Vision Statement for St. Paul’s, Marfa, Texas
St. Paul’s is an open, loving community
growing in the experience and understanding of the love of God,
acting to share the visible presence and compassion of Christ.

Mission Statement for St. Paul’s, Marfa, Texas:
Our mission is to be a welcoming, prayerful, caring community
actively sharing the love of God.

Values Statement for St. Paul's Marfa, Texas
To accomplish our mission, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church bases its decisions and actions on the following core values:
  • Love of God and neighbor by honoring the worth and dignity of every human being including ourselves.
  • Daily relationship with God all through our lives through prayer and service.
  • The importance of giving and receiving forgiveness through the generosity of the Holy Spirit.
  • We value continual learning.
  • We value the Episcopal tradition of communal worship.
  • Practicing hospitality by welcoming all and serving and sharing with our communities.
  • The stewardship of God’s creation and all its inhabitants.


Last Saturday was a special day for South Brewster County and a lot of fun. Bishop Michael Hunn began the celebration by welcoming both sides of the river with “Bienvenidos… Viva Mexico….Viva the United States….We are here bringing and doing the most holy thing we can in the Episcopal church to this special river…..celebrating the Holy Eucharist…..” Thus began a joyous celebration of God’s love and presence which marked the beginning of a special day. The seventh annual gathering on the Border in Lajitas called Voice From Both Sides.The Episcopal church was well represented by Bishop, Meg and Dosie Hunn, Fr. Mike and Susan Wallens, Allison and Rudy Scott, Marcy and Asia Reed,  and John Gaige who brought the love of God to those gathered at the river.

On Saturday, hundreds gathered to swim, dance, and enjoy music on the Rio Grande at the seventh annual Voices From Both Sides event in Lajitas. The event began in 2013 and takes place every year on the weekend of Mother’s Day.

The party is organized in part by Jeff Haislip — part of the nonprofit Big Bend Citizen’s Alliance — with the purpose of using art and music to raise awareness of the Big Bend’s border.

Jeff Haislip insists on the day beginning with the Eucharist on the border in the river. He said that this year some people were concerned that with the tensions over the immigration issues, it would take an “act of God” to have this special day this year. Jeff’s reply was that “God is the first one on the river!”

Tightened border security after 9/11 made it harder for locals and visitors to the area to cross the Rio Grande. Prior to that, they moved freely across the river to shop, eat, and even go to school. The nearest port of entry is 50 miles away in Presidio. 

Haislip says he hopes a port of entry will return to Lajitas/Paso Lajitas because “there was a community here that was divided. It was very obvious that we’d been torn apart. You’ve got families that haven’t seen their mother in a year because it’s so hard to get around there. “

The immigration conversation gets a lot more interesting when both sides have a say.  It would be even more interesting if the U.S. government would listen to the people actually involved in that conversation.

What they would hear is, “yes, there are border problems elsewhere.  We don’t have those problems here.  We’d like our border crossing opened, preferably with a nice bridge, please.”

The people in this particular conversation are the residents of South Brewster County and our neighbors to the South.They may be called by many names.  Down here, we call them neighbors and friends.

The people of Lajitas – neighbors from both sides of the Rio Grande – came together to show their love, support, and willingness to work together to get the border crossing re-opened.

The unintended consequences of closing the borders have been difficult. Families divided, friends separated, economies adversely affected.

We had good media coverage in the local papers, Marfa Public Radio, and Bp. Hunn and Father Wallens were interviewed for a show airing on TBS called Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. It will be aired in June.

I close with the litany we used as part of our Eucharistic celebration:

Father and maker of all,

you adorn all creation

with splendor and beauty,

and fashion human lives in your image and likeness.

Awaken in every human heart

reverence for the work of your hands,

and renew among your people

a readiness to nurture and sustain

your precious gift of life.

Empower us this day to live fully and to look at all human beings

on both sides of the Rio Grande with eyes of compassion….

In your love…Empower us….

En tu amor... Empoderarnos

Open our ears to hear

Voices from both sides…

In your love…Empower us….

