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 News and Updates from the Office of the Bishop

November                                                                 No. 302
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.  


As depicted in the  pectoral cross of Bishop J. Scott Mayer  (right), 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.
Convention 2017 Recap - "I love to tell the story!"
The 59th Annual Diocesan Convention was held October 12-14, 2017 at Church of the Heavenly Rest and the Abilene Civic Center.  The event drew over 180 persons from around the diocese to conduct the business of the diocese, worship, connect and reconnect with people from other parts of the diocese, enjoy great food, and do a little shopping at the vendor booths.

The Theme of the Convention was I love to tell the story.  Renown professional story-teller, Kathy Culmer, charmed and enlightened as she told her story and helped us begin to see the importance of our stories.  In his address to Convention, the Bishop focused on the inter-connectivity of our stories and how this shapes our faith and action.

The folks at Heavenly Rest outdid themselves making all feel welcomed and cared for.  Thursday evening began with registration and Evensong at Heavenly Rest.  On Friday, the children of St. John's Episcopal School enriched Morning Prayer with a beautiful choral rendition of the Venite, the hymn "I love to tell the story of unseen things above," and a sung blessing.  At the conclusion of the business session on Friday (held at the Civic Center), delegates, clergy, and guests were invited to dinner and dancing in the newly dedicated Gerhart Hall at Heavenly Rest.  Saturday morning brought us all together once again at Heavenly Rest for Eucharist where we heard Bishop Mayer preach and the final business of the diocese was conducted.    

Thanks from the Bishop's office to all who helped make Convention a great success and a fun gathering!  

Below are links from Convention.

Find video of Bishop Mayer's Charge to Convention  here .

Find video of guest speaker, Kathy Culmer's first presentation to Convention  here .

Find video of guest speaker Kathy Culmer's second presentation to Convention here .

Listen to the Bishop's sermon at the closing Eucharist here .

Find a photo gallery  here .

Following are some of the Actions of Convention:

The following persons were elected:

Northwest Texas Board of Trustees  (lay to 2022)
Mr. John Caldwell, Emmanuel, San Angelo
Executive Council (clergy to 2020)
The Rev. David Galletly, Holy Trinity, Midland
Executive Council (lay to 2020)
Mr. Brickland Easton, St. Stephen's, Lubbock
Executive Council (lay to complete unexpired term to 2018)
Mr. Matt Maguire, St. Nicholas, Midland
Standing Committee (clergy to 2020)
The Rev. Jill Walters, St. Andrew's, Amarillo
Standing Committee (lay to 2020)
Ms. Yvonne Batts, Church of the Heavenly Rest, Abilene
Constitution and Canons
Constitutional amendments require passage by two consecutive Conventions with a two-thirds vote of each order (lay and clergy) voting separately.  Changes to the Diocesan Canons require passage by only one Convention, with a majority vote of each order (lay and clergy) voting separately. 
The Constitution and Canons Committee proposed a second reading and vote on an amendment to Article VII of the Diocesan Constitution after its first reading and approval at the 2016 Convention. The admendment passed and the changes became effective at the end of Convention.   
The Constitution and Canons Committee proposed a first reading and vote to amend Articles III and IV of the Diocesan Constitution.  The amendments were approved and will appear before the 2018 Convention in the same format for second reading and approval.  
The Constitution and Canons Committee proposed amendments to Canons 4, 13, 16, and 40 of the Diocesan Canons.  The amendments passed and became effective at the end of Convention.
The changes (with explanations) can be viewed here on the report presented by the Constitution and Canons Committee.

The revised Constitution may be accessed here and the revised Canons may be accessed here.  
2018 Budget and Apportionments
The approved 2018 Budget can be viewed here .

The approved 2018 Apportionments can be viewed here.



