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.

Bishop Rob Wright, the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta wrote the following in his column last week. Please take what he says to your prayers during this election season. 


When the church is aflame with bitter political partisanship rather than the fire of the love of God, then functionally we have become atheists. That kind of church is an offense to the example and teachings of Christ. That kind of church is at best a group of religious performance artists or at worst idolaters. There aren’t enough strong words to condemn this culturally preferred and accepted betrayal of Jesus’ vision. When the church forfeits her sacred calling and becomes a pawn and public relations firm for either political party she refuses her spiritual inheritance and she frustrates the grace of God. She becomes like the salt Jesus spoke of, "having lost its saltiness deserves to be crushed underfoot." Not nearly enough of us in the church condemn this behavior for fear of shrinking membership and monetary donations. Political partisanship of one stripe or the other has successfully cowered much of religious leadership. Too often these days the church resembles the prodigal son, running from a loving parent, bankrupt, on his knees, and eating from a pig trough! This behavior has helped to cause the absence of young people in our churches. They are right to call us hypocrites when they notice the gap between our Sunday proclamation of love and our Monday incarnation of contempt. They are right to look for spiritual meaning and depth beyond the doors of our churches if we refuse to be Christ’s church. The church was founded to manifest the timeless truth of God revealed in Jesus of Nazareth. The church was founded to assist God in God’s search and rescue mission to a drowning world. The church was meant to be a brilliant “other” to the world. We were organized to be planned community - a “colony of heaven” - perpetually in the midst of hell so that people would be saved by seeing and choosing the contrast. We were always meant to be a transformed and transformational community. The church was founded to hope in God, not politicians or political systems. We were not founded to join politicians of any party in their craven coveting of power or their ceaseless disparaging of members of the American family. When we find that political rhetoric and political contempt for people who do not share our political views is our norm, even though we have pledged to “…respect the dignity of every human being…,” then it should be clear, we are a part of the problem. Still, even with the depth and severity of our betrayal, there’s still good news, God delights in showing mercy! So we can acknowledge that we have wandered away from our God and God’s purposes. We can repent and ask for God’s forgiveness and we can bend our lives toward the vision Jesus actually modeled. We can replace our regular vocabulary of rancor with one of extraordinary Christian resolve. The hope of the world remains for more of us to choose daily to follow Jesus Christ. So yes, vote. Vote your Baptismal Covenant. But every day leading up to voting and every day after remember you cannot serve both God and partisan politics.


Bishop's Committee News---Four things
1. Congregational Vitality Assessment Results

The Congregational Vitality Assessment is designed to provide a congregation with an assessment of its Vitality (how healthy it is) and its Sustainability (whether it has the people, financial, and contextual resources necessary to survive). Click Here for the results. Let us know if there is something you disagree with or are concerned about.

2. Minutes for the September Bishop's Committee Meeting
Click here.


This Fall we will be we will be walking together through a process of
spiritual-growth that will depend our biblical understanding of Christian stewardship. We will not be focusing on the need of the church to receive but rather to focus ourselves on there need of every Christian to think through their finances, and what they give to God as part of our own spiritual development.

Will you be willing to serve on the stewardship team for carrying out this program for St. Paul's?  I hope so. Let us know.

 4. In person worship...

With the every changing active cases of the Covid-19 Virus, the Bishop's Committee will decide every Friday whether to have in person or not on any given Sunday. Make sure you check the announcements which come out every Saturday at 10:00 as to whether we will have both inn person worship and live-stream or worship or just live-stream.

October Hymn of the Month – by Beth Kerzee
When We Are Living (Pues Si Vivimos)

Mexican folk hymn, and Roberto Escamilla
“Pues Si Vivimos”

Pues si vivimos, para El vivimos When we are living, it is in Christ Jesus,
y si morimos para El morimos. And when we’re dying, it is in the Lord.
Sea que vivamos o que muramos, Both in our living and in our dying,
Somos del Señor, somos del Señor. We belong to God, we belong to God.*

This gentle and assuring Mexican folk hymn has quickly become a favorite song in both Spanish and English-speaking churches in a variety of denominations. To date it has been published in over thirteen denominational hymnals or songbooks. While this hymn is lovely in its simplicity of melody and message, its origin is a bit more complicated. The first stanza was recorded and transcribed by Gertrude Suppe, after meeting a Mexican woman in Los Angeles following a worship service. Roberto Escamilla, editor of Celebremos II [A collection intended to incorporate more Mexican American songs into worship], added three additional verses in Spanish. These words were translated into English by George Lockwood, thereby creating the hymn as we know it today. Robert Escamilla is a native of Hidalgo, Mexico, and has served many United Methodist churches in Texas and Oklahoma, both Spanish and English-speaking. He has a distinguished career as a pastor and a teacher that has spanned decades 

This hymn’s first stanza references Romans 14:8 and as we can see it follows the biblical text very closely.

