July: Grateful For All That You Have Brought To My Journey & Ministry


June 16 marked the third anniversary of my ordination to the Holy Order of Deacons. After a summer hiatus from studies and other preparation, I began my first assignment as Deacon at St. Andrew's in the Heights, where you have honored me by sharing your spiritual journeys, your joys and sorrows, holy moments, stories and fun. It has been such a pleasure and gift to see some of you come into the Christian fellowship for the first time, to become an active participant in this parish, to marry, have children, and to bring your children for baptism. We have weathered storms and celebrated special events together. I found here a community of caring and generous people, eager to learn and bear witness to the Christ they worship.

We have also experienced many changes together in this brief period, and now it is time for another. July 5 will be my last Sunday to worship with you. I hope my presence among you has been helpful for some, and if it has caused pain or doubt for others, I seek your forgiveness. I will be assigned to another parish to continue my own journey and ministry. My destination is undetermined at this writing, but I fully trust God's wisdom, which surprised me in the first place with a call to ordained ministry late in life, and which has guided and equipped me all along the way. I continue to pray for you as I have preached: that you grow in love for one another and that you are transformed through incarnational service among your neighbors. Not only my cup, but my saucer, is overflowing with all that you have brought to my journey and my ministry and you will forever have a special place in my heart.


June: Feed My Sheep


“Feed my sheep” (John 21:17), Jesus told Peter when Peter insisted he loved Jesus. That instruction to Peter applies to us today with increasing importance and urgency. St. Andrew’s parishioners and school families do many things to obey Jesus’ instruction to “Feed my sheep,” including volunteering at and donating food and supplies to Heights Interfaith Ministries (HIM) Food Pantry.

Friday, July 3 will mark the 6th anniversary of the pantry, which serves residents of ZIP codes 77007, 77008 and 77009 on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. Many clients are what are known as “the working poor”, meaning there is a wage earner in the household, but income is insufficient to provide shelter, food, and other life necessities. The rising cost of groceries has increased the need and anxiety of these folks, while simultaneously decreasing food donations. Other clients are aging or disabled in one or more ways. All are hungry and all are children of the God we serve.

The pantry is supported by individuals and organizations who provide food, money and time, just as St. Andrew’s does. Money is used to purchase food from the Houston Food Bank, as the pantry is a certified member of that network. Alice Bongers, Pantry Director, recently shared some invoices for her monthly purchases. On March 25, her delivery included 20 cases of Mac & Cheese, 24 boxes each, at $9.11 a case - total $182.29; and 10 cases (24 cans ea.) Beef Stew for $183.79. The invoice total was $994.82 for 3900 pounds of food delivered. All the food would be gone by month’s end. 

On April 25, I served with others at the pantry, when 62 clients/families were assisted. The shelves were not bare, but there was no milk, no canned fruit and a limited supply of canned beans and other items. On that day I took two shopping bags of egg cartons and was greeted as though I was bringing gold. There were eggs in the cooler but no containers. Sincere thanks to all who met this need. 

I am writing this to let you know how important your involvement is for this vital ministry in our community and how your efforts and offerings work. Whenever you can add extra items to your grocery cart or bring plastic bags or egg cartons to church, or volunteer on Saturdays or Thursdays or simply write a check to the HIM Food Pantry, please do so generously and with gratitude for your own blessings. There are special HIM envelopes in the narthex for your monetary donations.  Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

May: Love Incarnate


From Easter Sunday through Pentecost Sunday we hear a great deal about Jesus' Resurrection appearances, Acts of the Apostles, and Paul's interpretations of the life and teachings of Jesus. Throughout it all are repeated examples of Love Incarnate. That is what Jesus was and is, after all. Jesus love is not always easy to live. It is not always easy because as we are formed from infancy, we also learn a lot about cruelty, hate, being the best at any price, enemies, and ego. 

These lessons make rationalization and exclusive behavior seem more attractive and rewarding than Jesus love.  But make no mistake: Jesus clearly commanded us to love ALL his brothers and sisters. Jesus commanded us to love our enemies. Jesus love means not considering ourselves to be better than others. It means being considerate, respectful, and compassionate with and for all Jesus' brothers and sisters. It means praying to want to love in this way when we find it nearly impossible to do so. It also means praying that all who call on Jesus to love them, may journey ever closer toward living Jesus love.