The Diocese of Northwest Texas is committed to fostering communities where people can explore their faith, exercise their ministries, and live out their vocations in safe and healthy settings. We are committed to keeping everyone safe, especially our children and youth.  In order to better accomplish this, the Executive Council has amended our Policy for Protection of Children and Youth, authorizing all training in these areas to be done either online or in person at an onsite training session

All persons - lay and clergy - who work with children and youth and those who oversee them (including vestries), must complete the Safeguarding God's Children training. Clergy are also required to complete the Safeguarding God's People modules.  
Safeguarding Online provides training in short, focused courses that can normally be completed in 30-45 minutes per course. These courses can be taken from any location where a high-speed Internet connection is available.
Please click this link for a listing of the required courses for volunteers and employees.
To Enroll:
  • Go to website
  • Enter the registration code: dionwtx
  • Fill out the form and click the link to enroll (Remember to choose your correct church/organization from the dropdown menu)
  • Print the page or write down your user login and password for future reference.
  • To begin taking training immediately, click the link or follow the instructions to the right to login later.
To Begin Training:
  • Go to website
  • Enter your user login and password. Then click Login.
  • Click on the course image or title to begin.
Anyone, who will be working with or around children must submit to a background check for both their initial training and any renewals:
  • Download the authorization form, complete, and return to your church office or the Bishop's office. 
All safeguarding training must be renewed every three years. 
For more information on the diocesan Safeguarding program, please contact Elizabeth Thames ( or 806-763-1370) or Renee Haney ( or 806-445-3667).


Open Enrollment Begins November 8

Information on the health insurance plans available has been sent out to all churches in the diocese.  All eligible employees should check with their church's administrator regarding the plan options.  Open Enrollment runs from November 8 until November 22.

An information sheet (with applicable forms) is available here.  

For additional information, please contact Anna Mora in the Bishop's office at or 806-763-1370.  

Around the Diocese

Clergy Positions  In Northwest Texas

There are currently two clergy positions available in the diocese.


Rector - Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin - Big Spring, TX.  (Parish Profile)


Rector - St. Nicholas' Episcopal Church -Midland, TX. (nearing completion of their portfolio)


For more information, click the links, which will take you to the parish's websites. 


If you would like to submit a name for consideration for either position, please contact Canon Mike Ehmer, Diocesan Transition Minister, at


New Stained-Glass Windows at St. Stephen's, Lubbock
by the Rev. David J. Perdue, Rector  

On Sunday, October 22, 2017, St. Stephen's, Lubbock, celebrated a most extraordinary Bishop's visit as The Right Reverend J. Scott Mayer dedicated and blessed the completed installation of the church's magnificent new faceted glass clerestory windows. Clerestory windows are long, narrow windows forming the very top portion of a wall which provide lighting, usually for a vaulted ceiling. St. Stephen's nave, altar and transepts are framed with a total of fifty-eight such panels. From dream to design - to manufacture and final installation - this project occupied the minds of a dedicated windows committee for almost exactly three years. It was worth the wait!

Click above for more pictures
Designed, produced and installed by Berg Studios of Lubbock, these panels, made up of over 10,000 pieces of hand-cut and hand faceted glass, feature a ribbon of multicolored glass on a white background which travels the entire perimeter of the space representing the unfathomable and never-ending love of God for all people. On either side of the altar sits the Gospel windows; one each for Matthew , Mark, Luke and John, with appropriate icon figures. Along the north side of the nave are icons depicting Old Testament stories including creation, the burning bush, the Ten Commandments, Noah's ark, and a menorah and Star of David honoring our Jewish heritage. The south wall depicts the New Testament with icons of the nativity, baptism, Holy Eucharist, the miracles of Jesus, the crucifixion and the resurrection. The two windows framing the entrance to the nave feature the name "St. Stephen's" and an icon of Stephen, the congregation's patron saint and first Christian martyr.

Late in production a special feature was added in the windows which face the church's beautiful pet columbarium. These windows are adorned with eight figures, featuring domestic and wild animals, which commemorate God's creation and our charge to care for God's wonderful gifts. These windows are above an outside metal sculpture of St. Francis of Assisi and will be back-lit at night to highlight this space.

