(To read the latest sermons, check out the Sermon Page)
September 1, 2019
Bishop Monterosso will be visiting us this year on December 1, the first Sunday of Advent. One of the things bishops usually do on their visitation is Baptize, Confirm and Receive people into the Episcopal Church.
What is Confirmation and Reception? Many people were baptized as an infant and Confirmation is an adult profession of faith. Baptism makes us Christian; Confirmation and Reception bring us officially into the Episcopal Church. There are several jobs in the church that require a person to be Confirmed or Received. Chalice minister, Eucharistic Visitor, Vestry Member, Council Delegate, Worship Leader all require people to be Confirmed or Received as members of the Episcopal Church.
Should I be received or confirmed? If you were confirmed in any of the churches with bishops in what is called Apostolic Succession, then you would be Received into the Episcopal Church. These include Roman Catholic, any of the Orthodox churches (Eastern, Russian, Greek) and the ELCA Lutheran church. If you are coming from any other tradition, Methodist, Baptist, UCC, nondenominational, then you would be Confirmed.
Not sure? Then ask Mark and he will let you know. If you would like to be Confirmed or Received when the bishop comes, email Mark or give him a call and he will set everything up. There will be some classes in preparation, and we need to start those sometime in October. If you’d like to go ahead and let us know of your interest—please signup on the Episcopal 101 signup sheet in the Narthex.
One more option: There is one other option and that is Reaffirmation. This is for a person who has been Confirmed but would like to restate their faith. Sometimes this can be the spouse or parent of someone being confirmed or received.
August 25, 2019
This Sunday, you will experience something completely different. Today will be the first time I will proclaim the Gospel passage as a story. At the 10:30 service the children will be invited to come down front during the hymn so that they can see as well as hear. Once I have told the Gospel they will go with Ms. Julia to Children’s Chapel.
The way I will tell the Gospel is how the early church would have heard these stories. The gospels were not completely written down until about 100 AD and 95% of the population was illiterate anyway. The early church would have heard the Bible as story. Telling the scriptures as story dates back into the earliest times of the Jewish people.
The goal of all this is to bring the words back to life, to hear them not as just text but the inspired stories of God’s people. The Bible first and foremost is the story of God’s people. I pray this new way of hearing scripture will bring new meaning to our service. For more information on Biblical Story Telling visit the Network of Biblical Storytellers at https://www.nbsint.org/, to which Wendy and I belong.
(click here to watch a video of the Gospel Storytelling)
August 18, 2019
Our church year is getting underway this Sunday as schools opened last Wednesday and our Sunday morning programs are getting ready to ramp up. Adult formation classes will begin Sept. 8. Today, we gather for Round-Up with Adults having conversations with me about what ideas you have and what you are interested in for the adult class. The first offering will be a series of short videos and discussions about the sacraments. Another potential would be looking at the Way of Love that I referred to in last week’s sermon. Let me know what you want covered.
Speaking of sermons, you can read a copy of the sermon on our sermon page. Now the text may be somewhat different than what was said at the service. In my opening prayer I say overrule my words so that your words may be heard. Well sometimes that means that what is said, may differ from what is printed. I’m working with Andy Zone to set up a way to record the sermons so we can post audio of the sermons.
One last thing, I was absolutely serious last week when I said, please silence your cell phones, but check-in on Facebook first. Those check-ins make a difference on how our Facebook page appears in people’s feeds. Also, it helps us with Google searches by moving our parish up to the top of a page when someone searches for Episcopal Churches. Please help us grow our Facebook presence. Be sure you have “liked” our page.
August 11, 2019
This Sunday has turned out to be a very busy Sunday. First of all we have the Blessing of the Backpacks at both services. If you are involved in education whether a student, teacher or school staff member please come forward at the appropriate time.
We also have a baptism! There are several formal opportunities for baptisms during our church year, however I am happy to baptize at any Sunday service during the year. With the 1979 prayer book revision the Episcopal Church does not do private baptisms. All baptism occur on Sunday morning at the principal service.
Don’t forget to sign up for one of the meet and greets that are being held to get to know Wendy and me.
