“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.”

“Greetings from Honduras” – The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen, Bishop of Honduras

The Rt. Rev. Lloyd Allen, Bishop of Honduras, addresses Council about ongoing and new mission partnerships between our dioceses. Consecrated on October 20, 2011, Bishop Allen is the first Honduran born Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Honduras. During his tenure, the Honduran Episcopal Church has undergone major changes and growth. Upon taking office, he immediately began encouraging the Honduras church, a mission diocese, to aspire to self-sufficiency.

Bishop Allen speaks to the complicated nature of immigration, addresses issues of social instability in his home diocese as well as areas where the Episcopal Church in Honduras is serving and striving to, “restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.”

He talks in detail about their diocesan ministry to the people who are returned to Honduras, and their goal to open a community center to meet basic needs of food, clean water, and shelter; to empower individual and family growth through job training; to promote gender justice; and to help reconnect them with their families and local communities.

“Forging Connections” – Christian Formation Committee Report

Sarah Kates, Chair, delivers the report of the Committee on Christian Formation. Kates discusses the results from a survey that was distributed in the Fall to better understand what members and staff feel is their greatest asset and greatest struggles in regards to Christian Formation, where respondents indicated “small groups, bible study, and youth group” as strengths, and “volunteers, young families, and space” as challenges.

Sarah shares, “It is important to recognize, celebrate, and use our assets, and to find common ground in our struggles. In order to be better at church and formation, we have to connect with each other in our community of churches that we call our diocese. Our committees hope is to continue checking in with you periodically, and track what we find…Our goal is to connect people from all over our diocese. Large with small, medium with large, small with medium. Whoever you are, you are doing good work and someone else might what to know how you are doing it. Share with us, contact us, call us, email us, we have over forty years of experience on the Christian Formation Committee.”

For more resources on Christian Formation visit christian-formation-dwtx.org.

To connect with the committee, email sarah.kates@att.net.

“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 dwtx.org.
  • To learn about Sewing Scarves Kits, contact Leslie Mixson, leslie.mixson@dwtx.org.

“Congregations On Fire for the Lord” – Suffragan Bishop’s Address

The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson, Suffragan Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, makes her annual address to Diocesan Council 2019. In her address, Bishop Brooke-Davidson discusses ongoing Congregational Development partnerships and resources by telling “a tale of two cities:” Grace, Llano and St. Matthew’s, Edinburg; inviting clergy to attend preaching retreats; and giving a preview of the College for Congregational Development, launching in the Diocese of West Texas in 2020.

Bishop Brooke-Davidson shares, “Rapid discontinuous change in a culture means that systems have to deal with adaptive challenges instead of technical problems. When life is more predictable, you can make things better by fixing technical problems. In that atmosphere, known problems have known solutions. But when life and culture and the world are changing rapidly and unpredictably, there are new problems without known solutions. Nobody knows what they are doing or what to do next. That’s the presenting problem in an adaptive challenge, and the solution probably starts with re-thinking what the real issue is. Then there’s a lot of trial and error. The line in the maze is not straight because a straight line won’t work anymore. We still need to be good at the technical fixes, but we need a lot of new ideas, too.”

She concludes her address with, “You don’t need a young priest. You don’t need a staff priest. You need a congregation on fire for the Lord. Determined to walk in love. In the place where they live.”

  • To connect with the Congregational Development team, visit dwtx.org/congregational-development
  • For information about upcoming clergy retreats at Camp Capers, Mustang Island Conference Center, and Duncan Park, visit dwtx.org/events.