En tu amor... Empoderarnos

Open our eyes to see

The beauty of diversity,

Each person

A unique creation

Of the image of God.

In your love…Empower us….

En tu amor... Empoderarnos

Empower us God

That we might live,

In unity, in peace, and in love.

In your love…Empower us….

En tu amor... Empoderarnos

Lord of Israel, and God of all the nations:

we pray for your children across the whole earth,

of every land and race, and especially on both sides of this river

that they may be strong to do your will.

In your love…Empower us…..

En tu amor... Empoderarnos

We stand among this incredible cloud of witnesses and today proclaim:

    Where hatred roars, we will sing of love.

    Where fear stalks, we will stand with courage.

    Where bigotry rages, we will call for justice.

    Where pain overwhelms, we will extend kind comfort.

    Where systems oppress, we will work for change.

    Now and ever, now and ever, now and evermore.


Shalom, my friends,
P.S. Mark your calendars...A continuation of our Book study focusing on The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault. It will be held on Thursday nights beginning on June 13 and ending on July 18th. It will be held in the Casita in Alpine at 6:30 in the evening. Our own David Mainz will be the facilitator. We have extra copies of the book at the church.

The Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 19,2019

Acts 11:1-18
Psalm 148
Revelation 21:1-6
John 13: 31-35

Acts 11.1-8: Clean and Unclean

Genesis 7:2-9:Though we don't normally think of the story of Noah and the ark as a story about clean and unclean animals, it is.

It's a story about a "container" of animals - clean and unclean. The Easter 5C reading from Acts (Acts 11:1-18) tells a story like that. But that isn't the only Biblical text that tells that sort of story. Right at the beginning of the Bible is another story about a container of clean and unclean animals.

2Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; 
and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; 
3and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, 
to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth. 
4For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.’ 5And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came on the earth. 7And Noah with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, 9two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. (NRSV)

Edward Hicks. Noah's Ark1846. Philadelphia Museum of Art. 
Artists have usually depicted the story with animals marching two by two disregaring the designation of seven pairs and one pair, clean and unclean. It is interesting that artists have skipped that detail when it was clearly important to the author of this section of Genesis. The animals are segregated by the designation of clean and unclean, but the naming of which animal is in which category is not made until the 11th chapter of Leviticus.

So why not take a look this week at the two paintings here of the animals going into the ark in conversation with Genesis 7 and Leviticus 11. Which animals do we usually see in these pictures? Are they clean or unclean animals? How many pairs of the animal(s) are shown? Seven? Or one?

Jan Brueghel the Elder. The Entry of the Animals into Noah's Ark. 1613. Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum. 
It is clear that the ordering of clean and unclean, though perhaps baffling for us, was important in the context of the Biblical text. Why else would a distinction be read backward into a text? So Peter's vision, which may seem odd to those of us who have grown up loving shrimp, was in fact a radical new expression about the nature of the church. 'What God has called clean you must not call profane.'

John 13.31-35: As I Have Loved You

A new commandment I give you, Jesus said on the night of his arrest. That you love one another as I have loved you (John 13:34). On the same evening that Jesus made this statement he had demonstrated his love of the disciples by offering a gesture of hospitality. Because no one had offered to wash the dust from the feet of the travelers, Jesus did it himself. He even called attention to the act saying in verse 13: You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. It's almost the same language as verse 34. Jesus has set an example that we are to follow.

Scottish painter David Wilkie lived in Rome in 1827. Among the scenes of devotion that he witnessed (and painted) were the women - particularly upper-class women...and the occasional grand courtesan who snuck in - who undertook the practice of hospitality in the form of washing the feet of pilgrims. From earliest times, pilgrims traveled to Rome, especially in Jubilee years. By the middle of the 15th century, more than 1,000 inns and places of lodging for visitors were available in Rome. Religious organizations became more involved in caring for visitors. Women, richly dressed as shown here, knelt at the feet of pilgrims and washed their feet.

