Full-Time Youth Minister Search

Youth Minister

Youth Formation Leadership

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (SAEC) seeks to hire a youth minister with a track record of building a strong and vibrant youth community. SAEC will welcome youth from both within and outside of the congregation. The youth minister will have a demonstrated ability to think and teach theologically and spiritually with the unique ability to relate well to youth. Simultaneously the youth minister will successfully maintain supportive and mature communication with parents or adult guardians. The congregation seeks an energetic and dependable youth minister with long-term interests in the congregation’s life and development.


Youth Minister




The youth minister builds a strong and vibrant community in which church and neighborhood teens develop confidence, faith and spiritual maturity. This is done through study, prayer, play and community service.

Reports To:

The Rector

Start Date:

January 2016

Job Duties:

• Work collaboratively with clergy, staff and lay ministers to steward the overall health and development of the parish.
• Communicate and collaborate with clergy or other pastoral ministers on any and all pastoral concerns.
• Design and implement an Episcopal formation plan that attends to biblical narratives, spiritual practices and social and ethical questions.
• Identify or develop a solid and engaging curriculum for substantive faith formation in youth.
• Assist youth in finding meaningful ways to pray and worship.
• Create opportunities for youth to participate and learn in community contexts outside of the church.
• Provide opportunities for youth to develop skills in relating across class, cultural, and generational lines.
• Foster opportunities for youth to learn in relationship with other parish ministries.
• Develop in teens the ability to identify and address critical questions of society, faith and spirituality.
• Provide consistent experiences of team, community and overall confidence building.
• Implement Episcopal Diocese of Texas Safeguarding God’s Children and Safe Church Ministry policies.
• Maintain personal certification in the required Diocesan Safeguarding programs and ensure that all participants in youth efforts are adequately screened, interviewed, trained, certified in Safeguarding programs and references are checked.
• Ensure an environment of continual education, responsibility and openness on topics such as sexual abuse, boundaries and protection or bullying and social exclusion.
• Engage the critical number of parents and/or adult leaders needed to guarantee the life and success of youth formation efforts.
• Manage systems for parent notifications, communications and permissions.
• Establish clear and well-communicated expectations of parents/legal guardians.
• Recruit and provide ongoing support to youth ministry volunteers.
• Engage other church ministries to explore interactive and cooperative opportunities for learning, service, mutual support and celebratory fellowship.
• Utilize social media in effective and responsible ways to build and shape community and youth seekers.
• Exercise critical thinking, maturity and judgment at all times.
• Maintain personal habits of spiritual health and wellness.
• Demonstrate accountability and transparency of work.


1. Post-secondary education preferred.
2. Experience teaching theological concepts and spiritual practices to youth.
3. Curriculum development and implementation expertise.
4. At least three years working with middle school and/or high school students.
5. Professional level communication with diverse age groups.
6. Bilingual Spanish and English a plus.

St. Andrew’s Welcomes John Kirk

 John Kirk - Organist and Choirmaster

Author: The Rev. Jimmy Grace

Dear friends,

I am pleased to announce that John Kirk has accepted the invitation to join our growing staff as St. Andrew's organist and choirmaster. We look forward to welcoming him for his first Sunday with us on September 5, 2015.

At St. Andrew's, John will play organ and piano and direct the choir for Sunday services, funerals, weddings, and other special services. Additionally, John will lead weekly choir rehearsals, coach individual singers during the week, and start a children's choir program. John will work closely with me as we plan liturgy for Sundays and special services throughout the year.


John currently serves as Director of Music at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Dickinson, Texas, a position he has held since August 2011. While at Holy Trinity, John started a children's choir and expanded the adult choir from 6 to 13 members.

From a young age, John has shown a strong interest in music, although it took several years for him to find his true musical passion: church music. Growing up Lutheran, John was always very interested and active in church, and this continued when he attended Capital University where he majored in both religion and music. While John's primary musical training was in double bass, he began playing the organ when he was 20 at his home church. He soon found himself spending more time at the organ console and less time behind the bass.

