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.

See important dates at the end of this column


If you hear a priest/pastor use the word “abundance,” hold on to your wallet. It has become a common word among prosperity preachers promising an outpouring of material blessings to those who give their money to God (via the pastor’s own ministry, of course). The hijacking of abundance by those shaped more by consumerism than Christ is unfortunate, because it is a legitimate aspect of God’s kingdom and his desire for his people.

In Psalm 23, the one who has the Lord as his shepherd describes the care and provision of God as abundant and uncontainable. “My cup overflows,” he says. Some people see their cup as half empty, others see it as half full. The one living with God only sees his cup overflowing. He simply cannot capture the abundant blessings God has poured out.

The unregenerate mind will limit God’s blessings to material things—money, homes, cars, etc. Those with the mind of Christ, however, will see that God’s abundance goes far beyond what the world values, and often makes such things appear worthless in comparison. The Lord refers to himself as an unending spring of living water—an abundant flow that never ceases. He himself is the greatest blessing in our lives that never runs out and that we cannot contain. Those who seek only the gifts of this world, however, abandon God in favor of broken vessels that can hold nothing

In 1999, the renowned Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann published an article that has greatly influenced me. In it he frames the biblical narrative as a tension between the world’s myth of scarcity and God’s vision of abundance

For example, in the Exodus story Pharaoh and Egypt represent the myth of scarcity. They are threatened by the growth of the Hebrews, so to protect their own power and limited resources they persecute the Hebrews and kill their children. A belief in scarcity led Pharaoh to violence, injustice, and greed. God’s people, on the other hand, experienced his abundance. Everyday he provided them with meat and bread in the wilderness and water flowed from rocks. Assured of God’s provision, they were called to put aside vengeance and greed and instead seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes the same contrast between the myth of scarcity and the abundance of God’s kingdom. If we live in constant fear of not having enough, like Pharaoh, it will lead us to greed and injustice in the name of self-preservation. If, however, we believe Jesus and trust that with God there is always an abundance, then we can be set free from a self-centered posture and truly love others. 

So, in terms of our faith, what is the paradox?  Simply that "he who seeks his life shall lose it, and he who loses his life . . . shall find it." True abundance comes not to those set on securing wealth but to those who are willing to share apparent scarcity in a way that creates more than enough. Those who seek well-being, who grasp for more than their share, will find life pinched and fearful. They will reap only the anxiety of needing more and more, fueled by the fear that someday everything will be taken away. But those who reach out in service to their brothers and sisters, knowing that true abundance is found not in hoarding but in community, will find a life of plenty. Having been there for others, they have reason to believe that others will be there for them.

Here is the main point: in a world split between the "haves" and the "have-nots," we constantly must deal with concepts of scarcity and abundance. And these are fundamental concepts in our spiritual lives, too. They test our ability to trust, and they influence our willingness to serve.

Ask yourself these questions:
- Where do I experience scarcity in my life and in the life of St. Paul’s?
- What actions grow out of my experience of scarcity?
- Where do I experience abundance in my life and in the life of St. Paul’s?
- What actions grow out of this abundance?

- Look at the cup of your life this morning, how do you see it?                                           

As you ponder these questions, Invite the Spirit of God to open your eyes to the blessing of his presence with you today.


Shalom, Y'all,


August 11 - 1:30 - 3:00
Ice Cream Social & School Supplies Give Away

August 15 - 10:00
Memorial Service for Lonn Taylor
at the Church of Christ....kitty-corner to St. Paul's


Seventh Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 12
July 28,2019

Hosea 1:2-10
Psalm 85
Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19)
Luke 11:1-13


Hosea 1.2-10: Picturing the Relationship (Art and Faith Matters)

The story of Hosea and Gomer. Is it a romance? A cautionary tale? A tragedy? Is Gomer abused by Hosea (and God...see Hosea 2)? Is she an excellent stand-in for Israel as sinners? We know she is voiceless in the text. But so is Hosea. God is the one who speaks and directs in this text (Hosea 1:2-10).

Artists have historically seemed to revel in the opportunity to paint Biblical texts that read as...salacious. Joseph and Potiphar's wife. Delilah's treachery and betrayal of Samson. David and Bathsheba. Is the point of these texts that they can be R-rated?

This week specifically, how should we picture the relationship between Hosea and Gomer? Here are four options. Each offers a very different approach. Which best captures your understanding of the relationship defined in this week's text? Or in what way does one (or all) fall short of how you see this relationship?

