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From the Bishop
February 23, 2024

The Bishop's Address to the 120th Council of the Diocese

The Rt. Rev. Dr. David Read addresses the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas February 23, during Council 2024.


Buenos Dias y Bienvenidos. Good morning and greetings to the clergy and clergy spouses, to delegates and alternates; to visitors and honored guests and mission partners. Grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ!


I want to begin today by thanking the good people of St. Luke’s Church & Schoolin San Antonio who are our council hosts. The Rev.’s Irv Cutter and Reagan Gonzalez their clergy, David & Anna Cotton our council co-chairs, the many sub-committee chairs, and cookie-bakers. Please join me in thanking St. Luke’s for their hard work in hosting us so wonderfully and gracefully in this 120th Council.


I also give thanks, and ask you to give thanks, to the bishops who have joined us here. As a new bishop I am keenly aware that I stand on the shoulders of these saints who have served so faithfully, and all of them have graciously offered me anything I need. The Rt. Rev. James Folts – the 8th Bishop of West Texas – and his wife Sandy. The Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge – the 9th Bishop of West Texas and Interim Rector of Christ Church, San Antonio– and his wife Catherine. The Rt. Rev. Rayford High who stepped in with grace to serve as Assisting Bishop of West Texas and his wife The Rev. Canon AnnNormand. The Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner and The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Folts who are our mission partners, brothers-in-Christ and fellow workers in God’s vineyard: thank you bishops for being present with us in our council.

I would ask this council – through the Secretary of the diocese – to send our warmest greeting and heartfelt love to the 10th Bishop of West Texas:The Rt. Rev. David Reed and Patti. During my time as Coadjutor I could not have had a better person to coach, and mentor, and share, and learn from, and to serve with. Our transition was graceful, and David continues to be available to me, and I am incredibly grateful.

Finally,I would ask the Secretary to send the greetings and love of this council to Nancy Hibbs – widow of The Rt. Rev. Robert Hibbs, Bishop Suffragan and to Shirley Macnaughton – widow of The Rt. Rev. John Macnaughton – 7TH Bishop of West Texas. 


This120th council marks a historic milestone in our diocesan life and ministry. 2024 is our sesquicentennial year. It is our 150th birthday. And if I do say so myself – we look pretty good for 150 years!

In 1874, the General Convention of The Episcopal Church gave consent to a request from Bishop Gregg. Bishop Gregg had responsibility for the entire State of Texas. And it was too much for one bishop to do. The population of the state was growing. The need for clergy and churches in the Lone Star State, along with the geography, made it impossible for one bishop to carry out the work. For several years Bishop Gregg had requested that the General Convention divide the state. And finally, in 1874 the convention acted. It divided the state into three areas: the Diocese of Texas; the Missionary District of Northwestern Texas, and the Missionary District of Western Texas.

The Missionary District of Western Texas was larger than any state east of the Mississippi River. It spanned from the Colorado River through the Trans Pecos region to El Paso; from Port Isabel to Brady and San Saba. It included the entire length of the Texas-Mexico border, from Brownsville to El Paso. One author commented, “most of the missionary district of Western Texas was still a wild, new frontier, with little law and less order.” 

In this massive territory there were 10 Episcopal parishes, five mission stations and a total of 427 communicants. The majority of the congregations were strung along the Coastal Bend – or just inland from the Gulf of Mexico: Victoria, Goliad, Ingleside, Indianola, Chocolate, Corpus Christi, Gonzales, Cuero. There were a few congregations further inland. St. Andrew’s in Seguin was about to lay a cornerstone for a building. Lockhart had a new structure. There was St. Mark’s in San Marcos and St. Mark’s in San Antonio was nearing the completion of construction of its building which had been delayed by the Civil War. And at the southern end of the district was Advent, Brownsville and in the far west, St.Clement’s in El Paso.