April: Meditation on Holy Week


Holy Week is our opportunity and obligatory time to meditate on the very personal meaning(s) of Christ’s passion to our lives as Christians. I know that it takes firm intention to give this week the attention it calls for, and I always fall short of my own intentions. To grasp the magnitude of God’s love for us in the events of the story of this week is way beyond the ability of most people I know, including me. And yet we are called to remember and actively observe Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter.

Maundy Thursday brings us to the last Passover Feast that Jesus shared with his disciples. It reminds us that Jesus was about serving others, not ruling kingship, as he washed the feet of those gathered with him. We wash, we dine, and then we move into the darkness of his passionate prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal of Judas and his arrest as we strip the altar and chancel of all the beautiful symbols of our worship and belief.

On Good Friday we follow our Lord up Calvary to the cross. It is here that we, like the thief who will be executed with Jesus, can find forgiveness and redemption. It is on Good Friday that we truly must take time and effort to pause, earnestly pray, and draw near to offer ourselves as God gave himself for us.

Easter – the Resurrection of the One who died – cannot be fully realized in our hearts without Good Friday. Spring has no special meaning without winter. Light is taken for granted if one has not also known darkness. We believe the God who came among us, died for us, and rose again that we may have eternal life. Let us remember. Let us try to follow in his footsteps this Holy Week as so draw nearer to the God who loves us still.

March: The 166th Diocesan Council


It was my honor and blessing to be with the delegation from St. Andrew's at the 166th diocesan Council in February. Not only was I in the company of congenial people, but I was also in the midst of people from a parish which is on the leading edge of our bishop's vision for the diocese. How exciting is that?

I am grateful that we embrace our diversity and understand that God is empowering us through it. I am excited that there is generosity in outreach - and in many different directions. I am also excited that new people continue to grace us with their desire to become part of this community and that they are engaging in both new and old ministries. I recently had lunch at, for me, a new sandwich shop called the Which Wich. Their service goal is to have all customers say "WOW"! About St. Andrew's, I say, "WOW!", remembering it is God who is working through us.

Our bishop has once again called us to be church beyond our walls by establishing relationships with folks wherever we are in our daily activities, taking the Good News of the Living Christ through our words and our actions. This has been the goal of Common Mission. We have worked through several hurdles in attempting to find a single mission to follow among the many possibilities and have opted to start small after all. Everyone who feels a tug to step boldly, speak lovingly, and enjoy greatly is welcome to participate in Blessing of Soles on the Boulevard in front of the church. Several churches are planning to participate in greeting and blessing the soles of the runners and walkers who spend Sundays on the esplanade to let them know we are here and that we care about them. Further, we hope to learn something about how they think we can serve them in their lives. This event will take place after Easter, and further details are not available at this writing, so please contact Megan Parks, Steve or Catherine Runner or myself if you are curious and want to join in.

We also invite all who wish to plan and carry out other ways of engaging, relating to and serving our neighbors to let one of these folks know. I can guarantee that this approach to ministry will make you exclaim, "WOW!"

February: Seek Appropriate Social Justice


St. Andrew's parish is known for, among other things, its loving heart for outreach. Every time the deacon has brought a need to your attention, you have responded generously. I pray you will continue to show gratitude for abundance and love for neighbors in need and that some more of you will join me in taking a larger leap of faith to build relationships with those with whom we have been sharing. One opportunity will be serving breakfast to parishioners of Lord of the Streets Church. You will see more about this very soon. Another opportunity is to work with the Common Mission Team (CMT) to step into the street to look at underlying causes for the disparity in abundance/deficit and, as God's people, seek appropriate social justice.

One event in which the CMT will build community relationships and collaborate with neighboring congregations will take place on March 15. Beginning at 7:30 am, we will have a presence on the esplanade in front of the church to bless the soles of runner and walkers who come by every Sunday. If you would like to be a part of this reaching out, please contact any CMT member or me. The team includes Steve and Catherine Runner, Thad Pugh and Megan Parks.


January: Reorder & Resolve


Happy New Year to each and every one. I like the idea of having a fresh starting point, do you? We have once again experienced the Advent season of reflection and anticipation and perhaps seeking forgiveness and asking for a clean heart. We then welcomed the fresh new  baby Savior into our hearts and our lives at Christmas. Now it is time to reorder our thoughts, our habits, and our intentions. Reorder and Resolve. Happy New Year indeed.

