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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.

June 30, 2021

IMPORTANT MESSAGES: Sunday mornings are back to a very busy time. Many of you talk with me about important matters and sometimes by the time I get back to my office I do not remember everything that I’ve been told. To help me please text me or email me if you’ve asked me to do something for you. I’m really focused on the service on Sundays so the written reminder really helps me come Monday morning.
HOMEWORK BUDDIES: Our Homework Buddies tutoring program with Katy Christian Ministries is set to return on August 25. The program helps students with their schoolwork every Wednesday from 4-5:30. We are looking for volunteers to help the students. Most are elementary age and many come from the school across the street from our parish. Let me know and I’ll send you the link to sign up through KCM volunteer page.
BEACON: 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.
Mission Vision plaques: Someone left three plaques outside my office door the other day. They had a Mission, Vision and Purpose statement on them. I was wondering if the person that left them would let me know when these are from in the parish history.

June 23, 2021

VBS: Rocky Railroad Vacation Bible School is just about over. Everyone is having a wonderful time and it is so wonderful to hear all the joy in the building with so many people here. Many thanks to all the volunteers who are making all this work and special thanks to Julia for doing an  outstanding job of leading everything. Check out the Facebook page for lots of great pictures.
WELCOME BACK: It is wonderful over the past few weeks to see people returning to in-person worship. Attendance is slowly recovering especially over the past few weeks. Good to see so many of you after the pandemic. Please wear your nametags when you come especially at 10:30 We do have new members who you may not have met, and the nametags help everyone. If you are in need of a nametag, please email Jennifer.
HOMEWORK BUDDIES: Our Homework Buddies tutoring program with Katy Christian Ministries is set to return on August 25. The program helps students with their schoolwork every Wednesday from 4-5:30. We are looking for volunteers to help the students. Most are elementary age and many come from the school across the street from our parish. Let me know and I’ll send you the link to sign up through KCM volunteer page.
STILL LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO SERVE: As we regather, we really need more people to volunteer to serve during the services. We especially need ushers and Eucharistic Ministers, (chalicers) for both services but particularly for the 10:30. Contact Fr. Mark or Christie Hensley if you want to serve.

June 16, 2021

SOMETHING TO REFLECT ON: As we look forward and make plans for the fall I am pondering a statement by another priest. He said, “I’m planning for a resurrection than a resuscitation this fall. Bringing new life not just bringing back the old.” As the vestry and I make these plans we will keep you informed and will be asking your help with Outreach and all the areas of Christian Formation. We are a traditional church and that is a key piece of our identity, but I want you to also think about this quote from Evelyn Underhill, “The coming of the Kingdom is perpetual. Again and again, freshness, novelty, power from beyond the world break in by unexpected paths bringing unexpected change. Those who cling to tradition and fear all novelty in God’s relation to the world deny the creative activity of the Holy Spirit, and forget that what is now tradition was once innovation; that the real Christian is always a revolutionary, belongs to a new race, and has been given a new name and a new song.” So what is the new that is waiting to grow from the seeds of the past year? It is a challenging but also an exciting time to be involved in the church.
ORGAN REPAIR: Our organ should be up and running again this week. The part is due in on Thursday.
VBS THIS WEEK: I’m really looking forward to VBS this week. I’ve been so impressed with all the people who have been working so hard to get ready and to make this the huge success I know it will be. Watch Facebook for pictures during the week!

June 9, 2021

GOOD TO BE BACK: Wendy and I have returned from our travels along with a new family member. Tucker is our new Shiba Inu and is adjusting to life in Katy as compared to Cape Cod. He is a 2 year old male and once he has gotten settled in we hope to work on training him, possibly as a therapy dog. You may see him around the office once in a while once we’ve got some training done.
THANK YOU: Thank you to LeAnna and Mary for filling in while I was gone and for all the others who made sure everything kept going. Special thanks to our Senior Warden Andrea Smith for overseeing the blood drive and thank you to all who donated.
ORGAN REPAIR: Some of you may know that our organ is out of order. We have a repair person coming today and hopefully it is nothing major. We will know more by this afternoon.
COVID UPDATE: The vestry will be reviewing our Covid protocols next Wednesday at their regular meeting. I’ve talked with Jason and Carl and they will be contacting choir members with some changes for them as the numbers continue to move in the right direction. Thank you to those who have talked with their vestry shepherd about your thoughts on the subject. It was interesting as I drove through about 14 states from here up through Ohio, to Cape Cod and then back to see how the different parts of the country are handling the current situation. Most of the Massachusetts, New York and Virginia churches are just starting back to in-person services in the last two weeks. Click here to read the update from May 21st.

