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!
To view a video presentation about this unique area, created
by Weiman Meinzer, renowned photographer in the State of Texas, and the late Doug Smith, local pianist,
click on the graphic above.
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.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry Receives a
Warm Texas Welcome
On April 8-10, 2017, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, visited our diocese. His trip began at Church of the Heavenly Rest in Abilene, and continued at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Amarillo. At the end of his visit he left feeling overwhelmed by the warm and welcoming crowds at both churches.
We're Texans. We know, without a doubt, that Texans are the friendliest people around, however not everyone gets the chance to experience the down home friendliness of the good people of Northwest Texas.
ring a lunchtime conversation, Bishop Curry asked what made the people of the diocese so outgoing. There were a number of responses that helped him "connect the dots," such as hard times, tough people, small towns that help one another, ranchers and farmers who help others to weather severe weather storms, feed animals after disastrous prairie fires, gather crops, and people who are strong in their faith. He left with a clearer understanding of our diocese, and where we have "come from" in the years since we officially became a part of The Episcopal Church.
At his first stop in Abilene, Bishop Curry was greeted by close to 500 people from the southern portion of the diocese. Loretta Fulton, from a reporter from Abilene, wrote an article for the Abilene Reporter-News following his visit, and stated the following:
"On Sunday morning, Curry blessed the cornerstone for the new Gerhart Hall (located at Heavenly Rest), named for Willis Gerhart, who was pastor of the church from 1920 to 1957. The new parish hall is still under construction, but guests were able to tour it Sunday.
The Presiding Bishop with the Rev. Canon Michael Hunn, and the Rev. Luke Back, as he consecrates their new addition, Gerhart Hall.
"Following the blessing, the presiding bishop delivered the Palm Sunday sermon. Sunday afternoon, he met with clergy of the diocese before ending the evening with a town hall meeting in the church nave, where several hundred delighted Episcopalians gave him the rock star welcome."
During the announcements at the Palm Sunday Eucharist at
Church of the Heavenly Rest
, Bishop Curry was presented with
a beautiful cross designed by Nolan Kelley, the same designer who created Bishop Mayer's pectoral cross. During his stay he was also given a lovely, handmade quilt presented to him by Deacon Thomas Keith and his spouse, Steve Hennessee, of Grace Episcopal Church in Vernon
. He was completely surprised and delighted by both gifts!
The Presiding Bishop receives a gift from Church of the Heavenly Rest.
Ms. Fulton went on to say, "Before taking questions, Curry gave a spirited message about being witnesses to the world. The first Christians realized that Jesus had started a movement that would follow his spirit. They saw what sin could do when Jesus was crucified, Curry said, but then they witnessed the greater power of love.
"They saw what that love can do," Curry said. "It rolled back that stone."
After his time at Heavenly Rest, Bishop Curry and the other Church representatives traveling with him - the Rev. Canon Michael Hunn, Canon to the Presiding Bishop; and Tara Holley, Director of Development for The Episcopal Church - made a quick stop at the Hulsey Center for lunch with the staff before completing their "road trip" to Amarillo.
The evening event at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church began at 4:30pm, with Bishop Curry's meeting with the clergy from the northern portion of the diocese. The entire group paused afterward for a "photo op" with the Presiding Bishop, in the Children's Chapel at St. Andrew's, before walking across the street to St. Andrew's Episcopal School, for a buffet dinner in his honor.
The Northern clergy with Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, and the Rt. Rev. J. Scott Mayer, Bishop of Northwest Texas. Click the photo to view it a larger format, or to download.
Following dinner, guests proceeded across the street to the church to find a seat in the nave as they anxiously awaited his arrival for the town hall meeting. Upon entrance, Bishop Curry was greeted with an exuberant standing ovation. His presentation, entitled "I Love to Tell the Story," centered around being a witness to others, to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, and to further empower the Jesus Movement, around which he has centered his episcopacy. In his usual animated style, Bishop Curry kept the crowd mesmerized, laughing at his "one-liners," and completely engrossed by the content of his speech - witnessing the love of Jesus Christ to others, something that usually makes Episcopalians rather squeamish.
Bishop Curry, speaking to a packed house at St. Andrew's.
Although his time here seemed like a whirlwind of events and activities, we were truly privileged to have had this brief time with the Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church. Needless to say, those who encountered him left feeling inspired and grateful for his insight, and his ability to speak truth. Thanks be to God for our Presiding Bishop, and his dedication to further empowering the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.
Bishop Curry posed for many "selfies" during his visit to Northwest Texas.
Photos from the Heavenly Rest visit by Roger Jones. P
hotos of St. Andrew's visit by Deacon Nancy Igo.
All are the property of the Diocese of Northwest Texas.
(For more information about the events, click on the blue underlined links.)
May 22-23 HEC CLOSED for offsite staff meeting with Ft. Worth staff
May 29 HEC CLOSED - Memorial Day holiday
July 10-14 EYE in Oklahoma City, OK
Two priests from our diocese have made the decision to retire,
again, from their current positions as priests-in-charge of congregations located in
and in Big Spring.
