Three Church Plants to Embody the Robust Diversity of Houston Area

The Diocese has once again met its annual goal of establishing three church plants a year. This bold vision comes into reality after two lay leaders and a member of clergy have all answered the call to take on this mission.

The three church planters are: Maria Bautista Vargas at Northshore, Houston (Harris County); William Llana in the city of Plum Grove (north Liberty County); and the Rev. Emeka Agim who will plant a church within the Nigerian community in southwest Houston (Harris County).

“The Diocese has invested a significant amount of time and resources in assessing leaders as we seek out those called to start new congregations. These three leaders have demonstrated a passion for the gospel, the Episcopal tradition and making disciples. I look forward to seeing new Episcopal communities emerge through their leadership; communities that add to the beautiful—and increasingly diverse—family of congregations that make up the Diocese of Texas,” said Jason Evans, missioner for missional communities, who also coordinates church planting for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.

Northshore, Houston Church Plant

Prior to becoming  a Church Planter, Bautista began her ministry in the Diocese of Texas as missioner associate for Houston Canterbury, an Episcopal Campus Ministry at Texas Southern University, University of Houston, and at San Jacinto and Houston Community Colleges. In January of 2020, Bautista, took on the challenge to develop an Episcopal presence in the East Harris Convocation between Loop 610 and TX-8 Beltway.

Since January, Bautista has been working to rekindle relationships between Northshore neighbors and the Episcopal Church. During the midst of the pandemic, Bautista, has teamed up with community organizations to provide necessary resources to families in need and has provided free meals to 75 children each week.

Plum Grove Church Plant

Another active lay leader who accepted the call to become a Church Planter is William (Will) Llana. Llana is set to start his new ministry in the fall of 2020.

Llana is originally from Lima, Peru, and obtained a degree in Communication Sciences and Sacred Scriptures at the South American Biblical Seminary in Peru. After finishing his theological preparation, he served the Church by equipping pastors and leaders in the rural areas of Peru to start new congregations.

After his arrival to the United States, Llana studied at the Houston Graduate School of Theology and received a Master of Arts in Theology. He then worked for the United Methodist Church, founding two Hispanic congregations.

Most recently, he has been a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Houston, where he has had the opportunity to serve in the ministry by teaching and preaching.

“The ministry has taken me to different cities and countries, always with the same vision and call to share the good news to all people. I’m sure that in the County of Liberty where I have been assigned, we will achieve this purpose,” Llana said.  

Nigerian Community Church Plant

The Rev. Emeka Ngozi Agim is also starting his new ministry this fall. Agim was born in Nigeria and attended Immanuel College of Theology Ibadan in Nigeria, graduated with distinction and then continued his education at the University of Ibadan. He was ordained deacon in 1997.

During his six-year tenure with the Anglican Diocese of Ibadan, Agim was the vicar to three different churches until he relocated to Houston. Upon his arrival to the Lone Star State, he worked with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. In 2004, the Rt. Rev. Don Wimberly, the VIII Bishop of Texas, approved his call to become vicar of St. Joseph’s, Houston. In 2011, Agim, pursued a Master of Divinity from the Houston Graduate School of Theology.

“I look forward to this appointment with utmost bliss and do hope that the Holy Spirit in me will continue to guide and guard me into planting this Church,” shared Agim.

With the start of these three new church plants, the Diocese of Texas has now deployed a total of 18 church planters within the last decade, underscoring the signs of a mission-oriented diocese.

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