No. 293

Advent wreath
"O Come, O Come Emmanuel"


The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Northwest Texas

WELCOME to the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Northwest Texas--a place where the vast open plains are as wondrous as the big sky above!

prairie-dog praire_dog_closeup
As depicted in the pectoral cross of Bishop J. Scott Mayer , the stars, moon, and sun are representative of the beauty one may find in this region of Texas.  

The landscape, covering 77,000 square miles is as diverse as the cities and people, with the canyons and rangelands of the Staked Plains; agricultural fields abounding; and the rough and ready country of the Rolling Plains and Permian Basin. The people here are known for their warm and friendly smiles, making one feel like an old and trusted friend.
In This Issue
Quick Links
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Noteworthy News from Northwest Texas
(For more information about the events, click on the blue underlined links.)
January 14, 2017 -
  Ordination of Deacon Christian Rabone to the Priesthood, 10:30am,
  Emmanuel Episcopal Church, San Angelo
      March 1, 2017 - Ash Wednesday
July 10-14, 2017 -


Clergy Transition

This month The Church of the Heavenly Rest, in Abilene, will say farewell to their mancil_family Curate, the Rev. Eric Mancil. Fr. Eric joined the staff in June of 2015, following his graduation from Virginia Theological Seminary. During his tenure at Heavenly Rest, Fr. Eric's ministry focused on youth and young adults, liturgical arts and worship, church music, and pastoral care. He also assisted with chaplaincy duties at St. John's.

Fr. Eric has accepted a call to St. Catherine's Episcopal Church, in Chelsea, outside of Birmingham, Alabama, which is a return to the state he and his family call home. He will assume the position of Rector at St. Catherine's on January 2, 2017. His wife, Chelsea, their children Sofie and Jude, and he are excited to live closer to their families in Alabama and Georgia.

Please keep Fr. Eric and his family in your prayers as they relocate this month. And may God bless them in their new lives in Alabama! Vayan con Dios, amigos!


Congratulations to Deacon Claire Makins

On Saturday, December 3rd, Claire Templin Makins, a seminary student from Emmanuel makins_mayer Episcopal Church in San Angelo, was ordained by the Rt. Rev. Scott Mayer, Bishop of Northwest Texas, to the Transitional Diaconate. Claire is a senior at University of the South at Sewanee, pursuing her Masters of Divinity. The Rev. Matthew Rowe, Rector of Emmanuel, served as preacher for the service. Deacon Claire will graduate from Sewanee in May.

To listen to Fr. Matt's sermon for this blessed event, please follow this link.

To view photos of the the ordination service, please follow this link to the diocesan Picasa photo album. Many thanks to the photographers from Emmanuel, especially Chase Monson, for providing the photos of Deacon Claire's ordination.


Let the Chain of Love be Unbroken
  by Carlin Van Schaik, former YASC volunteer in the Philippines

On October 19, Typhoon Lawin made landfall in Northern Luzon, as a Category 4 storm. Early estimates put damages to crops and infrastructure at 3 million dollars, thousands of homes have been destroyed, power is expected to be out for at least 2 months, many communities are isolated from supplies of food and water, and at least 14 are dead.

Immediately, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines mobilized to provide material and spiritual aid to those affected by the storm. The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Luzon, where I served with the Young Adult Service Corps, has been turned into a Coordination Center for Typhoon Relief. Young adults in the diocese have donated their time to packaging aid, and the Episcopal Church Center in Manila is soliciting donations.
The Episcopal Church of the Philippines has a history of transformative action in response to disasters. When Typhoon Yolanda hit in 2013, the church joined many responders in providing emergency relief aid. Six months later, people's lives had not returned to normal, yet the Episcopal Church was one of a small number of organizations left working on the island. The Church organized a community of people who couldn't rebuild because they did not own the title to their lands. By pooling the human and financial resources of this community, they were able to purchase land to build houses on, community farm land, and build sustainable housing. The community was responsible for this building and learned new building techniques that have allowed them to start businesses and earn incomes by helping others in the community rebuild. The money was given to the community in the form of a zero interest loan.
The survivors of Typhoon Yolanda have requested that the repayment of this loan be passed on to survivors of Typhoon Lawin. Already, aid is being delivered, thanks to this fund. They have transformed from receivers of the church's support, to being givers. Their motto is, "Let the chain of love be unbroken."
Please join the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, in supporting these urgently needed relief efforts, as well as long term rebuilding and development projects. One hundred percent of every donation received will go directly to their relief fund, and this money will be passed on and used time and again to support victims of natural disasters to not only rebuild, but to improve their lives. Let us help our brothers and sisters in a chain of unbroken love. Donate online here:

