June-August Issue No. 309
Making Sense of Sorrow and Joy
An OpEd piece by the Rt. Rev. J. Scott Mayer in the Fort Worth Star Telegram
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram published an Op Ed by Bishop Scott Mayer in the Saturday, May 26, 2018 edition. In the article, Bp. Mayer addresses sorrow, anger, delight, and joy – how we make sense of such a range of emotions. And he lets people know that the love preached by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in England is also preached in Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Fort Worth (and also Northwest Texas).

The full article is reprinted below :

The past few days have been an emotional roller coaster.

On Friday, we were horrified as yet another mass shooting in a school cast us into mourning.

Then early Saturday we delighted in a beautiful royal wedding, with Episcopalians especially reveling in the sermon preached by my brother bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church.

Later that same morning, local Episcopalians rejoiced at the election of a daughter of Fort Worth, the Rev. Carlye Hughes of Trinity Episcopal Church, as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark.

Sorrow, anger, delight, joy – how do we make sense of such a range of emotions? How, in a weekend in which we see school children murdered and lovers marry can we form right actions framed in God’s love?

In  The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World  about a conversation between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, the author and participant Douglas Carleton Abrams writes: “Some might wonder what our own joy has to do with countering injustice and inequality … and the suffering of the world.”

“. . .what the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama were saying is that the way we heal our own pain is actually by turning to the pain of others. It is a virtuous cycle. The goal is not just to create joy for ourselves but, as the Archbishop poetically phrased it, ‘to be a reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that can ripple out to all those around you.’ We are most joyful when we focus on others, not on ourselves.”

In the shooting, the wedding, and for Episcopalians, the election of a bishop, we stepped out of ourselves to share in the sorrow, compassion, and joy of others.

And we needed to do so, for we live in a cultural context in which bad theology and a lack of mercy cause many to think of the Church as judgmental, dogmatic, and self-righteous.

The world needs someone to proclaim and embody the Good News of God’s grace, God’s forgiveness, God’s mercy, and God’s love which has the power to change lives.

The presiding bishop’s sermon had such an impact because Michael Curry tapped into the hunger of so many people for God, for an encounter with the Divine. Too often the world tells us we are not worthy of God’s love, that we are lacking, that we are not enough. But Curry knows God has another message for us.

New Testament scholar William Countryman says: “What God says to you in Jesus is something quite unambiguous: ‘You are forgiven.’

“What this means is, ‘I love you anyway, no matter what. I love you not because you are particularly good nor because you are particularly repentant nor because I’m trying to bribe you or threaten you into changing. I love you because I love you.’”

Bishop Curry is being called the “surprise star of the wedding” because he spoke a potent truth when he proclaimed, “There is a power in love.” And when he made it clear in so many ways that “If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.”

And here’s the thing – what Bishop Curry said in England is said in Episcopal churches in Fort Worth, indeed all over our church.

Because under the leadership of our Michael Curry, we in The Episcopal Church are increasingly clear that our calling, our peculiar voice, is to proclaim the Good News of God’s mercy, undeserved forgiveness, unmerited grace, and unconditional love to a culture starving for this Good News.

+J.Scott Mayer
Clergy - Save The Date!
Planning For Wellness
Your finances. Your health.
Your life.

Diocese of Northwest Texas Active Clergy:

Learn how to secure your financial future and take steps toward a healthier lifestyle at this informative conference for active clergy hosted by the Church Pension Group (CPG). Spouses and partners are also invited.

Topics include:
  • Better managing your finances and planning for your future
  • Improving your well-being through nutrition, exercise, and stress management
  • Understanding and getting the most out of your CPG plan benefits.

CPG will subsidize the majority of cost of your attendance and help reimburse child or elder care costs (up to a certain limit). Even if you’ve previously been to a Planning For Tomorrow or Steps to Wellness Conference , we encourage you to attend. You may now be at a different stage of life and will benefit from this information.

Who: Active clergy participating in the Church Pension Fund’s Clergy Pension Plan and not yet receiving a pension benefit.

