Weekly E-News - May 29, 2020

Help us Prepare for In-Person Worship
Please read the plan and take the survey. 

As you know, our plan for reopening in-person worship has been approved by the Diocese. The goal of this plan is to allow those who are ready to resume worshipping in person to do so in a way that is safe and healthy. Our plan looks good on paper and makes sense. What happens when it is implemented, however, is another question. To adapt a line from the movie Field of Dreams - "If we plan it, will they come?" And, if they come, will the plan work?

Every one of us has a part in this plan. Just as scripture needs to be embodied, enacted, and lived in order to be meaningful, so does our plan for reopening. There are a couple of things you can do that will help us as we move towards reopening.

First, please read and familiarize yourself with the plan and protocols outlined in the following documents:

Second, please respond to the following survey about whether you will attend Holy Eucharist on Sunday, June 7, at 10:30 a.m. This will help us prepare for maintaining social distancing guidelines.

Click here to take the survey.

Thank you for your assistance. Please feel free to contact a member of the vestry or Fr. Mike if you have questions.

Pentecost Sunday 
Come Holy Spirit Come. 

Resuming In-Person Worship 
Holy Eucharist on June 7.  

“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’”
- Psalm 122:1

I don’t know the context for the psalmist saying those words, but I know his (or her) gladness at hearing them and I’ll bet you do too. We’ve waited a long time to hear someone say those words. Bishop Reed has now said those words to the Diocese and I, as your priest, now say them to you. “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

I say those words to you with thanksgiving and in joyful anticipation of celebrating with you the Holy Eucharist. I say them also with concern for your health and well being, knowing that the virus is not gone and we are not returning to things as they used to be. 

While we cannot eliminate the risks associated with gathering in person, the vestry and I have prepared a plan to manage and, hopefully, minimize those risks. Please be mindful of this and your own risk factors such as age and health as you discern whether or not to resume worshipping in person. Some will choose to resume now, some will wait a bit longer. There is no one right answer for everyone. 

The Plan

Bishop Reed has given churches permission to resume a modified form of in-person worship beginning May 25. St. Philip’s has received diocesan approval to resume in-person worship (Holy Eucharist) on Trinity Sunday, June 7, at 10:30 a.m.

Our plan is to celebrate the Eucharist each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. in the church. At this time we are not resuming the 8:00 a.m. service on Sundays or the healing service on Thursdays. Meetings and classes will continue on Zoom.

We will continue to live-stream the Sunday service even after resuming in-person worship. You can access the live-stream on our Facebook page (even if you do not have a Facebook account). 

The church office reopened on Wednesday, May 27. Office hours will be 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Between Now and Then

  • This Sunday, May 31st, will be Morning Prayer. It will be available by live-stream only, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
  • In accordance with the diocesan Guidelines for the Phased Reopening of Churches in West Texas, the vestry has approved a plan for resuming in-person worship. Our plan for reopening has been approved by the Diocese. Links to the documents outlining the plan and protocols are in the article at the top of this e-news and on the church website
  • The church and offices will be cleaned and sanitized.
  • Orientation and training regarding liturgical changes and health and safety measures will be provided for employees and volunteers (altar guild, acolytes, readers, ushers, greeters). 
  • Additional equipment and technology resources will be put in place to enhance our worship and promote health and safety.
What You May Expect
  • We will observe social distancing guidelines and wear masks. Please bring and wear a mask. Masks will be available at church if your forget to bring one.
  • Ushers will assist with seating and dismissing the congregation. Please do not gather in groups before or after the service.
  • Prayer Books and hymnals will not be used. We are not able at this time to have congregational singing. Music and the liturgy will be on television screens in the church. 
  • Please refrain from shaking hands, hugging, kissing, or other physical contact including at the peace. 
  • Communion will be distributed at the bottom of the steps in front of the altar. Only the bread will be distributed. 
  • The church will be cleaned and sanitized before and after each service. The offices and restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized daily.
  • Please enter and leave the church through the Getty St. doors.
  • The kitchen, Briscoe Hall, Grace Hall, classrooms, nursery, and playground will remain closed.
What If?

As you’ve seen from the last couple of months things can change quickly and often. The vestry and I will keep in contact with the Diocese, stay abreast of guidelines and recommendations from medical experts, and be mindful of our local conditions. We’ll adjust our plan as necessary to fit what is happening.  

Thank You

We’re all “faithing” our way through this and figuring it out as we go, and I am grateful to be doing that with you. I am grateful to be your priest. Thank you for your love, support, and trust. I am inspired by your faith, care of one another, and the many ways you continue to be “a public face of Christ.” I look forward to being with you, whether in person or online. You remain in my love and prayers. 

Glory to God whose power, working in us,
can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine:
Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church,
and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20,21

God’s peace be with you,


Welcoming The Rev. Arnoldo Romero

Ordination to the Diacanate - June 13th

A little more than a year ago Mr. Arnoldo Romero came to St. Philip’s as our field education student. For the past three years Arnoldo has been studying in the diocesan Iona Collaborative.

The Iona Collaborative is a three year program of education and formation for people preparing to be ordained as bi-vocational priests. 

On Saturday, June 13, Arnoldo will be ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church. Later that month we will welcome The Rev. Arnoldo Romero to St. Philip’s. Bishop Reed has assigned him to be our deacon for the next six months. After that he will, God willing and the people consenting, be ordained a priest of the Church.

Arnoldo and I are still working out his schedule and duties but you can look forward to seeing him most Sundays of the month and a few weekdays each month. 

I am grateful for Arnoldo and his faithfulness to this calling, and I look forward to working with him. 

God’s peace be with you,


The church's bedtime prayers.

Each Thursday evening at 8:00 p.m. we will gather (in our own homes) via Zoom to pray Compline. Please join us as we pray that "The Lord Almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end." Join the Zoom Meeting Here

Compline can be thought of as the church's bedtime prayers. It is the final "office" of the day and is one of the four daily offices of prayer in the Book of Common Prayer (page 127). The English word compline comes from the Latin completorium,  St. Benedict, in the sixth century, was the first to use the word to refer to the prayers at the end of the day. In the monastic tradition the "Great Silence" followed compline and the entire community observed silence until it was time for the morning prayers. 

May Birthdays
2    Betty Hilderbran
3    Harlee Haag, Darrell Zimmerman
4    Backor McLaughlin
6    Bob Huddleston
7    Mike Stroff
9    Becky Capt
13  Pepper Kinzer
15  Michael Stroff
16  Bobbie Jean Low
18  Brenda Harrison, Steven McNew
22  Lucy Capt, George Harrison
24  Cecilia Capt
26  Yolanda Bird, Sky Lewey
27  Kyle Klein
30  Heath Sutherland

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