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September 15, 2021

VESTRY NOMINATIONS: It is that time of year when we ask for volunteers to serve on vestry. The vestry is the group who have the job of overseeing all that we do. This coming year we will be taking a look at our Mission Statement and Core Values as we bring the church back to normal. This is very important work and we are looking for people who want to help our parish to continue to grow!
THOSE WHO SERVE: Christie is working on a standard rotation of duties for those who serve on Sunday Morning. If you have not given her a preference for what Sunday you wish to serve each month, please get in contact so she can get the new schedules posted.
WORK DAY: Don’t forget the work day September 25 to get ready for the fall fair. Details below.
FALL FAIR: The Fall Fair is just around the corner. The sign up sheet for volunteers is in the narthex. This is one of those all hands on deck days and we need lots of volunteers. This is a really fun day and I’m sure you will enjoy taking part. Also spread the word with your neighbors, on your Facebook page and
THEOLOGY LUNCH: Starting TODAY will begin the latest book from Diane Butler Bass, “Freeing Jesus, Rediscovering Jesus as friend, teacher, savior, lord, way and presence. Each chapter examines one of these characteristics. It is written almost as a memoir as she turned 70 last year. I think everyone will enjoy this and the time to read each chapter isn’t that long, but there is much to discuss. Even if you don’t have the book feel free to join in the discussion.

September 8, 2021

THOUGHTS ON THE ANNIVERSAY OF 9/11: We are coming up on 20 years since 9/11. This Sunday, I will spend some of the sermon time on the topic. The gospel this week is where Jesus says to take up our cross and follow him. As we approach the anniversary, I hope you will take some time to look back over these past years and reflect on what we are called to do in response to the increasing violence in our world.
VIDEO MINISTRY: Someone asked when we were going to stop doing the livestream. Well, the answer is never as far as I can tell. This has become an important outreach and evangelism tool. We have people who physically have not been able to attend that now join us every Sunday. Almost every visitor for the past year has watched some of our services before making their first in-person visit. We also have the ability to use this for a funeral or wedding if people cannot attend in person. We have people from several states and Saudi Arabia who join us for bible study, Morning Prayer and Sunday services. I had a lovely thank you note from someone who has been watching us for the past several months and plans to join us when she feels it is safe and yes she supports the parish financially. The video ministry is a critical piece of our evangelism program! Thank you to those who make this ministry happen behind the scenes each and every week.
WEDNESDAY THEOLOGY LUNCH: Theology lunch will resume September 15 and noon. We will finish off the last of the Richard Rohr videos. Starting September 22 will begin the latest book from Diane Butler Bass, “Freeing Jesus, Rediscovering Jesus as friend, teacher, savior, lord, way and presence. Each chapter examines one of these characteristics. It is written almost as a memoir as she turned 70 last year. I think everyone will enjoy this and the time to read each chapter isn’t that long, but there is much to discuss.

September 1, 2021

BLOOD DRIVE: Thank you to the volunteers and the donors who made our blood drive a success. We exceeded our goal for units donated. Special thanks to Senior Warden Andrea Smith for heading this up.
HELP NEEDED WITH 9:15 THIS WEEK: Julia will be away and it would be very helpful if I could have someone assist me with the 9:15. I primarily need someone to help run the laptop for the PowerPoint slides. It’s a matter of click the arrow key when I need the next slide and read the prayers of the people.
SUPPORT FOR IDA VICTIMS: Several people have asked how the diocese is responding to Ida. Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is the organization from the national church I’ve worked with in the past (and helped physically during Katrina). They also helped us out during Harvey. If you want to make a donation you know will be well spent, I would suggest ERD. Click here to go to the hurricane relief page. I plan to make a donation from the rector’s discretionary fund. You can make a donation to that and specify it for hurricane relief and I will include it in what I donate.
SUPPORT FOR AFGHAN REFUGEES/ALLIES: Episcopal Migration Ministries is working with Afghan refugees who have been evacuated from the country because of their service to our country. The Presiding Bishop has a message that you can see here about how you can help.
ROUND UP SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 12: Christian Formation for all ages resumes on the 12th. Join us to kick off the program year. There will be goodies. Please note the 9:15 family service will not meet that day. That service will resume on September 19 at 9:00.