We now move into Epiphany, a season which recalls many of the significant ways the adult Savior revealed himself to mankind. Epiphanies of Christ continue to this day and are often experienced in the course of reaching out and serving our neighbors. If your re-ordering includes exploring ways to serve at St. Andrew's or if you think you would like to move from a ministry you have long done into one using different gifts, please read the rest of this newsletter. There are many outreach opportunities within our parish community which serve a variety of needs of our neighbors and offer opportunities to encounter Christ in the other person as well as in ourselves. Your Deacon welcomes the opportunity to explore your gifts and discuss the opportunities with you. You may even have an idea for a new parish ministry.


December: Focus Among the Rush


Advent presents many possibilities for us. With the beginning of a new liturgical year, there is a sense of starting fresh with our rule of life or spiritual discipline. And yet, there is also the often frantic sense of having to complete plans, reports, projects, etc. by the end of the calendar year. There is the joyful anticipation of a festive holiday season, and perhaps the anxiety-ridden dread of a season of painful remembering. Advent is intended to be a time for us to consciously wait with hope and expectation for Jesus, the Christ Child to come into our lives in some new way. To bring that about, we are called by John the Baptist to Repent and Prepare the Way. How are we to slow down and focus on these things the way our lives are today?

Well, there are many possibilities and many of them can be found right on your smart phone, iPad, etc. Did you know that the Book of Common Prayer can be found on the internet? Within its text are brief (about 10-minute) services of prayer and scripture for Noonday and Evening (Compline). So, as you break for lunch or prepare for bed, you can take these few moments to be quiet and communicate with God. Also online are several sites that provide daily devotions, brief theological thoughts or paragraphs based on the day’s scripture reading. Among these are Forward Movement, Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE), and Luther Seminary sites. Of course, you can use the hard copy of the prayer book and Forward Day by Day. You might bring the family together during the evening for Compline and take turns reading it.

Whatever way you find to prepare this Advent Season, may that way lead you straight to a closer relationship with the Holy One who is coming into our midst at Christmas.

November: I Thank My God Every Time I Remember You


I am very fond of St. Paul's opening sentences in many of his epistles to the early churches. An example is found in Philippians (1:2-5). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in everyone of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. These words describe how I feel about being among you, the saints of St. Andrew's. I consider it a great privilege to be able to serve God at the altar and bring to you the blessed sacrament; to share in the many ways you celebrate life together; to share and be trusted with your disappointments, sorrows, and life challenges; and to proclaim the Good News of Jesus in your midst.

I ask you now, to take time to reflect in this season of giving thanks and sharing gifts and to give thanks for each other, prayerfully, in God's Name, and truly from your hearts. It is in community that our Anglican/Episcopal tradition brings us to worship. Our liturgy is the Book of COMMON Prayer. It is with and through each other that God reveals himself, that Jesus lives and acts among us and that the Holy Spirit guides and leads us in our individual and corporate journeys. 

How could we not give thanks, share and support this awesome community and its members. As we say in the Eucharistic prayer, "We are very members incorporate in the mystical body of...Christ." Pray often and boldly for each other. 

Ask each other how prayer is needed and desired and pray specifically, with faith. Prayer is the greatest power we will ever have. You may be amazed at the outcome of such a communal effort as this.Thessalonians 1:2-3 We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.


October: What IS Common Mission?


For the past several months a small team of parishioners has been about learning, defining, exploring and praying about Common Mission. Many of you joined them in getting to better know your fellow parishioners. A few more of you feel called to become part of the effort. So just what IS Common Mission?

Common Mission is what we do as being church, with a local focus. The team has defined COMMUNITY as being the Greater Heights, the physical place where St. Andrew's is planted. Our Christian mission, as we understand it, is to be Christ in relationship with all whom we meet. Therefore, our Common Mission is building relationships among ourselves then outward through the community. 

In this way, we expect to be better able to discern and understand the real need and how others think the Church should be paying attention to that need. In building relationships with people and institutions throughout the community, we may collaborate to better steward resources, bring hope, diminish hunger, foster health, and seek justice for those who have no voice or whose voices are not heard in public policy. In other words, we just might act like followers of Christ.

