The Episcopal Church in south central Texas
We are 26,000+ persons gathered into 88 congregations, spread across 60 counties and 69,000 square miles. Our geographical boundaries are roughly Brady to the north, Port Lavaca and Edna to the east, Brownsville to the south, and Del Rio to the west. For organizational purposes, we are arranged into seven convocations, each headed by a dean.
We are part of the Episcopal Church in the USA, a community of 2.4 million members in America and abroad. The Episcopal Church is headed by a presiding bishop, currently the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori.
We are also part of the Anglican Communion, a global community of 74 million persons in 38 member provinces throughout the world, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently the Most Rev. Justin Welby. While the Archbishop has no authority over the Episcopal Church, we do have historical and theological ties. Recognizing the cultural diversity that is our gift in south central Texas, our members are diverse and our worship and corporate life is often bilingual in language and in spirit.
Corporately, we function under a bishop, currently the Rt. Rev. Gary R. Lillibridge, who has jurisdiction over the entire diocese.
Our 88 congregations include both parishes and missions ranging in size from 40 members to 2,000 members. Parishes are financially autonomous and are headed by a priest known as the rector; missions are financially dependent upon the diocese and are headed by a priest known as the vicar. Vicars are appointed to a mission by the bishop, whereas parishes select - or "call" - their own rector.
The business of the diocese is conducted by the annual Diocesan Council, with representatives from every congregation participating in legislative and corporate matters.
Our clergy live their vocations in answer to a call from God. Clergy are ordained - first to the diaconate and then to the priesthood - after undertaking a rigorous three-year course of study at an accredited theological seminary. We ordain both males and females. The clergy are the chief pastors of their congregations, but the laity of the diocese - those persons who are not ordained clergy - take an active and responsible part in the leadership, life, and ministry of the church. Our clergy are addressed as the Reverend [John or Joan Smith], abbreviated the Rev. [John Smith]. Bishops have the title of the Right Reverend, abbreviated the Rt. Rev.
We invite you to worship with us and share our joy. We encourage you to locate the church nearest by visiting our Churches and Schools page or call the Diocesan office at (210 or 888) 824-5387.
The diocesan seal, designed by the Rev. Louis A. Parker, former rector of Trinity Church, Victoria, was adopted in 1927. In the upper left, the Alamo, cradle of Texas liberty, represents the planting of the Church banner in the new world. The star in the upper right represents the Lone Star of Texas and the star of Bethlehem.
In the lower left is the lion of St. Mark, signifying the first cathedral site in San Antonio and the wild nature of Texas. In the lower right, the ox represents St. Luke the Physician and the cattle of Texas.
Six capped flags remember the number of flags over Texas during its history with the seventh being that of the Church. Within the bishop’s miter, a spray of lilies (for St. Anthony of Padua), and a field of bells (for St. Anthony of Alexandria) are reminders of the namesake of San Antonio, the diocesan center city. Pearls for truth adorn the miter, and tabs for the Old and New Testament hang from the miter. The motto, in Greek, from Mark’s Gospel, 9:23, reads “Everything is possible to one who has faith.”