Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Statewide Assembly


Together Louisiana is pleased to announce that both candidates for Louisiana governor, State Representative John Bel Edwards and U. S. Senator David Vitter, have confirmed their attendance for the Together Louisiana Statewide Assembly this Friday, November 13th, 2pm at Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church 9700 Scenic Highway in Baton Rouge.

More than 400 people have registered to attend the assembly, representing 150 religious congregations and civic organizations from 32 different cities and towns across Louisiana (listed below).

Attendees are asked to arrive at 1:30pm for registration and seating.

Those wishing to attend who have not yet registered may register at

Communities represented to date at Statewide Assembly, November 13th

Baton Rouge
Denham Springs
Greenwell Springs
Lake Charles
Lake Providence
New Orleans
New Roads
Saint Francisville
White Castle


Thanksgiving Eve Eucharist

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Wheels for Logan

Friends & Supporters of Canterbury@ULM:

One of the young men who began attending Canterbury this fall lives in a wheelchair. His name is Logan and he does not have a denominational affiliation. Some of our Canterbury kids who hang out with students from other campus ministries got to be friends with Logan because he is a believer who just doesn't have a denominational identity and isn't sure he wants one! So they invited him to Canterbury and he comes most of the time.

Logan's current wheelchair is a mess. Logan is a pretty big guy and the wheelchair is old and decrepit. Logan is also a COMM major and my advisee, so I see him with some regularity and I have often watched him rolling down a hallway and worried that his chair was going to collapse right out from under him! 

So... a bunch of kids with whom he hangs out, including our Canterbury kids and some kids from other campus ministries, have decided to replace Logan's wheelchair--and it's a surprise! The cost of the chair is $3000 and we figure we only need 300 people at $10 a head to do the deed--and even most students can afford $10.

But we'd also like to give you an opportunity to get involved! So... this Sunday  I'll be at St. Thomas' and if you'd like to help, just hand me a $10 bill and say, "Wheels for Logan." (Or whatever, I'll know what it's for!) Or, if you prefer, write a check to St. Thomas' and put "Wheels for Logan" in the memo line and I'll get Henry to write a check. 

BTW, Logan's family really can't afford to just buy him a new chair.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Installation of Our Presiding Bishop

The following provides details and information for the two events of the Installation of the next Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, Bishop Michael Bruce Curry.
The Rt. Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, was elected and confirmed to be the next Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church at the 78th General Convention on June 27. According to the Canons of The Episcopal Church, he becomes Presiding Bishop and Primate on November 1. Bishop Curry is the first African-American to be elected Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.  Bishop Curry will be the 27th Presiding Bishop, the Primate, and the Chief Pastor of The Episcopal Church. He will also serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society and chair of the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church.
Saturday, October 31
A Vigil Celebration and Eucharist, sponsored by the Union of Black Episcopalians (UBE) in honor of the 27th Presiding Bishop on Saturday, October 31 at 11 a,m. (Eastern) at the Armory, 2001 E. Capital St. SE in Washington, DC.
The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society will sponsor a live webcast of the Vigil Celebration at
Additional information is available here(link is external)
Sunday, November 1
The Holy Eucharist with the Installation of the 27th Presiding Bishop will occur on Sunday, November 1 at noon (Eastern) at Washington National Cathedral.
The Holy Eucharist with the Installation of the 27th Presiding Bishop will be live webcast available here(link is external)   
Hashtag #MichaelCurry
The Episcopal Church:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Sunday, October 4, 2015

60th Annual St. Thomas' BBQ

We had a great turn out for our 60th Annual BBQ.  We had wonderul food, music and conversation.  Special T shirts were made to commentate the event.  Thanks goes out to all who helped to make this a grand blowout!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Blessing of the Animals

St. Thomas will have its annual Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, October 4 at our 10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist. Join us for what is always a lively liturgy!

Diamond on the Bayou - 60th Annual BBQ

From your friends at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church...

"Diamond on the Bayou" - The 60th Annual St. Thomas BBQ which will be held on Saturday, October 3 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at 3706 Bon Aire Drive (by ULM) on beautiful Bayou DeSiard.

Cost is $12 per plate and includes Chicken, Pork Loin, Sausage, Potato Salad, and Homemade Desserts. Anniversary T-shirts will also be on sale.

Music will be provided by the "Back Pew Pickers!" There will also be games for children and cake walks!

All are welcome! Come out before the ULM Homecoming game...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

It will soon be time to vote!

Northern & Central Louisiana Interfaith
the Southside Community Involvement Association
 are co-hosting 
An Accountability Session with Candidates
Thursday, Oct. 1, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Robinson Community Center
3504 Jackson St.
All candidates for the legislature, policy jury, sheriff, clerk of court and tax assessor have been invited.   