All this is based in Scripture. Moses shared his leadership with Aaron, with representatives from the 12 tribes, and with Joshua. (Exodus) Each of us has a role in the kingdom. Our iron rule: Never do for anyone what he or she can do for themselves. (I Corinthians) Jesus sent his disciples into the communities to tend to those in need and proclaim the good news. (Matthew 10)

One congregation alone cannot do this, and many of the congregations near us are very small. Yet, if all the children of God in this area worked together, prayed for each other, shared ideas and resources, the Kingdom of God on earth in the Heights could be a marvelous thing to behold. The Team has discussed many possibilities and approaches. (Check the Outreach page for details.) We ask for your prayers, your inquiries, your offerings of self and your support. God's power can work in us to bring about greater things than we can ask or imagine. (BCP) 

Get Ready!




September usually signals the return of routines and regulated calendars. After a sort of freelancing through the summer, now we find ourselves doing what is expected or demanded by someone else. Alarm clocks are set and so exact and annoying. Meetings, appointments, committees, to- do lists, schedules, all require memory, time and commitment. Even Church wants a piece of us. No, that is not true. Church, or God, that is, wants ALL of us. Oh dear, how can that happen? 

Although I certainly do not claim perfection at this, I have found that if I begin each morning with, “Good Morning, God and thank you for another day”, this sets my mind and my feet in the right direction. If I can remember that I encountered the Divine before my feet hit the floor I am more likely to seek guidance, protection, and grace in each of the many things I do throughout the busy day. Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find” and “Ask in my name and it shall be given to you.” 

What can be given includes patience and calm when dealing with difficult people or frustrating situations beyond our control. It includes finding the right words to bring peace among conflicting factions and comfort to hurting colleagues. God does want ALL of us and God will provide ALL we need to meet the challenges and the obstacles of our lives – if we remember to invite Jesus to walk with us and be with us in all we are and do.

May your Fall be productive, fulfilling, a season of surprises and enrichment. And may you go with God every step of the way.

Deacons on the Border Update - Last month I wrote about the situation of migrating women and unaccompanied children on the Texas/Mexico border. Several deacons from our diocese went to McAllen and were the guests of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Sleeping on their own air mattresses, working at the huge food and clothing warehouses, eating common meals and sharing morning and/or evening worship around the table, they served hundreds of children. 

They posted many pictures on Facebook, which told the story of their generous mission. Their various parishes collected items needed for survival and the churches and volunteers in McAllen joined the women to make the mission work. If you wish to see some of this work, check out the diocesan web site, epicenter.org, or the FB page of Pat Ritter Richie, Glennda Hardin, or Wanda Cuniff (all deacons).




Matthew 19:13-15 Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them, for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.

I am greatly troubled by the plight, condition, treatment and root cause(s) of the thousands of children crossing our southern national border. I hope most of you are also troubled. My email and Facebook pages are filled with messages and reports of responses from our church leaders and from the deacons in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Regardless of your political views on immigration, these are human beings, created by God, and in each one we can see the face of Christ. St. John Chrysostom said, “If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the door, you will not find him in the chalice. These children and mothers are begging for life, for reason to have hope, for justice and peace.

Our bishops have stated their concerns and are calling us to respond through donations, prayer, volunteering and by writing to government officials to express our views. The Presiding Bishop said the following: 

“The Episcopal Church believes we have a responsibility to all our neighbors, particularly the strangers and sojourners around us. Episcopalians are responding with prayers and concern, and asking how to help. I urge you to remember these people and their difficult and dangerous position in your prayers – today, this coming Sunday, and continuing until we find a just resolution. The Episcopal Church has established an account to receive financial contributions to assist Episcopal Migration Ministries in this work. For details, please contact EMM@episcopalchurch.org

Several cities in the Diocese of West Texas have been particularly hard hit. St. John’s, McAllen and Christ Church, Laredo are doing much to reach these individuals held in crowded detention centers with basic human needs. Some deacons from our diocese are personally volunteering through St. John’s the week of August 4.

You may support this effort through the funds established by that diocese.

You may donate online at Donate online at: http://tinyurl.com/l2px4p5 or make checks out to the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, noted for Emergency Relief, and the World Mission Department will make sure these funds reach those in need. Mail to: Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, P.O. Box 6885, San Antonio, TX 78209. 

Other needs will likely arise as this does not appear to be a short-term situation.

