convention, hear our Presiding Bishop preach, and connect with new friends.
Helping through grant funding
The committee also discerned a call to financially support multiple initiatives from organizations actively participating in God's mission around the globe. This included constructing 12 cisterns in southern Mexico to empower rural farms to transform their life and land. Multiple medical centers were helped to increase their capacity to provide essential medical care to those in need. Also, the committee empowered multiple schools with resources as they sought to improve education and the lives of their students.
Wrapping up 2022 and moving forward
With the Rt. Rev. Jeff Fisher serving as executive and the Rev. Meredith Crigler committed as chair, the Committee for Global Partnerships in Mission experienced a year filled with inspiration. The committee remains committed to meaningful years ahead.
To learn more about the committee’s work, please visit its Facebook page by searching “Global Partnerships EDOT.”
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All Saints, Fort Worth, Visits Kenya
All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, parishioners spent most of the last two decades working to better the lives of orphaned girls in Kenya, ensuring safe housing and education through high school for most of them and helping many go on to college. While the pandemic created hardships, Amazing Grace schools and their girls rebounded with grace and energy.
How did a small group of people who wanted to help girls orphaned by AIDS make this happen? As the schools’ name implies, it was through the grace of God and with the energy and commitment of dedicated volunteers, many from All Saints’.
In 1999, Episcopalians Bill and Yvonne Morgan met Kenyans Clarice and Abuto in the United States. Abuto invited the Morgans to go to Kenya with him. In 2000, they did so, taking a team of six to Kenya. It was this trip which led the Morgans and others to work with Abuto and Clarice with girls orphaned by AIDS.
By 2001, a ministry was established in which Clarice and Abuto supported orphans in the homes where they lived. Father Joshua Ogendi, a priest at the Cathedral in Kisumu, oversaw that early program. Over time, it was decided that a home for the girls would be a much better approach. The Morgans personally purchased the land between 2002 and 2003, and held it while continuing to help the children in their current situation as funds for the home were raised.
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In 2004, five acres of land were purchased in Awasi, Kenya, for the girls' home. Construction of the girls' dormitory, the admission of 16 girls, and the completion of water cisterns and latrines were accomplished. The girls’ home opened Dec. 21, 2005.
By 2006, All Saints’ began what would become regular mission trips to Kenya to support the home. That year, mission trip volunteers helped complete the kitchen and dining hall and second cistern, drill a water well, and add a chicken coop. Seventy-two girls were in residence.
Beginning in 2012, visiting parishioners constructed the high school, adding a fishpond for farming tilapia and a gas generator to ensure electricity. A guest house was renovated adjacent to the property. In 2013, the Amazing Grace Secondary School of Awasi opened.
A 35-seat bus was purchased in 2014. Most importantly, that same year the first five high school graduates were off to college. The next year, the Barbara Tucker Cummings Guest House was completed and open for business.
By 2017, 40 of the original 72 girls had completed high school, with 27 of them in college. A new dorm for girls was built, and 25 new girls were admitted in the primary grade. By 2018, there were 26 girls in college and 20 girls in high school. Nineteen young women finished their education and are now adults working independently in the world.
Amazing Grace Primary School opened in 2019, serving both the Amazing Grace girls as well as girls from the surrounding neighborhood. By then, 49 girls had graduated from high school, with 20 in post-high school education and seven in four-year universities.
Today, a few of the alumni have returned to work at Amazing Grace as teachers, cooks, guidance
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counselors, and dorm mothers.
In 2022, All Saints’ committed to supporting 26 additional orphans.
As Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
Couple that with the power of God’s amazing grace, and anything can happen.
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St. Christopher, Fort Worth: Hopewallah's Commitment to India
Leprosy and references to it are mentioned 68 times in the Bible, with it usually being associated with having sinned or being cursed. According to the World Health Organization, leprosy is one of “the oldest diseases ever recorded with the first cases dating back to almost 600 B.C.”
While a cure has existed since 1940, the fear and stigma associated with the disease, also called Hansen’s disease, proves harder to cure.
One Episcopal congregation in Fort Worth is doing what it can to help those afflicted by the disease and its stigma. Through the decades-long work of parishioner Dr. Anantha (Andy) Babbili and his family, the congregation has learned how some communities across the world continue to require infected people to live in quarantine sites often called “leper colonies.” About 750 such colonies currently exist in India, with an estimated 200,000 people affected, including children.
Babbili’s father, the Rt. Rev. Babbili Prabhudas, first Bishop of the Diocese of Karimnager in the Church of South India and his late wife Sarah Prabhudas dedicated their lives to providing the spiritual, medical, social, and domestic needs of hundreds of lepers, families, and neighbors residing in a leper colony at Borabanda, Parvathnager, Hyderabad, India.
Prabhudas died in 1996, but Babbili has carried on his father’s work through the non-profit charity Hopewallah, a medical mission.
The Hopewallah website says: “People who contract leprosy are affected both physically and socially. This disease has been around since Biblical times and the myths, fear and stigma surrounding it remain strong. From small children to older adults, people with leprosy are ostracized, shamed, and forced out of their communities and homes. The person with the disease is usually so humiliated and frightened they go into hiding, failing to get treatment as the disease worsens.”
One reason leprosy persists in India and other places is that it is largely a disease of the poor. Funding for innovative research to produce a vaccine tends to be concentrated in high-income nations where leprosy is rare if nonexistent. The result is that finding a vaccine for leprosy drops to the bottom of priorities for pharmaceutical companies. Add to this the fact that resistance to already existing drugs for treating leprosy appears to be rising so the stage is set for a continued and growing need for ministering to lepers.
St. Christopher is doing its part. The congregation raises money annually to send medical supplies and to fund the work of Babbili and his wife Latha. The Babbilis travel to India every year to provide treatment to members of leper colonies around Hyderabad. During their 2022 trip, Babbili and his team of four physicians, a dentist, an optometrist, six paramedics, two clerks, one manager, two drivers, and one mobile medical van driver tended to more than 3,450 patients.
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So many specialists are needed because leprosy is caused by a type of bacteria called mycobacterium leprae that affects the skin, peripheral nerves, eyes, as well as the upper respiratory tract mucosa. If the disease is not treated in a timely manner, it can lead to blindness, paralysis, the crippling of the feet and hands, permanent disability, and disfigurement.
Medical care is not the only thing the Babbilis deliver. With love and respect as well as medicine, they and their team work to ease both the physical and the emotional pain of their patients. In doing so, they are following the example of Jesus, who treated lepers and other outcasts with compassion, touching and healing.
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Although it's rare, leprosy still exists today. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 208,000 people have leprosy (Hansen's disease) around the globe, with most cases found in Asia and Africa.
Trinity Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, Continues Partnership with Zambia
Zambia, one of the poorest nations in the world, is a landlocked country in South Central Africa that is about the size of Texas. Historically, many children with any kind of disability, such as cleft palate or deafness, are considered “damaged” or cursed by God. For example, if an adult had a stroke and lost his ability to talk, it was assumed he was being punished. To counter this, a former charity called CLASP International began sending therapists several times a year to provide speech therapy to some of the people in Zambia. Next, Trinity Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, decided to make this effort self-sustaining. Parishoners wanted to change delivery of speech therapy through an ongoing effort in Zambia and have spent the last 12 years working to make this happen.
With the assistance of diocesan grants and Texas Woman’s University personnel, parishioners helped fund, plan, administer, and teach a master’s degree in speech therapy using Zoom connections. In 2015, 18 students became the first native Zambian speech therapists.
A clinic was opened by one of the graduates, and others helped in hospitals and schools. However, there was still no on-going training to provide continuous education of therapists so Trinity envisioned the creation of a university training program in the field of speechlanguage therapy.
Parishioners worked with a Zambian university, Levy Mwanawasa Medical University, to set up the degree, courses, and clinic to support the new professional degree. Three of the 2015 graduates came to the United States and completed their PhDs. They returned to Zambia to be the professors for the new degree offering. The courses at the university will begin this year.
How This All Happened:
With generosity and prayer, Episcopalians are helping change attitudes in Zambia.
For example, one little girl who has no fingers was not allowed to go to school. After the Zambian college students tested her and proved her ability to learn, she was admitted. Children with special needs are coming out of hiding and attending schools and public events.
Special schools have opened for children with intellectual disabilities. The first Zambian speech therapy clinic has opened, and people are lining up to get in.
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Funding has sprung from 12 years of efforts by the faithful parishioners of the former diocese of Fort Worth. In 2011, the diocese determined to tithe its budget for mission and outreach. Grants from the resulting Mission and Outreach Committee of the former diocese (since July, the North Region of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas) have covered thousands of dollars and years of support for the efforts in Zambia.
Members of Trinity donated thousands of hours of work, and the Trinity Reaching Out Committee provided financial support. Parishioners shipped 500 pounds of medical equipment, university supplies, and program set-up materials to Zambia. Members of Trinity made hospital gowns for the maternity ward and donated stethoscopes, bandages, thermometers, scrubs, lab coats, and blood pressure kits. Members collected used textbooks and laptops and leftover supplies from local hospitals.
Parishioners served as program directors and teachers. Some traveled to Zambia to help, and other parishioners provided textbooks, therapy supplies, computers, and equipment. Women of the church made more than 800 hats to help premature babies keep warm because there were no incubators. Members donated time and money to help the PhD students complete their degrees. Other members provided housing for the students, transportation to school, and unending prayers and support.
Other funding covered a brand new audiometer and supplies for the university clinic, which will open soon. The funds from the diocese also covered transportation costs for the shipments. A final crate the size of a large garage was sent last year to supply assistance to the children in the village of Hamaundo and surrounding villages and to further the advancement of speech therapy in Zambia.
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In Partnership: The Diocese of Texas Helps Decrease Mortality Rates in Southern Malawi
Through a donation of new medical equipment to the Diocese of Southern Malawi, the diocese supported this cherished relationship this past year, ultimately saving lives. Last year’s gift to more than 8,000 villagers will help significantly decrease mortality rates. The Diocese of Southern Malawi shared the televised broadcast coverage with the Diocese of Texas. The images below are from the news coverage upon arrival of the much-needed medical equipment. The dioceses are indeed a blessing to one another, and the Diocese of Texas is grateful for this partnership.
About the Southern Region of Malawi:
The Southern Region of Malawi is an area of Malawi. It covers an area of 31,753 km². Its capital city is Blantyre. In 2018, its population was 7,750,629.
Of the 28 districts in Malawi, 13 are located within the Southern Region. They are: Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Mwanza, Neno, Nsanje, Phalombe, Thyolo, and Zomba.
About Malawi: Malawi, officially the Republic of Malawi, is a landlocked country in Southeastern Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the west, Tanzania to the north and northeast, and Mozambique to the east, south and southwest. Malawi spans over 118,484 km2 (45,747 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 19,431,566 (as of January 2021). Malawi's capital (and largest city) is Lilongwe. Its second-largest is Blantyre, its third-largest is Mzuzu and its fourth-largest is its former capital, Zomba. The name Malawicomes from the Maravi, an old name for the Chewa people who inhabit the area. The country is nicknamed "The Warm Heart of Africa" because of the friendliness of its people.
Malawi is one of the world's least-developed countries. The economy is heavily based on agriculture, and it has a largely rural and rapidly growing population. The Malawian government depends heavily on outside aid to meet its development needs, although the amount needed (and the aid offered) has decreased since 2000. The Malawian government faces challenges in its efforts to build and expand the economy, improve education, healthcare, and environmental protection, and become financially independent despite widespread unemployment. Since 2005, Malawi has developed several policies that focus on addressing these issues, and the country's outlook appears to be improving: Key indicators of progress in the economy, education, and healthcare were seen in 2007 and 2008.
Malawi has a low life expectancy and high infant mortality. HIV/AIDS is highly prevalent, which both reduces the labor force and requires increased government expenditures. The country has a diverse population that includes native peoples, Asians, and Europeans. Several languages are spoken, and there is an array of religious beliefs. Although in the past there was a periodic regional conflict fueled in part by ethnic divisions, by 2008 this internal conflict had considerably diminished, and the idea of identifying with one's Malawian nationality had reemerged. Image/Content Credit: Wikipedia
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Christ Church Cathedral Celebrates Holy Eucharist and Prays in Support of Peace and Ukrainian Relief Efforts
Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, dedicated a service to peace and solidarity with the people of Ukraine in spring 2022.
A special offering provided support to Ukrainian relief efforts during the service, which included the Holy Eucharist and special music. Cathedral priests wore blue regalia in solidarity and support instead of the traditional purple stoles reflecting the liturgical season of Lent. Sunflowers, the Ukranian symbol for peace, were placed on the altar.
Christ Church Cathedral's then Dean, the Rev. Barkley S. Thompson, called the conflict “heartrending.”
Thompson said, “With equal parts empathy and existential concern, members of our own community are asking, ‘What can we do?’”
Thompson was featured in a KPRC–TV Channel 2 (Houston's ABC affiliate) interview regarding the dedication service. He said many of the parishioners wanted to respond in a constructive way to the suffering across the globe.
At a separate event, the Rev. Canon Becky Zartman hosted a conversation with parishioners titled, "The People and Pain of Ukraine.” This talk about current events from a perspective of faith allowed for a time to listen, be heard, and know that God’s redemption is working.
Christ Church Cathedral also hosted a special prayer service for peace in Ukraine and for the comfort and protection of the Ukrainian people. The April 2022 service offered prayers for peace in Ukraine and throughout the world.
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St. Thomas’, College Station, Uses Yoga to Raise Funds, Awareness for Ukraine
St. Thomas’ Episcopal, College Station, found a creative, healthful way to support the people of Ukraine by enlisting yoga in its fundraiser.
An event held May 21, 2022 called “Yoga for Peace” was led by parishioners LeeAnn Chapman and Mary Liwanag. Attendees offered prayers and donated money to World Central Kitchen.
The organization provides meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises around the globe. It enlists chefs, bakers and other volunteers in Ukraine to provide hot meals, fresh foods and other supplies rendered unavailable because of the war with Russia.
The World Central Kitchen website says it reaches more than 230 cities and towns in Ukraine in its food relief operation.
“A lot of times, we don’t think about the little guy that gets hurt,” Chapman said. “It’s the big war and the big country and we don’t think about it all the way down to the small children. I really was just praying for those people that they feel peace and comfort when they have a warm meal.”
The event is the second time St. Thomas’ has hosted the yoga fundraiser which welcomed beginner to advanced yoga enthusiasts.
(This story aired on KBTX-TV Bryan/College Station on May 21, 2022 and was covered by reporter Caleb Britt.)
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How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1
Reunification 2022: We're Better Together!
An old Texas saying says: “Long as I got a biscuit, you got half.” It’s a short way of saying that friends and family take care of one another, that we are better together.
“Better Together” quickly became the theme of the 2022 reunion of two dioceses, the Episcopal Church in North Texas, formerly the Diocese of Fort Worth; and the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
The process of exploring reunification began in April. Episcopal Church in North Texas was born out of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in 1849 and later became part of the Missionary District of Northern Texas in 1874. In 1895, they joined the new Diocese of Dallas, and then became the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in 1982.
In February 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, which upheld the decision of the Texas Supreme Court. With that decision most of the property–including the name of the diocese–was awarded to people who left the Episcopal Church in 2008.
This concluded a long period of litigation following a 2008 schism involving the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth when a majority of clergy and lay leaders voted to leave the Episcopal Church in disagreement over the ordination of women and full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people.
Just as they did in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 schism, the resilient, faithful people of the diocese found new places to worship and didn’t miss a beat in carrying on the vital ministries and outreach to their neighbors. The diocese also decided on the new name, the Episcopal Church in North Texas.
In fall of 2021, Bishop Mayer called together a discernment group of clergy and lay leaders to begin the process of identifying and evaluating options for the future of the Episcopal Church in North Texas. The discernment group eventually concluded that exploring a reunion with the Episcopal Diocese of Texas made sense.
In January of last year, the discernment group sent its recommendation to the standing committee of the Episcopal Church in North Texas: It should reunite with the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. On April 12, the standing committee of the Episcopal Church in North Texas voted to engage in conversations with the Diocese of Texas about potential reunification.
On behalf of the standing committee, Bishop Mayer reached out to Bishop C. Andrew Doyle with an invitation to visit the Episcopal Church in North Texas and open formal conversations between the dioceses. Bishop Doyle responded. Then, on April 24, he issued a pastoral letter to the Diocese of Texas, explaining the proposal.
To the people of the then Episcopal Church in North Texas, the Bishop of Texas said, "We are family, we love you, and we are delighted to explore this with you.”
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GC80: Presiding Bishop Curry and Bishop Mayer embrace in celebration of reunification
Bishops united at GC80
Once the legalities of reunion were worked out, Bishop Doyle reconvened the 173rd Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas on June 9. The council overwhelmingly voted to reunite with the Episcopal Church of North Texas. The purpose of the reconvening was expressly to vote on two resolutions: the first being reuniting with the Episcopal Church in North Texas and the other, authorizing a bishop assistant for what would become the North Region of the diocese.
“The people of the Diocese of Texas warmly welcome our siblings home,” the bishop said. “This reunification process is very exciting, and we are elated about the extraordinary possibilities that come with becoming part of this region of Texas. The Episcopal Church of North Texas will bring great perspectives and divine gifts to our diocese and as one, we will reach and bring more people to God. At the end of the day, that is our purpose.”
On June 18, Bishop Mayer called to order a special meeting of the Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Church in North Texas to vote on reunion. The vote was unanimous. In a video address to the convention after the vote, Bishop Doyle said: “We are better together.”
The reunification process then moved to General Convention, where on July 9, the House of Deputies voted unanimously to approve Resolution D050, setting in motion the reunification of the Fort Worthbased North Texas with the Diocese of Texas. On June 11, during its final day in Baltimore, the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church approved the reunification with a unanimous vote in the House of Bishops. The vote was taken on the last day because upon final passage of the resolution, the North Texas diocese ceased to exist. By waiting until the end, the deputation from the Fort Worth based diocese was able to take part fully in General Convention.
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Scenes from GC80
The House of Bishops greeted the vote with a standing ovation and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry invited the bishops of Texas and Bishop Mayer to join him on the platform.
“We rejoice with the good people of both dioceses at this reunion, even while we acknowledge the painful history of the past years for our friends in North Texas,” Curry said. “I look forward to what will be accomplished in service to Jesus of Nazareth as the resilient North Texans rejoin the Texas diocese.
“We are being welcomed gratefully and gladly into a diocese that shares our values,” Bishop Mayer said. “We believe this reunion will strengthen both parties, equipping The Episcopal Church to reach the people of North Texas, the fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States, more effectively with our message of God’s unconditional love.”
“As we move toward a new future together, we are unified by the Love of Christ Jesus who prayed for us – that we all may be one and we are thankful for this reunion,” said Bishop Doyle.
Bishop Scott Mayer ended his time with the North Region at the end of 2022.
The North Region of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas has opened an office just south of downtown Fort Worth. It is the Fort Worth Diocesan Center. A bishop discernment group of clergy and lay leaders is working at Bishop Doyle’s request to determine what is needed in the new bishop assistant for the region. Laypeople and clergy have been invited to serve on diocesan bodies, and the region’s clergy are being fully integrated into the diocese. Diocesan staff at the Fort Worth Diocesan Center include the Rev. Canon Dr. Janet Waggoner, Adriana Cline, and Joseph Roberts.
It's an exciting time to be sharing biscuits as together we spread the Good News of a loving, living, liberating God.
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Bishops celebrate the reunification with Presiding Bishop Curry
42 | Texas Episcopalian 2022 All About the Fort Worth Diocesan Center in the North Region... Who's Who in the Office? A bishop assistant will be appointed by Bishop C. Andrew Doyle. DIOCESAN STAFF Adriana
Accounting Specialist Joseph Roberts Executive Assistant Katie Sherrod, communications contractor—located in Fort Worth— assists Houston-based diocesan communications team. CONTACT INFORMATION: Main Phone: 817.534.1900 Address: 209 S. Main, Fort Worth, TX 76104 Website: www.epicenter.org Image: Fort Worth Diocesan Center
for Congregational Vitality
The Rev. Canon Dr. Janet Waggoner Canon Missioner
1 Peter 4:10
Empowering Missional Communities and Planting Churches
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Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.
St. Isidore Church Plant, Spring, Expands Missional Community Presence
Community growth and facility enhancements are historied at St. Isidore, Spring, as it ended 2022.
Artwork, including an interactive mural on a front-facing wall has turned the cafe into a seasonal art gallery. Enhanced gardens adorn the main property. Busy hands made improvements including paint and flooring.
St. Isidore has multiple gathering places as its communities gather weekly to incorporate a meal, prayer, and discussion. Some communities include specific meetings and activities for youth, seniors, men, and women. They incorporate worship coupled with interests ranging from yoga and conditioning to gardening to fellowship through food and gardening.
A twice-monthly senior bingo event attracts approximately 50 participants for lunch and games. A free cafe has seen increased traffic as a community wellness program was launched as exercise and nutrition classes are on the menu.
A Spanish-language program called “San Isidro” is growing in popularity as well.
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Houston Area St. Gallaudet Deaf Prayer Group Grows in 2022
St. Gallaudet Deaf prayer group saw tremendous growth in 2022, adding 74 members to its roster.
The group welcomed new English voicer Phil Berrie. Berrie is a faithful Episcopalian who has a love for American Sign Language (ASA) and continues on his journey of learning the language. His role contributes to St. Gallaudet’s mission of worshiping in ASL and English simultaneously, with neither language acting as a secondary or lesser language. The group is also blessed on many occasions with guest voicers, including Bishop Doyle during Holy Week.
To facilitate those of St. Gallaudet participating in the livestream, Amy Waltz-Reasonover signed Eucharist alongside Bishop Doyle during the opening worship of Council. This opened doors to travel to parishes throughout our diocese to do similar work.
Representing St. Gallaudet, Waltz-Reasonover began traveling to parishes to sign worship and invite congregations into the welcoming of Deaf worshippers in their communities. The group visited Emmanuel Episcopal, Katy; St. Phillips, Hearne; Grace Episcopal, Houston; Calvary Episcopal, Bastrop; and St. Mark’s, Houston, Integrity Worship. Also visited were Lord of the Streets, Houston, as it relaunched worship on Christmas Eve. Regular participation continued with Houston Canterbury and St. Luke the Evangelist, Houston in Third Ward. St. Gallaudet also facilitated a time of online remembrance and memorial for the University of Houston's Dr. Scot Pott, who was a leader in Houston's deaf community. Leading nearly 150 people in memorializing Pott, the group nenewed a profound connection to our local community and service to those who were hurting.
After participating in Easter Vigil at Grace, St. Gallaudet’s was featured in an Episcopal News Service article on April 28, 2022 by Egan Millard. This article generated several new inquiries about deaf worship, both throughout our diocese and in the larger church, opening opportunities for people of the group to serve the church in new and exciting ways. The group is seeing a movement surrounding justice and freedom for deaf Episcopalians and is pleased to be part of that movement of the Spirit.
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CHURCH PLANT UPDATES
Belton Church Plant
Like a tree rooting, the Belton Church Plant steadily grew in late 2022.
The church plant held its first service August 21, 2022, as the Rev. Rachel Harber transitioned from part time to full time at the beginning of the month.
The congregants began worshiping under leadership of Harber mid-September with a core of six, at the Bell Fine Arts Center. By October, they moved to Nolan Creek and worshiped underneath a tree, symbolic of the growth spurt the Belton Plant experienced through year’s end.
The gospel text, Prayers of the People and Communion were cornerstones services, but congregants kept low-key as they met people in the park and handed out coffee and dog bones.
In November, the congregation began moving into a physical location. Harber settled into the office and began figuring out a system and rhythm to gather in the new space Sunday mornings. The initial service in the new space attracted 19. The month brought new partnerships. A contingent of progressive, open, and affirming church leaders in the area met each first Thursday of the month to collaborate, to encourage one another, and to begin planning ways to bring all communities together for events.
By December, leaders had begun implementing Sunday service teams and testing out new processes for welcoming new guests and getting newcomers oriented. Nametags became official and the children’s ministry launched, beginning with one on Advent one, to nine, by Advent three. The congregation hosted a holiday open house during Christmas on the Chisholm Trail and had seven newcomers visit after connecting with them through the event.
