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.


See important dates at the end of this column

Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department of Boston University, wrote a book titled Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know – and Doesn’t. Prothero has often administered a fifteen-question quiz to his undergraduate students - one which they consistently fail.

Game to give it a try?

Here’s the test (answers at the end of this column):

 Directions: Tally your points and multiply by two to get your score out of 100.

1 point each: Name the Four Gospels.

1 point: Name a sacred text of Hinduism.

 1 point: What is the name of the holy book of Islam?

 1 point: Where, according to the Bible, was Jesus born?

 1 point: President George W. Bush spoke in his first inaugural address of the Jericho road. What Bible story was he invoking? (Hint...Last Sundays Gospel)

 1 point each: What are the first five books of the Hebrew Bible or the Christian Old Testament?

 1 point: What is the Golden Rule?

 2 points: “God helps those who help themselves.” Is this in the Bible? If so, where?

 2 points: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” Does this appear in the Bible?

 10 points: Name the Ten Commandments.

 4 points: Name the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.

 7 points: What are the Seven Sacraments of Catholicism?

 1 point each: The First Amendment says two things about religion, each in its own “clause.” What are its two religion clauses?

 2 points: What is Ramadan? In what religion is it celebrated?

 7 points: Match the Bible characters with the stories in which they appear. Some characters may be matched with more than one story or vice versa.

Characters: Adam and Eve, Noah, Paul, Moses, Jesus, Abraham, Serpent.

Stories: Exodus, Binding of Isaac, Olive Branch, Garden of Eden, Parting of the Red Sea, Road to Damascus, Garden of Gethsemane.

Prothero argues, and rightly so, that everyone needs to grasp Bible basics, as well as the core beliefs, stories, symbols and heroes of other faiths. In a commentary for the Los Angeles Times, titled “We live in the land of biblical idiots,” Prothero (who grew up Episcopalian and now calls himself a spiritually “confused Christian”) maintains that biblical illiteracy is not just a religious problem. It is a civic problem with political consequences. “How can citizens participate in biblically inflected debates on abortion, capital punishment or the environment without knowing something about the Bible?… An entire generation of Americans is growing up almost entirely ignorant of the most influential book in world history, unable to understand the 1,300 biblical allusions in Shakespeare, [or] the scriptural oratory of President Lincoln and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

James Emery White says: "Such admonishments are hardly new. In the late 1980s, E.D. Hirsch burst onto the scene with his idea of “cultural literacy,” which detailed the importance of having a core of background knowledge for functional literacy and effective national communication, much of it including religion.  In my own A Mind for God, I argue for the importance of foundational biblical, historical, and theological literacy, and the importance of churches serving the pursuit of such literacy."

As Winston Churchill presciently stated in his address to Harvard University in 1943, “The empires of the future will be empires of the mind.” Alister McGrath, reflecting on Churchill’s address, notes that Churchill’s point was that a great transition was taking place in Western culture with immense implications for all who live in it. The powers of the new world would not be nation-states, as with empires past, but ideologies. It would now be ideas, not nations, which would captivate and conquer in the future. The starting point for the conquest of the world would now be the human mind. Adds John Stott, “We may talk of ‘conquering’ the world for Christ. But what sort of ‘conquest’ do we mean? Not a victory by force of arms...This is a battle of ideas.”

Prothero’s challenge is a call to learn about those ideas.

So how did you score?


Don't forget, over the next two Sundays, we are using the loose plate collection to gather money to give to Bill Smith in thanksgiving for his ministry over the next two Sundays! You certainly can write a check if you wish.

Shalom, Y'all,



A celebration of thanksgiving for Bill and Gail Smith who have made the drive form Sanderson for almost 28 years to Marfa and provided beautiful music from our organ.

We will begin with the Eucharist at 10:30 and followed by a pot luck lunch.

August 11 - 5:00 - 6:30
Ice Cream Social & School Supplies Give Away

August 15 - 10:00
Memorial Service for Lonn Taylor

Answers to the Test:

*Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

*Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Yoga Sutras, Laws of Manu, or Kama Sutra



*Good Samaritan

*Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

*”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Mt. 7:12) Or a similar statement from Rabbi Hillel or Confucius. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is not the Golden Rule.

*No, this is not in the Bible. In fact, it is contradicted in Proverbs 28:26. “He who trusts in himself is a fool.” The words are Ben Franklin’s.

*Yes, in the Beatitudes of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:3).

*No other gods before me; you shall not make yourself a graven image; you shall not take the name of the Lord in vain; remember the Sabbath and keep it holy; honor your father and mother; you shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor; you shall not covet.

