Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas from NOLA!

My brother is safe in Uganda! They will continue on to Nairobi tomorrow but they are out of danger. Many thanks for your prayers and support. Looking forward to seeing all at our festive Christmas Eve Mass!


Dear St. Thomas' Family:

My brother Ken Kauffman and three others serving in South Sudan have decided they must leave due to the ongoing military conflict, but at this point they must leave by car. They are headed to Nairobi, Kenya, because they can stay free of charge at another compound there for awhile. They hope to return to South Sudan in January. The road is long (700) miles, rough and plagued with banditry, so they will travel only by day. Your ongoing prayers are most appreciated.

Deacon Bette

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Please pray...

Dear St. Thomas' family:

My brother Ken currently serves as a missionary in South Sudan. He is in charge of maintenance on the compound of a Bible translation organization in the city of Juba.

If you have been hearing international news, you probably know that military conflict has broken out in South Sudan. A few days ago, the fighting was in Juba. It has moved into the distance, but the situation is not good. The map below, which I got from the BBC online, shows you what the fighting is about. No surprise there!

The organization he works for has decided to evacuate all of its people except Ken and four others. Here is his latest update and prayer request:

"Last night the rebels in a town called Bor were able to capture an ammo dump that had tanks, trucks, and a lot of heavy artillery. It breathed new life in them and now we don't know what's going to happen. If they head for Juba we will all have to go, but if they go another direction we'll stay. The reason we want to stay is because with someone here we can better assess when it's safe for others to return. If we all have to go it might be years before anyone can come back. If this blows over they could be back within a month or two. It is my opinion that the work here is worth the risk and I want to do all I can to support it. Please be in prayer for S. Sudan, all those that left, and those of us who are still here. This is very painful for everyone. A very sad aspect of this is that this latest development could very well just be an exercise in a lot of blood letting that doesn't accomplish anything. So very sad!

I would love to hear from anyone who wants to write, it is suddenly very lonely here.

In Him, Ken"



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Bishop Jake to Visit St. Thomas'

Join us on the Third Sunday of Advent for Bishop Jake's visit. The Bishop will celebrate Holy Eucharist and preach at our usual time of 10:00 a.m. We will be joined by some of the folks from St. Alban's for confirmation and a wonderful parish potluck lunch will follow. The Bishop will also meet with our vestry to hear all the great things St. Thomas has been doing. Don't miss this special day!

Christmas Caroling

Join us at the Cagle's home at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 15 - The Third Sunday of Advent for caroling with the youth - All ages are invited. Be sure to dress for the weather. This is always a fun event! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Newsletter

December's newsletter is available on the sidebar at the right. The calendar can be found in the newsletter and at the Calendar tab above.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bishop Jake on God's Great Story

The Inconspicuous God

Life makes sense.  Sometimes.  But if we’re really honest, we have to admit that there are plenty of times that we’re just holding our breath and trusting that something will come of this mess, or we feel so much joy that we worry that it has to end sometime, or things are coming at us so quickly that they’re kind of a blur.
Zhang Xiaogang's "Writing"
When my parents were getting a nasty divorce, when I married Joy, when our baby girl was facing open heart surgery, when I got my mom out of the morgue, when I was consecrated fourth Bishop of Western Louisiana, life had lots of loose ends needing to be tied up.
The funny thing about life is that we live it looking for a happy ending that we will never get to read.  Life as we live it is always an unfinished story.  To keep turning the next page in that story, we have to have some reason to believe that the story really will come together.  Really will make sense.  Our lives will have meant something.
Some voices in the world tell us to believe in ourselves.  They insist that we are the author of our lives.  Jesus tells us something different.  God believes in us.  God is writing us into his story even now.  (more)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Advent Begins

This Sunday, December 1, is the first Sunday of Advent. Come and join us at 10:00 a.m. for Holy Eucharist as we prepare ourselves for the coming of our Lord.

