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!
Canadian Geese (solar) by Deacon Melissa Wafer-Cross
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.
Noteworthy News from Northwest Texas
AVE THESE IMPORTANT DATES!
(For more information about the events, click on the blue underlined links. You may need to scroll down the page to view the article.)
March 1, 2017 - Ash Wednesday
April 16, 2017 - Easter Sunday
April 24-27, 2017 - Presbyter's Conference, Christ the King Catholic Retreat Center, San Angelo, TX.
(Registration materials must be submitted to Renee Haney by no later than March 1st.)
The facelift is complete!
Our gracious historic home is looking younger and fresher than it has in decades. After two months of sawing, pounding, sanding, painting, and
cleaning the Hulsey Center exterior renovations are complete! The house has a fresh new look, and the windows... oh my! They're cleaner than they've been in years! All is peaceful and productive once again.
Sadly, the yard took somewhat of a beating due to the hydraulic lift and crews that were on the grass constantly. Thankfully, our yard crew was out to do a final clean-up and will complete the trimming of the shrubs so we'll be ready when spring arrives.
Many thanks to Leroy Henry Construction of Lubbock, and his friendly, hardworking employees who made the whole process as uncomplicated as possible.
The Newsletter has enjoyed quite an "Adventure"
Originally, while the diocese was still the Diocese of North Texas, Bishop Edward Temple
began the publication called
The North Texas Adventure
, which was published by the Rev. E.H.J. Andrews, of Plainview, in approximately 1922. This early version, in tabloid format, contained local advertisements and wonderfully written stories about the goings-on in the diocese. What a treasure to read!
Eventually, the Rt. Rev. George Quarterman, the first Bishop of Northwest Texas, borrowed the idea to create the official newsletter of the newly formed Diocese of Northwest Texas, and published it from his office in Amarillo. The diocesan newsletter was known thereafter as simply
which celebrates its 59th anniversary this year!
A fascinating email from the Rev. Canon Bill Nix recently mentioned that Bishop Quarterman recruited a layperson of the church, Patsy Masterman, an experienced newspaper person, to take it over for him. For the next several years she complied the monthly publication from her home in Amarillo. Eventually Patsy expanded it into a tabloid format, which she laid out on her kitchen table. After the layout was complete she took it to Morris Higley, the publisher of the Childress Index, and longtime warden of the former St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Childress, who would print it for mailing. This manner of creating the newsletter continued through Bishop Willis Henton's episcopate.
According to Canon Nix, "When Bishop Hulsey became the diocesan bishop, and moved the diocesan offices into the Hulsey Center, Patsy continued her role as the newspaper editor, as well as the additional duties of the bursar," and became a full time staff member. Patsy was also ordained to the vocational diaconate. During her various moves between Amarillo and Ft. Worth, where she served as a deacon with Canon Nix, Deacon Patsy continued to publish the newsletter until the publication duties were passed to other editors. Some of the editors include Kathleen Davis, a Lubbock parishioner from St. Stephen's;
Doug Tow; the Rev. Canon David Veal; the Rev. Claire Cowden, all of whom published the newsletter for the diocese. (Coincidentally, Deacon Nancy Igo, the current communicator, and Kathleen are childhood friends from Girl Scout days, and remain in contact.)
The tabloid version was discontinued after Deacon Patsy "passed the baton",
and changes were made to the format and layout to a smaller more easily produced letter-sized version.
editor duties were assumed by the Bishop's Executive Secretary Emeritus, Carolyn Hearn, and were continued until 2010. In 2008, Deacon Nancy Igo joined the diocesan staff as the Program Manager, and assisted Carolyn with editing. Deacon Nancy suggested the idea of the emailed version as an environmentally-friendly option that would also provide a considerable cost savings to the diocese. In 2010, the newsletter officially moved to the email version currently in publication through the online program, Constant Contact, and Deacon Nancy became the official communicator for the diocese. Deacon Nancy continues to publish the
Now that the newsletter has joined the 21st century, and Episcopalians can read an environmentally-friendly version on smartphones and laptops, the Communications office wondered if it might be time to give it a new, more up-to-date name.
If you have a suggestion for a new name for the monthly newsletter, please forward your suggestion to
in the Communication's office. All
names will be considered, and
one will be selected by a committee to be published with the person's name in the first version of the renamed newsletter. Deadline for submissions is March 10th. Hopefully our next newsletter will have a fresh new, catchy name for the next 59 years!
