Way of Love Conversation: Bless

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 the Rev. Mary Earle’s introduction below, and consider, “In what ways is the spirit calling you to bless others?”

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

“Stewards of the Mysteries and Manifold Grace of God” – Diocesan Bishop’s Address

The Rt. Rev. David M. Reed, Diocesan Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, makes his annual address to Diocesan Council 2019. In his address Bishop Reed expands on staff transitions in the diocesan office, expresses thanks for diocesan clergy, welcomes special guests, adds detail to the diocesan scripture theme, reflects on last year’s initiative to study to the bible, shares the good news of the church planting initiative, extends an invitation to revitalizing stewardship, comments on budget changes, and addresses immigration at the diocesan border.

Bishop Reed shares, “I’ve spent a great deal of time this morning, as I should, talking about the Diocese of West Texas, planned and ongoing diocesan ministries, diocesan staff, diocesan budget, diocesan initiatives. Please understand clearly that I have been talking about you, about all of us together. I prepared this address with you all in mind. The diocesan center is not ‘the diocese,’ though it is beautiful and important. The diocesan staff is not ‘the diocese,’ beautiful and important though they are. I am not ‘the diocese,’ though a primary part of my call, shared with Bishop Brooke-Davidson, is to help you remember that the diocese is all of us, all of our congregations, knit together by the one Spirit, and members of the one Body, of which Jesus Christ is the head.

Your own churches, scattered across 60 counties, and living and serving in an amazing variety of circumstances—you are the Diocese of West Texas and the local, embodied, fleshed-out, Spirit-enlivened Body of Christ in and for your towns and cities. If you get nothing else from this Council—and I think there is a great deal for you to get here—but if you get nothing else, I hope that the act of being scooped up into this place together will help you remember that we—all of us, together—are on this Way of Jesus. We are the Diocese called together and sent for and toward the Kingdom. You—and we together—are called to the most wondrous stewardship: ‘stewards of the mysteries of God’ (I Cor. 4:1) and ‘stewards of the manifold grace of God’ (I Peter 4:10)— empowered by the Spirit to be the bearers of Good News of the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation, salvation, hope and eternal life. By God’s grace and mercy given in Christ, we have received everything we need to be the Body of Christ here and now.”

Full Text Script of the Diocesan Bishop’s Address available here: Bishops 2019 Council Address

Bishop Brooke-Davidson Preaches on the Healing at the Pool at Council Eucharist

The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson preaches on John 5: 1 – 9, The Healing at the Pool of Bethesda, at Council Eucharist on Thursday evening of Council 2019:

“Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.”

Way of Love Conversation: Turn

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 Daniel Morehead’s introduction below, and consider “what practices help you to turn again and again to Jesus Christ and the Way of Love?”

Way of Love Study: Dan Morehead on “Turn” from Episcopal Diocese of West Texas on Vimeo.


The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Sam Carter Gilliam, performed a “story portrait” of the Samaritan Woman at the Well on Saturday, February 24. Many of us know the woman well, or at least we think we do.  Her story has been told many times, but through Sam’s dramatic portrayal, we heard her tell it, where, beneath the surface and in the spaces between the lines, secrets live. The presentation opens with Marthe Curry reading the story from the Gospel of John.

Contact info:

Sam Carter Gilliam

“The Bible Brought to Life” The Samaritan Woman at the Well from Episcopal Diocese of West Texas on Vimeo.

Grace Church, San Antonio, parish status

Welcome in with a loud celebration and a standing ovation, members of Grace Church, San Antonio, walked around the floor of Diocesan Council and made their way to the front, as they were welcomed as the newest parish in the Diocese of West Texas. What began in the Rev. Jay and Jamie George’s living room in 2009 – a dream of a new kind of Episcopal church with their family of 5 – grew to 20 people, to 40, and continued to grow. Grace Church, which became a mission of the diocese in 2011, now has over 220 members and an average Sunday attendance of 97. Over 85 percent of its members are under that age of 55. “You planted this church, with your prayers and support, and we are most grateful. Thank you, thank you,” said Jay George.

