LEM Ministry

Kirk James had been involved with St. Luke’s Lectors and Eucharistic Ministers (LEM) ministry for more than 20 years. He started as a team member on the Matthew Team around 2000. After serving as team leader for a few years he was asked by Victor Harding, the leader of the LEM Ministry, to take his place.
 
This February it was Kirk’s turn to name his successor and he passed on the leadership role to Jill Martinez. “I knew she would be perfect in that role. Her passion for and dedication to the LEM ministry is so strong that I knew she was the right person to take my place,” he said. Jill has stepped in and has been a great leader of this important and wonderful ministry.
 
Kirk encourages anyone who is looking for an opportunity to serve St. Luke’s to consider joining the LEM ministry! “It is one of the most meaningful ways a parishioner can serve God and His Church. Participating in the worship services through reading the lessons and the prayers, and serving the chalice at the altar, is truly an honor and a privilege. It nourishes the soul and lifts up the spirits of the person serving. It is both rewarding and humbling. And best of all, it brings the LEM closer to God and the parishioners he or she is serving. It is very much a servant ministry.”
We always looking for readers! email Jill if you would like more information: jillsmartinez@att.net

Read more

An Update on the Church’s Finances from the Senior Warden and the Treasurer

Dear Friends,
 
Although the pandemic has taken its toll in so many ways, we at St. Luke’s Church have much to be thankful for:
• Even with several staff transitions this year –
retirements and moves – the staff remains committed to the church’s mission and ministry.
• We continue to offer all of our regular services week after week, including the livestream which has allowed so many people to worship virtually.
• People in need are getting the resources they need, through supply drives like our annual back-to-school effort in support of Good Samaritan Ministries.
• And two of our most visible ministries, the Green Door and St. Luke’s Episcopal School, are thriving.
 
The operating budget approved at the beginning of the year assumed life would get back to normal in the early part of the 2021. That, of course, has not happened. One of our key sources of revenue is the contributions that people are inspired to make when they come to church. While we have digital attendance, due to continued pandemic concerns, fewer people are physically attending church services. We are now significantly under budget in those contributions. This is evident on the financial summary on the next page: Through July, we had budgeted $116,667 in “Non-Pledged Gifts”, but actual receipts were only $56,936.
 
The work of the church goes on: staff members are committed to providing opportunities for worship, education, and fellowship, and we continue to make plans for outreach efforts that will make a difference in the lives of those in need. To support all that work, the revenue side of the church’s budget needs to improve.
 
If you are able, we hope you’ll consider making a special contribution to support the church’s Operating Fund in this time when the church’s finances are tight. Even though life doesn’t look like it did a couple of years ago, St. Luke’s Church continues to share the Light of Christ with San Antonio, and your financial support could make such a difference.
To make a contribution, you could mail a check to the church, use the “GIVE” button at the top of the church’s website at slecsa.org.
 
We hope you are well, and we’re grateful for all the people who want St. Luke’s to flourish in the days to come.
 
Sincerely,
 
David Schrantz
Senior Warden
 
Seth McCabe
Treasurer

Read more

From the Rector

Home Communion Visits

One of the most meaningful ministries that the Church offers is home Communion visits when someone from the church brings the Sacrament to someone who is homebound or who cannot get to church. This ministry was long the responsibility of the church’s clergy, but for some time now laypeople have had the opportunity to be licensed to make these visits. What a wonderful way to stay connected to people whose circumstances keep them from coming to church.
Per diocesan expectations, we had to suspend home Communion visits at the beginning of the pandemic. The time has come, however, to resume this important ministry. Beginning in September, members of St. Luke’s Church who are licensed Eucharistic Visitors (LEV’s, or simply EV’s) will start making visits again to church members who cannot come to church.
 
We currently have eight Eucharistic Visitors, and I hope to build that team up so that more people are able to share in this ministry. If you would like to receive a visit, or if you know of someone who would appreciate getting regular visits, I hope you’ll contact me at 210-828-6425 or rector@stlukes-sa.net.
 