*Life is suffering; suffering has an origin; suffering can be overcome (nirvana); the path to overcoming suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path.

*Baptism, Eucharist/mass, reconciliation/confession/penance, confirmation, marriage, holy orders, anointing of the sick/last rites.

*“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”; the words before the comma are the Establishment Clause, the words that follow are the Free Exercise Clause.

*Ramadan is a Muslim holiday characterized by a month of fasting.

*Adam and Eve + Garden of Eden; Serpent + Garden of Eden; Abraham + Binding of Isaac; Moses + Exodus/Parting of the Red Sea; Noah + Olive Branch; Jesus + Garden of Gethsemane; Paul + Road to Damascus.

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 11
July 21,2019

Amos 8:1-12
Psalm 52
Colossians 1:15-28
Luke 10:38-42

Amos 8.1-12: A Basket of Fruit

The fruits of summer are enticing. Peaches are at their peak in July and August (in the northern hemisphere). Watermelons, blueberries, and raspberries are all part of summer. Those may not have been the exact fruits that Amos saw, but the result would have been the same: just looking at the fruit would give you a taste of summer (Amos 8:1-12). 

Students (and teachers!) know that as those fruits ripen it means that summer is moving on toward fall. It's not always a great feeling. You wish for what has passed. You want more time to do the things you haven't yet done over summer vacation. You do your best to live in the moment, not thinking about the change of seasons that is to come. 

Amos' vision is that feeling exponentially increased. The end is near, alright. But it isn't the end of summer vacation. It's way more serious than that. The end has come upon my people Israel, God says. It won't be pretty. 

A basket or bowl of fruit is a typical painting subject. And sometimes it's just a bowl of fruit. But for other artists (notably of the Dutch school) the bowl of fruit becomes a symbol with similar overtones to the Amos story. 

The basket of fruit here is by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Known for creating paintings with dramatic lights and darks, the artist has used none of that here. the basket sits against a neutral background on what appears to be a wooden shelf. Historians aren't sure why the painting was made. Was it to prove the artist's ability to paint realistically (notice the small shadow under the basket indicating it is jutting out slightly over the edge of the shelf)? Was it for a particular spot in the artist's house - or a patron's house? Was it meant to be hung on a wall or above a door, perhaps? Maybe the shelf under the basket mimicked an actual shelf or door molding. 

Caravaggio. Basket of Fruit. 1597-1600. Oil on canvas. Milan: Pinacotheca Ambrosiana.

Though the basket looks like you could reach into the painting and choose a piece of fruit to eat, you might not want to choose the apple. If you look closely you can see that a worm has been there before you. Even in this beautiful assemblage of fruit, the end is coming. Leaves are starting to wither, and some bear holes that indicate insects of some kind have been here. 

The end has come upon my people Israel, God says. If you look closely, you can see it coming. 


Luke 10.38-42: Choose Both

What do you do if you enjoy spending time in the kitchen AND in the library? The gospel reading for Proper 11C/ Ordinary 16C (Luke 10:38-42) is the familiar and overly dichotomized story of Lazarus' sisters: Martha and Mary. They are easily set against one another:
Martha was too busy for Jesus. Mary chose the better part.
Martha was overly concerned with her work in the kitchen. Mary chose the better part.
Martha was a complainer. Mary chose the better part.
Martha is the "active" life. Mary is the "contemplative" (and better) part. 
But  plenty of people have found balance between these false dichotomies. They live a faith that is both active and contemplative. One of the most succinct directives for such a life came from Mother Ann Lee, founder of the Shaker societies that appeared in 19th-century America. Ann Lee was born in England but traveled to America with her "followers" in 1774 after suffering persecution in England. The Shakers (more accurately The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing) believed in equality of the sexes and races and believed that Ann Lee herself represented the manifestation of Christ's spirit on earth. They practiced celibacy and counted on conversions to grow their numbers. There are currently three Shakers in America.
One of the mottoes of Mother Ann Lee offers wisdom for Mary, Martha and any of us who think that following Jesus means either active or contemplative. Mother Ann's directive was "Hands to work and hearts to God." Mary and Martha should have been happy with that directive. Though not a Shaker design, one of the places to see Mother Ann's directive about hearts and hands translated into design is through the "heart in hand" cookie cutter. The cookie cutter (and its design) is probably more Pennsylvania Dutch than Shaker, but the concepts are related. And both are a good reminder about balance rather than choosing one.
Both of the above come from Art and Faith.

