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.

This last Sunday was the Second Sunday of Advent. We lit the second candle on our Advent Wreath. It stood for the light of peace. 

The day before someone asked me, “How do I find peace? I just feel so unmoored, so adrift but drowning in busyness. I can’t pack any more things into my day, but I feel so unsatisfied with my life.” I am hearing this a lot these days. Especially in light of the pandemic and divisions along political, racial, gender and sexuality lines. 
It is a symptom of our age. We are experiencing change, trauma and drama at a rate faster than at any time before in human history. As philosopher Jean Houston reminds us, you and I have lived 10 to 100 times the life experience of our ancestors of previous generations. This pace is creating cultural anxiety that has many of us feeling disoriented, unsettled and wondering if this is how to live our best lives. 
In his autobiography, the psychologist Carl Jung, one of the great explorers of the inner life, described a conversation he had with a Native American chief named Mountain Lake, whom he regarded as a kindred spirit. 

“I was able to talk to him as I have rarely been able to talk to a European,” Jung recalled. 

Perhaps because of their mutual respect, Mountain Lake gave Jung a very frank assessment of the way his people saw Europeans.
“Their eyes have a staring expression,” the chief said. “They are always seeking something. What are they seeking? The whites always want something. They are always uneasy and restless. We do not know what they want. We do not understand them. We think they are all mad.” 

Jung asked Chief Mountain Lake to elaborate: Why, exactly, did white people seem so insane to the Native Americans?
“They say they think with their heads,” responded Mountain Lake.
“Why, of course,” said Jung. “What do you think with?”
“We think here,” said Chief Mountain Lake, and he pointed to his heart.
This is the key to peace. Thinking from our hearts, the place where God speaks to us most freely. The work of making peace begins with the task of making ourselves whole. The tragedy is that our culture places little value on this. We are all taught at a young age that knowledge comes through reading, writing and arithmetic – all exercises of our heads. We value external results. We have invested countless years, dollars and talent exploring the outer world. We have sailed to every continent, encountered many diverse cultures, and discovered most of the species of plants and animals on the earth. This has kept us busy “doing,” but it has not always deepened our experience of “being.”
The critical calling of our age today is to explore our inner world. In fact, I believe the survival of our outer world depends on our ability to reconnect with our inner world. It is only when we realize that we are enough that we finally understand that we have enough. And then, we understand peace.

As we travel through these days of Advent, preparing for the in-breaking of God anew, I am praying for peace for you.

May the God who created the seas give you deep calm.
May the God who created the stars give you radiant light.
May the God who created people grant you many friendships.
May the God who is your loving parent abide with you always.

The peace of the deep sea calm be yours.
The peace of the deep forest quiet be yours
The peace of the mystics inner silence be yours
The peace of the blessed Three be yours
To eternity.

by John Johansen-Berg


  Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
Christmas Message 2020

Click Here


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.



THIS SUNDAY - December 13th

St. Paul's Quarterly Annual Meeting


Let us catch up with one another,
look at the proposed budget for next year,
talk about serving on the Bishop's Committee
and virtually enjoy one another's company.

Click Here



I Was a Stranger, and You Welcomed Me

An Advent Prayer Vigil
for All Seeking Refuge and Home

Sunday, December 13, 6:00

A prayer vigil offered by Episcopal Migration Ministries

In the Christian liturgical year, Advent is a time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus, a time of prayerful yearning for Emmanuel, “God with us.” To honor and mark this holy time, EMM offers a prayer vigil, modeled off a ‘Blue Christmas’ prayer service, to invite prayer and reflection on Advent themes in a world being transformed by forced migration.

Download EMM Refugee Prayer Vigil PDF or Word doc.

Episcopal Migration Ministries, in partnership with the EMM Asylum Ministry Network and EMM Immigration Detention Ministry Network, will host a virtual Advent vigil on Sunday, December 13, 7:00 – 8:00 pm EST. The Advent vigil, available via Zoom webinar and Facebook Live, will offer a time of prayer and reflection in a world being transformed by forced migration.

