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.


Today marks two anniversaries:  the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima with the most destructive bomb ever created and The Transfiguration of our Lord.. Let us take a few moments out of our day and ponder Hiroshima and the Transfiguration


It must be one of the extraordinary accidents of history that the first atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, which marks the annual Feast of the Transfiguration for Christians around the world. As Matthew’s Gospel describes the Transfiguration:

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. (Matthew 17:1-8)

Roughly 20 centuries later, and 75 years ago today, the city of Hiroshima was destroyed with elements that cannot but recall the Transfiguration: a sun-bright white light, a roar from heaven, a cloud, terror, and — most of all — a world that would never be the same.

Mass destruction was not new to the human race, of course: cities had been leveled before World War II, and civilians had died en masse before, though never to the level of the Holocaust. But before August 6, 1945, mass destruction was achieved through the amalgamated repetition of micro destruction: one sword swung, one bullet fired, one gas chamber filled, one firebomb dropped, over and over and over again.

At Hiroshima, mass destruction was consolidated into a single plane and a single bomb. Moreover, it foretold the apotheosis of humanity’s bent toward hell: our proliferated world, in which the spread of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology has placed life on earth under a single act of human will. Hiroshima didn’t transfigure the world, but it did transform it.

About a week prior to the Transfiguration, Jesus had asked his disciples, “What good will it be if a man gains the world but loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26). The power of our atomic age means that we have gained the world in a most literal sense. But at what cost — and what are we to do about it?

I believe that the continued existence of nuclear weapons will make their use inevitable. I believe that when this happens, the consequences will be uncontrollable and yield evil beyond our wildest imagination. I believe that the only way to prevent this occurrence is to abolish nuclear weapons multilaterally and verifiably. And I work toward that end because I believe that world-gaining and soul-saving are diametrically opposed.

It is no surprise that these beliefs and this work lead to a routine dismissal as naïve, utopian, and idealistic. And yet it seems to me that people on the other sider of this issue are twice the daughters and sons of utopia that I am. They believe, against the evidence of recorded history, that with nuclear weapons we will somehow enjoy perpetual luck. And they believe, against the Scriptures, that righteousness is weak.

In the Transfiguration, I see God’s pre-emptive answer to such adversaries — the would-be nuclear world-gainers. “This is my Son, whom I love. With him I am well pleased,” says the Lord. “Listen to him!”

To wit: the way of Jesus of Nazareth is greater even than the original act of spiritual mass destruction, the Fall: “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” says Paul, but “if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (Romans 5:12, 15).

If we seek to commemorate those who suffered the wrath of the weapons that fell 75 years ago, the best thing we can do is to look ahead. To honor them, and to ensure that such a calamity is never again possible, these awful devices must be rendered obsolete, a relic of a more-barbaric past and not a nuclear sword of Damocles dangling over our future.

This anniversary is an invitation, an opportunity to join the growing movement to abolish nuclear weapons. Don’t mourn — organize!

On August 6 we remember a transfiguration and a transformation. Both came with clouds, blazing light, and sound. One brought death in a scope never before seen. But the other revealed a life even greater.



Meredith Gould, a social media strategist and Christian writer, has revised a well-known prayer from St. Teresa of Avila for those who want to connect with their neighbors digitally. It goes like this:

Christ has no online presence but yours,
No blog, no Facebook page but yours,
Yours are the tweets through which love touches this world,
Yours are the posts through which the Gospel is shared,
Yours are the updates through which hope is revealed.
Christ has no online presence but yours,
No blog, no Facebook page but yours

By Beth Kerzee


"All My Hope on God is Founded" is a well-known hymn, originally German, which was translated into English in 1899 and which established itself in the latter part of the twentieth century.

The original words "Meine Hoffnung stehet feste" were written around 1680 by Joachim Neander.


The church in Yattendon

In 1899 these were freely translated into English by Robert Bridges. He was, at the time, living in the Berkshire village of Yattendon, where he was choir master for the parish church of St Peter and St Paul.[2] Disappointed with the range of hymns available, he made his own collection which he entitled the Yattendon Hymnal and included this hymn, number 69. 