David Wilkie. A Roman Princess Washing the Feet of Pilgrims. 1827. Royal Collection Trust.
Jesus' act of humble service was re-enacted almost from the earliest days of Christ's church. I Timothy 5:9-10 highlighted this particular act of service as exemplary: Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old and has been married only once; she must be well attested for her good works, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints’ feet,helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way. Though never named a sacrament, the practice of footwashing was a regular occurrence in churches on Maundy Thursday.

As with so many acts of faith and devotion, the practice of footwashing can be both an act of humility and an act of pride. Undertaken as an act of service, it provides a moment of tenderness and care for one of God's children. But, of course, it can also be a travesty when the footwashing is preceded and/or followed by a lack of concern for the one whose feet have just been washed. Love one another as I have loved you, Jesus said. Remember, Jesus washed Judas' feet, too. 

16th - 8:30-4:30 - Leadership Big Bend
16th - Thursday - The Martyrs of the Sudan

17th - Friday - William Hobart Hare, Bishop of Niobrara, and of South Dakota, 1909
Thurgood Marshall, Lawyer and Jurist, 1993

19th - Fifth Sunday of Easter
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - The Holy Eucharist

20th - Men's Prayer Lunch
11:30 at Mandos
20th - Monday - Alcuin, Deacon, and Abbot of Tours, 804

21st - Young Life Committee
21st - Tuesday - John Eliot, Missionary among the Algonquin, 1690

23rd - Thursday - Nicolaus Copernicus, 1543, and Johannes Kepler, 1543, Astronomers
24th - Friday - Jackson Kemper, First Missionary Bishop in the United States, 1870

25th - Order of St. Luke
9:00 - Big Bend Regional Medical Center

26th - Sixth Sunday of Easter
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - The Holy Eucharist -  Nancy Antrim Preaching
5:30 - Taize Worship
St. James, Alpine
26th - Sunday - Augustine, First Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
27th - Monday - Bertha and Ethelbert, Queen and King of Kent, 616
28th - Tuesday - John Calvin, Theologian, 1564

30th - Ascension Day
30th - Thursday - Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc), Mystic and Soldier, 1431



1st - 6 PM - Wedding of Philippe Corbe & Javier Cespedes
1st - Saturday - Justin, Martyr at Rome, c. 167

2nd - Seventh Sunday of Easter
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - The Holy Eucharist
2nd - Sunday - Blandina and Her Companions, the Martyrs of Lyons,
3rd - Monday - The Martyrs of Uganda, 1886
4th - Tuesday - John XXIII (Angelo Guiseppe Roncalli), Bishop of Rome, 1963

5th - Noon - Alpine Ministerial Alliance
5th - Wednesday - Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz, Missionary to Germany, and Martyr, 754
6th - Thursday - Ini Kopuria, Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, 1945
7th - Friday - The Pioneers of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, 1890
8th - Tuesday - Roland Allen, Mission Strategist, 1947

9th - Pentecost Sunday - WEAR RED
9:00 - Bishop's Committee
10:30 - The Holy Eucharist
9th - Sunday - Columba, Abbot of Iona, 597

Here is who we prayed for in church
last Sunday.

Any changes, please let us know.

For The Church

…We pray especially for Justin, Archbishop Canterbury, Michael, our Presiding Bishop, Michael, our Bishop, and Michael our Vicar….

In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Anglican Church of Korea…

In our Diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for the High Plains Team Ministry, St. James', Clovis, Trinity Church, Portales… We Also pray for St. James, Alpine, St. Stephens, Ft. Stockton, Santa Inez, Terlingua, Chapel of St. Mary & St. Joseph, Lajitas, and the Marfa and Alpine Ministerial Alliances…. For Connor Travis and the ministry of Young Life….