 May 26, 2021

MEMORIAL DAY SERVICES: LeAnna Brun will preach and celebrate Morning Prayer this Sunday at 8 and 10:30. LeAnna is in her first year at the Iona School of Ministry and is training to be a locally ordained priest in the diocese. Giving her the chance to preach and lead a service is an important part of her training and I want to give her that opportunity this weekend. Please come this Sunday and support our seminarian.
THANK YOU FELLOWSHIP COMMITTEE: Thank you to Stacie Perez and the members of the Fellowship Committee for providing a very nice “picnic” lunch after the Pentecost service. It was a little soggy but we had a good time. Looking forward to more fellowship opportunities as restrictions continue to ease.
COVID PROTOCOLS: Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we gradually lift the restrictions. We will continually monitor the situation and make adjustments as necessary. Feel free to reach out to your vestry shepherd over the next few weeks. Click here to read the update.
MARK IS ON VACATION: Mark will be out of the office until June 7. If you have a pastoral emergency let Jennifer know and she will contact the Rev. Mary Wilson who is going to cover pastoral care needs as well as be our supply priest on June 6
NO BIBLE STUDY (6/1) NOR WEDENSDAY THEOLOGY LUNCH (5/26 & 6/2)

May 19, 2021

CORONA VIRUS UPDATE: I just got information from the diocese late Tuesday. Vestry will discuss the recommendations tonight during our regular meeting and I will have more information in the Friday e-news.
PENTECOST SUNDAY: This Sunday is Pentecost. Red is the color for the day so please wear your red to church. Join us for the picnic after the 10:30 service. Sign up information is below. I hope to see you all on Sunday.
VOLUNTEERS FOR BLOOD DRIVE: We need volunteers to help with the blood drive on May 30. We need to have 2 people for each shift, one to check people in and one to serve snacks. Click here to sign up. The drive is from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.
MARK ON VACATION: I will be gone from Wednesday May 26-June 7. A stop in Columbus for a family celebration with my older son and then a visit to Cape Cod where we are picking up a new dog from a breeder that we have known since 2004. I hope you will have a chance to meet Tucker, a 2 year old Shiba Inu, once he has gotten used to his new home. Mary Wilson will be available if there is a pastoral emergency. Call Jennifer and she will get in contact.

May 12, 2021

Beacon needs: While we were down at the Beacon last Thursday, I noticed a number of clients using wheelchairs and walkers. I asked Ron if they needed any and he said many of their clients don’t have insurance and they could always use them especially the rolling walkers or any sort of wheel/transport chairs. So, if you have one sitting around the house you do not need, please consider donating it to the Beacon. We can take it down on our next visit in June. Of course they always are happy to take donations of eye glasses.
Pentecost Picnic is May 23rd: Please plan on joining us for the Pentecost Picnic to mark the end of the year. See details and sign-up link below. Please do sign up so Stacie knows how much food to order.
Blood Drive: Also remember to sign up for the blood drive on Sunday, May 30th. There are 13 signed up so far and there are 35 spots still open. Anyone can sign up, you don’t have to be a St. Paul’s member so invite your family, friends and neighbors. See below for more information or to sign up.