A reminder - we will not have potluck lunch this Sunday, but will wait and enjoy lunch with our Bishop on December 15.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Give Thanks!

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ann & Keith's 50th Birthday

Great birthday party at Harvey's Dance Hall for Ann & Keith's 50th birthday...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

S'more Sunday

Both the Jr.and Sr. E.Y.C. groups will meet tomorrow, Sunday, November 10 at 4:00 p.m. at the Cagle's home for S'more Sunday. This is always a fun event and marks the coming of cool weather...

Ms. Dee always outdoes herself with a great spread of S'more makings and the spot just over the levee is a perfect outdoor gathering area.

Join us for fun, fellowship and - of course - S'mores.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Interfaith Thursday Evening

St. Thomas is involved in the Interfaith 
Accountability Session this Thursday night at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. The event begins at 7:00 and ends at 8:30. The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Monroe School Board Members and the candidates in the run-off election (if possible) to have an opportunity to support publicly their commitment to working on issues that have been identified as important to our community. 

We need St. Thomas members there!! Please consider taking time from your evening to support this effort. This is a time when our very presence will speak to public officials. 

Mt. Zion is located at 211 Mt. Zion Street in Monroe. The church is located on the left  just off of N. 18th Street and soon after you cross Louisville going south toward I-20.

IF YOU NEED A RIDE, PLEASE CONTACT ME BY RESPONDING to this email asap. You can call me also at 355-4319. If I don't answer, leave a message and I will call you back. I know some of you already have obligations, but I am so hopeful that we will have a solid group who will be there. 


Friday, November 1, 2013

Rehearsing for a Wedding!

Tayler, Garrett, along with family and friends gathered to rehearse for their wedding on Friday night. A wonderful dinner followed at Cypress Inn! 

The big day is Saturday, November 2 at 6:00 p.m. at St. Thomas'

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tayler and Garrett's Brunch

This past Sunday we were able to celebrate the up coming marriage of Tayler Bickham and Garrett Babb.  It was a wonderful time with an abundance of food and gifts.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Prayer for the Feast of St. Francis

"What great claws you have!"

O Lord, grant us the grace to respect and care for your creation. 
Lord, hear our prayer. 

O Lord, bless all of your creatures as a sign of your wondrous love. 
Lord, hear our prayer.

 O Lord, help us to end the suffering of the poor and bring healing to all of your creation. 
Lord, hear our prayer. 

O Lord, help us to use our technological inventiveness to undo the damage we have done to your creation and to sustain your gift of nature. 
Lord, hear our prayer. 

(Photo by BJK at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, March 2013. )

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Back to the Bayou B.B.Q. Fun

The Back Pew Pickers always entertain and inspire.

The younger crowd enjoyed the chow!

The fall weather was perfect.

Lots of folks walked for cakes.

A good time was had by all!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bishop Jake on Love, Part 4

Back to the Bayou B.B.Q.


St. Thomas’ “Back to the Bayou B.B.Q.” will be held on Saturday, September 28, 2013 from 5:00 -  7:00 p.m. and will feature the Back Pew Pickers, cake walks and games for the children  Adult tickets are $10, Children's tickets are $5, and Canterbury Students eat for free! Make plans to join us!

Monday, September 2, 2013

September Newsletter

The September 2013 edition of the newsletter is available for download in the sidebar to right. Just look under Newsletter for September 2013. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Today is the 8th Anniversary of the flooding of New Orleans by the levee breaches post Hurricane Katrina. More than 1800 people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced and lost all of their belongings. A couple hundred people went missing and some were never found. It is generally assumed they were swept out to sea.

I did a photography project that documented and recreated the flood lines left on buildings, trees, vehicles, signs, fences and more. It is called "WATERLINE: an interactive photo installation." I am working on turning it into a book, in part because so many people have said that it tells a story that needs to be told and made accessible to wider audiences.

A few days ago I launched a WATERLINE Facebook page. I invite you to stop by and "like it up," as the saying goes.

