SEPTEMBER 2016 
No. 291

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Holy Cross Day September 14

THE NEWSLETTER

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!

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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
SAVE THESE IMPORTANT DATES! 
(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


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Article Diocesan Convention Registration is available online NOW!!



The process is quick, easy, and convenient. If you haven't already registered, click the blue Register Online button below 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. 

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


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The Rev. Celia Ellery, Rector of Church of the Good Shepherd in San Angelo, is thrilled to announce their first grandbaby!

Their youngest child, Elizabeth, and her husband, Randy Woods, are expecting their bundle of joy on December 20th. They reside in Grand Prairie, TX.

Congratulations to the Ellery family on this joyous news!

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Prayers Requested
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Please continue to keep the Rev. Dru Ferguson of St. Peters in Amarillo, and Bert Bostic, of Holy Trinity in Midland, in your prayers as they continue their healing process. Mtr. Dru had surgery recently, and Bert is healing from a recent accident from which he sustained burns.

O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers:
Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to your servants Dru and Bert the help of your power, that their sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(BCP pg. 458) 
DNWT Youth Events                             
Have you registered your student for the fall youth events?? 
 
October 14-16, 2016 - Fall Retreat for Middle youth_jumpingSchool and High School - St. Paul's, Lubbock 

November 4-6, 2016 -
Primary Retreat for youth in Grades 2-5 - Place TBD 
 

For more information, contact the Diocesan Youth Coordinator, Renee Haney at nwtxyouth@suddenlink.net.

DNWT Idea Exchange
 Are you looking for new ideas, new ways of doing old things that may bring greater success??

idea_exchangeAn idea came to the Communications Office in August from one of the faithful matriarchs of the Church. Her idea is a sharing of ideas, interest, and success stories in various topics, such as stewardship, the chosen topic of the month for September.

With stewardship time and the completion of pledge cards for the 2017 calendar year approaching, what has YOUR parish done that might be successful in other parishes? Do you have an idea or success story you'd like to share with others?

If so, please send all submissions to the Communications Office for publication in next month's newsletter. We want to hear from YOU!
From the Mission Field
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Monduli Market
Last spring, John McGarr, a parishioner from St. Matthew's in Pampa, and his daughter, Katy, traveled to Tanzania for a month long mission. They traveled to Monduli, a small town in Tanzania, inhabited by the Massai people. According to an online source, "Monduli Juu is situated 50 Km north west of Arusha on the road to the National Parks of Ngorongoro and Serengeti. It lies near the northeastern border with Kenya. The name 'Monduli' originates from the place where a wealthy Maasai ancestor called 'Monduli' used to live in former German colonial times. Monduli Juu is a cluster of four small Maasai villages.

The McGarrs traveled there with a couple from the Ft. Worth area. Ben, a medical doctor, works in the clinic in Monduli, and his wife, Lori, started a daycare center for infants and toddlers, a shelter for women and their babies, and a small training program. Ben and Lori self-fund all their activities. As John stated, "They're good folks."

John and Katy were free to do whatever they wished while there. Katy is an ESL teacher, so she taught classes at the women's shelter and helped at the daycare center and the school. She also organized Lori's office and helped her set up an Etsy account. John split his time between gardening, baking, and repairing things. As he stated in the article, he baked "mostly in self-defense because the local "bread" was simply horrible." He also showed the people from the village how to make compost.

The full account of their experiences was featured in the September issue of the St. Matthew's newsletter, The Evangelist. To read the full article, follow the link below.

Well done, good and faithful servants! 
A Humorous Thought  
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From Episcopal Memes
Insurance Update
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As we prepare for the 2017 plan year with Episcopal Church Medical Trust, an insurance committee of representatives from the Bishop's staff and various parishes in the diocese will meet to determine the plans that will be offered in the coming year. Medical Trust has worked hard over the past year to create more cost effective plans to offer health plan participants, which will also satisfy The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.
  • Open Enrollment for active participants will begin on October 24th and continue through November 9th.
  • Open Enrollment for retirees will take place October 13th through December 7th, to coordinate with Medicare's Open Enrollment.
Employers offering High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) will soon contribute directly to their employees' HSAs via the secure online portal maintained by HealthEquity (HE), Church Pension Group's program vendor. This initiative enables employers to transfer contributions directly to their employees' HSAs, replacing the current process in which employers send contributions to The Episcopal Church Medical Trust, which then funds the employee's HSA. Funding HSAs at the employer level has multiple advantages, including streamlined contributions, greater control, and access to detailed account records for the employer.

Please watch for more information to be sent to administrators and rectors after the first week of October.