Registration is required and is available here. The vigil will be available on-demand following the event.



LGBTQ+ Ministry
Diocese of the
Rio Grande
A Service of Evening Prayer
for the LGBTQ+ Community
Our Friends and Allies
Third Sunday of Advent
December 13
6:00 PM
Link for Zoom


BOOK STUDY - December 17 @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

December 22 - 7:00 pm - The Longest Night Service
​Live Streamed at 7:00 pm

Join with us in sharing and hearing prayers, scripture, and music that acknowledge that God’s presence is for those who mourn, for those who struggle  - and that God’s Word comes to shine light into our darkness.


5:00 pm - Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols
​Live Streamed at 5:00 pm

~Come worship - 
see people virtually you have not seen in a while!~



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 13, 2020

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Psalm 126
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
When Faith Gets Its Good Name Back
I like the name they will be called,
These "oaks of righteousness," enthralled
By what, for them, in love, the LORD
Has done, because of suff'ring deplored;
What makes them "right" will be their joy
That mourning's ashes are destroyed,
What makes them "oaks," their sturdy will
Such love they've known will be instilled
In everyone they chance to meet.
Would not such faith today be sweet?
Scott L. Barton
        The spirit of God the Holy One is upon me,
                    because God has anointed me,
                    and sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
          to bind up the brokenhearted,
                    to proclaim liberty to the captives,
          and release to the prisoners;
                    to proclaim the year of God's favor,
          and the day of vengeance of our God;
                    to comfort all who mourn.
 Isaiah 61.1-2

This is not political.

God's agenda is not political; it's relational.
The promise of Advent is not political; it's spiritual.
God comes to judge the forces of oppression
without dilution, without caveat
that there are good people on both sides.
God comes to destroy the status quo,
to upend our world and its injustice:
to raise the lowly and bring down the mighty.
This is not political. It's moral.
It's about health care, mass incarceration,
racism, sexism, earth care and peace.
It's about empowering the disenfranchised,
not blaming them. It's about respect, not abuse.
Lying, abuse and child molestation,
demeaning people, threatening war,
robbing the poor to pay the rich,
the worship of money, sex and power,
these are not political. They are evil.
What some want to do to our government,
to our diplomacy, to common decency,
God wants to do to the structures
of privilege and exclusion. They are God's target.
This is not politics. It's salvation.

The gentle sweet good news of Advent is
that mountains and hills will be leveled,
valleys will be filled in,
and rough places straightened out,
and it is unwise to be standing in the way
of God's bulldozers.
This may involve some elections,
some protests, some laws.
It will involve an altogether new Empire.
But it's not political.
It's cosmic.

Open your heart to the little Bethlehem star,
supernova blossoming in us.
And take it to the streets.

Steven Garnass-Holmes


What a year - based on Ps 126
by Stuart Gray

What a year.

I can hardly believe I’ve managed to get through it in one piece! It feels
like everything that could have gone wrong… well… okay, I don’t want to bore you with the gory details. But there have really been some tough spots and dark nights. Times I’ve wondered whether I’ll make it through. And what state I’ll be in if I do.

But do you know what I did when it was darkest? I mean… clearly, I did make it through this year… because its Christmas again! And I’m standing here to say I plan to enjoy every bit of it. So… do you know how I got here in one piece?

I clung on.

I didn’t give up…even though the temptation was there. I didn’t give in to those waves of uncertainty and fear. I had some scary moments last year, I can tell you. But I clung on.

I didn’t just cling on to anything, though. I clung onto this promise:
“Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears…”… and here it comes ”… will reap with songs of joy.”

I clung on to that cry and that expectation above all. Lord… here’s me…
simply expecting you to restore my fortunes… to rescue me. And He did. I’m here to tell the tale.

But did I have times this year that I was sick of clinging on to that cry? When that expectation was wearing thin? When I didn’t think I could keep going?

