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Episcopal Church

of Wichita Falls

All Saints Episcopal Church
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

Sunday  Morning Worship
with Communion
10:30 AM
    


905 Church Street
Decatur, TX 76234
Sunday Morning Worship
with Communion
10:00 AM

 

 

 

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Joyful News Notes

Episcopal Church in Northern Deanery, Dioceses of Fort Worth

All Saints – Good Shepherd – St. Stephens – Wise County

Tuesday
May092017

Gospel Reflection on John 14:1-14

5Easter - 05.14.17

 

Today’s Gospel proclaims Jesus as “the way, and the truth, and the life.”  Jesus has not only prepared the way, he is the way.  He not only tells the truth, he is the truth about life and death.  Jesus not only describes how we are to live, he is the life we are to life.  The writer of the Gospel of John announces the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ that he professes -- which is largely the faith of the Johannine Community in Ephesus.  The writer is concerned with what he knows, and so must every Christian.  When we think of Jesus as “the Way,” it’s the reality of his life and mission that is the way, the way of seeing all others the way that Jesus did.  Notice that Jesus does not say, “Beliefs about me are the way” or “Having the correct doctrine is the way.”  He says, “I am the Way.”  The way to Abba runs right through what we see of Abba in Jesus.  Unfortunately, John 14:6 can become a “text of terror” when Christians convert their spiritual confidence into theological certainty that professes to know the precise purposes of God; who seem to know with absolute certainty about whom God saves and those whom he condemns.  Why is it that those who tout this divide with such certainty always seem to be speaking as members of the “in” or “saved” group and never consider that they themselves might be on the outside?  We need to balance John 14:6 with Matthew 25:40 where salvation hinges on humility and self-giving love.  The Very Reverend John D. Payne, Emeritus Dean of the Northern Deanery, Diocese of Fort Worth and Emeritus Rector of All Saints' Episcopal Church,  former Interim Priest-in-Charge of St. Stephens Episcopal Church, and currently, a Supply Priest of Episcopal Church of Wichita Falls

Tuesday
May022017

Gospel Reflection on John 10:1-10

by the Right Rev. John D. Payne

 

T

he church has been easy pickings for the con-artist, profiteer, huckster, power-hungry manipulator, and misguided leader who comes to fleece the flock rather than to feed the flock.  Sometimes the frauds are obvious:  Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s preying hands or David Koresh’s destructive messiah complex.  Most of the time, however, identifying the fakes is a more subtle task, something like spotting a skillfully copied Van Gogh by noticing a slight variation of tint or strong brush stroke.  Celebrity preacher Joel Osteen is difficult to assess.  Is he fraudulent or faithful?  Is Lakewood Church a real community of faith or simply a lucrative family business?  How do we discern the real from the fake?  We do it the same way that art experts test the validity of a piece of art:  by comparing it to the authentic work of the master artist.  The Christian community has to evaluate the ministers and mission, the programs and strategies for faith and practice alongside the Gospel narratives of Jesus’ ministry.  The picture of the Shepherd in the Gospel of John calls us to listen carefully to his voice as we are called to share in God’s saving work in the world, to open the doors to those unlike us and to welcome all to the abundant life in the name of the Good Shepherd.  Authentic ministry and leadership shares the cadences of Jesus’ own works, Jesus’ own promises and demands.  We have to distinguish between the voice of Jesus, who calls us into the realm of grace, and the voice of the counterfeit who is self-serving at the expense of the people and the community.  The Very Reverend John D. Payne, Emeritus Dean of the Northern Deanery, Diocese of Fort Worth and Emeritus Rector of All Saints' Episcopal Church,  former Interim Priest-in-Charge of St. Stephens Episcopal Church, and currently, a Supply Priest of the Episcopal Church of Wichita Falls

Tuesday
Apr252017

Gospel Reflection on John 20:19-31

by the Right Rev. John Payne

T

oday's gospel gives us a picture of the church at its worst, for the first miserable little gathering ever to take upon itself the name "church" is sad indeed.  Here is a church that has nothing going for it except that when it gathered, the risen Christ burst through the locked doors and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."  In other words, the first thing that Jesus said was, "Don't be afraid, I forgive you."  Despite the depth of their guilt and despair, because all of them had forsaken and betrayed him, the risen Christ appeared with forgiveness on his lips.  Suddenly, their fear, self-blaming and guilt turned to joy.  Then the risen Lord breathed on them, giving them the breath of new life, making them partakers of the Divine life of the Holy Trinity, and giving them a purpose and a mission.  What makes a church is the peace of Christ.  It takes forgiveness from Jesus Christ to be an Easter people.  Isn't it wonderful to hear this on "Low Sunday," when attendance at church is way down, when our Easter exuberance is a bit thin?  Today is also "Thomas Sunday," for this doubting disciple remains our spiritual elder brother who teaches us the place of doubt in the life of faith.  Doubt is not a stopping place or a hiding place, but a way station to a greater, deeper faith.  Let Low Sunday and Thomas Sunday be a time when we are honest about the weakness of the church as well as our doubts and fears.  After all, Easter keeps happening, God keeps making something new out of nothing, raising up life where once there had been only death.  The Very Reverend John D. Payne, Emeritus Dean of the Northern Deanery, Diocese of Fort Worth and Emeritus Rector of All Saints' Episcopal Church,  former Interim Priest-in-Charge of St. Stephens Episcopal Church, and currently, a Supply Priest of Episcopal Church of Wichita Falls

Thursday
Apr132017

Make your donation to the New Life Fund today

The New Life Fund: Growing in New Ways campaign was kicked off by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at a fundraising dinner Friday, April 7, at Colonial Country Club. More than 160 people attended the dinner.

Watch a video of his spirited address at the dinner below or on YouTube.

Thursday
Apr132017

Bishop Mayer: “We are a Resurrection People”

Bishop Scott Mayer has issued an Easter message, reminding us that we are Resurrection People. But what does that mean? He explores it in this video.

Watch it below, or on YouTube. The video is close captioned.