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.



In the newest polling by Gallup capturing religious trends in 2020, U.S. membership in faith communities was below 50% of those polled for the first time in the history of Gallup polling. This is not a new trend. The rate of membership in faith communities has been declining in the US for some time, which hovered around 70% when first measured in 1937 through the turn of the 21st century. However, this is a big milestone in the ongoing trend away from religious affiliation in our country. 

Interestingly, the number of Americans who think religion is increasing in importance saw a bump during the last year, although by December those numbers were declining back toward the trend line of reduced influence that began in the early 2000s. This is likely due to the pandemic, as such a pattern has been observed in other times of crisis in our nation’s past. 

What does this mean forSt. Paul's? This trend might merely represent those who were “on the rolls” but not attending for years. It might mean losses of attendance related to the pandemic may be permanent. It might mean that these declines in church membership and religious affiliation, along with the pandemic, will mean some listening to God and one another as figuring out how we move forward. with two congregations (In person and on line). 

It is clear that many more Americans have a religious preference than maintain membership or attendance in a particular faith community. What would happen if we asked what those followers of Jesus need who are not connected with a faith community? 

These are some of the many questions we will be pondering and praying about on our retreat. Please plan on attending. SATURDAY - APRIL 17 - 9-4. LUNCH PROVIDED. 

Rainbows always give me hope. In the Old Testament, when Noah saw the rainbow in the sky after the Great Flood, it was the sign that it was safe to emerge from the ark. But it was also a sign that the old world, the only world he had ever known, had been washed away. He would be walking out into a new world that he didn't know. All of the mess of the old world was gone. The future that was now possible was yet to be revealed. In this way, the rainbow is a transition point, a doorway to new possibilities. 

So many of us are hurting right now. So many of us are struggling with addictions and anxiety and stress and emotional exhaustion and traumas. It becomes easy to lose hope. It becomes easy to think we are going to be endlessly stuck in the Great Flood of pain that we are tempted to give up and succumb. I understand that. But it's never true, because...

Then a rainbow appears. A doorway of hope opens. A friend shows up. A job comes through. An intervention happens. A person offers forgiveness. A treatment works. An unexpected check comes in the mail. A donation is made. Hope becomes REAL. 

The part you have to be ready for is this: you have to have the courage to say "yes." You have to say "yes" to the new world and the new possibilities, to emerge from the ark of pain and loss, grief and unknowing. No one can take that step for you. It's yours to claim for yourself. It may be the hardest and bravest thing you have ever done in your life.

Here is what I do know: a new and wonderful world awaits us on the other side of pain. God's promise to us was never that we would live lives free of pain. We are free beings and as such are capable of creating great pain for ourselves and others. God values our freedom enough to tolerate our suffering. God's promise was that we would never be alone. God is always there, hoping for our healing and our wholeness.

If you are feeling devastated by the mess of the world or the mess of your life, I hope you will keep your eyes aimed toward the sky. The rainbows are there. The new world awaits. You have every reason to hope, if you have the courage to say "yes." 

Do remember: you are not alone. You have people who love you and a God who will never give up on you. With that in your favor, your best days are ahead.

Stay safe and well.....Shalom,


St. Paul's Easter Sunday Celebration as seen in the Big Bend Sentinel
Click here

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's Easter Message
Click Here
Hymn of the Month by Beth Kerzee

#178 Alleluia, Alleluia! Give Thanks to the Risen Lord



Alleluia, alleluia!

Give thanks to the Risen Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia!

Give praise to His name.


  1. Jesus is Lord of all the earth.

He is the King of creation.

  1. Spread the good news o’er all the earth;

Jesus has died and has risen.

  1. We have been crucified with Christ.

Now we shall live forever.

  1. Come, let us praise the living God,

Joyfully sing to our Savior.


Scripture references: Vs.3 = Rom. 6:6, Gal. 2:20

Surrounded by “alleluias,” the text presents the good news of Easter: Christ is risen! In this hymn we sing Pauline phrases that proclaim the new life we have in the risen Christ. 

Donald E. Fishel (b. Hart, MI 1950) composed both text and tune “rather spontaneously” during the summer of 1971 in a house on Church Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The hymn was first sung in services of the Word of God Community in Ann Arbor, a charismatic Roman Catholic congregation that Fishel had then recently joined; he later served that community as publications editor of Servant Music (1973-1981).  Fishel received a bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education from the University of Michigan in 1972 and a degree in computer science from Eastern Michigan University in 1983.  Since then, he has worked in the computer industry.

