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Weekly E-News - July 8, 2020

My Apostleship Journey 

By The Rev. Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA

In retrospect, my journey to apostleship began during childhood. Not only did I play priest as a child, but as I got older I did everything from teaching Sunday School for children to leading Bible Studies for adults. Even in a blog that I used to keep, I often spread the Gospel of our Lord through my writings.

Of course, those were just teachings, for I believe as an apostle of Christ you must purse Christ’s teachings intentionally through your actions. So, I’ve been a member or leader in a variety of ministries, such as missionary trips to Southeast Mexico, Alpha, Faith Alive, Order of St. Luke, and even a Head of School at an Episcopal School. Throughout my active engagements, I was asked by several priests if I’d ever consider following my father’s footsteps as a minister.

Although the question resonated with me, I wasn’t ready. There were so many issues for me to resolve. First of all, growing up as a minister’s kid, I knew it could interfere with the rearing of my own children. I remember my father having to forgo some of my childhood events to attend to the needs of a parishioner. I was also not sure I could make it financially, for I knew seminaries are expensive. But probably the biggest issue for me was, “Am I worthy?”

Nearly four years ago, Bishop Reed called when he was coming to St. James, in Del Rio, for his annual visit and asked if he could meet with me. During our visit, he told me everything about the upcoming IONA bi-vocational initiative.  By this time, my girls were grown and basically independent women. Since the courses would be taught online and during monthly mentoring sessions within the Diocese, my financial responsibility would be minimal. My only issue was, “Am I worthy?”

Bishop Reed’s answer was basically, “None of us is worthy, but are you being called?” That was the beginning of my discernment process. There were several reflections to write, a retreat, a couple of diocesan interviews, and more. By the time I completed the process, I could see a clear picture. I knew I was being called by our Lord into the ministry, to follow in the footsteps of his apostles. Then, I had to wait for the Bishop’s admittance into the program. It was such a joyous day to finally receive his letter accepting me into the program!

The program was not easy, but it was the most fulfilling academic journey I’ve ever embarked on. Courses in scripture, history, theology, ethics, liturgy, and ministry, all while trying to balance them along with my professional life, home life, and my personal needs. I still remember calling my wife and rector the evening after my very first class, to tell them I’d made a mistake! There was so much to learn and from a totally different perspective, that it took my a while to feel comfortable with what I was doing.

The confirmation that my hard work had paid off was when I took my General Ordination Examinations (GOE’s) and did well overall. After the GOE’s, I met with the Bishop, the Examining Chaplains, and the Standing Committee. All these meetings helped to ensure that I was truly ready for the next stage of the journey I was about to embark, not just academically, but spiritually and emotionally as well.

Other than the day I married my wife and the birth of my children, I feel my Ordination to the Diaconate was one of the most memorable and glorious days of my life. Just as when I said “I do” or the first time I held my girls in my arms, I can still feel the Bishop laying hands on me and saying, “Father, through Jesus Christ your Son, give your Holy Spirit to Arnoldo; fill him with grace and power, and make him a deacon in your Church.” I remember tearing up, for I could feel our Lord’s presence. I’m not perfect and still have a lifetime of learning to do, but He was entrusting me with his flock. I pray that I’m always able to listen to His voice; properly care for the poor in spirit; to be able to lead those entrusted to me into His light; and to have the wisdom, courage, and strength to do all the works He wants me to do. So I ask you to please pray for me, as I will pray for you.

Supplies to Succeed

Help UCISD stuff the bus!  

St. Philip's will once again be participating with the annual stuff the bus campaign with the Uvalde C.I.S.D. With so many families experiencing financial hardship due to Covid-19, UCISD is expecting the need will be even greater this year. Your donations of school supplies and/or monetary donations will ensure that all kids in Uvalde will begin school with the right tools to succeed!

Items needed include backpacks, pencils, markers, notebook paper, crayons, erasers, rulers, scissors, glue or glue sticks, pens, highlighters, composition books, binders, spiral notebooks, dividers, and folders. 

