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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.

February 24, 2021

CONFIRMATION CLASS STARTS: The Adult confirmation class will start this week at 9:45 or as soon as the 9:15 is done and will be located in the Conference Room. If you are interested and have not contacted Mark, please email him ASAP. Julia will be in touch with the youth about their program.
LENT IN A BAG AND OTHER PROGRAMS: Julia has prepared Lent in a Bag kits that she gave to those who came to the family service last Sunday. There are bags for the rest of the church in the narthex if you would like to pick one up. We also have the Lenten devotions in the narthex and will have some in the office, or click here to download.
THE OTHER LENTEN PROGRAMS STARTED THIS WEEK. 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:
BEACON: I’m still looking for a couple of people to join me serving at the Beacon homeless program by the cathedral possibly late March. I’ve got a couple of volunteers but would like to have at least three besides myself. Please email if interested.
HOME VISITS: Now that I’ve had both of my doses of the vaccine I am able to make some home visits. If you are interested in a home communion visit let me know. The diocese requires that masks are to be worn by myself and the person I visit unless the person I visit has had both of their shots and two weeks have passed since the last dose.

February 16, 2021

ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICES ALL VIRTUAL
FACEBOOK LIVE
6:00 Children’s message from Ms Julia
7:00 Liturgy of the ashes
Between concerns over the weather and a busted pipe in the office building discovered this afternoon we will be virtual only for Ash Wednesday.

February 10, 2021

Burning of the Palms: Since we are not having Shrove Tuesday pancakes we will burn the palms Sunday morning around 9:45 following the Family Service. The children will help prepare the ashes for Wednesday
WEEKDAY PROGRAMS DURING LENT
Both the Tuesday Bible Study and the Wednesday Theology lunch will be offering special programs for Lent. Here is a quick description, more information in a separate email.
THE GOSPEL OF MARK (Tuesday 9:00) The Tuesday morning Bible Study will be watching a series of videos that are a dramatic telling of the Gospel of Mark done by one of the professors Fr. Mark Studied with. We will listen to the entire gospel during the six weeks and there is a study guide to go along. This allows us to hear the gospel in much larger chunks than the short readings on Sunday.
LEARNING TO PRAY (A Guide for Everyone): Wednesday 12:00 starting Feb 24) This is a new book by Fr James Martin SJ. Fr. Martin is a well-known Jesuit who has written this new book on prayer. He has sections on a variety of prayer styles in the Ignatian tradition. Click here to see the book on Amazon.
LENTEN DAILY DEVOTIONAL
Click here to download the “Living Well Through Lent 2021: Listening with all your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind” daily devotional. This is the same as the printed version that we have available at the church.
BEACON: The Beacon is a ministry of the Episcopal Church in downtown Houston that provides meals, showers, laundry, medical attention and other services to the homeless in the area around Christ Cathedral. For quite a few years we have volunteered there. That opportunity had been greatly restricted during the pandemic and we have not been down there since last April. They are up and running again and are looking for volunteers. I have been in contact with Ron who is our contact and he could use as many as 6 volunteers to help out. He assured me that everything is designed to be safe in terms of the protocol of the pandemic. It is the usual food prep, laundry assistance and serving food. With some of us getting our vaccine, I was wondering if I could put a group together to resume that ministry in late February. We usually took a Thursday and there are several open late February and early March. Please contact Mark if you are interested.

February 3, 2021

Looking ahead to Lent: Lent will be upon us in just two weeks. Ash Wednesday services will be at 11:00 Rite 1, 6:00 Family (in the Parish Hall) and 7:00 Rite 2. I will have ashes for any who wish to have them. I’m working on the details now to keep with COVID protocols. We will not have Shrove Tuesday pancakes this year but will burn the palms from last year on the patio outside the parish hall on Sunday Feb. 14 after the 9:15 family service. If you have any palms from last year you can drop them off on Sunday morning this week or next.  

 Lent in a Bag: Julia and I are preparing Lent in a Bag kits for people to pick up on Ash Wednesday. If you would like ashes and the Lent in a Bag but are not comfortable attending one of the services you can pick them up anytime during the day. I will have ashes in a small baggie if you would like ashes but do not want me to put them on your forehead. Watch this space next week for more details. We also have the devotional books from Living Compass in the narthex starting this Sunday.  

 Bishop Visit in April: We are planning on an in-person visit by Bishop Andy April 18 for confirmation and baptism. If you would like to be baptized or confirmed please email Mark. Please note that his visit is still dependent on what happens with infections between now and April 18. I will meet with the bishop in early March to make more plans.