After moving to Houston following college, John began studying church music with Robert Brewer and assisting in the music program at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Houston, singing in the choir, leading sectional rehearsals, playing services, and directing the high school boys ensemble. In 2011 he was confirmed in the Episcopal Church.

John and his wife Sally are expecting their first child in early November. John is also currently working toward his Master's Degree in Organ Performance at the University of Houston Moores School of Music.


I first met John during his tenure at Epiphany, and since then have been impressed with his talent, humility, and sense of humor. Please keep John and Sally in your prayers as they begin their transition to St. Andrew's.

God's Peace,

Remembering Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.


On April 9, we remember a very unique saint in the Episcopal Church, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was distinctive since 1) he was not Episcopalian and 2) the only Episcopal saint to die in a Nazi concentration camp.

Bonhoeffer is remembered for his theological writings and his resistance to the Nazis. Even before the Nazis were elevated to power, they sought to seize control of the German Protestant church.  Known as the, Duetsche Christen, the group was fervently pro-Nazi (and anti-Jewish). Bonhoeffer opposed them vigorously, making more than a few enemies. His refusal to acquiesce to the anti-Semitism sweeping Germany in the 1930’s led him to help establish the breakaway Confessing Church. He began teaching in “underground seminaries,” until they were closed by the Nazis.

In late 1939, he accepted an invitation to speak at a seminary in New York. With the war looming, he could have stayed in the States, but instead chose to return to Germany. "I must live through this difficult period in our national history with the people of Germany," he said.

During the war he was forbidden to speak in public, so he served as a courier for the resistance and helped several Jews escape to Switzerland. Bonhoeffer was arrested after the failed assassination attempt on Hitler, although most historians believe he knew little details of the actual plot. After being imprisoned for a year and a half, he was sent to a concentration camp and executed at dawn on April 9, 1945, just two weeks before the camp was liberated by the Allies.

His faith and written works went on to inspire Martin Luther King, Jr and the anti-communist movement in Eastern Europe. This Easter season let us remember those that went before us and sacrificed for their faith, when just staying silent would have been so much easier.


Rhythms of Grace: Calling All Volunteers

Rhythms of Grace Houston (in the Heights) is a weekly ecumenical worship service and playtime for special needs children and their families.We meet every Sunday at 2 PM in the Parish Hall. Helping hands are always welcome:

Music Leaders – Once a month, provide simple music for our service, leading songs and transitional music (we have a guitar!).

Greeters – Once a month, greet our families downstairs and direct them to the Parish Hall.

Worship Leaders – Once a month, assist the priest as a chalice bearer during communion.

Set-up Helpers – When you are available, help with set up of the service from 12:30- 1:30 in the Parish Hall.

Service Assistants – Once a month, come and help welcome families, assist with crafts and monitor the exits.

Prayer Partners – Put Rhythms of Grace and the families that worship with us on your regular prayer list.

For more information on how you can help, contact Lisa Puccio.


Rhythms of Grace Houston at St. Andrew's

On February 1st, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church welcomes the Rhythms of Grace service to the Heights. A worship experience for special needs children and their families, Rhythms of Grace began in Houston in 2010 as a monthly alternative service welcoming all faith traditions, ages and abilities and including siblings and friends. 

Rhythms of Grace is a way for children with special needs to enjoy worship in their own way. An ecumenical service and playtime, the service was created so that parents could have a place where they could worship with their children without worrying about verbal disruptions, distracting movements or gestures.

At Rhythms of Grace we gather and play at a common activity as all are welcomed and made comfortable. We share a story from the Bible and then explore the story at learning centers, choosing from a variety of sensory and tactile activities adapted to each theme. We re-gather and break bread in a circle seated on small rugs and then pray our thanks and bid our friends goodbye until next time. The service is full of music, movement and laughter.

While monthly Rhythms of Grace services take place throughout the country, St. Andrews will be the first church in the U.S. to offer Rhythms of Grace weekly. The service is every Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in the St. Andrews Parish Hall, and all are welcome! There is no need to call in advance, but if you have a particular need or any questions please contact Lisa Puccio, coordinator for special needs worship or Rev. Jimmy Grace at 713-861-5596.


