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.

Here is a wonderful meditation written by Amanda Meisenheimer. She is the Youth and Family minister at Riverside Church in New York city. It is part of the Be Still and Go Podcast. 

How Are We Going to Get Through This?

How are we going to get through this?

What will we do with the grief?

What do our lives look like without our loved ones?

What does our nation look like without hundreds of thousands of people?

How does a world population process a collective trauma it has spread itself out in a thick layer on all the other traumas of History like the still filth on top of a stagnant pond?

On top of climate change, on top of poverty, on top of Oppression, on top of War, now is poured pestilence,  now is poured death, now is poured loss.

The drama swamp slows our feet so we can hardly put one foot in front of the other. Our elders are lonely. Our singles are isolated. Our parents are overwhelmed. our children are learning and socializing in two dimensions.

Our pockets are empty. Wall Street is full. And here in the center in the big middle of the crisis with months behind us and months ahead of us comes Advent. Advent with its waiting in anticipation. Advent with its promise of something better. Advent with the hope of Emmanuel God With Us like a vaccine.

On the horizon that will set us free to hug and kiss and sing, Advent Promises of salvation...but like a vaccine on the horizon. Maybe we are not sure if it's too good to be true.

We could hope in a savior, but we've been disappointed before.

There are many underfunded, overhyped charismatic corrupt false hopes around us. We know them each by name. How dare we hope just one more time. Well, we could we could hope for a courageous mother to deliver her baby under a cloud of Empire. We could hope for a faithful father to raise a son who grows up to care for the lives of women and children. We could hope for a prince of peace wonderful counselor to mend the ravaged Earth beneath us and people around us.

We could hope for Emmanuel God With Us.

And we must, we must hope. Yes, we are lonely. Yes, we are isolated, sick, empty, poor and overwhelmed, but take heart my friend. Hope is on the horizon. We will Embrace again. We will sing again. We will gather again. We will break bread together again. We will feel the pulse of another's heart again. Our elders will laugh. Our children will learn. Our parents will rest. Our singles will dance and we will heal. Help is on the way.




HYMN OF THE MONTH by Beth Kerzee

Advent 2020 Hymn of the Season - My Soul in Stillness Waits for You
This is the hymn we sing in response to the lighting of the Advent Wreath each Sunday in Advent.

My Soul in Stillness Waits for you - It’s called Advent, people, and it’s crucial to our understanding of Christmas.

In Advent, we put ourselves in the place of the faithful who had waited generations for their promised King. Our four-week period of hope and expectation encapsulates the longing and yearning into which Jesus finally, miraculously arrived. Advent slows us down and restores our hearts and minds so that the heaven-born Prince of Peace can be fully born in our hearts once again.

People of God take time to ponder anew the mysterious reality of the Incarnation. Allow yourselves to feel the emptiness and allow it to be filled with joyous hope in the coming Messiah, through whom all of creation would be made whole. Christmas may come but once a year, but the discipline of Advent can allow the incarnational reality to take root in our lives, and to mold us and make us into the church we’re called to be.

Composer: Marty Haugen (b.1950 -  ),

A prolific liturgical composer with many songs included in hymnals across the liturgical spectrum of North American hymnals and beyond, with many songs translated into different languages.  He was raised in the American Lutheran Church, received a BA in psychology from Luther College, yet found his first position as a church musician in a Roman Catholic parish at a time when the Roman Catholic Church was undergoing profound liturgical and musical changes after Vatican II.  Finding a vocation in that parish to provide accessible songs for worship, he continued to compose and to study, receiving an MA in pastoral studies at the University of St Thomas in St Paul Minnesota.  A number of liturgical settings were prepared for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and more than 400 of his compositions are available from several publishers, especially GIA Publications, who also produced some ep recordings of his songs.  

He is composer-in-residence at Mayflower Community Congregational Church in Minneapolis and continues to compose and travel to speak and teach at worship events around the world.


We are looking for people to be part of a Stewardship group to allow the church to be sustainable.



 A New Book for the Book Study
Beginning TODAY - December 3rd @4:00

A chance encounter with a reproduction of Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son catapulted Henri Nouwen on an unforgettable spiritual adventure. Here he shares the deeply personal and resonant meditation that led him to discover the place within where God has chosen to dwell.

Book Study Group is on Zoom
The Return of the led by Tricia Seifert
Contact Fr. Mike or Tricia Seifert for Zoom information

  click here


The needs of paying the the church bills, funding our ministries, and proclaiming the Good News continues during this Pandemic. Please consider making a monthly gift.


THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!---to all of you who have contributed and continue to contribute to our virtual collection plate. Some of you have made it a monthly donation through our "Donate Button. Either way you have done is greatly appreciated. 

For those of you who have not checked out how easy it is to donate on line....
Go to our website- Go to the bottom and find the "Donate" --click on it and fill in the blanks.... OR go to and continue to support our mission and ministry. 

