St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Hillsboro, the oldest continuing congregation in the Episcopal Church in North Texas, celebrated their 150th Anniversary on Saturday, March 26, with a reception, and a worship service on Sunday, March 27. Bishop Scott Mayer presided and the Rev. Paula Jefferson preached. The Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner served as the bishop’s chaplain and the Rev. Bryn Skelton Caddell proclaimed the Gospel.
At the reception, Megan Henderson, city manager of Hillsboro, read a proclamation declaring March 26, 2022, as St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Day in Hillsboro.
In her sermon, the Rev. Paula Jefferson said, “In God’s time, Gabriel visits Mary in the Sixth month of God’s Incarnational drama. The folks who gathered in a parlor in Hillsboro 150 years ago…following God’s call to plant an Episcopal parish are also in the sixth month of God’s Incarnational drama. We are in this moment.
“Sarah Sturgis, and the people who form St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, accept their calling with faith…they could not have imagined the path of this church. It is not an easy path. Early in its life, a tornado destroys St Mary’s worship home. During the time between that building and the one to be built in 1910, folks gather to worship in temporary space…a familiar thread in St. Mary’s story. The so-called historic church structure is joined at a point by a parish hall…with a coffee pot and toilet.
“Along the way, incremental changes were happening in our diocesan life… We were spun off from the diocese of Dallas. And some 50 years later, we entered into a liminal space we called schism. During the years of schism, we had quite a procession of notable bishops…each carrying the baton of leadership for a period in our wilderness. And then God called a leader like Moses and Mary. It seems that it is always the quiet, humble leaders who have both the stomach and the heart to lead through the hardest moments. As we walked away from familiar buildings, crosses, pulpits, and vessels, Bp Mayer led us with strength, prayers, and dignity.
“And finally, the 13-year-old band-aid was ripped off.
“St. Mary’s was no longer tethered to her historic building, her place on North Abbott Street, or the parish hall. With all of those identity markers stripped away, it is your relationship with God that is centered in the incarnational drama of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Hillsboro, Texas.
“It is the way you engage this moment that draws the attention of people across our diocese and the greater Church.
“You are showing us what it means to be Christotokos: Christ bearers.”
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