The General Convention then elected a handsome, 34-year-old: The Rev. Robert Woodward Barnwell Elliot to be the bishop for this missionary district. He was consecrated in the church where he was rector: St. Philip’s, in Atlanta, Georgia.He quickly set out for his new mission field and arrived in Luling in December, where he preached at his first worship service in a train car. Finally, he made it to San Antonio by Christmas, and made that city his center of operations –eventually naming St. Mark’s the cathedral of the newly-formed missionary district.

I read the minutes of Bishop Elliott’s first council meeting held at St. Mark’s, San Antonio in May, 1875. The secretary called the role of every priest and delegate, but it didn’t take long. There were four clergy present, plus Bishop Elliott; and three lay persons present. The harvest was indeed plentiful and the laborers were indeed few.

Bishop Elliott and the clergy and congregations of West Texas persevered to plant the Christian faith and The Episcopal Church in the communities of this missionary district. And they laid a good foundation. Through fervent prayer; through creative cultivation of resources from inside and outside the diocese; through calling and ordaining faithful clergy leaders; through tempest, pestilence, and drought, the Bishop and people lifted high the cross, and labored on.

It was not easy. In 1875 half of the church buildings in the diocese were completely destroyed by a hurricane. Bishop Elliott reported to the council that in one month he had confirmed the teenage daughters of the rector of the church in Indianola. A month later the church & rectory were destroyed and the clergy family lost. Bishop Elliott tells how he, a lay reader, and a priest, took a wagon, and went to the beach, “and took from the beach, where they had been cast up by the sea, the prayer desk, reading desk, lectern and altar of what was Ascension Church, Indianola.”

Yet, the Missionary District of Western Texas persevered. By 1887 there were 27churches, 10 rectories, & two schools. There were nine priests, three deacons, and two seminarians.

Bishop Elliott died at the age of 47, while serving as Bishop of this missionary district. The weather, the travels, and the burden of ministry wore him out. He died and he was buried at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. Jacqui and I visited his resting place in October and asked this saint for his continual prayers for West Texas.

West Texas was shaped as a diocese by that early work of Bishop Elliott, and those clergy and congregations. In Psalm 37, the Psalmist reminds us to “dwell in the land and feed on its riches,” and that our ancestors did. The land, the cultures, the geography, the border, coastal winds, their missional spirit, their urgency for the spread of the gospel, their big dreams, and the Holy Spirit shaped this diocese and formed us. 150 years later, we enjoy the fruits of the seeds they planted, and the DNA they set in those early years of being a missionary district is part of the fabric of West Texas today.

 It is right and a good and joyful thing that we mark our sesquicentennial. Giving hearty thanks to God for those saints who came before us in this land and in our congregations. Each congregation during this year should look back and tell its history, for when we do, we will find the Holy Spirit has been moving and shaping and calling us through the years.


I suggest to you that the cultural climate we find ourselves in today is not so different from those early days of our diocesan life. While our diocese has grown into 87 congregations, 28 schools, three Camps and Conference centers, GoodSamaritan Community Services, Plaza de Paz Respite Center, an expansive World Mission program, and countless other ministries, the challenges of being The Episcopal Church in West Texas remain.

Today, we live in a post-Christian culture which brings both challenges and opportunities. As a church, we no longer have the influence and position in our communities that the church once enjoyed. As in those early days, we find ourselves much more on the fringe, with less power and less influence. We can no longer assume that we can sit in our church buildings and people will come and find us. The majority of people living in our diocese did not grow up inany church and do not have a church home now. And more folks are moving into our diocese every single day.

Justas in the post-Civil War Reconstruction days of our early diocesan life, these days are filled with political polarization. Political speech which used to be the place of statesmanship and visionary rhetoric in America, is growing with words of hate-filled retribution. Some of the weakest and most vulnerable among us –immigrants – are frequently the target of hatred and manipulation for political gains. The seduction of Christian nationalism is weakening the prophetic voice of the church. The opportunity to be the consciousness of America – to give people the food which endures to eternal life - is being traded for cheap and temporary political power.