Provided by the generous gifts of the people of St. Stephen's, these windows have added a new depth and dimension of beauty, warmth and sacredness to the worship space.   St. Stephen's invites all, when in Lubbock, to stop by and share this gift, given to the glory of God and in thanksgiving for God's presence among all of us.


Emmanuel, San Angelo Debuts Organ
by: the Rev. Matt Rowe, Rector
Here is a picture of Jane Hays Smith at the console as the pipe organ at Emmanuel made its debut on  Sunday, October 22, 2017. 
Totally revised and expanded by the craftsmanship of Dan G arland and his team at Garland Pipe Organs, the former 22 rank instrument now boasts 36 ranks in 4 divisions: Great, Swell, Choir, and Pedal. 
The Swell, Choir and Pedal divisions are under expression, meaning the organist can open and close shutters in those chambers to control the volume and tone of those divisions. The sounds of Debut Sunday can be heard by visiting t he Audio-Video Resources page at, but the best way to hear it is to come and hear if you find yourself in or near San Angelo on a Sunday morning.

(Click the picture for a larger view)


Save the Date!
Ayo Omoniyi is being ordained to the Sacred order of Deacons on Monday, December 18th at 7 pm at St. Martin in the Fields, Keller, TX in the Diocese of Fort Worth. Ayo was a member of St. Barnabas', Odessa until having to relocate to Fort Worth for work. He began his discernment process in this diocese and the joyful day of his ordination is soon upon us. He has asked the good people of Northwest Texas to hold him up in prayer and, for those who can, attend this service.


click to enlarge
Ordination Anniversaries
On Sunday, October 29th, Deacons John Marshall and Connie Fowler of St. Mary the Virgin, Big Spring were recognized for celebrating 15 years as Deacons.   Congratulations to both of these servant leaders!  

 Youth News
Elementary Youth Gather to Learn About Jesus!
by Renee Haney, Youth Coordinator

The elementary youth (grades 2nd-5th) from our diocese will gather at St. Paul's in Lubbock for our Primary Youth Retreat November 17-19! It will be a time for them to see "old" friends from camp and meet new friends. This weekend is great for youth who have never been away from home and would like to see what summer camp will be like except for a shorter time. Some of our counselors from the summer will be there. We will spend the weekend learning about Jesus, singing, worshiping together, playing games, making a craft project and maybe we will get some sleep. 

The registration form can be downloaded here.   

If you have any questions, please give Renee Haney a call at 806-445-3667  or email to  Please encourage all youth to attend!  

Financial assistance is available.
From the Wider Church

Primates of the Anglican Communion Meet
Anglican News Service
[October 6, 2017]

Primates of the Anglican Communion met in Canterbury, October 2 - 6. The Anglican Communion Primates' Meetings are regular meetings of the primates in the Anglican Communion (i.e., the principal archbishops or bishops of each ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Communion). The Archbishop of Canterbury chairs the meetings, with the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) serving as secretary.  There are currently 39 primates of the Anglican Communion, including our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry.

Primates and Moderators from provinces around the world were invited to attend. The gathering gave Anglican leaders an opportunity to discuss major issues within their provinces, topics affecting the whole Communion as well as more general global matters.  Bishop's Curry's reflections on the meeting may be viewed here.  A communique from the Primates at the conclusion of the meeting is attached here.  

EYE17: a historic event
Public Affairs Office
[October 23, 2017]

EYE17 - the 2017 Episcopal Youth Event - marked a historic event with the large participation of youth and adults. In July, more than 1400 youth, adult mentors, workshop leaders, speakers and volunteers from across the Episcopal Church gathered for EYE17 in Oklahoma City, OK.
Sponsored by the Episcopal Church Office of Formation in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, EYE17 was geared for youth in grades 9-12 during the 2016-2017 academic year and their adult leaders. It happened on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond.
The theme of EYE17 was Path to Peace, grounded in the Beatitudes as found in Matthew's Gospel. Throughout EYE17, Path to Peace served as a call for participants to focus on peacemaking and the ways each member of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement can pursue a path to peace.
A report on EYE17 is available here.  
A video from EYE17 is available here. The video features vivid scenes of activities, quotes from youth, adults, bishops, and highlights of the entire event, including; key speakers; worship services; and a candlelight vigil at Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.