December also brought student visitors from Temple College to their church community as the reverend worked over the course of the past year to build trust with students and show there is space in the church for them. After months of outreach and relationship building, the first official Bible study group met in the Arnold Student Center to study the annunciation of Jesus' birth to Mary. The group begins a weekly meeting schedule in 2023.
Community outreach projects and partnerships thrive in the congregation. The following are projects implemented in 2022:
• Partnered with Foster Love in Belton to prepare a meal for 40 foster families
• Continued partnership with Temple College Leopard Food Pantry to help fill the shelves on a monthly basis as an extension of the campus ministry
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Campus Ministry has developed at Temple College with students attending services and a Bible study group that began gathering in December.
• Harber has forged ecumenical partnerships between other progressive clergy in the area. They meet once a month for support in ministry and make plans for gathering their communities together for a quarterly ecumenical worship service.
As they tweak their systems and determine a good flow for Sunday mornings, Harber and the Deacon Glennda Hardin schedule one-on-ones with newcomers.
It has truly been a miraculous year at the Belton Church Plant, and the last three months in 2022 were a time of exponential growth.
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Jubilee Church Plant, Austin, Gathers for First Time, Celebrating Pride Eucharist
Jubilee Episcopal Church Plant gathered for the first time since receiving designation as a church plant. Father Lizzie McManus-Dail celebrated a Pride Eucharist during this first worship service. Allies were welcomed and all were invited to attend. This Pride Eucharist was set as an outdoor worship service where there was an opportunity to hear lessons from the Bible celebrating LGBTQIA+ people and God's colorful wonder. There was singing and praying. The sharing of Holy Communion made the celebration all the more sacred.
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Mosaic Episcopal Church, Pearland
In December 2022, a congregation of 36 adults and nine children gathered for Christmas Eve liturgy and collected an impact offering to reduce lunch debt in Pearland ISD. Onehundred percent of the collection went to the cause, raising approximately $7,500.
In November, Mosaic welcomed new staff member Jenn Villarreal who is entrusted with children’s ministry and administrative work of the church. The church hopes to expand building space in the coming year.
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Mosaic Episcopal Church, Pearland,
is making a meaningful and tangible impact in the west
Northside Episcopal Church, Houston
Northside Episcopal, Houston, is a bilingual church plant which has grown in all directions. First, parishioners expanded their outdoor footprint last year, as they developed a garden which is tended to by a team of new worshipers and volunteers. They raised money to launch a youth group which is focused on wellness. A number of field trips included roller skating in the fall and “Zoo Lights” during Christmas. The church continued its support of relationship building with teens and young-adult parents through the provision of diapers, wipes, baby furniture and more. Moving worship back indoors, the church added a children's Eucharist to Sunday morning worship offerings. The first baptisms will take place on Easter 2023. While the vicar handled all operations, communications, formation, financial and administration functions in 2021, these duties are now completed by staff and trained volunteers as the church “grows and goes.”
The church's leadership team participated in a ministry incubator through the Episcopal Health Foundation. It is built on models and facilitated by the Kaleidoscope Institute. Kaleidoscope provides a model used internationally to strengthen the impact and sustainability of communityoriented ministries. It includes six “currencies” or resources which, when combined, can lead to a more transformational ministry. As a result, Northside Episcopal entered into a listening campaign with educators, residents, service providers, and more. The church immediately provided friendship and technical assistance to a neighborhood association deep in the pressures and conflicts created by gentrification. Today the church is researching strategies to grow and define its ministry to youth and to possibly respond to youth and young adult homelessness.
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Misión Santa Fé Church Plant, Plum Grove, Celebrates Scholarship and Retired Carpenter
Misión Santa Fé Church Plant, Plum Grove, (now San Esteban, Cleveland/ Liberty County), was initially envisioned in November 2020 during the midst of the pandemic. With 72 members and growing, it averages between 35-40 attendees each Sunday evening. Parishioners first met in homes located in a master-planned community called Santa Fé, near Cleveland. Now they gather in a community center within the community.
The community has several sections and is growing leaps and bounds. William Llana, church planter, hopes to see even more people become part of this community-based ministry.
In 2022, the church plant had two graduates who were each awarded $500 scholarships. One of the graduates received the longstanding Vera Gang Scott scholarship. Llana is hopeful that his community is able to raise funds for scholarships in the future.
The church is appreciative of one of its oldest member's carpentry skills. The now-retired Mario Jimenez constructed the altar, cross, and lectern. Prior to Jimenez learning of the church's needs, members had prayed for help.
Kudos to the Misión Santa Fé Church Plant, Plum Grove, family for serving as yet another example of a successful church plant within the diocese.
St. Philip the Evangelist, Houston
St. Philip the Evangelist, Houston, aims to strengthen its congregation through fostered leadership development in 2023. The church located in southwest Houston recruited four congregants in 2022 who will train for three years in a role to be disciples to communicate God’s word.
After being slowed by the coronavirus, pews are beginning to fill in this Sudanese community church. St. Phillip’s believes it is important to respect and recognize celebrations like the Fourth of July in America and the South Sudan Independence Day so that parishioners feel a sense of belonging in the church.
Conflict resolution training in 2022 taught by the Rev. Agook K. Kuol helped parishioners learn approaches and strategies to ease problems and develop better relationships. Kuol took the courses in a refugee camp years ago and shares the knowledge within the St. Philip community.
“We discover that the Bible teaches us more about conflict and how to deal with it,” Kuol said. In his proverbs, Solomon stresses that ‘Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs’ (Proverbs 10:12).
Along with worship, training, and celebrations, the church also focused on growing its children’s ministries in 2022.
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Saint Cecilia’s Blossoms Through Growth, Exploration
Saint Cecilia’s, Round Top, blossomed through growth and exploration in 2022. A milestone included the ringing of the bell being rung February as it became an official fellowship by the Diocesan Council.
Highlights for the year include:
Fourteen confirmations were celebrated in October 2022 as the congregation celebrated its first year. Bishop Ryan officiated. In addition, several Discovery Days for spiritual growth were offered to new members.
The Saint Cecilia's Series supplied concerts, lectures, creative worship experiences, and collaborative presentations. A comedy show featured a variety of artists from locales in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Nevada. Notable presenters and performers included Fletcher Clark, David Pulkingham, Crispin Schroeder, the Axiom String Quartet, and Elias Haslanger and musicians. Las Vegas comedian David Dendy performed, as well as musician Crispin Schroeder, and Academy Award nominated screenwriter William Broyles, Jr. Many other artists and performers enriched the community.
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The Rev. Bill Miller and wife Sandy
Other highlights include
• Sunday morning attendance began to exceed capacity toward the end of 2022, resulting in adding a second service in the new year.
• Best-attended and creative/collaborative services included the Good Friday Meditations on John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme”; "Roots and Wings" outdoor mass featuring the music of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Van Morrison, Allison Kraus, Tom Petty, John Prine, and Bob Dylan via musicians from Louisiana and Texas; Ash Wednesday Meditations on Music and Meaning featuring Beethoven's "Heiliger Dankgesang" with the Axiom String Quartet; and a Jazz to the World Christmas Celebration.
• Annual Animal Blessing in Henkel Square, raising $3,000 for the local Janssen Animal Shelter
• Over Thanksgiving parishioners donated a truckload of food and over $1,000 to the Amen Food Pantry and Janssen Center.
• Participated in Episcopal Relief and Development "Thousand Days of Love" campaign
• Women's and men's ministries attracted over 100 participants in Bible studies, wellness groups, Benedictine spirituality groups, and socials, and planned their first dinner for couples.
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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.
Discerning and Leaning into The Call to Ministry
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May 12-14 / sepT 15-17
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 Weekend to help discern your calls.
You are encouraged to contact the office of the Executive for Ministry at 512.478.0580; 800.947.0580 or email discovery@ epicenter.org to ask any questions.
The Diocese of Texas strives to help all our members to discover their gifts for ministry and to identify leaders, lay and ordained, for Christ’s mission. Discerning a call to ministry is not limited to those seeking ordination. The Diocese hopes to raise up lay and ordained leaders who are willing to be the face, hands, and heart of Christ in our communities and in the world. Discovery Weekend is a time to explore ways to consider how your gifts and experiences and the people around you can help you to hear God’s voice for your life, study scripture, sing and pray, have good conversations, and learn about the various roles into which God calls people to serve the church and the world.
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The Iona School for Ministry
The Iona School for Ministry held its graduation during summer 2022 at Camp Allen.
Congratulations to the 13 graduates: Donna Brackett, Helena Danielli, Christopher, DeVore, Rhonda Fanning, Linda Ford, Robert Gray, Dennis Grill, Carrie HIrdes, Michael Hirdes, Karen Jaworski, Rob Jerger, Annelies Moeser, and Michael Thomas.
The following awards were presented to the respective recipients:
The Episcopal Church Women Scholarship - Granted to support women in formation for church leadership. Recipient - Suzanne Hollifield
The Sam Todd Award - Granted to recognize and acknowledge a rising senior who exhibits integrity and exemplary Christian leadership; inspires, motivates, and encourages others; values academic excellence and ministry formation; and commits to selfless service for the Glory of God. Recipient - Steven Tomlinson
The Rev. Israel Ahimbisibwe Memorial Scholarship Award was established by the Rev. John and Lucy Carr in memory of the Rev. Ahimbisibwe. Israel was a much-loved member of the Iona School faculty before his tragic death in 2015. A priest serving in Houston, he taught Old Testament at the Iona School for Ministry. The Rev. John Carr was a former student of Ahimbisibwe and an Iona graduate. Recipient - Laura Warner-Gilmer
Cursillo Proves to Be Inclusive
Cursillo #258 took place at Camp Allen, August 11-14. Two participants added a special element for all who attended: Crystal and her guide dog Quenna, from Christ Episcopal Church, Temple. By adding a unique spirit within the group and deeply inspiring others, the duo are now serving as catalysts to help make sure Cursillo is even more inclusive for participants with visual impairment or for others who need varied accommodations.
Cursillo is part of the Episcopal Experience in over 60 countries. It is also a unique heritage in the Diocese of Texas. In the diocese, Cursillo has helped thousands to both realize new insights into faith and foster ministry in local and wider communities.
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The Rt. Rev. Kathryn Ryan:
The Rev. Katie Wright as rector of St. Matthew's, Austin
Wednesday, February 2, 2022 at 7 p.m.
The Rev. Samantha Smith as rector of St. Paul's, Waco
Friday, February 18, 2022 at 5:30 p.m.
The Rev. Robin Reeves-Kautz as rector of St. Timothy's, Lake Jackson
Sunday, March 22, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.
The Rev. Genevieve Razim as rector of All Saint', Austin
Thursday, April 28, 2022 at 7 p.m.
The Rev. Korey Wright as rector of St. Thomas', College Station
Friday, May 13, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.
The Rev. Peggy Lo as rector of St. Alban’s (Manchaca), Austin
Saturday, August 27, 2022 at 10:30 a.m.
The Rev. Keith Pozzuto as rector of Christ Church, Temple
Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.
The Rt. Rev. Hector Monterroso:
The Rev. Greg Seme as vicar of St. Alban's, Houston
Saturday, January 29, 2022 at 11 a.m.
The Rev. Dr. Justin Briggle, PhD, as rector of Good Shepherd, Friendswood
Friday, September 23, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.
The Rt. Rev. Jeff Fisher:
The Rev. James Pevehouse as rector of St. Mark's, Beaumont
Saturday, March 12, 2022 at 4 p.m.
The Rev. David Faulkner as rector of St. Cyprian's, Lufkin
Wednesday, April 27, 2022 at 6 p.m.
The Rev. John Soard as rector of Holy Comforter, Spring
Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.
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Scenes from Installations
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The Rev. Greg Seme installed as vicar of St. Alban's, Houston
The Rev. Peggy Lo installed as rector of St. Alban’s (Manchaca), Austin
The Rev. James Pevehouse installed as rector of St. Mark's, Beaumont
The Rev. John Soard installed as rector of Holy Comforter, Spring
The Rev. Samantha Smith installed as rector of St. Paul's, Waco
The Rev. Korey Wright installed as rector of St. Thomas', College Station
Scenes from Installations
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The Rev. Katie Wright installed as rector of St. Matthew's, Austin
The Rev. Keith Pozzuto installed as rector of Christ Church, Temple
The Rev. Dr. Justin Briggle, PhD, installed as Good Shepherd, Friendswood
The Rev. Genevieve Razim installed as rector of All Saints, Austin
The Rev. Robin Reeves-Kautz installed as rector of St. Timothy's, Lake Jackson
The Rev. David Faulkner installed as rector of St. Cyprian's, Lufkin
scenes FroM 2022 deacons’ ordInaTIon
Campus Ministry Happenings
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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.
Austin Canterbury Experiences Regrowth, New Leadership
After the brunt of the pandemic, the Austin Canterbury has been working to strengthen connections and work to reintroduce the campus ministry to the University of Texas. Throughout the week, the student community at Austin Canterbury (formally called the Episcopal Student Center of Austin) gathered for morning prayer, meals, study, and conversation. Canterbury's “pay-what-you-can" counseling program continued to serve about 75 clients at universities across central Texas.
The Rev. Travis Helms, campus missioner, left Austin Canterbury spring semester 2022. The Rev. Noah Stansbury arrived in August as its new missioner.
“It’s an exciting time to be at the Episcopal Student Center,” said Stansbury, who formerly served as campus missioner at Clemson University in South Carolina.
Stansbury was raised as a Pentecostal in Georgia but discovered the Book of Common Prayer in college and has been on the Canterbury trail ever since. He completed two terms with the Episcopal Service Corps in Philadelphia and slowly discerned a call to ordination before training for the priesthood at Sewanee: The University of the South. Before coming to Texas he also served as assistant rector at Holy Trinity, Clemson, South Carolina. He lives in Austin with his cat Matilda.
South ATX Canterbury Focuses on Building New Relationships within Nontraditional College Students
South ATX Canterbury is a new expression of ministry. The ministry is directed to commuter, community college, distance-learning degree, and first-generation college students. South ATX officially launched its community in the fall of 2022 at host church St. Alban’s, Austin. The campus ministry is focused on building relationships, inhabiting its newly outfitted space, and learning about what young adults need from their faith community at this pivotal point in their lives.
“This diverse–in every way–group of post high school youth is a constant reminder of the deep value of relationships within intentional community,” said Lisa Perez, missioner for South ATX. “Being able to offer funds for things like gas and childcare costs has eliminated hurdles and made it an equitable opportunity for the young adults. In 2023, they are looking forward to a volunteer-focused mission trip, engaging in the parish life of St. Alban’s, and finding more opportunities to serve the community.”
Perez has a background as an educator and currently works with first-year teachers at Austin Community College’s Teacher Certification Program. She also layers that job with her work as youth minister at St. Alban’s, Austin.
“South ATX Canterbury has been a natural extension of that ministry,” she said.
When not in the classroom or at church, Perez spends as much time as possible with her husband and two children.
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Houston Canterbury Completes Five-year Strategic Plan
Houston Canterbury completed its five-year strategic plan, projecting expansion to eight campuses by 2027. The Canterbury also added more than a dozen new students in 2022.
The Rev. Charles Graves has been campus missioner at Houston Canterbury since 2019 and also serves as a member of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church.
Rice University Episcopal Campus Missioner Sarah Condon saw tremendous growth in both the students she helps serve at the university and through a collective outreach to the broader community.
Condon has served in her position with the church at Rice for four years and lives in Houston with husband Josh and two children.
Student volunteers at Rice helped provide support last year for children taking the Texas STAAR test which measures academic growth. They packed 600 bags of necessities for children taking the STAAR test who come from homes unable to provide what they need during this high pressure day of the school year.
A retreat in Galveston in spring 2022 allowed for outreach work, and participants also attended worship at Trinity Episcopal, Galveston.
Condon said, “As one of the only LGBTQ+ ministries on campus, our message of Grace and the Gospel of Jesus Christ continues to spread. It has been a joy to see what God is doing.”
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Prairie View A&M Canterbury Gains Momentum Upon Re-establishment
Prairie View A&M University Canterbury was re-established as a student organization in 2021. The Canterbury in Prairie View had a successful year and gives special thanks to the dedication, connections, and experience from leaders Darryl Johnson, Herbert Thomas, Dr. Carla Whittaker, Seab Smith, and Florine Muse.
Student participants are undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students who are studying varied subjects, including engineering, computer information systems, juvenile justice, psychology, accounting, nursing, and sociology. The students are from the United States, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Nigeria.
Several students who attend the Anglican church in their home countries also attend services on Sundays. The sons of Ugoahalam and Ernest James and Bargavi Krishnan were baptized by Bishop Doyle on Oct. 23, 2022. George Ekechukwu reaffirmed his baptismal covenant at the same service.
Canterbury met every other week on Sundays at 1:30 p.m. during the spring 2022 semester. In the fall, congregants began to meet every week. At each meeting, they share a meal, study the Bible, and discuss how to live as faithful disciples. For Thanksgiving, Prairie View Canterbury purchased and delivered 65 meals to seniors in Prairie View and Hempstead.
The Rev. Canon Glenice Robinson-Como led a prayer and meditation practice using labyrinths. Stephanie Townes, missioner for youth and young adults, also joined them for a meeting.
Students Shadiamon Bain (BS, Psychology), Kala Washington (BS, Criminal Justice) and David Burrows (MS, Civil Engineering) graduated in December 2022. Students Kennedy Harris and James Fearon were wed by the Rev. Rhonda Rogers on Dec. 10, 2022 at St. Francis of Assisi.
The love and welcomes received by students through the Canterbury has created a safe, inclusive environment. Alumni report that they share their experiences and encourage others to join.
Due to the growth of the Canterbury, the diocese initiated a search for a full-time missioner. The Rev. Enrique McCartney accepted the call and arrived in Texas the week after Christmas, and congregants look forward to the shared ministry between the Canterbury and St. Francis of Assisi.
Prairie View A&M University Canterbury remains grateful for the support of this ministry and urges continued prayers. These young adults want and need fellowship and are seeking to create deep relations with God. They look for ways to demonstrate their faith through outreach and service.
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Sam Houston State University
The Episcopal Student Center (ESC) at Sam Houston State University continued to meet student needs in 2022 by providing a student staple: the sack lunch.
Students are provided a sack lunch from the student center’s fridge on the front porch during the week. Weekly Bible study groups meet Wednesdays, with Holy Communion each Sunday. Two members of the ESC attended the Discovery Retreat to seek discernment.
The Sam Houston ESC continues to be open to the needs and concerns of all students, regardless of their backgrounds.
As an example, a request from multiple students led to the ESC hosting the weekly Dungeons and Dragons Game. D&D is a fantasy, tabletop, role-play game which allows players to create their own characters as they embark on adventures with a fantasy setting. From the group of 40 players, the ESC gained four new members in its student center community.
The Sam Houston ESC shares this message: “We are open to how God will use us in our community.”
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Grace Episcopal, Georgetown, Supports Southwestern Students in Worship, Fellowship
Although Southwestern University does not currently have an active Canterbury, Grace Episcopal, Georgetown, supports students as a neighbor to the university.
The church is across the street from the university, and Grace Episcopal's the Rev. Anne Matthews heads up the Canterbury ministry. Dr. Melanie Hoag Bliss is on staff at Southwestern and a member of Grace. Both Matthews and Bliss hope to relaunch the Southwestern Canterbury in spring 2023.
In the meantime, Grace Episcopal reaches out to students and engages through providing evening meals. In 2022 four meals provided food for 180 students. Grace will continue the fellowship in 2023 as the Canterbury is planned and organized.
Tyler Canterbury Welcomes Students to New Space for Campus Ministry
The year 2022 was a year of new growth and possibility for Tyler Canterbury. Tyler Canterbury welcomed the development of a new campus ministry space that lends room to share in God’s love, fellowship, and wonders.
The space at 3320 Troup Highway allows for new opportunities for ministry as the missional community continues to show God’s love to students in the Tyler college community.
A service of Holy Eucharist and Blessing of the Space was held at the new Tyler Canterbury Campus Ministry Chapel on Dec. 1, 2022. Another noted hallmark of the year was a student being confirmed in the church.
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Campus Ministry Bridged Through St. Luke’s, Tarleton State University
The campus ministry at St. Luke’s, Stephenville, had a successful year through several renewed initiatives, according to Mackenzie Campbell-Furtick, who serves as campus missioner at St. Luke’s and liaison between the church and Tarleton State University.
The “UR Loved Library" program for students and young adults enjoyed its first, full year of in-person gatherings since the pandemic. The program provided weekly meetings during the long semesters, and an average seven to 16 students were welcomed each week. Attendees played games, talked, shared meals, completed schoolwork, had meetings, and engaged with parishioners from St. Luke’s. The parishioners serve as mentors to students, talking about subjects in a safe, welcoming space.
In 2022, the campus ministry started two new programs. The first was a small-group discussion group which met every two-tothree weeks during the spring semester to discuss the book Belovedness: Finding God and Self on Campus. The second was a Wednesday evening service for the students which began in late October.
Students participated in numerous activities and ministries at St. Luke’s, as well. Community service efforts included adult education, food pantry bagging and grocery dispensing. On Thursdays, they helped serve lunches to Tarleton students and staff. The students also attended weekly worship services and served as altar guild, led the readings, and served as vestry clerk.
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Many celebrations were held throughout 2022, including one student who was baptized and one who was confirmed. One student began a year of service in the Episcopal Service Corps in August, working with homeless youth in Denver.
During the year a student wedding was held where the only attendees, aside from the couple, were the rector, one of the “UR Loved Library” mentors, and the campus missioner. All blessed the union and attended as witnesses.
The student president of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Community Ministries student organization began attending the ministries and programs in August 2021. The student joined the ministry in hopes to find a place that loves and welcomes LGBTQ+ persons. In a moment of personal sharing in the weeks following Easter, the student said: “I’m a believer again.”
As campus missioner, Campbell-Furtick says she focuses on making students feel welcome to the church community, especially those who are looking for a faith community that loves them just as they are, beloved children of God. She is a life-long Epsicopalian who grew up going to St. Luke’s and attended Tarleton State where she received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology. After working in the private sector for several years in Fort Worth, she returned to Stephenville where she serves as part-time campus missioner. Regarding the mixing of science with spirituality, she says she sees both as completely compatible and necessary elements of her being.
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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.
Accomplishments and News in Ministry
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All Souls, Arlington, Store at Crow Elementary
All Souls Episcopal Church, Arlington, has partnered with Crow Leadership Academy in Arlington ISD for more than a decade. In 2022, as they have done in previous years, All Souls provided the school with a Holiday Market.
As part of the philanthropic project, 21 women sewed 450 Christmas drawstring bags. The congregation-furnished with outreach fundsprovided games, books, and snacks for the students, supplying a gift of family fun.
Through the market, the students shop for presents for their parents and siblings. Along with the pleasure of taking home the gifts, the students are gaining academic skills by using math while shopping. For many children, these gifts will be the only ones under their Christmas trees.
On its Facebook page, the school posted: “Thank you to our partners and sponsors All Souls Episcopal Church. This group donated, sewed, assembled, and distributed 550 bags of sweet treats, games, and books for families to enjoy fellowship over the break. The kids had so much fun selecting their goodies. We are beyond grateful to all of you for your generous donation and continued support to our community.”
The Saint John's Illuminated Bible Arrives in Galveston
The Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Illuminated Bible was gifted to Trinity, Galveston. Out of 299 Heritage Editions in the world, the Saint John's Bible at Trinity is one of only eight available to the public in the state of Texas. All seven volumes were made available on display at the community open house in early October of last year, and the public was invited to view the very special gift.
According to the Galveston Daily News coverage of the event, there are 1,150 pages in the Bible with approximately 300 sheets of calfskin vellum. Each full page of its calligraphy required about one workday to complete.
The article written September 28, 2022 by reporter Rick Cousins featured in the newspaper’s “Faith” section quotes the Rev. Jimmy Abbott as he discussed the beauty and scope of the illuminated Bibles.