"What a great Convention!" That comment was heard many times over this year, to the delight of Bishop Mayer, the Diocesan staff, and the entire Convention planning team. The new venue, the McKenzie-Merket Center at Texas Tech, was a beautiful and comfortable location, despite being the home of the Red Raiders (in the minds of some other loyal college fans.) Their staff was most accommodating and friendly, making the planning go smoothly and without issue. We look forward to 2018, and a hopeful return to "the Merket."

The Guest Speaker, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the Episcopal Church House of Deputies, was presented with a lovely gift basket upon her arrival in Lubbock. In the gift basket was a stuffed animal, a prairie dog, as a memento of her trip to Northwest Texas, however, Rev. Jennings had never seen a prairie dog before. On Friday, when she spoke during the business session, she sat the prairie dog on the podium and asked, "Can someone tell me what this creature is?" As the crowd shouted "prairie dog" she came to realize it was a local critter, most commonly known by name as Prairie Dog Pete. The photo of the prairie dog ABOVE is in her honor.

During the Convention Eucharist held at St. Paul's on the Plains Episcopal Church in Lubbock, the Rev. Amanda Watson and Jackie Batjer, representatives from Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, recited a clever poem as a means of inviting the diocese to next year's Convention. The Convention will be held at Heavenly Rest to help celebrate their new parish hall, Gearhart Hall, named for their longtime and much beloved Rector, the Rev. Willis Gearhart, lovingly known as "Parson" Gearhart. Gearhart Hall is currently under construction, with a planned completion in the spring of 2017. To learn more about their capitol campaign, you're welcome to visit their website.

A burning question in the minds of many is, "when will the videos be released?" Unfortunately, the microphone jack of the camera used to record the videos was faulty. Regretfully, we have wonderful videos with no sound at all, much to the dismay of our Director of Communications. Lesson learned.

Bishop Mayer's Convention Address may be viewed and/or downloaded from Google Drive by following THIS LINK.

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings Sermon during the Convention Eucharist may be viewed and/or downloaded by following THIS LINK.

Convention photos have been edited and posted in the diocesan Picasa web album. Photos may be viewed and/or downloaded, and for those who attended, photos may also be uploaded to the album to share with the diocese.

Below is a preview video the of photos with musical selections from the Convention Eucharist. Click the graphic to be redirected to You Tube.

The 2016 Diocesan Convention 

Likewise, a video about the history of the Bacon Residence/Hulsey Center may be viewed by clicking the link below:

100th Anniversary of the Historic Bacon Residence 
100th Anniversary of the Historic Bacon Residence
Now that the Convention is over, Elizabeth Thames, Diocesan Administrator, is working hard to compile, and complete the Convention Journal. Due to the amount of information in the journal, it likely will not be released until early 2017. In the meantime, the election results are as follows:

Michael Pullen - St. Stephen's, Lubbock

Carroll Holley - St. Stephen's, Lubbock
***As of this election, Carroll Holley has been Treasurer of the diocese continuously for 28 years! He was nominated by Executive Council in May of 1988. WOW!! Thank you, Carroll for your service and leadership!

