Three Guest Speakers!

The diocese will host three guest speakers during Council this year. Click on the links below to learn more.

The Rt. Rev. David Bailey was elected Bishop of the Navajoland Area Mission on March 24, 2010 during the meeting of the House of Bishops at Camp Allen, Texas.

Prior to his 2010 arrival in Navajoland, Bishop Dave Bailey was the Rector of St. Stephens Parish in Phoenix, AZ. There he developed a 60 bed Retreat Center which, at times, would provide free shelter to Navajo families whom would travel to the city for advanced medical treatment. He chaired Native American Ministries in the Diocese of Arizona, held a position in Coalition 14 and thus created a bond with the Episcopal Church in Navajoland.

Bishop Bailey, visited the Diocese of West Texas in early December to discuss the beginnings of a new mission partnership. The first exploratory mission trip to Navajoland is scheduled for April 2018.

Bishop Bailey will speak at Diocesan Council on Friday morning in conjunction with the World Mission report, giving a brief presentation on the Episcopal Church in Navajoland, the people and the culture, and some thoughts on the developing partnership.

The Navajo Reservation, located in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico – the Four Corners region in the Southwest United States – spans 27,000 square miles. The Episcopal Church in Navajoland comprises 1,000 members in 11 congregations, two as home churches.

The Episcopal Church has had a presence in Navajoland since 1894, when the church opened an eye clinic to respond to the health needs of the Navajo. The Episcopal Church eventually opened an orphanage, as well.  Created by General Convention 1978, Navajoland is the only area mission in the Episcopal Church. It functions much like a diocese but with more oversight from the office of the presiding bishop and the House of Bishops. The area mission was carved out of parts of the dioceses of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico to better unify the area in respect to Navajo language, culture, families, and area events. Its border is contiguous with that of the Navajo Nation.

Link to The Episcopal Church in Navajoland website.

Bishop Bailey and a couple of Navajo seminarians that will travel with him will also have a booth in the exhibit area near the Department of World Mission. Please visit and learn more about this developing partnership.

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The Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Director of Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) will join us at Diocesan Council as the keynote speaker for the Bishops’ Luncheon on Friday, February 23.  As director of EMM, he leads a dedicated team in executing a national program of refugee resettlement and related ministries in partnership with the U.S. government, affiliated local resettlement programs, and a developing network of communities and ecumenical organizations across the country.

Previously, he served as Domestic Poverty Missioner for The Episcopal Church, coordinating church-wide efforts in ministries of poverty alleviation.
Prior to beginning his work on the denominational staff, Canon Stevenson served as Canon to the Ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana from August 2005 until September 2013. Following hurricane Katrina, Canon Stevenson worked closely with the Diocese of Louisiana as well as local, regional, national and international leaders and groups to put into place the processes for effective relief ministry. Since receiving his Master of Divinity degree from Nashotah House Seminary in 2000, Canon Stevenson has served as Rector in two parishes: the Church of the Annunciation in the heart of New Orleans, and the Church of the Good Shepherd in Maitland, Florida.
More about Episcopal Migration Ministries:
A core ministry of the Jesus Movement and of The Episcopal Church, Episcopal Migration Ministries coordinates, administers, and engages a public-private partnership to resettle and minister to refugees – those who have had to flee their homes because of war, violence, or persecution.  Also visit:
EMM’s broad-based ministry among refugees is in the process of expanding to include communities and partners that do not resettle refugees at present. These networks include two tracks:
  1. Partners in Welcome are Episcopal, ecumenical, or multi-faith institutions, organizations, or congregations who commit to long-term, sustainable organizing and action to support refugee resettlement and the broader movement for refugee welcome in the US. Each year, these groups commit to a series of activities in partnership with Episcopal Migration Ministries, while also developing their unique mission and ministry locally.
  2. Journey to Hope communities enter into a simpler one-year covenant relationship with Episcopal Migration Ministries to learn about and support refugee resettlement ministry. This covenant can be reaffirmed annually as the relationship deepens, possibly leading to a Partners in Welcome relationship.
EMM’s formal resettlement ministry is focused in four areas, and works hand-in-hand with 22 affiliate offices in 17 states and 20 dioceses:
  • A program of education and engagement, providing training for affiliate offices, reporting stories of changed lives, and making presentations to dioceses, congregations, communities, and other groups.
  • The Reception & Placement program, serving refugees during their first 90 days in the United States.
  • The Matching Grant program, an intensive employment case management program which aims to have refugees fully employed and self-sufficient within 180 days of enrollment in the program as an alternative to public assistance.
  • The Preferred Communities program, an intensive medical and mental health case management program which serves refugees in particular communities across the United States that are able to care for such special health needs.

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Sam Carter Gilliam brought a church lady to Diocesan Council a few years back: Mrs. Barrington, cradle Episcopalian, steeped in tradition, suspicious and fearful of change.  And you may be relieved to know that Mrs. Barrington will not be returning to Council this year.  So is she.  But that’s a long story.

However, Sam has been invited to bring another woman to Council on Saturday morning: the Samaritan Woman at the Well, from the Gospel of John.  Many of us know her well, or at least we think we do.  Her story has been told many times, but there’s a good chance you’ve never heard her tell it.  Beneath the surface and in the spaces between the lines secrets live.  And there, what has been silenced yearns to be heard.

A member of Actors’ Equity Association, the professional union for stage actors, Sam’s career in the theatre and arts education spans over 40 years.  In addition to theatrical ventures, Sam writes her own material.  She presents for educational venues and diverse religious gatherings, such as adult formation classes, spiritual retreats, workshops and worship services.  Most dear to her heart is a collection of original works inspired by the women of the Bible.  Her “story portraits” have been performed throughout the US.

Sam will perform a “story portrait” of the Samaritan Woman at the Well on Saturday, February 24th, at this year’s Diocesan Council.  And secrets will be told!

More about Sam’s “Story Portraits”

Stories are invitational by nature; they invite us to stretch our imaginations and grow our capacities to envision possibility.  Stories seek authentic engagement in order to forge relationships.  Whether they comfort or provoke, one thing is certain: stories are live encounters!  At least that’s what they want to be: heard, felt, experienced, lived in the moment of the telling.

The great stories of our faith tradition yearn for all of this, too, and they endure because they save our lives.  At least that’s what they want to do.  However, we must accept the invitation to inhabit Holy Scripture fully—to dig below the surface, confront what we think we know and to keep digging.  For deep down abundance waits: an eternal yearning to participate in the evolution of our souls.

The enduring challenge, then, is to inhabit these beloved stories anew, stretching imaginations, growing capacities that move beyond assumptions and into the light of possibility.  The Word LIVES, after all.

Representing our great heritage of story, the Samaritan Woman at the Well will meet you at Council this year!  She asks for open minds and hearts as you experience her story, for she yearns to forge relationships anew.

Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

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