The COVID pandemic and its aftermath have made the impact of cultural trends more and more apparent in the pews of our congregations. Many of us are finding that programs and ministries that used to work well, do not work as well anymore. In some places there are many fewer lay ministers serving on altar guilds, choirs, ushering, or on vestries and bishop’s committees. Many congregations adapted to live-streaming and broadcasting services during COVID and continue it today. This broadcast ministry allows seekers to check out a worship service before they attend in person. It also allows the homebound to worship on-line.

Yet, we are also seeing that many able-bodied folks have traded their physical presence in a worshipping community for a much shallower and distracted worship style of staying home or watching a recorded version of worship at a more convenient time.

AsI said at my investiture: we are living in an in-between time. The church is no longer what it once was, and we are not yet clear on what church will be in the years ahead. These are strange times.  

What should we do in these times?

I believe that we must tap our historic roots and learn to be a missionary district again; to be a church that lives on the frontier again. We must learn to live on the fringe of society with less power and with less influence. I believe this is exactly where Jesus would have us live.  

In addition to living on the fringe, we must reclaim our baptismal high calling that every one of us is a missionary. Each must lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, till all the world – or all of West Texas – proclaims Christ’s sacred name.  

As we saw and heard in the video we watched yesterday, I believe it is time to learn new tricks. We cannot keep doing what we have always done and expect different results. We cannot sit in our churches and expect an unchurched culture to find us and fill our pews. We can no longer focus on maintaining an aging institution just for the sake of maintaining an institution and become a movement. We must return to the mindset of our ancestors in the Missionary District of Western Texas. They found themselves living on the frontier; living on the fringe. With few financial resources they got creative. They used army chaplains as supply clergy. They created satellite congregations served by lay readers and a few clergy; they repurposed buildings and worshipped in courthouses, schools, and homes. They raised up lay leaders. They were missional people, and they lifted high the cross and carried it into the villages, towns, farms, and hamlets of West Texas, and the Rio Grande Valley, and the Coastal Bend, and into the free-thinking German communities of the Hill Country. They started schools and Sunday schools and training academies and planted churches and worshipping communities in every place they found gatherings of people.

They learned new tricks; experimented; and didn’t sit around waiting. It is time for us to tap into our missional DNA we are and must more deeply become a multi-cultural movement of missional people, following Jesus into neighborhoods near and far. It’s not just the work of our clergy, it is the work of all the baptized. In this new and strange time, we are missionaries, and we must have the mindset of a missional movement!


To assist us in relearning this missional work I have a gift for you! No, it’s not a plate with the council theme on it, sorry to disappoint you. It’s a book. Right after my address our wonderful pages, gophers, and staff will give every one of you a copy of “Surprise the World!” By Michael Frost. It’s a short book.It’s an easy read. I’m not crazy about everything in this book, but what I do love about it is that it describes five missional habits that every single Christian can practice. And honestly, they’re pretty easy. They spell out this nice acronym: B.E.L.L.S. these missional habits are: bless, eat, listen, learn, and send.

If you can have coffee or eat lunch with someone else, you can do these practices.If you can pray or read scripture, you can undertake these practices. If you can learn to listen for the voice of the Lord, you can undertake these missional habits. This book will help raise our awareness and shape our attitudes toward the people we encounter every day at work, and school, and H-E-B and on the golf course and bridge clubs, and soccer fields of our communities. It will teach us how to be graceful missionaries; through graceful and gentle invitations.

So, if you have not figured out what you are going to do this Lent; or if your congregation does not have a Lenten program, you can thank me later for giving you an outline for five conversations about living questionable lives and being missional people. And since we are a multi-cultural movement of missional people, there are 50 copies of this book available in Spanish, and if you need more, we can get them.


One of my former senior wardens used to say to me, “nothing changes if nothing changes.” As we journey through these days and times we will have to make some changes. As your Bishop, I want to clearly and encouragingly give you permission to experiment; we must, must, must try new and creative ways to lift high the cross: new ways to build relationships with our neighbors. We must find and experiment with creative expressions of the gospel, creative worship, experimental and experiential discipleship groups, new worship liturgies targeting those who are not in our congregations. Incorporate Spanish language, dinner churches, small groups, church planting, outreach, and evangelism.

