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.



Dear Friends, 

It appears we will be welcomed home this Sunday (September 13). Services will be at 10:30 as normal, but that is about where normal is going to end. We will be experiencing a “new normal” for a bit before we return to the way things were before the pandemic impacted us. 


Masks will be mandatory and physical distancing will be in effect. We will also be disinfecting and cleaning like crazy. Overflow attendance made necessary by social distancing will be in the hall. Below is a list of most everything you may expect when you arrive. 


As your Vicar my primary goal has been to see that we all arrive safely back at church. My goal remains the same, everybody safe.


I celebrate that fact that a majority of our people were able to experience worship online while we have been away, but sadly some were not. So we have some herding to do to locate our missing sheep and bring them home to the sheepfold, either in the church building or by assisting them to experience worship online.


If you are hesitant to return on Sunday please know we understand and support you. Please continue to join the services online and if you have problems accessing them let us help you. Just give us a call or send an email. 


I don’t know about you, but in the midst of all the excitement in the last few months I found the Holy Spirit everywhere I looked. We loved God more than ever. We cared for our neighbors. We loved each other as Christ loved us. We worshipped, small groups prospered, finances mostly intact. The hungry were fed. And in the meantime we learned a lot of new skills that will enhance our ministries in the future. God has been extremely good to us. Thanks be to God.  Mike+


  • 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.


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:

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

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 Fifthteenth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 19
September 13, 2020

Genesis 50: 15-21
Psalm 103: 1-13
Romans 14: 1-12
Matthew 18: 21-35


Matthew 18.21-25: As We Are Forgiven

Art and Faith Matters

How many times should we forgive? (Matthew 18:21-25) Think about the nuances of the question if it is changed slightly: How many times do I have to forgive? Have to or should, Jesus' answer is the same: there's no number. You must forgive as many times as God forgave by sending Jesus in human form to die for us. Oh. 

The parable Jesus tells drives home the fact that we are obligated to forgive others if we ourselves have been forgiven. If the language sounds familiar, I'm sure that's not by accident. Earlier in Matthew's gospel, when the disciples asked Jesus how they should pray, his model included the phrase "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." 

The connection between the parable and the petition is clear in the relief panels of the bronze doors on the Grossmunster in Zurich, Switzerland. Construction began on the church about the year 1100 and was completed about 1220. The Grossmunster became a Protestant church under the leadership of Huldryc (Huldrich? Huldrych? Ulrich?) Zwingli. Zwingli was succeeded by Heinrich Bullinger. 

Otto Munch. Forgive Us Our Debts (Parable of the Unforgiving Servant). 1950. Grossmunster, Zurich.

The doors on the south portal are, of course, much more contemporary. Created by German sculptor Otto Munch in 1950, the two scenes show the same servant as debtor and debt-holder. In the background the servant stands before his master. In the foreground, the servant stands above the man in his debt. The man, on his hands and knees, begs for time to repay the debt. The answer comes from the figure standing ramrod straight, his right arm crossed over his chest and his left hand making a fist. None of this implies any conciliatory gesture. 

The architectural structure between the foreground and background provides the "as you have been forgiven" element. The post supports the ceiling over the two background figures (the ceiling might also be the floor of a second story to the "building"). The post and floor/ceiling create a cross, a reminder of God's work in Jesus Christ. 

This panel is one of a series that illustrates the petitions of the Lord's Prayer. The need for forgiveness gives rise to the obligation to forgive. We who have been forgiven much, should forgive much. 

Proper 19 (Year A): Litany for Reassurance
by Fran Pratt

The times are chaotic, and I hope this litany, referencing Psalm 103, Romans 14, and Matthew 18, can make way for the Divine to offer some reassurance to your community this week. 

God, we come to this day in need of reassurance.
We know we have been at fault.
We know we have been complicit in various ways.
We become discouraged and hopeless.
We become cynical and apathetic.
We need assurance of your unfailing love.

Sometimes, in the mess and busyness of everyday life,
It’s hard to remember
That we are loved unconditionally,
That you are merciful and gracious (1);
That forgiveness is a given (2)
That your compassion is ours to share in (3)

We are learning more deeply:
That justice for the oppressed is your business,
That redemption and healing are your business (2,4),
And we are invited to join you in your work
Of liberative, forgiving, merciful love.
Your priorities become our priorities.

Reassure us, oh God, in meaningful, tangible ways,
Of your steadfast love toward us (4).
In the hour of our despair
Buoy us up on waves of peace.
And keep us from the judgement that embitters us (5);
Instead let us share in your endless supply of forgiveness (6).