ALSO---Thank you, thank you, thank you for all who have mailed in pledges and donations

Things to do to benefit the church and the community during the Coronavirus Restrictions

1. THE MARFA FOOD PANTRY IS EMPTY! -  Keep bringing food donations...our doors are open 24 hours and you will find a basket at the back of the church.

2. Pray for Rudy and Allison.



December 6, 2020

Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8


Isaiah 40:1-11: The Road

The reading from Hebrew scripture for Advent 2B is a familiar reading from the prophet Isaiah. In the text, the subject, perceived by some as literal and by others as metaphorical, is road-building. The landscape is to be leveled so that a way for the Lord can be made. Low-lying places are to be raised. High ground is to be flattened. Stony patches are to be smoothed out.

Such accomplishments are expected in modern road-building. A drive today through mountains requires fewer hairpin turns that find a car and its passengers clinging to the edge of a precipice. Today's interstate highways are multi-lane, comfortably wide, and carved through mountains rather than ascending and descending the full height of the mountain.

The commonness of contemporary road quality was not always the case. The 1375 Catalan Atlas includes the image of a group of travelers on the Silk Road. Identified as both a generic caravan and Marco Polo and his traveling party, the travelers ride horses along the road that ran connected East and West, making trade possible. The cartographer, Abraham Cresques, has drawn a stony roadbed along which mounted and walking travelers make their way.

Abraham Cresques. Catalan Atlas. 1375. Bibliotheque Nationale. Paris, France. 

The so-called Silk Road is actually a network of trade routes rather than a single road. Other well-known roads connected to or intersected and were part of the network as well. One of those other roads was the Persian Royal Road, which ran from Susa to the Aegean Sea - more than 1600 miles. Alexander the Great used the road built by Darius I. A series of relay stations equipped with fresh horses made it possible to cover the route that crossed the Persian Empire within days rather than months. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote of the royal messengers who rode this route that "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

Why did God need a road? In the ancient near East it was common practice for images of gods to be paraded through the streets and along royal roads (read Isaiah 46:7 for a description of one such procession). For the nation of Israel, however, the road is prepared not for an inert statue. Rather it is prepared for the God who has created the world and moves in it. The "new thing" that Israel is about to experience won't be important because it highlights the efforts of human laborers (or divine beings!) as they build a road. The "new thing" is because the God who moves will once again enter into the life of the nation and in that the glory of the Lord will be revealed. And all people will see it together.


2 Peter 3.8-15a: A Thousand Years


With God a thousand years is like a day and a day like a thousand years. (2 Peter 3:8) How do you show everything that has happened in the last thousand years? These four books definitely do NOT represent EVERYTHING that has happened in the last thousand years. 

And yet this incomplete history manages to fill:

419 pages (Architecture)
428 pages (Painting)
816 pages (Civilization)
196 pages (English Literature)
That's more than 1800 pages. And you still don't have it all

And it all weighs: 
2.8 pounds (Architecture)
1 pound (Painting)
2.24 pounds (Civilization)
2.6 pounds (English Literature)


That's more than 8.5 pounds. And you still don't have it all.

Now imagine everything that has happened in the world since the year 1020: 
  • the computer
  • amusement parks
  • anesthesia and medical advancements
  • telephone
  • electric light
  • radio and television
  • the development of planes, trains, and automobiles
  • movable type
  • telescopes and astronomical discoveries
Imagine that all of those things have happened in a day. Imagine a single day filled with all those developments. That's how it is with God. God isn't slow about the promise but is patient with us. And in the meantime, we continue to wait for the day of the Lord. 

John the Wrecking Ball by Amy Robinson

John the baptist,

John Bulldozer,

John the wrecking ball:

levelling mountains, laying roads,

shouting out his call:

No time left!

The Saviour comes!

Get ready, one and all!

Prepare the way,

Make straight the path,

and fill the valleys in;

knock down the mountains of your doubts,

make smooth the soil of sin,

the Lord is coming, shout it out!

His glory will be seen!

John the baptist,

wild and hairy,

eats what he can find.

Not one to tiptoe round the truth,

He says what’s on his mind:

No time left!

The Kingdom comes!

Now don’t get left behind!

Prepare the way,

make straight the path,

for we are grass and flowers;

we die and fall, but our Lord lives

and now He comes in power.

Fear not, Judah,

shout good news:

His word will live forever!

John the baptist

calls the people:

“Hear the words I say,

turn from sin and be baptized,

wash your wrongs away!

No time left!

that longed for Lord

is here today, today!”