When: September 27-28, 2018

Where: Abilene, Texas

More details and registration information coming soon

To learn more, visit www.cpg.org/pfw or contact us at admissions@cpg.org or (888) 274-2828.
Retired Clergy and Spouses
The Diocese of Northwest Texas has chaplains who work with the retired clergy and spouses of the diocese, as well as clergy who live in our diocese but are canonically resident in other dioceses. Chaplains to the retired attend training programs offered by the Church Pension Group to assist them in their work.

The Rev. Bill Wright and his wife Pat have been serving in this ministry for some time. We are pleased to announce that Bishop Mayer has appointed The Rev. Edson Way and his wife, Jenny, to also serve as Chaplains to Retired Clergy.  Due to the vast area of our diocese, this will allow contact with either the Ways in the northern part of the diocese or the Wrights in the southern part.
Northwest Texas currently has almost one hundred retired clergy and spouses living in our diocese. During 2018, we held two conferences sponsored by the Church Pension Group. The conferences offered information on accessing the helps in the Episcopal Church for the retired and spoke to health issues and everyday concerns of those who have retired from active ministry.

Please feel free to contact them for additional information or if they might be of assistance.
The Rev. Bill Wright – 325-340-6204 or pwbw98@suddenlink.net    
Pat Wright- 325-340-0868      
The Rev. Edson Way – 806-559- 2607 or jeway@earthlink.net
Jenny Way – 806-559-2695
Youth News
by Renee Haney, Diocesan Youth Coordinator
My bags are not packed, but I am ready to go! And come Sunday, the bus won’t wait.

It is that time of the year when we hit the road for the first of our two diocesan church camps. The theme of camp this summer is “Who Dat Saint?: Stories of Some Heroes of the Faith!” Both camps will spend the week learning about Saints (big S) and saints (little s).

Camp Quarterman will begin on Sunday, June 10 with a bus filled with youth, counselors and staff, headed to Cathedral Ridge in Colorado. The clergy for the week, Jared Houze, Courtney Jones, and Jim Haney will direct us as we learn and share who are some of the Saints in our history and saints who we know today.  

Camp Quarterman Jr., for our younger members and friends, will gather at Ceta Glen June 24 for a week of learning and tons of fun! We will end the week with an afternoon of messy games—complete with shaving cream and cheesy puffs. Our clergy sharing the week with us this year will be David Galletly, Christian Rabone, and Jim Haney.  

You may be asking, “Why camp? Is it worth it? Is it all fun and games?” Yes, we do some really fun activities (who can deny that “Hungry, Hungry Hippos” with balls, laundry baskets and skateboards is not fun?). We make some awesome crafts during our week together. We laugh and joke together. 

But church camp is so much more. We are a community. We make friends. We work together to get something done. We learn to share. We eat and sing together. We listen and we pray for one another. And we worship together.

And when we leave camp and head home, we have some new skills and new friends. We stay connected during the year via Facebook, snap-chat, and twitter. We can’t wait to meet again. 

So, is camp worth it? Yes! Yes! Yes!

Please keep all who will be attending this year's camps in your prayers.

There is still time for youth in grades 2nd-5th to sign up for Camp Quarterman Jr. The application can be found here .
2018 School of Ordained Ministry Graduating Class

The second class of the Northwest Texas School of Ordained Ministry (SOM) celebrated their graduation on Saturday, May 5, 2018.  The graduation was held during a noon Eucharist at St. Paul’s on the Plains, Lubbock where the school has been meeting. Bp. Mayer officiated at the service and Father Jim Haney preached a wonderful sermon (found here ). After the service the graduates and their family and friends gathered for lunch in the parish hall. 

The 2018 graduates are Deacon Karen Boyd (Church of the Heavenly Rest, Abilene), Deacon Courtney Jones (St. Andrew’s, Amarillo), The Rev. Mark Lang (St. Matthew’s, Pampa), Deacon Alvin Stofel (St. Christopher’s, Lubbock), and Ms. Kathy Vail (St. Paul’s, Lubbock). In thanksgiving and in honor of one of their mentors, The Rev. Dave Huxley, the class gave a donation to the SOM scholarship fund that bears his name.

For more information on the Dave Huxley scholarship fund and how it can help those in discernment who attend SOM, please click here .

