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.


So where are we? We are in the middle of “Ordinary time.” On the liturgical calendar, it is the time between two major cycles of seasons: Advent/Christmas/Epiphany and Lent/Easer/Pentecost Sunday.

The human race, so researchers tell us, is generally a “happy” species, and often little reason is needed for a good celebration. Personally, I am constantly inspired and challenged by the human capacity to dance, laugh and sing even in times of deep suffering. So, it is no surprise that the Church Calendar contains seasons of great celebration.

But, what happens when the party is over?  The temptation is to go looking for the next high, the next experience in order to avoid facing the ordinariness of life. I suspect that the celebrity-focused, adrenalin-fuelled, success-driven culture of western society is a product of this avoidance, and of our addiction to the extra-ordinary, the larger-than-life, the winning-is-everything.

Even our worship yields to this temptation - in the constant search for the next leader or idea and in the constant pressure for preachers and musicians to create “wow” experiences for fear that if people don't get a big enough rush, they'll go somewhere else.

And so, I am immensely grateful for the long season known simply as “Ordinary Time”. In this season, which began after Pentecost Sunday, we are reminded that the most significant part of God's work in us happens not in times of great visible significance, but in the midst of ordinary, everyday living and loving. Ordinary Time calls us back to ordinariness, to a celebration of the “normal”, the usual, the routine. 

Ordinary Time leads us deeper, into the slow, but strong growth of the hidden, the quiet, the silent. In Ordinary Time there is no need for dressing up, no special feasts, no particular occasion. Rather there is a simple invitation to come into the kitchen of our faith and sit at the family table. Where sustenance is found in comfortable conversation and the basic nourishment of daily, routine meals.

So, this Fall,  let's hear again the call of the ordinary. Let's learn the power of the routine and the simple. Let's commit to building, slowly and well, the edifice of worship that is made strong and beautiful through repeated acts of prayer, ritual and music. Let's embrace Ordinary Time as potentially the most 'extraordinary' season of the year.

Shalom, Y'all,


P.S. BILL SMITH: People have been asking about Bill Smith and how to get in touch with him in order to send him cards and prayers and support. Bill very much looks forward to mail and would greatly enjoy anything you might wish to send his way. He has been transferred to the Life Care Center which is close to the hospital. Bill's mailing address is: 

Life Care Hospital
Room 112
8902 Floyd Curl Dr.
San Antonio, Tx. 78240

Gift Giving Opportunities for St. Paul's
New Refrigerator includes delivery and taking the broken one
(All Paid--Thank You...Evelyn Luciani)

Cleaning once a month - $90.00 per time

One other inquiry --

Over the next month, we will be receiving clothes and donations for people along the border. If you would like to help deliver them, please let me know. Thank you.


James Tissot

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 17
September 1,2019

Jeremiah 2:4-13
Psalm 81:1, 10-16
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Luke 14:1, 7-14


Jeremiah 2.4-13: Worth

They went after worthless things and became worthless themselves. That's what God has to say about the ancestors of the house of Jacob (Jeremiah 2:4-13). God then reminds the people of what has come to them as a result of their relationship with God. And yet, God wonders, they traded the relationship with God for something less. For something with less value...for something that, by comparison, has no worth.

Of course, who defines worth? Who defines how much something is worth? Consider the photo below. What do you think this ceramic piece is worth? Really, stop to consider and come up with a figure before you read ahead. And, yes, the background may tell you that this is from Antiques Roadshow. How much is it worth?
Would you believe $30,000 to $50,000? That's what the Antiques Roadshow appraiser said the piece was worth. It really is a one-of-a-kind piece, probably late 19th or early 20th century, and worth $30,000 to $50,000. Not bad when the owner had purchased it at an estate sale for $300. So an original appraiser (at the estate sale) said it was worth $300. The AR appraiser multiplied that figure by a thousand. And now it's worth $30,000 to $50,000. What changed about the piece that all of a sudden it was worth a thousand times more money than before? Worth. Is it true that things are really only worth whatever you can get someone to pay for them?