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Good Shepherd Episcopal Indian Church, Stafford: ‘Be with the Buddies’ Program
Be with the Buddies is an idea that emerged from intentional efforts by the Good Shepherd Episcopal Indian Church, Stafford, to create opportunities for children from the community to come and spend time together. The church shares space with All Saints Episcopal Church, Stafford.
The intent was to help children adjust to the “new normal” and reposition themselves from isolation and loneliness caused by the pandemic. All Saints Episcopal opened its doors for children and parents to be together every Saturday afternoon for a few hours and create new friendships.
The joyful noises of the children and their renewed energy to be with their buddies fueled both parents and volunteers of Good Shepherd.
The volunteers organized fun-filled activities for the children so they can learn and support one another in group settings. As a few weeks went by, there was a consistent increase in the number of participants and the enthusiasm of the parents to bring their children every Saturday afternoon.
Good Shepherd volunteers spent time together exploring possibilities of making it as an ongoing program that would help in the holistic development of the children in their growth. As a result of collective thoughts and prayers, Be with the Buddies has taken the shape of learning music and even learning to play keyboard.
This program is supported by the diocese and led by the congregation of Good Shepherd. Ashik Ittoop John, a certified musician from the Trinity School of Music, London, is the instructor and director of the program. After wrapping up the first year of learning and performing, congregants noticed how the Buddies program has positively impacted the growth of the congregation.
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The Buddies program created a wider impact in the Indian community at large. News about the program reached beyond the children. Adult members of the community developed an intense interest in the program, the congregation and the diocese. Many started to attend the worship service regularly. Volunteers offered them pastoral support in hopes that they may find a spiritual home in Good Shepherd. While Be with the Buddies started as a kids program, it has grown to be an outreach program to reach families, which is intentional and consistent.
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Artist Brings Houstonians, Laity, and Clergy Together for Community Art Project
The relationship between textiles and humanity was exhibited through a Houston community art project headed by artist Emma Baker, wife of the Rev. Deacon Jack Karn.
During spring 2022, Balder brought together a diverse group of Houstonians, including civic leaders, lay members from Palmer Memorial Church, and clergy from the diocese, for the special community art project.
Funded in part by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, “Seed of Kindred Souls invited participants to bring in a meaningful textile. They shared its story, cut it up, and gave it new life by sewing it into the larger installation. The group’s prophetic work is part of Balder's solo exhibition “Beyond the Surface” which explores the relationship between textiles and humanity. The installation was unveiled in summer 2022 at Foltz Fine Art Gallery with a panel discussion, followed by an opening reception. The installation was truly a sign of the Holy Spirit at work in our city!
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City Council Member David Robinson, Virtuoso David Adickes and the Rev. Marcia Sadberry, St. Luke the Evangelist (Houston)
62nd Diocesan Choral Festival Held In November Made Joyful Noise
The 62nd Diocesan Choral Festival took place at St. James', Houston, Nov. 20, 2022. The festival was conducted by Julia Hall, a local Episcopalian who is the chair of the vocal music department at Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.
The Choral Evensong featured service music by Thomas Tallis, as well as the anthem, "The Lord is King" by St. James' Calvin Fuller, organist and choirmaster. Both Hall and Fuller served for many years on the Diocesan Music Commission, working on projects such as the music camp and the yearly choral Festival.
Choirmaster Fuller was speechless, surprised, and touched as he was honored at the festival held at his own parish where he has served for many years.
The Rev. Victor Thomas commented that the future of the Diocesan Choral Festival is bright. This year’s festival was both culturally diverse and featured the youngest group of singers ever gathered. Eighteen churches participated, including some clergy.
Although there were older folks who participated, they were certainly outnumbered by the younger singers. There was a large contingent from Good Shepherd, Stafford. Two participants hailed from Calvary, Bastrop, and one singer came from Stephenville.
Attendees agreed that it was joyful to be with people who enjoyed singing together, and the sound was heavenly.
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Holy Apostles, Katy, Realizes Growth in 2021, 2022: Evangelism at Work
The Rev. Alex Large realized while compiling church data that Church of the Holy Apostles, Katy, had a great number of visitors and new members over the last year.
As people began to emerge from the pandemic in 2021, Holy Apostles had 49 individuals (18 families). In 2022, Holy Apostles reported attendance of 65 individuals (21 families). These numbers include both visitors and new members. The congregation celebrates the evangelism at work.
Holy Apostles also provides Facebook Live services at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.
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‘Pursenalities Project’ at St. Mark’s, Richmond
The order of Daughters of the King at St. Mark’s, Richmond, collected used purses with the goal of filling them with items such as wallets, makeup bags, keyrings, and travelsize toiletries.
The women in the order named the ministry the “Pursenalities Project.” In summer 2022, the filled purses were donated to the Fort Bend Women’s Shelter in the Richmond/ Rosenberg area.
From left: Jeannie Reavies, Isobel Gotschall, Chris Abbott, Debbie Burns, Marion Jozwiak, Peggy Wyatt, Melissa Hamon (chapter president), and Kathy Barzilla
The shelter is the primary provider of assistance services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Fort Bend County.
The Order of the Daughters of the King is a spiritual sisterhood of women dedicated to a life of prayer, service, and evangelism.
Church Also Continues Support of Juvenile Diabetes Research
St. Mark's, has also participated for the 11th year in the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) walk. ”St. Mark's Saints for a Cure” has raised over $3,600 this year for the walk.
Thirty-three families and individuals contributed to fundraising efforts in 2022. The walk took place on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Houston Sports Park. Funds raised for the JDRF walk are used to provide support to type I diabetes patients and for research to find a cure.
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4Saints Healthy Cooking
4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry resumed “Cooking Matters,” a free nutrition program offered in conjunction with Tarrant Area Food Bank, in April 2022. The classes had been suspended for more than two years as a safety measure in response to COVID-19.
During a recent session, Chef Reggie Robinson discussed how to interpret food labels and the importance of paying attention to serving sizes and recommended daily nutrient values. Robinson challenged participants, each of whom had a different snack in front of them, to calculate which food delivered the lowest amount of sodium per serving. Participants uttered their surprise upon learning that a popular breakfast cereal contained ten percent of the daily recommended value of sodium, in addition to a heavy load of added sugars.
After the nutrition lesson ended, the seven children in attendance rolled up their sleeves, washed their hands, and started cooking. Turkey burger macaroni was on the menu for the evening. While Nayeli and MiKayla browned meat under Chef Reggie’s direction, Victoria grated cheese. Proud parents looked on as their school-age children, each of whom had a kitchen task, showed off their culinary skills.
Participants received homework at the end of the class, but no one complained about the extra work. The assignment? Make turkey burger macaroni at home–ingredients and recipe provided–before the next class.
Each Cooking Matters course includes six weekly sessions. For information on upcoming classes, contact 4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry at email@example.com or 817-609-4122.
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The Brotherhood of St. Andrew Awards Two Scholarships
The Brotherhood of St. Andrew presented scholarships to Class of 2022 graduates. The winner of this year's top scholarship was Bella Boulter, Christ Church, Tyler. Bella is the daughter of the Rev. Matt and Bouquet Boulter. The Rev. Boulter is the rector of Christ Church. Bella received a $2,000 scholarship and plans to attend the University of Washington and major in pre-med.
The Brotherhood of St. Andrew also awarded a runner-up scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to Reagan Schluter from St. Dunstan's, Houston.
The brotherhood congratulates this year’s scholarship recipients. The Brotherhood of St. Andrew continues to dutifully support youth in their education endeavors across the diocese.
St. Mark’s, Houston, and Netflix’s ‘Mo’ Series
A Netflix series with a setting in Texas features the main character and series namesake, Mo. The series is produced by Mohammed Amer who also stars as Mo.
According to the Netflix description: “Mo straddles the line between two cultures, three languages, and a pending asylum request while hustling to support his Palestinian family.”
One might wonder what does this have to do with the Diocese of Texas? The answer is simple: This season’s episode 3: Remorse, is filmed, in part, at St. Mark’s, Houston.
The Rev. Patrick Miller, rector, has been involved with the production, and the church’s impressive sanctuary, seen in its entirety, in episode 3: Remorse.
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Photo: Hal Meyer, chapter director of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, pictured with fellow members of the Brotherhood from Christ Church
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
Small Church Network Attendees Benefit from Asset Based Community Development
Members of the Small Church Network of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas spent two days this fall at Camp Allen learning about Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). ABCD is a model for living and working in communities that focus on assets versus lack thereof, capacities versus needs, and potential versus failures. Bishop Jeff Fisher welcomed the Rev. Dr. Nandra Perry, director of the Iona Collaborative, who taught the group the foundational basics of ABCD and shared stories of the impact ABCD had on Hearne, Texas. Perry was assisted by Tim Wilkin of St. Philip's, Hearne, where she is vicar.
The network is a collaborative network of rural and small-town churches with less than 50 worshipers on a typical Sunday. Participants make connections between congregations, share ideas, and receive practical guidance at spring and fall gatherings. Each Small Church Network gathering focuses on supporting strength in a different aspect of mission, ministry and congregational life.
More at www.epicenter.org/resources/small-church-network/
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1 Corinthians 12:13
Racial InitiativeJustice and Diversity
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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.
Diocesan Racial Justice Initiative Chair's Update: Racial Justice Committee 2022 Annual Report Shows Impact of Four Funded Initiatives
The impactful work of the Racial Justice Committee (RJC) and its 11 members is transparent through the RJC Annual Report 2022, compiled and released by Samuel A. Dodson, committee chairman.
The RJC is composed of Bishop Doyle and 10 members of historically Black churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. It holds four meetings annually.
The committee was created in August 2020 as the bishop committed $13 million toward racial justice and reconciliation. Funds were divided equally between the RJC and Seminary of the Southwest.
Work is conducted through three funds:
• The Henrietta Wells Scholarship Fund supports African Americans attending a historically Black higher learning institute.
• The John and Joseph Talbot Fund supports diocesan projects that tell the stories about the history of slavery and other racial injustices, along with projects that uplift the community.
• The Thomas Cain Fund supports deferred maintenance projects at historically Black churches in the diocese.
The RJC works with the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) to leverage its outreach to 57 counties (prior to reunification) of the diocese. Work with EHF includes, but is not limited to, health issues and racial disparities. Now the diocese has 81 counties and we look forward to expanding this work.
Seminary of the Southwest completes its work through three major funds. Details of the work of all the funds—from the RJC and the Seminary of the Southwest—are outlined in this section of The Texas Episcopalian. Learn more about the committee’s work at edotracialjustice.org .
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Samuel A. Dodson, Chair, Racial Justice Committee (Photo credit: Tara Flannery)
20 Students Receive Henrietta B. Wells Scholarship from Racial Justice Committee
Henrietta B. Wells continues to make a difference today as she did in the 1930s as a trailblazer on a debate team where she was the first female team member. Her legacy on the debate team at Wiley College, a “Historically Black College” in Marshall, is memorialized as 84 students have benefitted from $229,000 awarded scholarships since 2020.
Wells Fund dollars are made possible through the Racial Justice Committee.
In fall 2022, scholarships totaling $55,000 were awarded to 20 students from Huston-Tillotson University, Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), and Texas Southern University (TSU). Student sponsors include Epiphany Episcopal, Houston; Holy Comforter, Spring; Hope Episcopal, Houston; St. James', Austin; (Freedom School), St. James, Houston; Houston Canterbury, and PVAMU Canterbury.
Men and women scholarship recipients were graduates, undergraduate and doctoral students. They studied chemical, civic, electrical and mechanical engineering; biomedical sciences; business, computer information systems; juvenile justice; psychology; nursing; sociology; accounting; kinesiology; public administration; education; agriculture; healthcare; and music.
FALL 2022 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
The Racial Justice Committee (RJC) was created in 2020 after Bishop Doyle committed $13 million toward racial justice and reconciliation. Funds were divided equally between RJC and Seminary of the Southwest. The 11 members of the RJC come from historically Black churches in the diocese, with Bishop Doyle as a member of the RJC.
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Talbot Fund for Racial Reconciliation Funds Research, Education, Memorials, Racial Justice in 2022
Named in honor of two Black brothers who were the first enslaved people baptized at Christ Church, Matagorda, the John and Joseph Talbot Fund for Racial Reconciliation continues to support racial justice. The brothers are an example of the diocese’s complex racial history and story as the Talbots were part of the first Episcopal congregation in what was then the Republic of Texas.
The fund was created to provide a gift to underwrite a program of church and community racial reconciliation initiatives. It brings together the work of the Equal Justice Initiative’s lynching memorial work and racial and social justice work in Texas communities. Subcommittee members include Teresa Turner Change, Eric Kennedy, and Simone Talma Flowers of St. James', Austin. It is led by the Rev. Francene Young, Talbot Fund Subcommittee chair.
Talbot is dedicated to funding racial reconciliation initiatives associated with research, education, public memorials, and racial justice work within the communities.
Projects for 2022 include the following:
St. Thomas the Apostle, Nassau Bay—Project on the grounds of St. Thomas, Nassau Bay honors African American contributions and achievements in NASA. The focus is on Ret. U.S. Marine Corps Major Charles Bolden, former administrator of NASA and native Episcopal Diocese of Texas member of St. Thomas, Nassau Bay, St. James, Houston, and board member of St. Luke’s Hospital.
Longview 1919 Project—This remembrance project sponsored by Trinity, Longview, involves a documentary about the Longview Race Riot during the Red Summer of 1919. The documentary captures oral histories of events followed by hosting community dialogues in the Longview area.
Tarrant County and Fort Worth Lynching Memorial—The Rt. Rev. Sandra Michels spearheads this joint project with Tarrant Coalition for Peace and Justice to care for a lynching memorial in honor of Fred Rouse where he was lynched in Fort Worth, in December of 1921. Influenced by a visit to Montgomery, Alabama, site of the lynching memorial, the project is currently being constructed and supported by six area congregations: Trinity, Fort Worth; All Souls, Arlington; St. Luke’s, Meadow; St. Stephens, Hurst; St. Christopher’s, Fort Worth; and St. Martin’s in the Fields, Keller.
Data Gathering—Better Understand and Address Obstacles to Racial Reconciliation Projects—
Focus groups are formed to help the diocese understand the obstacles in talking openly about churches’ and communities’ roles in slavery and racial injustice. Two virtual focus groups with clergy across the diocese gather views on the obstacles to discussing race in the diocese while explaining the work of the Talbot Fund. Upon organization in 2022, sessions will be held in spring of 2023.
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Provide an Educational Opportunity for Clergy and Lay Leaders—Clergy and lay leaders plan visits to the Equal Justice Museum and other significant sites. Tours would be customized based on needs, number of days, sites, and time for debriefing and processing. Planning began in 2022 with discussions centered around a possible late spring tour.
The application process for future project funding approval has been extended, according to the Rev. Francene Young, Talbot Fund Subcommittee chair. Apply at www.edotracialjustice.org/talbotfund
Close Up... Talbot Fund Project in Progress
St. Thomas the Apostle, Houston, to Erect Sculpture Honoring African American Contributions to NASA
St. Thomas the Apostle, Houston, was a 2021 recipient of the John and Joseph Talbot Fund. The parish decided to create a sculpture in the community that will honor seven luminaries from NASA, both past and present, who served not only as astronauts, but also as administrators, engineers, and across a spectrum of roles. They will be featured in epaulettes on an Apollo-shaped reflection pedestal and seating space. Other prominent contributors to NASA’s commitment to space will be engraved into the flooring, linked to their history, with images included. The committee is currently working on an outline for a documentarian to capture the phases of construction and explain the various design elements, while also encompassing the diocesan and parish vision for the piece. Stories of community involvement will also be recorded.
Charles “Charlie” Bolden, Jr., is an ideal example of one of the diocese’s own who has played integral roles – both at NASA and at St. Thomas the Apostle. Bolden served as administrator of NASA. Before leaving Houston, he was a deeply involved parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle. (Prior to that, he also attended St. James’ Episcopal Church, Houston). Bolden, a retired major general of the United States Marine Corps, is also a former astronaut who participated in four Space Shuttle missions. He is a 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. At St. Thomas the Apostle, Bolden and the Rev. Mike Stone became acquainted through the church’s school, and later, his involvement in the church landed him as the Senior Warden as well as a soloist in the choir. One of his missions, he flew the church’s paten into outer space.
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Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Former NASA Administrator and Senior Warden, St. Thomas the Apostle
Work on the project is well underway, and Stone is working to secure additional funding through area donors and the aerospace community to support the intractability of the installation and its maintenance. While artists move forward, and the engineering to finalize a section of the design before fabrication takes place, the committee is busy at work, honing in on the luminaries to be honored in what will be a gift to the entire community and for those who visit. Without the generous donation from the Episcopal Diocese of Texas Racial Justice Initiative’s Talbot Fund, this historic and monumental addition to the greater Houston area could not have been realized.
2022 Pauli Murray Scholarship at Seminary of the Southwest Update:
The Rev. Dr. Dominique Robinson, the Bishop John E. Hines Assistant Professor of Preaching at the seminary, presented Lessons Pulled from Pauli in her homily given on the Feast Day of Pauli Murray, Sept. 28, 2022, in Christ Chapel on campus.
The theme of Dr. Robinson's homily centered on the core values of Rev. Murray's life: Never give up; it's never too late to embrace God's call; and be true to yourself." Her example of leadership reminds us to fight against systems of oppression, stand firm on the Word of God, and show people the bright light of Jesus in a dark world.
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The Rev. Mike Stone, Rector St. Thomas the Apostle, Houston
The Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray
2022 Texas Pauli Murray Scholarship Houston Event Features ‘Garden Party’
The 2022 Texas Pauli Murray Scholarship event benefiting Seminary of the Southwest was held March 3, at Evelyn’s Park Conservancy in Bellaire, Texas. The dedication and hard work of the entire committee was paramount to its success.
This scholarship covers tuition and living expenses for women of color attending Seminary of the Southwest in preparation for priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. This year was the first time the Houston area has hosted a fundraiser benefiting this scholarship, and the event was “garden party” themed in Murray’s honor.
The honoree for the event was the Honorable U.S. District Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore, now retired. The seminary looks forward to all parishes participating in some way in the future. The inaugural event was held in Austin in 2019 and was deemed a great success.
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Event Chairs meet with the Honorable Vanessa Gilmore months in advance of garden party to kick off the planning. From left to right: Shannon Davis Hunter, the Honorable Vanessa Gilmore, Tammy Lanier, and the Rev. Patrick Miller (Rector, St. Mark's, Houston).
The Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, 8th Dean and President, Seminary of the Southwest (shown fifth from left) with honoree, the Hon. Vanessa Gilmore and several members of planning committee
Above: Racial Justice Committee Chair Sam Dodson and wife Carol Dodson at fundraiser
Above: The Rev. Canon Christine Faulstich (Canon to the Ordinary) in conversation
Above: The Hon. Vanessa Gilmore with Roslyn Bazzelle Mitchell
Seminary of the Southwest Reports on 2022 Programs
Seminary of the Southwest continues its work to support racial justice and reconciliation through its Beloved Community Initiatives in 2022.
With a strategic plan established by its board of trustees and chaired by the Rt. Rev. Kathryn M. Ryan, the seminary is committed to training a diverse group of ordained leaders. Seminary of the Southwest uses a curriculum rooted in Jesus Christ and the dynamism of the Anglican tradition; the antiracist vision of a beloved community; the exploration of new models of ministry; and the centrality of conversation and collaboration with people inside and outside the church. In addition, the seminary is focused on being one of the educational and cultural treasures of Austin. It's a gathering place for interdisciplinary conversations about things that matter most, and the seminary serves the community in times of challenge.
To achieve its objectives, Seminary of the Southwest highlights these tactical efforts and resources in 2022 which are funded through the Racial Justice Initiatives Committee:
Academic Scholarship Awards—Scholarships were awarded, funded by endowments created to support racial justice initiatives. Through the Pauli Murray Scholarship in academic year 20212022, $10,000 was awarded to a student. For academic year 2022-2023, four students received $25,000. Through the David Franklin Taylor Scholarship, four students gained $23,567 in awards in 2021-2022. (The 2022-2023 awards are pending.)
Bertha Sadler Means Endowment—This endowment funded the appointments of the seminary’s Black Religious Scholar Visiting Professor, the Rev. Stephen Ray, and the Director of Beloved Community Initiatives, the Rev. Valerie Mayo, along with program expenses related to racial justice initiatives. New director Mayo is currently developing a webpage within ssw.edu to focus on the seminary’s racial justice initiatives. During 16 months ending September 30, 2022, the endowment funded $57,179.
Soul in the City—The seminary’s Center for Writing and Creative Expression launched its 2022 Soul in the City event series at its campus by welcoming award-winning poet Roger Reeves. His poetry provides equal measures of darkness and light, agony and ecstasy, and catastrophe and joy, explained host Claire Colombo, Ph.D., director for the center.
Service of Remembrance and Truth Telling—The seminary presented a Service of Remembrance and Truth Telling. The goal of the service, which is now a mainstay in the seminary calendar, is a way for the community to remember its own racial history in Austin and in the Episcopal Church. Another goal is to set intentions for future work in racial healing and justice. In 2022, the service featured original music by staff member Duane Carter, Booher Library. Musical contributors Francisco Chavez and Sharon Coleman performed as Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, dean and
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Soul in the City, featuring Poet Roger Reeves
president, preached the sermon, and the Rev. Valerie Mayo presided.
“Originally conceived by students as part of the work of reckoning and reconciliation, the service of Remembrance and Truth Telling has become an important part of our common life for the past two years,” Briggs said.
Beloved Community Initiatives
The Rev. Valerie Mayo was appointed Director of Beloved Community Initiatives in 2022.
Created last year, the position of Director of Beloved Community Initiatives will play a leadership role in several areas of community life at the seminary, most specifically in helping achieve the “Beloved Community” goals outlined in Southwest’s current Strategic Plan. Mayo will work collaboratively with key members of Southwest leadership to utilize the Bertha Means Endowment to foster diversity in academic programming concerning both faculty and students. She will assist in implementing strategies.
Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage — A noted program supported by the seminary is the annual Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage. In August 2022, the annual Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage took place in Hayneville, Alabama, in remembrance of Episcopal church martyr Jonathan Myrick Daniels. People from many dioceses and seminaries travel across the country to see where Daniels was shot to death in August 1965 while trying to protect an African American teen girl.
Thirteen graduate students, faculty, and alumni traveled to Hayneville from Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, in August 2022.
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The Rev. Valerie Mayo, Director, Beloved Community Initiatives
Right: (l-r) Francisco Chavez, Duane Carter, Sharon Coleman, the Rev. Valerie Mayo, and SSW Dean and President, the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge
Voice of Completion From the Past: A Gift From a Diocesan Clergy Descendant
Submitted by Tammy Lanier
In May 2022, I received the most surprising—yet delightful—email. So excited about its contents, I immediately replied. The email very soon resulted in a telephone call. What an informative conversation. The correspondence was from the great-granddaughter of the Rev. Dr. David Franklin Taylor. I viewed this exchange as a precious gift from a descendent, both proud of her great-grandfather and all he stood for.
Ms. Donaldson, this well-informed woman with whom I found myself speaking, was able to share so much. The words flowed through her lips just as smoothly as a stream of water from a slowflowing faucet. It is obviously understandable that our diocese had significant information gaps regarding her great-grandfather and his comprehensive accomplishments in the Church because of the time he served the Diocese of Texas. For that reason, she wanted us to know more.
Deeply engrossed in genealogy—engaging extensively in history and research—her daughter seems to share this same tedious interest. As a result, one day while researching online, her daughter discovered information discussing the Diocese of Texas honoring their distinguished ancestor through the Racial Justice Initiative. They were excited, surprised, and pleased to know that a scholarship in the Diocese of Texas bears his name.
While the family was delighted, and supportive of our recognition, Ms. Donaldson made it very clear to me that she wanted to share far more details about the Rev. Dr. Taylor than we had included in our collateral about the initiative and her great-grandfather. I sensed a heartfelt necessity from her to provide me with facts about this distinguished and dedicated clergyman who once served our diocese, and in turn, information about the Rev. Dr. Franklin could be shared more broadly.