Brings New Prospects for Ordination to DNWT
Much has been talked about in the news concerning the vetting process for refugees
coming into the United States. Everyone agrees that some process is essential to the health and safety of our country, but did you know that the Church has a well-established vetting process for those who seek ordained ministry?
First, after the nominee has met with their parish discernment committee, a number of items must be completed by each person, including a spiritual autobiography, a personal autobiography, a medical exam, a psychological exam, and an extensive background check.
Then, each spring a two-day event is held in Northwest Texas to assess the suitability of individuals seeking ordination in Northwest Texas, and to further examine their readiness for studies. The event is DEROS,
an acronym that stands for
Discernment and Evaluation for Readiness for Ordination Studies.
This year the event will be held on the evening of February 23rd, and all day on February 24th.
DEROS begins with an introductory dinner on the first night that includes the nominees, together with their spouses, and the interviewers. This casual evening is a way for those involved in DEROS to meet and get to know one another in a friendly, relaxed setting, which helps alleviate the anxieties of the individuals participating in discernment, and allows evaluators to visit with them in a social setting.
The second day of DEROS is comprised of a series of personal interviews that examine their readiness in each of four primary areas:
- Vocational Readiness
- Spiritual preparedness and practice
- Educational readiness
- Psychological readiness and family issues (for nominee and their spouse, if married)
Following the DEROS event, the interviewers produce a report on each nominee, which becomes part of their ordination file in the Bishop's office. It is shared with the Commission on Ministry (COM), the bishop, and eventually the Standing Committee.
This year four individuals from two parishes will attend the event as the next step in their discernment process. Following DEROS, a meeting is scheduled with the Commission on Ministry for the nominee (and spouse), after which the COM will make a recommendation to the bishop to grant Postulancy. The bishop will take their recommendation under advisement and will contact the nominee regarding Postulancy status. Once Postulancy has been approved, the nominee will officially enter the ordination process and is approved to begin their formal studies.
The process to ordination is very thorough and is designed to examine all areas of readiness to answer God's call. Answering that call is not an easy task, and includes ample behind-the-scenes work before the nominee even enters the official process.
Whether you know of someone in discernment or not, please keep everyone involved in DEROS in your prayers on February 23rd and 24th, as they serve God and God's kingdom through this crucial process.
(Photo Credit - photo by Deacon Melissa Wafer-Cross, taken at the ordination of Josh Rodriguez to the transitional diaconate.)
Please mark your calendars and save these dates!
Registration packets are HERE!
Underlined links to the packets are below. Registration information may also be found on the diocesan website and on the youth Facebook page,
NWTX Youth Program
Renee Haney is looking for a camp nurse for Camp Quarterman in Colorado. The person should be a licensed LVN or RN, and be able to be with the campers in Colorado for the entire week. Interested persons should contact Renee as soon as possible at
EYE (Episcopal Youth Event)
will be held in Oklahoma July 10-14. This is a once every three year event for youth in grades 9-12. There is a limited number of spots and the deadline is March 1,
so please register soon
Spotlight on Our Youth Leadership
Welcome to the new Youth Group Leader for
Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene
. Josh began working with the youth groups this winter and is a great fit for the job! He's a real estate agent in Abilene, and is also co-owner and lead trainer at Strength Fitness in Abilene.
Also, kudos to
, Student Ministries Director at
Emmanuel Episcopal Church in San Angelo
, who recently attended the FORMA Conference
in Garden Grove, California, where he was awarded a Certificate in Student and Family Ministry from Bexley-Seabury Seminary. Way to go, Chase!
Francis and Friends
The Rev. Rich Nelson, a priest from our diocese, spoke at our Diocesan Convention in 2015, concerning specific projects, such as Following the Way. He also shared his interest in developing a faith-based curriculum for children.
Following Convention, Fr. Rich gathered a team of talented clergy and laypeople to develop a program entitled Francis and Friends, a family faith and nature program to meet children where they are, and to help them connect the love of nature and God. It's fun and engaging for the entire family!
Fr. Rich is offering a free Group Curriculum membership to the Francis and Friends faith and nature program to every church in NWT. As he stated, it's one way he can give back to our diocese. It may even help some churches offer a VBS or seasonal Sunday School program, have some fun, and get the kiddos outdoors!
