Friday, May 31, 2013

Archdeacon's Updates

June is looking like quite a month for the Archdeacon!

June 2 - This coming Sunday, I have been invited to assist Bishop Charles Jenkins at the altar of Grace Episcopal in Monroe. Bishop Charles is the retired Bishop of Louisiana. He and I know each other through Interfaith work, both post-Katrina and in the new statewide organization called Together Louisiana. I am greatly honored to serve with him this Sunday.

June 9 - I have been called to lead Morning Prayer and preach at St. Andrew's in Mer Rouge.

I'll give you another update in mid-June.

God's peace,
Archdeacon BJK

Monday, May 27, 2013

Oklahoma Disaster Relief

As Mother Mitzi George's letter posted last week indicates, we are putting together a mission team to go to Oklahoma. We do not have definite dates yet. Our Bishop is still waiting to hear from the Bishop of Oklahoma as to the appropriate time to come, but we tentatively plan to go after July 4 but before the middle of the month. We will most likely go for about a week. We hope to take a bus, "camp" in a parish hall, and cook our own food in order to keep expenses down.

Pending details, if you are interested and think you'll be able to go, please e-mail me your name at or call/text me at 318-372-8117.

I announced this at St. Alban's this morning and already have four people who definitely want to go. All four are women, and I'll be the first to say women can do many things! However, we need some men as well. So... give it some consideration and let me know if you think it likely you'll want to go.

Archdeacon BJK

Friday, May 24, 2013

Wednesday Evening Eucharist

We will celebrate Holy Eucharist at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. The folks from St. Alban's will join us while Father Whit is away at Camp Hardtner.

The Rev'd Dawnell Stodghill will celebrate and preach as the Church commemorates the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Collect of the Day: Father in heaven, by your grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tornado Relief

Moore, OK; photo by Alonzo Adams, AP.

You can assist those whose lives were devastated by the Oklahoma tornadoes

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ;

As all are aware, the Bishop has asked Archdeacon Bette-Jo Kaufman and me to coordinate our Diocesan efforts in assisting those hit by devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma. As such we have discussed four ways you and your congregations can help, they are:

1. Donate money directly to the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund and designate your check as Oklahoma tornado victims.

2. Collect funds from your congregation through the next two to three weeks and then send a check to our diocesan office designated for the Oklahoma tornado victims. We will then combine our monies and send one check directly to the Bishop of Oklahoma who will then distribute the funds.

3. Volunteer to be a part of a team who will travel to Oklahoma in July to assist people directly with manual and skilled labor.

4. Begin collecting household items such as linens, kitchen items, good clean clothing, toiletries, shoe, socks, etc. Remember these people have lost everything! Please donate either new or really good usable items, do not send things you plan to throw away.

Many of us here in Louisiana know firsthand what it is like to face such devastation. The trip for our team is scheduled in July because we know from experience that a few months from now these people will still be suffering from the loss and destruction but the media will move on. Victims are often forgotten and it is the second and third month that people really begin to need someone to talk to and others to reach out with a helping hand. So please consider being a part of this team effort.

Also as we begin this effort to assist others let's be mindful of our own need to be prepared for such disasters. Hurricane season is just around the corner. Please make sure you and your congregations have plans in place for an emergency.

Thank you for your assistance, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to or Archdeacon Bette Jo

In Christ's Service

Mother Mitzi+

-The Rev. Dr. Mitzi George is Priest-in-Charge of St. Andrew's, Moss Bluff and Disaster Relief Officer of the Diocese. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More Re Oklahoma

Note: The Bishop provides a place to send money below, but another approach will be for a parish to collect funds and send them to the diocese for the Bishop to forward in one large check.

Dear Friends,

Our neighbors in Oklahoma are reeling from the devastation wrought by yesterday's tornado.  First responders are only just beginning the hard work of helping them recover.  For now, those on site ask that we stay away so that those first responders can do what they do so well.
In the meantime, there is still much that we can do.  As I mentioned in this morning's email, continue to pray.  If you would like to send a financial donation, write a check to The Diocese of Oklahoma and add "Tornado Relief" to the memo line.  Here is an address:
Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma
924 N. Robinson
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
I am in discussion with Mtr. Mitzi George (Coordinator for Disaster Relief) and Archdeacon Bette Kaufmann about a diocesan mission trip in July or later.  This will allow time for the first responders to do what they need to do and time for us to coordinate with the Diocese of Oklahoma.  Look for more information soon.
In addition to our own mission trip, volunteer opportunities are made available for disaster work by Episcopal Relief and Development.  While it is too early to expect coordinated efforts today, here is the link you can use to find volunteer opportunities: ERD Volunteer Opportunities.
Bishop Ed Konieczny of Oklahoma reports that they have what they need in the present.  But we also know that this will be a long recovery project.  I know that I speak for all of us when I say to him that they are not alone.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, Ph.D., D.D.  

Message from Bishop re Oklahoma

Dear Friends,

News of the devastation in Oklahoma is still coming in.  The loss of life, the suffering, the mourning,  and the destruction of property break my heart and grieve my soul.  My prayers continue to ascend for all those affected, and I ask you to join me in those prayers.

I contacted Bruce and Susan MacPherson, and they assured me that they are safe and well.

At times like this some understandably wonder how a loving God could allow such misery.  Others--misguided in their thinking--point a finger at those suffering loss and insist that God has visited just punishment upon them.  What slander against God! Just look at the Cross.  There we see God immersed in our darkest moments by his own choosing and for the sake of our redemption and healing.

Our universe is infinitely complex.  Chaos theory teaches us that hurricanes (and tornadoes) arise in America from the fluttering of a butterfly's wings in China.  We sort through this infinite sea of data with finite, fallible minds.  We cannot fully grasp why such tragic things happen.  However, we can know that God has promised to redeem all things.  Even the bleakest, most shattered of things.  And there lies our hope and from there we draw our strength to do whatever good we can do.

Among the goods we can do is prayer.  Here is a prayer from Evening Prayer and Compline that I share with you for the people of Oklahoma tonight:

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless  the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

In Christ's Love,


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Youth Work Grant Opportunity

Diocesan Grants for Small Congregation  
Youth Work are available.     

by Joy Owensby

If you are part of a small congregation that is trying to strengthen its ministry to young people, you may be eligible for a diocesan grant. Parishes with an average Sunday attendance of 100 or less are invited to apply for funds to subsidize innovative start-up, one-time projects, programs, or events that will have an ongoing impact on ministry to children and/or youth.

These awards are designed to nurture these specific ministry areas and will not be offered to support general operating expenses. The size of each grant will depend
upon the total number of grant proposals approved for funding.

All applications should be received by July 15, 2013. They will be reviewed by the Christian Formation Commission, and grant recipients will be announced
September 1, 2013. While it is hoped that grants will continue to be offered beyond 2013, the availability is only guaranteed for this year.

For further information or an application form, contact Joy Owensby,

-Joy Owensby is the Missioner for Children, Youth and Young Adults of the
Diocese of Western Louisiana.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Emily and Bryson's celebration

Tonight we are celebrating Emily's graduation and sadly giving them a going away party.  It has been a blessing to have Emily and Bryson at St. Thomas.  We will all surely miss them.

ULM Graduation

Today Emily Smith received her Bachelor of Education.   Tonight at 5:00 p.m. We will be celebrating her graduation and giving her a going away party.  She and Bryson will be returning down south.  Please join us for a pot luck dinner.