Recently learned truths by the Diocese of Texas about the Rev. Dr. David Franklin Taylor: Ever so rightfully interested in setting his impressive record forward, Ms. Donaldson offered more than a wealth of information, she provided perspective and context that we did not have, nor could we have ever known.
For example, of Black Foot Indian descent, her great-grandfather received his Doctorate in Theology from Philips University in Nevada. His son, Orlando Capitola Ward Taylor, was also very active in the Episcopal Church.
Family fled Alabama during Reconstruction
Her research has found that her ancestors were forced out of Alabama during Reconstruction because the Rev. Dr. Taylor’s grandfather was an elected official. As a result of having to relocate, the family eventually settled in Texas.
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Believed to be a cradle Episcopalian
It is the family’s belief that he was a cradle Episcopalian. Her research, though, was not fruitful when seeking information about African Americans or Native Americans within the Church.
Leaves Texas to serve as rector at church in New Orleans, LA, later returning to Texas
Ms. Donaldson explained that the Rev. Dr. Taylor left Texas shortly after completion of school and headed to New Orleans. There, he served for many years as rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church. He later returned to Texas to lead a church after his retirement.
Founder of school attended by the legendary Louis Armstrong in New Orleans
During his career, he served as head of a school he helped found and was responsible for the school being endowed. It was also the school and orphanage where Louis Armstrong was raised.
Interesting background about his experiences in New Orleans:
The Rev. Taylor helps secure $2M endowment for the church
The church he led in New Orleans was given a $2 million endowment. She says, however, that the church never received the money in the way it should have because the then bishop in New Orleans reportedly used the funding across the diocese to fund programs for White churches. The Rev. Dr. Taylor and his son spent the balance of his life trying to retrieve the funds on behalf of the church.
Ms. Donaldson said that she remembers her own grandfather's efforts in that regard after the death of her great-grandfather. She recalled accompanying her grandfather on several trips to meet with the bishop, expressly for the purpose of retrieving the funds intended for the church. She described those events as insulting, at best. That continued until the passing of her grandfather, O.C.W. Taylor, she said.
Church’s property sold under market value adds insult to injury
A building belonging to St. Luke's Episcopal Church was eventually sold by the diocese for half its value to a prominent White citizen of New Orleans, and the church never received the proceeds from the sale. These accounts, she asserted, are simply a few unjust circumstances under which many Black clergy served the Episcopal Church.
The Rev. Dr. Taylor’s son eventually acquires small portion of funding and elevates church
After the death of the Rev. Dr. Taylor, her grandfather, O. C. W. Taylor, was finally able to get a small fraction of the money owed to the church from the diocese. Unfortunately, it was given as though it was a gift to help the "Black church" in need, not as though it was ever intended for the church. Again, it was but a portion of the full amount.
Her grandfather elevated the church from a mission—which was its status when he arrived—to a parish, during his tenure. He also served as head of the vestry for many years since it was his family’s longtime church.
Ms. Donaldson described it as a “tough job” during those times for many Black leaders within the
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Church because of the treatment of Black Episcopalians.
To say the conversation with Ms. Donaldson was enlightening would be an understatement. To that end, the Diocese of Texas remains steadfast in its work around racial justice and reconciliation through its trailblazing Racial Justice Initiative.
In retrospect, we now realize that we only knew but a glimpse about the Rev. Dr. David Franklin Taylor; however, the little that we knew was so impressive that he was deemed worthy to have a scholarship in his name. Had it not been for that, we would not know all that we know today about this servant leader in the Episcopal Church.
Moreover, Ms. Donaldson and her family are so supportive of this initiative that she is engaged, to the best of her ability, in soliciting funds for the Racial Justice Initiative in honor of her greatgrandfather and his name—directing interested parties to the Racial Justice Initiative website every opportunity she gets.
Finding her way back to her roots
Ms. Donaldson lives in the northeast and hopes to relocate to New Orleans someday.
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“My husband, the Rev. Dr. Robert A. Bennett, Jr., former professor at Episcopal Divinity School who holds a doctorate in history from Harvard University and is a history scholar, researched quite a bit of our family history because he knew - as an African American - how the history of African Americans within the Episcopal Church was very hard to trace and verify.”
Inside out: EHF Supports Efforts as Churches Continue Racial Justice Journey in 2022
Eric Moen, senior congregational engagement officer for Episcopal Health Foundation, shares this continued journey of discovery and conversation addressing racial justice and racial reconciliation in Episcopal churches. For the past six years, Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) has partnered with congregations to help support and organize these efforts. In 2022, that work continued its momentum.
On a weekday evening inside the Brazos Center in Bryan, a story of the slave trade fills the theater screen. When the film ends, nobody walks out. Instead, Dain and Constance Perry step to the front and start a group conversation–a long discussion filled with personal stories, unsettling truth, and desire for understanding.
“It’s through these conversations that we develop knowledge, that we begin to build trust and begin to build community so that together we can begin to break down the walls of racism,” Constance said.
Constance, who is Black, and husband Dain, who is White, are leaders of “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North” documentary film and facilitated dialogues. For more than 18 years, they have held discussions on racism across the country. The couple uses the film as a starting point for churches and community groups to foster conversation and share stories.
The documentary recounts Dain Perry’s New England family and their involvement in the slave trade in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The film shows the realities of the slave trade set against the backdrop of northern business, communities, and residents who condoned and benefited from slave trading. The Episcopal Church is prominent in the story.
Traces of Trade impact
More than 100 community members from neighborhoods across Brazos County participated in the Traces of the Trade event in Bryan. It was organized by St Andrew’s, Bryan, and Brazos Valley African American Museum.
In 2022, St. Andrew's, Bryan, and five other communities used the film and the expertise of the Perry couple to begin conversations about racial justice. Events included an ecumenical gathering of more than eight congregations in Nacogdoches, plus viewings at St. Stephen’s, Houston; Palmer Memorial, Houston; Church of the Cross, Lake Travis; and St. Matthew’s, Austin. For St. Andrew’s and St. Matthew’s, the Traces of the Trade events are regular offerings, and a vehicle in their ongoing community-wide journey toward racial healing.
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Dain and Constance Perry facilitate discussions after congregants view Traces of the Trade
Traces of the Trade has also been beneficial in the racial justice journey for Good Shepherd, Austin, and St. Julian of Norwich, Round Rock. The congregations participated in EHF’s Racial Justice Ministry Incubator throughout 2022. The cohort was led by Project Curate, a nonprofit, social impact agency and consultancy that works with religious, academic, and community organizations. The mission is to address and support collaborative responses to intersectional issues relating to racial injustice and inequity.
The nine-month incubator program focused on developing strategies and approaches to ministry that effectively respond to recurring social issues brought about by racism, injustice, and inequity.
“We want to develop a strong and growing network of relationships with organizations and communities within the city, the region, and the diocese focused on racial healing,” said the Rev. Channing Smith, rector of Good Shepherd. “We want to become a community that can be relied on by communities of color as friends and family working toward joyful union with God and with one another.”
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One Human Race workshop continues unity goal
In addition to Traces of the Trade events and work with Project Curate, EHF supports and encourages congregations to connect with “One Human Race,” an initiative of the Myra McDaniel Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians in Austin which is connected to St. James', Austin. EHF urges congregations to follow up the Trades of the Trade gathering with a One Human Race workshop.
“The philosophy behind the One Human Race workshops is that conversations about race should not be divisive,” said Teresa Chang, member of the One Human Race initiative’s executive team and co-creator of the curriculum. “Instead, they should help us to recognize our unity and fill us with purpose. After all, however different our experiences, we are all members of a single human race. We all share and are shaped by a history of profound injustice based on appearance and ethnicity. We all have biases, and we are all on a journey of understanding and growth.”
One Human Race led several workshops as part of EHF’s annual “In Common” gathering for clergy and lay leaders. In March 2022, more than 100 participants representing 42 organizations around the diocese gathered at Camp Allen for “In Common: Better Together,” two days of talks and workshops on the intersections of race and health. This year, In Common gatherings will be in Waco and Galveston.
EHF encourages congregations to be on a journey toward racial reconciliation and to not let the film or a One Human Race workshop be a “one-and-done” event. For Christ Church, Tyler, these offerings have been a pivotal part of their ongoing community journey.
Tyler Together and future conversations
In early 2022, EHF profiled the congregation’s work that helped spark a city-wide collaboration of nonprofits and congregations called “Tyler Together.” Prior to becoming rector of St. George’s, Austin, in the summer of 2022, the Rev. Dr. Matthew Boulter described the important impact of EHF’s support during his time as associate rector at Christ Church and the co-creation of Tyler Together.
“You might call it kinship, trusting affection, or simply justice-rooted love,” Rev. Boulter said. “Whatever it is, it makes life worth living, and for me it is a pearl of great price, that brings glory and honor to our justice-loving God.”
To date, 37 congregations participated in racial justice conversations and programs offered and supported by EHF. For more information on ways you can grow your congregational approach to Racial Justice, contact EHF’s Eric Moen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Loss of Diocesan Trailblazer: Carole A. Pinkett, First Woman of Color to Serve at Council
Ms. Carole A. Pinkett passed away Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, at the age of 87. She was born in New York, raised in Philadelphia, and attended the historic African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas.
Upon relocating to Texas, she joined St. James’ Episcopal Church, Houston, where she remained until her passing. There, she was a member of Episcopal Church Women (ECW), Daughters of the King (DOK), Wednesday Bunch, and was active in parish leadership –having served as a Worship Leader for the Jubilee Service, a Lay Eucharistic Minister, and as a previous member of the Vestry. She also contributed greatly to parish evangelism efforts.
At the diocesan level, she served under five bishops. She was the first woman of color to serve as a delegate at Diocesan Council, and served as a member of the Diocesan Executive Board, the Bishop Quin Foundation, and the Board of Trustees of St. Vincent’s House. She also served as a chair of the Commission on Black Ministry, and in this latter capacity, she oversaw the production of the Diocese’s publication of a seminal work: a complete history of African American churches in the diocese. She considered that undertaking, This Far by Faith, a very special gift to the diocese. She was co-founder of the Rev. John Dublin Epps Chapter of UBE, chartered in the diocese in 1984, and served as president for more than one term. In this office, she advocated for lifting lay and clergy leaders of the African American community to teach and mentor African American youth, and to advocate for the rights of people of color at all levels of the Church. She chaired the 2007 United Black Episcopalians (UBE) Annual Business Meeting and Conference hosted by the diocese.
After attending the 2014 UBE annual conference, the year in which the National Church, UBE, and African Americans struggled with the killing of Michael Brown, a Black youth in Ferguson, Missouri, she was inspired to host a discussion that also addressed discernment. Her efforts propelled the newly elected national president of UBE to preach at St. James’, Houston, while also headlining a panel discussion to bring about hope to the youth of the parish.
Not only was Carole a trailblazer within the Church, professionally, she shattered glass ceilings for minorities as the first African American executive at Exxon, and the first African American director of human resources at Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro). She also worked for South Texas Project Electric Generating Station in Matagorda County, and founded her own consulting firm. She later served on the Board of Directors of the Metro.
A proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., she was active for 67 uninterrupted years of service, after pledging at North Carolina A&T University. It was there she received her undergraduate degree. She completed graduate work at Texas Southern University. Carole lived a life of service for which she will be long remembered.
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Carole A. Pinkett
Circle Of Clergy: Faith, Diversity, and Collaboration
As the trial of former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean continued in Fort Worth amid much tension and anxiety, White Episcopal clergy were among those who allied with Black pastors in an organization called the Circle of Clergy (COC) to try to bridge the racial divides in the city.
On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the second day of the trial, the COC held a noon prayer vigil at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church. The Rev. Karen Calafat, dean of the Fort Worth Convocation, led one of the prayers.
The Circle of Clergy came into being in the wake of the murder of Atatiana Jefferson. Late on the night of Oct. 12, 2019, Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman, was in her home in Fort Worth playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew. They had burned some hamburgers earlier and had opened the front door to release smoke from the house. A neighbor concerned about the open door called police with the intent for them to check on the welfare of the residents, but police classified the call as an open structure.
Officer Aaron Dean and another officer walked into the back yard while responding to the call at about 2:30 a.m. Neither officer called out that they were police. Jefferson heard noises outside, grabbed her handgun from her purse and looked out the window. Dean saw her through the window, yelled for her to show her hands and fired his gun immediately. Again, he did not identify himself as police. Jefferson died at the scene.
Two days later Dean, then 34, resigned as a police officer. He was arrested and eventually charged with murder.
After three years of defense-initiated delays, the trial finally started in late November with jury selection. No Black jurors were selected. The judge declined a defense request for a change of venue and the testimony phase of the trial began Dec. 5, 2022.
The trial came almost exactly a month after the Fort Worth City Council voted down a proposed police advisory board. The board, which would not have been an explicit oversight board but would act as an advisory board, was the key recommendation by the city’s own Race and Culture Task Force. The council voted 5-4 along racial lines, with only one White Council member voting for the advisory board.
The Race and Culture Task Force was created after the 2016 arrest of Jacqueline Craig. Craig, a Black woman, was tackled and arrested by a White Fort Worth police officer after she had called police about her White neighbor assaulting her son. After body camera footage was leaked, the charges against Craig were dropped. The footage went viral. Craig was eventually awarded $150,000 by the city. In response, the Race and Culture Task Force was tasked with coming up with recommendations to mend racial disparities in Fort Worth in many areas, including housing, health care, and public safety. In 2018, the Task Force released a lengthy list of recommendations, topped by the one about regarding a police advisory board.
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The Dean trial began as the disappointment and anger over the City Council vote continues to simmer.
As the date for Dean’s trial was postponed again and again, members of local Black clergy became increasingly concerned about the racial and economic divides in the city that were being brought into sharp focus. They were joined in this concern by White clergy members, including Episcopal clergy, who wanted to be supportive allies.
The result was the Circle of Clergy (COC), an interfaith collaboration among diverse Fort Worth faith communities “to enter and actively engage in the conversation about diversity, equity, inclusivity, and justice.”
Over the past few months, the COC has worked steadily on relevant racial justice issues in the North Region area, including Critical Race Theory (CRT), voting rights, the Dean trial, and various other occurrences. For example, they offered “A Faith Perspective on CRT – What It Is, and What It Is Not,” an educational forum on understanding CRT with guest speaker Dr. Altheria Caldera, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Howard University School of Education. They also met with the Fort Worth Independent School District superintendent search team to voice their perspectives and expectations for the next superintendent.
As the trial of Dean continued, the Circle of Clergy called on all people of Fort Worth to stand together on the need for racial justice and unity during this stressful time.
They have issued a statement that says, “We stand in support of the family of Atatiana Jefferson. We do so through practical means as well as prayer and spiritual support. We will not let the suffering of the family of Ms. Jefferson be lost amidst legal maneuvers and filings. We will be leading prayer vigils for the duration of the trial. We invite all to join us.
“We are in favor of peaceful protests and demonstrations as ways for long-marginalized communities to get their voices heard. We are dedicated to peace and justice for all in our community. We support clear and transparent communication between law enforcement and the community.”
They have invited other faith/spiritual leaders in the community to join their regular Circle of Clergy meetings and events to become a valuable collaborator and contributor to our efforts.
They can be contacted at email@example.com or www.circleofclergy.org/join .
(Former police officer Dean was sentenced to 11 years and 10 months in prison in late December 2022.)
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Sandy Michels and TCCJP
Sometimes journeys to racial justice can take centuries. The Rev. Sandi Michels of
hopes to help hasten that process for at least one victim of a racial terror lynching in Tarrant County.
In 2018, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) opened the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. According to EJI, the projects are part of a national effort to create new spaces, markers, and memorials that address the legacy of slavery, lynching, and racial segregation which shapes many issues today. EJI also provides legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. The organization challenges the death penalty and excessive punishment and provides re-entry assistance to formerly incarcerated people.
In 2019, Michels visited the museum and the memorial. Per EJI, the memorial is the nation’s first dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people; people terrorized by lynching; African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow; and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.
Moved to Action
Michels was profoundly moved by what she saw and learned. Upon her return to Fort Worth, she began looking for ways to be more involved on the local level, especially related to the story of a lynching that took place in Tarrant County. Her desire to be part of commemorating the event and educating people led her to meet with other interested people with the same goal.
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This group of committed individuals eventually formed a non-profit group called the Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice (TCCPJ) with the goal of promoting conversations about race and culture in Tarrant County. Michels also addressed the annual convention of the Diocese of Fort Worth in November 2019 to educate the diocese about the work of TCCPJ.
The story behind the newly founded nonprofit TCCPJ actually began last century with the lynching of a Black man named Fred Rouse. Michels and others learned that Rouse moved to Fort Worth from Mississippi in the 1910s. He got a job butchering meat at Swift & Co., a meatpacking plant. The job enabled him to provide for his wife and three children, including a newborn son bearing his name. The Swift plant was in the Niles City Stockyards, which would later become part of Fort Worth.
Because Black laborers were not permitted to be members of unions, Rouse could not join the White employees when they went on strike in 1921. Rouse and other Black workers were called in to fill in for workers on strike. His decision to go to work that day ultimately proved fatal.
The Fatal Timeline
Per the TCCPL website, here is the timeline of Rouse’s lynching:
Dec. 6, 1921: When Rouse left work at 4:30 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 1921, he was accosted, attacked, and stabbed repeatedly by strikers and strike agitators. In the brawl, two shots were fired that hit brothers Tom and Tracy Maclin. A White mob bludgeoned Rouse with a streetcar guardrail. He was left for dead on Exchange Avenue.
Niles City police officers asked the mob to relinquish the body of Mr. Rouse, which they placed in a police car. On the way to the mortuary, officers discovered that Rouse was still alive. They drove him south to the basement Negro Ward of the City and County Hospital (330 E. 4th St.).
Dec. 11, 1921: Five days later at 11 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11, 1921, a mob of White men barged into the hospital, threatened the staff, and abducted Rouse from the Negro Ward. They drove north to what had become known as the “Death Tree” at the corner of NE 12th Street and Samuels Avenue. There, they hanged Mr. Fred Rouse, and riddled his body with bullets. Over 100 people drove to the site to watch the result of the murder of Rouse.
Rouse was buried on Dec. 12, 1921, in New Trinity Cemetery, Haltom City, Texas. Two days later, the property owner of the site of the racial terror lynching of Rouse cut down the “Death Tree.” Indictments were handed down against members of the mob. Despite the overwhelming evidence, no one was ever found guilty in the murder of Rouse.
Delivering awareness to Tarrant County
TCCPJ became the local organization responsible for shepherding the Alabama-based EJI Community Remembrance Project in Tarrant County. With the focus of Rouse’s story, TCCPJ is furthering its goals of recognizing the victims of racial terror and violence in our nation. The events centered around the story of Rouse are bearing fruit.
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On Dec. 11, 2019, TCCPJ led the Community Remembrance Soil Collection Ceremony as a first step in carrying out the process laid out by EJI for a Community Remembrance project. Soil was gathered from the site of the lynching and placed into two jars. One jar was sent to Montgomery to be included in the Legacy Museum’s archive of jars of soil from racial terror lynching sites from across the country. The other jar remains in Fort Worth and is used to promote education.
On Dec. 11, 2021, TCCPJ led the installation of an historical marker on the site of the lynching as part of the centenary events to memorialize Rouse. This event was part of EJI’s Historical Marker Project. EJI’s goal is to install historical narrative markers in public spaces describing the devastating violence that took place in each location. TCCPJ also installed a marker at the location of the City and County Hospital’s Negro Ward at 330 E. 4th St. ,where Rouse was abducted prior to his lynching. The location is one block east of Bass Performance Hall.
A year later on Dec. 11, TCCPJ held a Soil Purification Ceremony at the site of Rouse’s lynching as part of the Community Remembrance Project, reclaiming the site of trauma in the name of those victimized by racial terrorism.
TCCPJ partnered with the Rainwater Charitable Foundation to purchase the land where the lynching occurred. TCCPJ is in the initial planning stages of “The Mr. Fred Rouse Memorial.” TCCPJ’s goal with the project is to reclaim this historical site of trauma and use the site as a foundation for community healing and memorializing.
Donate and take action
Fundraising with a goal of $350,000 is ongoing as work continues. The City of Fort Worth has pledged $100,000 if the group can raise the initial $200,000. People wishing to donate can send a donation by check to Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice OR TCCJP, 4455 Camp Bowie Blvd., #114-224, Fort Worth, TX 76107 or donate online at https://donorbox.org/donation-topeace-and-justice. The goal is to install the permanent memorial on Dec. 11, 2023, the anniversary of the lynching.
In Fort Worth, TCCPJ also works closely with DNAWORKS, which develops and creates dance, theater, and film to promote dialogue-based social justice action and community building. The group’s “Fort Worth Lynching Tour: Honoring the Memory of Mr. Fred Rouse” takes groups on bike and car tours to the sites associated with the lynching.
EJI has documented more than 4,400 African American victims of racial terror lynching in at least twenty states across America between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 to 1950. To see if your community was the site of a lynching, visit https://lynchinginamerica.eji.org/explore .
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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.’
Equalizing Access to Healthcare
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Former Harris Health System Leader Ann Barnes Named CEO, President for Episcopal Health Foundation, Replacing Founding CEO Elena Marks
Dr. Ann Barnes joined the Episcopal Health Foundation’s Board of Directors as its president and CEO in October 2022.
Barnes was formerly chief health officer and senior vice president for Harris Health System Houston. She brings almost 20 years of experience in practicing medical care and leading community clinic and safety-net health care systems to drive successful upstream innovations. Those upstream innovations address social, economic, and environmental drivers of health for communities most in need.
“I can’t think of a leader with a better mix of strategic experience and a proven commitment to service all communities to guide the foundation’s next chapter,” Bishop C. Andrew Doyle said. “Good health can’t be achieved through medicine alone, and Ann’s experience as a physician and on the frontlines serving communities that are over-burdened and under-resourced will be invaluable to our ongoing mission.”
Ann Barnes, MD
Barnes took over as EHF’s CEO upon the retirement of Elena Marks, founding CEO who retired in September 2022.
The native Houston Fifth Ward resident attended Yale University and Harvard Medical School. As a certified internist, she completed residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and earned a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health.
“I’m so humbled and excited to join Episcopal Health Foundation and continue its critical mission to improve health, not just health care across Texas,” Barnes said.
Barnes was responsible for developing the Harris Health system’s health equity strategy. She led the system’s efforts to improve population health, prevent disease, and address chronic conditions. Results were achieved chiefly by integrating community resources that impact underlying, nonmedical conditions like food security, safe places to exercise, poverty, and more.
She volunteers by helping to further and promote many Houston-area and statewide organizations that support philanthropy, public policy, children and youth groups.
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Founding Episcopal Health Foundation CEO Elena Marks Retires
Founding Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) CEO Elena Marks retired in September 2022, turning a $1 billion “bold idea” into a nationally recognized philanthropic organization that is changing health conversations in Texas.
Marks led EHF since its creation in 2013, when the Episcopal Diocese of Texas transferred the St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System to Catholic Health Initiatives and used proceeds to create EHF.
“We started with a bold idea to transform the way we improve health beyond a hospital system, and Elena’s vision and leadership turned that idea into a powerhouse philanthropy,” said Bishop C. Andrew Doyle, also chair of EHF’s board of directors. “From the beginning, we wanted to be a different kind of philanthropy, and Elena captured the imagination we were dreaming about. But I don’t think we could have imagined in that moment where we would be now.”
Marks grew EHF’s small staff to a 30-member team. Since 2013, she has overseen more than $420 million in program investments in EHF grants, research projects, community and congregational engagement efforts, impact investing, and more. She also helped create a comprehensive strategic plan that sharpened the foundation’s focus to improve health, not just healthcare in Texas. The final goal of the plan was developed after extensive research and focuses on investing in early child brain development programs for children ages birth to 3.
“Elena helped us be challenged by the use of actual health data and important research, and how philanthropy could use that information to address health more effectively and changed lives,” the bishop said. “Her gift to the organization will last far beyond her departure.” Marks is confident that EHF has brought an influential new voice for health to Texas.
“The potential for EHF’s next chapter is limitless, and I really look forward to seeing where the next leader will take it,” Marks said.