Here's the first twist to this story of changing worth. A viewer watching this episode of Antiques Roadshow immediately called a friend and told the friend that she needed to go online and watch this appraisal. Turns out that the friend created the piece. In high school in the 1970s. Hmmm. Now how much is the piece worth? What would you say?

The AR appraiser revised the appraisal to $3,000 to $5,000. So now it's worth ten times less than it was. It's been worth $300, $3,000, even $30,000. All the same piece. No changes whatsoever. What is it worth?

What's worthless here? The object? The human ability to identify "worth"? The human need to attach worth to things? Our understanding of what things are really "worth"?

It's that last question that may hold the key. If we are swayed by the opinions and pronouncements of others about the worth of things, then we shall surely chase after things that are ultimately worthless. And in doing so, we will become worthless in our ability to live lives of faithful service to God.

The story of the object above has one more twist. The man who paid $300 for the piece at an estate sale bought it because he loved it. When it was "worth" $30,000, he put it away for safekeeping. Now that it is "worth" less, he has brought it back out where he can enjoy it. Which was why he bought it in the first place. One last twist on worth: the piece's creator, Betsy Soule, was surprised to find that someone was willing to pay $300 in the first place. She said if she had known he liked the piece (and it had been in her possession), she probably would have given it to him. What's that worth? (Art and Faith Matters)

Luke 14.1, 7-14: The Salt

A conference preacher once asked why in the world artists continued to depict Jesus as some sort of emaciated figure when all he did was eat! The gospel reading for Proper 17C/Ordinary 22C is (yet another) occasion when Jesus is invited to a dinner party. On this particular occasion (Luke 14:1, 7-14), Jesus criticizes the actions and behavior of the other guests. Awkward.

The problem is that the guests all work to seat themselves as the guest of honor. Jesus says, "How embarrassing will it be when the host comes to you and announces that someone more important than you has arrived and you'll need to move down the table!" Where all the guests wanted to be was, in medieval terms, "above the salt." Salt, which at one time was as valuable as gold, was placed in the middle of the dining table. People of noble rank were seated "above the salt" (between the salt cellar and the head of the table, where the lord and lady of the house were seated). Guests of lower standing and perhaps some of the higher ranking servants were seated "below the salt."

The traditional labor of the month for January was feasting. What else was there to do in the winter? In the January illustration from the Grimani Breviary, a boat-shaped salt cellar is on the table at the far right of the illustration. The ornateness of salt cellars is easily seen in the Burghley nef. Fashioned in the shape of a boat (tying the salt to its source, the sea) this 16th-century salt cellar continued a fashion that is documented as early as the 13th century. Royal household inventories list large ship-shaped salt cellars made of gold and silver.

 (Above left) The Burghley Nef. 1527-1528. Nautilus shell with parcel-silver gilt mounts and pearls. London: Victoria and Albert Museum. (Above right). "January" from the Breviario Grimani. 1510s. Venice, Italy: Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana.
"Sit below the salt," Jesus says. "And then you will be honored when the host insists that you move up." He then suggests that if you are a host, perhaps the only people you should invite to dinner are those who would expect to be sitting below the salt...or those who would never expect to be invited to dinner at all. (Art and Faith Matters)


The Clothier’s work

By Ken Sehested,

We are free to act boldly because we are safe.

We are safe because we are at rest.

We are at rest because we have been forgiven.

We are forgiven because we have come to know that the Spirit meets us in our weakness, not our strength.

And in the strength of our weakness we find our security; fear’s fierce grip loosens,

freeing us to act boldly.

Such is the journey, ever onward.

By the Clothier’s hand are we fitted with garments apropos for the Fiesta to come!

So rise up, you pilgrims, whether hale and hearty or flustered and weary.

Be clothed with the sun and with power from on high, robed in righteousness,

shod in the Gospel of Peace.

Round up your rowdy friends,

but especially the lame and all with no claim on the Bountiful Table.

The Banquet beckons.