The pandemic has put such hard constraints on our ability to minister to one another and to the larger community. Home Communion visits are such an important aspect of our pastoral care ministries, and I’m excited about working with our Visitors as we tend to the pastoral needs of the congregation.

Read more

MLB Negro League, Immigration in Texas, and a Sorrowful Tale of Lynching

Distance traveled from San Antonio: 1,3224,849

 

Location: Eagle Pass, Carrizo Springs, and Cotulla, TX
Churches: Church of the Redeemer, Church of the Holy Trinity, and St. Timothy’s

 

Opening Prayer
O God, who brought your servant Abraham out of the land of the Chaldeans, protecting him in his wanderings, who guided the Hebrew people across the desert, we ask that you watch over us, your servants, as we walk in the love of your name.

Be for us our companion on the walk, 
Our guide at the crossroads,
Our breath in our weariness,
Our protection in danger,
Our shade in the heat,
Our light in the darkness,
Our consolation in our discouragements,
And our strength in our intentions.

So that with your guidance we may arrive safe and sound at the end of the Road and enriched with grace and virtue we return safely to our homes filled with joy. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

 

Welcome to Eagle Pass, Carrizo Springs, and Cotulla, TX!

Eagle Pass

Eagle Pass has a population of just under 30,000 and sits directly on the border of Mexico. Just across the Rio Grande river is Eagle Pass’s sister city of Piedras Negras, making Eagle Pass-Piedras Negras one of six bi-national metro areas along the border. 

The city offers numerous shops and restaurants in its downtown district and offers many historical attractions. Eagle Pass was first established as Fort Duncan in 1849. Santa Ana and the Mexican army passed through the fort on their way to the Alamo. 

Eagle Pass is home to the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. Established in 1878 Church of the Redeemer continues to be a beacon of Christ’s light to the community.

The first minister to conduct monthly services, outside the post of Fort Duncan, was the Rev. J.T. Hutcheson. His report, included in the Journal of the Diocese for 1878 gives a short but vivid description of his first work in Eagle Pass: “Eagle Pass is, at present, a good specimen of a frontier town – no Lord’s Day and no churches. But a spirit of improvement, moral and religious as well as material, is now taking possession of the minds of many of its people. There is a least a desire to have Churches as well as barrooms and gambling saloons.” Today, they offer three services a Sunday, one in English, a bilingual service, and a service in Spanish. 

For countless Americans, the sport of Baseball has been both the national pastime and a way to remember the joys of games from the past.  Whether it was going to a game to celebrate July 4th, or sitting down for a marathon run of the Ken Burns documentary, baseball has played a pivotal role in many of our lives.  The game of baseball has allowed many individuals to shine on a national stage. However, we must also acknowledge the injustices of the past during the era of the “gentleman’s agreement” when players of color were banned from playing in the national league.  While African Americans were not allowed to play with their Anglo peers, this would not stop them from participating in the national pastime in the form of various Negro League teams.  Starting with the first team in the 1880s, countless young African American hopefuls would play in fields across the country, with one of the biggest stars of these leagues being the native Texan, James Raleigh “Biz” Mackey.  Mackey, both in his time and today, is known as one of the all-time greatest catchers, playing for as many as twelve teams in a career that spanned from 1918 to 1950.  

Before making it to professional baseball, Mackey would get his introduction to the game like many children by playing with his siblings in his hometown of Eagle Pass, Texas.  The son of sharecroppers, Biz would first start playing with the prairie league team in Luling Texas, before joining with the professional San Antonio aces for his debut in 1918.  In 1920, Biz signed with the Indianapolis ABCs just in time for the first season of the Negro National League.  

Biz’s career would take him far from his Texas home, barnstorming across the nation and playing in a highly successful trip to Japan in 1927, where he would become the first player to hit a home run out of Meiji Shrine Stadium.  Mackey would continue to play right up till the 1940’s when he would begin managing the Newark Eagles to their 1946 win in the Negro World Series.  As late as 1947 Mackey would appear in the All-Star games at the age of 50, finally retiring from the game in 1950.  