If you would like to order supplies on-line to minimize community spread you can order and have them sent directly to the church. If you order from Amazon you can also help St. Philip's if you sign up for Amazon Smile and choose St. Philip's as the organization you wish to support. AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to St. Philip's and it will not cost you anything. Help us "Stuff the Bus" and let's get our Uvalde kids off to a great start when they return to school in August. A donation box will be available in the Narthex on Sundays and in the church office during the week.

Session 1: Staycation Bible School 2020 
TURN: Pause, listen, and choose to follow Jesus. 

It's time for Vacation Bible School- a highlight for many children during the long summer months. It's a time to learn about God's love in fun and exciting ways with crafts, songs and more. This year is different. We're not able to meet in person but  your children can still participate - just in a different way. Each week we will post the links needed for that week. If you want to do one a day instead of one a week you can do that too. 
 
Let's Get Started with Session 1:
Turn "What does it mean to Turn Toward's Jesus' love?
"
Session 1 Lesson Turn" - Presented by Susanna Green (21 Minutes)
Session 1 - Music
 
Craft Materials Needed:  
Construction Paper or Cardstock
A glue stick or Elmer's glue
Old Magazines, newspapers or photos
Crayons, markers, colored pencils, pens or paint
Leaves, sticks other things from nature that remind you of God. 

We would love to have videos and photos of your children participating in Staycation Bible School 2020 that we can share with everyone. Photos and videos can be sent to communications@stphilipsuvalde.org. Enjoy!

A Reading And Discussion Group About Racism 
An invitation to learn about racism

As you may have seen in the e-news the last couple of weeks I am beginning a reading and discussion group about racism. It is, I think, some of the most important work we can do right now, and I hope you will join me in it. No one escapes the effects of racism. It's the water we all swim in regardless of our color. And for some it’s the water they drown in.

We'll meet via Zoom twice a month and use Google Classroom as a way to stay connected in between our Zoom meetings. 

We’ll begin with Robin Diangelo’s White Fragility. Please purchase your copy online. It is available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, as well as from various sites listed on the author’s website. It can be difficult to find and currently is often out of stock. I will provide a PDF of the first few chapters for those whose delivery is delayed.

In order to accommodate as many people as possible I will have two sections as follows:

  • Day Group: 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month at 1:30-3:00 pm.
    • The first meeting will be Thursday, July 16.
  • Evening Group: 2nd and 4th Monday of each month at 5:30-7:00 p.m.
    • The first meeting will be Monday, July 27.

Please call Julie in the church office (830/278-5223) or e-mail me if you want to be a part of this group. Also, please let me know which section you will attend, day or evening.

The group is not limited to those who attend or are members of St. Philip's. Everyone is welcome and all are invited. Please let me know if you have questions. 

God’s peace be with you,

Mike+

Join the Conversation!

Introducing Ms. Tammie Portillo 
A win-win opportunity

Even with everything else going on in our country today, good things are still happening. A couple of weeks ago Tania at the Texas Workforce contacted Fr. Mike about a grant it had received to help workers displaced from their employment by COVID-19 find new employment. Tania said they had grant money to fund a humanitarian/clerical position for the next six months and thought St. Philip’s and their employee would be a good match for each other. 

Fr. Mike and Tania spoke several times, the vestry approved the position, and Tammy Portillo began work with St. Philip’s earlier this week. Tammie will be working in the following areas: Philip’s Closet, the Uvalde Food Pantry, St. Philip’s Episcopal School, and the church office.

Tammie is a native Uvaldean. She is married and has family in town. Welcome Tammie! We’re glad you are here. 

JULY BIRTHDAYS

3 Miller Carnes
4 Lupe Mata
7 Delia Light
8 Win DuBose
12 Cristina Martinez, Mike McGehee, Jackson Taylor
13 Sharron Carnes, Margie Haegelin, Cherie Lewey
14 Marlowe Downing
15 Estelle DuBose, Shane Hunter, Bill Soyars
16 Kristi Gerdes
18 Deanna Soyars
21 Noreen Buchanan
24 Mac McLaughlin
25 Barbara Edwards
26 Roberta Walden
27 Tamsin Gerdes
29 Mary Dale Brewer

JULY ANNIVERSARIES
 2 Mike and Pam Cotton
    Tom and Estelle DuBose
14 Chris and Carly Jurica
16 Charles and Cleo Lemon
25 Ron and Yolanda Bird 
 

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