The Rev. David Perdue - Clergy - St. Stephen's, Lubbock 
Mary Emeny - Lay - St. Andrew's, Amarillo

The Rev. Jared House - Clergy - St. Stephen's, Sweetwater
Bill Heck - Lay - St. Andrew's, Amarillo

Ricky Bowman - St. Stephen's, Sweetwater

The Rev. Barbara Kirk-Norris - Clergy - Holy Trinity, Midland
Ken Baxter - Lay - St. Michael's and All Angels, Shamrock
John Hill - Lay - Church of the Heavenly Rest, Abilene


The Rev. Canon Mike Ehmer, Canon to the Ordinary
The Rev. Dr. Robert Pace, St. Andrew's, Amarillo 
The Rev. Luke Back , Church of the Heavenly Rest, Abilene
The Rev. Jennifer Holder, Canterbury/St. Christopher's, Lubbock
The Rev. Barbara Kirk-Norris, Holy Trinity, Midland
The Rev. David Perdue, St. Stephen's, Lubbock
The Rev. Jim Liggett - retired
The Rev. Mark Lang - St. Matthew's, Pampa
The Rev. Rich Nelson - Canonically resident, living in Burton, TX

Cliff Craig - St. Andrew's, Amarillo
James "Jimmy" Haney VI - St. Paul's, Lubbock
Mary Tinsley - Emmanuel, San Angelo
Frank Deaderick - St. John's, Odessa

Nancy McReynolds, St. Christopher's, Lubbock
Mary Williams - St. Nicholas', Midland
Nolan Kelley - Church of the Heavenly Rest, Abilene
Kirk McLaughlin - St. Paul's, Lubbock
Karon Bonnell - St. Matthew's, Pampa
Fred Newman - Holy Trinity, Midland 
A Message from our Bishop
The Rt. Rev. J. Scott Mayer has offered this message as we prepare for the coming of the Christ child:

Saying "Yes" to God
A Humorous Thought  
By the Rev. Jay Sidebotham 
Art and Advent
Roberta Karstetter, a member of Christ Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee, is one Procession_EduardoKingman of the artists featured in " Come, Lord Jesus, Come: Visual Devotions for Advent", a devotional booklet featuring many artists from around the world, from the present day and from long-ago, with readings and poems. The booklet is featured on the Art & Theology website ( and on their Facebook site as well.
The mission of Art & Theology is to help the church rediscover its rich heritage in the visual, literary, and musical arts and to open it up to the activity of contemporary artists,whose giftings can enable us to see God in new and different ways.

You may can see Roberta Karstetter's work, " The Annunciation: The Adventus", on pg. 20 & 21 of the devotional booklet.

(Artwork - Procession by Eduardo Kingman, 1968, oil on canvas)
Christmas Around the World
Last year, in December's newsletter, we shared the story of the Legend of the Poinsettia - a children's Christmas story that originated in Mexico, and was retold in a delightful book for children by the award-winning author, Tomie de Paola.
This year, as a means of sharing different cultures from across the world, we share a December holiday in Scandanavia, that celebrates St. Lucy, or Santa Lucia - Luciamorgon - translated as "Lucia Morning."
According to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, "Saint Lucy's Day, also called the Feast of Saint Lucy, is a Christian feast day celebrated on 13 December in Advent, commemorating Saint Lucy, a 3rd-century martyr under the Diocletianic Persecution, who according to legend brought "food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs" using a candle-lit wreath to "light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible." Her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so her feast day has become a festival of light. Falling within the Advent season, Saint Lucy's Day is viewed as an event signaling the arrival of Christmastide, pointing to the arrival of the Light of Christ in the calendar, on Christmas Day.
"Saint Lucy's Day is celebrated most commonly in Scandinavia, with their long dark winters, where it is a major feast day, and in Italy, with each emphasizing a different aspect of the story. In Scandinavia, where Saint Lucy is called Santa Lucia in Norwegian, and Sankta Lucia in Swedish, she is represented as a lady in a white dress and red sash with a crown or wreath of candles on her head. In Norway, Sweden and Swedish-speaking regions of Finland, girls dressed as Lucy carry rolls made with saffron and raisins, as well as cookies in a procession as songs are sung. Boys participate in the procession as well, playing different roles associated with Christmas. It is said that to vividly celebrate Saint Lucy's Day will help one live the long winter days with enough light." The holiday is also celebrated similarly in Hungary, and Croatia.


A video of a typical celebration of Luciamorgon may be found on You Tube. The celebration was held, and filmed in the Church of Sweden Cathedral in Stockholm, Sweden.
To learn more about St. Lucia's Day, visit this website about Christmas in Sweden,  Wikipedia, OR this blog by Colleen Houck.

If you'd like to read a story about St. Lucia to your children or grandchildren, this website has a selection of wonderful books for children with beautiful illustrations.

