To Know Christ’s Love and

Make It Known.


St. Thomas Episcopal Church

College Station, TX

Thursday, September 2, 2021

What Did Jesus Look Like?

Making Faces is the title of a book by Richard Neave in which he shares his work at reconstructing dozens of faces from across time. His methodology is conveyed in the book’s subtitle, “Using Forensic and Archaeological Evidence.”

There are the face of big names, like King Midas or Philip of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great). And then there are a host of lesser-known individuals – like “Lindow Man,” a bog body from England from the 2nd Century BCE.

But, none of his reconstructions may be more popular or controversial as his reconstruction of the face of Jesus. Over and against the fair and attractive “Hollywood” Jesuses which we have been given through the years, Neave’s Jesus is crude and rough looking. In keeping with the men of his day, Jesus was probably…bearded, short-haired, somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 ft. 1 in, with an average weight of about 110 pounds, muscular beyond what we often imagine, skin weathered and beaten so that he looked older than he really was.

Now, to be sure, reconstructing Jesus’ face – really reconstructing his face -- from any such crude cues and clues is admittedly ludicrous! Still, there’s a way, I am convinced, that Neave’s Jesus bears a lot more in common with what Jesus of Nazareth really looked like (over and against our Hollywood constructions). And, then, there is the way that engaging Neave’s reconstruction has value for us in our spiritual walks—calling us, as it does, to take off our blinders and to rescue Jesus from what one observer has called, “the obscurity of the familiar.”

This survey of Neave’s work and some sense of its implications is a perfect analogy to what we will be doing September into October (on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30…. Where?) in a course which I have entitled “Gleanings from the Life of Jesus: Insights for Spiritual Growth.”

  • Like Neave, we will draw upon an assortment of sciences (linguistics, geography, cultural anthropology,… even astronomy) on the way to reconstructing [or trying to reconstruct] chapters from the life of Jesus. (Here, I will admit my indebtedness to Biblical archaeologist and historical geographer, Dr. Jim Fleming. (For several years, mine was the joy of studying with and working for Jim and his Biblical Resources Study Center outside Jerusalem.)

  • And as with Neave’s reconstruction of Jesus’ face (and the ways it challenges us to see Jesus in a different light), we will work to identify implications for our spiritual growth and formation – which emanate from our reconstructions. (Here, I will acknowledge my indebtedness to formal and informal spiritual formation studies—which have me sensitive to considerations of how we grow and mature in the Christian life.)

“Itinerary” for this survey of the Land and Jesus’ life include the following foci…

  • September 8 Session 1: Survey of the Biblical Stage

  • September 15 Session 2: Rescuing Jesus from ‘the Obscurity of the Familiar’”

  • September 22 Session 3: Jesus' Obscure Beginnings in Bethlehem & Nazareth (and the Wilderness)

  • September 29 Session 4: Characteristics of the Disciples

  • October 6 Session 5: The Parable of the Prodigals

  • October 13 Session 6: Insights from Holy Week & Easter

“Itinerary” may, in fact, be the best way to describe this schedule – as my experience has witnessed many souls for whom this becomes a tour not just of Jesus’ life but of the Holy Land. Others who have been the Holy Land have spoken of its value in helping them to revisit the Land.

I am truly excited about getting to be with the parishioners and friends of St. Thomas. Aneya and Fr. Rich have become dear friends and companions in my spiritual journey here in BCS. More broadly, I am finding real affinities with the Episcopal Church – seeing and claiming in it the essence of my Wesleyan roots in today’s world.

I look forward to our coming time, together--
a time of sharing and learning,
a time of tracing Jesus’ steps in the Holy Land,
a time of exploring deeper messages
for our journeys back home to God, true self, and true neighboring.

God’s Blessings and Keeping,

Rev. Dr. Jim Reiter

Rev. Rich Nelson, Supply Priest, will celebrate and preach. The nursery is available beginning at 7:45 am.

8:00 am Holy Eucharist Rite I inside the chapel

9:15 am Adult Programs: Faith as the Grain of a Mustard Seed & Confirmation

10:30 am Holy Eucharist Rite II OUTDOORS in front of STELC’s Oxley Building - The service will be available via a livestream on Facebook. BULLETIN

Confirmation Sunday: Sept. 12

Sunday September 12th is a big day for St. Thomas Episcopal Church: Bishop Kai Ryan is coming to preside over the baptism of two people and the confirmation of several more! It will be a glorious, festive day… one where we anticipate having many more people than usual, as each person to be baptized or confirmed is accompanied by extended family and friends.

Given the number of people anticipated, we are asking everyone attending the 10:30 am service to wear a mask on this day. We are likely to be shoulder to shoulder, and we want to be sure to protect everyone gathered. For people who forget or are unaware, extra masks will be available, but for this special occasion, please help us ensure everyone’s safety by preparing to mask up. Thank you!

Spirit Sunday

September 5 at 10:30 am with tailgate following the service.

Following the service, we will celebrate the return of football season with a tailgate! Wear your favorite sports team’s colors!

Holy Hikes

Saturday, September 11 at 9:00 am

Veteran’s Park

Join Jimmy and Rev. Rich Nelson for this special Holy Hike to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11. We will offer Holy Communion.


Sunday, September 19 at 10:30 am

Veterans Park Pavilion

We are delighted to welcome back Rev. Bill Miller along with Brice Woolard. (Brice provided music on Easter Day.) Following the service we will have hamburgers and more!

STELC Fall Mum Sale

It's time for STELC's fall flower fundraiser!
Place your online orders
here by noon on Sept 10th. Delivery is scheduled for Sept 13. If you have any questions, please reach out to Kate Perkins.

Order Flowers

500 Minutes

Ten commissions provide an opportunity to participate in the life of the church. Your 500 minutes can be spent in a multitude of places. If you are interested please reach out to the vestry liaison for that commission or just sign up in the narthex.


Below are the NEW programs that begin Wednesday, September 8. Please visit our website for the schedule of current programs.


11:00 am Brown Bag Book Group with Deacon Charlotte - Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor. The book is available at your favorite bookseller. Email Aneya to sign up!

5:30 pm Yoga with Andrea ($0 - $10 Donation Class)

6:00 pm Dinner $5 per person/$20 max per family

6:30 pm “Gleanings from the Life of Jesus: Insights for Spiritual Growth” with Rev. Dr. Jim Reiter


Cost: $0 - $10 Donation

Devotional Yoga - Tuesday at 8:45 am upstairs in the Double Classroom. Childcare provided.

Chair Yoga - Thursday at 10:00 am in the Parish Hall

Youth News

Senior High Youth

Burgers & Convo

Sunday, September 5 at 6:30 pm at Hopdoddy at Century Square

If you are in 9th - 12th grade, come eat a hamburger and help plan out the fall activities.

Game Day Outreach

Saturday, September 4 at 4:30 pm

We will hand out water in front of the church to people walking to watching TAMU beat Kent State. It’s going to be a hot day! Please sign up.

First Reading: Isaiah 35:4-7a

Psalm: Psalm 146

Second Reading James 2:1-10, [11-13], 14-17

Gospel: Mark 7:24-37

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906 George Bush Drive
College Station, TX 77840

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St. Thomas Episcopal Church · 906 George Bush Drive · College Station, TX 77840 · USA

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