I give you permission to experiment. And I do so knowing that not everything you try will succeed, so I also give you permission to fail. Not everything we do must last until Christ comes again. We must try new initiatives. We must be creative. Because, nothing changes if nothing changes. Some of our efforts will work well, some will not. When we fail, we will learn. So maybe our prayer should be “Lord, if this experiment doesn’t work, help us fail faster so we can adapt and try again.”


At one level, everything the diocese does is related to congregational development. The diocese exists to serve, support, encourage and resource the congregations of the diocese, as well as to carry out ministries that are best done corporately – together - rather than individually. In this post-COVID reality I find that the health of our congregations is all over the map. Many are thriving, growing, and expanding ministries. Many are doing O.K. – they’re maintaining their own. Some are showing signs of decreases in attendance and financial resources. And a handful are struggling hard.

One helpful way to understand congregations is to group them by size. Quite often when I visit with congregational leaders, I find that they think their challenges and opportunities are unique, and sometimes they feel like they are going it alone. But the reality is that whatever size your congregation is, there are many others just like it.

Here is a chart of the 87 congregations of West Texas grouped by size:

  • Congregations with 50 or less on an Avg. Sunday = 47 of our 87
  • Congregations with 51-100 = 20 of our 87
  • Congregations with 101-200 = 14 of our 87
  • Congregations with 200-300 = 3
  • Congregations with 300+ = 3

(based on 2022 ASA)

If you do the math it means that over half of our congregations have 50 or fewer folks on an average Sunday, and 67 of our 87 congregations have less than 100people on an average Sunday. These numbers are not surprising. In The Episcopal Church there are over 6,000 congregations, and 49.5% of them have 50 people or fewer on an average Sunday, and 87% of all Episcopal congregations have fewer than 150 on a Sunday. In our diocese and in The Episcopal Church, most churches are small.

Because a church is small does not mean it cannot be healthy. Because a church is small does not mean it cannot have a big impact in its community. Because a church is small does not mean it cannot transform lives as it gracefully introduces people to Jesus Christ.

I am pleased to introduce to this council The Rev. Canon Leyla King. Canon King joined the diocesan staff a few weeks ago as the Canon for Mission in Small Congregations.Through her ministry, and working with our Small Church Ministry Steering Committee, she will lead the Diocese of West Texas in resourcing, training, and inspiring small churches to be healthy, transformative communities. I am excited about the work she is already doing and excited about the work that she will do inour diocese. You heard from her yesterday and if you signed up for the small church workshop you will hear from her this afternoon as well.

Adding Canon King to the staff is the beginning of building a vital Department of Congregational Development to support, resource, train, and encourage congregations of all sizes in West Texas to lift high the cross and proclaim the love of Jesus Christ.


Speaking of experimenting, let’s talk about planting new churches. The northern part of our diocese is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. Our most recent church plant – St. Nicholas in Bulverde – is located there. Launched under the leadership of The Rev. Beth Wyndham and her husband Jeremy, they got underway just weeks before the COVID pandemic shut down the world. But St.Nicholas didn’t just survive COVID. St. Nicholas’ pivoted and learned and persevered. Today, St. Nicholas is a thriving congregation doing amazing ministry as they build relationships with folks in the community and love their neighbors.

It is time for the Diocese of West Texas to launch our next church plant. Church planting for us must not be a one-project-at-a-time ministry. We must be a diocese that is continually planting churches; continually scattering seeds; continually cultivating. As we solidify our plans to launch our next church, we must already be thinking about the one we will launch after that one, and the one after that. Church planting must not be a project for us. It is a continuous process of dreaming, and research, and praying for church planters, and developing resources, and stepping out with faith and courage. It must not be a project of the diocesan office. It requires the cooperation and faith of our existing congregations. I am pleased to appoint The Rev. Mike Michie, Rector of St. Thomas, San Antonio to chair a task force to plan and launch the process of church planting and discerning our next church plant. Mike is a veteran of church planting and served on the Presiding Bishop’s staff as the Staff Officer for Church Planting Infrastructure. I am asking him and a task force we will assemble to discern locations of future plants; a process for finding or raising up church planters; timetables; planting models; funding streams; and launch schedules. There is much work to do from this point forward, and I invite your prayers for our next new congregation – and the one after that.


