The righteous flourish like the palm tree,
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of God.
In old age they still produce fruit;
they are always green and full of sap.”
This portion of Psalm 92 was printed in an article* written by Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold. I remember reading this article while I was lost in the swirling mists of discerning my call to the priesthood. I had been pondering God’s call for some time, but one of the fears that always held me back was that of “drying up” pastorally or theologically. I was afraid that I would run out of sermons to preach, caring words and deeds to provide, lessons to teach, fellowship to offer, etc. for what I thought the people of God deserve and need from a minister. In a way, it was a fear of not being rooted deeply enough for the nutrients I would need to sustain my ministry.
It was during this time that I picked up the article from Bp. Griswold and read this psalm and read about his friendship with Brother Paul Wessinger of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist. I read about the ministry of Br. Paul—his simple yet powerful sermons that would inspire children and adults alike to engage in acts of love and fellowship with their neighbors, his patient and compassionate presence with family and friends and foes alike, his unceasing generosity of spirit—and how after 90 years of life Br. Paul still found new life in his ministry. He still found new surprises in the scripture, relished opportunities to include others in fellowship, and was still a learner as much as a teacher. It was in reading about this remarkable man that I realized something important about ministry: If one is planted in the house of the Lord, they flourish in the courts of God. Br. Paul was—even at 90—still producing fruit, still green, still full of sap, and it was because he was rooted deeply in his community among his fellow children of God. This gave me the confidence to push onward in answering God’s call, trusting that I too will be nourished and kept green by the rich soil of my community.
I have come to discover that this is true for all ministers—not only priests but all of us who play a role in God’s mission of love and reconciliation in this world—that we can do amazing things in ministry if we are planted in the house of God. We all produce fruit for those in our community. We can continually surprise and be surprised by each other, keep learning and growing and teaching each other, and be people never running out of compassion for each other. We can do this because being rooted in this community together feeds us and sustains us just as God intended when the Church was formed. I am forever thankful to Bp. Griswold for his perfectly timed article, to Br. Paul for his inspirational ministry, to God for the beautiful psalm, and to all of you for being the good soil in which I am planted.
* “A Tribute to Paul Wessinger, SSJE,” by the Rt. Rev. Frank T. Griwold. Cowley Magazine (Vol. 36 No. 1 issue), published November 29, 2009, by the Society of Saint John the Evangelist.
Meet Fr. Steven! Sunday, July 16 11:30 am - 2:00 pm
after the 10:00 service
St. Stephen's Room
in Broce Hall
BeatlesSunday St. Stephen’s is pleased to once again offer a Beatles Liturgy on Sunday, August 20. All the worship music will come from the Beatles repertoire and we’ll have a very fun reception afterwards. Would you like to help in some way? Offer your musical talent? Bring a dish – think Strawberry Fields Forever! Please let us know ASAP if you can help. Contact the church office (409) 892-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know. Thanks.
The Tasting for SOP
Coming Up Tuesday, August 15
It is one of our favorite things to do – support the awesome work of Some Other Place by participating in the annual Tasting. Churches and other organizations come together at the Beaumont Civic Center showcasing our favorite “church” food! St. Stephen’s serves Bill Kujawski’s renowned New Orleans style bread pudding!
Our Tasting Coordinators this year are Amber Norris and Jodi Woodard. Lisa Docter will be coordinating the baking of the bread pudding. Lisa will be taking donations for grocery items needed, and volunteers are needed to serve the food in two or three shifts beginning at 4:30 pm through 7 pm. We also need volunteers to help with decorating and cleanup. Please consider how you can help and watch for the signup sheets. We will have a volunteers meeting before the Tasting this year to cover duties, so if you have never participated this is a great time to start!
Tickets for the event will be sold at church on Sundays or in the church office on weekdays. Parking is free and shuttles run from St. Mark’s and First Methodist Churches.
Volunteers need to buy tickets too! Put it on your calendar it is one of the most events of the year around here.
The Wardens, Vestry and Congregation of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
request your prayers and presence for The Celebration of a New Ministry Instituting The Reverend Steven M. Balke, Jr.
as Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
The Rt. Reverend C. Andrew Doyle
IX Bishop of Texas, presiding
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
6:00 PM Reception to follow in Broce Hall
Books & Bears
The Books & Bears project was a success again this year. We delivered 18 bins filled with books & cute stuffed bears for children at Regina Howell Elementary School who would benefit from having books for summer reading. A special thanks goes to Lisa Doctor, Janna Staton , Megan Cropper, Suzanne Lambremont, Claire Ripper, Pat Ritchie and Sam & Kathy Tait. Bins were provided by Howard Pierce, and many books were donated to our project by Denna Williams , All Saints librarian. Thanks to everyone who donated books or worked to reach out to our community through this expression of love.
Thank You Notes
Dear St. Stephen's,
Thank y'all so much for the generous graduation gift of $100 and a prayer book. These will both be very beneficial during college. Y'all were so sweet to think of me, and have a great summer.
St. Stephen's Church,
Thank you for all the memories that I've accrued within your stone walls. This will always be the church of my childhood, and I am so blessed to be able to say so.
Thank you for the generosity regarding my graduation gift.
This church has been a blessing to me and to my family.
With love, Molly Tucker
Thank you for sponsoring a model at the 2017 Stars of The Arc Celebrity Style Show and Dinner. Your donation truly makes our models feel like a million bucks!
Thank you for supporting The Arc of Greater Beaumont! Gary HidalgoDear St. Stephen's Family,
Thank you so much for thinking of me during graduation. It was such a peaceful time and your gifts helped to make me feel even more special.I can't wait to start this new chapter in my life and am so thankful for the family at St. Stephen's. Thank you again for thinking of me. Callie RoaneThank you so much for the monetary gift as well as the USB w/ keychain, and prayer book. God bless.
Monday - Friday
9:00am - 3:00pm
8:00am ~ Holy Eucharist, Rite I
10:00am ~ Holy Eucharist, Rite II Wednesdays
5:30pm ~ Holy Eucharist Rite II