Additional pictures from the day can be found here .  
Lopez Received as Priest

The Rev. Ricardo Ramirez Lopez was received as a priest into the Episcopal Church on Friday May 25, 2018 at the Hulsey Episcopal Center. Rick is a former Roman Catholic priest who recently received a Diploma in Anglican Studies after completing a one-year program at Seminary of the Southwest. Father Lopez will be serving as the Vicar of San Miguel Arcangel mission and as Chaplain at St. John's Episcopal School in Odessa beginning June 1.

Rick is the eldest child of Irma and Isaias Lopez (d. 2011). He has a younger brother who is married with two daughters, and a sister who recently celebrated the birth of her second child, Mila-Grace. He was born in Odessa and lived there until 1988 when his family moved to Midland. From a very young age, Rick learned Spanish at home and English in school, which has proven to be an amazing gift that has helped him immensely along his journey. 

Rick pointed out that throughout his life, he understood who God is and what it meant to be religious even though his family were not regular attendees at church. The family was Roman Catholic, but despite his mother’s best efforts, they often woke up “too late” to go to church. This aside, their connection to God was not lost by not attending church. His family was very close to his mom’s side of the family and often found themselves in Odessa, at his grandmother’s house. There, they knew love in a very real way and through his grandmother’s devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, he came to know some more feminine aspects of the divine love that he felt calling. This calling started to take shape after he had the freedom of a driver's license. Wanting something more profound, he began attending church on Sundays and eventually, after sharing with his priest the feelings he had about service, Rick was invited to join a discernment group. Two years later, after graduating from Midland High School, Rick chose to enter Catholic seminary for one year. Five years later, he had received a B.A. in Philosophy and professed his first vows as a member of a religious order. Theology took place in San Antonio and after his time there, Rick was ordained to the priesthood after receiving a MDiv. Rick’s ordination took place on May 22, 2010, coincidentally, the exact same day eight years later when he received the Certificate of Anglican Studies from SSW in Austin. 

After ordination, Rick’s first assignment was to Beijing where he was set to join five other priests to serve the underground church. This placement did not come to be and Rick was sent to Chula Vista, CA after their vicar had to retire for health reasons. His time there was challenging but fruitful. He was tasked with ministering to the Latino community and slowly, they shaped the church to be a healthy community where people were welcomed and celebrated. After that placement, Rick was assigned to St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Midland and it was there that his process of discernment started once again. This time, it called Rick to consider who he was becoming in light of some difficulties he encountered in the Roman Catholic Church. Rick stated he was especially struck by the challenges of ministering to members of the LGBTQ+ community and having had to respond to two teenage deaths that were connected to their sexuality. Because of this and the issue of who is welcome to communion, he found he could no longer be an agent of the church where so many were being turned away. Rick stepped away from ordained ministry on October 7, 2013. 

From there, he moved to San Diego for some time, which proved to be a time of growth and development. Rick had already started attending the Episcopal Church but became more active at St. Paul’s in San Diego. In time, he returned to Midland and it was there, after almost three years of prayer, that he approached Fr. Dave Huxley and eventually Bishop Mayer regarding reception as a priest. Rick’s discernment committee was formed in early 2017 and after prayer and reflection, he was invited to attend seminary for a year of Anglican Studies. 

When asked about his vision for the future, Rick stated:

“I am excited to be back and to serve in both communities. I hope to be able to be a presence of love for the greater community. Perhaps it is the zeal of a new(ish) priest, but there are several ideas that I would like to eventually help bring to fruition. One major goal that I would love to integrate is that of an intercultural, transcultural community. I was able to learn about this model from two churches in Austin and believe that it can be very effective and productive in Odessa. I would also like to become active at Odessa College and UTPB with youth outreach programs that can not only be a presence to the youth, but also an invitation. With the school, I am most excited about being able to serve the children, their families and the staff and faculty of St. John’s School. One major message that I hope to promote at St. John’s is a simple message that I consider to be my mission statement. My phrase is ‘ You are beautiful. You are loved .’ The message I would love the children to take with them is that ' I am beautiful. I am loved .’ It is a simple message but a true message that reflects God’s immense love for each one of us. I want to serve as a reminder of God’s love for all of us and I look forward to being able to look someone in the eyes and say to them, ‘Yes, you are welcome!’ The biggest gift that I have found, is God’s love at work in so many beautiful and new works. The Episcopal Church provides the tools for serving in love, and as Bishop Curry states; ‘If it ain’t about love, it ain’t about God.’ I want to love, and so, here I go.”