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

St. Thomas' "Diamond on the Bayou" 60th Annual BBQ

"Diamond on the Bayou" - The 60th Annual St. Thomas BBQ which will be held on Saturday, October 3 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at 3706 Bon Aire Drive (by ULM) on beautiful Bayou DeSiard.

Cost is $12 per plate and includes Chicken, Pork Loin, Sausage, Potato Salad, and Homemade Desserts. Anniversary T-shirts will also be on sale.

Music will be provided by the "Back Pew Pickers!" There will also be games for children and cake walks!

All are welcome!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Signs Are A-Changin'

Bob Dylan sang, "Come gather 'round people, Wherever you roam... For the times they are a-changin'." 

Since our worship times change (a while back), we need new signs. So, because the times were a changin' - Now the signs are a changin' Come and see!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

From Bishop Jake Owensby

Friday, July 24, 2015

Dear Friends in Christ,

Last night an Alabama man opened fire in a Lafayette movie theater. He killed two young women and wounded nine other people before turning his gun on himself. 

Among the wounded are two members of one of our local Episcopal parishes and the mother of a student attending a local Episcopal school. There seems to be no personal connection between the shooter and any of his victims. He was attending a comedy.

Words fail to express the shock and sorrow so many of us feel in response to yet another act of senseless, irrational violence. Our hearts go out to the victims, to their families, and to the entire community of Lafayette.

Join me in praying for those who died. May they rest in peace and rise in glory. May the merciful God comfort and console their grieving families and friends.

Join me in prayer for those who were wounded. May their recovery be swift and complete, and may God's healing touch guide the medical personnel caring for them.

Finally, pray for the deceased shooter. Nothing excuses his disregard for the infinite value of human life and his destructive violence. And yet our Lord teaches us to pray even for those who would do us harm and who would reject our prayers. May the infinitely loving God have mercy on his tormented soul.

My heart and mind-probably much like your own-are reeling with the specific horror and agony of the Lafayette shootings. Nevertheless, I am also mindful that these shootings join what seems like an endless stream of senseless violence across our country.

This is not the time to outline a detailed Christian response to our epidemic of violence. But there is space to name it for what it is: an epidemic. The medicine for this epidemic is the Gospel. And that Gospel teaches us to be peacemakers.

We followers of Jesus are not helpless in the face of violence. But we must take the risk to ask how we contribute-in many cases unconsciously and unintentionally-to a cultural addiction to violence. And we must have the courage to take the risky steps and to make the difficult changes to overcome violence with the peace that passes all understanding.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, PhD, DD
IV Bishop of Western Louisiana

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

General Convention Wrap-Up

Here is a helpful review of the actions at General Convention 2015 from ENS.

General Convention wrap-up: Historic actions, structural changes

First black presiding bishop, marriage equality approved, church governance revamped

