“Let there be light! You are the Light for the life of the world.”

“I sometimes find myself in need of a light,” said the Rt. Rev. Kathryn M. Ryan, Bishop Suffragan, West Region, in her sermon at the Opening Eucharist Rite II for the 171st Diocesan Council. She shared how a couple of summers ago, she spent the night in her one-person tent. She set it up, gathered with friends for a campfire and for a short walk. So far from the city’s lights, she headed back to her tent, but couldn’t find it. She didn’t have a flashlight and her cellphone was dead; thus, she found herself wandering in circles. She could hear the howls of coyotes; she was in total darkness and became a bit fearful. She could have used a light! 

Gloomier than that, however, is what she referred to as “the impenetrable gloom that creeps like a fog bank into and over human society”. She reminded us of the misery brought by prejudice and oppression, along with hatred and indifference.

During those times, we can all use a light.

The Bishop reminded us that we will always face pain and disappointment, but that one challenge cannot be solved without addressing the nature of another. Again, she reminded us, “we could really use a light!”

The Rt. Rev. Ryan preached about how our reality is inconsistent with God’s vision. While there is darkness all around us in today’s society, we have hope. While there is brokenness in our midst, we can be the light that leads to restoration.

Just as God brought light to darkness, in our doing good, by helping others, we can become a collective light to the world.

The Bishop closed by challenging all in attendance to be a light. 

Canon for Mission Amplification, the Rev. Joann Saylors gives update on the state of amplifying the Episcopal Church’s reach.

The following day, with over 1,000 in attendance, Canon Saylors reported on the progress of the Mission Amplification team. She began by thanking diocesan staff, especially members of her team, as they form new communities of faith. She reported that she is optimistic about how the church is changing, how congregations are meeting new challenges, and how the whole works together to become more missional, more vital, and more of a force for good in the world.

Church Plants

As of Council 2020, Saylors reported having planted 14 churches during this episcopacy, as well as two more that began as parochial missions. Four have been planted since last Diocesan Council. The following five are at mission status: St. Julian of Norwich, Round Rock; St. Mary Magdalene, Manor; Church of the Cross, Lake Travis; SoCo Episocpal, Austin, and St. Isidore, Spring. (St. Juilian is currently searching for property to build a new facility as they have outgrown their current space. Church of the Cross dedicated the land for their future home last summer. St. Isidore, Spring moved into new permanent space this fall.)


Over the last four years, three new fellowships have been seated: San Romeo, Houston; St. Philip the Evangelist, Houston; and Good Shepherd, Stafford. Already, in 2020, they will be joined by three new fellowships, bringing the number of fellowships to a total of six.

Congregations ring the Great Commission bell

Most exciting, three congregations rang the Great Commission bell at the 2020 Council: Holy Family, Humble (the Rev. John Soard); St. Joan of Arc, Pflugerville (the Rev. David Peters); and Holy Family, East Downtown Houston (Jacob Breeze).

More on Church Plants

Still, five more planters are working hard within their neighborhoods and gathering worshipping communities: Incarnation, South Austin (the Rev. Brin Bon); Northside Episcopal (the Rev. Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis); Mosaic in West Pearland (Joseph Yoo); the Rev. Oscar Huerta is planting a Hispanic church in Waco (hosted by St. Alban’, Waco), and lay planter Maria Bautista began exploration of additional areas of northeast Houston. Saylors reports that two additional planters are expected to deploy in 2020. Impressively, four congregations have second sites, and Grace West, Georgetown, is looking for moving for a second time because of continued growth.

Campus Missioners

Four of our five full-time campus missioners were new in the fall semester of 2019, with an additional part-time campus missioner in the northeast convocation, based in Tyler. With all volunteer missioners and clergy, we are reaching out to 26 different campuses with a total of 80 higher education campuses across the diocese.

Missional Communities

As of Council 2020, Canon Saylors reported 93 missional communities connected to 44 congregations. As a result of these communities, more than 1400 people are connected through these communities of God.

Metrics/Church “Census”

At the end of 2020, each church will be asked to submit new information about worship and visitors. This information is currently being captured, just not reported, and for some, tracking such has not been a priority. Videos have been created where congregations following best practices are featured to offer parishes and communities innovative ideas that can used as a resource. Additionally, Bishop Doyle has requested that we gather additional information about the state of the diocese and our congregations. Information related to that project will be forthcoming as planning is underway.

She closed with thankfulness for the opportunity to work with the ministry of the congregations within the 57 counties that make up the diocese.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The business session began at 8:30 a.m., and even with technical issues, our first ballots were taken in the morning.

Election results are as follows. Click here for more

Secretary of the Diocese (Elect 1): John A. Logan, Jr., Diocese of Texas, Christ Church, Houston

Treasurer of the Diocese (Elect 1): Linda Riley Mitchell, Diocese of Texas, Trinity, Houston

Standing Committee, Lay (Elect 1): KT Zaharia, Good Shepherd Episcopal Indian Church, Stafford

Standing Committee,  Presbyter (Elect 1): The Rev. Jimmy Abbott, Holy Comforter, Spring

Executive Board, Lay (Elect 3):

Anthony Chapple, St. David’s Austin
Mark Duncan, Calvary, Richmond
Diana Hineman, St. Cyprian’s, Lufkin

Executive Board, Clergy (Elect 2):

The Rev. Rhonda Rogers, St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View
The Rev. Mitch Tollett, St. Francis, Tyler

Trustee of the Church Corporation (Elect 1): The Rev. Sharron Cox, St. Mary’s, West Columbia

Trustee of the University of the South, Lay (1 year term) (Elect 1): Kristine Devine, St. David’s, Austin