Call St. John's, McAllen (956-687-6191) and Christ Church, Laredo (956-723-5714) for further information. 

“God never asks us to do something for which he will not equip us. With every call there comes a promise: I will be with you. I will do this work in you and through you. Abide in me” Br. David Vryhof, SSJE




I offer heartfelt thanks for the many expressions of caring and condolence from you these past weeks. My father, Kirk Suddreath, lived long and, by his summation, a good life. He was a smart, moral, kind and industrious gentleman and he is greatly missed by his family and friends.

Just as the outdoor temperature is heating up, so is the Parish Outreach Activity. Collaboration with Houston Area Community Services (HACS) continues with their health van stopping out front once a month to offer services to lunch recipients. They are also counting on us to help them furnish living space for 135 formerly homeless persons. HIM Food Pantry celebrates five years on July 26 with a big event at the pavilion, which will includelots of food giveaways, music, and fellowship. The knitting elves have been busy changing skeins of yarn into winter caps so we will be prepared when those temps decide to drop again. The sack lunch committee is faithfully providing lunches and could use more donors. (See the sign-up sheets in the rear hallway.).

Another means of outreach is emerging in the parish called Common Mission. The Bishop has asked the deacons to introduce parishes to different ways of being church outside the church buildings. Here at St. Andrew’s a small core team has met, received initial training, and is hosting an event on July 16 to learn more about the heart of both new and longtime members. From this we may discern ways and means to carry out our Christian Commission to be as Christ in all the world – with focus on the real needs of the place in which we are presently planted. This is exciting stuff, and I am excited to bring this to a parish community that is so obviously on fire.

Check out the invitation in this issue and let the team know if you are interested in participating. Here’s hoping your summer weeks include some time for counting blades of grass and stars in the sky, mercies as you may travel, cool drinks and warm-hearted friends.

Portia Sweet, Deacon




“Summer time and the livin’ is easy.” So says the song lyrics. However living through a Houston summer of high temperatures and humidity is not easy for everyone. Our brothers and sisters living on the street are as challenged by summer weather as they are by the very cold of winter. Families living with meager incomes that do not permit use of air conditioning struggle through the heat. Older folks, regardless of social status, find it increasingly difficult to bear the summer weather and are at greater risk for heat stroke.

Let us be aware of those around us as we enjoy our AC cooled homes and our comfortable patios and pools. Check on any elders living around you to make sure they are adequately cooled during the hottest months. Take care of yourselves by staying hydrated, using sunscreen, and paying attention to weather reports.

Scripture tells us our bodies are to be God’s temples. We are charged with maintaining those temples so that we may serve God and neighbors and do all things to His glory. I find this to be not an easy task and think many would agree with me. I do find that when I remember the charge to care for myself as something that pleases God, I am more inclined to be health-minded and disciplined. May your summer include lots of easy livin’ moments, time for rest and renewal, and opportunities to benefit from caring about those around you.

Peace and Blessings!




“In the merry, merry month of May…” so goes the old song. There are, traditionally, many merry occasions in the month of May: graduations, picnics, and beach outings to name a few. From another perspective, May is a time of closures: final exams, end of school years, Memorial Day. Endings and beginnings can both be a part of the same event which is sometimes confusing and stressful.

And so it must have been for the followers of Jesus in that first Eastertide. Jesus had been killed, but the tomb was empty; but not everyone saw that. There must have been many rumors floating throughout Galilee: “He is dead “, “No, some women found an empty tomb;” “His friends stole the body”; “No, some of his friends say they saw him walking down the road.” Can you imagine the creative details that probably flourished about this event? Think how it would have been if CNN or Fox News had been around to cover the story.

All these centuries later there are still millions of non-believers, doubters, and others who never heard the Story. Christians in the 21st century have the accounts of eyewitnesses to tell the truth of Easter. Like the early followers, we are commissioned to be storytellers, telling our own personal stories of how it matters that Christ is risen and is alive in our lives.

Through our baptism, we have died with him and become new, free, resurrected children of God. We have experienced a simultaneous ending and beginning. We have reason to be merry this May, and how can we not share the merriment? Who will you go and tell? 

Christ is Risen. Christ is Risen indeed.

