No. 292

All Saints' Day - November 1


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!

Dia de los Muertos - Celebrating Hispanic Heritage
by Deacon Melissa Wafer-Cross
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.)
November 17-19, 2016 - Annual Diocesan Convention in Lubbock
July 10-14, 2017
- Episcopal Youth Event (EYE), Oklahoma City, OK

Diocesan Convention Early Bird Registration ends soon!

The process is quick, easy, and convenient. If you haven't already registered, click the blue Register Online button below TODAY to be redirected to the registration webpage. The registration page allows registration for up to three persons at a time. Payment may be accomplished in one of two ways - online payment through the secure online payment system, PayPal; or registrants may pay by check by sending their fees to the Bishop's Office. Instructions are included on the payment page. 

(A late fee will be added to the cost of Convention registration completed after  
October 21st!)

La Fiesta de San Miguel 

On Sunday, October 2nd, San Miguel Arcangel Episcopal Church in Odessa, also known as Comunidad San Miguel, celebrated their annual fiesta with food booths and a raffle for
prizes. All money donated for the raffle tickets will go toward renovations at their beloved mission, located at 907 Adams Ave., in Odessa.

The mission is led by their Vicar of 4 years, Padre Alberto Moreno, with his wife Malgorzata, and two precious daughters at his side (2012). Padre Alberto came to Odessa from Monterrey, Mexico, where he had been associated with the Anglican Church in Mexico. Since his arrival at San Miguel, the mission has blossomed and grown to a membership of 290.

Prior to the Fiesta, the Sunday service was held, during which 10 children of the parish received their First Communion, a sacrament common to the Roman Catholic Church and Latino communities. This event tends to be a strong family tradition and a big moment in the life of Latino families. Often the children are schooled in Church tradition, and the meaning behind the service. As depicted in the photo, the children dress in white to signify their purity. In Latino culture, a fiesta often follows the service as a means of celebrating this big moment in the lives of the children. Attendance at San Miguel, that Sunday, was approximately 140 people for both events.


A drawing was held during the Fiesta for prizes donated by local merchants. The first prize was a Samsung Galaxy S5 cell phone, won by Carmela; second prize - a Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Laptop was won by Hector Sanchez; third prize - a 40" HD television was won by Jesse Sanchez; and fourth prize - a 5-burner Nexgrill gas grill was won by Monica Natividad.

Altogether, including the income from the raffle, and the food and games, San Miguel raised more then $7100 that day! The anticipated renovations to their mission include various remodeling and repairs that need to be completed, as well as a fund for special needs.

fiesta2 fiesta_10_2_2016 

To see more photos of
La Fiesta de San Miguel,
click on one of the photos.

At San Miguel, they strive:
To live the Love of God.
To grow in spirituality and fraternity.
To include and transform the individual and social reality through the power of the Gospel.
To respect the culture and tradition of its members.

If you're hungry for a vibrant, welcoming community, San Miguel offers just that! Their music is lively, and their membership is active and friendly. The good people of San Miguel Arcangel welcome you! 

Great News!
Both the Rev. Dru Ferguson, the Priest at St. Peter's in Amarillo, and Bert Bostic, the Music Director at Holy Trinity in Midland, are back at work after their illnesses. While their energy levels may not be 100% yet, both were eager to return to a normal schedule, and to get back to their work in the Kingdom of God.

Bert, who was burned on his leg and hand, will be wearing shorts for a time while the skin graft on his leg mends, but he's back at the organ playing on Sundays after incredible healing.

Thanks  be to God for His many blessings, and for the lives and ministries of Mtr. Dru and Bert! Allelujah! 



The Bishop's office bids your prayers for the James Haney V and the Plummer families, as they mourn the loss of Renee Haney's father, Don Plummer, of Ft. Worth. Don died on Sunday, October 16th, surrounded by those who love him.  Renee Lily_mwc Haney, his oldest daughter, serves as the Diocesan Youth Coordinator. Don suffered with health issues for some time.  