No matter how you celebrate this season of love and anticipation, we wish you a...

...God Jul! 
( Good Yule - Merry Christmas)
Evangelism Matters Videos
Videos of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, workshops and plenary sessions from Evangelism Matters, along with handouts and additional resources, are now available on-demand at no charge here and here.

Evangelism Matters , an Episcopal Church Evangelism Conference on November 18-19, in Dallas, TX, was designed for anyone who would like to learn more about evangelism and available resources to share our faith. More than 400 people attended the landmark event, which was co-sponsored by Forward Movement, and the Presiding Bishop's Office for Evangelism Initiatives, and was hosted by the Diocese of Dallas and Church of the Transfiguration, Dallas, TX, where the activities were held.

On-Demand Videos

Videos available for viewing are:
* Eucharist: Celebrant Bishop George Sumner of Diocese of Dallas and preacher, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Bishop Curry's Sermon 
* Panel: What Is Evangelism?, with the Rev. Alberto Cutié, Diocese of Southeast Florida; Carrie Boren Headington, Missioner for Evangelism in the Diocese of Dallas; the Rev. Marcus Halley, Diocese of West Missouri; and Mary Parmer, creator of the Invite *Welcome* Connect program in the Diocese of Texas; moderated by the Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, Executive Director of Forward Movement.
* Workshops

Cultivating an Evangelistic Church

Presented by Carrie Boren Headington and the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers

From Visitor to Member in 12 Months

Presented by the Rev. Chris Girata and Elizabeth Carrière Peeples

How the Church Can Reach and Engage Millennials

Presented by Grant Skeldon

Storytelling as Evangelism: How to Connect Our Story with the Never Ending Story

Presented by Bishop Porter Taylor

The Shape of the Jesus Movement: Strategies for Discipleship, Evangelism and Reconciliation

Presented by the Rev. Jay Sidebotham and the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers

Made for Evangelism

Presented by Bishop Andrew Doyle and Bishop Gregory Brewer

* Cardboard Testimonies video, with instructions on leading the exercise in your ministry
Conference Opportunities


Featuring New Workshops and Dynamic Speakers
February 16, 2017

This conference is for everyone: People in leadership who drive the vision of their organization and those who support them. Invite your employees; committee, lay, council, and session members; elders and volunteers. Bring your entire team!

Young Adult Service Corps
Applications Accepted for 2017-2018 Placements yasc_logo  

Young adults (21-30 years old) have an opportunity to transform their own lives while engaging mission and ministry in the Anglican Communion by joining the Young Adult Service Corps. Now, applications are available for 2017-2018 placements in the Young Adult Service Corps, commonly known as YASC.

Currently YASCers are serving throughout the Anglican Communion, working alongside partners in administration, agriculture, communication, development, and education. They are serving in Brazil, Costa Rica, England, France, Haiti, Hong Kong, Japan, Jerusalem, Panama, Philippines, and South Africa.

Among possible placements for 2017-2018 are Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, France, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Japan, Jerusalem, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, and Tanzania.

katie_japan Our own Katie Young, from Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, served as a YASC volunteer in 2013, as a volunteer in Japan. Her experiences were fun, eye-opening, and inspiring as she served with the Let Us Walk Together Project of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican Church of Japan) to hep rebuild the lives of those who were effected by the tsunami and earthquake of March 2011. An Article about Katie appeared in the
December 2015 issue of The Newsletter. To read Katie's blog of her experiences in Japan, visit this website.

"The Young Adult Service Corps offers young adults the opportunity to live out their faith in new ways and different contexts," commented Elizabeth Boe, Episcopal Church Global Networking Officer. "They commit to spending a year learning from and working, living, and praying with other Episcopal and Anglican communities around the world."

The application for a 2017-2018 placement with additional information and instructions is available here.  The application deadline is Friday, January 6, 2017.

The Rev. David Copley, Episcopal Church Team Leader for Global Partnerships, noted, "YASC builds on the foundation of faith, knowledge, education, and experience that young adults bring with them when they serve and offers opportunities to be challenged and transformed by being fully present in another part of God's world. Missionary service is first and foremost an act of faith and a way of being Church."