August 25, 2021

BLOOD DRIVE THIS SATURDAY: Our second blood drive is this Saturday 9-1:30 and we have plenty of spaces. Please consider signing up to donate. Details below.
ACOLYTE TRAINING THIS SUNDAY: Calling all new acolytes this is the day to get ready to serve and then go out for pizza and fun. Details below.
THANK YOU FOR VOLUNTEERING: We have two new families who will be ushering. I would like to find another family or two other adults to serve once a month. That will bring us up to full strength for the usher teams at 10:30.
SUNDAY FORMATION FOR ADULTS: We need to move the start of Sunday School for all ages by 15 minutes this fall to accommodate the Family Service. That will start at 9:00 and Sunday school will start at 9:30. For those adults at the 8:00, I’m aware that delays the start from what we are used to. If I could have a couple of volunteers to help me get the class started, we could begin in the Conference Room at 9:15. I’ll provide a question or topic to discuss for the first 15 minutes led by a lay person and then I’ll join as soon as the children’s service is over. Also if some of you are interested in leading a class, I’m happy to have help on a busy Sunday morning. Our first offering will be a video series and discussion of “Eclipsing Empire, Paul, Rome and the Kingdom of God.”
SAVE THE DATE – PARISH CLEAN UP DAY: Peter Parsons has scheduled a workday on September 28th to get ready for the Fall Fair. We will start at 9:00 and hope to be done by noon. Many hands will make quick work.

August 18, 2021

GREAT SUNDAY LAST WEEK: It was so nice to see so many at services on Sunday. That was our largest attendance for all three services since Easter! If you didn’t get your backpack tags and our little gift they will be in the narthex this week and we will have the donut holes. Don’t know what happened last week.
Beacon Ministry 8/19: Our next trip to the Beacon Homeless Ministry in Downtown Houston will be tomorrow, Thursday August 19. Meet in the parking lot at the church at 9 and we will carpool down. I have room for one or two more this week.
COVID: I know everybody is tired of hearing about COVID. I have had no new instructions or restrictions from the diocese so we will continue as we have the past couple months. I do watch the numbers every day. Because I have been around hospitals and rehab facilities the past several weeks, I will be wearing a mask more just to be safe. Please know that everyone who wants to wear a mask should do so especially if you have not been vaccinated. Again, please space yourselves out in the nave and at the communion rail.
BLOOD DRIVE: Please see the article about the blood drive 8/28 below and be sure to sign up. Coupon for free ice-cream for anyone who donates.

August 11, 2021

Blessing of the backpacks at both 9:15 and 10:30 service. Bring your backpacks (students and teachers) to either service and we will bless them you as you start school. I am deeply aware of the anxiety among parents of our younger children as school resumes. I pray for you all every day.
Family Service: For families with young children who cannot yet be vaccinated, please know that the family service is specifically set up to maintain social distancing and I encourage masks. Your family will be seated at your own table with the tables spread out so you may feel comfortable removing your masks while seated. Families come up one group at a time to receive communion.
Grief Group: I mentioned at the 10:30 service that we have the opportunity to start a grief group here at St. Paul’s. I also mentioned that this new ministry to the parish and our community needed support. I was graciously offered a gift of the $500 after church on Sunday. Thank you for responding and we hope to start this later in the fall.
Beacon Ministry 8/19: Our next trip to the Beacon Homeless Ministry in Downtown Houston will be Thursday, August 19th. Meet in the parking lot at the church at 9am and we will carpool down. I have room for one or two more this week.
Ministry at St. Paul’s: Last week I said I would provide information on several ministries where the members can participate. This week I’ve asked Gaye Lynn Talley to write about what serving as an usher means to her.
“Ralph and I have enjoyed being ushers at St. Paul’s since we joined 7 years ago. It is the one ministry we serve which gives us the opportunity to encounter everyone who joins us in worship on Sunday morning. Ushers have traditionally been adults, but when Carolena and Nils Duncan, our previous rector’s children, begged to join us in greeting/handing out bulletins and delivering offering to the altar, we decided to include our visiting granddaughter in ushering. She loves it! We believe you will feel enriched as members of the St. Paul’s family by joining us along with your children who are too young to serve as acolytes, but eager to be involved.“
Contact Christie in the church office to make ushering your first family ministry. We have a couple spots available so please join us.

August 4, 2021

CHILDREN’S CHAPEL IS BACK: Julia has resumed children’s chapel at the 10:30 service. Children will leave with her after the gospel is read and return at the Peace.
COVID UPDATE: At the moment, we are not making any major changes to our Covid protocols. The attendance at both services allows for ample social distancing. The only thing I would remind people is for us to get back to allowing space between families when we come forward to the altar rail for communion. Coffee hour at 10:30 will go back into the narthex, it is just too hot to do it outside and there were way too many donut holes leftover for your rector on Monday. Again, be aware of keeping some space between people. Please take whatever precautions that you feel are necessary. I will not require masks but noticed quite a few more last week and that is fine with me. Take care of yourself and others.
BLESSING OF THE BACKPACKS: will be August 15 details below. Bring your backpacks to church at any service (teachers too!)
MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES: As we get back up to speed this fall there are several ministries which provide you opportunities to serve in different an fulfilling ways. Over the next few weeks, I will have people who are in various ministries describe what they are and how rewarding they are to do.
FAMILY FORMATION: Information on all of this fall’s Family Formation will be sent in a separate email shortly.