Don's funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 22nd, at St. John's Anglican Church, in Ft. Worth. 
Rest eternal grant to Don, O Lord;  And may light perpetual shine upon him.
May his soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Amen. (BCP p. 502) 
St. Francis Day 2016

Parishes and schools in the diocese have been busy this year as they blessed animals of all sorts, shapes, and sizes. St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Lubbock, dedicated a new pet horse_owner columbarium on the south side of the church last year on St. Francis' Day. This year their Blessing of the Animals took place in the same beautiful location. Someone even brought their horse for a blessing!

Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, dedicated their new pet columbarium this year on the afternoon of October 9th. Parishioners gathered in the playground before processing to the Pet Columbarium, which was formally dedicated.

Most of the pet blessings were held on the lawn or in courtyards outside the parish walls. Precious pets ranged from every size and shape of dog one might imagine, to cats, lizards, horses, chickens, turtles, donkeys, and even beloved stuffed animals for those children who had no real pets. Some churches provided a simple blessing, while others not only provided a blessing, but also gave a small St. Francis medallion to hang from the pet's collar.
turtle_blessing Regardless of their size, shape, color, or covering, our pets freely give us the unconditional love and affection we might experience from our Heavenly Father, who's always there with us, to comfort us and assist us. Our pets are usually there to greet us with wagging tails and toothy grins, especially our canine friends. Of course, many cats refuse to behave in such an overt manner,
and have been known to exhibit more "devilish" traits. B ut find a seat and they'll often crawl up in our laps for a snuggle when they're ready.
How wonderful it is to have a special day when we can honor God's amazing creatures for the gifts they bring to humanity! May God continue to protect them, and bless their contributions to our lives.

More photos of the St. Francis' Day blessings may be found by following this link to the diocesan Picasa web album site. 
When in Rome...
Recently the Rev. Luke Back, Rector of Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, and his wife, Meredith, traveled to Rome to tour, and to attend the service held prior to the meeting between Pope Francis, and Archbishop Justin Welby, of Canterbury. The service was held at the Basilica of San Gregorio al Celio, the spot from which Pope Gregory the Great, sent the monk, Augustine, with 40 companions to evangelize the island of Britain, considered by Anglicans as their "motherhouse.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, pauses for a photograph with Meredith and Luke Back, in front of the chapel from which Pope Gregory the Great, sent missionaries to Britain, in 6th century.

Below is a brief statement from Fr. Luke about his experience there:

"Rome is filled with churches of all sizes and styles, build in different eras. The Church of Gregorio Magno, on the Caelian Hillside, was the monastic church of Pope Gregory the Great. This church was at the center of a gathering that Meredith and I recently attended. St. Gregory was a fearless leader, a devout scholar, a talented musician and an inspired liturgist.
Christianity came to the island of Britain in the first century, and by the fifth century it was flourishing. Barbarian invasions had cut off contact with mainland Europe. In the sixth century, Gregory saw an Anglo-Saxon child in a Roman slave market.

"Gregory immediately felt a great compassion - he saw an angel's face in the child. This encounter led to his sending a missionary expedition to bring the catholic church to the Anglo-Saxon peoples. When the man we now know as Augustine of Canterbury arrived, he found not a land of unchurched souls, but many churched souls who were not sure they wanted Roman authority.

"English ambivalence toward authority from Europe abides - Brexit is the latest manifestation of this attitude. Anglicans have never considered themselves as a break off branch of Roman Catholicism, but rather as a catholic church, that began and lived independently for about five centuries, was under Roman authority for about ten centuries, and which has been independent for another five centuries.

"At this service, Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, sent nineteen pairs of bishops - one Roman Catholic, one Anglican/Episcopalian - out into the world to work together in unity and mission. Before sending the bishops forth the Pope and the Archbishop stood side by side and blessed them in pairs. There was no attempt at legislation, only the charge to "act as if we were one," based on the words of Jesus in John 17.

