Joining Episcopalians at Hutto Detention Center

Episcopalians gathered between two baseball diamonds – the permitted gathering place – to hold a Prayer of Vision, Witness and Justice near the T. Don Hutto Residential Center. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

As we stood there on Sunday, July 8, hundreds of us singing towards the hard walls of the Hutto Detention Center, in one of the slim windows a hand began to wave. Soon, many hands in many windows.  These hands belong to women whose children have been separated from them as they sought safety in a new land.

Nineteen buses transported more than 1,000 Episcopalians from the Austin Convention Center to the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, a 40-minute drive from Austin. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News Service

Two weeks ago emails began to float amongst deputies to General Convention imploring some action in response to the government’s separation of children from immigrant families. That Sunday morning morning over 800 people loaded busses and hundreds more in cars for a 35-minute trip to the Detention Center. There we gathered under the midday Texas sun.  Spontaneous song arose and over 1000 voices carried the love of Christ towards the women behind those waving hands. Soon after the official program began about half the crowd broke off and tromped across the field, yearning to be closer to women behind those windows.  Prayers were spoken.  Bp. Curry preached and more song arose.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached a sermon of “love God, love neighbor” to more than 1,000 people during a Prayer of Vision, Witness and Justice near the T. Don Hutto Residential Center, a detention facility in Taylor, Texas, housing 500 female non-U.S. citizens awaiting the outcome of their immigration status. Photo: Frank Logue

Then it was over – and the inevitable poignant moment when many realized, as we were boarding our air-conditioned busses to return to our lives of freedom enabled by the happy accident of the place of our births, that after we were gone, those hands would remain trapped behind those slim windows.


I invite you to engage with the needs of families separated at our border. The Episcopal Public Policy network has resources for immigration here: 


If your heart is moved to give:



The Rev. Kevin Johnson is an alternate deputy from the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. He leads the congregation of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Arlington, Texas; they gather for worship in Theatre Arlington.

Enjoy General Convention Bingo!

From the team that offered #RoyalWedding Bingo for Michael Curry’s sermon…
In the spirit of Bonnie Ball
For your General Convention pleasure…

Enjoy #GC79 Bingo!

Call out “Bingo!” and amaze your house or committee meeting!
Bring your marked card to the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth’s table to claim a prize. You must be present to claim your prize, but if you tweet your completed card to @DioFW, we’ll respond with recognition and e-love! We love to “Taco ‘bout love ;-)”

Get a card

Drop by the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth’s table in the House of Deputies (Table J7, right side) to say howdy and snag a card. Or print cards here (PDF: 1.7 MB, 500 pages), being sure to use print settings to print a small number of our 500 pages.


  • Center space is free.
  • Words must be spoken, not read.
  • No wagering, please!

Related information

July 7-8 General Convention activities – public worship, public witness

Some interesting activities are happening at General Convention …

July 7 Public worship, revival-style

Olive Tree field trip

A Eucharist scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, July 7, invites people to join in the Jesus Movement. This worship will feature elements of a revival with innovative worship and music. It will be held at Palmer Events Center, a very large venue within walking distance of the Austin Convention Center, to allow more people to attend from neighboring dioceses and be inspired by the Presiding Bishop’s preaching. The Palmer Events Center is able to seat all the General Convention deputies and bishops as well as visitors. Food and entertainment will follow the worship – the Diocese of Texas invites you to Texas Night! Expect live music, free water, cash bar, a warm evening, and beautiful sunset. A pre-paid supper option for $20/plate is available.

Advocacy activities

July 8 Bishops Against Gun Violence public witness at General Convention

Bishops United Against Gun Violence, a group of more than 70 Episcopal bishops, will sponsor a prayerful public witness event Sunday, July 8 at 9:30 a.m. at Austin’s Brush Square Park, across the street from the Austin Convention Center. Speakers will include Philip and April Schentrup and Abigail Zimmerman.

Phil and April Schentrup’s daughter, Carmen, was killed in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas on Ash Wednesday of 2018. Since Carmen’s death, both April and Phil have spoken out publicly against gun violence, as well as pushed hard for solutions that bring our country together. Phil and April believe that the Church must advocate against gun violence and promote public safety so that our nation can live together in peace.

Abigail Zimmerman has lived in Texas since 2011. She will enter the 9th grade in August. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling, swimming, and hiking. She co-led a school walkout in March to remember the victims of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, and spoke at her city’s March for Our Lives event. Abigail is a member of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, where she acolytes and is active in the youth group.

At the end of the event, participants will be invited to walk together to the 10:30 a.m. General Convention Eucharist, or to attend worship at local Episcopal churches. The Prayer Service at the T. Don Hutto Residential Detention Center in Taylor, Texas has been planned not to conflict with this event.

With the summer heat in mind, participants are encouraged to bring their own water bottles.

Additional details may be posted on the Bishops United Against Gun Violence website. The best way to connect with this event may be to connect with it on Facebook here.

July 8 Prayer Service Set at Detention Center During General Convention

Responding to calls from Episcopalians across the church to act on behalf of families seeking asylum at the southern U. S. border, a team of concerned leaders heading to General Convention has planned a prayer service outside the T. Don Hutto Residential Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, at about noon on Sunday, July 8.

The planning team, led by alternate Deputy Megan Castellan, rector of St. John’s Church in Ithaca, New York, is working with Grassroots Leadership—a local community organizing group in Texas that has held numerous gatherings at the Hutto Residential Center. Deputy Winnie Varghese, director of justice and reconciliation at Trinity Church Wall Street, is helping to arrange buses to the event.