Vital Practices
Stewardship: More than an Annual Campaign grapes_vine
By Nancy Davidge and Susan Elliott, part of the Vestry Papers issue on Rethinking Stewardship (September 2015)

We don't know if Jesus worried about money. We do know he saw the hunger of a great gathering of people who had come to hear him, that he fed them with five loaves and two fish, and afterward still had leftovers. That's a tricky gospel for vestry members, responsible for managing and developing their church's resources. It's the disciples who make sense here. It's late, and this is a desolate place. Send the people away so they can find food.

But Jesus is always focused on his mission, confident that God will provide. Jesus uses what the people have given, and it is more than enough.

This is a good stewardship message for vestries-a reminder that God will use the gifts of the people in our faith communities to do "more than all we can ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20). Your task as a vestry is to focus on your mission and vision. Be diligent in managing the property and resources in your care. Trust God and your congregation to provide the means to move toward the hopeful future you have discerned together.

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Seminary Updates
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An Evening of Joy and Celebration
 
The annual Matriculation service of Evensong was celebrated on Sunday, August 28, 2016, in Christ Chapel on the seminary campus. Dean and President Cynthia Briggs Kittredge presided and Academic Dean Scott Bader-Saye preached.

Matriculation Evensong Homily-2016 (pdf)

The seminary community welcomed 43 new students entering Seminary of the Southwest for their leadership formation for lay and ordained ministry. Twenty-four students in the new class are preparing for ordained ministry for dioceses throughout the country, and 19 students are enrolled in master's degrees of religion, mental health counseling, chaplaincy, and spiritual formation.

Academic Dean Bader-Saye installed the seminary's newest faculty members, Dr. Awa Jangha and the Rev. Danielle Tumminio, PhD.

Dr. Tumminio is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology and serves as Director of Field Education. She has authored books such as God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom, and Expecting Jesus. Dr. Tumminio is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology and serves as Director of Field Education. Prior to arriving at Seminary of the Southwest, she was a lecturer at Yale and Tufts Universities in addition to serving as chaplain at Groton School and as a parish priest in Lexington, Lincoln, and Quincy, Massachusetts.

Dr. Jangha is Assistant Professor of Counselor Education for the seminary's master in clinical mental health counseling degree. She earned a PhD from Loyola University Maryland in Pastoral Counseling (a Counselor Education and Supervision program). Her research focuses on experiences of power in the pastoral counseling identity development of African-American female pastoral counselors in training and utilizes art as the means of exploration.

The Cook Award in Servant Leadership, named for Faculty Emeritus Charles J. Cook, is presented at Matriculation and was awarded this year to Jill Oettinger, CEO of Good Samaritan Community Services in San Antonio. Good Samaritan, founded in 1951 by the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas is now a private, nonprofit organization and United Way agency that provides community services to lessen the impact of poverty in South Texas. Ms. Oettinger served on the board of Good Samaritan before leading the organization as CEO, a position she has held since 1996.

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The School of Theology Recognized by Seminaries that Change the World for 2016-17   

Sewanee, Tennessee-The School of Theology at the University of the South is pleased to announce that it has been recognized as a Seminary that Changes the World, Class of 2016-17, by The Center for Faith and Service. This is the third consecutive time the School has received this recognition. 

Each year, Seminaries that Change the World identifies a select group of seminaries and divinity schools offering innovative courses, programs, and opportunities for students seeking to engage in social justice and service work while in seminary. The School of Theology's recognition as a Seminary that Changes the World reflects the ongoing work to provide innovative theological education, integrated with classical approaches for learning, while working to expand the sometimes narrow definitions of traditional ministry.  

"The School of Theology is honored again to be named among the Seminaries that Change the World," stated the Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, dean of The School of Theology. "The Center for Faith and Service does effective work inspiring seminaries to be true to their historic identities while at the same time being innovative in their programs to serve a changing church in a changing world."  

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For more news and information from Sewanee visit the Seminary website.
Diocesan Events Calendar
SEPTEMBER

1-30      Bishop Mayer on sabbatical


OCTOBER
 
1-31      Bishop Mayer on sabbatical
5           Insurance Committee Meeting, HEC, 10:30am 
7-9        School of Ordained Ministry, St. Paul's, Lubbock
13         DNWT Standing Committee,
HEC, Lubbock, 10:00am  
13         Open Enrollment for retiree health insurance plans begins
14-16    Fall Youth Retreat - Middle School, St. Paul's, Lubbock
21         Diocesan Convention early bird registration ends (see article above)
24         Open Enrollment for health insurance plans begins  
 
 

(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  

nigo@nwtdiocese.org 

(806) 763-1370  x. 5