While Biz had been a household name throughout this era of baseball, like many other players in the Negro Leagues he was never given the chance to play against his peers in the national leagues and it would not be until 2006 when he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame that Mackey would be given the true credit for his role in developing the game of baseball.

Carrizo Springs

Carrizo Springs has a population of 5,400 and is 82 miles northwest of Laredo. The name of the town is derived from the local Artesian springs, which are known for their purity and clarity. In recent years Carrizo Springs has become home to a local olive orchard and oil press. The Olive Texas Ranch has successfully been growing olive trees and pressing olive oil for fifteen years. The dry, rocky soil mimics that of Southern Spain and parts of Italy which are prime for olive tree growth. To shop their online store, find recipes, or see visitor information you can check out their website here: https://texasoliveranch.com/

The Church of the Holy Trinity provides an Episcopal presence to the community. Trinity offers Sunday School and either Holy Eucharist or Morning Prayer every Sunday at 10:45 am with a beautiful worship space. 

Carrizo Springs is home to the Influx Car Facility, an unaccompanied minor detention site. Children aged 2-17 who cross the border unaccompanied by an adult can be housed at the facility, which has a capacity of 1,000-1,600 children. The site opened in February 2021 and has since had 3,909 children pass through its facilities. The current number of children being held is 627. As numbers of those seeking refuge in the United States continue to grow it will be a part of our Christian responsibility to ask how we can serve Christ in others and how we will strive to respect the dignity of every human being. The Diocese of West Texas has a vital Immigration Ministry, working toward showing empathy and compassion to those who come among us as neighbors in Christ. St. Luke’s participated in a PPE/Food Kit drive for immigrants traveling through San Antonio, and churches along the border continue to serve refugees and immigrants in need. For more information and to find out how you can help you can go to the diocesan Immigration and Refugee web page: https://www.dwtx.org/what-we-do/ministries/immigration-refugee-ministries

At the bottom of the page is an option to sign up for a bi-weekly Immigration Ministries Update, featuring events, volunteer and giving opportunities, news, and prayer requests.

 

Cotulla
Cotulla has a population of 4,100 and was named after the Polish and Prussian immigrant Joseph Cotulla who established a large ranching business in the area.
When Joseph heard that the Great Northern Railroad was seeking to lay tracks nearby he donated 120 acres of land to the railroad. Joseph’s family still lives in the area and they continue the ranching tradition started by their grandfather and great-grandfather. While the town of Cotulla began its economy through the ranch and farming industry, they now also rely on leasing land for hunting and the petroleum and natural gas industries. Lying along the Eagle Ford Shale deposit the population and growth in Cotulla have been exponential in the last decade. New housing and business are being established and there have been major renovations to many of their historic downtown buildings. 

St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church serves the local community, with worship services every Sunday at 11 am. 

The right to a trial by a jury of our peers and protection under the law are rights enshrined to all residing in the US by the Constitution.  However, as we have already discovered during this pilgrimage the history of these protections has not always extended to all members of society and many instances of extrajudicial killings and crimes occurred throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.  Texas, in particular, has a long history with the extrajudicial crime of lynching, and in the town of Cotulla, we find a case from 1895 showing that while we associate lynching with groups such as the Klu Klux Klan and violence against African Americans, Hispanic residents of the state were also terrorized by this crime.  

The later years of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th are known in Mexican history as the Porfiriato when Mexico was under the rule of President Porfirio Diaz who came to power in a coup in 1876 and would rule until 1910.  While this era of Mexican-US history is characterized by a close relationship between the Diaz government and Washington, as Diaz opened up Mexico to foreign investment, it was also a time of growing racial tension along the border as seen in incidents such as military raids and bandit attacks back and forth.  As this tension grew, so too did the number of crimes committed against Mexican and Mexican Americans as families who had been on the land for generations were being forced off by new settlers.  Terror tactics were often used, and even the protection of the authorities could oftentimes not stop these nighttime attacks.  