May 5, 2021

COVID VACCINE HELP: If you want a vaccine and have not been able to schedule an appointment, we have a member who works for Memorial Hermann Hospital System and can help get you scheduled. Email Mark and he will get you in contact. They have plenty of vaccine.
NEW SERIES ON WEDNESDAYS: The Wednesday Theology Lunch is starting a new series. We will be watching and discussing a video series by Richard Rohr entitled “Embracing an Alternative Orthodoxy, the Legacy of St. Francis.” Each session is self-contained so even if you miss one you can pick up with whatever session we are on.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: We need volunteers in a variety of ministries. As we get back to our normal Sunday routine we need lectors, eucharistic ministers (who read the psalm, prayers and help with communion) ushers (we really need these) and altar guild to set up and clean up each week. Please let Mark know if you would like to add one of these ministries to your involvement with the church.
Save the Date, End of Year Picnic: The Fellowship Committee is making plans for an end of the year picnic May 23rd after the 10:30 service. Details to come.

April 28, 2021

Outreach Committee: The Outreach Committee is looking to start planning for the future, but the first thing we need is some new members. Andrea Smith and Harlan Matthews are joining to represent the vestry and Joyce Davis will continue as a member. We need some folks who are part of some of our Outreach, like the Beacon and Gathering Place to represent those ministries. I would love to have someone willing to help coordinate the Blood Drive which I hope will be a recurring event (more info below). Is there another ministry that you would like to be part of, maybe working with Joyce and the school outreach. Don’t be shy, let us know what you can do. In particular I’m looking for someone or several someones that can take over the organization of the committee. Heading the committee does not mean you have to do every project, just make sure things are coordinated.
Camp Allen’s 100th Anniversary: As chaplain for the week I learned that Saturday is a big 100th anniversary celebration out here at Camp Allen. Lots of activities for the afternoon, tours of the new Doyle Center and Camp 4, boating, swimming and a service led by Bishop Doyle. There is no cost for the afternoon, but you do need to register. If you have never been here you don’t know what you are missing. Come out and see me. Go to campallen.org to register. Want to spend the night, I believe there are still spaces. Cost and details on the website.
Eucharistic Visitors needed: As we move back into a more normal way of church, I would like to add a few more Eucharistic Visitors to the list. These are the people who take communion out those who cannot attend Sunday. We have a couple folk who just physically cannot get out and then there are those who may be temporarily incapacitated. I will need to train you but it is a very rewarding ministry. Email Mark if you want more information.

April 21, 2021

What a wonderful Sunday: Last Sunday’s worship and bishop visit was wonderful. Thank you to all who helped make everything work. What a joy to welcome so many new members!
Good Shepherd Sunday: This week is known as Good Shepherd Sunday. We hear the famous John passage and read the 23rd Psalm. If you are new to St. Paul’s you may not know that our two windows in the front of the church are based on this theme. Click here to read a note from the artist about our windows.
Next Week: Wendy and I will be serving as staff chaplains at Camp Allen next week. I will offer Morning Prayer on Facebook every day, but it will be at 7:30 instead of 8:00 Tuesday – Friday. Monday I will still be at home and we will pray at 8:00 as usual. Mary Wilson will supply on Sunday, Mary 2nd. Wendy will offer Evening Prayer each evening at 5:00pm on the Christ the King Facebook page. We were invited to fill in for someone who had to cancel and the camp provides one of their cabins for us for the week. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse! In case of emergency, Jennifer will be able to reach me.

April 14, 2021

THE BISHOP IS COMING: Bishop Doyle will join us this Sunday for all three services. He will preach and celebrate at the 8:00. For the 9:15 service he will join the families and talk to our younger members about what a bishop does and what a bishop wears. At the 10:30 he will baptize 5 new members and confirm 6 people. Following the 10:30 service we will process out to dedicate and bless the Labyrinth and the Stations of the Cross Prayer Garden. It will be a fantastic Sunday and I hope to see you there. The 9:15 and 10:30 will be livestreamed.
BISHOP’S DISCRETIONARY FUND: When the bishop visits the loose plate traditionally goes to the bishop’s discretionary fund. If you want to donate by check please write the check to St. Paul’s but memo the check to the bishop’s fund.
SERVICE PREP FOR THOSE BEING BAPTIZED AND CONFIRMED: Those being baptized or confirmed will meet in the nave Saturday, April 17th at 9:00 to go over the service for Sunday morning.
SPRING CLEAN UP:  Don’t forget the spring cleanup on the 17th. Details below
SPRING CLERGY MEETING: Mark will be at Camp Allen today, April 14th to Friday, April 16th for the Spring Clergy meeting. I will have some access to email and my phone, but may not be able to answer right away.