(In October 2022, Dr. Ann Barnes officially assumed the role of EHF president and CEO. She is the former child health officer and senior vice president for Harris Health System, Houston.)
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Former EHF CEO, Elena Marks
EHF Receives $20 Million Investment from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott
Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) received a $20 million investment from national philanthropist MacKenzie Scott that will further the foundation’s important work to improve health, not just health care in Texas. The one-time, unrestricted gift will be used to maximize the impact of EHF’s ongoing grantmaking, research, and community engagement programs.
“This generous donation is validation that our work to go beyond the doctor’s office to address the underlying, non-medical factors that impact health is critical in Texas,” said Elena Marks, EHF’s founding president and CEO. “We’ve worked to find successful solutions to help ensure everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthy. This gift is a vote of confidence in the need for this work.” The gift came just before Marks retired.
From its creation in 2013, Episcopal Health Foundation has changed the conversation on how Texas approaches health. While medical care makes up about 20 percent of what determines a person’s overall health, the remainder is determined by non-medical factors like income, diet, exercise, health behaviors, family support, housing conditions, environmental factors, and more. Yet, well over 90 percent of the overall health spending in the U.S. goes to medical care. At the same time, our health outcomes fall behind most every other wealthy country in the world.
“We’ve continually looked for tools outside medical care that actually deliver health to show that they can make a big impact,” Marks said. “But until the health system changes what it pays for and shifts dollars upstream, we’ll continue to get the same health outcomes, especially for those most in need.”
That’s why EHF not only works to make healthcare more affordable and accessible, but also provides funding and other support to help organizations find preventive solutions that address the non-medical, root causes of poor health. To date, EHF has invested more than $450 million in grants, research projects, community and congregational engagement efforts, impact investing, and more.
“We had a unique opportunity at EHF to do something that’s different and transformative from the beginning. This meaningful donation is more evidence of the importance of being a different kind of philanthropy focused on upstream, transformational change,” said Linnet Deily, EHF’s executive board chair.
EHF leaders say they not only admire Scott’s unparalleled generosity in Texas and across the country, but also share her continued commitment to ensure that people struggling against inequities are the ones best equipped to design solutions.
“This gift recognizes our central commitment to raise community voices so those most affected by inequalities can determine the best ways to take charge of their own health,” said Bishop C. Andrew Doyle, the ninth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and chair of EHF’s board of directors.
“At the same time, we’ve helped more than 100 Episcopal congregations organize and focus their efforts to have the greatest impact on their communities’ health. Together, it’s a commitment to making sure that under-resourced communities are at the center stage for change.”
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EHF founding CEO Elena Marks records interview with KPRC-TV at EHF’s offices in Houston about the $20 million donation from national philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.
Moving Upstream Report by Episcopal Health Foundation Seeks to Affect Legislation
A 2022 key report developed and published by the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) and the Center for Health Care Strategies speaks to the merits of nonmedical programs which could be supported by Medicaid in Texas. Investment in nonmedical programs could reduce emergency room visits, sick days, and Medicaid costs, according to the report.
Nonmedical programs studied are those that work to address three areas—asthma home remediation, food as medicine, and support services for housing programs.
The report will now be used to urge state lawmakers to expand “upstream” Medicaid programs to cover nonmedical drivers of health. Those drivers include the conditions in which people live, work, play, and age—factors that influence health and wellness.
“Medical care makes up about 20 percent of what determines a person’s health, yet right now we spend almost all health dollars—including Medicaid—treating medical conditions, and not preventing disease outside the exam room,” CEO of EHF Dr. Ann Barnes said. “We have to change the way we think about health and how we pay for it. “The report shows how things could change for the better in Texas.”
One example in the study focuses on an asthma remediation program which identified mold as an asthma trigger in the home of a girl, age 12. As moldy carpet was removed, the child’s attacks lessened significantly.
Centers for Disease Control reviewed asthma remediation projects across the country, showing for every $1 invested, non-medical programs save from $5-$14. Further evidence from Medicaid programs across the country show programs outside doctors’ offices resulting in improved health outcomes for Medicaid enrollees equate to increased financial savings.
Researchers also found nonmedical programs to reduce Medicaid spending on medical care by an average $220 a month per person.
In addition to benefiting Medicaid costs, the report outlines specific ways the Texas Health and Human Services and Medicaid-managed care organizations could implement the interventions.
“This is a game changer that could improve the health and wellness of Texans most in need in an entirely new way,” said Barnes, who is also a physician.
The report will be used to make recommendations to state lawmakers by the Texas Value-Based Payment and Quality Improvement Advisory Committee. The committee is a forum of Texas Health and Human Services.
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Episcopal Health Foundation Assists St. Paul’s, Navasota, in Focus on Community Needs Through CPS Rainbow Room
Never underestimate the power of space. The St. Paul’s, Navasota, Rainbow Room is making a difference in needy children’s lives in rural Grimes County by offering up a small room in the back of its church.
Through the Episcopal Health Foundation’s (EHF's) Poverty Transformation cohort, St. Paul’s took on a challenge in 2022 to reach out and build two new relationships with community partners as they focused on community need.
A casual conversation between congregants Bonny Burger and Susan Boudreaux brought up a problem. Child welfare board member Boudreaux explained that Child Protective Service caseworkers desperately needed a rainbow room in Grimes County. The resource center is a space which provides material items for children removed from their homes—diapers, formula, and clothing.
“The minute I heard the word space, I said stop,” Burger said. “We’ve got it.”
St. Paul’s provided the space and wanted to serve the community. With assistance from EHF and the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, church members swiftly got the space ready. The St. Paul’s Rainbow Room in Navasota is the first rainbow room to be located in a Texas church.
Helping congregations explore ways to address and improve poverty within their specific communities is one of several key focus areas of EHF’s Congregational Engagement Team.
“We weren’t starting something new on our own,” area missioner for Episcopal Diocese of Texas, the Rev. Andrew Terry said. “We were listening to partner agencies and responding to what they expressed as a need.”
EHF continues to connect church ministries with their communities.
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Alabaré al Señor porque él es justo;
himnos al nombre del Señor, al nombre del Altísimo.
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Hispanic Lay Leadership Conference 2022
The Hispanic Lay Leadership Conference was held in person in June 2022 at Camp Allen after not meeting for two years due to the pandemic. Nearly 300 Hispanic lay leaders attended, representing 16 congregations across the Diocese of Texas.
For a first, there was more youth participation as about 20 youth showed a major interest in leadership.
“As a young person it is very important for us to know more about how we can get involved in the church,” said Karen Olivera, a first-time youth member from what is now known as San Esteban, Cleveland. “I suggest inviting more young people and offering a workshop only for young people.”
The theme for the conference was “Retomando el Camino,” meaning “Getting Back on Track.” The gathering began with worship, which included a sermon by William Llana, a lay church planter. It continued the next day with a lineup of innovative workshop presenters and culminated with a keynote delivered by the Rev. Jesus Reyes. The two-day event was filled with social activities for attendees to catch up since the pandemic.
At the end of the conference, Bishop Hector Monterroso commissioned eight lay leaders who voluntarily accepted the mission to start a new initiative within their communities.
The purpose of this annual conference is to empower, equip, and challenge the Hispanic church to engage in the task of evangelism and missions.
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SCENES FROM THE HISPANIC LAY LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE 2022
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National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrated Locally
Between mid-September and mid-October, many Episcopal churches took part in the celebration of Hispanic Heritage. With traditional foods and folkloric dances, all Hispanic countries were represented.
San Mateo, Houston, celebrates the feast day of the parish saint and Hispanic Heritage at the same time each year. For 2022, San Mateo’s festival began with the Mass for the Immigrants. Congregants enjoyed folkloric dances and food from their own regions. They had special
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participation from La Compañía Folklórica Alegría Mexicana, Venezuela Ritmo y Folklore, Raíces del Perú, and the musical group Los Chiriviscos Power. More than 300 people of different nationalities attended the lavish event.
Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, proudly celebrated the diversity of Latino/Hispanic culture. All Cathedral members and friends had the opportunity to learn the wide range of the culture through dance, singing, and fellowship. This is an annual tradition on the part of the Cathedral’s Latin/Hispanic congregation, and members are always happy to continue to share and celebrate their heritage and roots. Congregants had folkloric performances by Danz Art Folkloric Ballet and Los Chinelos-Comparsa Morelense. They also enjoyed Las Cazuelas, who provided some of their delicious food for the whole community.
San Pablo, Houston, honored and celebrated its countries of origin. Their community is made up of a wide range of nationalities from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. Music and food go hand-in-hand in their celebrations. With the collaboration of their community, they were able to taste typical dishes from many countries such as the famous Salvadoran pupusas, the rich Mexican tamales and other Central American delicacies, as well as assorted dishes and drinks from other countries. They decorated the parish hall with the flags of Latin American countries and witnessed the dancing talents of several parishioners, along with their very colorful and decorative costumes. Many also shared poems and songs that reminded everyone of their places of origin.
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Some of the newer communities celebrated Hispanic Heritage for the first time. El Buen Pastor, Waco, celebrated the 212th Anniversary of the Independence of Mexico. They rang the bell and processed with the Grito de Dolores, or Cry of Dolores. They reflected on their Mexican culture and traditions and had the opportunity to learn more about the history of how Mexico became independent. Participants came dressed in their Mexican attire and sombreros. At the end, parishioners all had a chance to try an assortment of Mexicanstyle dishes.
The Spanish-speaking community at Grace, Houston, started off its celebration with a Holy Mass where songs were sung from Latin composers and prayers were issued for their countries of origin. They also had a parade with flags from different countries, singing "Un canto de Amistad" and "America será para Cristo.”
Maleydy, a young girl, made a presentation of her participation in the Elsik High School band. A boy, Emmanuel, demonstrated different acts of martial arts. Grace congregants shared Latin American food; aguas frescas and soft drinks from Mama Lycha (El Salvador); and Inca
The community of Santa Fe, Cleveland (now known as San Esteban, Liberty County), decorated their space with all the flags of Latin America, and included a salsa contest with prizes of $50, $100, and $200. A total of 19 salsa contestants participated. There was a Mexican dance group and live mariachis. Most importantly, they had the opportunity to perform and interact with neighbors in their community. Now the Episcopal Church is present in Cleveland, Texas.
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The Hispanic Heritage Celebration at St. Dunstan's, Houston, was a great success. More than 75 people were in attendance. During the procession, they carried 21 flags from Latin American countries, preceded by the U.S. flag. They prayed for all the countries present that day. After the service, participants had the opportunity to sample meals from different countries, enjoy dances from Mexico and Colombia, and try out a dance clinic.
El Buen Pastor, Waco, Becomes Fellowship of Episcopal Diocese
One of the goals of the Waco church plant for the 2022 year was to apply to the 173rd Diocesan Council for the services of the Protestant Episcopal Church and to adjust to the discipline, liturgy, rites, and usages in order to organize as a new community called El Buen Pastor, Waco.
Having the privilege of being accepted as a fellowship, the Rev. Oscar Huerta, accompanied by some of the members of El Buen Pastor, had the honor of ringing the bell. They continue the mission entrusted to them, complying with the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church and the laws that emanate from them constituted in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.
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El Buen Pastor is located within St. Alban’s, Waco, at 305 N. 30th St.
San Romero, Houston: A family-oriented Community
For some years, the committee at San Romero, Houston, would hold a general meeting with all members and parishioners of the church one Sunday in September. The purpose of the meetings was to encourage the community to unite and share to strengthen their bonds of friendship.
In one of the meetings, a member of the committee presented the idea of giving a real purpose to the meetings. That member brought up the importance of family for the church. The proposal was to declare the last Sunday of each September as “El Dia De La Familia Romerista” meaning “The Day of the Romerist Family.” Following this idea, members of the committee and the Rev. Uriel Lopez began the celebration on September 25, of last year, as an annual celebration.
Their initial objective transformed into focusing on the importance of family as a fundamental structure in social and spiritual change. As an ecclesiastical, religious community devoted to God and good principles, their need to emphasize on providing love, help, guidance, and support to protect their homes is of paramount importance. Parishioners generated activities and positive proposals enriched with principles and values to strengthen family, a vital core of society.
For their first family day, congregants decided to focus the celebration on sports activities but with a main theme “Family Values.” Activities focused on the many values needed in the family, including love, loyalty, respect, honesty, generosity, and tolerance. These values were adapted to each sporting activity to help members learn about the particular value; strengthen the family unit; and seek to sow the value in their hearts through the activities.
Following the first annual gathering and the theme of family unity, Luisa Mateus, a member of San Romero, invited parishioners to create nativity scenes as a family. She came upon the idea after hearing the children say their parents don't have time to spend with them. This activity became another way for families to be together and create space and time to talk to one another.
Many families responded to the invitation and made nativities with anything they had at home or could easily get, without spending money. Recyclable materials were used, including old Christmas cards, cups, wood, seeds, toilet paper tubes and wine corks. Everyone got chocolates and a trophy–a hit for the younger children.
The San Romero community is now committed to build upon this work in an effort to contribute to the spiritual development and growth of family love and unity. It is paramount to understand that this social cell called family is the fundamental axis that must be cultivated to achieve real change.
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Update 2022: St. Paul’s/San Pablo’s, Houston
The Rev. Edward Gomez, rector of St. Paul’s/San Pablo’s, Houston, recalls his south Florida childhood when he and his brother went to the beach. They would know when it was time to go home as dark clouds arose over the ocean. Sometimes, the setting sun would pierce the darkness of the clouds, sending rays of light that gave them hope that they might stay longer.
He likens that experience to 2022 as rays of light and hope pierced the darkness that COVID-19 delivered, as hope returned for church ministries.
The first ray of light came with the news that congregants were to receive a new curate. Rev. Alyssa Stebbing arrived in July 2022.
“Sure enough, her joy and light inspired those wanting to re-engage into the life of the church,” Gomez recalled.
Due to the loss of members who passed away during the pandemic, Stebbing started a grief group that soon turned into an “explorers in the faith” group that faced the hard questions of life. Several of those included: why suffering – why so much loss – why didn't anyone prepare us for this?
This movement began a deeper individual healing process that turned communal, giving everyone the message that we are not alone in this journey and grief, Gomez related.
The second ray of light was the new Bishop’s Warden Mauricio Umana and Bishop’s Committee that was ready to shed the old and roll up their sleeves and get to work.
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Many campus projects were addressed, most notably the $100,000 kitchen renovation made possible by Crossroads, the homeless ministry on campus. A grant was received from the Medallion Foundation. A new committee was formed to plan the centennial celebration of St. Paul’s in 2023.
“It seemed like tongues of fire had descended upon our campus to begin a healing and renewing process,” Gomez said. “This was also realized by creating the third Sunday of the month into a ‘Holy Unction Sunday’. This service focused on healing, prayer, praise, and worship in a more freeform style. What was moving for me, was how people came up for Holy Unction and when asked where in their lives they needed healing and change, they responded with extremely personal and honest requests. There were many tears with the hope of receiving a healing that only God can provide.”
Congregants pray with faith that 2023 will continue to bring renewed missions into the community and into the lives of all who come into the doors, Gomez said.
The Nativity Scene (Creche) of St. Mary Magdalene in Manor, Texas
For the 2022 Christmas season, St. Mary Magdalene, Manor, created a Pesebre or Nacimiento (Creche), drawing from Latin American traditions. In a number of countries, “creche,” or nativity scenes, are created and placed in community spaces, in churches, and in homes. The traditional figures of the Holy Family, shepherds, animals, and magi are often placed in the middle of a representation of the local town and topography.
The tradition reportedly got its start in Italy. By the mid 18th century, the tradition was made popular in Spain and its colonies, including America.
Theologically, a “nacimiento”(birth or nativity), places the birth of Jesus in the middle of a town in the here-and-now and shows a central truth of the incarnation. Namely, Jesus was born in our world, thereby transforming us and the whole creation.
St. Mary Magdalene has not put aside this beautiful tradition that is long etched in history. The congregation built its own “nacimiento” during Advent but left the baby Jesus figure out of the manger until he appeared on Christmas Eve.
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A nativity scene complete with animals represented the arrival of the child Jesus to the town of Manor, incorporating familiar images of the city such as the metallic tower that can be seen from afar, along with a scenic pond. The town’s church is represented along with the Manor Police Station and city hall buildings. Quaint houses were added to include the neighboring town of Elgin.
The Manor community that attended St. Mary Magdalene enjoyed the Christmas nativity scene this past Christmas, and the community is already planning an updated version next year.
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Feeding the Hungry
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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.
4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry, Fort Worth
When Episcopalians in east Fort Worth made a commitment to help their neighbors access healthy food, they did not realize they would be creating a movable feast.
Delivering Food and More
4Saints distributed food each Friday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Last year, volunteers served an average of 100 families each week. Currently they are serving about 125 families a week. On one Saturday a month, the mobile food bank serves 200 to 300 families, depending on how much food the Tarrant Area Food Bank delivers.
Clients are not just handed bags of groceries. They “shop” the aisles and pick out what they want or need from the available food supplies. Fresh eggs, milk, vegetables, and meat are provided. The pantry also offers pet food, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene products. Age-appropriate books are made available for the children to take home.
As invaluable as the food is, the relationships of mutual respect and affection the volunteers build with their clients are priceless. No matter the location, staff and volunteers strive to live out the promises of the Baptismal Covenant each week: to seek and serve Christ in all persons and to respect the dignity of every human being.
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Organization in Temple Seeks Help to Get Community Garden Project Going
A collaboration between Christ Church, Temple, and nonprofit “Un-Included Club” seeks to help teach families the importance of healthy food through the creation of an urban garden.
The nonprofit announced its partnership with the church in February 2022 as the church donated land to the club to start the Main Street Community Garden, 301 N. Main St. Un-Included supports projects and programs that inspire humans to be un-included from habits and lifestyles that lead to “un-wellness in ourselves, our families and our communities,” according to its website.
Last spring, Doree Collins, Un-Included Club executive director, urged area benefactors to donate in order to have the ingredients needed to focus on the garden’s growth–tools, nutrients and water.
Foremost, Collins called on local residents to sponsor a garden plot and regularly tend to it as the spring planting season began.
In addition to providing produce, the alliance between Christ Church and Un-Included intends to teach children the importance of healthy food.
(This story was broadcasted by KWTX-TV in Temple, Texas in 2022.)
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St. Thomas the Apostle, Houston, Episcopal Church Galveston Food Bank Food Distribution Regularly Helps Needy
St. Thomas the Apostle, Nassau Bay (Houston), once again welcomed the Galveston Food Bank to its parking lot for its August 8, 2022, food distribution. This regular food distribution covers residents in Nassau Bay, Webster, and Pasadena.
On most Saturdays, about 50-100 cars arrive, and volunteers send enough food to serve 200-500 people with fresh fruit, vegetables, and sometimes meat and hygiene items.
The food distribution begins in the St Thomas parking lot at 18300 Upper Bay Rd., Nassau Bay, from 8-9:30 a.m. Distribution starts after volunteers assemble the packages in the early morning.
Those interested in serving or leading in this effort may email Mike Stone at firstname.lastname@example.org. Community members are invited to serve with St. Thomas in this food ministry. St. Thomas the Apostle's motto is: We can do more together!
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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 In the Midst of Overcoming Disaster
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Overview from the Rev. Stacy Stringer, Episcopal Diocese of Texas Director of Disaster Response
In summer 2022, Charles Teel, parishioner with St. Mark’s Episcopal, Beaumont, led his congregation in a disaster preparedness mission to benefit several southeast Texas Episcopal congregations and their communities. He was aware that the region’s most vulnerable neighbors were still recovering from a series of storms dating back several years, plus an ongoing pandemic. In response, St. Mark’s Episcopal’s summer project aimed to better equip vulnerable families for the next disruption.
“Storms will always have a level of impact on people’s physical and mental health as it disrupts their lives,” Teel said. “But I know, from what I’ve personally seen over the years, that being prepared can make a world of difference in how big or small that impact is on someone, their family, and their home.”
During the summer project, church and community members in multiple counties gathered to assemble disaster kits, learn about facets of disaster readiness and distribute the kits. Through ties with other organizations and through neighbors knowing neighbors, more than 100 families received a “go kit” to have on standby.
Faith-based organizations have always been at the forefront of disaster response, and this includes being ready for the “next one” to the best of our abilities. We’ve learned that the basic ingredients of preparedness function across all hazards. One powerful resource in times of need
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are trusted networks, and in 2022 many of our congregations and institutions excelled in leading and in participating in regional readiness efforts.
Ranging from chemical explosions to winter storms, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, wildfires, offshore accidents, bomb threats, school violence and a pandemic, the Diocese of Texas has been a key responder in relief and recovery. The scale, scope and kind of disasters have increased over the years, and so has the frequency. To be wise and faithful stewards of our people, plants, and communities, it is vital that we expand our toolkits to include preparedness plans.
Planning begins at the local level, and knowing our neighbors is an excellent beginning point. We knit together a lifeline that connects communities by exchanging vital information, sharing needed items, and being there for each other. Congregations that have invested in relationships with their neighbors, especially vulnerable families, are uniquely positioned to be trusted partners in this mission field.
Congregation preparedness can include resources provided by our Disaster Readiness program. These include tools for preparing congregation facilities and members as well as those which aid in community outreach. For example, in 2022 some congregations listened to their vulnerable neighbors to learn – and to secure – what they would find most helpful to have on hand at home before that “next one” arrives. Preparedness grants from Episcopal Diocese of Texas Disaster Readiness, supported by Episcopal Relief & Development, helped with the procurement of those supplies.
The bomb cyclone in December 2022, which brought life-threatening weather to the entire state, activated congregations who were staying tuned to weather forecasts. Bishop C. Andrew Doyle activated our diocesan emergency communications system to connect with heads of congregations prior to and during the arctic blast. Outreach ministries rapidly activated their networks and secured items to assist unhoused neighbors and vulnerable families.
Perfect preparedness is not a realistic goal, but the impact of small things can and does produce large benefits, much of which we will never see. Tragedies become less tragic through an ounce of planning, and being a little bit ready now can bring a lot of relief later. Let us trust the power of God over tiny things: Preparedness the size of a mustard seed yields mighty results!
(Story by Director of Disaster Response the Rev. Stacy Stringer first featured by Episcopal Relief & Development in article entitled, “How to Prepare When the Disasters Don't Stop.” Please contact the Rev. Stringer if your congregation is interested in what a preparedness project might look like.)
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“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
–Arthur Ashe, American tennis player
In response to the epic flooding at Yellowstone National Park which caused tremendous devastation, the Diocese of Texas extends sincere thanks to both St. Martin's and St. John the Divine, both in Houston. They donated $30,000 for flood relief in 2022 to send to the bishop of Wyoming. The diocese urges congregations and individuals to give to Episcopal Relief & Development.
Expression of Gratitude: St. Martin's and St. John the Divine Respond to Yellowstone Flooding; About Episcopal Relief & Development About Episcopal Relief & Development
Episcopal Relief & Development facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives in communities struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. The nonprofit facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives in communities struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. More at episcopalrelief.org.
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Pre-freeze blankets provided by Diocese of Texas congregations through Episcopal Relief & Development grant
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
Embracing Our Seniors
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Joyful Hearts: San Pedro, Pasadena, Highlights Seniors Program
San Pedro, Pasadena, like many other churches, faced challenges due to the pandemic in 2020. Its community center, North Pasadena Outreach Center (NPCO), started a senior program in 2019 but had to cease operations for the safety of seniors and staff. Prior to the closure, 20-25 seniors would gather once a month.
In March of 2022, the center reinstated the program, initially meeting twice a month. After noticing a high interest in meeting more often, the staff changed to weekly gatherings in October 2022. Currently, NPCO sees an average of 40-55 seniors every Friday, and numbers are growing. NPCO provides the seniors with a hot meal, an engaging activity such as bingo, Zumba, raffles, and informative sessions about health. In addition, the outreach center distributes boxes of food complete with fresh produce and other food staples.
“It gives me great joy to come and spend time with other people and share my blessings with them and to receive their blessings as well,” said Juanita Perez, a senior who has been attending the program since September 2022. “I am very grateful to all of you who do this for us because it is such a blessing and it gives me so much joy."
