4Saints blessed and officially opened

Bishop J. Scott Mayer and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price joined with Bo Soderbergh, director  of the Tarrant Area Food Bank, and Patricia Callahan, president of the 4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry board, to cut a bright red ribbon tied to two fully loaded food carts. With that symbolic act, they officially opened the food pantry, which has been functioning since mid-January.

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Prior to the ribbon cutting, the Rev. Karen Calafat, priest in charge of St. Luke’s in the Meadow, Fort Worth, acted as emcee for a short program that covered the history of the food bank, introduced key players, and culminated in a brief liturgy of blessing for the pantry, those who work there, those who support it, and those who are served by it.

4Saints Episcopal Food Pantry is a project of four congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth: St. Stephen’s, Hurst; St Martin-in-the-Fields, Keller/Southlake; St Alban’s, worshiping in Theatre Arlington; and St. Luke’s. Members from each congregation serve on the 4Saints Board of Directors, which is headed by Callahan.

Read more about the history of 4Saints.

See more photos at the 4Saints Flickr Gallery and the Trinity Episcopal Church Flickr Gallery.

Watch a short video of the event below or on YouTube.

Watch a longer video of the entire event below or on YouTube.



Bishop Mayer baptizes, confirms, receives at St. Luke’s, Fort Worth

Bishop J. Scott Mayer visited St. Luke’s in the Meadow, Fort Worth, on Sunday, February 12.

He baptized Daun Harner-Weeks and confirmed Tracy Bechtel and Amanda Harner-Weeks. Patrick Callahan reaffirmed his Baptismal vows.

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See more photographs at the Diocesan Flickr Gallery.

Read the bishop’s sermon:

St Luke’s in the Meadow 2017 6 Epiphany – Year A February 12

Watch a video of the bishop’s sermon below or on YouTube.


Star-Telegram covers refugee family being helped by Episcopalians

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram published a story on Friday, February 2, 2017, about the family of Syrian refugees who arrived late Wednesday night. Read excerpts from the story below.

Syrian refugee family arrives in Fort Worth during pause in travel ban

Fahmi Mousa Al Kazma has been looking for a safe place to raise his six children since 2011, when militias forced the farmer out of his village near Aleppo, Syria.

The family’s new safe haven is a four-bedroom apartment in Fort Worth. They arrived Wednesday night during a window of opportunity thanks to a federal judge’s halt last week of President Donald Trump’s ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“We just wanted to arrive,” the-38-year-old father said in Arabic through an interpreter. “We were on the plane [with] our hearts in our hands.”

The family almost arrived Feb. 2, but Trump’s travel ban for Syrians and citizens of six other countries threw up a roadblock. Mousa’s family had been vetted before the order was signed. The family is the first group of refugees to arrive in Fort Worth since the ban was blocked. The countries covered under the ban are Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran, Iraq and Yemen.

“We kind of look at this as our miracle family,” said Chris Kelley, a spokesman for Refugee Services of Texas in Dallas. . .

Refugee Services of Texas is working with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services to help the family. Volunteers from St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, St. Christopher Episcopal Church and Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth are helping, too. They helped furnish the family’s apartment. The volunteer work follows a recent plea to aid refugees by several local faith leaders.

“We want to make sure everyone feels welcome and our tradition has a strong emphasis on welcoming the stranger and offering hospitality,” said the Rev. Tracie Middleton, who is on the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth staff.

The story also featured a quote from Bishop J. Scott Mayer.

Bishop Mayer quote

WFAA Channel 8 covers Episcopalians helping refugees

Reporter Lauren Zakalik of WFAA interviewed the Rev. Tracie Middleton as part of her report on a refugee family settling in Fort Worth.

Watch the news story and read the transcript below.

Since 2011, the Mousa Al Kazma family has been looking for a place to call home because the place they called home isn’t safe enough to call home any longer.

The family of eight, including two sets of twins, is from Aleppo, Syria. After years of living as refugees in Lebanon, they were told they would finally come to Texas to start their new life on Feburary 2.

But their plans, and the plans of 1,150 other refugee families, were put on hold last month, according to Refugee Services of Texas, when President Donald Trump announced his executive order, halting travel from certain predominantly Muslim countries.

Protests erupted around the US, including at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

“He said, ‘We were very afraid when they rescheduled our travel,'” said case manager and interpreter Khalad Amer. She was translating for Fahmi Mousa Al Kazma, the father. “He said, ‘OK, this was the last hope and we lost it; we’re not coming anymore.'”

Speaking through Amer, the family told us they were despondent, having left nearly everything behind in preparation for the trip. But then, a window of opportunity opened up as a judge lifted the travel ban. The family arrived via Houston, Frankfurt and Beirut early Thursday morning.

“We felt a huge relief,” the husband said through a translator.

According to Chris Kelley, of Refugee Services of Texas, they’re just the second family to arrive in Texas since the ban was lifted.

“We want people to know they’re welcome here,” said Tracie Middleton, who works for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. She says local churches quickly put together and apartment for the family once they got the word the travel was back on.

“It’s part of our tradition to welcome a stranger,” she said.

The family, who were olive, grape and pomegranate farmers in Aleppo, say they look forward to having their six children, ages 7-14, live and study without fear. The family says just the sound of fireworks send their children cowering.

Through the interpreter, Fahmi had this message:

“We want to live just like all other people, we want a safe life. That’s all.”
(© 2017 WFAA)

National Cathedral to offer Holy Eucharist for Peace

A Holy Eucharist for Peace will be offered at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, also known as the Washington National Cathedral, at noon on Friday, February 10, 2017.
This service includes hymns, readings from Holy Scripture, a sermon, and Holy Communion. The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, will preach and preside. All are welcome.
The service will be live streamed here.

Solemn Evensong at All Saints’ Fort Worth February 12

All are invited to experience Solemn Evensong at All Saints’ Episcopal Church at 6 pm on Sunday, February 12. The All Saints’ Choir will sing under the direction of Frederick Grimes, organist and choirmaster.

In a fully choral service of evensong, all of the service except the penitential introduction, lessons, and some the final prayers are sung or chanted by the officiating cleric (or a lay cantor) and the choir.