April 7, 2021

THANK YOU FOR EASTER: Thank you to all the musicians, altar guild, video ministry and everyone else who made our Easter such a joyous occasion. It takes so many people to make each Sunday work. Again we are looking for more people to fill the various lay positions for Sunday as we get back toward normal.
BISHOP VISIT: Bishop Doyle will be here April 18th to baptize and confirm. We have 6 confirmations and 5 baptisms scheduled for the 10:30 service. We will be confirming and baptizing two complete families. I’m really thrilled that he will be presiding and preaching at all three of our services. 8:00, 9:15 family service and 10:30. He is very interested in our family service and will take the time for the children’s message to talk with our younger members about what a bishop is and what he does. He’s promised to bring some extra bishop regalia for the kids to see and touch.
CLEAN UP DAY: To get ready for the Bishop’s visit we will have an outdoor cleanup day on Saturday, April 17th. Details below.
HOME COMMUNION VISITS: We are resuming home communion visits both by me and by our Eucharistic Visitors. If you would like a visit from one of us, please email me.

March 31, 2021

PLEASE REMEMBER TO SIGN UP FOR HOLY WEEK SERVICES: It’s really important that you sign up for the various services. This helps us plan how many bulletins to run and for Easter we want to be sure that everyone who wants to attend will be able to come. Sign up above.
NAMETAG REMINDER: As we are starting to regather but wearing masks it would be very helpful for all of us to wear nametags on Sunday morning. Especially for some of our new members and we do have several new families or families who had just joined us before the pandemic. If you do not have a nametag, let Jennifer know and she will make them for you.
EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS NEEDED FOR 10:30: With the return of the wine at communion we need 2 Eucharistic Ministers at the 10:30 service which means we need some additional people willing to serve in that role. With it being intinction it is very easy to do. Let Mark know if you are interested.
OFFICES CLOSED MONDAY APRIL 5: The church office will be closed Easter Monday. Jennifer will be in on Tuesday but Rev. Mark will be not be in until Wednesday. Bible Study is cancelled for Tuesday.

March 24, 2021

PALM SUNDAY: Both services will start at the Labyrinth for the Liturgy of the Palms. We will then process to the church. For those watching on Facebook, we will start with one livestream for the outside portion and then we will switch to new livestream with the internal camera system when we begin singing All Glory Laud and Honor.
HOLY WEEK: We are finally at Holy Week and this year we are in-person. The full list of services are listed above with links to signup. Livestreaming of services is now just part of how we will operate with no plans to stop doing that. I hope you will take advantage of the multiple opportunities to worship with us next week. To really enjoy the wonder of Easter it is helpful to journey through all of Holy Week.
NEW GUIDELINES FROM THE DIOCESE: Bishop Doyle sent out some new guidelines last week that we can begin to use on Holy Week:
Prayer Books and Hymnals will return to the pew and after Easter we will go back to our shorter bulletin. A longer bulletin will be provided for those watching online.
Singing: We are allowed to sing again, but masks must be worn and we need to keep our social distancing in place.
Chalice: We will again be allowed to offer the chalice, but by intinction (dipping) only. Please do be careful to make sure you dip only the bread in the wine. You do not have take the wine if you are concerned. Taking just the bread is absolutely fine!