You bet. There sure were times when the fading echo of my cry was louder than God’s silence. So, here’s what I did – do you want to know?

Here it is. I held on a few moments longer anyway. I kept going. And yes… sometimes I felt like I was the one “who sowed with tears.” But I kept on sowing.  

Because you know what? Here’s what I do know. Here’s what I stand on. Here’s what gave me the strength to cling on that little while longer. My memories of Him. “The Lord has done great things for us.” It’s so true. He has given me so much to be thankful for in my life… in spite of the tough year I’ve had. He’s done great things in my past. That’s just a fact.  

So, when I’m clinging on that little while longer – I’m working. I’m reminding myself of those great things he’s already done, and those great times we’ve already shared. And with those memories… life’s just not so bad. I totally agree with that Psalmist, ”The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” There’s joy in anticipating how He’s going to come through for me again… even while I’m waiting for his rescue. 

Anyway. That’s how I got through this year.  
Tell you what – a new year is staring us in the face. Who knows what’s next for each of us. I sure don’t. But I do know this – “The Lord has done great things for us.” And He isn’t about to give up on that habit. Because he’s the God who saves. It’s not just his character – it’s his name too. Jesus name in Hebrew is Yeshua… and it means God Is Salvation. It’s so true. I’ve lived it - He’s saved me this year. So I’m expecting more of the same next year.  
For me, and for you. 
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.  He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
- John 1:6-8
Fluo-res-cense by Michael Coffey
-the property of absorbing light 
of short wavelength and 
emitting light of longer wavelength-
the illuminate one radiates love
at frequencies higher than our
blue eyes and red souls can see and so
something ultraviolet is going on
around us and in us and through us
and our molecules quiver and warm
at one time I was young and wanted
to light the world with gospel and
the world would shine like glitter
after twenty years of dim effort
and quavering and rarely a flint spark
I can see how it goes now with us
I am not the light
and this is a gift I receive
like an excised tumor clean
I am not the light
though occasionally I fluoresce
with the love supreme
Imperfect Messenger
No, there is no way around it. We will have to listen to the voice of the one calling in the wilderness, even though he says: I am not the one. We will have to muster the patience of the true Advent person. The church is only the voice of one calling in the wilderness, a voice saying that the ultimate, the glorious kingdom of God, is yet to come, but only when he wills it and not when we would like it. We cannot disregard this voice simply because it comes out of the mouths of people; we cannot ignore the messenger of the church simply because he is not worthy to untie the shoestrings of his master, the one he is announcing, or because he is not able to call down fire from heaven the way Elijah did. It is simply still Advent. Even the church is still an Advent church, for we are still waiting for the one to come in revealed splendor of absolute divinity along with the eternal kingdom.

-Karl Rahner 1904-1984
The Mystical Way in Everyday Life


Perceiving the Light

To see visible objects
   we need the eyes of the body.
To understand intelligible truths
   we need the eyes of the mind.
To have the vision of divine things
   we cannot do without faith.
What the eye is for the body,
   faith is for reason.
To be more precise; the eye needs the light
   which puts it in contact with visible things;
   reason needs faith to show it divine things.

-Theodoret c.393-c.457
the Cure of Pagan Diseases
quoted from Drinking From the Hidden Fountain
ed. Thomas Spidlik

Thankfulness and Celebration
and News 
CONGRATULATIONS to Anne Adkins who was named Volunteer of the Year by Tierra Grande Master Naturalist
“Star People” 
     The title says it all. 
Tierra Grande is very excited to introduce our Volunteer of the Year, Anne Adkins, a STAR by any astronomical measure. 

In this year of Tierra Grande’s push to gain International Dark Skies Association certification for our region, it’s only appropriate to share with you this oh so fitting panegyric to our own Anne.  She has worked tirelessly, month after month, to produce and distribute our chapter newsletter.  Each represents hours of work on Anne's part and each is of exceptional quality.  

On behalf of all our Tierra Grande Members and our loyal Chapter Interested:  Thank You Anne!

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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