I now turn to the subject of deacons. For many years there has been much discussion and even some debate in West Texas about the Order of Deacons and their place in West Texas. Deacons are one of three historic and ordained orders in The Episcopal Church. The other two being priests and bishops. Becoming a deacon is not a reward for good lay ministry. Becoming a deacon is not all about vesting up on Sunday mornings to serve at the altar. Like priests and bishops, a deacon is called by God to a unique ministry within the church. The Ordinal in our prayer book tells us that the ministry of a deacon is a special ministry of servanthood directly under the authority of the bishop. Deacons are to serve all people, but particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely. Deacons bring the needs of the poor to the attention of the church and bring the church to the poor. Deacons remind us that in serving the helpless we are serving Christ himself.

The Diaconate is not a new ministry in West Texas. But it has been many decades since this diocese had an organized and effective Diaconate or a discernment process for those testing a call to that order of ministry.

I believe it is time for us as a diocese to explore the diaconate for West Texas.Imagine congregations in our diocese with passionate and compassionate deacons leading ministries out in the community that shared the love of God in tangible ways. I am appointing The Rev. Dr. Mike Marsh to convene a study group to explore the possibilities and methods for reintroducing the Diaconate in WestTexas, and to bring their recommendations to me, and ultimately to the next council.


Last year at this council, Bishop Reed announced the launch of a campaign and a plan to restore and expand the St. Francis’ Chapel at Camp Capers. If you have visited the chapel and looked at it closely, you have readily seen that this beloved and sacred space is in much need of repair and restoration. Some cracks in the foundation and some crumbling stone need to be addressed. And, if you have been on the staff for a full session of camp you know that the campers and staff do not all fit in the chapel, and when parents come to pick up their children they end up standing or sitting outside.  

The restoration and expansion of the chapel has been undertaken as a thank offering for the ministry of Bishop David and Patti Reed. I am pleased to tell you that funding for this project is now in hand thanks to small, medium, and large donations by you. I will let Rob Watson, the Director of Camps and Conferences, share the details with you, but know that this project will get underway any day now and will be completed this summer. It is never too late to donate to a project like this as there are always little things and needs that come up. So, if you would like to make a donation let me know, or Caroline Mowen, or Rob Watson, or send us a check in the mail. Stay tuned for a dedication date in the months ahead.


I am grateful to be joined here by two bishops who are important partners in mission with the Diocese of West Texas: The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Folts, Bishop of SouthDakota; and The Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner, the Provisional Bishop of Navajoland. They join us here as we come to the conclusion of The Year of World Mission – the 25th anniversary of the organization of the Department of World Mission. Since that reorganization, the Diocese of West Texas has been on the move around the world. Youth groups, mission teams, medical and veterinary missions, construction work, water well drilling, vacation bible schools, education, clergy training, health and wellness, women’s ministries, and countless other initiatives have been undertaken in Mexico, Navajoland, South Dakota, Uganda, Belarus, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Honduras, and Kenya. For over two decades those ministries have been coordinated by Dr. Marthe Curry – the Director of World Missions. She has led this ministry with unbounded energy, true grit, big vision, and plain hard work. And now, much to the regret of your Bishop, Marthe has decided to retire. I invite you to stand with me to thank her for her ministry in this diocese and in the world.

The Department of World Mission is in a transition. This is the moment to take a little time to ask, “what will world mission look like in the next decade?” “How might the diocese best work to provide resources to congregations as they carryout this work?” “How might our existing partnerships be deepened so that we continue to avoid creating dependencies, or spiritual arrogance, or images of colonialism?” What kind of staff do we need to do that work? That is the task at hand for world missions and it will be a good one.