From ---Psalter Hymnal Handbook


St. Paul's Retreat
Saturday - APRIL 17th - 9 - 4
In person & online

If you will be in person, please RSVP
Lunch will be provided.




MAY 1ST, 2021 AT 1PM MDT

Rio Grande Borderland Ministries (RGBM) is a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande that provides humanitarian support to vulnerable people in our border communities. We help to ensure that our migrant neighbors are welcomed with dignity. As global pandemic surges and changes to immigration and policy enforcement continue, the need for relief and advocacy for people at the border increases.

In order to spread awareness and build our network of supporters, Rio Grande Borderland Ministries is hosting an online community art fundraiser titled Canvas of Hope. The event will feature artists passionate about migration, including musical performances, poetry readings, artist talks, and a live virtual art auction. 

Please join us for Canvas of Hope on Saturday, May 1, from 1:00 PM MDT to 2:30 PM MDT. Registration required.

Details regarding performances, artwork to be auctioned, and more are forthcoming as we draw closer to the event.

Questions? Reach out to Nellie Fagan, RGBM Project Coordinator, at


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.

3. Pray for our country.

4. Unaccompanied Children at our borders.



The Second Sunday of Easter
April 11, 2021

Acts 4:32-35
Psalm 133
1 John 1:1 - 2:2
John 20:19-31


I John 1.1 - 2.2: God is Light

Art and Faith Matters

This is the message that we have heard...and proclaim to you: God is light. (I John 1:5) God is light. It's a metaphor used throughout scripture. Probably the most common application of the metaphor is in comparison to no-light or darkness. But it's important to remember what light is. 

Light is a spectrum. White light isn't white. It's the presence of the entire spectrum -- all colors of light. Darkness is the absence of all colors of light. [Paint and pigments are directly the opposite: white is the absence of all pigment; dark/black is the presence of all colored pigments.]

Peter Erskine uses sunlight as his artistic medium, asserting that all of life is solar-powered. Erskine uses this element in quite high tech ways. He uses laser-cut prisms and mirrors, connecting them to solar-tracking technologies and photo voltaic cells. The sun is the subject matter, the medium, and the power source of Erskine's art. 

Peter ErskineSun Painting. 2009. Lafayette Library, Lafayette, California.
Erskine's installation in the Lafayette County Library is a plexiglas skylight/shaft that is five feet square and ten feet high. Lined with laser-cut prisms and mirrors, the shaft creates an everchanging display of rainbow fragments. In just minutes, the turning of the earth and the changing clouds create completely new arrangements of colors. 

The sun. A constant presence that nevertheless presents ever-changing views. The source of light on earth. All the colors of the spectrum. God is light. 

“St. Thomas the Apostle” by Malcolm Guite,
 Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year

“We do not know . . . how can we know the way?”
Courageous master of the awkward question,
You spoke the words the others dared not say
And cut through their evasion and abstraction.
O doubting Thomas, father of my faith,
You put your finger on the nub of things:
We cannot love some disembodied wraith,
But flesh and blood must be our king of kings.
Your teaching is to touch, embrace, anoint,
Feel after him and find him in the flesh.
Because he loved your awkward counter-point,
The Word has heard and granted you your wish.
O place my hands with yours, help me divine
The wounded God whose wounds are healing mine.


It's Not God If You Think You Understand

We think that there is something wrong with doubt,
And wonder if we might be less devout
Than others who of faith seem much more sure,
Reflecting by their words a love more pure.

But doubt in faith's no enemy of mine,
And Thomas has no less of love divine
Than anyone who thinks, and yet risks still
Believing that God's love our lives fulfill.

Who knows why love forgives in Jesus' form,
Or bids the Risen One now be our norm;
It's not God if you think you understand,
The best of faith with doubt goes hand in hand.