"Christians face deep, culturally embedded evils that oppress God's children around the earth. We must confront the spread of human trafficking and sex trade slavery. We must, with St. Gregory, see in every child's face an angel of God calling us to set this soul at liberty, to be alive and free. These bishops will go forth into a world that will fight their efforts. They will need the help of and support of each other, as well as ours."
United Thank Offering
FALL IS IN THE AIR.... uto_logo

The days are getting shorter, the sunlight is at a different angle, football games abound everywhere, and...it's time for our UTO FALL INGATHERINGS!

I would like to introduce myself to all of the parishes in the Diocese of Northwest Texas, as your new United Thank Offering (UTO) Diocesan Coordinator. Having served my home parish of Holy Trinity in Midland for over 10 years on the UTO Team, I have gotten to live out my passion for this wonderful ministry. To me, the awareness and education of the UTO Program was equally important as the bi-annual collections we took up. As I shared with our congregation, participation was a number that was just as important to me, as the total amount we received. I look forward to connecting with each of the UTO Coordinators and the Parishes they serve.

Please remember to begin planning your Fall Ingatherings, and get everyone thinking about UTO in the way it serves so many, as well as how we can be ever mindful of all the blessings of our lives when we place our coins and bills into the blue boxes and envelopes. Please contact me any time for further information or to answer questions on how to be more involved with United Thank Offering.

See you at the Convention in Lubbock in November... and please stop by the booth so I can meet you in person!

Cindy Olive
Youth Retreat
Primary Retreat 2016

November 4-­6,2016
St.Paul's on the Plains Episcopal Church
1510 Ave X., Lubbock,TX

You marked your calendars this summer with the date--- now is the time to get set and attend!  

Our primary retreat for the younger youth in our diocese will take place soon. Do you have youth who attended summer camp and miss their friends? Do you have youth who have never attended summer camp and don't know if they can be away for a whole week? This is the place for everyone - a weekend to see what it is like for just 2 1/2 days! The theme for the retreat is "Growing Friendships!" and is a time we will learn and share about having friends, making friends and Jesus as our friend.

Registration fee is $65 if postmarked by October30th.


Registration fee is $80 if postmarked after October30th.

Conference Opportunities

is now open for the 2017 Church Leadership Conference, February 17-19 at the Kanuga Conference and Retreat Center in Hendersonville, NC.

Join author Rachel Held Evans, the Rev. Canon Frank Logue and a team of workshop leaders, representing ECF, Episcopal Relief and Development, Forward Movement, Invite *Welcome*Connect, and the Center for Religion and the Environment at Sewanee, as we delve into avenues of "finding your place" as leaders within our congregations. We will discuss reasons people find their way to our churches, how to make them feel appreciated and effective courses for personal growth.

Save 10% when you register by November 17. Click here to register now!


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Dia de los Muertos
skeleton_puppets_MWC We live in an area rich in Latino, or Hispanic culture. Often their traditions and rituals are foreign to the society in which they live, despite the fact that our cultures are so intertwined. Many of their traditions are steeped in Christianity, or Catholicism, due to the influence of Spain in Mexico and Central America.

One such tradition that we may experience, or at least be touched by is Dia de los Muertos. The National Geographic website tells us, "Dia de los Muertos - the Day of the Dead - is a holiday celebrated on November 1. Although marked throughout Latin America, Dia de los Muertos is most strongly associated with Mexico, where the tradition originated.

"Dia de los Muertos honors the dead with festivals and lively celebrations, a typically Latin American custom that combines indigenous Aztec ritual with Catholicism, brought to the region by Spanish conquistadores. (Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on All Saints Day and All Souls Day, holidays in the Church calendar.)

dancer_day-of-the-dead_NG "Assured that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life. Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up to become a contributing member of the community. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones.

"The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos may be the calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, as parade masks, as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations."

Quite often celebrations are held in cemeteries at the graves of their loved ones as a means
skelton-figurines of celebrating their deceased relatives. And celebration is the operable term - joy and love are palpable as they eat, drink, dance, and remember the deceased. They also clean and decorate the graves, and leave small ofrendas, or offerings of flowers, food, drink, candles, photos, or personal belongings. 

The Day is often spread over two days, with November 1st, being El Dia de los Incentes, or the day honoring the children who have died. November 2nd, honors the adults who have died, so Dia de los Muertes is actually Dias de los Muertes.