The seniors are part of the most vulnerable population in Pasadena, and the need to take care of them is a priority. The senior program has won the hearts of staff members and volunteers. They truly enjoy being able to spend time with the seniors each week.
Program Coordinator Celie Curiel said that serving the seniors brings so much joy to her and the other staff and volunteers. “I feel like we truly are touching their lives and making a positive impact,” Curiel said. “We are providing a space where they can form friendships and this improves their mental health.”
With the assistance from grants, NPCO supplied 23 seniors with utility and rental assistance last year. The organization and its volunteers look for additional ways to improve the mental, physical, and emotional health of the seniors.
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A Missional Community Growing Through Efforts of St. John’s, Columbus, Assists Seniors
Roger Olier, a parishioner at St. John’s, Columbus, was inspired by the Small Church Network training he attended in March and April in 2022. He heard stories of what other churches were doing in their communities, and he started brainstorming and pondering.
“They are smaller and have less resources than we do,” he said. “I wonder what we could do.”
Two missional communities–one a post-pandemic restart aimed at seniors and a new Bible study for women–were the answer to his call for action.
Before the pandemic and after the loss of several church leaders, communion and meals for the senior community at Oak Bluff Apartments was a missional community that delivered lunch for up to 120 people each week. The apartment complex provides affordable housing for seniors in Columbus.
The lunches have now restarted and have been transformed through St. John’s efforts. First, congregants used previously donated food items for a community pantry at the Oak Bluff Apartments. That relationship grew until the apartment manager asked if the volunteers at the church could provide lunch and serve it to the residents along with a communion service.
Volunteers have been back in action for several months. With the resurrection of the missional lunches, seniors who are served were vocally thankful the community lunches come to them versus them having to travel to the church for the fellowship lunches. The missional community is now a mobile effort.
Never underestimate what a small group of dedicated people can accomplish. Olier, a lay parishioner, has recently been accepted into Iona School for a lay preaching track.
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Also Provides Early Thanksgiving for Seniors
A group of volunteers of St. John's Episcopal Church, Columbus, served more than 40 seniors of Oak Bluff Village an early Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 17, 2022.
Oak Bluff Village is an affordable rental community which supports senior independent living. The community is part of the National Church Residences. Founded on a faith-based mission, National Church Residences is a non-profit provider of senior housing across the United States.
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Guiding Our Youth
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My child, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.
30th Annual Diocesan Music Camp Held in June in Clear Lake Area
Music lovers united for the 30th Annual Diocesan Music Camp held in June 2022 in Nassau Bay. The classes were split between St. Thomas the Apostle, Nassau Bay, and the University of Houston Clear Lake.
Music campers took part in choral rehearsals, handbell rehearsals, and breakout groups in vocal or instrumental music at the church, with most meals held at the University. Garmon Ashby of St. Thomas served as the choral conductor. The Rev. Marcia Sadberry of St. Luke the Evangelist, Houston, led the instrumental rehearsals. Jackson Hearn of Good Shepherd, Kingwood, accompanied the choral rehearsals and led the handbell rehearsals. Campers in rising grades 7-12 from many different parishes developed a fun community of music enthusiasts.
Staff members Carver Mathis and Laurel Kroesch worked to fill out the schedule with fun camp activities. Added bonuses were a college tour (the first for many campers), crafts, and group games. Laurel Kroesch, who was a music camper for six years before becoming a music counselor, worked with registrar and camp director Linda Patterson to transition into future leadership for the camp.
Many young musicians like Kroesch have attended the camp as their first musical training, and several of them have gone on to careers in music as professional singers, conductors, or music teachers.
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At the end of the week, a family closing service was held, demonstrating the many pieces learned during the camp. A highlight of the week was the group's trip to Space Center Houston.
Plans include moving the 2023 camp to the Bryan-College Station area, with housing at Texas A&M University. Scholarships will be available through a grant from the Gilbert & Thyra Plass Arts Foundation. Once dates are confirmed, information will be shared on the Music Commission webpage and through diocesan media. For more information, contact Dr. Linda Patterson, music@ standrewsbcs.org or 979-822-5176, ext. 105.
Vacation Bible School a Success through Partnership
Calvary, Richmond, in partnership with the Friends of North Richmond's Mission Week, provided three evenings of Vacation Bible School for dozens of children in the community. Church volunteers of all ages facilitated fun and educational activities. With heat as a factor during the summer, the committee provided plenty of liquids for hydration.
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Youth Annabelle Sauer 4Saints
Annabelle Sauer is only 19 years old, yet this University of Notre Dame sophomore is one of 4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry's most tenured and inspiring volunteers.
Sauer first got involved in the seventh grade while trying to settle on a Girl Scout Silver Award project. As luck would have it for Annabelle and for 4Saints, her troop leader worked for the Episcopal Church in North Texas (now the Episcopal Diocese of Texas). The leader knew that St. Luke's-in-the-Meadow was working to establish a food pantry.
As a teen, Sauer attended meetings and became a non-voting member of the 4Saints Board of Directors. She volunteered regularly throughout middle and high school and has worked to help the pantry secure grants. Even now, Sauer volunteers at the pantry when home on college breaks.
“It’s very important to me, seeing how it has grown so much,” Sauer said. “I want to be part of that when I’m able.”
Her influence is seen and felt when she’s away at school. She was involved in the creation of the 4Saints logo that adorns pantry signage. She’s even gotten her family members in on the act.
Her mother Teresa coordinates volunteers for Friday distributions. Younger sister Penelope recently organized a large delivery of canned goods for 4Saints. Teresa, Penelope, and her father Joel have participated in distribution days at the pantry.
Sauer’s work at 4Saints has impacted her educational interests and career ambitions. Her studies are concentrated in economics and global affairs and her future plans are to conduct research involving socioeconomic inequality and effective policy solutions.
In other words, Sauer has her mind set on continuing to make a difference.
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St. Catherine's of Sienna, Missouri City, Holds First Youth Sunday
St. Catherine’s of Sienna, Missouri City, held its first youth Sunday during the 10:30 a.m. service last fall. After a month-long preparation, the youth were able to lead the service by praying the collects; serving as lectors; delivering a homily; singing the offertory anthem; and leading the congregation with Prayers of the People. The service was an amazing gift to the community of St. Catherine’s.
Calvary, Richmond, Mission Youth Provide Home Repairs for Needy San Augustine Families
Youth from Calvary, Richmond, traveled to San Augustine, Texas for a multi-denominational mission trip to help needy families. Two adult leaders at Calvary joined six youth along with 70 additional youth from five states. The week-long camp beginning June 13 involved repairing roofs, hanging drywall and painting homes.
Calvary youth worked hard and cultivated new friendships as they shared devotional time and engaged in some fun activities in their free time at the camp.
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Junior Soccer League Ministry at St. Peter’s, Pasadena, Brings Community Together
During the pandemic, children at St. Peter’s, Pasadena, were affected emotionally and physically by the isolation they suffered due to the closure of schools and churches.
On their own initiative, lay church leaders started a mixed junior soccer league for boys and girls between the ages of 7-13.
This new ministry brought new energy to St. Peter’s and also has managed to connect the men and youth of the church. Surprisingly, most of the families and their children in the league are not members of the congregation.
The goal of this new ministry is to create a safe space where children learn to develop their social skills and make new friends. Teamwork and respect among colleagues are practiced. Bonds between families are strengthened. Physical activity and fun are encouraged.
“Our mission is to serve our community in a holistic way: body, mind, soul and spirit,” said the Rev. Pedro Nel Lopez, vicar of St. Peter’s.
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Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.
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All Saints Episcopal School of Tyler Learning Farm Holds Spring 2022 Planting Day
Students at All Saints Episcopal School of Tyler sprang into action last spring as the young, aspiring farmers took to the fields.
The school’s “learning farm” featured 20 plots with room for veggies, herbs and a flock of 16 chickens. Children in pre-K through fourth grade used the experience to get their hands dirty each day as they took care of the planting.
Each day in March began with instructions heard through the school’s daily announcements. Students listened intently as duties were doled out.
Young third grader Anya Kumar said she enjoyed feeding the chickens earthworms as her favorite chore. She marveled at how quick the chickens snatched the worms.
All Saints science specialist Anna Dickey uses hands-on learning to teach the students. She believes these activities allow for mixing fun with establishing work ethics. In other words, farm duties are no easy tasks.
Chef Michael Brady is director of food services at All Saints. He oversees the operations of the garden. Kids get to experience the cyclical process of the farm, he said. Money goes back into the farm to pay for feed for animals, plants for seasonal planting, and so forth.
Students realize the full cycle of farming, Brady explained. They harvest the crops each quarter and sell their harvest to the chef in the school cafeteria, also known as the “Garden of Eat’n.”
The young entrepreneurs tried an experiment before Spring Break. Faux eggs were placed in the chicken coop to encourage production. To the students’ surprise, 48 real eggs were laid when they returned.
Parents were also delighted by a bonus of fresh eggs which were made available for purchase from their children through the carpool line.
(Special thanks is given to KLTV TV in Tyler and reporter Sariah Bonds for covering this story last year. Highlights of the story are revisited in this feature.)
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Embedded Values Help School Navigate Loss With Love and Care
All Saints’ Episcopal School, Fort Worth, has seven values that exemplify the “Portrait of a Saint.” All Saints’ expects students to work hard developing these traits, and the church expects its community members to reflect them as well. Every November through December, focus is placed on the value of what it means to be a “Faithful Community Member.”
“Saints value placing God at the center and make time for spiritual reflection and intentional practice of wisdom, compassion and great humility. They honor the religious, spiritual, and ethical traditions of each member of our diverse community.”
It’s no accident that All Saints’ focuses on this value during Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas; it uplifts and personifies Episcopal identity. Through formative learning like scripture memory and traditional events and practical application like service learning, students move toward Christmas with a deep understanding of how to love and honor others.
When the school community was faced with the heartbreaking loss of a teacher in late November, it learned firsthand how important these values are and how deeply they are embedded in our community.
Inculcating the values
Corresponding to each “Portrait of a Saint” value is a Bible verse, and every month, a multitude of lower school students memorize the verse. The Faithful Community Member verse is: "He said
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to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. A second is similar: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,'" Matthew 22:37-39. In chapel, students recite this verse in groups, and as individuals- in German, American Sign Language, Portuguese and Spanish.
As an entire school, All Saints’ celebrates Advent lessons and carols on the first Monday in Advent. This special service brings the community together as children of God to follow the story of God’s love through a series of Bible lessons with complementary carols, anthems, or songs following each lesson. Last year, choirs from lower, middle, and upper schools all contributed their gifts to this reflective evening. The service concluded with the lighting of a Christmas tree on the “great lawn.”
In addition to structured events, the holidays are an expected time for acts of service–supporting others through giving–and last year was no exception. These acts of service reflect a commitment to being a Faithful Community Member who practices compassion and honors a diverse community, at school and in one's neighborhood.
Preschool students gathered their favorite books to give to a local, under-resourced elementary school. Kindergarten students raised more than $5,000 this year for the Salvation Army Forgotten Angels.
The Kindergarten Angel Tree Project started in 2005 as a service learning initiative and evolved into an interdisciplinary, semester-long project where students sell popsicles every Friday afternoon to students age three through fifth graders. Kindergarten students connect this project to classroom objectives by creating charts to track their progress; reading their Angel’s wish list; learning about coins and dollars; researching average prices for each item on the wish list to determine a budget; prioritizing and creating a shopping list based on a projected budget; and spending a morning shopping for the Angel.
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Lower school students created strings of lights with notes of thanksgiving to faculty and staff. They also made bookmarks for fellow students and wrote encouraging letters to upper school students who were preparing for finals.
Middle school students collected and provided more than 140 Thanksgiving meals to the Union Gospel Mission, in addition to collecting a donation of $2,800.
Upper school students provided layers of donations to international families through the International Newcomers Academy. They also served lunches to lower school students while their peers were taking the PSAT in November.
The impact of these activities are a direct result of generous families and committed faculty and administrators sharing a common mission. It’s not easy finding ways to engage students ages 3 through 18 in activities where they practice great humility, but the world needs more faithful community members.
The school community realized how important this building of community values is when the school faced the unexpected death of a teacher.
Nationally and locally, schools have seen their share of crises the last two years. All Saints’ Episcopal School has not been exempt, having experienced shutdowns, health uncertainties, mask mandates, social/political upheaval, and crazy weather patterns.
In November, an unthinkable loss brought the school community together.
Second grade teacher Vanessa Morales went home with the flu the Monday before Thanksgiving break. Parents heard she wasn’t progressing well so the meal trains commenced while students and parents continued on with Grandparents’ Day, Thanksgiving programs, and all the normal activities. Senior Chaplain Mother Jill Walters called Saturday morning: Morales had passed away. She was 41, taught at All Saints’ for 10 years, and was a lead faculty member. She left behind a husband, two young children, and a classroom of second graders who adored her.
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Head of school Tad Bird, PhD, describes Vanessa Morales as a comet. She was bright, above reproach, a shining example, warm, and too fleeting.
Walters and lower school administrative team made individual phone calls that Saturday to each lower school faculty member and each of Morales’ current second-grade families. On Sunday, the school held a small-group meeting to work through the broader communication plan and the plan for re-entry after Thanksgiving break. With two administrators, two counselors, and three chaplains sitting in a room, they planned decisions that were in the best interest of both colleagues and students. The strength of the Lord was evidenced as the team simultaneously grieved and functioned as leaders.
In the subsequent weeks, individuals fought through their own deep sadness and stood tall for their colleagues and students. Counselors and chaplains provided resources, support, check-ins, quiet rooms, and homilies that gave space for mourning. They coordinated therapy dogs and extra professionals to be on campus for the first few days. Administrators provided substitutes, alternative schedules, and routine. A co-curricular teacher volunteered to be the long-term substitute for Morales’ class. Parents started a GoFundMe for the Morales family that is inching north of $130,000. Walters provided gentle and impactful emotional support to Morales’ family and led the liturgies at both the family and the school memorial services. Despite a long season of disharmony, a school community united in support for each other.
(Slightly edited article submitted by Meg Hasten, director of Strategic Communication, All Saints’ Episcopal School, Fort Worth. Hasten remembers her colleague through this eulogy: “I know she would be so proud of how we are loving each other well in her absence, leaning on the ‘One’ who holds every tear.”)
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Calvary Preparatory Students Fill 3,000 Easter Eggs for Underserved Children
Through its community service project, students at Calvary Episcopal Preparatory Upper School in Richmond delivered approximately 3,000 plastic, filled Easter eggs to area nonprofit Nery’s Promise, a Richmond-area, faith-based nonprofit hosting an egg hunt for underserved children.
School Also Celebrates Graduates
Student graduates in pre-K through high school at Calvary Episcopal Preparatory in Richmond were featured in the Fort Bend Herald last May. Celebrating their academic successes, high school students moved their tassels as they prepared for college and careers. Younger students gained certificates and accolades as they moved to the next grade level.
The school is the second-oldest private parochial school in Fort Bend County and has educated students since 1956. It serves communities in Richmond, Rosenberg, Pecan Grove, Greatwood, New Territory, Aliana, Waterside Estates, Cross Creek Ranch, Fulshear, Katy, and the FM 359 corridor.
View the photos courtesy of the Fort Bend Herald Newspaper website: https://bit.ly/408GIMl
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All Saints Students Present Ideas for City Improvement to Tyler City Officials
Eighth graders from All Saints Episcopal School of Tyler presented ideas on how to better the city to top city officials last spring.
The presentation covered by KLTV-TV Tyler showed students presenting “Our Voices for a Better City” based on a semester-long collaboration with college students from UT Tyler and the City of Tyler officials. Plans were based on categories including traffic mitigation, services for the unhoused, park beautification, and programs for animal services.
The mayor, city manager, and deputy manager listened and took notes throughout the presentation.
“We want to get a sense of the younger voices in the community to determine what sort of ideas they have to improve Tyler,” said Rick Helfers of the UT Tyler Social Science Department.
“We get stuck in a rut and we think we are doing everything the right way,” Tyler Mayor Don Warren said in the television interview. “We’re not perfect and that is what’s so fun about these young people is you hear the new energy, you hear the new ideas. We heard them and we listened.”
(Special thanks to KLTV-TV Tyler for the original story which aired in April 2022.)
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Photo credit: Flickr Contributor
Service Continues as Cornerstone to Episcopal High School Houston
Service is a foundation block at Episcopal High School (EHS) in Houston. The aim is to educate the EHS community about the needs both within the community and in the broader Houston community and to inspire students to develop a lifelong passion for service.
Beginning in freshman year, students are introduced to the Students of Service Organization (SOS) through a required, beginning-of-school project called “Freshman Service Experience.” Twelfth graders are required to complete a “Senior Outreach” project.
In 2021-2022, SOS went a step further by giving students an option to join a year-long “Service Achievement Program” aimed at learning, leading, teaching, reflecting, and serving.
The Service Achievement Program allows students to take a deep dive into service, according to EHS Dean of Spiritual Life Beth Holden.
“We’ve had 80-90 students undertake it in both years we’ve offered it,” Holden said. Hours for all SOS projects are tracked through a new app called “Helper Helper.” It tracks student service projects and promotes upcoming service projects so that students can discover upcoming opportunities.
In 2022, students packaged pet food at a shelter. A nature conservation was revitalized as students weeded, dug, and planted. Disadvantaged children benefited from snack packs, artsand-crafts, and tutoring that EHS students provided.
Last February, students taking on the year-long service project led the EHS Day of Service. On a Saturday, all students and their families, staff, and faculty worked to package staples at the Houston Food Bank.
Spiritual Life Board
Formed in 2022 as a means to share spiritual activities throughout EHS organizations, Spiritual Life Board enlists both faculty and student representatives. At monthly meetings, attendees compile activities to share for the calendar. The goal is to have more networking among the groups.
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World religions course offered
World Religions is a new course EHS introduced in 2022. The syllabus includes student visits to Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Jewish and Orthodox worship sites across Houston. In October, students visited Congregation Beth Yeshurun as part of a unit on Judaism.
St. Stephen’s School, Austin, Celebrates New State-of-Art Field Hockey Surface
The St. Stephen’s, Austin, community celebrated the official opening of its new home for field hockey and girls lacrosse at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on the last day of September last year, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. As the first hockeyspecific surface in Central Texas, Spartans in grades 6-12 benefit from daily training on the hockey turf designed for fast-paced, high-level hockey.
Approximately 70 athletes from across seven grade levels and a handful of Spartan hockey alumni currently compete collegiately at Stanford, Dartmouth, Harvard, Trinity College and Swarthmore College. The addition of the water-based hockey, turf-training facility should aid in putting St. Stephen’s Field Hockey on the national map.
Head of School Chris Gunnin said he is thrilled about the new facility on “The Hill.”
“I am proud and excited that our field hockey and girls lacrosse teams will have the benefit of this state-of-theart field for practices, training, and competitions,” Gunnin said. “I am deeply grateful for the support of our donors and thankful for the members of the board of trustees and St. Stephen’s staff who invested time and energy in this project. With the addition of this field to our program, there is no limit on what our student-athletes can achieve.”
The $2 million project was funded by a small group of donors. It will rival that of collegiate hockey facilities and will hopefully serve as a future playing ground for international and college friendlies.
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St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin Welcomes New Chaplain Rev. Aimée Eyer-Delevett
St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin, held an Installation Ceremony for its new Chaplain, the Rev. Aimée Eyer-Delevett on Oct. 28, 2022. The welcome ceremony included music, hymns, stories, and prayers and was well attended by the St. Stephen’s community.
At the ceremony, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, the Rt. Rev. Kathryn M. Ryan, charged the new chaplan with the oversight of the spiritual development and pastoral care of the students, faculty, and staff at the school.
Community presented symbolic gifts to the new chaplain and acknowledged the many roles she will fill in the St. Stephen’s community. Roles include pastor, priest, leader, educator, healer, mentor, and friend. Bishop Ryan then commissioned her as the new chaplain at the school.
Morgan Stokes, lay chaplain, acknowledged that Eyer-Delevett’s ministry is well underway: “This meaningful service provided sacred space for us to celebrate what has begun through her and what God will continue to do. We are thankful God has chosen Rev. Aimée to minister to our community and believe the Spirit will work through her in powerful ways as she calls us deeper into our identity as children of God.”
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Institutions and Programs
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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.
Camp Allen Visitors Get a Preview of the New Bishop Doyle Center
More than three years ago, the groundbreaking for the new Bishop Doyle Center at Camp Allen took place. On Saturday, May 21, 2022, over 230 visitors had a sneak peek of the new facility, giving their first-time campers a look at what camp life is like.
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Camp Allen Names Its Next CEOAllen Kight
After a remarkable 22-year tenure as Camp Allen’s first president, George Dehan announced his retirement at the end of 2022. The board of trustees proceeded with a formal search process, and Allen Kight was selected and received unanimously to become the next president of Camp Allen.
Allen has served on Camp Allen’s senior management team for the past six years in his role of property director. Allen has been responsible for managing the camp’s vast facilities and property, along with overseeing the major construction of the new $6.4 million Bishop Doyle Center and Campsite 4.
With his extensive experience, gifted leadership abilities, and a deep passion for the camp’s mission, Allen has the full confidence of staff and board in his new post beginning 2023.
“With 100 dedicated staff at Camp Allen and a growing guest list, we have in Allen someone who has the people skills and technical skills to lead our organization in the years ahead,” said the retiring Dehan.
A native Houstonian and graduate of the University of Houston, Allen owned a residential construction firm in the Memorial area for over 20 years prior to joining Camp Allen in 2016. Allen and wife Holli are members of St. Martin’s, Houston, where Holli led the Children’s Ministry for 10 years. Together with adult children Bryan and Ellie, the family has served in various volunteer and staff roles for Camp Allen’s Summer Camp Program for the past several years.
“Working and learning under George Dehan and Gloria Clepper have been the happiest years of my working career,” Kight said. “Their leadership, guidance and constant focus on Camp Allen's mission to offer Christian hospitality exemplifies the teaching of how we are to love and respect our neighbors. I'm so honored to be able to carry on this tradition, working with our wonderful staff as we move into a post COVID-19 landscape.”
A ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, Camp Allen is one of the largest Christian conference centers in the country, serving over 70,000 guests annually including 10,000 children on its 1,100acre, forested property. Even with the impact of COVID-19, Camp Allen has remained financially stable and is planning a future phase of growth and expansion. The camp is well-positioned for the next mantle of leadership, and the transition will be implemented in the months ahead.
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Allen Kight pictured with his family on Camp Allen's Hike & Bike Trail (photo by Emily Boone)
Camp Allen's First President George Dehan Retires
After 22 years as Camp Allen’s first president, George Dehan announced his planned retirement at the end of 2022. A transition plan will ensure a smooth transition for staff and Camp Allen’s future vision. Dehan will continue in a consulting role to the board in 2023 in the areas of finance and development. The camp has a bold agenda and does not plan to shrink from its lofty goals. New organizational changes will be announced in 2023.
Under Dehan’s leadership, the camp has doubled the number of annual visitors while increasing staff capacity by just 18 percent. Access to the Camp Allen experience was broadened by providing scholarships to as many as 3,500 children from economically disadvantaged families annually.
Operational performance has continued to improve, leaving Camp Allen “debt free” for the first time in 23 years. Annual donation funds increased by nearly 400 percent, and the camp continues to operate in the black. With the support of Camp Allen’s board and several hundred donors that shared in the “dream,” over $25 million was raised over three capital campaigns, most recently the Centennial Fund which incorporated 21 projects completed by the end of 2021.
“Our camp has been very busy as we rebound from the COVID years,” Dehan said. “We have presented a five-year plan to Bishop Doyle for our growth and future expansion, and I will work with our senior leadership on those goals. I am not one to ride off into the sunset on a given day; serving Camp Allen is one of my greatest joys. I must share how proud I am of our staff and their role in offering outstanding hospitality.
“As I look at my tenure here at Camp Allen, I must say that being around these young people has kept me young at heart, though I am turning 74 this summer. It is the right season for me to retire as my grandson attends Camp Allen this summer and begins to stretch all of the safety rules that we have put in place for the last 22 years.”