One of the reasons Marthe and the Department of World Missions has been successful is because of their good stewardship of financial resources. As I travel around the diocese, I see our congregations engaged in teaching stewardship and intentional giving at a variety of levels. Practices of course differ by sizeof congregation. Some of our congregations have regular and robust fall programs to teach the theology of stewardship. The clergy are engaged in preaching, teaching, and leadership.

In other congregations there is very little conversation, or teaching, or program around giving. Some of our congregations stopped passing an offering plate during COVID and have not yet returned to that practice. One of the things I know is that those congregations who have clergy and lay leaders who practice intentional giving, and who have a committee, or vestry, or Bishop’s Committee taking the lead in stewardship are generally doing well, and many of them are growing in their financial giving. And some of those congregations who do not do these basic things are struggling.

I invite each congregation to recommit to the work, education, and practice of stewardship. There are a multitude of diocesan resources available to you. I encourage you to put together a basic plan, committee, or a timeline, by May 1. If you need samples or suggestions, please contact the diocesan office and we will be happy to share. 


One of the hottest topics in the news and in politics today is immigration. The Diocese of West Texas is often at the geographic center of political debates, political maneuvering, and evening news stories of buoys, concertina wire, drownings, statements from the governor, and policy debates among presidential candidates and in congress. As I mentioned earlier there is much political rhetoric and political action that demonizes, targets, or uses immigrants to score political points inour state and national politics.

In the midst of those loud voices, the Diocese of West Texas is not choosing sides in the latest divisive border policy debates. Instead, under the leadership of Flor Saldivar, the Diocese continues to act and serve with compassion. The Plaza de PazRespite Center in San Antonio is a place of rest, reorientation, connection, and resupply for thousands of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees who have their paperwork and are on their way to family, friends, and sponsors across the country. At Plaza de Paz they find food, kindness, clothing, grace, diapers, safety, and basic supplies after a perilous and long journey.

We do this ministry not because of politics. We do this ministry because Jesus, along with Mary & Joseph, were refugees. Forced to flee their home country by a despot named Herod, the Holy Family fled to Egypt. After some time, they returned but were still afraid.

Sadly, there are still Herods in this world. Some of them lead governments. Some of them are drug lords and traffickers. When we serve the immigrants traversing our diocese, we are serving Christ himself. Thank you to all of you who have served, or donated items for Plaza de Paz. Thank you to the congregations who have reached out to serve border patrol agents and state troopers who also are in the midst of these challenging times in South Texas. At our Council Eucharist this evening, the offering will be designated for this ministry, and I encourage you to be generous.


Tomorrow, the Standing Committee will address you about my call for the election of a BishopSuffragan for West Texas. West Texas is vast in geography; with a great diversity of ministries; with 87 congregations and more on the way; with 28 schools and a new one starting in the fall. Our diocese has a depth of diocesan ministries from Cursillo to Camps; from World Mission to Formation; from Congregational Development to Immigration and more.

One of the first lessons I quickly learned as Bishop Coadjutor is that there is more ministry here than one bishop can do alone. And I understand why since 1955 the Diocese of West Texas has had a full time Bishop Suffragan. It is clear to me that I need help – especially if we are to lift high the cross and carry it out into neighborhoods near and far. Therefore, I am calling for the election of a Bishop Suffragan. 

The Canons of the Diocese of West Texas place responsibility for the process of electing bishops upon the Standing Committee. Tomorrow they will give to you some basic information on the that discernment process that will lead to the election of a Bishop Suffragan.

Suffragan is an odd word that does not get used much in our everyday conversations. The term comes from the word suffrage. The word suffrage is frequently used in 2 ways: suffrage is about voting and voting rights; and suffrage is also another word for prayer. If you’ve ever read morning or evening prayer, or sungeven song you have prayed a set of prayers our prayer book calls suffrages.

A Bishop Suffragan is a bishop elected to support the diocesan – especially with his or her prayers. A Bishop Suffragan is a full bishop – just like an associate or assistant rector is a full priest. A Bishop Suffragan is a bishop of the whole church and will take her or his full place in the House of Bishops. Yet, a BishopSuffragan is elected for a specific geographic place – in our case, to assist the bishop in the unique ministries of West Texas.