Top: Hosea and Gomer. Bible Historiale. Den Haag, MMW, 10 B 23 426r.
Second: Barry Moser. Hosea and Gomer 
Third: Marriage of Hosea and the Prostitute. Bible of St. Andre-aux-bois. 12th century. Bibliotheque de l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France Bottom: Cody F. Miller. Hosea and Gomer.


Luke 11:1-13: Lord's Prayer: Knock Knock

The gospel reading for Proper 12C/Ordinary 7C gives us Luke's version of the Lord's Prayer. The reading takes us past Luke's brief version of the prayer to a discussion of prayer - well, really, more a discussion about asking for things. The conversation addresses things asked for vs. things received as well as about ask-ers and ask-ees. So much of the text is familiar, including the directions to "ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you."

Each imperative has to do with the "asking" nature of prayer. In prayer we ask God for things that we want (things for ourselves, things for others, things for the world). It is the last of the three - knock - that offers us an additional way to talk about the God who would not give us - children of God - a snake when we ask for a fish.

The medieval idea of "sanctuary" was not just an abstract idea. It was a concrete reality. Someone who had committed a crime could come to the cathedral, knock on the door and the door would be opened with no questions asked. Once open, the sanctuary-seeker would be pulled inside the building.

The knocker in the picture below, currently on the door at Durham Cathedral (England), is a reproduction. The 12th-century original is currently on display in the cathedral's museum/treasury. It was more than decorative. Originally on the cathedral's north door, the knocker was available 24/7 for anyone in need of sanctuary within the cloister. People who had committed crimes or misdemeanors, on purpose or accident, could run to the cathedral and knock on the door. Two monks were stationed in small rooms above the door every day and every night in order to hear any knocks and respond quickly. Once accepted into the monastery, the sanctuary-seeker was entitled to 37 days. In that time the accused criminal might be working to explain or settle the offense. They might also be working on a way to get out of England.

In the Levitical code of Hebrew scripture, six cities of refuge are set up (Deuteronomy 4:41ff. and Joshua 20). People who had committed manslaughter (unintentional) could go to those cities to escapethe laws of blood justice and retribution in the rest of the land. Knock and the door will be opened.

That's what would happen at Durham Cathedral. After the knock, the Galilee bell was rung to indicate that someone had been offered sanctuary. Once taken in, the seeker was provided with food, shelter and clothing (a black robe with a yellow St. Cuthbert's cross embroidered on the left shoulder) though was separated from the rest of the church.

Prayer and sanctuary are not exactly the same things, but the idea that upon knocking, the door will be opened is comfort (in its Latin root sense of "with strength") in both sanctuary and prayer.   
25th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
Will not meet tonight but will meet again next week.

26th - Friday - Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

27th - 9:30 - 2:00 - Deanery Meeting
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Roswell, NM

27th - 9:30-Noon - Order of St. Luke
Big Bend Regional Medical Center, Alpine
27th - Saturday - William Reed Huntington, Priest, 1909

28th - Seventh Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 12
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
11:30 - Bishop's Committee

28th - Sunday - Johann Sebastian Bach, 1750, George Frederick Handel, 1759, and Henry Purcell, 1695, Composers
29th - Monday - Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany
30th - Tuesday -  William Wilberforce, 1833, and Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, 1885,
Prophetic Witnesses
31st - Wednesday - Ignatius of Loyola, Priest and Monastic, 1556


1st - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
1st - Thursday - Joseph of Arimathaea
2nd - Friday - Samuel Ferguson, Missionary Bishop for West Africa, 1916

3rd - Poverty & Outreach
3rd - Saturday -  George Freeman Bragg, Jr., Priest, 1940
William Edward Burghardt DuBois, Sociologist, 1963

4th - Eighth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 13
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Holy Eucharist

5th - Monday - Albrecht Dürer, 1528, Matthias Grünewald, 1529, and Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1553, Artists
7th - Wednesday - John Mason Neale, Priest, 1866
 Catherine Winkworth, Poet, 1878
8th - Thursday -  Dominic, Priest and Friar, 1221
9th - Friday - Herman of Alaska, Missionary to the Aleut, 1837
10th - Saturday -  Laurence, Deacon, and Martyr at Rome, 258
9th - Friday - Herman of Alaska, Missionary to the Aleut, 1837