“What is happening to those at our borders is monstrous,” Castellan said. “My bishop, DeDe Duncan-Probe [of Central New York] and I were discussing how we, as a church, could respond on Saturday morning. By evening, and with the help of enthusiastic Episcopalians across the church, the idea had taken shape and was moving forward.”

The detention center at 1001 Welch St. in Taylor is operated for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by CoreCivic, formerly the Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison company, and is about a 40-minute drive from the Austin Convention Center where General Convention is being held.

Varghese says Trinity Wall Street hopes to provide buses for the event that would depart from the convention center at 10:45 a.m. Organizers hope participants will carpool, and free parking is available nearby. But those who would like to reserve a bus seat should email Buses will leave from the convention center shortly after the conclusion of the Bishops United Against Gun Violence event. Organizers say participants may also drive to the detention center. Parking is available nearby.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, have arranged for a one-hour delay in Sunday’s legislative calendar to facilitate participation by bishops and deputies. The legislative session will begin at 3:15 CDT.

The event, which Curry and Jennings will attend, is open to all who are committed to praying for an end to the inhumane treatment of those seeking asylum in the United States. It has been planned not to conflict with the Bishops United Against Gun Violence event at 9:30 a.m. in Brush Square Park, near the convention center. A former medium security prison, the Hutto center has been the target of frequent lawsuits over issues including harsh conditions, poor food and sexually abusive guards. Originally a family detention center, the facility, since 2009, has housed only female immigrants and asylum seekers. The planning team, which includes several clergy and parishioners of the Diocese of Texas and the Association of Episcopal Deacons, is considering follow-up advocacy activities.

Come along to General Convention in Austin

You’re invited to come along to General Convention – virtually or in person. Since it’s in Texas, in Austin, think: ROAD TRIP! It’s close enough for a car, train, bus, or plane trip – any way you can cook it up. General Convention is a great opportunity to see the wideness of the Episcopal Church, observe how church business gets done, and worship with hundreds of other Episcopalians.

Get started with your planning by understanding the attendee information and schedules on the General Convention website

Some interesting things are happening!

July 7-8 General Convention activities – public worship, public witness

Can’t come to Austin in person? Get connected!

Get connected!

And on the 8th day…

Convention deputies probably wanted to rest… but instead they

Read ENS’ 78th General Convention digest for July 2

Read Episcopal Cafe’s #GC78: Roundup for July 2

Read Act 8 Moment’s #GC78 Resurrection Report for July 2

Congratulations, Bishop Curry!

The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry was elected presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church on Saturday, June 27, 2015, at the 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City. Bishops Rayford B. High, Jr., and Scott Mayer participated in the election and deputies from Fort Worth were among those voting to confirm the election. Watch how it happened, and hear what our bishops had to say in this video:

Liturgy for Same-Sex Blessings Passes House of Deputies at General Conventions

I watched the live stream from the House of Deputies this afternoon, from home, and watched #GC77 fly past on Twitter, as debate ensued and resolutions were proposed to amend Resolution A049  “Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships.” Opponents proposed several amendments, all of which were defeated.It was a long, well-debated process, handled with grace and with at least one stop for centering, discerning prayer.

A vote by orders was called, which meant that deputies of the laity and clergy deputies would be tallied separately in the end. Katie Sherrod tweeted this picture immediately after the vote:

Resolution A049
Entire Fort Worth deputation votes YES on resolution A049 authorizing adoption of a liturgy for same-sex blessings

Yes, folks, that’s a clear voice of inclusion from the Fort Worth deputation.

It took FOREVER for the electronic votes to be tallied; why, only God knows! The House moved on to other business, namely, nominating people for the vice-president of the House of Deputies. Meanwhile, the clock ticked. As the last action before recess, the results of the A049 vote were announced:

Lay:      yes=86, no=19, divided=5;  78% voted yes
Clergy: yes=84, no=22,  divided=4; 76% voted yes

Pretty clear, isn’t it?

Shock, joy, tears, leaping, outrage were all sentiments expressed in the twitterverse on this historic vote. At this point, Episcopal legislation is complete; a liturgy has passed both houses of General Convention and will become available for use later this year. The name of the liturgy is, “I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing.”

Members of the Universal Christian Church (UCC) reminded the #gc77 Twitterverse today that they were the first mainstream protestant church to openly bless same-sex unions.  Well, now there are two churches.

HOB affirms bishops of continuing dioceses in unanimous roll call vote

ENS reports on the House of Bishops’ Mind of the House resolution passed unanimously today in a roll call vote, as well as providing information on topics related to the resolution. Bishop Wallis Ohl is quoted in the story. Significantly, the resolution names each of the bishops of the continuing dioceses, making it clear who The Episcopal Church considers the bishop of each diocese.


The House of Bishops Recognizes and Commends the Leadership of the Diocese of Fort Worth and Other Reorganizing Dioceses

The House of Bishops today (July 8, 2012) passed a Mind of the House Resolution unanimously by roll call vote.

A Mind of the House Resolution:

Resolved, That Episcopalians in the Dioceses of Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy and San Joaquin – lay and clergy – be commended for their unflagging efforts to continue to witness to God’s mission as The Episcopal Church during recent difficult times as they reorganize their continuing dioceses in that same spirit; and be it further

Resolved, that the leadership in each of those four continuing dioceses be commended for their similar efforts, including in particular the Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price, Assisting Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the Rt. Rev. John Buchanan, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of Quincy; and the Rt. Rev. Chester L. Talton, Provisional Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, and especially the strong lay leadership of each diocese.”

Read the followup story from the Episcopal News Service.