The original tune was a German chorale melody named Meine Hoffnung (from its German text). This tune was also used as the principal choice for the Methodist Hymns and Psalms book of 1983.

In 1930, Dr Thomas Percival (TP) Fielden, director of music at Charterhouse School, sent Bridges' text to a friend, composer Herbert Howells, requesting Howells compose a new setting of the hymn for use at the school. Howells received the request by post one morning, in the middle of breakfast. Almost immediately a tune suggested itself to him and the hymn was apparently composed on the spot (in the composer's words) "while I was chewing bacon and sausage." The completed setting, titled A Hymn Tune for Charterhouse, was sent to Fielden, and became a regularly used hymn at the school.

Fielden was one of the editors of The Clarendon Hymn Book, and when that book was published in 1936 he chose to include the hymn. Howells' son Michael had died in childhood the previous year, and in tribute Howells rechristened the tune Michael. The hymn's popularity increased in consequence as it became more widely known, though its use remained largely confined to public (independent) school use in Britain for the next thirty years or so. 

Its popularity began to spread in 1969 when it was included in the "100 Hymns for Today" supplement of the Hymns Ancient and Modern, one of the standard Church of England hymnbooks of its day. The Methodist church included it (albeit as second choice) in the 1983 Hymns and Psalms, and it was the main choice in the 1986 New English Hymnal. It has subsequently appeared in many hymnbooks across the English-speaking world.

From Wikipedia.


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

St. Paul's has participated in the Boquillas and Beyond Mexico Mission under the leadership of Rusty and Connie Nelson. It is time for their annual fundraiser. Here is the information:

Cactus Bouquet
     Boquillas and Beyond Mexico Mission, Inc.  
                             Annual Raffle

65” TLC Roku Smart TV. $10 each. 

200 tickets sold.

The drawing is Sept. 13th at 2:00 pm on the Presidio County court house south steps.

               Thank you for your support

                     For tickets contact
                   Rusty 254-396-0802
                  Connie 817-692-2964
Cactus Bouquet

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 Tenth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 14
August 9, 2020

1 Kings 19: 9-18
Psalm 85: 8-13
Romans 10: 5-15
Matthew 14: 22-33

Matthew 14.22-33: Walking on Water: An Early Image

Dated around 240 AD, it is billed as one of the earliest images of Jesus in existence.* The house church at Dura-Europos (Syria) appears to be like those mentioned in Romans 15:5 - a private house used as a meeting place for Christians that over time was adapted for Christian worship. One of the rooms served as the baptistery. A basin, looking much like a modern bathtub, was set into the wall to hold water, and the walls were painted with a variety of scriptural stories to illuminate the baptismal theme.

One of the images is the story of Jesus walking on water and Peter sort-of walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33). The wall fragment now in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery shows a boat in the background carrying the disciples with Jesus and Peter in the foreground. The information on the Yale website identifies the whole figure remaining in the fragment as Jesus, with the upper half of Peter's figure and half of the boat lost. However, the feet of the whole figure are below the waves, which seems to be the sinking Peter, with the figure on the right standing securely on top of the waves. Additionally, in succeeding depictions, the figure of Peter is on the left with Jesus on the right. Perhaps it is the upper half of Jesus that is missing. See the Art&Faith Matters facebook page for additional images of this subject 

The drawings are more illustrative than evocative - simple outlines define the rather geometric shapes of the human figures, the waves, the boat and the rigging. There is not much included in the scene beyond these few elements.

What is perhaps most interesting about this fragment is what it tells us in its setting. Because it is a water image - and an image of Jesus saving one in the water at that - it isn't a surprising choice for the walls of a baptistery. The other images in the room might be cause for reflection on the meaning of this story, though. The series of paintings also offers insight into how early Christians understood this story.