Sundays, at 2:00 PM


St. Andrew's Episcopal Church Parish Hall at 1819 Heights Boulevard


Return a Pledge Card and Return the Blessings

Give as We Have Been Given To

Author: Jerry Gallagher

November will mark the finish of our Annual Giving Campaign, and we are excited about a celebration of it and our opportunities for St. Andrew’s! Each year this is a major effort to ‘Steward’ our gifts from God and to return those blessings back to His church and to the ministry of our people. For the past six weeks, we have had the time to reflect back on our blessings and to take some time to Ponder and Pray. 

Ask the question: “What do I do?” Making a pledge should make you feel good and smile...if not ... is it enough or ... is it too much? Why aren’t you smiling? 

You’re giving blessings, you’re stewarding God’s gifts so you should be happy and fulfilled. See you on November 9 for Commitment Sunday! Remember you can mail your pledge card or place it in the offering plate. If you did not receive a pledge card in the please contact the church office at 713-861-5596 or visit saecheights.org/stewardship to download a pledge card.


The Rev. Sweet Featured in the Houston Chronicle for Work at Houston Hospice Center

Hands of hospice workers blessed in prayerful ceremony

Author: Allan Turner
Photographer: Eric Kayne

This piece originally appeared on the Houston Chronicle, here.

At first glance, there was nothing extraordinary about the hands at the Houston Hospice blessing service. They were hands, calloused perhaps, with five fingers each. But these, those gathered at the center's Cockrell Chapel insisted, were very special. They were hands in service to God, helping the terminally ill ease into a peaceful death.

The Interfaith Blessing of Hands - the second year of the event - was simple. A double line of nurses and other hospice workers formed as Chaplain Gordon Robertson and the Rev. Portia Sweet, a volunteer chaplain, said a quiet prayer, dabbed crocheted prayer cloths in lavender-scented oil and gently swabbed the supplicants' palms.

'What we do is a calling'

The ritual was only 15 minutes, but moving.

"Holy God," Sweet intoned as the last of some 30 hospice workers settled into their seats, "we ask you to bless our use of this oil today. May its fragrance be a symbolic offering of what is pleasing to you. May its texture remind us that the soothing work of our hands is also pleasing to you."

Nothing is more holy, Sweet observed later, "than holding the hand of someone as they transition from this world to the next."

Founded in 1980, Houston Hospice was the first such end-of-life care facility in Houston. Today, headquartered in the old Tudor-style mansion of former Mayor Oscar Holcombe in the Texas Medical Center, the hospice serves 10 area counties.

"This is a big major deal," said Janet Snyder, a licensed vocational nurse who was among those attending the first of three Wednesday blessings. "A lot we actually do here is very special work."

"What we do is a calling," added Dinicesar Fitts, another LVN.

Expanding tradition

Robertson noted that such blessings of hands have become a tradition in many medical institutions.

"I just wanted to recognize and affirm for our staff, volunteers and family members the work that they are doing with their hands," the chaplain said. "So much comes through our hands."

Robertson, a Roman Catholic deacon, described their work with the dying and their families as a "gift."

"We receive a gift when other people allow us to care for them," he said. "If you can spend time with a person, just being present, just doing that can let you witness to them. It's just the act of being with another human being. Not that you can change it. Not that you can make it go away. But just to enter into it with them."

While many who attended the services were health care providers, the blessings also extended to staffers who answer telephones, mop and polish, deal with vendors and offer tissue to grieving families. "Blessed be the hands that prepare meals with care and love for others to enjoy," the prayer observed. "Blessed be the hands that guide those who do not know their way."

Hands tell stories

Robertson said he was struck by the meaning the ceremony holds for hospice workers. A staff member who attended last year, the chaplain said, "told me she kept the little hand-crocheted prayer cloth. Every morning, she wakes up and uses it in her prayers."

At a previous job in a Medical Center hospital, Robertson said the blessing was performed with cotton balls, which later were discarded. He said he opted to use the crocheted prayer cloths - technically they are "face scrubbies," purchased online - because they were the product of skilled and caring hands.