[Episcopal News Service] The 78th General Convention, in a series of historic moments, elected the first African-American presiding bishop; approved marriage equality for all Episcopalians; adopted a budget that emphasizes racial reconciliation and evangelism; endorsed the study of fossil fuel divestment; opposed divestment in Israel, Palestine; and made some significant changes to the church’s governance.
North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry elected presiding bishopThe Episcopal Church’s General Convention made history June 27 when it chose Diocese of North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry to be its 27th presiding bishop.
The House of Bishops elected Curry, 62, from a slate of four nominees on the first ballot. He received 121 votes of a total 174 cast. Diocese of Southwest Florida Bishop Dabney Smith received 21, Diocese of Southern Ohio Bishop Thomas Breidenthal, 19, and Diocese of Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas, 13. The number of votes needed for election was 89.
Curry’s election was confirmed an hour later by the House of Deputies, as outlined in the church’s canons, by a vote of 800 to 12.
Full story.
Marriage equalityIn the wake of the June 26 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage for all Americans, General Convention followed suit on July 1 with canonical and liturgical changes to provide marriage equality for Episcopalians.
The House of Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops’ approval the day before of a canonical change eliminating language defining marriage as between a man and a woman (Resolution A036) and authorizing two new marriage rites with language allowing them to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples (Resolution A054).
Full story.
Budget emphasizes racial reconciliation, evangelismThe General Convention adopted the 2016-2018 triennial budget July 2 after agreeing to add $2.8 million for evangelism work.
While the addition passed with relatively little debate in the House of Deputies, it faced some opposition in the House of Bishops.
The 2016-2018 triennial budget is based on $125,083,185 in revenue, compared to the forecasted $118,243,102 for the triennium that ends Dec. 31 of this year. The expenses are projected to be $125,057,351. The budget comes in with a negligible surplus of $25,834. Its revenue projection is based in part on asking the church’s dioceses and regional mission areas to give 18 percent of their income to fund the 2016 budget, 16.5 percent for the 2017 budget and 15 percent in 2018.
The version of the budget presented July 1 by the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) also included a major new $2 million initiative on racial justice and reconciliation, even as it reduces the amount of money it asks dioceses to contribute to 15 percent by 2018.
Full story.
Mandatory assessmentGeneral Convention made mandatory the current voluntary diocesan budgetary asking system for the 2019-2021 budget cycle and imposed penalties for noncompliance.
The mandatory assessment will not apply to the upcoming 2016-2018 triennial budget, but becomes effective Jan. 1, 2019. Without getting a waiver, a diocese that does not pay the full assessment will be unable to get grants or loans from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society unless the Executive Council ( specifically approves disbursing the money.
(The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society is the name under which The Episcopal Church is incorporated, conducts business, and carries out mission.)
The resolution allows the council to begin granting waivers to dioceses that do not pay, based on financial hardship, beginning Jan. 1, 2016. Council agreed in January to create a so-called Diocesan Assessment Review Committee to work with dioceses that do not to meet the full churchwide asking.
The resolution also agrees to study the issue of whether the House of Deputies president ought to receive a salary.
Full story.
Divest from fossil fuels, reinvest in renewablesGeneral Convention passed two resolutions aimed at environmentally responsible investing and creating a climate change advisory committee.
Resolution C045 calls upon the Investment Committee of Executive Council, the Episcopal Church Endowment Fund and the Episcopal Church Foundation “to divest from fossil fuel companies and reinvest in clean renewable energy in a fiscally responsible manner.”
Resolution A030 calls for the creation of a climate change advisory committee with one representative from each of The Episcopal Church’s nine provinces. The resolution also calls on each province to create a Regional Consultative Group composed “of no fewer than five experts in areas of environmental sustainability appropriate to the demographic, ecological, cultural and geographic specifics of each region.”
Read more here.
Agrees to major structural changes
The General Convention approved two resolutions making major changes to the structure of The Episcopal Church.
Substitute Resolution A004 slightly expands Executive Council’s appointment power concerning three members of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s executive staff, including the chief operating officer, chief financial officer and chief legal officer (a position created in the resolution).
Substitute Resolution A006 reduces the number of the church’s standing commissions from 14 to two. The two would be the Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution and Canons, and the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music. The presiding bishop and House of Deputies president would appoint study committees and task forces to complete the work called for by a meeting of General Convention, with council’s approval. All of those bodies would expire at the start of the next General Convention unless they are renewed.
Full story here. 
Oppose divestment in Israel, PalestineThe House of Bishops sent a strong and clear message July 2 that divestment from companies and corporations engaged in certain business related to the State of Israel is not in the best interests of The Episcopal Church, its partners in the Holy Land, interreligious relations, and the lives of Palestinians on the ground.
The bishops rejected Substitute Resolution D016, which would have called on the Executive Council’s Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to develop a list of U.S. and foreign corporations that provide goods and services that support the infrastructure of Israel’s occupation “to monitor its investments and apply its CSR policy to any possible future investments” in such companies.
General Convention passed two resolutions on peacemaking. Substitute Resolution B013, proposed by Bishop Nicholas Knisely of Rhode Island, “reaffirms the vocation of the Church as an agent of reconciliation and restorative justice,” and recognizes that “meaningful reconciliation can help to engender sustainable, long-lasting peace and that such reconciliation must incorporate both political action and locally driven grassroots efforts.”
Resolution C018 expresses solidarity with and support for Christians in Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories; affirms the work of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in healing, education, and pastoral care; and affirms the work of Christians engaged in relationship building, interfaith dialogue, nonviolence training, and advocacy for the rights of Palestinians. The resolution also urges Episcopalians to demonstrate their solidarity by making pilgrimage to the Holy Land and learning from fellow Christians in the region.
Full story.
Plans to be created for prayer book, hymnal revision
General Convention 2015 took a step toward revising the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal 1982, directing the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to prepare plans for revising each and to present them to the next convention in Austin, Texas, in 2018.
Among other liturgical issues, the convention directs bishops to find ways for congregations without clergy to receive Communion, but the House of Bishops defeated proposals to allow unbaptized people to receive Holy Communion or to study the issue.
The convention approved making available a revised version of “Holy Women,Holy Men” with additional saints’ commemorations but left “Lesser Feasts and Fasts” as the church authorized supplemental calendar of commemorations (see article here).
The revised “Holy Women, Holy Men,” is called “A Great Cloud of Witnesses.”
Full story.
Convention takes a first step, admits: ‘Alcohol affects us all’
General Convention passed three resolutions on the issue of alcohol and drug abuse.
Resolution D014 recommends that ordinands should be questioned at the very beginning of the discernment process about addiction and substance use in their lives and family systems.
The bishops also passed Resolution A159, which acknowledges the church’s role in the culture of alcohol and drug abuse.
Resolution A158, to create a task force to review and revise policy on substance abuse, addiction and recovery, passed with one amendment.
Full story.
Closer relations with CubaThe U.S.-based Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church of Cuba took a step toward closer relations during the 78th General Convention, meeting here June 25-July 3. Convention also passed a resolution calling for the U.S. government to lift its economic embargo against Cuba.
Full story.
Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry sat for a video interviewIn an 18-minute interview with the Episcopal News Service, Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry speaks about his priorities for leadership and administration, the role of the church in engaging God’s mission in the world, the state of race relations in the U.S., the importance of Anglican Communion partnerships, and his commitment to what he calls the Jesus Movement, to go out into the world “to bear witness to the good news of Jesus.”
Full video.
Bishops led a march against gun violenceAbout 1,500 General Convention participants joined a Bishops United Against Gun Violence procession in Salt Lake City the morning of June 28.
 The prayerful procession walked the half-mile from the Salt Palace Convention Center to Pioneer Park while marchers sang hymns and prayed. Members of Utah anti-gun violence groups and civil rights organizations joined in.
Full video.
Greater solidarity for persecuted ChristiansAdvocacy for Christians facing persecution and living in the context of civil war are the subject of several resolutions passed by the Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention, meeting here June 25-July 3.
Convention agrees that Christians in Pakistan, Syria, Liberia, South Sudan and Sudan are among those for whom the church needs to step up its support and solidarity as many of them live in fear of death, starvation, and displacement in their war-ravaged or extremist-influenced countries.
Full story.