Your Host awaits.

inspired by Rev 12:1; Luke 14:13, 24:49; Ps 139:2, Eph 6:15


invitations to the banquet

Since we ourselves are human beings, we must set before others the meal of kindness no matter why they need it – whether because they are widows, orphans, or exiles; or because they are brutalized by masters, crushed by rulers, dehumanized by tax-collectors, bloodied by robbers, or victimized by the insatiate greed of thieves, be it through confiscation of property or ship-wreck. All such people are equally deserving of mercy, and they look to us for their needs just as we look to God for ours.

-Gregory of Nazianzus d.389
Oration14 On the Love of the Poor, quoted from J. Robert Wright, Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church

29th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
29th - Thursday -  John Bunyan, Writer, 1688
30th -2:00 - Dale Sherman Memorial
Dallas, Texas
30th - Friday - Charles Chapman Grafton, Bishop of Fond du Lac, and Ecumenist, 1912
31st - Saturday - Aidan, 651, and Cuthbert, 687, Bishops of Lindisfarne

1st Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 17
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
1st - Sunday - David Pendleton Oakerhater, Deacon and Missionary, 1931
2nd - Monday - The Martyrs of New Guinea, 1942
3rd - Tuesday -  Prudence Crandall, Teacher and Prophetic Witness, 1890

4th - Noon - Alpine Ministerial Alliance
4th - Wednesday - Paul Jones, 1941

5th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
5th - Thursday - Gregorio Aglipay, Priest and Founder of the Philippine
Independent Church, 1940

7th - Saturday - Elie Naud, Huguenot Witness to the Faith, 1722
8th Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 18
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
11:30 - Bishop's Committee
8th - Sunday -  Nikolai Grundtvig, Bishop and Hymnwriter, 1872
Søren Kierkegaard, Teacher and Philosopher, 1855
9th - Monday - Constance, Nun, and Her Companions, 1878
10th-12th - Clergy Conference
Mesilla Park, New Mexico
10th - Tuesday - Alexander Crummell, 1898
11th - Wednesday -  Harry Thacker Burleigh, Composer, 1949
12th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
12th - Thursday -  John Henry Hobart, Bishop of New York, 1830
13th - Friday - John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, 407
14th - Saturday - Holy Cross Day

15th Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 19
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
15th - Sunday -  Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr of Carthage, 258 & James Chisholm, Priest, 1855
16th - 11:30 - Men's Hamburger Prayer Lunch
Mando's in Marfa
16th - Monday - Ninian, Bishop in Galloway, c. 430
17th - Tuesday - Hildegard, 1179

18th -6:30 - Taize Worship
St. Paul's, Marfa
18th - Wednesday -  Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, 1882

19th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
19th - Thursday - Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
20th - Friday - John Coleridge Patteson, Bishop of Melanesia,
and his Companions, Martyrs, 1871

22nd Fifthteenth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 20
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
22nd -Sunday - Philander Chase, Bishop of Ohio, and of Illinois, 1852

Here is who we prayed for in church
last Sunday.

Any changes, please let us know.


11th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 16, Cycle C (August 25, 2019) 

Sisters and brothers, the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. Let us then pray to the Lord, as I will say…You, O God, are our hope and you respond by saying…incline your ear to us….

O Lord, may your Church take delight in you above all else. Set it in the narrow way of peace, holiness, and truth. Make it a trustworthy, open gate to your healing and purifying love. May we faithfully keep the feast…You, O God, are our hope…incline your ear to us.

Let us take time and give thanks for what we are grateful for…You, O God, are our hope…incline your ear to us.

Give to the leaders of the nations, O Lord, compassion for the hungry, satisfy the needs of the afflicted. May we, satisfied with good things, show mercy to the poor and oppressed…You, O God, are our hope…incline your ear to us.

The new school year is upon us, to the dread of students and delight of parents. Give them joy in learning and diligence in study. Help their teachers and aides to convey true love of their subject matter. Make them gentle disciplinarians, inspiring mentors, and worthy examples to their students…You, O God, are our hope…incline your ear to us.

God, you are a consuming fire. Your light rises in the darkness and our gloom becomes like the noonday. Continue to make yourself known to us in your creation—in the stars of the night and the new light of the morning…You, O God, are our hope…incline your ear to us.