While Dehan’s tangible accomplishments at Camp Allen are immense, it is his Godly character, passion for service, and hands-on approach that leave the greatest legacy on the staff at Camp Allen.
(Dehan was celebrated and honored at a very special “Starry Nights and Campfire Lights” on Oct. 13, 2022 at the Post Oak Hilton in Houston.)
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George Dehan retires from Camp Allen after 22 years of service
El Buen Samaritano Grounded in Mission to Serve Austin Latino Communities
Founded in 1987 to improve access to food and health services, El Buen Samaritano, Austin, focuses on systemic factors and social determinants of health which negatively affect Austin Latino communities.
El Buen is committed to recognizing the dignity of all. The nonprofit aims to ensure access to healthcare, education, and essential needs leading to healthy, productive, and secure lives.
Accomplishments for 2022 include:
Food assistance: Nourishment provided to over 20,000 individuals using drive-through pantry, mobile pantries, and prepared meal distribution.
Health services: Health and coordinated care services provided over 2,800 households with access to COVID-19 resources and vaccines, reproductive health, adolescent health, and family health care through our Coordinated Care Network. COVID-19 vaccinations were supplied to 2,101 individuals.
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83 % of community El Buen serves identifies as Latino immigrants. 94 % of clients live under 100% of federal poverty level.
Financial provisions: Over $1.5 million in financial and rental assistance through eviction prevention, cash assistance, and access to public benefits through application assistance.
Education and workforce development: Programs served over 700 individuals through youth services, English as a Second Language, digital literacy and leadership classes for adults, and community health worker training and certification.
El Buen’s equity and access efforts traverse Central Texas. The organization’s work spans over a five-county area. A high percentage of clients live in Austin’s eastern crescent, which has the area’s highest rates of poverty, unemployment, and uninsured individuals. Through partnerships, El Buen implements a strategic and coordinated
effort to reach deeper into multiple and diverse communities. Ten of El Buen’s key partners include AVANCE, Todos Juntos, Austin Area Urban League, Community Coalition for Health, Dell Valle Community Coalition, Hays Latinos United, Vivent Health, Saffron Trust Pflugerville, St. James’, Austin, and San Francisco de Asis, Austin. El Buen’s formal collaborations with the City of Austin and Central Texas Food Bank have been critical to its community engagement and ability to provide access to basic needs.
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St. Vincent’s House, Galveston, Takes on Challenge of Increased Need for Services for Underserved
St. Vincent’s House, Galveston, ramped up its services to the community in 2022, with a 58 percent increase in individuals served. Services provided include food, transportation, vision care, and community outreach.
St. Vincent’s 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. It provides comprehensive social services and community outreach programs for the entire family.
The nonprofit documented 79,856 duplicated individuals who returned for services along with 8,518 distinct individuals and 5,358 distinct households receiving services. These numbers only include the social services and clinic numbers and not the Galveston-Houston Immigration Representation Project or the Family Service Center.
The food pantry is a comprehensive pantry that includes fruits and vegetables along with staples, cleaning, and hygiene supplies, as well as child and adult diapers. In 2022, 7,097 snack packs were distributed to the unsheltered. Also, 4,678 deliveries went to the home bound, with an average 122 weekly home deliveries to seniors and families without transportation. Groceries were given to 4,469 distinct individuals, with 12,548 delivered to duplicated individuals.
During the holidays, 50 seniors received Christmas goodie bags, and 315 families were gifted Thanksgiving food boxes, feeding 1,000.
Transportation services were in demand as well as 267 individuals gained 2,306 rides using services. Through the vision program, 171 people received free eye exams and glasses.
Community outreach was accomplished through the Vietnamese Fishermen Village Outreach, providing hurricane prep, blood pressure, food and diabetes screening, COVID-19 tests and vaccines, and additional services. A family festival through partnership with the Galveston ISD provided warm clothes and food for needy families, with over 3,000 served at the festival.
St. Vincent’s House developed the Integrated Care Model, an innovative outreach program which was established at Central Church, St. Vincent’s Hope Clinic, and Sandpiper Cove Apartments in Galveston. The goal is to break the multigenerational poverty cycle and to build trust by meeting clients where they are. The complexity of populations served through the model program grows as it decreases barriers of access to services.
St. Vincent’s continues to raise the bar in finding ways to be impactful in order to serve the residents of Galveston.
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The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.
Psalm 24: 1-2
Saving the Earth: A Look at Creation Care
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St. Stephen’s Lets Sunshine In
“Let the sunshine in” was the literal and metaphorical message as the St. Stephen’s Episcopal School community in Austin gathered in December. As they assembled in front of its Becker Library, they celebrated the addition of solar panels on five strategic locations on campus.
A rousing playlist of “sunny” songs, including a live student performance of The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” set the stage for a joyful ceremony.
The celebration included student-designed T-shirts; campus-wide science lessons supporting solar power impact; a presentation from student environmental group Green Goblins; and as well as an official blessing of the panels by the Rt. Rev. Katherine Ryan, bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and St. Stephen’s board chair.
The 1,064 panels will generate 787,594 kilowatt-hours per year. The project is funded through the generosity of donors Frederick and Ann Dure, parents of Stephen’s alumni Will Dure, class of 2019. The panels are also made possible by a special incentive rebate program from Austin Energy. The school estimates that it will realize a savings of $65,000.
Beyond the practical reduction of St. Stephen’s energy costs and carbon footprint, the solar panels are a visible affirmation of the school’s and Episcopal Church’s commitment to the care of creation.
“We know how fortunate St. Stephen’s is to have 370 beautiful acres, and we take seriously our responsibility to be thoughtful stewards of the Earth,” Head of School Chris Gunnin said. “In fact, one of the five core values underlying our school mission is to be ethical citizens and stewards of the planet we share. That’s why I am so proud of the school taking this significant step forward to deepen our commitment to sustainability.”
Bishop Ryan congratulated St. Stephen’s, noting that by adopting practical ways of reducing our climate impact, we live more humbly and gently on Earth.
Spear Solar installed the panels and provided professional development and curriculum support to St. Stephen’s science faculty to maximize teaching opportunities.
Science department chair Frank Mikan reflected on the significance of the panels as they deliver the opportunity for “teachable moments,” including but not limited to science, social studies, math, ethics, and economics.
“St. Stephen’s is not only ensuring its future by reining in energy costs, but also by fostering a cadre of students, who as adults, will be inspired to help create a clean and dynamic future that is as bright as the sun itself,” Mikan said.
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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
Celebrations,Milestones,and Coming Together
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Scenes from the 173rd Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas
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Full Circle: Inclusive Grace, Houston, Re-establishes as Parish
Grace Episcopal, Houston, has taken an unusual path to becoming a parish.
Initially, the church formed as a parish. Grace then reverted to being a mission, and once again became a parish in 2022. During the 173rd Diocesan Council in The Woodlands in February 2022, delegates of the Diocese of Texas voted to establish Grace once again as a parish—an eventful circle spanning some 60 years.
When the Rev. Scott Painter became the church’s vicar more than four years ago, he said at that time, there were an average of 40 people attending the weekly services. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions in the past years, the church has grown to over 100 participants.
According to Painter, Grace has a commitment to deepening spirituality and holistic wellness. This also includes spiritual practices like meditation, centering prayers, worship, reading groups, and Bible study.
Painter also hopes Grace is part of a larger community. Some of the ways he hopes to accomplish this goal is by holding blood drives, vaccination clinics, and interfaith events.
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Scenes from Episcopal Night at the Ballpark, Summer 2022
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Highlights from General Convention 80
The 80th General Convention in July 2022, despite being smaller, shorter, fully masked, and tightly focused due to Covid precautions, managed to make history in multiple ways. Covering the huge amount of work needed in four days was made possible by committees holding hearings via Zoom prior to GC80. Committee members made disciplined use of the Consent Calendar, which allows passage of many resolutions at once with no debate. Deputies and bishops worked long days with worship in the separate houses beginning at 8:30 am and legislative sessions ending at 9:30 pm.
A high point for both Houses of General Convention was the votes to confirm the reunion of the Episcopal Church of North Texas (formerly the Diocese of Fort Worth) with the Diocese of Texas. Emotional unanimous votes in both houses ended in standing ovations and cheers. In the House of Deputies both deputations were invited by Gay Jennings, president, onto the platform for the vote. In the House of Bishops, North Texas Bishop Provisional Scott Mayer joined Diocese of Texas bishops Doyle, Fisher, Ryan, and Monterroso as all were invited onto the platform by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry for the vote. Reports are that there wasn’t a dry eye in either house.
For the first time, the House of Deputies is led by two women of color. Oklahoma lay Deputy Julie Ayala Harris was elected the first Latina and the youngest person to lead the house and Rachel Taber-Hamilton of the Diocese of Olympia was elected as the first indigenous and first ordained woman to serve as vice president. This means that along with Curry, for the first time in history, all the presiding officers of the Episcopal Church are people of color.
In what many saw as a sign of healthy priorities for the church, both houses spent much more time in discussion about possible additions to the Book of Common Prayer than they did on the budget, although the latter was examined thoroughly as well.
The House of Deputies sat in rapt silence during what Jennings described as “holy listening” as indigenous deputies somberly related their stories as survivors of horrific experiences at indigenous boarding schools. The House of Deputies passed and the bishops concurred on Resolution A127. The resolution pledges more than $2.5 million over the next biennium to further the Episcopal Church’s commitment to investigating its role in indigenous boarding schools;
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create a fact-finding commission to preserve and to provide a public platform to hear the stories of survivors of any such schools within dioceses’ geographic area; establish Indigenous communitybased spiritual healing centers to address intergenerational trauma; and to create educational resources regarding the church’s role in the schools.
This was part of Convention’ work on racial justice and reconciliation which involved several resolutions that continue the church’s commitment to reckoning with its history of racism. Deputies, on July 8, adopted Resolution A125 offered by the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee, establishing a voluntary Episcopal Coalition for Racial Equity and Justice among dioceses and congregations. Bishops concurred, rejecting a proposed amendment that could have prevented its passage because there was no time to send an amended resolution back to the deputies for concurrence. The coalition is designed as a remedy to the church’s uneven record of prioritizing racial reconciliation at the church-wide level and across the dioceses of the church.
General Convention affirmed that all Episcopalians should be able to access abortion services and birth control; adopted resolutions to offer paid family leave and health insurance to lay and clergy church employees; spoke out against gun violence; and lauded investment in community violence intervention programs.
In a moving unanimous silent affirmation of Resolution A226, Convention rose to recognize, honor and lament the three members of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Vestavia Hills, Alabama, who were murdered June 16 by a man who was attending a potluck supper at the church. The resolution also recognized the surviving 18 church members and friends who were there that night.
Convention also created a staff position for LGBTQI and Women's Ministries, expanded the definition of gender identity and expression, and advocated for access to gender affirming care.
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A Look at Lambeth
15th Lambeth Conference: God’s Church for God’s World
This past summer, from July 27- Aug. 7, our bishops attended Lambeth along with other bishops around the world, all part of the Anglican Communion. There were many powerful moments at Lambeth, and the presence of women bishops was nothing short of impressive. The Archbishop of Canterbury offered the first keynote address at the conference entitled, God’s Church for God’s World: A 21st Century World needs a 31st Century Church.
To have the opportunity to fellowship with the hundreds of bishops in attendance was a glorious experience for all who attended, and our bishops especially found blessings during this time of worship, prayer, and learning.
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Episcopal Bishops Join March in Support of LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Canterbury During Lambeth
Over a dozen Episcopal bishops joined a march July 2022 across the campus of the University of Kent, site of the Lambeth Conference to show support for LGBTQ+ inclusion. The topic once again looms large over the once-a-decade gathering of bishops from across the Anglican Communion, underway through August.
The march on the conference’s first official day was organized by the university’s LGBT+ Staff Network and brought together over 100 university students and staff, clergy and their spouses, local residents, and other supporters. It had been planned months in advance as part of the university’s parallel programming during the conference, which it is hosting despite its objections to how the conference is handling LGBTQ+ issues.
Some 650 bishops and their spouses from 42 Anglican provinces and 165 countries are gathered in Canterbury for the conference. It does not have legislative authority, but is intended, through common study of world issues and matters impacting the Christian faith – as well as fellowship and worship – to shape the life of the communion in the coming decade. This is the 15th such gathering held in 155 years.
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Bishop Ryan participates in March in Canterbury
Views on same-sex marriage vary widely throughout the communion, with the Episcopal Church leading the way toward full marriage equality and full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people.
Though the march’s organizers had singled out Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s decision not to invite the same-sex spouses as the main motivation for the march, it took on added significance after a statement saying the Anglican Communion “as a whole” rejects same-sex marriage was added to one of the draft documents – “Lambeth calls” – that bishops will vote on. The language was altered on July 26 to eliminate the most divisive language and to reflect the lack of consensus on the issue across the communion.
Among the marchers from the Episcopal Church were New York Assistant Bishop Mary Glasspool, the first openly lesbian bishop in the Anglican Communion, and several other bishops whose spouses were not invited. At the end of the march, one of the university organizers addressed them specifically, telling them, “You are welcome here” as the crowd applauded.
Maine Bishop Thomas Brown marched with his husband, the Rev. Thomas Mousin.
“Whenever there’s a sense of welcome, there’s a sense of joy. And what I felt was that this university community came together to say, ‘We are glad you’re here,’” Brown told Episcopal News Service.
“It’s delightful to be here – it’s just like a wave of love,” Mousin added. “It’s wonderful that we’ve received it.”
(Note: On July 26, the Lambeth Conference revised "Lambeth Calls.” The revision now says: "Many Provinces continue to affirm that same gender marriage is not permissible."
It also says: "Other Provinces have blessed and welcomed same sex union/marriage after careful theological reflection and a process of reception. As Bishops we remain committed to listening and walking together to the maximum possible degree, despite our deep disagreement on these issues.”)
Coverage of conference and photos provided by Egan Millard, assistant editor and reporter, Episcopal News Service, Canterbury, England.
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Clergy Conference 2022 in Review
“Unlike any other” was the consensus about Clergy Conference 2022, held Oct. 24-26, 2022 at Camp Allen in Navasota.
The special significance and history of the diocese was revered at the event as clergy across the Diocese of Texas converged for the first time as one since the reunification.
Dubbed “ClergyCon22” via social media, it served as an opportunity for clergy to get to know each other through fellowship. The conference encouraged faith growth and celebrated the wondrous blessing of the amazing reunification that brought all together.
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New Building, Art Space, Studio Consecrated at Holy Family HTX
Holy Family HTX Episcopal hosted a celebration of dedication and consecration of its new building last April 2022. Approximately 70 diocesan and congregational leaders gathered at the 900-squarefoot building at 3719 Navigation Blvd. in east downtown Houston.
With the generous support from the Great Commission Foundation and the Diocese of Texas, Hill Swift Architects turned the former meat packing plant into a modern center for creativity, curiosity, and communion.
“We are honored to be part of this missional diocese,” said the vicar of Holy Family, HTX, the Rev. Jacob Breeze. “We thank God for the generosity of the diocese and foundations that helped make this celebration a reality. This space is a deeper gesture towards future diocesan ministry.”
The grand opening of the building took place on Palm Sunday, welcoming over 150 attendees. Breeze, who initiated the community as a church planter, informed the community that Holy Family HTX wants to be a church for people without a church.
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The Bishop of Texas consecrated and dedicated the space as the congregation observed Holy Week.
“We fundamentally believe that Jesus Christ is alive and let loose on the world,” he said. “Therefore, our task is to keep up with him: It’s his ministry and we are the participants. Together, we lead Jesus-centered lives by pursuing four things: deep one-to-one connections with each other; the flourishing of the arts and the artists who help us see more clearly what it is to be truly human; theological learning that is clear about the church’s understandings, doesn't deflect questions and doubts, and never demands fake agreement in order to remain friends; and finally, to celebrate communion with the living God.”
The new space also houses the Lanecia Rouse Tinsley Gallery, which features different art installations throughout the year and is named in honor of an artist-in-resident partner. The studio will inspire people of all ages to explore the intersection of creativity and spirituality through various art mediums. A conference room to encourage curiosity for theological learning through classes, lectures, and workshops.
Holy Family HTX seeks to offer a place where community coalitions, artists, scholars, and groups can gather, dream, and be inspired.
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Rededication, Celebration of Houston Church After Suffering Significant Loss by Hurricane Harvey
St. Thomas’, Houston, congregants welcomed Texas Bishop C. Andrew Doyle on a special day of rededication and celebration in February 2022.
Flooding from Hurricane Harvey had severely damaged 70 percent of the buildings at the St. Thomas’ campus. The buildings received critical mechanical and infrastructure upgrades along with repairs related to damage from the floods.
In a traditional ceremony, Bishop Doyle began the service by knocking on the door three times, requesting permission to enter the church. During the service, St. Thomas’ rector, the Rev. David Browder offered encouragement.
While the church suffered tremendous loss during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, God graciously restored His House to be a blessing for generations to come, Browder explained.
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St. Alban’s, Waco, Celebrates Rededication of Their New Nave
Parishioners and leaders of St. Alban’s, Waco, welcomed the Rt. Rev. Kathryn M. Ryan, bishop suffragan of the west region, for the rededication and celebration of their new nave in May 2022. The special day included the baptisms, confirmations, and the receiving of new members of the parish by Bishop Ryan.
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First Anniversary, St. Cecilia's, Round Top
Father Bill and Sandy Miller were laying the groundwork for the launch of Saint Cecilia's, Round Top, in summer 2021 by forming relationships and connecting with folks in the small town. However, the formal work began early October 2021.
The organizers secured the historic Haw Creek Chapel, which was built in 1872 and moved to Round Top in the 1960's in the heart of Henkel Square. Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians, so the doors opened with a Saturday evening reception, complete with live music provided by John Breland, former guitarist for Dolly Parton.
The Millers greeted about 75 local folks who turned out to see what Saint Cecilia's was all about. The next day, on Sunday afternoon, the first liturgical event was held. An Animal Blessing was held as the community brought their beasts, and music complimented the event. An outdoor concert with a popular local band the Black Cat Choir followed.
The next Sunday morning, Saint Cecilia's held its first Sunday morning service. At that time, congregants shared the space with the local chamber of commerce and the visitor center. Thirty showed up for the first Sunday morning service.
One year later, on Saturday, Oct. 8, Bishop Ryan joined the community of Saint Cecilia's for a service of confirmation, celebrating the year anniversary. Father Bill presented 14 candidates for confirmation and reception. Over the course of the first year, he had offered three "Discovery Day" classes for those wanting to learn more about the Christian faith and Anglican tradition. The 14 new members came from a variety of religious backgrounds: Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Baptist, and Presbyterian, Evangelical, and non-specific. Several of those confirmed or received had not been an active participant
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The Rt. Rev. Kathryn Ryan with the Rev. Bill Miller and wife Sandy
in a faith community since childhood. Even Saint Cecilia's stellar musician, New Orleans native Joey McGee, was received on that special day.
After the service, folks gathered outside under the old live oaks in Henkel Square for a catered reception organized by Sandy Miller. In keeping with Saint Cecilia's celebration of the arts, especially musicians, the great guitarist Darin Layne from Austin performed on the front porch. The celebration continued on Sunday morning with a packed house for the morning service. It would be only a few months until Saint Cecilia's service was so full that the congregation would expand to two Sunday morning services in January. The average Sunday attendance was 75, an amount edging the town’s population of 87 residents.
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The Story of the Bell Tower: St. James', La Grange, Completes its Restoration
In August 2017 a fierce hurricane almost destroyed the lovely neo-Gothic tower of the architecturally iconic St. James’ Episcopal Church in La Grange. The sanctuary and bell tower damaged by Hurricane Harvey underwent repair starting in 2017.
St. James’ became a physical entity when the sanctuary was completed between 1885-86. The bell tower must have been commissioned later because the 711-pound bell was shipped from its foundry in West Troy (now Watervliet), New York arriving in La Grange in 1892.
A National Park Service grant for hurricane damaged historical sites funded the non-reimbursed restoration expense. The program was administered by the Texas Historical Commission. The project was fully funded and completed in 2022. This work was rededicated by Bishop Kathryn Ryan.
St. James’, La Grange, describes itself as a welcoming worship community where God's presence is felt, and from which we are sent to proclaim Christ's love and serve others.
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Holy Smokes! St. Dunstan’s, Houston, Hosts Inaugural Community BBQ Cook-off
Nothing brings people together like food, so St. Dunstan’s, Houston, decided to host an inaugural barbecue cook-off called “Holy Smokes BBQ Cook-off.”
The idea was the brainchild of Rev. Roman Roldan, rector of the church. He thought it might be a good way to connect with the larger community. Parishioners at St. Dunstan’s have committed to a program called “Invite, Welcome, Connect” to help share faith with surrounding communities.
The event held in April 2022 featured 13 ministry teams cooking food to serve 200 people in the community. Each guest tasted bite-sized samples from teams and voted for their favorites in four categories: beef, pork, poultry, and other.
Members sent personal invites to friends, co-workers, and family. Many sent flyers, Event planning was led by Beth Anne Nelson as part of her curate training at St. Dunstan’s.
Music, dancing, and laughter complimented the cooking. A bounce house, fire truck, chuck wagon and games provided space for children to play. A pastoral care team was housed in a tent to take care of community prayer needs and was well attended by the community. As a token of the fun, friendly competition, winners took home bragging rights and a golden, silver, or copper painted cow, pig, or “Mr. Potato Head.”
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St. Dunstan’s Gran AperturaA Milestone
St. Dunstan's, Houston, Spanish ministry held its first service on the last Sunday in August of last year with an impressive turnout. Houstonians who are from countries in North, Central, and South America attended to support this new ministry led by the Rev. Alvaro Pinzon. He was commissioned as the associate rector for Hispanic ministries at St. Dunstan’s.
Following the service, Aliento De Dios Radio (where Pinzon serves as spiritual director) provided a live interview with Rev. Roman Roldan, rector of St. Dunstan's, and the Rev. Alex Montes-Vela, one of the missioners for Congregational Vitality in the Diocese of Texas. Pinzon introduced listeners to his ministry from St. Dunstan's and shared his ministry hopes. Pinzon also committed to create new opportunities for pastoral care in the spiritual, emotional, and social realms within St. Dunstan's.
After the initial service, congregants gathered twice informally to have liturgy of the word and healing prayer until they were able to have the full celebration on October 2, 2022. During that period, they planned the landscape of future services and brought on a new band to lead services.
Many firsts were celebrated, including Hispanic Heritage Day; a spiritual retreat with the Nacer de Nuevo group; and a celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Currently, every third Friday of the month, a night is provided complete with spiritual and emotional healing in-person and online. In February 2023, congregants plan to open a food pantry and provide professional services for marriage counseling, depression, anxiety, and grief.
For more information, tune to Aliento de Dios Radio www.alientodediosradio.org .
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In Celebration with St. James', Houston: Jazz Ensemble Celebrates 25 Years!
In December, the Jazz Ensemble at St. James’ Episcopal Church, Houston, celebrated 25 years of ministry to the parish and the community it serves. It was an exciting milestone for this ministry within the church.
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St. Alban’s, Waco, Celebrates the Feast Day of Episcopal Seminarian and Martyr
The Rev. Canon Marcea Paul, chief of staff for the Diocese of Texas, delivered the message at three services at St. Alban’s, Waco, in August 2022 during the Jonathan Myrick Daniels Feast Day. She also facilitated an interactive Sunday School session between two services, underscoring the elements of human dignity.
An Episcopal seminarian and martyr who heard the cry of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to join him to march in Selma, Alabama, Daniels was a civil rights activist who recruited others in his efforts. Studying at what is now known as the Episcopal Divinity School, Daniels was provoked and moved by Mary’s Song while in Evening Prayer. With his faith challenged, he decided to go.
He and others ended up getting arrested. With no transportation, they found themselves stranded in another town in Alabama. After a confrontation in a store while trying to purchase something to drink, Daniels ended up paying the ultimate price in seeking justice for all, as he saved the life of teenager Ruby Sales. He took a bullet intended for her and was shot by an unpaid special deputy and was killed instantly.
