A Word of Welcome from the Hosts

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

On behalf of Trinity by the Sea Episcopal Church, Port Aransas and All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Corpus Christi, we invite you to the 116th Council of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. Council will convene at the AmericanBank Center in Corpus Christi on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. and will conclude after the morning business session on Saturday, February 22.

The Rt. Rev. David Reed has chosen “With the Eyes of our Hearts Enlightened” from Ephesians 1:18 as the 2020 scripture theme. This verse points to our dependence upon, and the reality of, the Holy Spirit’s work within us as the people of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. It highlights the need to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit is up to among us, within us, and around us. 

Bishop Reed invited All Saints’, Corpus Christi, and Trinity, Port Aransas to host Diocesan Council this year, and we are thrilled to welcome you to the Coastal Bend to enjoy the beauty of this natural setting, to engage in creativity, and to build and strengthen our relationships in our Diocesan Community. Council Co-Chairs Amy Sullivan and Gayle Gottlich have recruited a team of people who have been prayerfully planning for an engaging and meaningful Diocesan Council. 

As the Council Host Churches, we are excited about:

  • hearing the Rev. Becca Stevens preach during Council Eucharist, Thursday evening
  • experiencing the Clergy and Clergy Spouse Art Exhibit
  • sharing an Open Mic and Coffee House space
  • walking a labyrinth, set up outside
  • participating in new Council Workshops to build community, foster connections, and broaden knowledge

 As a new Church year begins and we enter the spiritual wilderness with John the Baptist to prepare for the coming of Christ in our lives, we also invite you to prepare to receive what the Holy Spirit is doing in our Diocese. We specifically invite you to spend time in prayer and preparation in order to:

  • come to Council with stories to share
  • come ready to build new relationships and renew old ones
  • come ready to embrace the beauty of the Texas Gulf Coast 
  • come ready to sing, walk, listen, love, and explore 

More information about the details of Council will be shared in the months ahead. For now we ask that you keep our planning process in your prayers, and pray for Bishop Reed and the diocesan staff. We are moving into a new season as a church, and we seek to do so “with the eyes of our hearts enlightened.” 

Love to you from your Council planning clergy,

Jonathan +
The Rev. Jonathan Wickham
Rector, All Saints Episcopal Church, Corpus Christi

Cynthia +
The Rev. Cynthia McKenna
Associate Rector, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Corpus Christi

James +
The Rev. James Derkits
Rector, Trinity by the Sea Episcopal Church, Port Aransas

Invitation to Council 2020

Save the date for Council 2020 : February 20 – 22, 2020 in Corpus Christi! Our hosts will be All Saints’, Corpus Christi and Trinity by the Sea, Port Aransas.

The Rev. James Derkits says, “The coast is where we get reconnected with God, as many of you know. And we who live down there have seen more than a few miracles in the past few years, in our resurrection process. So we’re happy to share our gratitude by inviting you, our Episcopal family, to come and see. We hope it will be a time of tending to our church business of course, witnessing beauty, and walking further into the Kingdom of God together.”

Thank You to Council 2019 Host Churches

To our five Council 2019 Host Churches, we are so grateful to all of you, for all that you’ve offered us, and for your example of generous hospitality.

  • St. John’s Episcopal Church in McAllen
  • St. Peter and St. Paul Episcopal Church in Mission
  • Trinity Episcopal Church in Pharr
  • St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Edinburg
  • Grace Episcopal Church in Weslaco


Thank you very much!

Bishop Reed’s Council 2019 Summary

“Remember what you saw and what you heard. Take it home with you. Take home the buttons, take all of the buttons, and then explain them to people and engage in conversations with them. And walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, in offering and sacrifice to God.”

“Formerly Known as Apportionment Ad Hoc” – Shared Ministry Report

The Rev. Ram Lopez and Richard Mosty address Council about the challenges and the benefits to the diocesan apportionment for congregations of all sizes.

They open their presentation with a “Set Aside Prayer”:

God, please help me set aside everything I think I know

about myself, the apportionment, and You, God,

so that I may have an open mind  and an new experience

with the diocese, with our parishes, and with all these things.

Please let me see the truth.