You call us, O God, into a great community of believers: to join with angels and saints, with those you have made righteous, and with your Son Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant. We pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, especially those facing persecution. Protect and strengthen them. Guide us in living out our mission to be a welcoming, prayerful, caring community actively sharing the love of GodHave mercy, Lord…You, O God, are our hope…incline your ear to us.

We pray for the healing of those who are spiritually and physically broken. May all who are troubled by the power of evil find freedom in the hands of your Son…..Let us take time and pray for those people and places in need of our prayers…You, O God, are our hope…incline your ear to us.

O God, you redeem life from the grave through the resurrection of Christ. We pray for those who have died in hope; may they eternally be satisfied with good things….especially those who we name at this time…(Pause 15 seconds)…You, O God, are our hope…incline your ear to us…..

Celebrant: God our consuming fire, hear the prayers we offer this day and, in our time, continue the wonderful things you have done, that we may speak your word and serve your world, living always as signs of your love, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Prayers are asked for…..

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 Anglican Church of South America. In our Diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for The Southwest Deanery,,,…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….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:…,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 the G7 conference…

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 wallTaday I Pray: People get along…Sobriety for my sister…God bring world peace…Children of the 680…Immigrants who ICE stole…Someone to have a Bice day…Today I Hope: …Today will be fun…nephew finds peace…remain friends with Joe, Larie and Gid forever…Ashley will be my friend…Today I Thank: God for Lonn Taylor…spending time with friends…Rudy’s recovery…family together…God to be good to me…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 in the midst of chemotherapy, …for Michael Simpson, 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)…for Ralph…Rudy receiving PT…, Bill Smith recovering from surgery….Kathleen….Sandy Olsen recovering from a heart procedure….Rick and Webb Sherrill…for Shannon who is having a difficult pregnancy….

Those who have died
 Zachary Dodson

World News This Week in Prayer

 But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
Job 12:7-10

God of all creation, we are aware of our mandate to care for the beauty you have given us, but we fail. From the Amazon rain forests and smoke-filled skies threatening Brazil to the official death of a glacier in Iceland, we have not listened to the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, or our planet Earth as it now moans in pain under the pressure of population and the technological advancement of human ways and human will over our Creator’s. God, we no longer know how to live simply and in harmony with your creation.

Divine Love, Hear our Prayer.

God of our very being and nature, we have to search deep into the news to find such inspiring stories as Switzerland teen Greta Thunberg who’s gone from solitary climate change protester to icon; or the perseverance of tech-savvy Iranians to stay connected for social good on social media despite regime restrictions; or the recent hero story in Canada where one man rushed to the aid of a United States family from New Jersey at a campground when a sick and dying wolf attacked them in their tent at night. We are made all too aware of the evil and sick parts of human nature, but it doesn’t seem to be leading to changes toward a more just and grace-filled world. The detention this week of a British consulate worker in China, ongoing nuclear proliferation in Russia and North Korea, and the more than 60 people killed after a bomb blast at a wedding in Afghanistan. There are children living in shipping containers in the United Kingdom and infants, toddlers, and teens remain in detention camps in the United States as new allegations of additional sexual assaults come to light. God, we are mistreating one another, your children of all ages, and we no longer know how to compassionately converse or have civil discourse.

Divine Love, Hear our Prayer.

Global concerns may have local impact, but we know there are many prayers that need to be heard from our various local communities and neighborhoods.

Whether it be in prayer for your entire creation, or well wishes for students, teachers, administrators, support staff as schools resume from break, or the addict down the street, or the upcoming mental health awareness initiatives, we wish to see things with new eyes, with passionate and respectful hearts of our neighbors and their needs. Help us to find the divine energy within us so that we may be representatives of your love, grace, kindness and compassion in your world. May it be so. 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.

For Evelyn's contribution for the purchase of our new refrigerator.

Allison's pastoral presence for the Marfa ISD Community.

Lana and Joe and their gift to St. Paul's.

For Dedie's performance in the 24 hour play..When it rains, it pours.

Congratulations to Madge Lindsay for receiving the The American Birding Association Betty Petersen Award for Conservation and Community

For Scott's taking care of our new lawn.

For Trisha and CHUCK and their support of our Borderland Ministries.


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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