“If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living” (NRSV).

The meaning is clear that whether living of dying, we are not alone, we belong to God. Furthermore, it reminds us of the resurrection promise and heritage that is ours because Christ died for us and lives again. What an amazing assurance that is for all Christians, and what a great reminder we
need every day!

Stanzas 2-4, written by Dr. Escamilla, are based more loosely on John 15:8, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” He continues the technique of binary opposition begun in the first stanza, which uses “living or dying.” Stanza two centers on our lives and how we are to live it and finishes by contrasting “giving or receiving.” Stanza three centers on our human feelings of joy and sadness and concludes with contrasting “suffering and rejoicing.” The final stanza looks outward to the whole world and a Christian’s response to the needs of humanity. The contrast here is “help or nurture,” which is not actually a contrast, but two ways to serve a hurting world. While this hymn didn’t start out being a four-stanza theological stance on the way a follower of Jesus Christ believes and acts, it was nevertheless developed into a concise statement doing just


The Big Bend Blanket Ministry (created by our own Kerie van Zeÿst), based in Far West Texas, comes together to provide blankets to people in rural areas along the Borderland.  If you would like to donate a blanket to those in need they are $20 each for thick cotton blend blankets.  Our first 2020 distribution will be in October. With the COVID-19 pandemic and high unemployment our shelters are full and it is more important than ever to get as many blankets out those in need as possible this winter. If you know of anyone in need of a blanket or would like to donate a blanket please let us know! To contribute, put cash in an envelope marked "Blanket" at leave it the collection plate at St. Paul's or write a check to St. Paul's with 'Blanket' in the memo section or go to and put "Blanket" in the noteTHANK YOU!


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

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

Nancy Antrim's Ordination to the Diaconate
Saturday, October 17
2:00 Central Time
Live on Diocese of Rio Grande Facebook Page
Click Here




We are planning to have our annual Thanksgiving meal shared with whoever shows up.
This will be done with Covid-modifications.
Watch for details in the weeks to come.
Watch for volunteer opportunities and dish signups.

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



The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 24
October 11, 2020

Isaiah 45:1-7
Psalm 96:1-13
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 25: 15-22

Reflection: Matthew 22: 15-22

For many years
we have had the mistaken notion
that all the problems of the world
can be solved with a few dollar bills.

In Jesus' time
the Pharisees came to ask him if they should
pay taxes,
and Jesus, looking at a silver coin,
asked whose face and name were engraved on it.
"The Emperor's," they said.
"Well then, pay to the Emperor what is his" Jesus replied.

Has God's face
ever been on a coin?
We are the coin
that bears the living likeness of God.
Giving of ourselves
with whatever that may include,
is the only legal currency
of the kingdom of heaven.

~ from the 
Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

Tattoo by Michael Coffey

Show me the coin used for the tax." And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, "Whose head is this, and whose title?" They answered, "The emperor's." Then he said to them, "Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's." - Matthew 22:19-21
The unseen artist uses invisible inks and needles them
into you in patterns and colors and words that
work their way beneath the epidermis and dermis
right on through to the blood and the bone

and with electric impulse make their way to
nerve fiber and spine on up to the cerebellum
there your holy tattooed brand shapes visions
causes revelations of who and why you are and
notions of what you are inspired to do on this earth
with your body and mind, your money and heart
and seconds slipping by even now you count them down

swayed by the indelibility of your own extravagant worth
you resist spending your coins or bills or compassion or vigor
on the shenanigans of market gods and credit seductions
you repel from falling into the bloated trap of allegiance
to nation or munitions or religious tribe which will
take all you have to give until you have spent yourself empty
all of you, even the parts you meant to save for yourself

