All posts by Laura K McGrew

“Serving Our Military” – Military Ministry Report

Dexter Lesieur, Bishop’s Warden at St. Matthew’s, Devine and enrolled in the IONA program, presents on the diocesan Military Ministry. He shares about the cooling scarves sewing project, the Thanksgiving lunch hosted at the diocesan offices, and the results of Council in Action’s partnership with ProjectMEND.

  • Connect with the diocesan Military Ministry group on Facebook, by clicking here.
  • Find resources to build a Military Ministry in your congregation at
  • To learn about Sewing Scarves Kits, contact Leslie Mixson,

Way of Love Conversation: Go

During Council 2019, participants are invited into seven conversations about each of the seven practices for a Jesus-centered life laid out by the Most Rev. Michael Curry. Contributors to the Fall/Winter 2018 Reflections Magazine that explored the Way of Love will introduce each Bible study conversation, either in person or via video.

Claire Campbell addresses Council and invites conversation about the practice of going, “crossing boundaries, listening deeply, and living like Jesus.” Listen to Claire’s full conversation above, read her article “Into the River” in Reflections, and ask yourself, “To what new places or communities is the Spirit sending you to witness to the love, justice, and truth of God?”

“Sharing Life and Friendship on Campus” – Vital University Missions Report

Greg Richards, Director of College Missions, presents about what’s happening on college campuses in our diocese and around the country. He shares about the growing presence of Vital University Missions in the Rio Grande Valley and explores the joy of sharing Jesus Christ and the Episcopal Church with college students. He says that,

In College Missions, we believe friendship is how Jesus came into the world (evangelism), and there are three core beliefs about friendship that inform our ministry:

  1. The status quo is wrong and must be overthrown if the world is going to be livable.
  2. There is another world aborning that is livable. (The Kingdom of God, here with us!)
  3. The usual means by which one kingdom is thrown out and another put in its place (military force or democratic elections) are not available to us.

Ministry on college campuses can be changeable and sometimes feel overwhelming, but it is a blessing to join the ministry that Jesus Christ has already started in the hearts of our college students and to walk in love with our students.

Diocesan Council 2019 – Day Three

Bienvenido a Council 2019!

Here’s a preview of what’s in store for us today, Saturday, February 23.

8:00 a.m. Exhibits Open

8:45 a.m. Youth in Action Praise Band plays gathering music; come sing with us!

9:00 a.m. Council reconvenes
Daily Devotion with Youth
Bishop’s Happening Movement
Vital University Missions
Commissioning of Youth in Action participants
Way of Love Conversation: GO

Bishop Suffragan Report
Military Ministry
Christian Formation
Greetings from the Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen, Bishop of Honduras
IONA Program
Committee on the Bishop’s Address
Way of Love Conversation: REST
Church Planting Initiative Executive Board, Budget Priorities and Apportionment Ad Hoc Committees Interim Reports
Bishop’s Spring Retreat
Revitalizing Stewardship Invitation
Bishop’s Summary
Invitation to Council 2020
Council Adjourns

1:00 p.m. Childcare and Exhibits Close

Resolutions from the Constitutions and Canons Committee

Rod Schneider with the Committee on Resolutions presents two resolutions:

  • Resolution 1-2019 on Canon 9, Section 4 regarding Synod of the Province delegates
  • Resolution 2-2019 on Canon 15, regarding Episcopal Schools

Both resolutions pass after a brief discussion from the floor.

You can read the full text of the resolutions here. The complete diocesan Constitutions and Canons are available on the diocesan website; click here to view.

Way of Love Conversation: Worship

During Council 2019, participants are invited into seven conversations about each of the seven practices for a Jesus-centered life laid out by the Most Rev. Michael Curry. Contributors to the Fall/Winter 2018 Reflections Magazine that explored the Way of Love will introduce each Bible study conversation, either in person or via video.

The Rev. Daniel Strandlund addresses Council and invites conversation about the practice of worship, recalling the Rt. Rev. Gutiérrez’s observations at the luncheon “that everybody worships something”, whether they know it or not. Listen to Daniel’s full conversation above, read his article “I Thee Worship” in Reflections, and ask yourself, “What communal worship practices move you to encounter God and knit you into the body of Christ.”

“Shining Light and Walking in Love”: Immigration Perspectives from the Rio Grande Valley

2017-05-20 02.50.41The Rev. Rod Clark, Vicar at St. Peter and St. Paul, Mission speaks to Council about responding to the needs in Border Communities and Congregations. He says,

This issue is not easy. People have strong opinions about it, and it can be divisive, but be confident that wherever you fall on this issue, whatever your opinion might be or your political affiliation, there is an opportunity for you to walk in love in this diocese.

If you want to meet humanitarian needs and be among migrants, you’re about to hear about an opportunity to do that from Andrea Rudnik. If you want to go on mission teams and work in other countries, you can do that. If you want to support law enforcement, you can do that.