And say a prayer for the victims of this great tragedy that was not entirely a "natural" disaster.

Monday, August 26, 2013

What's good about this news?

Dear friends of St. Thomas':

I have not been able to be with you for a couple of weeks because I have been supplying at Christ Church in St. Joseph. So.., just so you'll know I've been at work, here's the sermon I preached there last Sunday! Some of you will find it interesting because I incorporated some thoughts about Interfaith and why we work the way we do.

See you next Sunday!

Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! (Luke 12:49, NRSV)

Whoa, Jesus! Aren’t you the great peacemaker!

And what’s all this stuff about fathers against sons and daughters against mothers? Where are your “family values,” Jesus? Shouldn’t we stick with our families, regardless?

A few years ago I attended a workshop at Columbia Theological Seminary. One of our speakers that weekend was David Barnett who has written a book about the Gospel according to Mark. The title of the book is “What’s good about this news?” His point is that Mark’s Gospel has a kind of dark foreboding about it. It often seems that Mark is writing about bad news, not good news.

In other words, “Gospel” means “good news.” And we are fond of saying, “the good news of Jesus the Christ.” But if we read carefully what Jesus said—and did—throughout his earthly ministry, and don’t leave out the uncomfortable parts, and are completely honest with ourselves… we must acknowledge that the news he taught and acted… is often not so good… at least not by normal human standards.

Here’s the punch line of this sermon: The Gospel of Jesus the Christ is not an endorsement of nice, moral, upstanding middle class, family values.

click here to read more


Monday, July 29, 2013

Two Stories of Children in Louisiana

Last week we were uplifted and entertained and, I daresay, a bit worn out by our mountain-top experience with approximately 50 delightful, energetic children in Vacation Bible School. What a week it was! Seeing the love of God in the faces of our kids and especially in their, shall we say "enthusiastic" singing? is always a lesson in faith for me!

I have always been struck that when Jesus came down from his mountain-top transfiguration experience, waiting for him at the foot of the mountain was a person who needed healing. The hopes and needs of the world seem always to await us.

Here is an excellent column written just over a year ago, but still sadly true. It contains several links to valuable charts documenting the problem of children in poverty in Louisiana.

Three Tiger Stadiums Filled with Poor Children: The Scandal of Poverty in Louisiana

I decided to not "pretty up" this blog post with photos.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tell It on the Mountain - Day Five

Thanks to our great teen and pre-teen volunteers this week! Shown left to right above are Thomas, Meagan, Hanna Grace, Zoe, Martha, Caroline, Taylor and Helen. We could not have made it without them!

Thanks also to Archdeacon Bette J. Kauffman for all the great photos this week....

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tell It on the Mountain - Day Four

The Blue Expedition Group with their art.
The Turquoise Expedition Group. 
The Orange Expedition Group at the Mountain.
The Green Expedition Group.
(some are travelling incognito...)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tell It on the Mountain - Day Three

Volunteers are what make V.B.S. work!
We had another great day at our Tell It on the Mountain Vacation Bible School. More music, more games, mare crafts, more food and more learning.

Join us again tomorrow night at 5:30 we visit another Mountain!

Crafts keep our hands busy...

and Games keep our bodies busy!

Tell It! - Day Two

Another exciting time at Base Camp!
Even more children showed up for Day Two of our Tell It on the Mountain Vacation Bible School.

We heard the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel - 1 Kings 18:17-39, and learned that how God proved to be the true God. Vacation Bible School continues tonight at 5:30 p.m. at St. Alban's.

Fire descends on the Altar, wood and sacrifice.

Playing water games outside.

Arts and crafts time!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tell It on the Mountain - Day One

Singing at our Base Camp opening!
Tell It on the Mountain Vacation Bible School is underway. We began our climb with songs, good food, games, crafts and the Bible story of God's people receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.

If you weren't there - don't worry! There is still plenty of time to join us. We are at St. Alban's from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. and have our last night on Thursday.

Craft time is always fun.

Registering a group of climbers.