The Rev. Dru Ferguson, who has faithfully served in numerous
positions, has been serving as the priest-in-charge of
St. Peter's Episcopal Church
in Amarillo most recently, following
the Rev. Robert Taliaferro's departure. Mtr. Dru has provided stability and love for the parish during their transition period, in fact, t
his was her second time to serve the parish. S
he and her husband, Ron Ferguson,
plan to relocate to Santa Fe later this summer.
the Rev. Edson Way
, who served
St. Christopher's Episcopal Church
in Lubbock, as rector from 2008, until his retirement in 2015. After enjoying retirement for a year, Fr. Edson felt the call to serve the diocese again, this time as the priest-in-charge of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Big Spring. However, due to health problems that arose during 2016, Fr. Edson felt he should permanently retire. He will leave St. Mary's
at the end of April. He and his wife, Jenny, plan to remain in Lubbock.
Canon Mike Ehmer, the Canon to the Ordinary and Transition Minister for the diocese, is currently working to find suitable candidates for the two positions.
Ron Ferguson, Head of School at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Amarillo, will also retire this spring. Ron arrived at St. Andrew's in 2004, after serving as Headmaster at Canterbury Episcopal School in DeSoto, TX. One of his crowning achievements at St. Andrew's has been the expansion of their middle school, with over 14,000 sq.ft. of beautiful new educational space. Also, with the renovation came new and improved areas for the Visual Arts, Orchestra and Music programs, and a new Assembly Hall. Congratulations and best wishes to both Mtr. Dru and to Ron on their upcoming retirement!
Dr. Mike Bennett
, Head of School at
All Saints Episcopal School
Lubbock, will permanently retire after serving All Saints since 2005. When he was called to this role he had just retired as high school principle at Monterey High School in Lubbock. During his time there, All Saints has increased their enrollment, and has added a high school, which received the
Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools' (TAPPS) highest honor, the coveted Henderson Championship Cup.
All Saints High School swept past 68 other private schools to be presented the award in the 1A division, with the most combined points in academics, athletics, and fine arts competitions. This is the kind of accomplishment that all private schools strive to achieve. All Saints High School managed to reach this prestigious award in only 4 short years since opening their doors in the fall of 2012. Congratulations on yet another retirement for Dr. Bennett. He and his wife, Sharon, plan to remain in Lubbock to spend more time with family.
Transitioning in to the two open Head of School positions are Bruce Latta, who will assume the role of Headmaster at All Saints; and Joel Bicknell, who will assume the role of Headmaster at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Amarillo.
Bruce Latta hails from Florida where he is currently the Middle School Head of the Out-of-Door Academy. He will relocate to Lubbock this summer to begin his role as Head of School at All Saints, with his wife, and his two high school-aged daughters, who will attend All Saints High School next fall.
Likewise, Joel Bicknell has been called to succeed Ron Ferguson. Joel comes from Holland Hall in Tulsa, OK, where he has been serving as the Middle School Head as well. He will relocate to Amarillo this summer with his wife and their four children,
who will attend St. Andrew's next fall.
Both men come with lengthy resumes and excellent educational background. An article with more information about these two fine men will be in a future edition of the newsletter. Welcome to Texas, gentlemen, and HAPPY RETIREMENT to all these lucky servants of God!
One of our longtime and beloved matriarchs in the diocese of Northwest Texas,
Gilmore, from St. Nicholas' Episcopal Church in Midland, was recently taken to M.D. Anderson Medical Center in Houston, to diagnose the source of medical problems she has experienced lately
Betty has served on numerous committees and commissions of the diocese, such as Standing Committee, the Constitution and Canons Committee, Chair of Dispatch of Business for our Diocesan Convention, and numerous times as a deputy to General Convention, among many other volunteer positions. She has always answered the call of service to the diocese willingly and happily. Her beautiful white hair and equally sparkling smile can't compare to her gracious personality.
Betty will remain at M.D. Anderson for several days, until biopsy results are available, and her care team can develop a treatment plan.
At this time please simply keep Betty and her entire family in your prayers as they cope during this difficult time. The diocese will send out an update, with instructions for contacting her or sending expressions of love and concern to her, as more information is available.
Heavenly Father, giver of life and health:
Comfort and relieve your sick servant, Betty,
and give your power of healing to those who minister to her needs,
that she may be strengthened in her weakness
and have confidence in your loving care;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(BCP pg. 459)
The Death of the Rt. Rev. Robert Hibbs
The Rt. Rev. Robert Hibbs, retired Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of West Texas,
died peacefully at home on April 17, surrounded by family. Bishop Hibbs had been on hospice care prior to his death. He was 84 years old, and was just three days shy of his 85th birthday.
Photo credit - The Diocese of West Texas
Bishop Hibbs also served the Diocese of Northwest Texas for five years as the Vicar of St. Peter's in Borger, and as Vicar and Rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Lubbock, in their early years. To view his obituary,
please follow this link
article from Episcopal News Service
"The Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge, bishop of the diocese, said, "Simply put,
Bob Hibbs was one of the finest men and clerics I have known. He mentored many, many clergy and laity and will be sorely missed for his grace, humor, and gentle humbleness, none of which impeded his direct frankness in truth telling. His extraordinary ministry reached people worldwide. I join many others in giving thanks for his life, as well as the partnership in ministry which he shared with Nancy, his wife of 59 years."