August 4, 2019
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: look graciously on St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and so guide our parish, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
What a wonderful day we had last Sunday. I was overjoyed to meet so many of you on a Sunday in July. Some of my family were there and they remarked about what a friendly, welcoming parish we are. We also had several visitors and they also felt welcomed. Please remember we have a shepherd volunteer in the narthex every Sunday. Make sure if you meet a visitor to bring them over to the counter where the visitor materials are located.
You will all be hearing soon about a series of “Meet and Greet” opportunities the Joyce Davis is helping to arrange. These will be opportunities for you to meet Wendy and myself in a smaller setting than on Sunday morning. Watch the announcements and the email for more details.
Finally as we move towards the start of our new program year Deacon Gill and I will be preparing the Adult Formation offerings for Sunday morning. The question I have is what you would like to have covered over the year. Questions, topics, issues, let me know and I will work with Gill to put together programs on those topics. Please email me your suggestions.
July 28, 2019
I am delighted and excited to finally get started at St. Paul’s as your new rector. I look forward to getting to know all of you starting this Sunday. My door is always open and you are invited to stop by if you have the time. Bible Study and the Wednesday Eucharist are back up and running and I have been meeting with various staff members to get plans rolling for the fall.
Once I settle into a schedule you will find me in the office in the morning and I tend to plan pastoral calls and hospital visits in the afternoon. I do start each morning with a time of prayer and try to get into the office for that by 8:30. There will be a few days the first two months where I will be gone during a large part of the day as I complete the many trainings and workshops that the diocese requires of clergy new to the diocese.
Many people have asked what I want to be called. I am comfortable with whatever you prefer. Please feel free to call or email me if you would like to set up a time to meet.
May 20, 2019- Rector Announcement
To the people of St. Paul’s,
It is with great pleasure that I share with you news on the search for our new Rector. Last week, the search committee presented their recommendation, and the Vestry agreed to call the Rev. Mark Wilkinson as the next Rector of St. Paul’s.
Mark was ordained in the Diocese of Ohio in 2004 following a career of 24 years teaching Middle and High School band and orchestra in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated in 2004 from Virginia Theological Seminary and is well acquainted with quite a few Houston-area clergy who were his classmates. He served as Curate and Assistant Rector at Church of the Holy Spirit in Orleans, Massachusetts and was most recently the Rector of St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach. While in the Diocese of Southern Virginia, he served on the Executive Board and chaired the Strategic Planning Committee for the diocese. He has also served as a Safe Church trainer and as an alternate deputy to the past two General Conventions. Mark is a trained Biblical Storyteller and member of the Network of Biblical Storytellers.
Mark is married to the Rev. Wendy Wilkinson, who is also an Episcopal Priest, storyteller, and Spiritual Director. Wendy played trumpet professionally in the Erie Philharmonic Symphony for 18 years, was a soloist for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, and the Founder of Cleveland Lyric Brass prior to attending seminary. She continues to play at her current congregation, Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, in Virginia Beach. Wendy is engaging with the Diocese of Texas to identify opportunities to work with a congregation in the Houston area.
Mark and Wendy have two sons. Jeffrey works for PNC Bank and lives in Columbus, Ohio with his fiancé, Jen, and step-daughter, Rheya. James is a data-analyst who lives in Southampton, England with his girlfriend Hannah. Mark and Wendy also have two shiba inu therapy dogs, Kuma and Kimba, that you may see on occasion.
Mark enjoys reading, cooking, kayaking, and golf. He is happy to make acquaintance with other golfers in the parish. Having been a marching band director for 24 years, he is also an avid football fan.
Mark and Wendy will soon begin the process of moving to Katy; Mark’s first day at St. Paul’s will be July 22nd.
On behalf of the Vestry, I would like to thank the entire search committee for their diligent and prayerful work over the past year. They are a special group of individuals, and we are blessed to have each of them in our congregation.
In the coming days and weeks, we will share more information on the transition timeline; today, we celebrate the next Rector of St. Paul’s.
Andy Zone, Sr. Warden