Friday, December 26, 2014

Our Business - Boxing Day Sermon

Feast of St. Stephen and Boxing Day celebration at Mucky Duck in Houston. Proceeds benefited Lord of the Streets Episcopal Church.



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Thursday, December 25, 2014

15 Songs that Define a Life

Christmas sermon at Christ Church Cathedral, Houston, 2014

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Friday, December 19, 2014

We are the Workers God is the Sower

Sermon preached on the celebration and blessing of St Mary Magdalene Manor 2014

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ours is a Yes Gospel

Sermon preached Advent 2B 2014 St Timothy's Houston and St Martins Confirmation

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Memorial Sermon for the Rev. Ben Shawhan

Preached at Holy Spirit Houston, 2014

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Fishers of People

Sermon preached at patronal feast of St Andrew at St Andrews in the Heights Houston 2014

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Tables - From Thanksgiving through Advent to Christmas

Preached at Epiphany and at Lord of the Streets Adent 1B

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Prayer for the United States

Michael Brown as an Icon of our Brokenness

I am heartbroken about the events in Ferguson, Missouri. 

Our Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote: "Michael Brown's death was and is a tragedy, and has become a powerful witness to those divisions between human beings in this nation."

People across the Episcopal Church have joined with brothers and sisters in Ferguson, Missouri over the last few months in prayers for healing, peace, for the soul of Michael Brown and for Darren Wilson. I have lamented together with many of you and with people around country regarding this tragedy.

Since Michael Brown's death, 14 other teenagers have been shot by police: Tamir Rice, Cameron Tillman, VonDerrit Myers Jr., Carey Smith-Viramontes, Jeffrey Holden, Qusean Whitten, Miguel Benton, Dillon McGee, Levi Weaver, Karen Cifuentes, Sergio Ramos, Roshad McIntosh, Diana Showman. Each of these individuals and confrontations with police is its own unique and complex story.

Our communities are in pain. Ferguson cannot be viewed in isolation. We must seek to understand the violence currently infecting our society. According to some statistics young African American males are 4.5 times more likely than other races/ethnicities, and 21 times more likely to be shot by police than white people. 

It is difficult to understand what the numbers are exactly, say most of the articles on this subject. Even Mother Jones has a difficult time grasping hold of the information. In August they reported: 

Yet, the lack of comprehensive data means that we can't know if there's been an upsurge in such cases, says Samuel Walker, a criminal justice scholar at the University of Nebraska in Omaha and author of The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America. "It's impossible to make any definitive statement on whether there were more incidents in the last 5 to 10 years than in the past," he says. "We just don't have that kind of data." But what is certain, Walker says, is that the fatal shooting in Ferguson "was just the tip of the iceberg."

The article was updated following a USA Today report with this information:
USA Today reported that on average there were 96 cases of a white police officer killing a black person each year between 2006 and 2012, based on justifiable homicides reported to the FBI by local police. As reported, the FBI's justifiable homicides database paints only a partial picture—accounting for cases in which an officer killed a felon. It does not necessarily include cases involving victims like Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and others who were unarmed when confronted by police. 
Christian morality understands that all people are created in the image of God. We believe that we are to treat one another with dignity. Christians should never be comfortable with any kind of homicide.

No matter what the statistics are, we do have some clarity on the reasons for them. The social determinants of violence are clear. They should make us very uncomfortable and aware that we have work to do.  According to the World Health Organization:
Risk factors [for the social determinants of violence] within close relationships (family, friends, intimate partners, and peers) are:
  • poor monitoring and supervision of children by parents
  • harsh, lax or inconsistent parental disciplinary practices
  • a low level of attachment between parents and children
  • low parental involvement in children's activities
  • parental substance abuse or criminality
  • low family income
  • associating with delinquent peers.
Risk factors within the community and wider society are:
  • low levels of social cohesion within a community;
  • gangs and a local supply of guns and illicit drugs;
  • an absence of non-violent alternatives for resolving conflicts;
  • high income inequality;
  • rapid social and demographic changes;
  • urbanization;
  • quality of a country’s governance (its laws and the extent to which they are enforced, as well as policies for education and social protection).
The health and well being of a society is always rooted deeply in how well families and individuals are able to thrive within a supportive community. The recent violence reveals not only racism and violence but the deep issues that prevent individuals and their families from thriving in the United States today. We must face the fact that we are not well and the divisions and violence we now suffer are deeply rooted and symptomatic.
We have a problem.

In recent months, we as a community have had to grieve with the African American parents and families of Michael Brown, along with the families of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Jonathan Ferrell, Kimani Gray, Kendrec McDade, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Aaron Campbell, Wendell Allen, and Oscar Grant.

