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.


Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

I am writing to announce that on Sunday, September 13, at 10:30 a.m. we re-gather for worship in the church sanctuary! We have reviewed the current data on the number of COVID cases in our specific region and have prepared a very safe plan for re-gathering that we feel confident will address the concerns and requirements communicated by the Diocese and public health officials. As long as the number of COVID-19 cases in our region remains at a low level, we will proceed with caution in holding one service at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday.

As some of our congregation re-gathers, we will still offer our services online. Those who worship from home will have the same service as those who worship in-person. You will access this online service the same way you have been on our Facebook page. As has been the case since the closing of the building, we will continue to bring communion to you if you wish to receive it. It will be up to you and your comfort level whether you and members of your family choose to attend in person or online.

To ensure everyone's health and safety, we will practice the following guidelines as we take our first steps to re-gather:

Prior to your arriving, members of our congregation will follow a cleaning protocol both before and after the church service. Please arrive no more than 10 minutes before the start of the service. When you arrive, come through the sanctuary entrance. To ensure safe physical distancing, ushers will seat you. Members of the same household will be asked to remain together.

We require that everyone wear a mask the entire time you are in the building. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided. A number of hand sanitizing stations will be available for you at the entrance. For now, we will only gather in the sanctuary. There will be no gathering in the hall for a coffee hour.

As the weather permits and cools off, we will have the 10:30 service outdoors.

Even though the service may be a bit different, God's Word will still be proclaimed and we will still offer our prayers and praises to God! We will celebrate the Eucharist. At the time of receiving, the celebrant and Eucharistic minister will come to you with gloved hands. There will be individual cups for the wine. To avoid the spread of the virus, there will be no congregational singing. You  are certainly invited to hum, follow along in the hymnals and enjoy the voice of our organist. We will also avoid handshaking, hugs, etc. We ask you to be creative when passing the peace without touching. And, rather than passing offering plates, there will be collection plates at the back of the church only. If you wish to have a BCP, please bring your own. We will supply a printed bulletin for each time we gather. If you wish, you can pull the bulletin up digitally on your own device as you have been doing on these past Sundays of live-stream worship. 

When worship is over, we will ask that you remain in your seats until directed by an usher to leave and to exit the building. Of course, you may linger outside for as long as you would like!

Prior to September 13th, the Bishop's committee will do an in-person worship "test run." We followed all of the guidelines listed above. We're also thankful that those for whom it is best to stay home can still be together in worship online.

Given the uncertainty of the times in which we live, we will continue planning one step at a time, listening to health officials and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We will keep you informed about what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how you can be involved.

The Bishop's Committee and I are so very grateful for you! Because of your faithfulness, our church has remained alive and active, even though our building has been closed. Please continue to join us in prayer, trusting that God is already at work and is able to accomplish far beyond all we can ask or imagine!


Hymn of the Month by Beth Kerzee

September Hymn of Month: #692 I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Hymn Tune: KINGSFOLD adopt. R. V. Williams

Hymn Tune in hymnal is #292

1 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down
your head upon my breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
weary and worn and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.

2 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
the living water; thirsty one,
stoop down and drink, and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

3 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's Light;
look unto me, your morn shall rise,
and all your days be bright."
I looked to Jesus and I found
in him my Star, my Sun;
and in that light of life I'll walk,
'til trav'ling days are done.

Horatius Bonar   (19 December 1808 – 31 July 1889) was a Scottish churchman and poet. He is principally remembered as a prodigious hymnodist. Friends knew him as Horace Bonar.


He was the son of James Bonar (1758-1821), Solicitor of Excise for Scotland, and his wife Marjory Pyott Maitland. The family lived in the Broughton district of Edinburgh. He was educated in Edinburgh.

He came from a long line of ministers who served a total of 364 years in the Church of Scotland. One of eleven children, his brothers John James and Andrew Alexander were also ministers of the Free Church of Scotland He married Jane Catherine Lundie in 1843 and five of their young children died in succession. Towards the end of their lives, one of their surviving daughters was left a widow with five small children and she returned to live with her parents.

In 1853, Bonar received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of Aberdeen.

He died at this home, 10 Palmerston Road in the Grange, 31 July 1889. They are buried together in the Canongate Kirkyard in the lair of Alexander Bonar (and his parents), near the bottom of the eastern extension.


In 1843 he married Jane Catherine Lundie. She died in 1876. 

Their children included the Rev Horatius Ninian Bonar (b.1860).