Here's what you need to do. Fr. Rich will approve access for interested parishes without payment:
- Go to www.francisandfriends.org, look over the program, and if you like the looks of it simply click Login>Group Curriculum from the menu. Then sign up with an email and password of your choosing. It will send him a request to approve access.
- Email him at email@example.com, and let him know what email address you used to sign up, and which NWT church you are from. He will approve the request, no payment required.
This is an excellent opportunity for your parish to serve God and to encourage children to be outdoors, have fun, and to be good stewards of our environment. For additional questions about the program contact Fr. Rich at the email address above.
The Wider Church
Did you know the Episcopal Church holds revivals?
Yes, we do! The first one of a series was held February 3-5, in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. For those of you who think it may not be well received or well attended, think again!
According to the Episcopal News Service (ENS) article about the revival, "the emphasis was on both sparking individuals' faith lives and a commitment to show the love of Jesus beyond the four walls of their churches. Anchoring Episcopal revivals in the needs of the world was a constant theme of the weekend."
"Don't be afraid to be people of love. Don't be afraid to stand up for the name of Jesus. Don't be afraid to reclaim this faith again. And don't you be ashamed to be an Episcopalian," Presiding Bishop Michael Curry tells the congregation Feb. 4 during an Absalom Jones Day Eucharist at Church of the Holy Cross in the Homewood West section of Pittsburgh. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service
Curry's Pilgrimage for Reconciliation, Healing and Evangelism in Southwestern Pennsylvania is the first of six revivals being planned with diocesan teams in different cities around the country and the world this year and in 2018.
The ENS article went on to state that "t
he six revivals will vary in design,
according to a recent press release
, but most will be multiday events that feature dynamic worship and preaching, offerings from local artists and musicians, personal testimony and storytelling, speakers, invitations to local social action, engagement with young leaders, and intentional outreach with people who aren't active in a faith community. Pittsburgh Episcopalians were encouraged to bring with them neighbors who were not part of a faith community.
"The next five revivals are:
May 5-7: Diocese of West Missouri
Sept. 23-24: Diocese of Georgia
Nov. 17-19: Diocese of San Joaquin (California)
April 6-8, 2018: Diocese of Honduras
July 2018: Joint Evangelism Mission with the Church of England"
Curry's persistent theme
hroughout the weekend, "
Christians must be people of compassion, people of goodwill, people who dare to live the
Sermon on the Mount
and Jesus' words in the
. For instance, he said, people setting social policy or enacting legislation ought to measure it by the core Christian value of "love thy neighbor as thyself."
Following the events surrounding the revival, a follow-up team
questions about what the good news of Jesus looks like in their communities.
The team consists of Canon Stephanie Spellers, canon to the presiding bishop for evangelism, reconciliation and creation, who is organizing those efforts with a team including Consulting Evangelist for Revivals Carrie Headington and Evangelism Associate Emily Gallagher.
To read the ENS article about the event details in its entirety, follow this link to the ENS website.
Board of Transition Ministry invites comments, input
Board for Transition Ministry has issued an invitation to the church to participate "to think out loud about how we bring ordained leaders to our churches."
Among the topics explored in the document are: Aging Church; Dual Call Couples; Energy Beyond the Parish; Diversifying Our Clergy; Interim Ministries; Part-time Clergy Leadership; Full-Communion Partners; Diversity is reality; and Calling" is Not "Hiring".
In a document located
, the Board of Transition Ministry explains its goals and objectives.
(See the article on
on ordination in Northwest Texas.)
(Please note - the directory of COM members is password protected on the diocesan website. To access it, please register or log in first.)
Episcopal Veterans Fellowship
Episcopal Veterans Fellowship (EVF) is an organization dedicated to serving our nation's veterans and their families with prayer, hospitality, and reconciliation. It originated in the Austin area, and was founded by the Rev. David Peters, a former enlisted Marine and Army chaplain who currently serves at St. Mark's in Austin. Weekly meetings are held in Austin, Georgetown, Killeen, and Round Rock. This author and speaker, Fr. David, understands the trials of coming home from active duty overseas, and is dedicated to serving our military vets.
EVF Art Workshop with veterans - see their finished work on the EVF website.
If you or your parish is interested in EVF, or in starting a local group, contact
, or their administrator,
Share Your Stories
The Bishop's office and the communications department are looking for your ministry
success stories! What does your church do in the way of outreach? How's it working? What would you do differently?