I also pray earnestly for the families of the thousands of youth killed in our cities by other black youth. "An outrage about unjustified police killings does not diminish by one iota our constant efforts to address the pandemic of violence in our own communities." wrote the Board of Bishops of the AME Zion Church, known throughout our more than 200 year history as “The Freedom Church”. They offered these challenging words in their statement about Ferguson:
Our country and her leaders must ask some penetrating questions. Have we been lulled into complacency after the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, ignoring the remaining struggles in the areas of education, economics, and mass incarceration? Have we been deluded by greater inclusivity and access to public accommodations to erroneously believe ours to be a “post-racial” society? Have we, as religious leaders and the broader community, become so co-opted by status, comfort, and materialism that our prophetic voices on behalf of the marginalized have been muted?
Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement on the way forward from Ferguson regarding racism:

The Episcopal Church joins many others in deep lament over the tragic reality that continues to be revealed in Ferguson, Missouri. The racism in this nation is part of our foundation, and is not unique to one city or state or part of the country. All Americans live with the consequences of centuries of slavery, exploitation, and prejudice. That legacy continues to lead individuals to perceive threat from those who are seen as "other." The color of one's skin is often the most visible representation of what divides God's children one from another. ... I ask you to stand with hands extended in love, to look for the image of God in every neighbor, and to offer yourself in vulnerability for the sake of reconciliation across this land. May we become instruments of God's peace and healing, made evident in communities of justice for all.
The issues that face our country are profound. While we are a nation founded on a vision of freedom - racism blurs that vision. While we are a nation founded on a vision of peace - violence (gun violence specifically) mars our sight. We are a country who is blessed with great riches and which offers a vision of prosperity; but that ideal is broken by scarcity and economic depression for many of our youth. 

The death of young people in the United States through violence, and especially at the hands of law enforcement, is not a reality with which we can become comfortable. We are living in a time when we are fearful of the police and the police are fearful of us. We should be heartbroken, outraged, and horrified at this reality.

The social issues that lead to this violence are not a legacy we should be willing to pass on to our children's children.

Forward in Prayer and Action

As the Bishop of the Diocese of Texas, I believe we must work together and partner with one another to deal with the issues of racism. We must work towards racial reconciliation; but this will not be enough. We must work towards reducing violence in our cities. We must deal with the disparities present in our society. We must work together stem the power of the social determinants that lead to violence in our communities. True reconciliation is never only about one thing, and it will only come with God's help and our commitment to stand together in prayer and action, transforming our society which is becoming all too numb with an unconscionable social legacy of violence. 

The AME bishops wrote:
Weariness must not conquer our spirits. Apathy and despair are not options. We will never lose hope! The legacy of our people has been forged in the crucible of slavery, oppression, lynchings, pain, and suffering and we’ve never surrendered to the spirit of defeatism or anarchy. Our efforts will be intensified as we work within our denomination and beyond to develop strategies to address the multitude of issues impacting our community, as we also partner with others who advocate and work for justice and peace. Our testimony is that “we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us!”
Let us pray for our country, let us pray for one another, let us pray for the families, let us pray for the end of racism, let us pray for the peace and the end of violence. Let us pray and let us act.

You can find resources for discussion at the Episcopal Digital Network.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

House Rules

Preached at Trinity Midtown Houston and St Lukes Livingston; Christ the King Sunday, Matthew 2531ff Year A

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

We Look Back In Order to Look Forward

Sermon preached at the 175 Anniversary of Christ Church Cathedral 2014

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You are the Answer to Prayer

Sermon preached at Diocese of Fort Worth Annual Convention

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Gratitude talk for the Men's breakfast at St. Martins Houston

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Wedding Traditions

Sermon Preached at Palmer Houston and St Thomas Nassau Bay

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Blessed Are You

Sermon preached at St. Francis College Station and St Thomas Rockdale

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Friday, October 31, 2014

The WERPed Kingdom of God and Your Place in It

Sermon preached at St Martins Houston at the ordinatio of Suse McBay to the diaconate.

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Who is this Neighbor I am Supposed to Love?

Sermon preached at St Christopher's Killeen and then at Epiphany Burnett

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I am a Repentant Counter

Sermon preached at Calvary Episcopal Church Richmond on 

Matthew 22:15-22

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Diolog: Michael Harvey, Pet Blessings, General Convention and more.

Invitation Sunday Founder Brings Insights To Texas

Michael Harvey, the British founder of the international Back to Church movement will speak in several churches in the Diocese of Texas October 18-25 (see schedule in article). Presentations open to all interested.

Important Insurance Reminder from the Diocesan Treasurer

Effective January 1, 2015, any clergy person that joins the staff of a church or institution within the Diocese and has not previously been covered by the Diocese for health care coverage, will be provided single coverage.  Additional coverages for spouses or families will be available but must be paid for by that clergyperson individually. This change was approved and announced last year when the Executive Board approved the single coverage as a standard for all clergy and staff.  Going forward this will bring the Diocese into line with the parity provisions of the Denominational Healthcare Plan.  If you have questions about this policy please contact either Bob Biehl or Debra Klinger in the Diocesan Office.