For pictures from the service at the HEC and from a reception honoring him at his sponsoring parish, St. Nicholas', click here .
Christian Rabone Installed as Rector

On Thursday evening, May 31, 2018, Bishop Mayer installed the Rev. Christian Rabone as the Rector of St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church, Big Spring. Christian was called to St. Mary’s this past winter and officially began work on Ash Wednesday, February 14. During the Induction part of the Celebration of New Ministry service, representatives of the congregation and of the clergy exchanged symbols of church life with Christian. Just a few of the 17 items presented from the congregation to the priest and from the priest to representatives of the congregation were: a Bible, a vessel of water representing Baptism, a Prayer Book/Hymnal, anointing oil, keys to the church, a telephone book representing outreach to the community, a parish directory, bread and wine symbolizing Communion, and a special gift from the church members of a pectoral cross made in the likeness of the beautiful St Mary’s cross which hangs above the church altar. 

The service was beautiful, inspiring, and showcased the joy of the people of St. Mary’s. For a few more pictures of the event, click here .
ECW News
A Women’s Retreat titled Spiritual Guidance from Julian of Norwich will be held June 22-24 at Christ the King Retreat Center in San Angelo. The deadline to register is June 15 , and space is still available. The event is for all women, not just members of an active ECW group. If you have questions about the retreat, please contact Paula Howbert who can be reached at 432.553.4951 or pfhowbert@prodigy.net.

The retreat will be led by the Rev. Mary Earle, Episcopal Priest, Author, Poet, Retreat Leader and Spiritual Director. Until her retirement, she taught classes in spirituality for the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. Mary has authored nine books; the subjects include the spirituality of living with illness, rule of life, Celtic Christian spirituality, the Desert Mothers, and Julian of Norwich. For more information please visit her website: www.marycearle.com .

The registration form for the retreat may be accessed here .
From the Wider Church
General Convention is almost here!

General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church that meets every three years. This summer it will gather at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas July 5-13. The Convention is a bicameral legislature that includes the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. During its meeting, deputies and bishops consider a wide range of important matters facing the Church.

Northwest Texas will be represented by lay deputies Cliff Craig, Jimmy Haney, Mary Tinsley, and Frank Deaderick, clergy deputies Mike Ehmer, Robert Pace, Jennifer Holder, and Barbara Kirk-Norris, alternates David Perdue and Mary Williams, and Bishop Mayer.

The meetings of The General Convention and the triennial meeting of The Episcopal Church Women need the support and dedication of volunteers to operate in an efficient manner. Volunteers will experience an understanding of the governance of The Episcopal Church and will meet others from all over The Episcopal Church. Volunteer shifts are available for as little as a half a day or for multiple shifts over many days. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities available for many skills and talents. We are blessed General Convention is so close by. If you are interested in volunteering, please follow this link .

If you will be in the Austin area during General Convention and would just like to visit one or more of the sessions or the exhibit hall, feel free to experience this gathering. Pre-registration for visitors has closed, but below are the registration options that will be available for purchase on-site:

  • Visitors for the entire convention:$140
  • Youth Visitors 12-18 for entire convention:$30
  • Visitors registering per day:$50
  • Access to visit the Exhibit Area only:$15(per day)

For more information on General Convention overall, visit the website http://www.generalconvention.org/.

After royal wedding media blitz, Presiding Bishop spurs Episcopalians to spread message of Jesus’ love
[Episcopal News Service]  

May was quite a month to be an Episcopalian.

For the week leading up to the royal wedding, people across the world wanted to know everything about Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, including why the leader of the Episcopal Church would be preaching in the presence of the queen of England. Then on May 19,  nearly 30 million TV viewers  in the United States alone watched Curry’s sermon on the power of God’s love at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. For a week afterward, Curry was interviewed or profiled by seemingly every major media outlet, from the BBC to ABC’s “The View” to the celebrity gossip site TMZ.