11th - Ninth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 14
9:00 - Bishop's Committee
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
1:30 - 3:00 - Ice Cream Social and School Supply Give Away
11th - Sunday - Clare, Abbess at Assisi, 1253

12th-13th - RGBM Meeting
Cloudcroft, New Mexico
12th - Monday - Florence Nightingale, Nurse, Social Reformer, 1910
13th - Tuesday -  Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore, 1667
14th - Wednesday - Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Seminarian and Martyr, 1965

15th - Lonn Taylor Memorial
Church of Christ, Marfa
15th -Thursday -  Laurence, Deacon, and Martyr at Rome, 258
17th - Saturday - Samuel Johnson, 1772, Timothy Cutler, 1765,
and Thomas Bradbury Chandler, 1790, Priests

18th - Tenth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 15
9:00 - Bishop's Committee
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
18th -Suhday - William Porcher DuBose, Priest, 1918

Here is who we prayed for in church
last Sunday.

Any changes, please let us know.

The Church

Justin, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael, our Presiding Bishop, Michael, our Bishop and Michael, our Vicar….In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we remember to pray for the Episcopal Church in the Philippines. In our Diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for  the Church of the Good Shepherd, Silver City. 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 Our Leaders

For Donald, our president, Greg our Governor, Manny our mayor-elect and the mayors and city managers 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 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 telling the truth in the most helpful way, for people living in far after a series of earthquakes and aftershocks in California,  for people struggling to move forward after natural disasters…..

For St. Paul’s and Prayer Wall

Living out our mission to be a welcoming, prayerful, caring community actively sharing the love of God….On our wall…Taday I Pray: safe travels…Peace…Wisdom, Patience & love…grace…. Today I Hope: More kindness…for the joy of friendship…Today I Thank: Birthdays…Warren…freedom & family & faith& health..Adventure…For the people of St. Paul’s…

St. Paul’s Prayer List

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 Jeanie Olivas, Vijaya, Frank, Larry, Jack Risen, Kathryn Anschutz, 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, Frank, Pat Sims (Stroke), Fr. Tom Gray (heart surgery)…Rudy and recovery from knee replacement surgery…

Those who have died

Dale Sherman, Lonn Taylor

God of mercy and kindness, who gave us the great commandment of love, hear the prayers we offer this day and grant that we may always bear fruit and lead lives worthy of our calling, through Jesus Christ our Savior. 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.

Blessed to be a Blessing, sponsored by the Women’s Ministry of the Diocese, are one-day summer seminars exploring how our faith fore-mothers inspire and empower us to live and share our faith. On July 27 we’ll be at St. Paul’s/Peace, Las Vegas. There will be a third ‘day’ at St. John’s, Alamogordo on August 10. Each day is from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. If you live within a 2-hour radius of the event, you are esp. invited to attend. If you live further, pick your favorite location and make it a girls’ weekend by inviting a friend to come and explore a new area and new church. Register online at or contact Cindy Davis ( Cost is $20 to cover lunch and supplies.

Presiding Bishop issues video message on immigration:
‘Who is my neighbor?’


“Deeply embedded in the Christian faith, indeed deeply embedded in the Jewish tradition, which is the mother of the Christian faith, and deeply embedded in the faith and traditions and values of many of the world’s great religions, is a profound conviction in a sure and certain value and virtue that care for the stranger, the alien, the visitor, is a sacred duty, a sacred vow.”

The Presiding Bishop’s video message can be found here:


I’m Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. It goes without saying that there is a humanitarian crisis at the southern border of the United States. It is a human crisis, a crisis that has deep and complex roots, sources, and origins. But it is a crisis, a crisis of the human children of God.

There is suffering and there is hardship.

There is complexity and difficulty.

But it is a crisis that we as nation, that we as a global community, must face and find a way forward for the sake of our brothers and our sisters, for the sake of us all.

Deeply embedded in the Christian faith, indeed deeply embedded in the Jewish tradition, which is the mother of the Christian faith, and deeply embedded in the faith and traditions and values of many of the world’s great religions, is a profound conviction in a sure and certain value and virtue that care for the stranger, the alien, the visitor, is a sacred duty, a sacred vow.

In the Hebrew scriptures in the book of Deuteronomy, the book writes and says you shall love the stranger, for remember you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.

In the 25th chapter of Matthew in the New Testament, Jesus in the parable of the last judgment says that when you welcomed the stranger, when you did it to these who are members of my family, you have done it to me.

