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.


Last Sunday in my sermon, I focused on the question God asked Elijah and Mr. Gooch asked me; WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? So as a church, how are WE answering this question? If you had been answering, “We’re here to worship God on Sundays,” you are probably finding this season to be a tough and bewildering stretch.

Yes, weekend services were a pivotal part of our life, and every church is called to corporate worship, but if you were only an “hour-on-Sunday” enterprise you were already vastly diminishing the vision and mission of the church.

While every church should embrace, celebrate and promote corporate worship, too many churches made that celebration the end-all for the life of the church. We say that the church isn’t bricks and mortar, but a community of faith that can be strategically served by bricks and mortar. Yet too many churches were never leaving the building. The goal of the church is to be the church in the community where it resides, attempting to reach and serve in the name of Jesus. The pandemic has broken us out of our gospel ghettos and holy huddles and into the neighborhoods and streets where we live.

So ask yourself, in a way perhaps you never have before:

“What are we doing here?”

And then let the answer take you places you’ve never been before, in order to be more relevant and effective than ever.

In order to go to those places, we encourage generosity in every aspect of our common life. Through the ways we volunteer our time to the church and wider community; through the ways we offer our specific gifts and talents in service of our Lord; and in the ways we use our financial resources.

We believe that responsible and disciplined financial stewardship – giving back to God a portion of what God has given us – is critical to spiritual health. It is important for the life of our church and ministry at this time. By giving freely and bountifully to God through the ministry of St. Paul's, we enable a tremendous amount of good work to be done within and outside our four walls.


by clicking here
you will have access to view three important meetings which took place in July:


1. Special Meeting with Bishop Hunn in Lieu of our second ‘Quarterly Annual Meeting’ - July 19, 2020 – Summary

2. Special Bishops Committee Meeting
with Bishop Hunn Minutes
July 17, 2020

3. Bishops Committee Meeting Minutes – July 12th 2020

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



The 2020 Census self-response deadline is September 30 and it's never been more important to respond. Census takers are currently out in communities to ensure a complete and accurate count. A miscount of the community risks leaving out people of color, immigrants, and other historically undercounted groups. Census data determines a state’s congressional seats and federal funding for Medicare, Medicaid, and other essential resources. 
Respond today! You can go online at or call 844-330-2020 for English and 844-468-2020 for Spanish.



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 Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 15
August 16, 2020

Isaiah 56: 1, 6-8
Psalm 67
Romans 11: 1-2a, 29-32
Matthew 15: 21-28

Matthew 15:21-28

Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith!”

Nothing can hold back
the brave woman from Canaah.

Not religious boundaries,
 not gender rules,
him the
 needs of her 
 precious child.

Dear Lord,
 give us faith like this unswerving woman.
Make us stubborn. Fearless.
Bold, creative.

 Whatever it  

Let us hear, “O, great is your faith.
Let it be done for you
as you wish” 

Isaiah 56:1, 6-7

My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.

Lord, the door to your
 house of prayer
stands open

No locks,
no “members only,”
no first or second class,
no dress codes.
No dues.

Love alone.

Romans 11:13-15, 29-32

For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.

Infinite God, 

you pour out your
all who
will receive it. 

Fond Father,
thank you for your care.
Please help us and our world
  to receive it.

Anne Osdieck


"In Remembrance of Crumbs"

(Matthew 15:21-28)

“In remembrance”,
 the young minister said
as he pointed to a prepared table.
Whispers could be heard.
“Christ’s body … Christ’s blood”.
Over and over again -
“Christ’s body … Christ’s blood”.
The words ended only
 when all had been fed.

The crumbs of the ripped-apart loaves
had fallen at his feet.
When all had been served,
the minister, a guest in the church,
bent down to pick up one crumb.
“Tidy”, I thought.
“He is so tidy.”

The service soon ended.
While all others were shaking hands
and discussing where to meet
for Sunday lunch,
the minister, this guest in our ‘house’,
fell to his hands and knees
and began to pick up crumbs.
One at a time - crumb after crumb …
finally brushing them
with one hand
into a small pile of crumbs.