Each bore a one-line prayer attached with a safety pin: "May the work of your hands bring good to all the people you touch and the services you provide."

"These are caring holy hands," Sweet told the group, as staff members in the chapel held out and examined their hands. "Look at their veins, the wrinkles. Think of all they have touched, all they have carried. Being there for others is what we're all about."


St. Andrew’s Welcomes Lisa Puccio

Lisa Puccio -Coordinator for Special Needs and Family Faith Formation


I am pleased to announce that in January St. Andrew’s will welcome Lisa Puccio as our new full-time Coordinator for Special Needs and Family Faith Formation. Lisa comes to us from Christ Church Cathedral, where she has served as the Director for Children and Family Ministries formore than twelve years. 

Lisa’s job description is in two parts, as her job title suggests. Half of Lisa’s time at St. Andrew’s will focus on beginning a new service on Sunday mornings for children with special needs and their families. The service will be a weekly Eucharist and will feature a story in place of a sermon, as well as many other creative and play-filled opportunities for these children to engage scripture. My hope for this service is that it will be ecumenical, so that no matter what faith tradition families might claim, they will be welcome for this very special service.

While at the Cathedral, Lisa and I worked together on a similar service that was held monthly. Month after month I witnessed Lisa’s enthusiasm for this unique ministry grow, and at the time I left the Cathedral, we averaged about twenty-five people per service. Lisa has a heart for this ministry, and when I shared with her I would be coming to St. Andrew’s months ago, she initiated a conversation with me about moving the service here into a weekly format. To my knowledge, St. Andrew’s will be the only Episcopal church in the entire city of Houston to offer such a service every week. 

The second half of Lisa’s responsibility at St. Andrew’s will involve overseeing our children’s Sunday School classrooms. Lisa will work with our current teachers, help to recruit more in the future, and provide support when needed for our classrooms. In her time at the Cathedral, Lisa built a children’s Sunday School program from scratch that now regularly sees approximately 50 children weekly.

In addition to her work in children’s ministries at the Cathedral, Lisa also serves as the Vice President of Forma, a national association of Christian educators and formation professionals that celebrates and upholds the diverse ministries of Christian formation across the Episcopal Church. Lisa has also generously given her time to Kids 4 Peace, where she has helped to lead groups of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian children from Israel and the United States to build interfaith communities that embody a culture of peace and empower a movement for change. Lisa and her husband, Mike have been married for thirty-two years. Mike serves as the Operations Director for the Beacon Day Center. Together, they have four grown children.

What a blessing Lisa will be at Saint Andrew’s! Lisa said, “I'm very excited about coming to St. Andrews and working with Jimmy again. I've had an opportunity to visit with some of the people who are starting a children's program this fall, and I look forward to getting to know all of the families and parishioners. It has been my dream to help develop a weekly worship service for special needs families in a place that will invite them into the community. I am grateful for the vision of the St. Andrews leadership and the support of the congregation.”

We will have a parish-wide reception on Sunday, January 4, to welcome Lisa as she begins a new chapter in ministry at St. Andrew’s. Until then, please hold Lisa, and her ministry in your thoughts and prayers.


Lisa Puccio -Coordinator for Special Needs and Family Faith Formation

Learn More About The Episcopal Church & The Christian Faith at Our Inquirer’s Class

Our Inquirer’s Class is for all adults interested in learning more about the Episcopal Church and the Christian Faith. This series of classes is also for those who wish to be confirmed into the church on December 3 when Bishop Doyle visits.

The Inquirer’s Class at St. Andrew’s will begin Saturday, October 18, and run each Saturday morning until November 15. At each class a continental breakfast will be served beginning at 8:30 AM. Classes will run from 9 AM until noon each Saturday morning in St. Andrew’s House, and we will cover a wide range of topics:

- October 18 – Old Testament Survey
- October 25 – New Testament Survey
- November 1 – Church History & Tour of Church and Sacristy
- November 8 – The Book of Common Prayer, Instructed Eucharist
- November 15 – Church Polity and Contemporary Issues, Q&A on Confirmation

To register for the Inquirer’s Class, please contact Trish Mehrkam in the Parish Office at 713-861-5596 or at trish.mehrkam@saecheights.org.