On the night of October 12th, 1895, Floantina Suaito was incarcerated in the local jail for the alleged murder of the rancher U. T. Saul in the town of Cotulla.  Early that week Saul had found one of his calves stolen, and while riding out to track down those who stole his calf he found a wagon on the side of the road being driven by Suaito and two women who were also Mexican.  While attempting to illegally search Suaito’s wagon, a shot rang out and by the end of the firefight Saul along with one of the other members of Suaito’s wagon would be dead.  While Suaito was in the jail that night, a group of ten armed hooded individuals overpowered the jailer and took Suaito to the banks of the Nueces River.  Once there, without any trial or due process of law, Suaito would be hung from a nearby tree and his body riddled with bullets as the hooded individuals used his body for target practice.  It would not be until the following morning that Suaito’s body would be cut down, and there would be no investigation or arrests made in his case, despite the identities of the murderers being well known within the local community.  

While these crimes of terror took place well over half a century ago, the impact of these crimes can and still has an impact on those alive today.  The memories of these nighttime raids of terror are passed down through the generations and unfortunately still cause hurt and anguish in many communities today. While taking in these stories is difficult, they are important to remember as we try to understand and build relationships across racial lines and in hopes of healing our nation from its current divisions. 

 

Closing Prayer
God of Heaven and Earth, you created the one human family
and endowed each person with great dignity. Aid us, we pray, in overcoming the sin of racism. Grant us your grace in eliminating this blight

from our hearts, our communities, our social and civil institutions. Fill our hearts with love for you and our neighbor so that we may work with you in healing our land from racial injustice. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Next Stop: Laredo, Hebronville, and McAllen, TX
Steps to next Location: 146,000 to Laredo
Churches: Christ Episcopal, St. James’, and St. John’s
 
 

Read more

Birds eye view of our journey

This is our pilgrimage journey “as the crow flies.” We will begin in San Antonio before heading north to Boerne, Comfort, and our most Northern stop in San Saba before heading West and South. Our most Southern stop will be in Brownsville before heading to Corpus Christi, Victoria, the San Marcos, and New Braunfels areas before heading back to San Antonio. We will cover 2.001 miles or 4.002,000 steps.

Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

 How will my steps be counted?

Each week you will receive an email with a link to a google form to enter your steps for the week. All of our steps will be added together to cover the distance it will take to walk the diocese. This form will also be on the pilgrimage page of our website.

 

How do I count my steps?

If you wear a Fitbit or smartwatch you can simply submit your steps from your device for each week. Every smartphone also has a pedometer built-in, so if you take your phone with you when you walk you can find your step counts in the health app that comes with your phone.

If you count your distance traveled in miles you can convert your miles to steps using this formula:

Y miles x 2,000 = average steps per mile

For example: 5 miles x 2,000 average steps per mile = 10,000 steps

 

Do I have to take extra walks for this pilgrimage?

The benefit of a virtual pilgrimage is that you can go at your own pace. You may choose to take extra walks to get more steps, or you can submit the steps from your normal daily activity. You will get out of this pilgrimage what you put in. When taking steps throughout your day think about praying as you do so. If you take walks through nature what sounds can you hear? What do you smell? How many shades of green can you find? Take your holding cross with you (more on this below). Pray about what struck you in the weekly email, did you learn something new about the Church, about how you might help be a voice for racial healing, about God?

What if I deleted a pilgrimage email or can’t find it?

Our Communications Director, Andrea Thompson, has set up a page on our St. Luke’s website specifically for the pilgrimage. Anything that goes out in an email can also be found on this page in blog form throughout the summer.

 

How will I stay connected to other pilgrims?

There will be a comment section on the pilgrimage blog page on the website. You are encouraged to write comments to other pilgrims throughout the summer. You can give a simple hello, or you may wish to engage a little deeper about the stops we’re making and what you’re learning and feeling along the way.

Will this pilgrimage make me uncomfortable?

With any pilgrimage, the hope is to be a different person at the end than you were at the beginning. All good pilgrimages change us. We hope that through this journey you will grow spiritually and deepen your relationship with God and one another.