He was brother to the Rev John James Bonar of Greenock (1803-1891).


He entered the Ministry of the Church of Scotland. At first he was put in charge of mission work at St. John's parish in Leith and settled at Kelso. He joined the Free Church at the time of the Disruption of 1843, and in 1867 was moved to Edinburgh to take over the Chalmers Memorial Church (named after his teacher at college, Dr. Thomas Chalmers). In 1883, he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland.


He was a voluminous and highly popular author. He also served as the editor for "The Quarterly journal of Prophecy" from 1848 to 1873 and for the "Christian Treasury" from 1859 to 1879. In addition to many books and tracts was a prolific hymnodist; many of his hymns, e.g., "I heard the voice of Jesus say" and "Blessing and Honour and Glory and Power," became known all over the English-speaking world. A selection of these was published as Hymns of Faith and Hope (3 series). His last volume of poetry was My Old Letters. Bonar was also author of several biographies of ministers he had known, including "The Life of the Rev. John Milne of Perth" in 1869, and in 1884 "The Life and Works of the Rev. G. T. Dodds", who was married to Bonar's daughter and who died in 1882 while serving as a missionary in France.

His hymns, which number over 140, include:

  • All Praise to Him Who Built the Hills
  • All That I Was
  • Fill thou my life, O Lord, my God
  • I heard the Voice of Jesus say
  • I Was a Wandering Sheep
  • Thy way, not mine, O Lord
  • Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face
  • A few more years shall roll
  • Come Lord and tarry not
  • O love of God, how strong and true

Some of his books include:



Gift Giving Opportunity Done

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Phil and Judy Turner for their kindness in enabling us to purchase the following:

  • iPod Touch 
  • Tripod Mount 
  • Microphone Adapter 
  • Rode Video Mic NTG 

There are only 30 days left for you to complete your Census questionnaire.  Remember that there is no citizenship question on the Census and your responses are safe, secure and protected by law.  Take it online at or call (844) 330-2020.  Everyone counts!
Quedan 30 días para completar tu Censo 2020. Recuerda que no hay preguntas sobre ciudadanía en el Censo y que tus respuestas están seguras y protegidas por la ley. Completa el Censo en línea en o llama al (844) 468-2020.  Todos Cuentan!

As of 8/30/20, response rates are: 
El Paso 64.1%
Hudspeth 21.4%
Culberson 23.7%
Jeff Davis 27.4%
Presidio 25%
Brewster 34%

A Weekly Bible Study
Caregivers Support Group
Discussion Group about History and Racism in the Big Bend Region
Confirmation Classes for All Ages (September)

If any of these groups tickle your curiosity or you have questions or would like to participate,
send an Email to



Coming TODAY at 4:00....

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

or click here

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. Keep bringing food donations...our doors are open 24 hours and you will find a basket at the back of the church.


The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 18
September 6, 2020

Ezekiel 33:7-11
Psalm 119: 33-40
Romans 13: 8-14
Matthew 18: 15-20


Romans 13.8-14: You Know What Time It is

 Paul, over and over, reminded his readers that Jesus was coming back. They should pay attention to that and remember how they are to live as followers of Christ. With every day that passed following Christ's ascension, we are one day closer to Christ's return. Because of their certainty of Christ's return, Christians are people of the future -- oriented toward the day of Christ's return. Christians are to live in that day rather than in the evil past (Romans 13:13).

Does the kind of clock we have say something about our view of time? Is time cyclical like a clock with hands that sweep around the face? Is time digital, numbers changing but standing in place? Is time sculptural? 

Calling James Borden a clockmaker is a true statement, but his work is more than that. His clocks are indeed sculptural, hanging on walls, sitting on tables, even suspended from the ceiling. These kinetic sculptures are large pieces, some as large as 10' wide and 6.5' tall. They tell time but they engage more of the viewer than your average clock. 


James Borden. Suspended Clock made of Walnut, Cherry, White Oak, and Box Elder. 

Can you figure out how to tell time with this clock? Does it change how you perceive time and the passage of time? That's what Paul hopes his words will do for the Christians in Rome. He wants them to remember that every moment moves us closer to Christ's return. That should change how we perceive and value and use each day. Paul's timetable may have anticipated a return sooner than events have proven to be true, but the ultimate day is still moving toward us. Each day bringing us closer to salvation than we are right now. 

Matthew 18:15-20

If two of you agree … about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.