18th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
The Wisdom Jesus
Cynthia Bourgeault

18th - Thursday - Bartolomé de las Casas, Friar and Missionary to the Indies, 1566

19th - Friday - Macrina, Monastic and Teacher, 379
Adelaide Teague Case, Teacher, 1948

20th - 6:00 - Charlotte O'Brien - Kody Key Wedding
St. Paul's, Marfa
20th - Saturday -  Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1902; Amelia Bloomer, 1894;Sojourner Truth, 1883;
 and Harriet Ross Tubman, 1913, Liberators and Prophets

21st - Sixth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 11
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
21st - Sunday - Albert John Luthuli, Prophetic Witness in South Africa, 1967

24th - Wednesday - Thomas à Kempis, Priest, 1471

25th - 4:00 - Bishop's Committee
St. Paul's, Marfa

25th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita

26th - Friday - Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

27th - 9:30 - 2:00 - Deanery Meeting
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Roswell, NM

27th - 9:30-Noon - Order of St. Luke
Big Bend Regional Medical Center, Alpine
27th - Saturday - William Reed Huntington, Priest, 1909

28th - Seventh Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 12
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
11:30 - Pot Luck Lunch and Celebrating the Ministry of Bill and Gail Smith

28th - Sunday - Johann Sebastian Bach, 1750, George Frederick Handel, 1759, and Henry Purcell, 1695, Composers
29th - Monday - Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany
30th - Tuesday -  William Wilberforce, 1833, and Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, 1885,
Prophetic Witnesses
31st - Wednesday - Ignatius of Loyola, Priest and Monastic, 1556


1st - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
1st - Thursday - Joseph of Arimathaea
2nd - Friday - Samuel Ferguson, Missionary Bishop for West Africa, 1916

3rd - Poverty & Outreach
3rd - Saturday -  George Freeman Bragg, Jr., Priest, 1940
William Edward Burghardt DuBois, Sociologist, 1963

4th - Eighth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 13
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Holy Eucharist

5th - Monday - Albrecht Dürer, 1528, Matthias Grünewald, 1529, and Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1553, Artists
7th - Wednesday - John Mason Neale, Priest, 1866
 Catherine Winkworth, Poet, 1878
8th - Thursday -  Dominic, Priest and Friar, 1221
9th - Friday - Herman of Alaska, Missionary to the Aleut, 1837
10th - Saturday -  Laurence, Deacon, and Martyr at Rome, 258
9th - Friday - Herman of Alaska, Missionary to the Aleut, 1837

11th - Ninth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 14
9:00 - Bishop's Committee
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
11th - Sunday - Clare, Abbess at Assisi, 1253

Here is who we prayed for in church
last Sunday.

Any changes, please let us know.

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 Province de L'Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda... In our Diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for St. Paul's, Truth or Consequences, Christ Church,  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, that the Spirit will inspire human hearts to turn from violence, and work together to defeat the common enemies of disease, ignorance and poverty….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: that God will help them rebuild their lives, give them strength to face their challenges and touch the hearts of many to assist them…,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 people living in far after a series of earthquakes and aftershocks in California,  for people struggling to move forward after natural disasters…..

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 wall…Pray: Jennifer & David, Soul of Danielle, Guidance, Change in USA, Compassion. Hope: Peace & Understanding…Thank: time, love, words, new baby, for my husband…..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 and  Catherine in the midst of chemotherapy, …for Michael Simpson, Dale and 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 Donnie who is in Hospice care....

Those who have died

Lonn Taylor, Dale Sherman

God of mercy and kindness, who gave us the great commandment of love, hear the prayers we offer this day and grant that we may always bear fruit and lead lives worthy of our calling, through Jesus Christ our Savior. 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.

Blessed to be a Blessing, sponsored by the Women’s Ministry of the Diocese, are one-day summer seminars exploring how our faith fore-mothers inspire and empower us to live and share our faith. On July 27 we’ll be at St. Paul’s/Peace, Las Vegas. There will be a third ‘day’ at St. John’s, Alamogordo on August 10. Each day is from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. If you live within a 2-hour radius of the event, you are esp. invited to attend. If you live further, pick your favorite location and make it a girls’ weekend by inviting a friend to come and explore a new area and new church. Register online at or contact Cindy Davis ( Cost is $20 to cover lunch and supplies.

Presiding Bishop issues video message on immigration:
‘Who is my neighbor?’


“Deeply embedded in the Christian faith, indeed deeply embedded in the Jewish tradition, which is the mother of the Christian faith, and deeply embedded in the faith and traditions and values of many of the world’s great religions, is a profound conviction in a sure and certain value and virtue that care for the stranger, the alien, the visitor, is a sacred duty, a sacred vow.”