“Where your Treasure is, There your Heart Shall Be Also.” – Budget Priorities Report

Martha Steves and Tommy Funk speak about the work of the Executive Board – Budget Priorities Ad Hoc Committee. They share the ongoing work of the committee, and emphasize the spiritual aspect of their work, quoting Matthew 6:19-21. She explains that they have been going through the budget with the goal of “discerning if the ‘treasure’ of our dioceses is also where our hearts are.”

Record of Elections from Council 2019

Each year at Diocesan Council, lay and clergy members are elected for three-year terms to various boards and committees, as mandated in our diocesan Constitution and Canons. Read below for the names of those elected in 2019, and descriptions of their responsibilities while serving on diocesan Executive Board and Standing Committee, as well as on the Board of Trustees for the Episcopal Church Corp in West Texas, TMI Episcopal, and Sewanee: the University of the South.

The Executive Board functions similarly to a parish vestry, with responsibilities that include preparing the diocesan budget and submitting it to Council for approval, appointing committees, and serving as liaisons to the various diocesan departments and commissions.

  • Elected clergy: the Rev. James Derkits and the Rev. Rod Clark
  • Elected clergy to fill one-year, unexpired term: the Rev. Jeff Hammond
  • Elected laity: Meredith Rogers, Rosine Carter, Sharon Flores, and John Warren
  • Elected lay-person to fill one-year unexpired term: Blaine Bennett

The Standing Committee serves as a council of advice to the diocesan bishop, and among its responsibilities are granting consents to the election of bishops throughout the Episcopal Church, as well as interviewing seminarians and recommending to the bishop whether or not they be made candidates for ordination. The Standing Committee is composed of six persons, three clergy and three lay.

  • Elected clergy: the Rev. Beth Knowlton
  • Elected lay-person: Lory Zimmerman

The Episcopal Church Corporation in West Texas holds title to the permanent funds and other property belonging to the diocese, has authority to receive bequests and donations, and may sell or mortgage property to which it holds title. The Trustees work with the Bishop on designating certain restricted funds as they are needed in ministry.

  • Elected clergy: the Rev. Don Lee
  • Elected lay-person: Robert Morehead

Diocesan elected members to the TMI Episcopal Board of Trustees are responsible for communicating the needs of the school with the diocese and gathering resources in support of TMI Episcopal at the direction of its Board of Governors.

  • Elected clergy or laity: the Rev. Jay George and the Rev. Mike Woods
  • Elected clergy or lay-person to fill one-year unexpired term: Kendra Lopez

Trustees elected by the Diocese of West Texas to Sewanee: The University of the South Board of Trustees attend its annual meeting, promote church support and student enrollment, and report to the diocese on the condition and progress of the University.

  • Elected clergy: the Rev. Ram Lopez
  • No vacant lay terms

Record of Election from the 2019 Council of the Diocese of West Texas, final as of February 22, 2019.

Way of Love Conversation: Rest

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.

Julie Raymond Chalk addresses Council and invites conversation about the practice of resting. She encourages us to prioritize moments of rest in all aspects of our life. Listen to the full discussion above, read her article, Just Accept It, in Reflections, and ask yourself, “What practices restore your body, mind, and soul?”

Prayers of the People – the Bishop’s Address Committee Response

The 2019 Bishop’s Address Committee seeks to reflect the bishop’s love for our diocese, his leadership, courage and vision and to turn those reflections into prayers for the people.

The committee, named below, encourage you to listen to the audio, and pray with and for our diocese. Carry these prayers home with you to your home congregations and use them as your own prayers of the people.

Liz Manning, Chair; Rev. Ram Lopez; Rev. Jan Dantone; Andy Knight; Vanessa Smith; Rev. Stephen Carson; Rev. Daniel Strandlund; Rev. Jeff Hammond




“You’re in Good Hands” – Episcopal Church Foundation in West Texas Report

Ted Burkhart presents 2018 report from the Episcopal Church Foundation in West Texas. He explains, “The Foundation in West Texas does exist for the purpose of investing the funds for the diocese – our churches, schools, and institutions. The story for 2018 was a pretty amazing story, that started off a little rocky for the first nine months of the year, then ended in smooth sailing.”