The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi, 1182 – 1226


Born to a wealthy family around 1182, the man who would become one of the best known saints in the Christian church outwardly appeared of a young wealthy man, yet with a good heart towards the poor.

Francis’ life changed in 1204 when he experience his first vision from God. Renouncing worldly goods, Francis joined the crowd of beggars in Old St. Peter’s in Rome.  He soon began preaching in the streets and attracted a large following.

What makes Francis so unique, is the lasting impact he has had on our church – and our world today.  Among the things you can thank him for are:

- The Franciscan Order
- Restoration of the Porziuncola, an actual chapel building within the cathedral of Assisi
- The first Nativity crèche
- Blessing of the Animals

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in the Heights will commemorate the Feast of St. Francis with an outdoor service and blessing of the animals.

Following the blessing, St. Andrew’s will host a festive outdoor party featuring hot “deity” dogs, live music by Lords of Kool, and beer provided by Saint Arnold brewery (Saint Arnold was the patron saint of hop pickers and Belgian beer makers). We'll also have lemonade, kids' activities, pet bandanas, and a Signed Certificate from Rev. Jimmy Grace certifying that the animals were blessed.

All are welcome as we celebrate these gifts of God’s creation on the Feast of St. Francis!

This event is free. You may support AniMeals on Wheels by making a donation of unopened dog or cat food.


Saturday, October 5, from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM


St. Andrew's Episcopal Church grounds, 1811 & 1819 Heights Boulevard




Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy by Jusepe de Ribera, (1639)

Introducing Our New St. Andrew's Newcomer Chair!

Martha Gallagher is taking on the role of Newcomer Chair for our community effective immediately. We are so lucky that Martha is bringing her amazing gifts to this critical ministry.

It is a blessing indeed to have Martha's wit, warmth, humor and generosity steering the ministry as we move forward. 


Adult Discussion: Revelations

A small discussion group, led by John Grothues and John Ibanez meets in the Library behind the Parish Hall. The group is currently studying the Book of Revelations. For great conversation and fellowship, this hour of learning is not to be missed.


Sunday, September 7 - ALL SUNDAYS THEREAFTER, from 9:30 AM to 10:30 PM


The St. Andrew's Episcopal Church Library, 1819 Heights Boulevard


Eternal Life? Life After Death As A Medical, Theological, And Philosophical Question

“Our soul doesn’t stop at our skin,” once noted theologian Karl Rahner. While manybelieve this to  be true,  others struggle to hold onto the Christian idea of eternal life while living in a modern world in which many different beliefs about life after death exist.

What does a Christian believe about death, resurrection, heaven and hell in the 21st century? This Sunday morning class, taught by Rev. Grace, will explore these questions from medical, theological, and philosophical viewpoints. The class will meet in the Parish Hall at 9:30 am on Sunday mornings, and is
open to all who are interested!

- September 7 - Class #1 - Death as an Entry into Light?
- September 14 - 2nd Sunday Breakfast 
- September 21 - Class #2 - The Hereafter - Wishful Thinking?
- September  28 - Class  #3 - Models  of Belief in Eternity in Religion
- October 5 - Episcopal School Sunday
- October 12 - 2nd Sunday Breakfast
- October 19 -  Class # 4 -  Resurrection of the Dead?
- October 26 -  Class #5 - Difficulties with the Resurrection of Jesus 
- November 2 - Class #6 - Between Heaven and Hell
- November 9 - 2nd Sunday Breakfast
- November 16 - Class #7 - Dying with Human Dignity
- November 23 -  Class #8 -  Presentation from Funeral Home
- November 30 (Advent 1) -  Class # 9 - Heaven on Earth?
- December  7  -  Class  #10  -  The  End  of  the World  and  the Kingdom of God
- December 14 - 2nd Sunday Breakfast
- December 21 -  Coffee Hour
- December 28 - Coffee Hour


4K for Cancer's Bike Ride Across America

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church hosted a team of cyclists in the 4K for Cancer bike ride to support the Ulman Cancer Center Fund for Young Adults. This group is riding 4,000 miles across the country spreading awareness about cancer support and raising funds to support cancer-related activities.