March 17, 2021

Plumbing Repairs: As I am writing this on Tuesday afternoon the plumber is here and working on our water lines. I know this has taken a long time, but we at least had water and he was taking care of people who had no water at all in their homes. While this has been inconvenient, I felt it was best that those who had no water had in their homes get their repairs done first.
Vestry to meet with Bishop Doyle: In preparation for his visit, Bishop Doyle will attend our March vestry meeting. The bishop is doing this instead of a meeting on the morning of his visit. This gives him more time with the congregation on the day of his visit. Among other things we will be looking forward to what summer might look like especially VBS.
Holy Week: We will be able to offer a full set of services for Holy Week. I hope you will join us for as many of them as possible. I am planning the same set of services that Fr. Ken did in 2019. Palm Sunday March 28, 8am and 10:30am. We will start out by the Labyrinth for the first part of the service and then process into the church (weather permitting). Maundy Thursday, Family service with Ms. Julia in parish hall at 6pm and the full liturgy with music in the Nave at 7pm. Good Friday service is at noon followed by Stations of the Cross and the vigil. Easter services at 8am and 10:30am music at both services. Please remember to sign up for these services especially Palm Sunday and Eater. I have increased the number of spots but we still have to cap it at 100.

March 10, 2021

Bishop Doyle to meet with vestry: In preparation for his visit Bishop Doyle will attend our March vestry meeting. The bishop is doing this instead of a meeting on the morning of his visit. This gives him more time with the congregation on the day of his visit. He is able to do this since we are still meeting via zoom. I will update you in two weeks after the meeting.
DIOCESAN COUNCIL: Diocesan Council was held virtually last Saturday. Your delegates are meeting to reflect on what we heard and how we as a parish are called to respond. Watch for something from them in the next week or so. For a short video report from our council delegates – click here. For additional information, see the below links from Council:
Mark at Camp Allen: I will be at Camp Allen Wednesday afternoon through Saturday afternoon for a mini retreat with Wendy. One of the things Bishop mentioned in his council address is the need for self-care for clergy. The diocese gives each clergy member 2 days at diocesan expense to take time out and go on retreat at Camp Allen. I’ll be back for Sunday.
Those who serve: Last week I asked for ushers, but we always need more people to serve in the various jobs that are needed to make Sunday happen. Besides ushers we could use more lectors and once we start having more people we will also need more Eucharistic Ministers.
Home Communions: If you would like a home visit for communion because you cannot attend on Sunday, let Mark know and he will schedule a visit. As more of us get our shots, I hope to get our Eucharistic Visitors back up and going as well.

March 3, 2021

Diocesan Policy on COVID 19 precautions
Bishop Doyle has sent a letter to all congregations laying out the diocesan policy following the Governor’s decision yesterday. Here are a couple of highlights. “We have managed to keep our institutions, schools, and congregations from being spreader sites throughout the crisis. Other churches have not been so fortunate. Therefore, we will continue to operate under the health and safety guidelines issued by me, and your opening plans approved by your regional bishops…At least in the near term, I don’t anticipate that our current practices regarding mask-wearing, physical distancing, and worship/event registration limits will change. When they do adjust, it will be the result of guidance provided by the CDC and the guidance offered by the Texas Medical Center. We continue to monitor COVID data daily and look to health officials for the best directive counsel. “ If you would like to read the letter in its entirety please email Fr Mark.
WE NEED USHERS: We are very short of ushers for both the 8:00 and 10:30 service. This is not a difficult job but is essential to the service. If you have not served as an usher now would be a good time to start. The vestry member on duty can help you through what you have to do. Please email Christie to let her know you are interested. Primarily this is greeting people as they arrive, bringing up the bread and wine and then helping people come forward at communion time.
PRAYING THE WORD: This is a wonderful series of videos for Lent from the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Boston. This is an Episcopal monastery, and they have an active on line ministry. Worth exploring. Click here to visit the site.
PROGRAMS FOR LENT HERE AT ST. PAUL’S: The Gospel of Mark is our focus for the Tuesday 9:00 zoom bible study and Learning to Pray by James Martin SJ is the noon Theology Lunch on Wednesdays. If want information, please email Mark. The login is our standard zoom information. Click here to log in. Meeting ID: 281 391 2785 Passcode: 783312
DIOCESAN COUNCIL: Diocesan Council was held virtually last Saturday. Your delegates are meeting to reflect on what we heard and how we as a parish are called to respond. Watch for something from them in the next week or so. For a summary of the council click here. I’m hoping to have some links to recordings of two of the presentations soon.