There will be times we will read stories that are hard to hear, especially around race and racism. This is not to inflict guilt or make you feel bad, but rather for us as people of faith to acknowledge the parts of our history that were plagued by the sin of racism, pray for healing, and move forward together. In the words of Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, “We are haunted by our history of racial injustice in America because we don’t talk about it…achieving equality, justice, and fairness for all Americans starts with learning and sharing the truth about our past.”


Read more

Parishioner Stories

Dr. Mary Dixson

Mary Dixson’s 2020 Spring Break plans came to an abrupt halt with an early morning call from her mother. The US was closing the borders to help stop the spread of Covid-19 and they had 24 hours to get back. Dr. Dixson, a Distinguished Senior Lecturer at UTSA, her husband, and two children who were in Amsterdam for Spring Break scrambled to find a flight out of Europe. After a circutuius trip they made it San Antonio and started quarantine life.
 
She started seeing stories asking for volunteers for the Pfizer vaccine trials happening in San Antonio and she jumped at the chance to do something, other than just staying at home. “It’s one of those moments where you think, If not me then who? Who’s supposed to do it?”
 
She weighed the pros and cons and there wasn’t a good reason not to do it; no health conditions that put her at greater risk, and she’d never had a bad reaction to vaccines. She’s a healthy middle-aged person and so she filled out the application.
It had been two months since Dr. Dixson filled out her application for the vaccine trial and as we collectively eased into curbside and carry out life, she was still waiting to be called. Two days before the trial began her phone rang and she picked the first available time and became patient 001 of the Pfizer vaccine trials in San Antonio.
 
Ten hours after the second shot she suspected she was in the vaccine group and not the placebo. “Instinctively when you have chills, fever, dry mouth you know something is going on. I couldn’t get warm. I had on extra layers of clothes, in the middle of summer, I was freezing.” Her suspicions were confirmed when her group was unblinded in January of this year, six months after the trial began.
 
Because of existing RNA technology, the vaccines for Covid- 19 were able to be developed in record time. The trials were a giant success but last year this was an unknown risk, it wasn’t guaranteed that the vaccine would be effective or safe. “Once you know you have the vaccine that’s where faith really kicks in. That’s what we prayed for every day. Lord keep us safe, keep us healthy, and keep my mother healthy.”
 
One of the joyful side effects of the vaccine was being able to share her experiences to give people around her confidence in the vaccine. She felt called to connect with people on Twitter, on Facebook, in the media to let people know it’s ok to be scared but you know someone who’s been through this trial. You can ask me questions to help you feel more confident when you get your turn.
 
God puts opportunities in your path and for Dr. Dixson taking part in the vaccine trials has allowed her to be a voice for people that don’t have faith in the science behind the vaccine. “You have faith in the Lord that He has sent us the vaccine and He’s giving you the opportunity to protect yourself and your family but you to take advantage of it. Science and faith are one – the Lord has given you the knowledge to make life safer and easier but you have to grab it when it comes to you.”
 

Read more

St. Luke’s Staff Transition

In July we’ll have some changes in administrative positions on the church staff.

Angie Hudgins, Dave Thomas, and Amy Foster.

 
• Parish Administrator Dave Thomas plans to retire in mid-July. Dave has worked at St. Luke’s since 2009, and we appreciate so much his diligence in overseeing many complex aspects of parish life at St. Luke’s Church!
 
• Angie Hudgins joined the staff earlier this year as our Financial Associate. Upon Dave’s retirement, Angie will step into the role of Parish Administrator. She and Dave have been working together on this transition, and we anticipate that she will do a great job as she moves into this new role.
 
• Amy Foster will succeed Angie as the next Financial Associate. Amy has been our Mustard Seed Director since fall 2019. We will combine these two positions into one: Amy will continue to oversee the Mustard Seed during the school year, and her work with the church’s finances will fill out the rest of her time.
 
We appreciate the work that Dave and Angie and Amy have done so far, and as Dave eases into retirement, we’re so excited about the new roles that Angie and Amy are taking on. Many thanks to them and to all the staff who are so dedicated to supporting our common life here at St. Luke’s Church!

Read more

FINANCE UPDATE

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Read more

WELCOME TO THE BODY

INSERT NAMES HERE
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Read more