All posts by Laura K McGrew

A Letter from Council 2019 Host Churches

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Estimados Amigos in the Diocese of West Texas,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Upper Valley Episcopal Churches (UVEC). We are pleased and honored to serve as the host committee for the 115th Annual Diocesan Council February 21 – 23, 2019 at the McAllen Convention Center in beautiful McAllen, Texas. The worshiping communities of St. John’s – McAllen, St. Peter and St. Paul – Mission, Grace – Weslaco, Trinity – Pharr, and St. Matthew’s – Edinburg await your arrival to one of Texas’ best kept secrets: The Rio Grande Valley.

In their wisdom, our Bishops have chosen a theme for council that is aligned with The Most Rev. Michael Curry’s plan for the church to seek “The Way of Love.” For Diocesan Council 2019, our theme comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “Walk in love as Christ loved us.” (Ephesians 5:2). This passage challenges us to remember our Baptismal Covenant and “proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.” (Book of Common Prayer, pg. 305). It reminds us that love is not merely a disposition or sentiment of the heart, but also an active way of being in the world. It is certainly a task that is worthy of our best efforts!

Council will begin on Thursday, February 21st, 2019 when Registration opens at 10:00 AM; council business begins at 1:00 PM. Our Council delegation will be welcomed and given some helpful information by local author and radio personality, W.F. Strong. At the close of business on Thursday, we will join together to celebrate Eucharist. Afterwards, you will be on your own for dinner. There are many fine restaurants in McAllen, and we hope you will try some of them. The Bishop’s Luncheon will be held on Friday, with guest speaker The Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutierrez, Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. After close of business on Friday, you will be treated to a “Border Buttermilk Reception” before the Friday evening banquet. After business on Saturday, Council 2019 will draw to a close.

Online registration for clergy, delegates, and alternates will open on December 21, 2018. Until then, visit for hotel and restaurant information, the agenda, nomination forms, and other helpful links. More information will be added there as council draws nearer. The UVEC is ready to welcome you to our home and do everything in our power to make your Council 2019 experience meaningful and enjoyable.

Hasta Entonces,
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The Rev. Rod Clark and the UVEC Host Committee

St. Peter and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
(956) 585-5005

The Bishop’s Spring Retreat at Camp Capers! (April 13 – 15, 2018)

Registration for “The Good, the True, and the Beautiful: Creativity and Spirituality” has opened! Sign up for a weekend [April 13 – 15, 2018] focused on creativity, the arts, and a life in the Spirit.

The Good, the True, & the Beautiful retreat will welcome the Rev. Becca Stevens back to the diocese, as well as her husband, Marcus Hummon, for a weekend of creative activities that will lead to the culmination of worship. Stay on site at beautiful Camp Capers for workshops, fellowship, teaching, and worship.

The Rev. Becca Stevens, Episcopal priest and founder of Thistle Farms, and Marcus Hummon, award-winning singer/songwriter, will lead group plenary conversations and individual workshops, all culminating in worship Sunday morning and focused on the Walk to Emmaus passage from Luke 24.

The retreat begins with dinner at 6:30 PM, Friday (4/13), followed by the Welcome and Plenary Session 1: “Starry Nights and Broken Dreams … Stories and Songs”. Saturday will include two more Plenary Sessions (2: “How Love Heals”, 3: “Singing with Our Truest Hearts”), free time for relaxation and fun on Camp Capers’ beautiful 188 acres, morning breakout workshops with Becca (“Justice as Worship – Creating an Economy of Love”) and Marcus (“Then Sings My Soul – The Music Workshop”), two hands-on creativity workshops in the afternoon with local artists and leaders (see list below), and evening gatherings for prayer and fellowship. Wake Sunday morning for final conversations after breakfast, then Closing Eucharist before returning home filled, refreshed, and energized by the Spirit.

Saturday Afternoon Workshop Opportunities:
1. Art: Collage, led by Patti Reed
2. Art: Lettering
3. Art, led by painter Kirk Clark
4. Cooking in the Capers Kitchen
5. Creative Writing
6. Dance as Worship
7. Drama, led Sam Carter Gilliam
8. Journaling/Memoirs
9. Music, led by Marcus Hummon
10. Photography
11. Yoga / Meditation

There are two weekend rates, determined by where you choose to stay. Sign up with your spouse or a friend and stay in the River Bluff and Meadowcross Lodges ($200/person, double occupancy) or select the Cabins ($150/person, group lodging with private bathroom). Cabin mate and lodge roommate requests accepted from all.

So clear your women’s Bible Study or men’s Life Group calendars and sign up to share a weekend experience of creativity and spirituality! Click here to sign up.

Young Adult / College Student scholarship rates available at request. Contact Camp Capers (830-995-3966) or the Camps & Conferences offices in the Bishop Jones Center (888/210-824-5387) for more information about available rooms, rates, and retreat specifics.