Pandemic, racial injustice, trafficking of humans,
  global warming, homelessness …
Lord, what can we

“If two of you agree on earth
about anything you ask,
it will be done for you
 by my Father in

Lord of love,
let us not think twice;
let us trust in your words.
Let us all come together and pray
as one. 

Ezekiel 33:7-9

You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel.

make us watchers.

Help us to watch, 
in love, over our brothers and sisters. 
Let us help them lay their hands on what is justly theirs:
food, shelter, freedom, schooling, health care,
   human rights.

Romans 13:8-10

Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another.

There is only one thing,
one rule to live by,
one debt we 

Love one another.

Lord, Jesus, 
be with us when it is easy,
and be with us when love is difficult.
Give us your help when love makes demands.

Anne Osdieck

Sentinels by Michael Coffey


They came to us like sirens across the frothing ocean
we thought it was the sound of death, we thought it trouble
but it was all our own trouble bouncing back at us off sea cliffs
across waves and through wind and by wires

At first we ignored it like your own child’s whine
but it kept coming with force and insistence and pressure
until the point came where we saw it clear as a neon sign:
this is the right turn, the chance, the change required

There were beheadings and melting bergs and street riots
A man set himself on fire as he prayed for infinite peace
Bees dropped from their hives leaving food crops unfertile
Bruised women no longer hid their wounds behind doors or veils

The pain of the universe will keep pulsing the sentinels strong
Some folks will intercept and decipher and ponder and act
some will dismiss them like a run in with a rambling man
who says these are the words of the divine we were waiting for


moving toward we by Wesley White

if another sins
against you

if you sin
against another

what is good
for goose and gander

want some slack
loosen your noose

want accountability
tighten your disciplines

in this and every

comes a struggle
for freedom

comes a wrestling
with death

comes an encounter
with love's debt

willing for night
to pass

waiting for light's

a finishing touch

sin of all

sin of any

no longer
three against one

death's angels
pause their strike

as a puppet
grins and counts

five ways
we agree

you love being you
I love being me

I love you
you love me

and sometimes
we both even love

being we

[last 5 stanzas taken from Judy Fjell's delightful song, "Gee I am Glad I am Me" on her wonderful CD Living on Dreams]
When Two Or Three

O contending peoples and kindreds of the earth! Set your faces towards unity, and let the radiance of its light shine upon you. Gather ye together, and for the sake of God resolve to root out whatever is the source of contention among you. Then will the effulgence of the world's great Luminary envelop the whole earth, and its inhabitants become the citizens of one city, and the occupants of one and the same throne. 

-Baha'u'llah 1817-1892

Community is mutual vulnerability and openness one to the other. It is liberation for both, indeed, where both are allowed to be themselves, where both are called to grow in greater freedom and openness to others and to the universe.

- L'Arche Community


What You Bind

A stranger stops Nasrudin at the city gates. "Will you tell me," says the stranger, "what Baghdad is like? I have to move to a city and I'm worried." Nasurdin replies, "Tell me about the place you came from." "Oh, it was a wonderful place! Neighbors were kind to one another, we looked out for the children, people shared and were generous and happy!" "Ah! said Nasrudin. "You will love Baghdad. Don't worry at all, and welcome!"

Later on, another stranger stops Nasrudin at the city gates. "Will you tell me," says the stranger, "what Baghdad is like? I have to move to a city and I'm worried." Nasurdin replies, "Tell me about the place you came from." "Oh, it was a terrible place! Thieving and fornication and children noisy and running wild. People are selfish and distrustful." "Ah!" said Nasrudin. "You will dislike Baghdad. You'd better move on to another city!"

-Sufi story

True Fellowship

We have to pass through a valley of disillusionment with what we think true fellowship is, what we as God’s people are, and not the least, what we ourselves are capable of. In fact, the most painful revelation we need to face is the truth of our own condition. True fellowship is the courage and the willingness to be with one another and bear with one another in all of the above conditions….

–Arthur Katz
“Illusions,” Called to Community

He who loves community destroys community; he who loves the brethren builds community.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Thankfulness and Celebration and News

Congratulations to Beth (our organist) is accepted into UTEP into their Masters of Music program for choral conducting.

 Thank you Janelle and Nick who provided planted more plants to enjoy and aid our contemplations in the prayer garden.

Thank you to Shere who comes in faithfully every week to set up the altar.

Thank you to Tricia who leads our Book Study with wisdom, compassion and joy.

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 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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St. Paul's Episcopal Church · P.O. Box 175 · 101 E. Washington street · Marfa, TX 79843 · USA

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