COMMUNICATION UPDATE!

Livestream: Where to Watch!
We have made significant upgrades to our Livestream over the past month to ensure a better viewing experience for you! Thank you to our loyal Livestreamers for hanging in there with us as we worked through our technical issues. As the
choir and I settle back into the Choir Loft we are still finessing camera placements so look for new angles in the coming weeks.
 
Did you know you can find us on YouTube? We post videos of our sermons, services, and all the other videos we make on our St. Luke’s Channel! You find the direct link to our channel at slecsa/tidings. If you visit us on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram make sure to hit subscribe to stay up to date on our postings!
 
We look forward to bringing the Christmas Pageant to you Live this year as well as our Christmas Eve service at 7:00 pm. If you are traveling during the holidays you will still be able to celebrate the season with your family at home and your
St. Luke’s Family.
 
If you have suggestions for what you would like to see on our social media channels, website, or in your inbox please email them to andreat@stlukes-sa.net!

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From the Associate

Greetings St. Luke’s!

I am back from maternity leave and filled with gladness to share the Advent and Christmas seasons with you. We have many ways for you to enter the quiet and reflective season of waiting, and I hope you will join us. As we say in Godly Play, “this time of year you will see people hurrying around, buying things, and doing this and that. But they will miss the mystery. Maybe they don’t know how to get ready or maybe they just forgot.”
 
I hope that you will take the time to savor the mystery of Christmas, and rest in the richness of this season alongside your church family. I look forward to walking to Bethlehem with you.
 
I am in the office Tuesday – Friday and am happy to meet with you on or off-campus to get to know you better, to talk about the serious or the holy ordinary things in your life.
 
I hope to see you around soon!
Rev. Reagan

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SLEC’s Day of Service at The Green Door

The 8th-grade students of St. Luke’s Episcopal School spent the day at the Green Door for their Day of Service on November 12th. SLES families contributed more than 100 bags of donations throughout the week. A group of students worked with our Green Door volunteers to tag and price, and input their donations into the computer.
 
Other students helped prepare the shop for the holidays and build Christmas displays. “It takes many hands to operate the Green Door. Their helpfulness, energy, and smiles made our day!” said Cynthia Rodriguez, Manager of the Green Door.
 
Bonnie Giddens, Green Door Board member, was on hand to help and is hopeful the students will contribute their ideas to help with merchandising and social media ideas and for their service projects with other organizations.
“St. Luke’s Episcopal School is grateful for the opportunity for their students to give back to their community and for the special relationship established with this incredible ministry. We look forward to serving at The Green Door again in 2022,” said Sarah Kates, SLES Chaplain.
If you haven’t stopped into the Green Door they are located at 1030 Nacogdoches Rd. Stop by and say hello, shop, donate, or inquire about helping as a Green Door Volunteer.
 
Thank you for making a difference and supporting our mission of Christian Giving.
 

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Christmas Pageant

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT

All Children are invited to tell this incredible story! When children share the story of the birth of Jesus, something memorable happens. On December 19th, during our 11 am service, we will have our Christmas Pageant.
Plans this year are for the pageant to be in person and live-streamed before our 11 am worship service.

Parents look for an email with more details including available parts by age group. Parts will be chosen in person during Sunday school classes on December 5th. Dress rehearsal will be held on December 18th from 9:30 – 11 am.
If you would like your child to participate please email Kris! You can watch last year’s video at slecsa.org/tidings.

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From the Rector

A Thanksgiving Message

 
As you may know, many churches have traditions of special services at Thanksgiving. In Tulsa we had a service on Thanksgiving Day at 10 am, with choir and hymns, and the church was full every year, and many people would stay afterwards to enjoy a potluck Thanksgiving dinner.
 
When I arrived here in 2019, I was surprised to learn that we don’t have any service here on Thanksgiving Day, or the night before Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because so many schools have the whole week off. I remember wanting to explore the possibility of a Thanksgiving service here at St. Luke’s. Covid got in the way last year. But as we hope for continued improvements in the pandemic, and as we make plans for 2022, I will certainly want to consider commemorating Thanksgiving somehow at St. Luke’s.
 
The Thanksgiving holiday is a time to remember our blessings, and not just to be thankful for them, but to give thanks for them: to give thanks to God, who is the source of all mercies and blessings.
 
I give thanks to God for the many blessings I enjoy personally: the good health of my family, the great educations our children are receiving, and the privileges we enjoy as American citizens. I give thanks also for the blessings all of us enjoy here at St. Luke’s. So many people devote their energies to the church’s ministries, giving of their time and their financial resources. I’m thankful for our dedicated staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in so many ways this year, and I’m thankful for gracious volunteers and for people who offer their voices (in person and online!) as together we worship God in church.
 