Scott L. Barton


(John 20: 19-31)

In the upper room, in the evening,
we meet to talk, the doors all locked in fear,
spirits low, defeated hearts still grieving,
the empty grave upon our thoughts, and here,
where he washed our feet, broke and shared the bread,
his painful absence seems the more defined.
Though Mary says that he’s no longer dead,
shame, despair and fear still haunt our minds.
And then: the voice we thought we’d hear no more –
it is the Lord! We see his side and hands,
and he gives us peace, and words that restore
our hearts, that lift our heads, by which we stand
with strength: he breathes on us and says, “Receive
the Spirit.” Lord, we do. We believe. And breathe.

by Andrew King


Good news story No. 4

Thomas the questioner
refuses to accept the unbelievable:
Good for him!
I’m there alongside Thomas;
let some of the criticism
that gospel-teller John sprays in his direction
paint my body, too.
In the end, we are told,
when he meets the impossibly revitalised
person of the man he had watched die,
Thomas puts aside his scepticism. 
I suppose I would, too,
if invited by the risen Jesus
to touch his hands and side.
The good-news purveyor
writes of a resurrection far beyond 
encounters with the risen Jesus.
There are generations 
who will not have opportunity 
to comprehend with their eyes,
but who will be none-the-less be blessed 
with believing, perceiving, rather, 
in their hearts.
They follow resurrection’s improbable promise
of justice, hope and love;
treading with faith
that foolish and costly path through death, 
towards life.
© Ken Rookes

"A Fair And Delectable Place"

With a kindly countenance our good Lord looked into his side, and he gazed with joy, and with his sweet regard he drew his creature’s understanding into his side by the same wound; and there he revealed a fair and delectable place, large enough for all mankind that will be saved and will rest in peace and in love.  And with that he brought to mind the dear and precious blood and water which he suffered to be shed for love.  And in this sweet sight he showed his blessed heart split in two, and as he rejoiced he showed to my understanding a part of his blessed divinity, as much as was his will at that time, strengthening my poor soul to understand what can be said, that is the endless love which was without beginning and is and always shall be.

– Julian of Norwich 1342-c.1416
Showings, ch.24, Paulist Press,p.220-221


"You Will See Heaven Opened"

Thomas has insisted upon personal contact and even a kind of physical intimacy – placing his finger and hand into Jesus’ wounds.  Instead, he is given something different which is morepersonal and more intimate: the interior “touch” which is unitive experience of the Spirit. Blessed are those for whom this spiritual contact suffices; they shall be rich in the fullness of the Lord’s interior presence, and in the purity and strength of their faith. …

 The passage from one kind of knowledge to another, from the knowledge of external sight to the knowledge of union, to which Jesus has led these disciples – and last of all Thomas – corresponds to his promise, “…you will see heaven opened…”(1:51).  It is this initiation into the final unitive knowledge of God which is implied also in the final verse of John’s prologue:
 No one (ie. not even Moses; see 1:17) has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is in the Father’s bosom, who has made him known (1:18).
 Or, more graphically, “…who has opened the way” … The promised opening of the heavens is accomplished in the opening of “the Father’s bosom” to those who believe in Jesus.  This opening of the interior sabbath of God’s rest to humanity is symbolized by the opened bosom of Jesus …This is the promised “place” (14:2-4), promised land and paradise.  These convergent spatial images, however, all refer to a relationship which is non-spatial, non-dual and beyond all images: the simple divine union.

-Bruno Barnhart
 The Good Wine: Reading John from the Center

The Incredulity of Thomas, Andrea del Verrocchio, 1476

Through Our Brokenness 

Jesus invites each one of us, through Thomas,
to touch not only his wounds,
but those wounds in others and in ourselves,
wounds that can make us hate others and ourselves
and can be a sign of separation and division.
These wounds will be transformed into a sign of forgiveness
through the love of Jesus
and will bring people together in love.
These wounds reveal that we need each other.
These wounds become the place of mutual compassion,
of indwelling
and of thanksgiving.

We, too, will show our wounds
when we are with him in the kingdom,
revealing our brokenness
and the healing power of Jesus.

-Jean Vanier
Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John


The Last Word

The mother can lay her child tenderly to her breast, but our tender Mother Jesus can lead us easily into his blessed breast through his sweet open side, and show us there a part of the godhead and of the joys of heaven, with inner certainty of endless bliss.

-Julian of Norwich 

Thankfulness and Celebration and News  

Congratulations to Josie Rose Ray, Gavin Vana, Sheila Ness & John Bane who were baptized on Easter Sunday.
Congratulations to Nancy O'Brien on the arrival of a new grandson!
Thank you to Join, Tricia, Scott and Chuck for helping to get everything set up.
Thank you to Shere and Marci for keeping the altar maintained.
Thank you to John Bane for technical expertise on Sunday

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

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.




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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