Paul’s sermon to eulogize Daniels was entitled “When Division Leads to Peace.” It focused on coming together, engaging others and their differences in conversation, sharing peace, and reflecting on what God calls people to do. She challenged the congregation to speak up and out against racism, violence, hatred, and oppression. She challenged them to follow Jesus in this world by working against policies of oppression. She also reminded congregants of the Lambeth Conference’s Call on Human Dignity, in which our bishops affirmed that God’s creation of humanity is a gift and is blessed by God. She closed by sharing that the Presiding Bishop calls us to be people whose way of life is the way of Jesus and his way of love. She challenged all to no longer act in any way that hurts any child of God.
Between two services, Paul facilitated an interactive Sunday school session where she expounded on the elements discussed in her sermon regarding human dignity and the importance of listening to, and learning from, others. She also shared an excerpt of a documentary featuring the late Congressman John Lewis and his experience as a young civil rights activist in which he gave advice about pressing on because racism lives on. She highlighted Lewis’s call to get into good trouble, necessary trouble. With an engaged audience, Paul facilitated a discussion with questions and answers, hoping that she made a difference in the lives of those near and far.
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The Rev. Canon Marcea Paul with the Rev. Kara Leslie, Pastoral Associate
Camp Allen Achieves Milestone: Debt Free After 22 Years
When George Dehan was appointed president of Camp Allen in 2001, he had the arduous task to tackle an $11 million debt after major renovations and upgrades took place at the campgrounds during the prior year.
Those upgrades included the building of the 67-acre lake, seven cabins, a chapel, and the remodeling of hotel rooms.
“Although 22 years might sound like a prison term, and internally at Camp Allen it might have looked that way, the Episcopal Foundation came to the rescue to set up favorable terms and to arrange a payment schedule with the camp management,” Dehan said
The goal was to dramatically raise the occupancy rates and to begin to pay down the debt. The original amortization was $650,000 in payments per year.
“Even in really exceptional years of growth, that would be an impossible hill to climb,” he said.
In April 2022, Dehan received the green light from the finance committee to pay off the remaining long debt from existing cash reserves.
The Episcopal Foundation of Texas (EFT) has been a partner in the mission and growth of Camp Allen. The problem the camp faced in 2001 was an expectation that there would be high occupancy and net surpluses from operations. The board hired a businessperson. That person was George Dehan, its first president.
The terms were renegotiated, and through God’s grace, partially forgiven. Bishop Wimberly was the Bishop Diocesan in 2006, during that time. As part of the agreement, Camp Allen launched a capital campaign to establish an endowment and to pay down the loan to reasonable terms.
Later, Bishop Doyle worked with EFT to restructure the loan and to transfer its remaining balance to the camp’s bank. Those monthly payments have been made for the last three years from operations and completed this year with the successful completion of the Centennial Fund.
As George Dehan has announced his retirement, he had on his bucket list to leave Camp Allen debt free.
“It has not been a straight upward graph, but having EFT and the bishops understand and support our mission, has left us in a great position for the future,” Dehan said.
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All Saints, Austin, Celebrates Bishop Kinsolving Day
Bishop Kinsolving Day at All Saints was held in October 2022. The celebration was held in observation of the 94th anniversary of his death. An adult forum presentation covered his ministry and episcopate. He is buried in the crypt underneath the altar. The Holy Eucharist was celebrated to the glory of God and in thanksgiving for the life and ministry of the late Rt. Rev. George Herbert Kinsolving.
St. John's, Palacios, Celebrates Centennial Celebration
Bishop Ryan visited St. John's, Palacios for its 100th anniversary celebration. She dedicated the new stained-glass window and the community blessing box.
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St. Mary's, Hillsboro, Celebrates 150th
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Hillsboro, the oldest continuing congregation in the North Region of the Diocese of Texas, celebrated its 150th anniversary with a reception on Saturday, March 26, 2022 and a worship service on Sunday, March 27. Bishop J. Scott Mayer presided at the service and the Rev. Paula Jefferson preached. The Rev. Canon Dr. Janet Waggoner served as the bishop’s chaplain and the Rev. Bryn Skelton Caddell proclaimed the Gospel.
At the reception, Megan Henderson, city manager of Hillsboro, read a proclamation declaring March 26, 2022, as St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Day in Hillsboro. The proclamation summed up the history of the church, including the 2021 loss of their building, and concluded: “WHEREAS, through all these changes St. Mary’s Episcopal Church remains faithful, loving and resolved to be Christ’s voice, hands, and feet in the world today; NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew L. Smith, Mayor of the City of Hillsboro, Texas, do hereby designate and declare Saturday, March 26, 2022 as: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Day.. I hereby affix my signature this the 26th day of March, 2022. Andrew L. Smith, Mayor, City of Hillsboro, Texas.”
The Rt. Rev. Alexander Gregg, the first Bishop of Texas, made three visits to Hillsboro: September 1860, November 1871, and October 1873. St. Mary’s was founded in 1872 when Sarah Margaret Sturgis (1824-1895) started a Sunday school in her front parlor. It became St. Mary’s Mission when church services were added. Sturgis’ husband, Littleton J. Sturgis (1830-1885) was the publisher of The Expositor, later named The Hillsboro Mirror. It was the city paper for 90 years.
Alexander Charles Garrett, DD, was consecrated the first Bishop of the Missionary District of North Texas on Dec. 20, 1874. His see was at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Dallas. Six parishes were recorded in his district at that time. After his first visit to “Hillsborough” he described it as “a poor town of about three or four hundred located in a beautiful country.”
Bishop Garrett laid the cornerstone of the original church on July 30, l886. The first service in that building was held on March 30, 1887. Seven years later, the building was destroyed by a tornado.
“Tarleton Morrow, then a small boy, crawled under the rubble and brought out the wooden cross which had rested on the altar,” according to a history of the parish. Services were then held in a temporary building beginning on March 24, 1895. Next, a brick Gothic revival building was constructed. Bishop Garrett laid the cornerstone on Dec. 16, 1910. The building was completed in 1911.
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church has always been small but faithful. It has relied on lay leadership with a succession of traveling supply priests who might be in town once a month.
Early lay members Littleton J. and Sarah Margaret Sturgis founded the church. G.D. Tarleton, lay reader from 1906-1912, bought the land for the church. Tarleton, Tarleton and Morrow was the major law firm in Hillsboro in the 1890s. Congressman Jo Abbott’s wife was Rowena Sturgis Abbott.
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Dr. Frank McDonald was senior warden from about 1910-1930. In 1915, the church sold him the middle lot of three on 200 N. Abbott St. His sons gave the property back to the church in 1984 to use as a parish hall and vicarage. In 150 years only two vicars have ministered to the congregations of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church for longer than four years. The Rev. Walter Meyers served from 1920-1927 and again from December 1931 to January 1934. The Rev. Wentworth A. Reiman served September 1, 1964 through March 1, l971.
In 2008, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth suffered a schism when the bishop at the time left the Episcopal Church but claimed Episcopal Church property. St. Mary’s was split 50-50. For the next 12 years St. Mary’s was the only church in the diocese to share space with its non-Episcopal Church counterpart. Episcopalians had their service at 11 a.m., while others had an earlier service. They shared flowers at Easter and Christmas. After 12 years of litigation, the Texas Supreme Court gave the building to those who had left the Episcopal Church.
The congregation learned from its history — services were held in Sarah Margaret Sturgis’ parlor, then in a new building, and after a tornado in a temporary building.
“After 110 years in the same building, we are again in a temporary building,” said a church leader. A statement shared on the church website delivers this spiritual perspective:
“But we remember that the church is not a building. We are the church. The church is wherever we are, just as God is with us wherever we are. In good times and in bad, through tornadoes and human-made destruction, the church, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church continues to celebrate God’s love and to be Christ’s voice, hands, and feet in the world today.”
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Stewardship Kickoff and Celebration of Rector's Anniversary: The 15th Hannah-versary!
On Oct. 16, Bishop Doyle was present at Trinity, Midtown, for confirmations, receptions, and the celebration of the Rev. Hannah Atkins Romero's fifteenth anniversary as their fifteenth rector! They also kicked off their 2023 Annual Giving Campaign.
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For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
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New York Times Article Features Episcopal Outreach Ministry El Buen Samaritano, Austin
El Buen Samaritano, Austin, hosts an outreach program in east Austin and routinely provides COVID-19 shots, boosters, and other vaccines to an underserved, Spanish-speaking population.
The outreach ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas was featured in the New York Times (NYT) in November. In part, the article traversed El Buen’s mission to help needy Latino community members, many of whom are unvaccinated largely because of a lack of access.
In the article, Luis Garcia, El Buen director of technology and analytics, talked about the issue not being fear of the vaccine, but all about access. As a catalyst, El Buen volunteers used its food pantry to talk to area residents about the vaccine. Garcia would hand over bags of groceries, speaking in Spanish as he and staff members talked about the vaccine. The organization also plastered social media, put out radio spots in Spanish, and hung fliers. Residents began to line up for vaccines, with 20 percent getting the vaccine a first time. One day El Buen administered over 300 shots. Next, volunteers began giving out boosters. Word within the community continued to spread and more shots were made available at El Buen.
The article goes on to discuss the disparities in vaccine availability within communities of lowincome families.
The following is an excerpt from the article written by NYT reporter Bryce Covert, a journalist who focuses on the economy, with an emphasis on policies that affect workers and families: When the first round of Covid shots became available, income disparities in vaccination rates quickly reared their heads. Instead of throwing every idea at the problem, by mid-2021 the Biden administration had started to grumble that people who hadn’t gotten the shot were “unbothered and unconvinced,” arguing, in essence, that every American was individually responsible for seeking out the shots. And yet at that time three-quarters of unvaccinated adults lived in a household earning less than $75,000, and many of them said they wanted to get vaccinated.
The article goes on to discuss the disparities in vaccine availability within communities of lowincome families. It also examines the generally low rate of people getting boosters and the need for more creative means to get vaccines and boosters into communities, especially low-income neighborhoods.
Access the article here: https://tinyurl.com/ElBuenNYTimes
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When States Compete to Win Jobs, Residents Pay The Price: ‘The Problem’ with Jon Stewart, featuring Mother Minerva Camarena Skeith
Austin, and a clergy leader with Central Texas
participated in a panel in
TV series “The Problem” with Jon Stewart. She talked about the importance of community involvement in determining benefits related to the cost of tax incentives and tax abatements that governments give to corporations.
In the panel, she appeared with Stewart and an education association representative from South Carolina. The trio discussed the merits of activism when cities and counties court corporations for relocation.
“The truth of the matter is companies don’t move and relocate because of incentives,” she said. “They move for other reasons, like good employees. They move for infrastructure, for good schools.”
Skeith said she and other community activists had success getting involved in negotiations between companies and county/city leaders by advocating for citizens’ needs such as decent wages, career training, and health benefits. By making “claw-back” demands in cities like San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and other Texas communities, citizens benefited as companies relocated to Texas.
You can watch the full episode now on @AppleTVPlus.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX7aSX9A0HA Small clip
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Abundant Harvest Gains Prestigious Award from Montgomery County Food Bank
Abundant Harvest at St. Isidore, Spring, gained the “Partner Agency of the Year Award” from the Montgomery County Food Bank in April 2022 at the food bank’s gala.
Abundant Harvest is one of 70 partner agencies which assists the Montgomery County Food Bank. The award received by St. Isidore honors one partner agency for its unwavering and outstanding work in the fight against hunger.
According to the award description provided by the Montgomery County Food Bank, the Abundant Harvest Kitchen provided critical services in 2021 during the pandemic and the unprecedented power outages during the winter storm:
“Abundant Harvest Kitchen held weekly mobile food distributions at its location after business hours to ensure those in need were able to receive food even after its food pantry closed. It also went above and beyond its scope by hosting additional mobile distributions at another site in the county to provide much needed food assistance to an underserved area. The organization’s passion for serving the community is evident in its desire to expand its reach and provide food assistance to their clients in a dignified and humble manner. Abundant Harvest Kitchen also partnered with the Food Bank to provide home-cooked meals to the National Guard troops stationed at the Food Bank.”
The fundraiser gala gathered proceeds to benefit thousands of food insecure children, families and seniors it serves. The gala was presented by Woodforest National Bank, and its platinum sponsors were Kroger and Huntsman Corporation. The gala was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic.
The local food bank is a nonprofit, hunger relief organization dedicated to uniting the community to fight hunger. It partners with the Houston Food Bank; it is a member of Feeding Texas and a distribution partner of Feeding America.
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4Saints Honored by Coalition for Aging LGBT
4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry, a ministry of five congregations in the North Region of the diocese, is the proud recipient of the Coalition for Aging LGBT's Exemplary Community Service Award. The coalition works to improve and protect the life of older LGBT adults in North Texas through health, housing, advocacy, financial security, and social services.
The award was given in late October, at the sixth annual Harvesting Gratitude event. Volunteers, community partners, and organization supporters gathered to celebrate all the work and service of the year and honor all the contributions of volunteers and supporters across North Texas.
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Photo (from left): Volunteer Rhonda Grundy, board member Carolyn Brannen, acting director Patti Callahan, and Rev. Karen Calafat received the award at the coalition's 2022 Harvesting Gratitude event.
St. Aidan’s, Cypress, Wins ‘Nonprofit of the Year Award’
St. Aidan’s, Cypress, was named “Nonprofit of the Year” by the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce last February.
The Rev. Les Carpenter, rector of the parish, recalls the first time he walked into a Cy-Fair Chamber of Commerce meeting over nine years ago.
“I had just moved to Texas to lead St. Aidan’s,” the Rev. Carpenter said. “I knew my predecessor was a giant in that organization. There were not many churches there. I was never taught in seminary to go to chamber meetings, but I was told to go out to where people were. So, each time I thought about it, I decided I would just keep showing up.”
Eventually, he noticed people started coming to him for prayer or with grief. Their impact in the community grew, and he found himself getting to know the city and understanding it in a unique way.
“This is the way true evangelism works,” he continued. “It isn’t in a polished speech or an elevator pitch. It is the miracles we find when we keep showing up knowing that God already has.”
Officials at the 20-year-old chamber recognized St. Aidan’s as its award-winning nonprofit along with three outstanding local businesses. Recipients were selected from a pool of local businesses and organizations. St. Aidan’s was selected for its dedication to serving the community through scholarship fundraising and supporting other nonprofit organizations in the area, according to the chamber.
Supporting Voting Rights
Representatives from St. James’, Austin, participated in the Poor People’s Campaign last July. They marched from Georgetown to the State Capitol in Austin in advance of a much larger rally in support of voting rights the following day.
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Health and Justice Advocacy Network Voting Challenge
Making your voice heard matters, and the Episcopal Health Foundation’s Health and Justice Advocacy Network stressed the importance of the vote with a challenge.
In an effort to encourage voting within the Diocese of Texas, EHF launched the challenge last September, prior to the November election.
The goal was to get the most people from a church to the polls by election day in November. Each church motivated their congregants to vote and take a photo of their “I voted” sticker. Winners of the challenge included those with photos of the most stickers; with the highest percentage of stickers for the size of their congregation; and the most creative and encouraging voting outreach video.
Many congregations accepted the challenge. Winners received a $100 gift card for an ice cream social.
Voting Challenge winners:
Most "I voted" stickers or signatures:
St. Matthews, Austin
Highest percentage of "I voted" stickers or signatures: St. George's, Austin
Best voting challenge video overall: Youth at San Pedro, Pasadena
Best voting challenge video 2: Youth at St. Andrew's, Bryan
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St. David's, Austin, Wins Six Awards from Episcopal Communicators; Church’s Pride Logo Awarded
St. David's, Austin, wins six Polly Bond awards last June at the Episcopal Communicators Conference. One award was for the church's pride logo.
St. David’s, Austin, also won Polly Bond awards for the following work:
• Award of Merit: St. David's at a Glance, Holt Haley-Walker and Communications Team
• Honorable Mention: St. David’s Pride, St. David’s Episcopal Church, St. David’s Communications Team
• Award of Merit: Sunday Morning Prayer Podcast, St. David's Episcopal Church, Mark Wischkaemper and Eric Mellenbruch
• Award of Merit: Pandemic Pet Blessings, St. David's Episcopal Church, Lori Blewett
• Honorable Mention: Sunday Morning Prayer, St. David's Episcopal Church, Lori Blewett
St. David’s Director of Communications Lori Blewett was elected to serve a three-year term on the Episcopal Communicator board.
Episcopal Communicators is a self-supporting organization of communication professionals working in the Episcopal Church for dioceses, congregations, organizations, or as independent or freelance workers. Its mission is to foster community that inspires and supports excellence in church communications.
(Photo credit: Andrew Morehead)
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Christ Church, Cedar Park, Small Central Texas Church Eliminates Over $3 Million in Medical Debt
The idea was sparked after coming across an article published by Episcopal News Service. It told the story of a small church in Santa Fe that had raised funds and succeeded in wiping out all medical debt in collections in the state of New Mexico.
Last summer, the Rev. Richard Pelkey, Deacon Jan Halstead, and outreach coordinator Carol Monroe of Christ Church, Cedar Park, began exploring how the small church in Santa Fe was able to accomplish such a task.
They came across a group called RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit founded by two men who spent their long corporate careers running national collection agencies. In retirement, they decided it was time to give back and use the immense body of knowledge they had gathered for the benefit of others.
According to the RIP Medical Debt website, for every $100 someone donates, it relieves $10,000 in medical debt.
Because this sounded too good to be true, the three of them spent a long time poring over the organization’s tax records, operating statements, and 501c3 filings to be certain that RIP was the real deal.
After performing due diligence, the trio contacted the nonprofit and notified it that Christ Church wanted to help.
The team began the campaign with RIP Medical Debt and set what they thought was an audacious goal of $10,000. To put things in perspective: Christ Church is a very small church and the entire church budget for the year is around $200,000.
“The number seemed enormous, but we felt that even if we fell a bit short, we would still be helping,” said Monroe.
Christ Church launched the campaign in August 2021. It wouldn't be until 2022 that they would know the outcome.
“The response was immediate and overwhelming,” Monroe said. “Many parishioners wrote enormous checks, and some of them wrote more than one. When we drew our campaign to a close at the end of calendar year 2021, several folks came to me privately to say that if we had not reached our $10,000 goal, they would make up the difference so that we could.”
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When Christ Church received its final report from RIP Medical Debt last year, Halstead couldn’t believe the amount of folks they were able to relieve from medical debt and how much money they were able to raise.
The total number of recipient families they helped is 1,652; and the total amount of medical debt eliminated is $3,149,468.07. “I am just so excited for these families and so proud of the giving heart of this congregation,” said Halstead.
(RIP Medical Debt is a tax-exempt charity that buys and abolishes medical debt by working with donors to abolish debt for a specific target population. The money given to this organization can make an impact of 100 times what is raised through church campaigns.)
Love Multiplies Like Rabbits at St. Timothy’s, Lake Jackson
Don’t underestimate the impact of what seems like a “small outreach project.” Parishioners at St. Timothy’s, Lake Jackson, used the 40 days of Lent to help spread some Easter love to young people in the Brazosport area last year.
The idea started simply—to sew 60 homemade Easter bunnies to donate to the children who are served by the local food pantry. However, the Holy Spirit had bigger plans and inspired volunteers to greater heights.
As St. Timothy’s began to transition out of COVID-19, it brought people back into the community to gather. With the help of members to sew and more volunteers to stuff and decorate the creations, the rabbits multiplied. Volunteers gave away more than 150 unique bunnies to kids at the food pantry and an Easter egg hunt. Still more were gifted to anyone else who needed to know “some bunny loves them.”
“This project was not only fun but such a blessing to our wider community and to St. Timothy’s members,” bunny project coordinator Sondra Griner said. “Once word got out organizations all over town wanted bunnies. Only God knows how this little idea might spread love and joy.”
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San Mateo, Houston, Hosts Health Fair Benefiting Residents in the Gulfton Community
The Gulfton neighborhood in southwest Houston is home to many refugee and immigrant populations. The free medical services at a health fair provided April 2022 by San Mateo, Houston, proved especially critical to the 150 residents who showed up.
Participants received services such as educational health workshops, dental, vision, blood pressure screenings, and immunizations for children. However, the most requested service was assistance with applying for the Harris County Gold Card.
The Harris County Gold Card is a financial assistance program offered by the Harris County Health System. It is not health insurance but allows card holders to get discounted pricing on healthcare on a sliding scale when they visit hospitals and clinics in the Harris Health System.
“Many residents in the Gulfton area do not have access to health care or aren’t aware of the resources that exist,” said the Rev. Janssen Gutierrez, rector of the parish. “At San Mateo we are convinced that love for others must be manifested with deeds rather than words and that the work of the church is enriched when we serve the community.”
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Serving NeighborsSt. George, Austin
Members of St. George's Episcopal Church, Austin, gathered to fill 200 handmade bags with comfort items for Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE). This essential project was made possible thanks to the willingness of all of those who helped.
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San Francisco de Asis Association of Venezuela in Austin
San Francisco de Asis united with the Association of Venezuela in Austin to raise funds to help Venezuelan families recently located in Austin. The event allowed them to buy clothing and non-
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Ministry at Palmer Memorial, Houston, Offering Housing for TMC Patients Resumes After Pandemic Hiatus
Palmer Place Ministries, a longtime outreach effort of Palmer Memorial, reopened in March 2022 after closing its doors two years ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the InSpirit Patient Housing network, Palmer Place Ministries offers subsidized, shortterm apartment rentals to patients coming to Houston to receive advanced care in the Texas Medical Center (TMC). Apartments are fully furnished and maintained by a cadre of faithful volunteers and clergy, providing a key bridge between the needs of the world and the church.
Prior to the arrival of the first Palmer guests, the Rev. Elizabeth Parker, former associate rector of Palmer, led the group through a powerful house blessing. Supporting the move-in and organization of Palmer, parishioner Kay Jackson and the Rev. Deacon Jack Karn shared their thoughts about the powerful ministry:
“When sick people come to Houston for treatment in TMC, it is a blessing from God that the church can offer a nearby home for some to rest, heal, and continue their walk with Christ. Palmer has served over 350-plus patients since it began, and we pray it will serve and bless many more.”
InSpirit is a nondenominational coalition of local churches, all moved by the common goal of serving God by helping people through a difficult and stressful time in their lives. More at inspirithousing.org .
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And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it.
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1926 - 2022
Christ Church Cathedral Hosts Special Service for Her Late Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II
Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, hosted a special commemoration service marking the death of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 22, 2022. The service was officiated by the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, IX Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, and was held in collaboration with His Britannic Majesty’s Consulate General Houston and Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. Rev. Art Lou McElroy provided a reading. Music for the service was led by the Christ Church Cathedral Choir.
Additionally, the Cathedral's Golding Chapel was made open daily for prayer and reflection. Those who wished to place a tribute in celebration of the life of Her Late Majesty were invited to do so in the adjacent columbarium until the evening of Sept. 22.
About Antioch Missionary Baptist Church’s Inclusion: Celebrating more than 156 years, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church is Houston's oldest African-American church. Pastored by Rev. Art Lou McElroy, the late queen visited Antioch decades ago, toured the church, and left with a warm place in her heart reserved for this downtown Houston treasure. As a result, it was requested by His Britannic Majesty’s General Consulate Houston, that the pastor of Antioch be included in the memorial service. Pastor McElroy’s wife, Jacqueline Bostic McElroy, has a long family legacy at the church, and cherishes a family collection of photographs spanning generations of family, from the late queen’s visit many years ago.
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Bottom right photo, shown left to right: Rev. Art Lou McElroy and wife Jacqueline Bostic McElroy flank portrait of Her Late Britannic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, along with representatives from His Britannic Majesty’s General Consulate Houston office.
The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas, officiates memorial service
your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
Working for You
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NEW DIOCESAN STAFF
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Houston Diocesan Center Houston
Technical Architect/ Project Manager Houston
Webmaster, Videographer, and Social Media Coordinator Houston
Missioner, Congregational VitalityConnections Houston
New Communities Houston
The Rev. Thomas Morris Missioner, Congregational VitalityMissional Reimagining Houston
The Rev. Canon Dr. Janet Waggoner Adriana Cline Accounting Specialist Fort Worth
Samantha Duffy Staff Accountant Houston
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