For more information contact Grace Flint, Episcopal Church Staff Officer for YASC Programming, at

YASC blogs available HERE.

Meet the 2016-2017 YASCers in this video. 

Vital Practices - GREAT IDEA!
Social Media Campaigns what-thats-for
By Charis Bhagianathan, part of the Vestry Papers issue on Tools for Evangelism (November 2016)

Scrolling through Instagram, a post suddenly caught my eye. It was a picture of a dressed altar with two candles with " Ever wondered what that's for?" in bold print across the image. Some exploring revealed the post was a part of social media campaign by St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Durham, North Carolina.

This " Ever wondered what that's for?" campaign is as original as it is useful. This is its basic premise: Every week or so, St. Luke's posts a picture of a church tradition or symbol that's commonly seen in church life but perhaps not immediately understood. Each post explains the significance in simple terms. Posts include " Why is that candle in the corner always lit?" "What are all of the clothes that priests wear on Sunday?" and " Why is water added to the wine for communion?" The answers explain the logic and meaning behind the traditions very succinctly (as is key with social media), but more importantly, make a connection between tradition and faith in real and meaningful way. The result is that objects become bestowed with meaning, making our experience of church richer. Log on to Instagram and take a look at their wonderful campaign.   @stlukesdurham #instagramcatechesis

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Seminary Updates
Advent Meditations and Prayers 2016

Seminary of the Southwest invites the public to use Seminary of the Southwest's Advent Meditations and Prayers in your daily Advent devotions.

Dean and President Kittredge explains, "In these daily writings members of our community reflect on the mystery of the incarnation through the medium of their own lives and in their unique voices. I am delighted to share with you this book of Advent meditations and prayers written by our faithful alumni, students, faculty, staff, trustees, and friends. It is a collaboration that conveys the distinctiveness and diversity of our community as we each meditate on the joy and promise anticipated during Advent."

The seminary shares the meditations and prayers on this website and prints them in Advent booklets that can be requested from the seminary's Advancement office by contacting Benjamin Griffin at

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Sewanee Banner 

Be our guest for Come & See Feb. 16-18, 2017  
If you're in the discernment process as a postulant or exploring your faith and ministry as a lay leader, a visit to the School of Theology at the University of the South is your best way to experience Episcopal seminary education in Sewanee, Tenn. Student-organized and student-led, Come & See 2017 will introduce you to community life and theological formation in one of the most beautiful settings in the nation. Once on the Mountain for Come & See, your expenses-food and campus lodging-are covered by the School of Theology.

  • worshiping with us in the seminary's Chapel of the Apostles and visiting the University's All Saints' Chapel;
  • attending classes in an intimate setting taught by our highly credentialed faculty;
  • engaging with faculty and students as they discuss a variety of issues regarding formation for ordained ministry, theological education, preaching excellence, and seminary life and work;
  • exploring our 13,000 acre campus and discovering why our campus is in one of the most beautiful environments for education in America;
  • and allowing our financial aid professionals to detail the ways we can support you as you pursue your education.
For more news and information, click the graphic below to read the current issue of...
Sewanee Theol Monthly 
 (A current issues was not available when the newsletter was published.)

...Or visit the School of Theology website.
Diocesan Events Calendar

18            Visitation, St. Barbabas' Episcopal Church, Odessa
22            Hulsey Center closes at noon
23- Jan. 3 Hulsey Center Closed for the holidays


14            Ordination of Deacon Christian Rabone to the Priesthood
                10:30am, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, San Angelo
13-15       School of Ordained Ministry
15            Visitation, St. Nicholas', Midland
16            Hulsey Center closed for Martin Luther King Holiday
20-22       Midwinter Youth Retreat, location - St. Paul's, Lubbock
22            Visitation, St. Peter's, Amarillo
29            Visitation, San Miguel Arcangel, Odessa
(Items in purple indicate Bishop Mayer's presence.)
Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts, to direct and rule us according to your will, to comfort us in all our afflictions, to defend us from all error, and lead us into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN

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Newsletter Editor

Deacon Nancy Igo
Director of Communications and Human Resources

Diocese of Northwest Texas 

(806) 763-1370  x. 5