We are grass

We are grass 
and fading flowers.
Mortal. Once young,
setting out.
Beautiful (perhaps),
touched with energy,
anticipation, hope.
We grow old,
despite denials.
We resist, pretending.
We are grass, we are dust;
riding upon the spirit 
breath/wind to a somewhere 
guessed-at destination.
We soar; we sweep low.
We exult, we despair;
we stumble upon delight and joy.
Disappointment and pain 
manage to find us. 
We connect;
we disengage.
The grass withers
and the flowers fade.
In the breath/wind 
(which stands forever),
is our beginning; 
and our end.
© Ken Rookes 2014

Into the vast emptiness,
the infinite silence,
the Word was spoken.
it seemed to say,
echoing through immense chasms of nothingness,
piercing the primordial darkness with light,
stirring dancing atoms into whales and birds and dragonflies,
roaring in great surging tides of wind and water and blowing grass.
it called again,
and this time it rattled the windows of a warm bedroom
where a dying woman lay propped up on pillows,
sipping ginger ale from a paper cup.
She stared at the blank TV set beyond her toes,
then smiled at a flitting memory of sun on water, of a wondrous kiss,
of all tender whispers held in the One Voice,
now calling her.
"Love," she heard,

The Inner Desert

There is a physical desert, inhabited by a few exceptional men and women who are called to live there; but more importantly, there is an inner desert, into which each one of us must one day venture. It is a voice; an empty space for solitude and testing.

-Frere Ivan
The Desert and the City
quoted from The Desert, An Anthology for Lent

He [John the Baptist] is in the wilderness. Obviously because he finds these surroundings appropriate to his life- the parched solitude, the endless spaces, where no one can feel at home. Inevitably we keep discovering that we too are in the wilderness, the wilderness of a great city, the wilderness of isolation, a wilderness that seems to have no center, a wilderness we cannot feel at home in. And we are also men and women who would live in a wilderness if we have to give our outward environment the shape of that which is within us.

-Karl Rahner 1904-1984
sermon for Advent 3(B)
from The Great Church Year

The Voice in the Wilderness

All I am, says the precursor, is the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
How strange! this is a quotation from Isaiah, and here is the voice from the wilderness where everything is swallowed up by the wind, where nothing has any settled shape, where the cry is lost upon the air. Dies away, that is, but is not lost. For though it reaches nothing else, it does reach the one to whom it is addressed.

-Karl Rahner 1904-1984
sermon for Advent 3(B)
from The Great Church Year

The Arid Earth of Others
Our brokenness is the wound through which the full power of God can penetrate our being and transfigure us in God. Loneliness is not something from which we must flee but the place from where we can cry out to God, where God will find us and we can find God. Yes, through our wounds the power of God can penetrate us and become like rivers of living water to irrigate the arid earth within us. Thus we may irrigate the arid earth of others, so that hope and love are reborn.

-Jean Vanier
The Broken Body
1988 Paulist Press
quoted from An Advent Sourcebook (LTP)

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom; 
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing. 

For the waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert; 
the burning sand shall become a pool, 
and the thirst ground springs of water.
A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way.
 -Isaiah 35:1-2,6b-7a,8a

                          A Way in the Wilderness by Suzanne Gutherie

O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you, as in a barren and dry land where there is no water. -Psalm 63:1

At first, the desert appears as a place of danger; of demons, wild beasts, roaming spirits, and temptation. Then, the desert opens as a place of unspeakable beauty - the desert hosts ministering angels and offers an unhindered sphere for the encounter with God.

The Biblical desert evokes the love story of God and Israel. In the wilderness, the Hebrews came to know Yahweh after centuries of slavery in Egypt. Here, Elijah took refuge, David hid from his enemies, Jesus came to be tested.

In more prosperous times, the idea of the desert offered nostalgia. Israel forgets the bitterness of her forty year sojourn and remembers intimacy, forgets the boring diet and remembers that manna tasted like honey. God forgets the golden calf and proposes to lure Israel back for a second honeymoon. Likewise, the soul forgets the privations and terror of that first plane of disorientation and only remembers opening to the Other.

In Advent, the church invites you back into the desert with the call of John the Baptist. Do you return for wild beauty and wonder?  Perspective and unbearable intimacy? Or, is this your first journey into the desert? Are you ready, like John, to live solely upon what God provides for you? Will you feel for the first time that unbearable longing for God? Or, are you returning in order to regain that essential longing, lost somehow in the busyness of daily life and responsibility and anxiety and worry, loss of faith, or mere or laziness or acquiescence?

You are not alone in this Advent desert wilderness.

John the Baptist dwells in the desert completely dependent upon what God provides for him - locusts and wild honey, wearing camel's hair from some carcass he found. Pure and holy, John guides the way in the wilderness. To see the glory and beauty of the wilderness, you need to find your way with the advice of John: awake, repent, turn around, and take the time to deepen your capacity for attention. For then,

Those who go through the desolate valley
   will find it a place of springs,
   for the early rains have covered it
   with pools of water.
                                          - Psalm 84:5


Thankfulness and Celebration
and News 

Follow-up Story from the distribution of the Thanksgiving Boxes
One of the recipients of the Thanksgiving Boxes was a person who lived by herself. She realized that what was in the box was more than she needed. So she went around her apartment building knocking on doors to share what she had. Kindness is contagious!
Thank you to Shere and I think Kevin who changed the colors and put up the Advent Wreath in the church.

Thank you to all who have gone on line to our virtual collection plate and to those who have kept up your pledges and donations through snail mail.

Thank you to everyone who continues to bring food supplies and masks to the church. It is greatly appreciated by the Marfa Food Pantry.









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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