The world has never needed outreach to the
marginalized as much we do now, due to the current political climate and state of the world. As followers of Jesus, are we not commanded to love ourselves, and to love others? Part of that love of others includes reaching out in love and hospitality to care for our brethren in need regardless of their station in life, their religion, or their ethnicity. We are taught as Christians that this is what Jesus expects of us.
Many of our diocesan parishes are involved in incredible, active ministries, but hesitate to "blow their own horn." But those ideas and ministry successes are, and can be, inspiration for future ministries in other parishes. We need to know what's working in our diocese and how we can capitalize on that work to make it, or similar ministries, more available to the marginalized here at home.
This is not just a casual request from Deacon Nancy. This request also comes from the Standing Committee of the diocese, who would also like to know what our parishes are doing to positively impact Northwest Texas, or the world beyond.
Please send your stories, from both large and small congregations, to
Deacon Nancy Igo
in the Communications office. The stories will be collected and shared in each monthly newsletter, both to highlight the wonderful things happening in our diocese, and to inspire further ministry.
If you have questions or need further assistance, please feel free to contact Deacon Nancy, at the email address listed above. It's time to work together, collectively or in individual parishes, to do the work of Jesus in the world.
Abundant Living Conference 2017 - Nourishing Your Spirit
Many of our Episcopal churches around the country are filled with an aging membership that requires pastoral care, assistance with attending church in the way of a ride, among other needs. According to
The Episcopal Church Congregations Overview
from 2014, a
large majority (73%) of Episcopal congregations report that more than half of their members are age 50+. Likewise, 27% of Episcopal congregations report that more than half of their members are age 65 or older.
These statistics are astounding, yet many parishes have no formal ministry to address the needs of their aging members.
Each year the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, Camp Allen and UTMB's Center for Spirituality of Aging within the Sealy Center on Aging, holds the
Abundant Living Conference
, a conference designed to
encouraged older adults to embrace aging as a spiritual journey and to live the gift of years to the fullest.
This year's conference will be held March 6-8, at Camp Allen, located northwest of Houston, near Navasota, TX. Conference attendees will learn how to embrace aging as a creative journey of inner peace and to awaken new passion and purpose for living. They will learn from scholars about aging and enjoy music, art, nature walks, cooking, canoeing, fly fishing and labyrinth walks.
Not only is this valuable
information for individuals, but also for those with an interest in beginning a ministry to the aged in their parish.
The Vestry Hand-Off: Orientation for new members
By Linda Grenz, Canon to the Ordinary, Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island
The annual meeting is over; the new leaders have been elected and it's time to start working together.
How do you make the transition from the former leadership team to the new team? Some churches just schedule the next vestry meeting and keep on as if nothing happened. Others hold a vestry retreat soon after the elections. And some are very intentional about
orienting new members and bringing them on board.
What you do
will depend on your congregation's size and the experience of your newly elected members. A small church where formal and informal leaders know just about everything that's happening in the church and where the newly elected vestry members have all served before may be able to do a quick review in a one-on-one conversation or at the first meeting. But most congregations will need to do more. Click on the link below for some suggestions to consider.
Southwest Showdown Barbecue Competition
charity barbecue competition hosted by students at Seminary of the Southwest will take place on Saturday, March 4, 2017, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD)
which partners with churches around the globe to save and transform lives alleviating hunger, creating economic opportunities that strengthen communities, promoting health and responding to communities hit by natural disasters.
Teams register for the barbecue competition, folks come out to enjoy the delicious food and there is a bounce house and petting zoo for the kids.
|(Click on the graphic for more information.)
(Click the graphic below to view this month's Theology Monthly.)
Diocesan Events Calendar
19 Visitation, St. Paul's, Lubbock
20 President's Day - HEC OPEN
23-24 DEROS, St. Paul's, Lubbock
26 Visitation, St. John's, Odessa
28 Executive Council Mtg., HEC, 10:00am
Ash Wednesday - HEC Closed
DNWT Trustees, 10:00am, HEC
3-5 School of Ordained Ministry, St. Paul's, Lubbock
House of Bishops, Kanuga Conference Center, North Carolina
12 Daylight Savings Time returns - SPRING FORWARD!
17 Commission on Ministry, 10:00, HEC
Visitation, Good Shepherd, Brownfield
20-22 Fresh Start Retreat, Christ the King Retreat Center, San Angelo
Visitation, St. Michael's and All Angels, Shamrock
(Items in purple indicate Bishop Mayer's presence.)
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