Episcopalians, who have long known of Curry’s talent as a preacher, responded with a mix of joy at “one of us” receiving such attention and hope that Curry’s rising profile would boost the church’s profile – and maybe even help fill the pews.

“I think you can’t discount just the kind of euphoric pride that Episcopalians felt,” said Melodie Woerman, communications director for the Diocese of Kansas. After the royal wedding, posts about Curry on her diocese’s social media accounts generated a level of intense interest “like I had never seen before,” she said.

Curry did his part to seize this opportunity for evangelism, deliberately turning the conversations in interviews back to Jesus’ message of love’s power to change the world. And days after the royal wedding, in a bit of scheduling serendipity, he joined other ecumenical Christian leaders for a  “Reclaiming Jesus” church service, procession and candlelight vigil in Washington, D.C.  Though planned long before Curry was asked to preach at Windsor Castle, those events, held on May 24, drew additional news coverage due to his sudden star power.

To read more of this article, click on the picture above.
Thy Kingdom Come

In the May issue of the newsletter we offered a link to T hy Kingdom Come, the global initiative begun by the Church of England to have people be intentional in prayer from May 10th to the 20th. Thousands of people joined together to pray daily for others and themselves. A thank you video produced after the event can be found here .

I cannot remember in my life anything that I’ve been involved in where I have sensed so clearly the work of the Spirit. 
- Archbishop Justin Welby
Walk and Be Well - 28 Day Walking Program

We can change our lives by walking. A walk brings us closer to better overall health and improved well-being by allowing us time for reflection while we exercise our bodies. We learn about the importance of walking in our lives - and how regular walking can lead to improved physical, psychological and spiritual health - from coaches, doctors, and even our faith traditions. Taking the time for a regular walking program can lead us into new relationships with ourselves, with others and with God.

The Church Pension Group's Walk and Be Well program, sponsored by Education & Wellness, is a 28-day interactive program that helps you realize the many and varied benefits of regular and intentional walking. The program is a series of daily audio reflections to guide you through your walk and provide inspiration for contemplation. Accompanying you on your daily walk are our contributors: Jacqueline Cameron, Renée Miller, Elizabeth McKay Moosbrugger, and Bill Watson. Music by Fran McKendree provides a lively tempo for walking.

You set the distance and pace. You can walk alone or with friends. Whether you are starting out or are a walking devotee, Walk and Be Well offers an engaging, interactive experience.

Click here for more information and to access the daily podcasts for your walk.
Seminary of the Southwest held its sixty-seventh commencement on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 8134 Mesa Drive in Austin.
The seminary awarded master’s degrees in divinity, religion, counseling, chaplaincy and pastoral care and spiritual formation and diplomas in Anglican studies and in theological studies.

Each year Southwest celebrates men and women who have made outstanding contributions to the church through their leadership and example. This year, honorary degree recipients were The Rev. Becca Stevens; The Rev. Sam Lloyd; and The Rt. Rev. Patrick Bell.

The preacher at the Holy Eucharist was The Rev. Becca Stevens, Episcopal Priest, founder of Thistle Farms, author, speaker, and 2016 CNN Hero. Stevens' sermon urged graduates to "serve what you have learned on the path to justice." A video of the powerfully moving sermon can be found here .
A Little Humor
(Items in Purple indicate the Bishop's Presence)
3                     Visitation, St. Mark’s, Coleman
8                     General Convention Deputies Meeting, HEC, 10 am
10-16             Camp Quarterman, Colorado
17                   Visitation, St. Peter’s, Borger
21                   Celebration of New Ministry, St. Nicholas', Midland, 7pm
22                   General Convention Deputies Meeting, HEC, 10 am
22-24             Women’s Retreat, Christ the King Retreat Center
24                   Visitation, St. John's, Clarendon
24-30             Camp Quarterman Junior, Ceta Glen
3-13               General Convention, Austin, Texas
12                   Visitation, San Miguel, Odessa
19                   Visitation, St. Luke's, Levelland (rescheduled from earlier)
22                   Trustees, HEC , 10 am
23                   Executive Council, HEC, 10 am
 The full events calendar for the Diocese can be viewed here .
Please note, the next edition of the newsletter will be the September 2018 issue.
Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas
Attn: Elizabeth Thames
1802 Broadway
Lubbock, Texas 79401