 I believe the Bishop Suffragan should have certain qualities and charisms:

  • He or she must be a person of deep faith and deep prayer. A friend of mine told me that becoming a bishop is like jumping on a treadmill that is already going 20m.p.h. – so, he said, you and Jesus better be pretty close.
  • A Bishop Suffragan should be an excellent leader – able to gather people, set clear boundaries, and inspire people to serve and move together toward a common vision.
  •  A Bishop Suffragan should be a good pastor and good shepherd – in particular to the clergy families of the diocese.
  • A Bishop Suffragan must be able to thrive while serving in the second chair. She or he must be very comfortable in the co-pilot’s seat.
  • He or she must have an abundance of energy – for the ministry of Bishop in West Texas demands it.

I will give to the Bishop Suffragan several responsibilities from the start, and morewill be added over time.

  • She or he will join me in congregational visits throughout the diocese –confirming, receiving, reaffirming, celebrating the sacraments, preaching the gospel, and teaching in our congregations.
  • I will give the Bishop Suffragan my seat on the Board of Morningside Ministries.
  • I will give the Bishop Suffragan oversight of the development of lay ministry in the diocese; Christian Formation; and Discipleship.
  • Other responsibilities will be given depending on the gifts and passions of the BishopSuffragan.
  • And of course, my favorite – “other duties as assigned.”

I invite you to begin praying now for the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us in this discernment process. I pray that we engage this process faithfully, that we maybe a shining example to the world and to the church of how to do faithful discernment and avoid worldly politics.


I want to conclude with an invitation to you to visit Cathedral Park. The Bishop Jones Center – your diocesan center – is located on 19 acres in San Antonio. It is anisland of beauty in a busy city. It is an island of peace in a sometimes-insane world. It not only holds the administrative offices of the diocese but includes the Cathedral Chapel of St. John. A cathedral is not just a large gothic building in which the bishop centers his or her ministry. A cathedral is a gathering place, a learning place, a refuge, a worship center, a training center, a unifying symbol in a diverse diocesan life. Our Cathedral Park is lovingly maintained through the tireless efforts, leadership, and vision of Mrs.Paula Butt. Cathedral Park is your park. If you have never been there, please come visit – you won’t be disappointed. Even better, bring a group, a retreat, a concert, a youth group, a school class, a confirmation class, a senior fellowship, a group of artists, a college group, and come. Come use your CathedralPark.


This is my first address to diocesan council as your Bishop. As you know I was elected at last year’s council and consecrated Bishop in July. I was blessed to serve alongside Bishop Reed as Coadjutor until New Year’s Eve. For Jacqui and I, it’s been a wild ride since our last council. I could not undertake this work without her faithful love and presence in my life. In all of the travels along highways and byways, over rivers and roads, and in all of the visits to congregations and schools and ministries, there is one constant theme that continues to occur to me. To quote St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians:“I thank my God always for you.”

I thank my God always for you. I thank you for your prayers. I thank you for your words of support. I thank you for the amazing ministries you are doing in your churches and communities. I thank you for giving your time and sharing your talent and faithfully giving your resources for the mission of Christ’s church.I thank my God always for you.

At my consecration Bishop Reed rightly preached that one of the greatest gifts given to the new Bishop of West Texas is you – the clergy and people of WestTexas, and he was right. So, I thank my God always for you. It is my humble joy to serve as your Bishop.

 People frequently ask me what they can do to help me. And I am grateful to be asked. And here is what you can do: “Lift high the cross! Lift high the cross. The love of Christ proclaim. Till all the world, adore, his sacred name.” Amen.

The Rt. Rev. Dr. David G. Read
Bishop of West Texas
  • Click here to view a printable copy of Bishop Read's Address to Council 2024.
  • Click here to watch Bishop Read's Address to Council 2024.
  • Click here to read the Prayers of the People from the Bishop's Address Committee

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