July 28, 2021

ANNOUNCEMENTS IN NARTHEX: A big thank you to Jennifer for getting the slides up and running for the video announcements in the narthex. We had a test run last Sunday and tweaked a few things. Check out the screen in the narthex. Don’t forget that donuts holes are back at the 9:15 service in the parish hall and after the 10:30 in the narthex.
BLESSING OF SCHOOL SUPPLIES: It may not seem possible, but this weekend we will bless the donations of school supplies to 2 Katy elementary schools for the coming fall. We are still happy to take donations towards this outreach effort. Details below.
PLANS FOR AUGUST AND BEYOND: Included in a second email today is a schedule of events for August and beyond. We are planning a full fall of programming and praying that we can make everything happen.
COVID UPDATE: I am monitoring the Covid situation and there are active cases that impact our parish family. We are not planning any changes since we have plenty of room to spread out in the church for services. However, we are not over this yet, so please continue to take precautions that you feel are appropriate for you and your family. If in doubt follow the CDC guidelines. We continue to provide hand sanitizer and masks if anyone needs one. I will continue to wear a mask and gloves when distributing communion at the rail and the Chalice ministers will wear masks.

July 21. 2021

LOOKING TOWARDS THE FALL: At staff meeting on Tuesday of this week we established a calendar of events for the fall which include special programming for the various holidays and most important a plan to move forward with resuming Sunday morning Christian Formation for all ages. We have a calendar roughed out from now until the end of December. At this point in time, I think it will be best to see how the fall goes and then the vestry and staff can take some time to discuss any modifications that are needed once we get to January. We will send out a more detailed calendar next week. As always, your suggestions and feedback are most welcome.
CHILDREN’S CHAPEL: Children’s Chapel will return August 1st at the 10:30 service. We will continue to offer the family service for a couple of reasons. We have had some new members who have visited or attended because of this age appropriate option. The other reason as at this time our younger children cannot be vaccinated and this provides an age appropriate service where families can safely group at individual tables if that is what they want to do for worship.
NARTHEX WORK: I hope that sometime next week I can get the TV hung in the narthex and the computer hooked up to it for a new video announcement board. We are continuing to look at options on the welcome center.

July 14, 2021

NARTHEX UPDATES: Thank you for reactions to the first phase of redoing the narthex. We are going to move ahead with some additional changes. The photos of the bishops have been moved and this opens up the wall by the vesting room. We are looking at putting a TV on that wall and connect it to a Chromebook or laptop in the vesting room. This will allow us to set up a slide show of announcements, photos or events and other information about the church that will run on Sundays. For funerals we could put up a show of photos in remembrance. We have a tv that has been donated. If anyone has Chromebook or working laptop that they would like to donate, we would be happy to accept that. More to come. Again, your input is welcome!
CHRISTIAN FORMATION: Julia and I along with some others are developing our plan for the fall. We will be returning to Sunday school for all ages this fall. We will also continue the Family Service but start at 9:00 and then start Sunday school from 9:30-10:15. That will include an adult offering. If there are topics you would like to see covered on Sunday for adults email Mark.

July 7, 2021

CREATING A WELCOMING SPACE: Now that we are getting back to normal it’s time to get moving on some changes in the narthex that the vestry has been discussing. Prior to the pandemic I was part of a group in the diocese that was focusing on welcoming visitors. We had meetings at different Episcopal churches and I’ve seen several designs that work well. None of these changes will be permanent until we see how they work and your input is most welcome.
There are several things we need to examine with the narthex. How we do coffee hour is of course a prime concern but even more important is what does the narthex say to the visitor who walks in for the first time.
That first impression is very important. Peter and Pat have replaced the faucets in the bathrooms which were worn out and the finish looked terrible. Restrooms create an impression of the church. There is some additional work to do there to make them attractive as well as functional. The way our narthex is currently set up makes it very easy for a visitor to slip in and out without being noticed. I have looked at how several other churches handle visitors and the narthex and there are some fairly simple things we can do. Andrea Smith will be helping with this project since she has experience in making a space look welcoming. Ultimately, we want a space where a visitor feels welcome and is invited to interact with the ushers, the vestry on duty and of course, you the members!
BEACON NEEDS: If you have a walker or wheelchair sitting around the house that you do not need, the clinic at the Beacon would gladly take those off your hands. If you have one, please let Mark know. The next time we serve at the Beacon is July 15. We will meet in our parking lot at 9:00 and then head down to the Beacon at 9:15. Since it is summer if there are some of our teens who would like to join us and get service hours for school, let me know. Volunteers must be 13. We do a variety of things down there including helping prepare and serve lunch as well as helping in the laundry. Email me if you would like to participate.