Monday, July 6, 2015

From Bishop Jake...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dear Friends in Christ,

On June 26 the Supreme Court ruled that the right to enter into a civil marriage applies equally to everyone: opposite-sex and same-sex couples. At our General Convention the Episcopal Church authorized trial rites that may be used for same-sex couples.

Reactions to the Court’s ruling and the General Convention’s actions range from jubilation to outrage. There has been no shortage of news stories, blog posts, and social media comments on the subject. Unfortunately, much of this talk has resulted in more confusion than clarity. Some commentators seem more interested in fueling anger than in providing clear, rational explanations.

One effective way to get at the truth and to regain emotional self-control is to ask a clear question. That question is this: What do the Supreme Court ruling and the actions of General Convention mean in the Diocese of Western Louisiana?

We are a majority-traditionalist diocese. And we are also a gracious diocese. There is a place at the table for minority points of view. No congregation, no priest, will ever be forced to perform same-sex marriages. However, we recognize an array of opinions about marriage and make a space for progressive voices.

Before the Supreme Court ruled and the General Convention voted, two of our congregations requested permission to use trial liturgies for same-sex blessings. I granted that permission with the clear understanding that there is no expectation for any other congregation to do so. Just as I have asked traditionalists to respect the brothers and sisters with whom they disagree, I have urged our progressive congregations to embody that same respect. Staying together in disagreement is difficult work. But it is holy work.

General Convention provided liturgies and made canonical changes to make it possible for progressive congregations to perform same-sex marriage and for traditionalist congregations to refrain from doing so. The canon we passed contains the provision that no clergy person can be coerced to preside at a same-sex marriage.

At the same time, the new canon requires that each bishop make some provision for access to these liturgies for couples seeking them. The congregations that already have permission to make use of the previous trial liturgies have permission to use the newly authorized ones. So, as a diocese we are in compliance with canon law, and no additional congregations are required to make use of these liturgies.

We do not all agree. Living together amid our differences is our vocation. We are one in our belief in the risen Christ and in the Triune God. On these two doctrines we do not and cannot waver. However, there are matters—weighty matters—on which we can disagree while retaining our unity.

The House of Bishops recognized this. As a result, we issued a Mind of the House resolution. In that resolution we acknowledged our love and respect for one another in our differences. We stated clearly our need for one another and urged that we all move forward together in the one Christ.

I urge us in Western Louisiana to yield to that same spirit. The Holy Spirit is guiding us through a season of sometimes turbulent social and cultural changes. By his guidance we are groping our way forward. Together.

As we move forward together, stay focused on Jesus. It is he that binds us together. His love for us and our love for him binds us together into a communion not of our own choosing. I will close by reminding you how deeply I love you and how grateful I am to serve as your bishop. Let’s use this time of differences as an opportunity to show the world what real love looks like. Let’s embrace each other and move forward together. The world will know that we are Christians by our love.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, PhD, DD
IV Bishop of Western Louisiana

Note: Printed copies of this letter will be available at the church.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Brother, give me a word...

The Haystack, Cannon Beach, OR
God created us in his image with the capacity to love, and love requires freedom. And with our freedom, we have the capacity to do great evil as well as great good. God took a tremendous risk in making us.
-Br. Robert L'Esperance
Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Our New Presiding Bishop

[Episcopal News Service] Diocese of North Carolina Bishop Michael Curry has been elected June 27 by the House of Bishops as the 27th presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church.