To bring by the power of the Holy Spirit ...



Advent, 2012

Dear Friends:

We are blessed to be members of St. Martin’s – a parish guided by our Lord’s Great Commission to “…make disciples of all nations,” (Matthew 28:19). We hold fast to the central truths of our Biblical faith, further unpacked in our historic creeds and expounded upon in our wide array of preaching and teaching ministries – always keeping in mind those words of the Apostle Paul carved into our St. Martin’s pulpit, “For I resolved to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” (I Corinthians 2:2).

Despite our many blessings here, there really has never been a time in the life of the Church where it has not been faced with tremendous challenges from within and without. One of the manifestations of such challenge is the scourge of members of the Body of Christ in division. In recent years, there has been much division in the Episcopal Church, particularly around issues related to human sexuality. As rector of this parish, and with the support of our vestry, I have intentionally not used the pulpit to preach about issues which tend to divide us. Instead, I prefer to focus primarily on the call upon all people to enter a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and then guided by His Spirit to live lives worthy of the name “Christian.” While I have used our printed materials, occasionally the teaching lectern of the classroom, or sharing opportunities provided in fellowship to address these issues, I have found in over two decades of ordained ministry that issues tend to divide, where focus on Christ tends to unite and bring health and vitality to Christian communities.

In the summer of 2012, The General Convention of the Episcopal Church approved a measure which would allow for the blessings of same-sex unions within parishes who have the permission of the Bishop. In the diocese of Texas, our Bishop, working with dozens of other clergy and lay leaders, has devised a plan that clearly lays out the necessary steps for a parish that may wish to offer this service. To-date, there are only two parishes in this Diocese who have asked for (and received) permission to offer these services; St. Martin’s is not, nor will it be, a parish that offers same-sex blessings. Our parish is open to all people regardless of age, race, gender, marital status, sexual orientation – our mission is not to create a community that divides us one from another, but lives into the hope of our dear Lord’s prayer, that the followers of Christ “…may become completely one,” (John 17:23).

Please find several various links below to articles connected to these issues – some of which come from our Diocese, and many of which come from St. Martin’s and the policies, statements and positions of our clergy and lay leadership. If you have any questions, please feel free to call one of our clergy team.

In the meantime, thank you for your participation, prayers and support of the St. Martin’s family. May God continue to richly bless you and all of us as we seek to serve Him and His Kingdom.

The Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr.
Rector, St. Martin's Episcopal Church