one marked and signified and summoned such as you
will spend the wealth of yourself as the artist does
pouring out costly love like blood meal on marigolds
inking life into the art of another soul expensive
living the artist’s dream of a gorgeously colored world
as yet only sketched on the canvas of our marvelous minds

belongs to God by Jenn Gordon
Matthew 22: 15-22
I give to God
the earth beneath my feet, the sky above
the struggle of this fumbling faith
unbridled love

the smell of lemon scented gums
and ginger cake
the spring of misty morning bread
and arms that bake

the blush of brides and flight of birds
and music that I haven’t heard
the press of flesh and taste of home
the touch of linen, fresh and warm
the hand that holds each tiny spark
and lights a candle
from the dark

the tears of life still wet and numb
an orange flower
the years of edgy, yearning prayer
the pre-dawn hour

the mess of thoughts and tang of dog
and soft caress of salty fog
the silky sound of pounding seas
the verdant pull of mushy peas
the words that trap each binding fear
and send them far
away from here

I give to God
the earth beneath my feet, the sky above
the struggle of this fumbling faith
unbridled love

What is the work of human works if not to establish, in and by means of each one of us, an absolutely original center in which the universe reflects itself in a unique and inimitable way?

-Pierre Teilhard de Chard

Image and Likeness

-Megan McKenna
On Your Mark: Reading Mark in the Shadow of the Cross

In Genesis we read that we are made in the image and likeness of God: "God created man in his image, in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27). Each person is created singularly, uniquely, reflecting something of God in their person. But when minting coins a ruler makes all the images exactly the same; they are flat representations of himself. When Jesus asks for the coin and poses the question, "Whose image and inscription is this?" they respond with Caesar's name and image. … The coin belongs to Caesar, but the person, the human being, belongs solely to God. 


As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme; 
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells 
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s 
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name; 
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: 
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; 
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, 
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came. 
Í say móre: the just man justices; 
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces; 
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Chríst—for Christ plays in ten thousand places, 
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

-Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844-1889

Domination Systems-Marcus Borg
Thus this text offers little or no guidance for tax season. It neither claims taxation is legitimate nor gives aid to anti-tax activists. It neither counsels universal acceptance of political authority nor its reverse. But it does raise the provocative and still relevant question: what belongs to God, and what belongs to Caesar? And what if Caesar is Hitler, or apartheid, or communism, or global capitalism? What is to be the attitude of Christians toward domination systems, whether ancient or modern?

Man is never truly himself except when he is actively creating something.

-Dorothy Sayers 1893-1957
Begin Here: A Wartime Essay

Thankfulness and Celebration
and News
Thank you to Scott for maintaining our beautiful campus

Thank you to all who have contributed to our blanket drive.

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 Marfa Food Pantry.







If you choose to come to church instead of viewing live-stream worship....Read the following:

  • Ask yourself whether you currently have any of the following symptoms. If your answer is “yes,” please stay home and watch the service at
    • Fever (99°F or higher)
    • Chills
    • Muscle aches
    • Cough (new)
    • Shortness of breath (new)
    • Unexpected fatigue
    • Sore throat
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Headache
    • Diarrhea
    • Vomiting
    • Nausea
    • Other cold symptoms
  • Have a mask ready. Everyone must wear a mask in order to enter the building. If you arrive at church without a mask, one will be provided. 
  • Seating in the sanctuary will be limited. Overflow seating will be offered in our hall.


  • Be mindful of physical distancing. Follow posted instructions regarding traffic flow.
  • Enter through the main sanctuary entrance on Highland Avenue.
  • Ushers provide you with a mask if necessary.
  • Ushers will seat you. In order to maintain physical distancing, congregants will be seated six feet apart as the pews are marked, from the front of the sanctuary to the back, and will be dismissed from the back of the sanctuary to the front. Members of the same household will be seated together.
  • Expect changes to the service. 
    • Hymns will be sung by our organist only (Beth has a beautiful voice); there will be no congregational singing although quiet humming would be acceptable.
    • Communion will be brought to you. Instead of the chalice we will have individual communion cups
  • There will be no coffee hour.

As we have done since our pandemic responses have been in place, please let me know if you wish to receive communion at home or wish for a pastoral visit in person or by Zoom. I will look forward to seeing you, one way or another, on Sunday.


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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