I whispered to him,
“You shouldn’t do that.
I will clean the crumbs
from the carpet.”
He looked at me,
still on his hands and knees,
and said …
“I have been made worthy
to receive these crumbs.
I do this in remembrance.”

And then with a smile, he whispered,
“Would you care to join me?”
And so, that morning
I found myself on my knees,
picking up crumbs,
brushing them into a small pile.
This, too, I did ‘in remembrance’
of the day when I said,
“Lord, help me” …
the day that the
crumbs of Grace
filled me with
Holy Nourishment.


(Matthew 15:21-28)
Jesus’ ministry
was challenged, changed, expanded
by surprising faith.

A pleading woman,
a Gentile who knows God is
for everyone.

Are our ministries,
also expanded by those
who have challenged us?
Jeff Shrowder, 2017


Attribute of God

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.

-William Shakespeare 
The Merchant of Venice 4:1 (Portia)


Matthew 15.10-28: Stella's Table Manners

After a difficult beginning in life, Stella (a German shepherd-Husky-Rottweiler mix) came to live in a very good home. However, Stella will occasionally get overly enthusiastic when dinner begins and will beg at the table. When that happens, Stella's people will get her attention with the words, "Stella. Table manners." The image of dogs eating under and arround the dinner table is familiar to many people who share their lives with dogs. Jesus' exchange with the Canaanite woman about children, bread and dogs - the Gospel reading for Proper 15(20)A/Pentecost 11A (Matthew 15:(10-20) 21-28) - adds something new to the conversation. Jesus' association of bread, table, children and dogs offers a strategy for looking at images of the Last Supper. Are there crumbs falling from that particular table? Are there any references to Jesus' conversation with the Canaanite woman?

Jacopo Tintoretto painted at least ten different versions of the Last Supper. They are busy, active scenes - quite a contrast to the solemn poses and perfect perspective of, say, Leonardo's iconic version. In Tintoretto's compositions, the disciples are not alone with Jesus - other people are present. In one version, the dishes are being washed in the same room as the supper while smoke and doves fill the space. In the version at left (top), now hanging in Venice's Santo Stefano church, a dog is shown on the steps directly beneath Jesus. The line of the dog's body, which points directly to Jesus, is echoed by the line of a child (to the right of the dog) and by the line of a women (to the left of the dog). Dog, child, table, woman. The reference is to Jesus' conversation with the Canaanite women.

The bottom image is another of Tintoretto's versions of the Last Supper. There is another dog present on the steps leading up to the table where Jesus (at the back of the room) is eating with his disciples. What do you see in that image? Is there a woman and/or a child? Who are the human figures on the stairs? Is there something about those people that should make us think of crumbs falling from the table?

As we gather around the Lord's table, we should mind our own table manners. Is everyone being served? Is everyone welcome? Is anyone relegated to receiving only the crumbs that fall from the table?


A Quiet Life by Baron Wormser

What a person desires in life
is a properly boiled egg.
This isn’t as easy as it seems.
There must be gas and a stove,
the gas requires pipelines, mastodon drills,
banks that dispense the lozenge of capital.
There must be a pot, the product of mines
and furnaces and factories,
of dim early mornings and night-owl shifts,
of women in kerchiefs and men with
sweat-soaked hair.
Then water, the stuff of clouds and skies
and God knows what causes it to happen.
There seems always too much or too little
of it and more pipelines, meters, pumping
stations, towers, tanks.
And salt - a miracle of the first order,
the ace in any argument for God.
Only God could have imagined from
nothingness the pang of salt.
Political peace too. It should be quiet
when one eats an egg. No political hoodlums
knocking down doors, no lieutenants who are
ticked off at their scheming girlfriends and
take it out on you, no dictators
posing as tribunes.
It should be quiet, so quiet you can hear
the chicken, a creature usually mocked as a type
of fool, a cluck chained to the chore of her body.
Listen, she is there, pecking at a bit of grain
that came from nowhere.

+ Baron Wormser

Thankfulness and Celebration and News

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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