Trustee of the University of the South, Clergy (Elect 1): The Rev. David Goldberg, Iglesia San Pedro, Pasadena

Deputy to General Convention, Lay (Elect 4):

Scott Madison, St. James’, Austin, 1st Lay Deputy
Darling Membreño, St. Mary Magdalene, Manor, 2nd Lay Deputy
Caleb Parker, Episcopal Student Center, Austin, 3rd Lay Deputy
Linda Patterson, Ph.D., St. Andrew’s, Bryan, 4th Lay Deputy

Alternates Deputy to General Convention, Lay:

Katie Balke, St. Stephen’s, Beaumont, 1st Lay Alternate
Frederick Roberts, St. Francis of Assisi, Prairie View
Hayden Paul, St. Andrew’s, Bryan
Bruce McDonald, Christ Church Cathedral, Houston

Deputy to General Convention, Clergy (Elect 4):

The Rev. Canon Christine Faulstich, Diocese of Texas, Palmer Memorial, Houston, 1st Clergy Deputy head of Deputation
The Rev. Pedro López, San Pedro/St. Peter’s Pasadena, 2nd Clergy Deputy
The Rev. Samantha Smith, St. Mark’s, Houston, 3rd Clergy Deputy
The Rev. Chuck Treadwell, St. David’s, Austin, 4th Clergy Deputy

Alternates Deputy to General Convention, Clergy

The Rev. Bertie Pearson, Grace, Georgetown, 1st Clergy Alternate
The Rev. Edward Thompson, Trinity, Galveston
The Rev. Sean Steele, St. Isidore, Spring
The Rev. Justin Yawn, St. Luke’s on the Lake, Austin

The Bishop’s Address:

A Storied Church

Bishop Doyle commits $13,000,000 to Racial Justice Initiatives

The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, IX Bishop of Texas, provided his annual address which began with a video of testimonials from people across the diocese about how they were brought to God. He, then, began his address by proclaiming that we are an amazing diocese, doing incredible work! We can see this work, we’re telling the stories of our work, as revealed in the annual report. Bishop Doyle discussed the transformative work that has taken place over the last year. The diocese has restored homes through the disaster and recovery team; planted four churches since 2019, with a total of 16 planted to date; campus missions have increased from 6 to 26, having a total of 9 at the beginning of his episcopacy- 4 established since 2019. The diocese has 90 missional communities, resulting in 1400 people connected to Christ through these communities.

Since last year, there have been 73 clergy transitions; 11 new rectors; 7 associates; 9 curates; 53 clergy in new positions, and 1 new bishop. 64 people participated in Discovery Retreat in 2019. Last year, the Iona School for Ministry had 7 bi-vocational clergy, 10 deacons, 4 lay track students, and 15 seminary track students. Numbers for 2020 are equally, in not more than, promising already.

The Bishop discussed his 360-degree review and 2025 vision and goals since his 11 years of leadership. He plans to begin this process in June and hopes to engage over 2000 people in the process.


The Bishop’s Address: A Storied Church

The Bishop’s Address highlighted advances in service and evangelism. He offered a recap of the work that has taken place within the Diocese of Texas since Council 2019. He celebrated and thanked the people of the diocese for the commitment to their work. 

Of most significance, Bishop Doyle announced three initiatives that will transform and forward the work of the diocese: 

  • Aid to Congregations in Financial Stress: Minding the Gap in Changing Times

The church is working to relieve the financial burdens and work on vitality. The bishop said, “We must care for each other during unfortunate times.” He shared stories from vulnerable congregations, and situations that amplify such vulnerability related to financial losses. This occurs in churches for a variety of reasons. He wishes to reduce assessments from six percent to five percent, looking at special congregational circumstances where financial decline is problematic.

  • Unity in Mission in the Midst of Partisan Division: Being Repairers of the Breach

The bishop discussed the division within society today and how we are living with very little dialogue. He has listened to both clergy and lay people. He declared, “Partisan politics does not govern the unity of our Church. Jesus Christ governs our unity.”  He said that this comes from the “common acceptance of God’s mission”. Bishop Doyle reminded us of Isiah 58:12, where God requires us to be repairers of the breach, the restorer of the streets to dwell in.

  • Commitment of $13 Million for Racial Justices

In the spirit of being repairers of the breach, the bishop made a resounding announcement that the diocese is committing $13 Million for Racial Justices through a variety of necessary grants, scholarships, and other initiatives to help heal our historically Black churches and its people, as a result of the diocese’s storied past. While he gave great examples of when our diocese was great, he also offered stories of great disappointment from when our diocese participated in disappointing acts related to slavery, lynching and other racial injustices.  He encouraged the Church to own its history so that it can move forward.

The Bishop announced the Pauli Murray Scholarship, the Talbot Fund for Racial Justice, the Henrietta Wells Scholarship, the Thomas Cain Fund for Black Churches, the David Franklin Taylor Endowed Scholarship, and the Bertha Sadler Means Endowment for Racial Justice, all totaling $13 million.

 Click here for more details regarding each of these funds.

The announcement was met with a standing ovation with an estimated 1,000 in attendance.

He provided even more encouragement stating that, “The $13 million committed to racial justice has received nothing but support in this endeavor across the diocese and from 200 lay and clergy leaders.”

“We must step forward as a leader and an example to invite others to follow”, the bishop reminded.

He continued, “The Church is always at its best when it lives with people. This is the work given to do at our time.”

The bishop closed by saying, “As your bishop and friend, fellow-baptized Christian, I could not imagine a better group of people to do this work with.”

The Bishop’s Address  and other presentations that were delivered at Council 2020 may be found at this link

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