In the Episcopal Church, we celebrate All Saints Day on November 1st, or
on the first Sunday in November, when many parishes hold services in remembrance of the dead. We do so in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual bond between those in heaven and the living. All Saints' Day is celebrated not only to remember Saints, but also to remember all those who have died who were members of the local church congregation. In some congregations, a candle is lit by the acolyte as each person's name is called out by the clergy. Prayers and responsive readings may accompany the event. Often, the names of those who have died in the past year are affixed to a memorial plaque in the parish.

No matter how you celebrate the day, remembering the dead is a way of continuing to connect us to our loved ones, and to celebrate their new life in Christ. It's part of the circle of life that every living creature experiences. May you have a meaningful and joyous day! 
A Humorous Thought  
From Episcopal Memes
Wisdom from our Presiding Bishop
The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, the Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry has offered this video message concerning the upcoming election. Please click on the graphic to be redirected to The Episcopal Church's website.

Vital Practices
by Richelle Thompson on October 11, 2016

"When Facebook feeds are filled with political vitriol, when newscasts are rated NC-17, when loved ones who espouse a different opinion want to convert you, pray.

"This election season, perhaps like no other in recent memory, has left many speechless. Whether you back Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, we can find common ground on the lament that the campaigns have been ugly and the hate on both sides deep-seated and frightening.

In a staff meeting a few weeks ago, we bemoaned the state of conversation-both among the talking heads and politicos and in our personal lives and social media feeds. What can we do? What can we say?

You've probably felt the same way. In a year of jaw-dropping revelations and accusations, words fail.

Enter prayer.
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Seminary Updates
2nd Annual Central Texas Veterans Conference:
Art, Dialogue, and Spirituality

The Episcopal Veterans Fellowship brings you the   2nd Annual Central Texas Veterans Conference for veterans and veteran caregivers. This one-day event on November 4, 2016, will include a talk defining moral injury in veterans; a community-focused discussion on how we can cooperate and collaborate to bring healing and hope; and music and a display of artwork by veterans.

This conference will equip counselors, medical professionals, clergy, veterans' advocates, and interested parties to understand the causes of moral injury and ways to address it.
If you would like more information about participating in this event, please contact  David Peters or Vanessa Nering.

Sewanee Banner 
2016 DuBose Events Close on a Very High Note

2016 gave the School of Theology community a most memorable DuBose Lectures & Alumni Gathering. More alumni returned to the Mountain than ever before. Dr. Rowan Williams provided his illuminating lectures and, as a new addition to the lecture format, an open conversation with our dean, Bishop Alexander. During the Memorial Eucharist, Williams received an honorary doctor of letters degree from the University. If you were unable to attend, or if you want to review again, you may view his lectures and the conversation here.

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For more news and information, click the graphic below to read the current issue of...

Sewanee Theol Monthly 
For more news and information from Sewanee visit the Seminary website.
Diocesan Events Calendar
21         Diocesan Convention early bird registration ends (see article above)
24         Open Enrollment for health insurance plans begins  
1           All Saints Day
1           Bishop Mayer returns from sabbatical 
4-6        Primary Youth Retreat - grades 2-5
6           Daylight Savings Time ends
8           ELECTION DAY - Please vote!!
9           Open Enrollment Ends
11         Veterans Day
11-13    School of Ordained Ministry, St. Paul's, Lubbock
11-12    Ft. Worth Diocesan Convention
17         NWTX Commission on Ministry, St. Stephen's, Lubbock, 10:00am
17         NWTX Standing Committee, Kirk McLaughlin's Home, Lubbock, 2:00am
17-19     Diocese of Northwest Texas Annual Convention -
             McKenzie-Merket Center, Lubbock  
21         Hulsey Episcopal Center Closed 
24         Thanksgiving Day
24-25     Hulsey Episcopal Center closed
29          Robert Pace Installation as the Rector of St. Andrew's, Amarillo 
             6:30pm, 1601 S. Georgia, Amarillo, TX 
(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