A service will be held on April 22, 2017, at 11:00am, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in San Antonio. Memorial gifts may be made to the Diocese of West Texas Recovery Ministries or the Diocese of West Texas Cursillo Scholarship Fund.
Rest eternal grant to Robert, O Lord;
And let 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 pg. 502)
Excellent Summer Camp Opportunities f
As their webpage states, "
The University Choir is the oldest student organization on campus. The choir participated in the founding of the university in October of 1860 singing Psalm 100 as part of the service. Currently there are 50 undergraduate students from different faith backgrounds and traditions that sing in the choir, which is 3 percent of the student body. There is a great tradition that has been established by the choir by leading Episcopal services at All Saints' Chapel as well as all of the major academic services at the University. Our goal is to recruit talented musicians from across the country so that they can learn and appreciate the tradition of this ensemble in the context of the University.
During the camp the students will be immersed in university life, and
will live in residence on the campus for the week, with access to all of the amenities of the University including the library, dining hall, practice rooms and classrooms with the department of music and computing services.
The camp takes place during the first summer session, from June 4-11, 2017, so interested choristers and their parents should register soon.
SUMMA Theological Debate Camp
Camp is the cornerstone of SUMMA Student Theological Debate Society, which provides a way for high school students to build their faith through intellectual channels. Founded in the confidence that knowledge and reason are foundational to faith, SUMMA offers fun, friendship, and the opportunity for a deepened and more thoughtful faith.
SUMMA is open to high school students entering grades 9-12 in the fall of 2017, and
takes place at University of the South, in Sewanee, TN
The cost of the camp is $750, and deadline to register is June 1.
Time for Episcopal Church Camp! Is your child
Camp Quarterman registration forms are posted now! All
forms may be found on the
and on the youth Facebook page,
NWTX Youth Program
. Click the photo on the right to be re-directed to the information page on the diocesan website.
will be June
4-10 in Colorado
(for youth currently in grades 7-12.)
Camp Quarterman Jr.
will be June 25-July 1 at Ceta Glen
(for youth in
DON'T WAIT! REGISTER YOUR STUDENTS TODAY!
What about the new name for the mobile newsletter?
You may have noticed the new name above, on the opening graphic. Numerous names were submitted from every corner of the diocese, but the name that the staff and Bishop Mayer chose is the name above.
Part of the reasoning was to include the word Adventure in the title as a way of paying homage to our diocesan history. "The Adventure" was the original name of the newsletter in Northwest Texas, initiated by Bishop George Quarterman. The last portion, "...On the Go" was selected since it is now a mobile version of a long-standing news source in the diocese.
Many thanks to those who shared their ideas with our staff. We appreciate the clever names you submitted, and your willingness to participate!
From Episcopal Church Memes
The Episcopal Church Welcomes YOU!
by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
This year for Lent, Bishop Scott Mayer gifted each of his staff members with an o
book, The Book of Joy. These great spiritual masters wrote the book as a gift to us, to teach each one of us how to live with joy, even in the face of adversity.
The website for the book states, "
In April 2015, Archbishop Desmond Tutu travelled to the Dalai Lama's home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness's eightieth birthday and to create this book as a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: how do we find joy in the face of life's inevitable suffering?
The website also states,
"They traded intimate stories, teased each other continually, and shared their spiritual practices. By the end of a week filled with laughter and punctuated with tears, these two global heroes had stared into the abyss and despair of our times, and revealed how to live a life brimming with joy."
To order the book click the blue highlighted link above. You will re-directed to the website, which has links to numerous booksellers. You won't regret it!
Practicing Forgiveness in Difficult Times
June 5-9, 2017 at Seminary of the Southwest
For more information about this unique, 5-day,
follow this link
, or click the graphic on the right
Information about instructors, course studies, and registration are available on the study webpage.
A Convocation and Conferring of Degrees
On May 12, the School of Theology will graduate 43 seminarians with a variety of degrees and honors, one of whom is Deacon Claire Makins, from Emmanuel
Episcopal Church in San Angelo. After graduation, Claire and her family will reloc
ate to Abilene, where she'll serve as the Curate at Church of the Heavenly Rest.
Additionally, honorary degrees will be presented to three bishops with diverse backgrounds and wide-ranging contributions to the Church.
(Read this month's Theology Monthly by clicking the graphic.)
23 Visitation, Grace Church, Vernon
24-27 NWT Presbyter's Conference, Christ the King Retreat Center, San Angelo
28-30 School of Ordained Ministry, St. Paul's, Lubbock
30 Visitation, St. Andrew's, Amarillo
9-10 Family Systems, St. Louis
12 Commencement, University of the South School of Theology
18 Commencement, Virginia Theological Seminary
18 Trustee Committee, HEC, Lubbock, 10:00am
Off-site staff meeting with Ft. Worth Staff
22-24 Commencement, Seminary of the Southwest
HEC Closed - Memorial Day holiday
(Dates in purple italics indicate the Bishop's attendance.)
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