Pastor Notes

Dear Friends,

Welcome to St. Thomas Episcopal Church website. Currently we are updating and expanding this website. We see this as a window for you (out there) to look into and catch a glimpse of who we are and what we are up to as a worshipping community.

I am the Pastor of three years now. This is a church of good people. On Easter Day and Christmas Eve we are at seating capacity: 58 people! We like to remember the words of our Lord: "Fear not little flock. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom." We worship in a charming old country church but we worship God "in spirit and in truth."

Come and see! Join us Sundays for 10:00 am worship. We have Sunday School for children on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sundays at 10:00 and nursery care is available every Sunday.

We look forward to welcoming and being helpful to you.

Faithful in Christ,

Mark Given

May 2017 Message from Father Given

From me: Where do we go from here?

I am very glad to be back with you. Here is how I see these “90 days and 90 nights” while I was up north. You have been served well by supply priests; busy about good things. Another wonderful Mardi Gras was had. Church School, long desired and attempted, is now happening under the direction of Kim Devrow and her husband Darrin. We also have another, long desired, Worship at St. Thomas book for newcomers. More than this, we welcomed Bishop Sumner and his wife to a Good Friday soup and service! This was a milestone for us.

The Bishop’s Committee truly shined and beamed St. Thomas’ light into Dallas. Canon Gilton and Bishop Sumner have our attention and they appointed Canon Morriss as our resource and consultant. This is very good. In fact, Canon Morriss is/will have conducted our Bishop’s Committee retreat April 29th in the Parish Hall.

This retreat will be the beginning of an ongoing conversation about mission: the mission of St. Thomas, Ennis. Canon Morriss will have the Mutual Ministry Review (MMR) surveys organized. The MMR is a mutual review in all directions: St. Thomas reviewing itself, its leadership, its Priest(s); the Bishop’s Committee reviewing our members and its Priest; and its Priest reviewing St. Thomas as one of its newest members.

This retreat will be a beginning. We want to grow. God has blessed us enormously. We have much love and Gospel to share. Growth is happening. We have one new regular attender from the 90 days and 90 nights. The Sunday after Easter we had three visitors: two of them live in Ennis; one of them visits her mother in elder care on the weekends.

This retreat will be a beginning but it is a continuation of faithfulness. After Easter and the Day of Pentecost the disciples never stopped praying and organizing around this quest and question: “Where do we go from here?”

St. Thomas: “Where do we go from here?” There are several obvious paths we are already on: Seek God’s glory; Invite people to church; Give of ourselves to and through St. Thomas Church. There are other less obvious paths to discover and travel on. The retreat and future conversations will help us find them.

Our young children are a year and one-half older and stronger since the last Acolyte training. Some girls have already asked me, “Why can’t I do that?” Sometime in May we will have another training with the help of Betty Glasby, Susan Cooks, and Wally Stroope. Kim Devrow will help us see if it is possible to blend acolyte service with the church school schedule. This looks good either way!

I am glad to be back with you. I am also excited. My “90 days and 90 nights” were seemingly not as connective and productive as yours were, though God has been good to me and my family also. My time up north has underscored the goodness of God: “God loves us too much to let us remain the same.” True of every person; true for every church. Thank you for participating in the MMR survey.

April 2017 Message from Father Given

Fifth Sunday of Lent

I’ll be there! Will you?

The Bishop’s Committee of St. Thomas Episcopal Church has extended to me an invitation to return in God’s service to and with you as your priest. I have accepted your invitation. Thank you. Bishop Sumner has granted his permission for this pastoral relationship. Thank you Bishop. Fr. John Wells has agreed to pass the baton. Thank you Fr. Wells also. I enjoyed talking with him and seeing him with you this past Sunday. I know you have benefited from and enjoyed his ministry among you, and the several others, during these 90 days.

The Bishop’s Committee has been engaging Canon Michael Gilton, and thereby the bishop also, over these past 9 months. They know we are here. They are glad we are here. They have some ideas for our future ministry here in Ennis. Prayer, thinking, and “plans in the making” are being cooked up for the faith and works we are called to do and changes we might want to make. Church mission is much like fishing: match the bait to the catch.

We are a unique and gifted church for Ennis and beyond. We have had several nibbles and a few catches over the past three years. God is calling us to get our church into better and better spiritual shape, and to “pretty ourselves up” so we will better welcome and receive the guests of God already on their way.

Our collect for this Sunday reads in part: “Grant your people to love what you command and desire what you promise … among the swift and varied changes of this world …”

See you this weekend.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Mark E. Given +