We ask all this so that, despite our current trials,
We might be heralds of your Kin-dom -
That good and peaceful Promised Land
As it makes its steady progress here on earth. 


  1. Psalm 103:8
  2. Psalm 103:3
  3. Psalm 103: 13
  4. Psalm 103:4
  5. Romans 14:10
  6. Matthew 18:22

A Prayer for a Penance Service by John Shea
Seventy times seven God,
we come to confess
that often our lives fall
like smashed tablets to holy ground.
We say we will love
yet we manipulate.
We say we will dialogue
yet we dominate.
We say "Speak truth!"
yet we hide in lie.
But the frustration of Paul
that the good we would, we do not
and the evil we would not, that we do
yields to the arms of the old man on the hill
who meets the self-hating scripts of the hired hands
with the robes of sonship
and the rings of daughterhood.
You are the father of parties
and no one outruns your joy.

Jesus told us
that for you
it is as easy to say walk
as to say forgive.
Say them both to us,
that we may walk in forgiveness.

Readers’ Theatre
(Romans 14: 1-12, from The Voice)
One:     It’s high time that you welcome all people weak in the faith
            without debating and disputing their opinions.
Two:    Here’s the issue:
            One person believes that nothing’s off the menu;
            he’ll eat any food put before him 
            with no concern whether or not it has been associated
            with a pagan ceremony.
One:     But here’s another believer—we’ll call him the weaker—
            who eats only vegetables because the meat is tainted
            through contact with an idol.
Two:    If you are an eater of all things, 
            do not be condescending to your vegetarian brother or sister. 
            In turn, those who abstain from certain foods on religious principles 
            should not judge your brothers and sisters who eat meat—
            if God has accepted them, you have no reason to reject them.  
One:     How could you think for a moment that you have the right 
            to judge another person’s slave?  
            We all answer to our own Master, 
            and we will either stand  or fall in His presence.  
Two:    The good news is that both eaters and non-eaters will stand 
            because the Master is able to make it so.  
            There may be a believer who regards one day as more sacred 
            than any other, 
            while another views every day as sacred as the next. 
            In these matters. all must reach their own conclusions 
            and satisfy their own minds.  
One:     If someone observes a day as holy, he observes it in honor of the Lord.  
            If another eats a particular diet, he eats in honor of the Lord 
            since he begins by giving thanks! 
            If yet another abstains from that same food, 
            he abstains our of respect for the Lord 
            and begins his meal by thanking God too. 
Two:    The truth is that none of us lives for ourselves, 
            and none dies for ourselves.  
            For if we live, we live for the Lord. 
            If we die, we die for the Lord. 
            So in both life and death, we belong to the Lord. 
One:     The Liberating King died and returned to life to make this a reality: 
            through His death and resurrection, 
            He became Lord of the living and the dead. 
Two:    So how is it that you continue to judge your brother? 
            How is it possible for you to look down on a sister? 
            We will all stand before the judgment seat of the living God. 
            For it is written, 
One:     “As I live, so I promise,” says the Lord, 
            “every knee will bow down at the sound of My name. 
            Every tongue will claim Me as their God.”
Scripture taken from The Voice™.
Copyright ©2006, 2007, 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society.
Used by permission. All rights reserved

A prayer for 9/11

Holy One, Loving Presence,
you who are Life and Peace,
we are fragile, and often afraid.
We fall so easily.
Hold us.

We are at the mercy
of strangers who are angry
and strangers who are merciful.
May we be merciful strangers.

For those who have watched over us
we give you humble thanks;
and for those who have meant us harm
we grant deep forgiveness.

We confess that we too are the angry ones;
we too are destroyers.
Forgive us, and make gentle our hearts.
We confess that we excuse our violence,
saying that it keeps us free;
but you alone are our freedom.

Keep us free from fear, free from bitterness,
free from hardened hearts.
Be our safety, our security.
You alone, God, be our strength and our hope.
Be our future, and our freedom.

You who hold us in your gentle arms
hold us with all people.
May we be one in your love,
one in our flesh, one in our living,
one in our dying.

You whose heart holds all sadness,
keep your arms open.
We all are so easily broken.
Hold us.
Holy Peace, may we be at peace in you.


Thankfulness and Celebration and News

Thank you to the Bishop's Committee who has worked hard to develop and carry out our protocol to be able to allow us to return to worship in person.

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.










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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