Changes In The Church? Watch This Webcast October 2

The Task Force to Reimagine the Episcopal Church (TREC) will host a church-wide meeting on October 2 at 6:30 p.m. CST to receive responses to proposed recommendations to be brought forward to the 78th General Convention next summer. The meeting, webcast from Washington National Cathedral, will be available live at the Houston Diocesan Center, 1225 Texas St., Houston.

Seminary of the Southwest, 501 E 32nd St, Austin, TX 78705, will also host a viewing location beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Room 210. A discussion led by faculty will follow. Please contact Micah Jackson for more information. 

Questions can be emailed to organizers during the event at  or via Twitter @ReimagineTEC. Please contact Kevin Thompson if you would like to attend this event at the Houston Diocesan Center. For more information on the webcast, visit the TREC website at 

Please Consider Reprinting The Following Announcements In Your Bulletins and Newsletters

Register Now For 2014 Clergy Conference At Camp Allen

The 2014 Clergy Conference, October 20-22 at Camp Allen, features Dr. Elaine Heath, McCreless Professor of Evangelism at SMU Perkins School of Theology; Caesar Kalinowski, founding leader of SOMA, church planter and missional strategist; Michael Harvey, co-founder of Back-to-Church Sunday; Bob Lupton, founder and president, FCS Urban Ministries; Dr. Matt Russell, visiting scholar, Cambridge University, Faculty of Divinity, and more. The Conference will also include a new clergy wellness track and immunizations will be offered. Register online at Click on 'Register for Events Online'.

Houston Area Episcopal 20s & 30s Day Of Service On October 11

On Saturday, October 11, from 12:45–4 p.m., the Houston-area Episcopal 20s & 30s will gather to serve the less-fortunate by volunteering at the Houston Food Bank. This is a great opportunity to do the work commissioned by Jesus, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and it is also a great chance for fellowship with young adults from other area Episcopal churches. Participants will meet at the Food Bank (535 Portwall St.) at 12:45 p.m. for check-in and assign individuals to different tasks such as sorting canned goods, packaging rice, organizing fruit, or various other projects. For more information, click here. 

Register Now for ECW Annual Retreat, October 17-19

The 113th Annual Retreat for Women in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas will be held at Camp Allen, October 17-19. This fall event has been expanded to Friday through Sunday, with options to attend for one, two or all three days. More information, including registration, is available here. 

Calling All Golfers: The 13th Annual Youth Projects Golf Tournament, October 18

The 13th Annual Youth Projects Golf Tournament with St. James House and Trinity, Baytown, will be held October 18 at the Evergreen Point Golf Course in Baytown, TX. The tournament is a four-person scramble with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. Cost of entry includes a hamburger buffet, free driving range, sleeve of balls, green fee and cart. For more information and a registration form, click here. To sponsor a hole click here.

Annual St. James House Silver Tea To Take Place October 28

The annual St. James House Silver Tea will be held Tuesday, October 28 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the home of Melissa and Al Grobmyer, 3720 Inwood Drive, Houston, TX 77019. This year the event will honor The Guild Shop and Louise Symmes, recently retired executive director, for continuing the stewardship started in 1962 by the Sewing Group of St. John the Divine. For more information, please call 281.425.1200.

Cookies Needed For Kairos Prison Ministry

Fancy yourself a baker extraordinaire? Well your chance has arrived. The Kairos Prison Ministry team in Marlin, TX needs donations of cookies that they can take into the prison system as they minister to inmates. If you can help by baking some cookies for a great cause, contact the Rev. Wendy Huber

Episcopal Communicators Membership

If you have communications responsibilities for your church, school or Episcopal institution, consider joining the national Episcopal Communicators, a professional organization that offers a robust network for sharing information and improving your communications skills. Annual dues provide access to the online membership group, resources, eligibility to enter the annual Polly Bond Awards competition and a discount on the annual conference fee. 

Dues are $80 but for a limited time, regular membership, open to anyone with communications responsibilities in the Episcopal Church at any level are $40. Join here and enter the discount code "membership."

Open Enrollment Begins October 6

For those clergy and lay employees receiving benefits from the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, open enrollment will begin October 6. Click here for 2015 rate information and the Open Enrollment timeline and meeting schedule. 

Reminder Regarding The Denominational Health Plan Parity Resolution

Please review the important changes effective January 1, 2015. Click here for more information. 

Resources For Ministering To People With Disabilities

For those of you who minister to people with disabilities, here is a list of resources currently available. Please let us know if any other resources of which you may have information.

More Upcoming Events

October 4 - St. Francis Day

October 4-5 - Diocesan Adult Choral Festival, Christ Church Cathedral, Houston

October 5-6 - Little Church Club Meeting, Camp Allen

Click here for a full calendar.

Need a Job?

To see job opportunities, visit our employment page.


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  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • "Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others." Kathleen Norris
  • "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
  • "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans." C. S. Lewis
  • "When we say, 'I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness." Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
  • "Christians are hard to tolerate; I don't know how Jesus does it." Bono
  • "It's too easy to get caught in our little church subcultures, and the result is that the only younger people we might know are Christians who are already inside the church." Dan Kimball