In the wall above the arch above the font is an image of the Good Shepherd with sheep on a hillside. In the lower left hand corner of that same wall is an image of Adam, Eve and a serpent. On the wall at a right angle to the font wall are depictions of several episodes from the gospels: three women at the tomb (closest to the font), the healing of the paralytic, and Christ and Peter walking on the water. On the opposite wall are two doors, and in the space between them was an image of the woman at the well. Beneath that image is a picture of David and Goliath.

What might each of these stories tell us about the story of Christ and Peter's walk on the waves? Does the meaning become clearer with the knowledge that the boat in this fragment sails to the right, following the direction of the paralytic man from the adjoining scene? What might a third-century interpretation of this gospel story have to say to us today?


fear not, you are mine

Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.

- Psalm 69:1-2

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.

-Isaiah 43:1b-2a

The life of faith, and the instinct of faith are one and the same. It is an enjoyment of the goods of God, and a confidence founded on the expectation of His protection, making everything pleasant and received with a good grace. It is indifference to, and at the same time a preparation for every place, state, or person. Faith is never unhappy even when the senses are most desolate. This lively faith is always in God, always in His action above contrary appearances by which the senses are darkened. The senses, in terror, suddenly cry to the soul, "Unhappy one! You have now no resource, you are lost," and instantly faith with a stronger voice answers: "Keep firm, go on, and fear nothing." 

-Jean-Pierre de Caussade 1675-1751
Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence


raise my sails to catch the full wind

You, O Eternal Trinity,
are a deep sea into which,
the more I enter,
the more I find,
and the more I find,
the more I seek.
O abyss,
O eternal Godhead,
O sea profound,
what more could you give me than yourself?
God’s grace, unsought and unearned,
blows through my life,
and all I need to do
is raise my sails to catch the full wind.

-Catherine of Siena 1347-1380

clumsy for others' sake

And that's why I take hope and not condemnation away from reading the stories of Jonah, and Peter, and the rest of God's reluctant prophets and Jesus' wavering disciples. They didn't have it all together, and they didn't fully understand or consistently appreciate what they eventually would proclaim. But the steps they took, however cluelessly or clumsily, made space in which they and others could encounter God's mercy, giving rise to generations of risk-taking and faith arising -- the kind of faith, shared across the Body of Christ, that could not only move mountains, but turn mountains and valleys to plains.

-Sarah Dylan Breuer

When I rise up
let me rise up joyful
like a bird.

When I fall
let me fall without regret
like a leaf.

-Wendall Berry

“I Can’t Breathe” --

WE Can’t Breathe --

Earth Can’t Breathe

 “I Can’t Breathe”

Again and again,

With gun or choke-hold.

Police steal the breath of Black Americans

The police are not merely police

For they hold a national authority

To use violence on behalf of the nation:

To serve us all, protect us all.

When they subjugate the Black community

They implicate us all,

They make us all Subjugators

And their misdeeds have stirred

A great Uprising against racism.


We can’t breathe.

All humanity is choking

From a virus that invades our lungs.

We have left no space for other species

And the virus leaps into our lives,

And then when our rulers ignore the danger

It becomes still worse--  

Choking our societies, our jobs, our businesses,

Our democracy. Our lives. 


Earth Can’t Breathe

All life on Earth depends on Interbreathing

Plants breathe in Carbon dioxide, breathe out Oxygen.

Animals breathe in Oxygen, breathe out Carbon dioxide.

Our Interbreathing is the Breath that keeps all Earth alive.

Nishmat kol chai, tivarekh et shimcha: Yahhhh elohenu:

The breath of all life praises Your Name;

For your Name in truth whispers all life.

YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh/ Yah, is our God.

The God of all life.

But too much CO2 is the “climate crisis” -- 

Chokes our breathing.

Earth can’t breathe.


"You shall not take My Name with an empty heart."

Every breath we take

Is Itself the Name,

Part of that great Breath that is the Holy One.

You shall not rob My peoples

And My life-forms

Of My Name, My Breath.

We must breathe.

                          (As we approach Tisha B'Av, a day of grief for desecration of the Holy,  we offer this ossible invocation for Tisha B'Av 2020, by Rabbi Waskow, The Shalom Center)


Thankfulness and Celebration and News

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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