When you welcome the stranger, you welcome Jesus. The book of Hebrews in the New Testament says those who have welcomed the strangers have sometimes welcomed angels unawares.

Welcoming the stranger, or as some translations call the alien, welcoming those who are visiting among us is a cardinal virtue and value in our Christian faith.

Jesus was talking to a lawyer once; the story is told in Luke’s gospel. And, when he was talking to the lawyer, the lawyer asked him what he must do to inherit eternal life. And Jesus said, what did Moses teach in the Hebrew scriptures? The lawyer said, well, Moses said you shall love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself.

And Jesus said do that and you will find life.

But the lawyer went on and he asked, well, can we define neighbor more precisely? Who is my neighbor? And that’s when Jesus told what we now know as the Parable of the Good Samaritan where one person helped another person, a person who was completely unlike them, someone that person considered other, not my tribe, not my nationality, not my religion, not even my friend. And Jesus at the end of the parable said, who was the neighbor to the man who was in need? And the lawyer said, well the one who actually showed compassion.

And Jesus said, now go and do that likewise.

That parable of the Good Samaritan invites us, calls us, challenges us, to be neighbor to the neighbor.

Some of our neighbors are at the border and some of our neighbors are those who have immigrated to this country and are living right in our neighborhood or in our city or in our community, or our state. To show compassion to them is to obey Jesus. Go and do likewise.

Show compassion. Show mercy. Help the neighbor. Help the stranger. Love the Lord your God. And love your neighbor as yourself.

Find migration, refugee, and immigration information and ways you can take action on your own here (OGR/EPPN) and here (EMM).


Moral Monday at the Borderlands



recovery ministry logo

August 23-25, 2019
The Serenity Retreat this year starts on Friday August 23rd ... where we will have dinner together and an open speaker meeting led by Rev. Dr. Ted Wiard focusing on Steps 1, 2, and 3. We are inviting any in the area who can't stay for the whole weekend to join us at 5pm on that Friday for dinner at a cost of $20,  and then the meeting (no charge to anyone who want to come just for the meeting.)
We will be joined by Rev. Dr. Ted Wiard of Golden Willow Retreat and Counseling. 
Ted Wiard, LPCC, CGC is an author, Founder & Executive Director of Golden Willow Retreat. Ted Wiard along with his wife, Marcella, created Golden Willow from a combined vision of compassion and healing towards all life. Ted is a licensed clinical therapist, certified grief counselor, an ordained minister, a New Mexico certified schoolteacher and a certified tennis professional. Ted's passion for working with grief, in its many forms, arose from his own personal losses in which he realized there were very few places that offered support and healing from grief.  While working at Betty Ford Center, Ted counseled individuals and families with clinical and spiritual support through the recovery process, realizing that many individuals rarely touch the underlying conditions that led them to their dysfunctional behaviors. He has written numerous articles on the subject of emotional healing, grief, loss, trauma and the connection verses disconnection of spirituality in grief, loss, life transitions as well as addiction and relapse prevention.  His book, "Witnessing Ted, The Journey to Potential Though Grief & Loss", is a sensitive guide on the six aspects of grief and the journey to a wiser more authentic life.  He is sought out for speaking engagements nationally to offer his inspirational and dynamic message of hope and healing.  
Find out more about Ted's programs at:    and

Anyone in any 12 step program is welcome to join.  We've even had a few who tried out the concept of the 12-Steps at one of our retreats for the first time!

Registration Fees - Includes room, meals, and a "one time day fee for commuters."
(We have a way to receive Credit Card Payments this year.)
Single-Resident from Friday night to Sunday morning $197
Couple- Resident from Friday night to Sunday morning $298
Commuter/Meals Only $100
Friday Night Dinner and Open Speaker Meeting $20
As with all our retreats, Friday night is open to all who would like to join for dinner and the speaker ... or just come for the speaker with no fee!)
5:00-6:00         Registration/Check In
6:00-7:00         Dinner  & Introductions
7:00-8:30         Open Speaker Meeting
Sunday, we always have a 12-Step Eucharist at 10:00 a.m.
Find us at our webpage for links to registration information:
Find us on Facebook (a private group):  Rio Grande-Episcopal Recovery Ministry
Email us with questions at

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Thank you Janelle who has beautified our campus with native plants.

Thank you to Nancy O'Brien for beautifying St. Paul's inside and out for the occasion of Charlotte's wedding.

Thank you to Bob for overseeing the work being done at St. Paul's


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

Parish website -
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