See gallery of photos here.

Grace Church, San Antonio, becomes a parish! from Episcopal Diocese of West Texas on Vimeo.

Full audio below:

Bishop Suffragan’s Report

Bishop Suffragan Jennifer Brooke-Davidson’s Report to Diocesan Council from Episcopal Diocese of West Texas on Vimeo.

Listen to Bishop Suffragan Jennifer Brooke-Davidson’s report to Diocesan Council below:

Read/print the report.

“We cover a lot of ground, don’t we? We are 86 churches who are ambassadors of God’s love and mercy to all the people who inhabit the 66,000 square miles that are the Diocese of West Texas,” said the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson during the Bishop Suffragan’s report to Diocesan Council on Saturday, February 24.

This year, she said, “we will get refocused on the mission of God through the study of Scripture,” referencing Bishop Reed’s asking of the diocese to read the Bible in its entirety in 2018.

We will “bring more workers into the harvest through the work of existing congregations and through the creation of new congregations; and engage new ways of engaging a rapidly changing culture with the eternal message of God’s love and saving mercy, to offer a vision of wholeness, health, and peace.”

But challenges exist, said Brooke-Davidson. “Insider church challenges – what are we going to do about the fact that many of our congregations just can’t afford a full-time seminary-trained priest and that some of them are not young and married with adorable small children?

“Let me tell you about St. Luke’s, San Saba,” said Brooke-Davidson. And she told of pastor Bill Grusendorf, a bi-vocational priest since 1974, a community-oriented guy in a small town. Since becoming Vicar of St. Luke’s, the church has added a parish hall, a library, and a restroom, and Grusendorf has purchased two computers to help local kids who cannot afford one complete their school homework.

St. Luke’s has a vesting room full of instruments – trombones, French horns, clarinets, all for a kid’s band that performs on the Fourth of July and at Christmas. And when the church isn’t helping on the computers or with the kid’s band, volunteers are at the children’s playroom they furnished at the local courthouse after they noticed how many kids were hanging around waiting for their parents to get out of court.

“Don’t worry about getting a young priest. An old one works just fine if he or she is still on fire for the Gospel,” said Brooke-Davidson.

What about churches without even a part-time priest? “Well, there’s St. Matthias, in Devine,” she said, “and they haven’t had more than a supply priest in years.” But they do have the Lesieurs, “folks with energy, and they love the Lord.”

St. Matthias is now involved in eight community projects through the town’s Ministerial Alliance; they were one of the first churches to drop off a car load of supplies for hurricane relief; and with no organist, they “sing up a storm” each Sunday with Synthia, a recorded hymn software, and a used karaoke machine.

“When there’s a will, there’s a way. When there’s no will, not much helps. It’s all in the attitude,” said Brooke-Davidson.

Moving to Congregational Development, she reported on the new support for churches rolling out this year.

First, an assessment process from a company named Holy Cow! to adapt and adopt new strategies on areas of focus. Second, a multi-faceted approach to church growth in vitality and impact including: basic training in lay ministry; a sequenced leadership development program called the College for Congregational Development (developed in the Diocese of Olympia). Also, an on-site analysis of the demographic context of each congregation; and a web-based platform called Basecamp to capture information, connect churches with communication technologies (webinars, virtual meetings), and document sharing.

The Basecamp platform is already set up and contains resources for any congregation using “The Story” this year as the year-long Bible study. Find it under Spiritual Formation on the diocesan website:

“I am looking forward to a year of close collaboration with Bishop Reed and with you as we follow Jesus together as the church in the worlds that are South Texas,” said Brooke-Davidson.

Camps and Conferences 2018 Video

In celebration of the Episcopal camping ministries of our diocese, the Camps and Conferences folks have created a new Camps Video featuring our summer programs at Camp Capers, Mustang Island Conference Center, and Duncan Park in Colorado. Please watch and enjoy stories from warmer days in the Hill Country, our Gulf Coast, and the Colorado Rocky Mountains.