For Those In Authority

….For Donald, our president, Greg our Governor and Ann Marie, our Mayor, Manny our mayor-elect and the mayors of our surrounding communities…. our elected officials in Washington and all who exercise authority at any level of government. For all who struggle to make a more just society…

For People and Places in the World

for peace, that the Spirit will inspire human hearts to turn from violence, and work together to defeat the common enemies of disease, ignorance and poverty….For refugees and displaced persons, that God will guide to safety all who have fled violence and persecution, and help them find welcome in new communities, for all who live and work in places of war and violence, For women and men and children who have been victims of sexual assault and sexual exploitation… for those whose lives have been turned upside down by various disasters: that God will help them rebuild their lives, give them strength to face their challenges and touch the hearts of many to assist them…,for all those in the military, especially those who come home broken in body, mind, and spirit …may the hearts of those reporting the news be drawn to what is true and right….

For St. Paul's

Bless and direct the people of this congregation. Make us confident that you love us and know each of us by name. Move us past our fears and preoccupations into eager discipleship and loving service. Let all be done your glory, and for the good of those in our family, community, workplace and world.…guide us to live out our mission to be a welcoming, prayerful, caring community actively sharing the love of God…


For Those Who Have Asked For Prayers From Our Community

….Betty, Bill & Gail, Patty, Holly,  D'Ette, Merit and the Fowlkes family, James, Shere, Kevin and Jay, Lesly, Lila, Linda King, Melodie, Mimi, Pat & Mary, the Vana Family… FOR Vijaya, Frank, Larry, Jack Risen, Kathryn Anschutuz, Sue Ellen Kelly, Brian Hutchins who have cancer… FOR David and  Catherine in the midst of chemotherapy, …for Michael Simpson, Dale and Lee Ann, FOR Helen Bates, Gene, and Rucker who are in Hospice care….. for James and Brian Neal, Jacob, Linda & David, for Jenny, Megan and Elizabeth, for David who has MSA, for the children of the Green, Manuosky and McBride families….

Prayers of Thanksgiving

Thank you for mothers, foster mothers, and for all who care and love with a mother’s heart. Adorn their lives with wisdom, goodness, common sense, and patience. Give them endurance – and a good night’s sleep – to carry out their many tasks with a light heart and ready smile. Be their strength and shield when their burdens are great and sorrowful. And bestow your dearest comfort to all who have lost a child, or who are unable to have one We give thanks this day for….first responders throughout the world,…For Marfa’s first responders and those in our surrounding communities… for the Border Patrol who live in our communities…the United Nations and its agencies, peace-keeping forces, and relief and aid organizations,  for all who plant seeds of peace through prayer and action both near and far,  for those heroes both known and unknown who show compassion and courage for people in the face of trouble,  for people simply being good neighbors, for teachers, educators and administrators in our schools….for love and hope and peaceful moments in the day,…for folks who take their jobs seriously...cashiers who smile, EMT'S who travel miles and miles, peace keepers who are courageous and patient, teachers who share generously, drivers who are courteous and careful...
for Ross Bracket, Rachel Held Evens, the Rev'd Walter Allen,
Kenrick Castillo, Jean Vanier

Blessed are you, O God, the fountain of joy and peace. Hear our prayers and grant that we may never become separated from Christ our Good Shepherd who guides us to spring of life-giving water. Glory to the Holy & Undivided Trinity, now and always and unto the ages of ages. AMEN.


Climate Change

O God, Creator of all thats is -
of seas and clouds, rains and rivers,
grass and trees, insects and fish,
humans, animals, birds and reptiles,
of all life connected, sharing this one earth -
we are aware that our way of living
is profoundly affecting the earth's climate,
that many people are in danger of flood and drought,
that some are greatly impoverished,
and the whole fabric of life is in danger.

to those who make international policies,
give wisdom and courage;
to those who direct industry and commerce,
give a concern for the common good;
to those who struggle for justice,
give strength and hope;
and to us all
give the grace and strength to change our ways
for the good of all that lives
and for your glory.


Thank you to Bishop, Meg and Dosie Hunn, Allison Scott, Marcy Reed, John Gaige, and Susan Wallens who participated in Voices From Both Sides.

Thank you to Allison who continually keeps us well fed with wonderful gifts from her kitchen.



The Rev. Michael Wallens
Vicar - Saint Paul's Episcopal Church
P.O. Box 175, Marfa, Texas 79843
Office - 915.239.7409  |  Cell - 214-862-7292

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