"It's not only exciting and energizing, it is spiritually renewing," Presiding Bishop Michael Curry commented about EYE17 on the video.
By the numbers
Here's a look at EYE17 by the numbers:
* 1,400 Episcopalians participated.
* They represented 95 Episcopal dioceses including Alaska, Hawai'i, Micronesia (Guam), and the Convocation of Episcopal Church in Europe.
* 755 youth participated as members of diocesan delegations.
* 217 adult mentors participated.
* More than 300 staffed the event in various roles including as chaplains, dorm crew, workshop leaders, medical staff, Episcopal Church staff, and local hosts and volunteers.
* 35 bishops attended EYE17.
* 17 individuals, representing Episcopal organizations and offices, participated as exhibitors.
* 360 participants attended the Junior/Senior dinner, sponsored by the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministries.
* 276 participants attended the New Community Luncheon, sponsored by the Offices of Latino Ministries, Indigenous Ministries, Black Ministries, and Asiamerican Ministries.
* 16 youth and eight adult mentors served on the EYE17 Planning Team, which met in-person four times and in countless video/phone meetings.
* 35 adults served on the EYE17 Pastoral Care Team, which was designed to give adults, especially young adults, in the Episcopal Church an opportunity to serve at EYE17 in a new capacity.
* 45 Praxis sessions were offered on a variety of topics.
Editor's note: Bishop Mayer, Youth Coordinator Renee Haney, and chaperones Chase Monson and D'Anne Asquith participated in EYE this year along with youth Ashton Milsap and Michael Scarborough from Heavenly Rest, Abilene, Julia White, Nicholas Neighbors, Gabbie Mullen, and Olivia Rowe from Emmanuel, San Angelo, Micha Huff from Good Shepherd Brownfield, Caroline Asquith and Gracie Fehr from St. Paul's, Lubbock, Savannah Reese from St. Stephen's, Lubbock, John Plummer of St. John's Odessa, and Kenda Fawell from St. Andrew's, Amarillo.  Please ask them about this great experience!!

A Thought on Stewardship 

CPG Health and Wellness News 
The fall issue of the Church Pension Fund's Health and Wellness News can be accessed here.  

The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS) offers a mini stry of training, encouraging, nurturing and supporting persons and congregations in the areas of stewardship!  The TENS website can be found by clicking here.
ECF Vital Practices
The Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practices recently had a wonderful blog on thinking creatively in our family and church life.  It can be found here.
Prayer Resources
The Daily Office can be read here or listened to here.
Forward Day By Day offers a daily meditation.  It can be accessed here.

Upcoming Events

2          Enriching Your Retirement Event (retired clergy), St. Stephen's, Lubbock
10-11   Diocese of Fort Worth Convention
10-12   School of Ordained Ministry, St. Paul's, Lubbock
17-19   Primary (2nd-5th grade) Youth Retreat, St. Paul's, Lubbock
19        Visitation, St. Mary's, Big Spring
23-24   Hulsey Episcopal Center closed for Thanksgiving
30        Trustees meeting, Hulsey Episcopal Center

1          Commission on Ministry, Hulsey Episcopal Center
1-3       School of Ordained Ministry, St. Paul's, Lubbock
4-6       Fresh Start, Christ the King Retreat Center, San Angelo
10        Visitation, St. Christopher's, Lubbock
13        Visitation, St. Nicholas', Midland 6:30 pm
17        Visitation, Trinity, Albany
22-31   Hulsey Episcopal Center closed for Christmas break

(Dates in purple italics indicate the Bishop's attendance)
Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas  | 806.763.1370 | 
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Elizabeth Thames
Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas
(806) 763-1370