I give thanks to each of you for your generous hearts. And I give thanks to God, who has brought us all together here at St. Luke’s Church and School. God delights in the praises we lift up together in our worship, and God delights especially in the many ways we support God’s mission of sharing with the world Good News about Jesus Christ.
Maybe you’re reading this before Thanksgiving, or afterwards, as we set our sights on Christmas. Either way, I hope you’ll set aside some time to reflect on the blessings you enjoy, and to give thanks to our loving God, who invites us to accept the gift of new life, made available through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
Happy Thanksgiving!

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YOUTH MINISTRY UPDATES

 

 

 

 

 

Youth Group

My first month serving as youth director here at St. Luke’s has been full of fun, laughter, and learning. I would like to thank everyone who has been so kind and welcoming. I cannot wait to see what the future holds. Although small, we have had a consistent group meeting weekly for both middle and high school students. If you have a student who is hesitant to attend a youth event for fear that they will be alone, please ease their fears with this information and also tell them we offer free snacks!

YOUTH GROUP
Youth Group is still meeting on Wednesday evenings.
The typical schedule is as follows:
• Middle School meets from 6-7 pm
• Group meal on the sports court from 7-7:30 pm,
• High School meets from 7:30-8:30 pm.
On Sunday mornings we currently offer 2 different faith formation classes that go from 10-10:50 am. The Middle School class led by Andrea Cutter meets upstairs, while the High School class meets in the youth room.

Fun Events
December 11th: Youth Group Hike If the weather stays this lovely, all youth are invited to come on a hike at Friedrich Wilderness Park to spend time in God’s beautiful nature. Sign up for our Youth Newsletter for updates on this event!

Service Events
December 8th: Youth will not meet to allow students to attend a SnackPak4Kids service event. There are a limited number of spots, so if you have a child who is interested in attending, please email me so I can add your name to the list!


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FAMILY & CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

During our Ministry Architects Summit in October, I was impressed and inspired by the intentionality and spirit of our conversations. Clearly, St. Luke’s cares deeply for the children in our church body. We are committed to nurturing their faith and celebrating milestones as they grow and mature. Over the next few months, you will hear more in-depth and see what is essentially a road map showing how the faith journey of St. Luke’s children is supported throughout their years.
As this fall flies by, I want to thank our Sunday School Teachers for all they do to foster an engaging environment. These sacred spaces inspire children to ask questions, wonder, and express their faith in a variety of ways. Comments I have heard from children include, “I want to stay here for another hour, okay? Let’s just stay here!” “Mom! We heard a story today that was in a little sandbox, but really it was the desert!” Children get to experience storytelling and make connections to their own life each time they come.
 
At the moment, while we have fantastic volunteers in place, there are some who were not able to teach or volunteer as planned for various reasons. In order to have two safeguarded volunteers with a group of children or youth at all times, we need to gather more volunteers. Please prayerfully consider teaching or assisting.
Often, the phrase time, talent, and treasure is expressed in the context of stewardship. Volunteering to teach or lead children and youth comes under the umbrella of all of these areas as well!
 
Time – Signing up to teach or assist on Sunday mornings twice a month involves slightly over two hours per month. Curriculum and supplies are prepped and already in place.
 
Talent – It does help if you have experience with children and youth, but we are not looking for “experts”. Approaching the relationships you will be building by volunteering with a spirit of mutual learning inspires a love for learning and curiosity. We want all ages to be comfortable in asking questions expressing their faith in a variety of ways.
My call towards ministry and education was partly inspired by my parent’s involvement in leading our youth group during a leadership transition. Neither of them considered themselves an expert in teaching bible. Instead, they stepped up to lead our group with an attitude that we would all learn together.
 
My sisters and I had been going to Sunday school classes throughout our childhood, but somehow we just didn’t talk as a family about what we learned. Once Mom and Dad started to teach, their transparency and open-ended questions sparked conversations about God and how He was alive and well in our world. As a family, we got more engaged in serving our community through our church. It was truly a turning point that shaped my future.
 
Treasure – What do you treasure? Volunteering to guide our children and youth in their faith journey is … at the risk of sounding like an old Master Card commercial … priceless. All ages are learning to express their experience with God. Teaching is truly a mutual blessing. We, in turn, experience God through the children’s perspective and wondering. In a future article, I may talk more about how much we can learn from children! During a time in our collective lives that shows how interconnected and fragile we are, children teach us how to be mindful – to be in the present moment, noticing details, tuning in with all senses.
 
On Sundays, I do my best to be stationed either at the kids’ corner in the Narthex or in the parlor between services. I would love to tell you more about other volunteer opportunities, our classes, and upcoming events. Please don’t hesitate to look for me as I am eager to connect with all of you! In the meantime, I am contacting each family over the phone as able.
 
As we ease into safely gathering on Sundays, I am curious to hear about your hopes, dreams, and concerns for your children’s spiritual and social needs.

I hope to see you soon!


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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
 
 

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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.

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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.”


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