If you find other shadows that need a light shined upon them, let your lights shine, and walk in love.”

Speaking next, Andrea Rudnik a seminarian in the IONA program, shares stories about Compassionate Relief for Asylum Seekers, an ecumenical ministry in Brownsville with two components, a ministry that crosses the Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge to provide assistance to asylum seekers there and a ministry that receives asylum seekers at the bus station to help equip and prepare them for the next stage of their journey. She says that,

“We respond to the needs of asylum seekers, as we find them, depending on their needs. Sometimes they ask for clothing. Some are babies, some toddlers, so we bring diapers and formula. We bring food, that’s the primary thing we do.

One of the things that is really important for us as volunteers, is to not just bring dinner and supplies, but to let them know that we’re there and that we care about them. We do a lot of prayer with them. We have several in our group that play musical instruments, and we sing and talk with them. We find out what’s going on in their lives. How are they feeling? We attend to their needs as best we can, a ministry of presence.

Our work is a ministry of presence as much as anything else, and I feel like it’s really important to say that, and it’s been said over and over in these last two days, that all of us are the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth, and that our baptismal covenant asks us to seek and serve Christ in all persons.”

“Resiliency, Hope, and Determination in the Wake of Harvey”- Disaster Recovery Report

Jennifer Wickham, Bishop’s Deputy for Disaster Recovery presents the report on Disaster Recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey and on the revitalization of the newly-revitalized Commission on Disaster Preparedness and Response.

Jennifer shares, “During this past year I have traveled with representatives from Episcopal Relief and Development to visit sites still reeling from Hurricanes Irma, Maria, and Michael. In each place I was able to share examples of resurrection from our diocese and speak about all we are learning together…We continue to be hopeful that the lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey will help all of us be better prepared for the next disaster, whatever that may be. Our brothers and sisters who were impacted are working daily to discover a “new normal” and they are examples of resiliency, hope, and determination. They have much to teach the rest of us about how to persevere in the face of great adversity.”

Way of Love Conversation: Pray

During Council 2019, participants are invited into seven conversations about each of the seven practices for a Jesus-centered life laid out by the Most Rev. Michael Curry. Contributors to the Fall/Winter 2018 Reflections Magazine that explored the Way of Love will introduce each Bible study conversation, either in person or via video.

Watch Diane Thrush’s introduction below, and consider, “What intentional prayer practices center you in God’s presence, so you can hear, speak, or simply dwell with God?”

  • BFFs – Diane Thrush

“Living from the Heart: Walking in Love” – The Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutiérrez

At the Bishop’s Luncheon, the Rt. Rev. David Reed invited the Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutiérrez, Bishop of Pennsylvania, to speak to our 2019 theme, “Walk in love as Christ loved us.”

Bishop Gutiérrez began in gratitude, thanking both bishops, the gathered congregations, and clergy. He shared that, “I want to recognize and bless your sacred calling, for what you do matters in this world. Your ministry has meaning, and like ripples of water on a vast sea, it touches the shores throughout the earth. Faith is inspiring, moving throughout Texas it touches Pennsylvania, the Episcopal Church, and impacts the world. Part of my family lives in Texas, and I was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Bill Frey. I have many friends in this diocese and state. So in a sense, I’ve come home.”

As he expounded on the theme of walking in love, he candidly wondered at the ways the world complicates and conceals the true, overwhelming, all encompassing love of God. “Why is it the world seems to miss the beauty of God? What do they hear when we say, ‘walk in love as Christ loved us?’ Do we take into our souls the shattering impact of that divine love? Or do we lock it in our heads, where it stays dormant in our hearts. Love – it transforms and enriches. The word carries power.” And, “at times the church has neglected to explain, embody, and walk in love. We throw out the phrase, and it becomes mechanized, structural, goal-oriented. Programs meant to inspire become stagnant, rather than transformational.” Throughout his address, the crowd nodded in agreement, listened intently, and laughed.

In a clear and conversational tone, he told stories from the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, where the sacred presence and love of God shines through, illuminating ways that we can walk in faith in the present day. Inviting the assembly to imagine what it felt like for the disciples to meet Jesus for the first time, he pointed out that when, “they encountered Jesus, they fell ‘in love’ with him, and that love deepened as they were transformed. That love then transcended all they had, and they lived differently. There is often a disconnect with the stories of love that we read in the Bible and what is actually occurring in our lives, but you are the same followers. You are the apostles of this age.

Bishop Gutiérrez called on each person in the room to remember the first half of the theme verse, not to stay in the pews in love, but to walk out into the world, in love with Christ and inspired to share that love with God’s world. “Love – the final promise that God’s love wins. For blessed are you because you are God’s beloved. Walk, walk around like you are completely in love. May you always be in love.”