Deacon Portia




Looking back at the April 2013 Voice, I am reminded that we were saying “good-bye” to our rector, Barbara, and coping with the bittersweet and very real notion of death/resurrection which is the focus of Holy Week. We have come through a remarkable year. I have experienced transition in several parishes and I commend parishioners, vestry persons, and other leaders for remaining a loving community and caring for us all as we “orphaned” our way. Thanks go to the clergy who “fostered” this parish in various roles, providing liturgical and pastoral leadership and care.

Now we are beginning a Resurrection: welcoming a new rector, working with several new structures that our hard-working vestry have devised to re-vitalize this community of faith, and welcoming as well a number of new fellow-worshippers. My prayer is that each of you is and has known a meaningful Lent and will fully engage in the Passion of Holy Week. New life cannot happen without death to the old life. A wise woman of many years once told me that she did not believe anyone could truly know the meaning of Easter without living through Good Friday. Literally and metaphorically, I agree with her. Spring and Hope are in the air. We are at the starting line and ready for action.

To that end, we have just completed a training of a Common Mission Core Leadership Group. There is much more to come about Common Mission (CM), an initiative from Bishop Doyle, through the deacons, aimed at building meaningful and effective relationships in communities where our parishes are planted. St. Andrew’s was planted in the Heights a long time ago, and has produced a great deal of fruit. Through CM we have an opportunity to ask if “how we’ve always done it” is the most beneficial way to do it today. The Heights has gone through changes; the liturgy has changed; the parish roster has changed; technology has changed and so it is “meet and right and our bounded duty” to question how can we best be church outside our walls, loving our real neighbors as ourselves. I find the possibilities exciting and hope you will support the Core Team, add your thoughts and hearts and presence to this initiative, and keep it in your prayers.

Blessings for the remainder of your Lenten Journey, for a deeply experienced Holy Week, and for a rich and fulfilling new life in Eastertide,





February’s focus for many individuals and organizations is on the heart: heart healthy diets, hearts of love, Valentine’s Day, cardio check-ups, etc. Since we continue through our Epiphany Journey, we might add to that list “open Hearts”. We pray at the start of the Eucharist, “Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid:…” (BCP 355). 

By intentionally opening our hearts to God and intentionally offering our innermost thoughts, desires, concerns, and fears, we risk also opening new pathways along the roads that are our lives. Life becomes an exciting adventure when shared at that level with our Lord. How might Christ manifest himself to you at the next sunrise? What new encounter might reveal a bit more of how much Jesus loves you? What unopened gift from God lies ready for unwrapping deep  within the chambers of your heart? How will you and God use that gift to further the Kingdom and who might appear in your life to shine their light or receive your light?

During the past nine months of parish transition there have been a good many “discoveries” by parishioners from the God of Surprises. Who knew how much fun could be had at a food pantry on a Saturday morning? (More that at the grocery store for oneself, I’ll bet.) Who would have guessed that handing out sack lunches could bring such joy to the donor? (More than attending a fancy luncheon?) Who knew that visiting an elderly homebound person, listening to another’s struggle with grief, finding a sweater for a person on the street on a cold day – who knew that these things could be transforming? Many have found out and now they know.

Does your heart of hearts need some exercise? A new exercise routine? A little spring tonic? Check out the many possibilities for service and involvement in St, Andrew’s community and find your gifts. Refer to the listing later in this newsletter for contact persons and reach out. Find the surprise(s) God has in store for you. Open your hearts – let the God –times in.

With gratitude for you all.,





Happy New Year. Happy Fresh Start. Happy New Beginning. Happy Epiphany.

Epiphany: the revealing of Christ to the Gentiles. Secularly, the word, with a “little e” loosely means a bright idea revealed. It is perhaps exciting to think that in this time of new beginnings, each of us might have significant, transforming epiphanies in 2014 that spur us further on our spiritual journeys. They can, you know, if we ask God’s help in discerning their meaning and for courage to act on the response we hear from that prayer. Remember that God will equip the willing.

The transforming power of Christ is alive and well within the parish of St. Andrew’s. Witness the baptisms, confirmations, newer parishioners becoming involved in many ministries and serving in a myriad of ways. Each time we step out of our comfort zone in the name of Christ, we risk transformation. Each time we refuse to do so, we risk dry rot!