The group of almost 30 riders spent the night at St. Andrew's in the Heights, Tuesday, July 1. The church and community supported these riders with meals, showers and other necessities.

Click here to read about it on ABC13
or watch the piece that aired on FOX26 below:

Please keep all those involved in this incredible journey in your thoughts and prayers as they continue on.


Share Your Thoughts About Christian Formation

A planning group recently met to begin discussions about the future of our Christian Formation program—with a particular focus on programs for the youth of our parish.

We are looking for new ideas—small and large—and would like to have input and feedback from as many of you as possible. We need people who would like to brainstorm and help paint a picture of the future of Christian Formation at St. Andrew’s.

If you have thoughts, feelings or ideas you would like to contribute, please contact Kevin Robertson at kevin.robertson@mac.com or 281-960-9358.

We want you to be included!


Coming Together to Serve Those In Need

Sack lunches are packed on the first Sunday of each month and distributed Monday-Friday from St. Andrew’s House to anyone who rings the bell and asks. The recently formed Boulevard Alliance of Ministry determined that several churches in our area are providing sack lunches, mainly to the same persons and overlapping each other’s ministries.

In an effort to be better stewards AND better serve the many needs of our neighbors, the St. Andrew’s Sack Lunch Committee has agreed to collaborate with other area churches in this effort. Heights Christian Church (HCC), who has also been providing lunches at their door, will now bring their lunches to St. Andrew’s for distribution. 

HCC was also providing a small number of hygiene packets. They are now asking us to help with this effort by collecting travel-size hygiene items, which they will put together and distribute. These items can be found at WalMart, Target, Walgreen’s and the Dollar Store. Each item costs about $1.00. They can also be found in hotel rooms as you travel. If each person who can would bring one item a month, this would make a significant impact on the health and well-being of our neighbors living on the street. Your donations may be placed in the container in the Oak Table Room.


How The Book of Common Prayer Came To Be

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr, 1556

Every time you reach into the pew rack and pick up the Book of Common Prayer, think of Thomas Cranmer. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury during the tumultuous English Reformation in the mid 16th century. It was a time when Protestant and Catholic forces were in the midst of a violent conflict as the country was torn apart (in some cases, literally) after Henry VIII led the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. After the split, services were held in English, with variations from parish to parish. Cranmer recognized the importance of a complete, uniform liturgy.  Rather than promote harmony, the book further polarized the country.

After the death of Edward VI, Catholic Mary I took the throne. Cranmer's enemies had no problem imprisoning him for heresy and did so easily. After two years, he was coerced into recanting. After signing the forced confessions, he was promptly sentenced to be burned at the stake. Given the chance to give one last sermon, he used it to recant again.  He was pulled from the pulpit and tied to the stake.

His last words were "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit... I see the heavens open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God."  Powerful words from a powerful man, and one of many who paid the ultimate price for wonderful Book of Common Prayer we are now free to use.

Is the Book of Common Prayer Your BFF

If you would like to learn more about the Book of Common Prayer, please join us over the coming weeks on Sunday mornings in the Adult Education class library. Kevin Robertson will be on hand to lead the discussion.

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr

Is the BCP Your BFF?

Do you wonder what that small book is that resides in the pew rack with the Hymnal?  

Ever glanced through it and thought – is this part of the Episcopal worship?  Meet with Kevin Robertson at 9:30 on Sundays and he will introduce you or reacquaint you to the Book of Common Prayer. He began the journey on March 9th but you are welcome to join in anytime as the discussions are to run throughout March and April.  What a wonderful Lenten discovery to work and learn about a book that is integral to our daily lives as Episcopalians.  

You will find the Adult Education class in library right off of the Parish Hall.  Do stop in and find your new BFF – The Book of Common Prayer.