The Presiding Bishop’s video message can be found here:


I’m Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. It goes without saying that there is a humanitarian crisis at the southern border of the United States. It is a human crisis, a crisis that has deep and complex roots, sources, and origins. But it is a crisis, a crisis of the human children of God.

There is suffering and there is hardship.

There is complexity and difficulty.

But it is a crisis that we as nation, that we as a global community, must face and find a way forward for the sake of our brothers and our sisters, for the sake of us all.

Deeply embedded in the Christian faith, indeed deeply embedded in the Jewish tradition, which is the mother of the Christian faith, and deeply embedded in the faith and traditions and values of many of the world’s great religions, is a profound conviction in a sure and certain value and virtue that care for the stranger, the alien, the visitor, is a sacred duty, a sacred vow.

In the Hebrew scriptures in the book of Deuteronomy, the book writes and says you shall love the stranger, for remember you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.

In the 25th chapter of Matthew in the New Testament, Jesus in the parable of the last judgment says that when you welcomed the stranger, when you did it to these who are members of my family, you have done it to me.

When you welcome the stranger, you welcome Jesus. The book of Hebrews in the New Testament says those who have welcomed the strangers have sometimes welcomed angels unawares.

Welcoming the stranger, or as some translations call the alien, welcoming those who are visiting among us is a cardinal virtue and value in our Christian faith.

Jesus was talking to a lawyer once; the story is told in Luke’s gospel. And, when he was talking to the lawyer, the lawyer asked him what he must do to inherit eternal life. And Jesus said, what did Moses teach in the Hebrew scriptures? The lawyer said, well, Moses said you shall love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself.

And Jesus said do that and you will find life.

But the lawyer went on and he asked, well, can we define neighbor more precisely? Who is my neighbor? And that’s when Jesus told what we now know as the Parable of the Good Samaritan where one person helped another person, a person who was completely unlike them, someone that person considered other, not my tribe, not my nationality, not my religion, not even my friend. And Jesus at the end of the parable said, who was the neighbor to the man who was in need? And the lawyer said, well the one who actually showed compassion.

And Jesus said, now go and do that likewise.

That parable of the Good Samaritan invites us, calls us, challenges us, to be neighbor to the neighbor.

Some of our neighbors are at the border and some of our neighbors are those who have immigrated to this country and are living right in our neighborhood or in our city or in our community, or our state. To show compassion to them is to obey Jesus. Go and do likewise.

Show compassion. Show mercy. Help the neighbor. Help the stranger. Love the Lord your God. And love your neighbor as yourself.

Find migration, refugee, and immigration information and ways you can take action on your own here (OGR/EPPN) and here (EMM).

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Stop by the ESC Booth at Wild Goose

Are you attending the Wild Goose Festival this week? If you are, drop by the Episcopal Tent and visit with Megan Cox of Blue Ridge Service Corps and Aleta Payne of Johnson Service Corps and pick up your ESC swag. 

Megan and Aleta will be in the Episcopal Tent talking all things ESC at 2 pm on Saturday. Post pics to social media using #Episcopal and #ServiceYear.
Spaces remain for the 2019-2020 #ServiceYear

It's not too late to join an ESC Program for the 2019-2020 #ServiceYear.

If you know someone who might be a good candidate for ESC, please forward this email to them, letting them know why you think they'd make a great Corps member and including a link to the ESC application.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the transformative ministry of Episcopal Service Corps.

Job Opportunity

Deaconess Anne House (DAH), the St. Louis branch of the Episcopal Service Corps, is hiring a full-time Director. DAH is located in ONSL and houses approximately 4-7 corps members for an 11 month term. The DAH Director serves as a leader and mentor to the Corps members living in the community. The Director also serves as a point of contact to the ONSL neighborhood and the Diocese of Missouri. By engaging with variety of non-profits, congregations, and justice movements, the Director helps to spread the Gospel, as well as build relationships and network for the benefit of the corps members and the communities in which they serve. 

Click here for the complete job description and application instructions.
“Those who are happiest 
are those who do the most for others.”
Booker T. Washington
Watch Presiding Bishop Curry's New Video Promoting ESC
Join the ESC Alumni Facebook Page

Stay connected! If you're an ESC Alumni take a minute to "Like" our new Alumni Facebook Page:
Episcopal Service Corps is coordinated by the Department of Faith Formation of The Episcopal Church. 
Contact us:

Thank you Janelle who has beatified our campus with native plants.

Thank you to Nancy O'Brien for beautifying St. Paul's inside and out for the occasion of Charlotte's wedding.

Thank you to Bob for overseeing the work being done at St. Paul's


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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