St. Benedict of Narsius said we should seek to see the face of Christ in everyone we meet. Jesus said that if we have served the least of our brethren, we have served him. What possibilities for transformation are being revealed to you? How are you responding? If you have an idea for either inreach or outreach service and would like to explore possibilities, please contact me. If you feel a restlessness to serve but are unclear what to do about that, please contact me.

Martha Gallagher would like to hear from you if you would like to be part of a team to provide food and/or other assistance to parish families when there is a crisis, such as a hospital stay, a death, etc. She may be reached at 281-501-2294 or mgg0413@gmail.com. 

We have begun collaboration with the Housing Area Community Services (HACS) agency to reach homeless persons in our community. Each month the HACS van will park in front of St. Andrew’s House while sack lunches are being distributed to let recipients know services and resources available through their agency. Located at 18th Street and Seamist, HACS offers healthcare (including AIDS testing, pediatrics, and women’s health services), case management, and referrals for housing and other resources.

January marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas and introduces Epiphany on January 6 as the Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. What a marvelous time to reflect on our Christmas past and the future year. As of early December (the Voice is prepared a few weeks in advance of publication), we were down on pledges even with 9 new additions giving us a total of 70. Further contacts will be made to see if we can bolster our rolls and not cut the budget. All of your participation certainly is appreciated. It is never too late to pledge and our St. Andrews community certainly would appreciate you commitment at any time.

During 2014, the Stewardship Committee will be undertaking some efforts to do its part to realize the vision of St Andrew’s of ‘Being A Caring Community’. We plan to reach out to our parish - You - to make sure that all is well with you and that we have extended a hand to all of those that we have not heard from for a while. February will be our first “Attend Church Month” to see who we have heard from and then in March to reach out to those we haven’t. God Bless. Jerry Gallagher, Stewardship Chair, jcg0151@gmail.com





It is that time of year when it seems everyone and every organization has a hand out. The temptation is to ignore them all and perhaps put on a cloak of guilt. It is true that one person, one household, one bank account cannot solve all the problems and fix all the woes of the world. We, as Christians, can however make a huge difference in the place where each of us is planted. We are commissioned through our Baptism to spread the Gospel by living as Christ lives. Jesus did not, according to Scripture, personally heal the whole of Judea. Yet, he brought Good News through his acts to those around him. That is what we can and must do. I urge us to be mindful and prayerful in our giving this season.  Know the causes and organizations with which you share your abundance. Ask God how He would have you share, desiring the fulfillment of his purpose in the world. Remember, too, that sharing our abundance of time, talent, education, etc. is equally important and is a blessing to others, to God and to ourselves.


A Grief Support group has formed and will meet on the first Saturday of each month to share and sojourn together through the process and work of grieving. Anyone who has suffered a recent loss is invited to meet with us. Loss is defined as the death of a relationship and is not just the death of a loved one. We grieve when we lose employment, when we go through divorce, when we have to relocate, etc. This group is lead by the Deacon. If you have an interest or questions, please contact me

The Ministries Fair from the Deacon’s view was quite successful. I personally thank all who participate in any of the many outreach projects of this parish. The week prior I received requests from Heights Interfaith Ministries, and these were filled that day!

Pat Gentry generously agreed to help with meal delivery to Height Towers and Heights House while Jennifer Moffett from St. Mark’s is on medical leave. If anyone else is interested in this ministry, more hands could mean the ability to deliver more meals to homebound persons.

Ward Birkett and Brian Harrison will represent St. Andrew’s on the Heights Interfaith Ministries committee to plan this year’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Our parish hosted this event a few years ago. Anyone desiring to be a part of the 2013 event, please see Ward or Brian. 

Do you hear that clicking sound? It is the knitting needles of Priscilla Burroughs who brought several wool hats to the Outreach Table and said more were in the planning. There are kits and instructions for both crocheting and knitting located on the bench in the Oak Table Room.

Elaine Massey has agreed to continue to provide oversight for the Sack Lunch Project, and a full committee has formed, sharing the responsibility for individual items to place in the lunch bags. Several more signed up for the October preparation (Scheduled for Oct. 6) and there are ample opportunities for everyone to commit for November and future months. Remember to stop in the back hallway and place your name on at least one line of the Sack Lunch chart. If you are not able to shop and transport these items, you may participate by donating funds for one of the committee members to fill in what is needed. You can offer your check, with “Sack Lunch” in the memo corner, with the alms on Sundays or mail it to the church office.