Proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ

Out and About

All Saints Omaha Spaghetti Dinner January 26th

Save the date, so you don’t miss it!
The annual Outreach Spaghetti Supper at All Saints Church (9302 Blondo St., Omaha) will be held on Sunday, January 26th from 5:00-7:00 PM. Tickets will be on sale in the narthex in January. This event is a wonderful way to help the needy in our community who continue to suffer during these difficult economic times.. We will have great prizes to raffle off, as well as fantastic auction items, in addition to the delicious food. A great time will be had by all! Email Judy @ for more info!

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Trinity Cathedral Choir Offers Advent Lessons and Carols at St. Mary’s Blair

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Deacon Ellen Ross, Fr. John Symonds, and Dean Craig Loya in procession


Trinity Cathedral Choir Offers Advent Lessons and Carols at St. Mary’s Blair

The Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Choir offered an Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols Sunday, December 15th at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Blair, Nebraska. Led by Trinity’s director of music, Dr. Marty Wheeler Burnett, the 25-member choir also boasted the accompaniment of organist Ed Hurd and horn player Larry Siegler. Following a welcome and bidding prayer by St. Mary’s rector, the Reverend John Symonds, a total of six biblical lessons–ranging from The Book of Genesis, a number of prophets from the Old Testament, and a reading from the Gospel of Luke–were paired with wonderful choral pieces. St. Mary’s parishioners Mabel Aronson, Pat Steinke, Helen Wilson, Iantha Wessel, Bob Liberty, and Sharen Lemen served as lectors for the service.

More than forty worshippers comprised of both St. Mary’s parishioners and members of the public heard pieces such as: “Comfort, Comfort Now My People” (melody from Genevan Psalter, 1551, arr. Richard Proulx; “Lo, In the Time Appointed” (Healy Willan); “Prepare the Way, O Zion” (arr. Robert Lau); and “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come” (Paul Manz). Three hymns from The Hymnal 1982, the authoritative Episcopal hymnal, “Lo, he comes, with clouds descending” (Helmsley); “O come, O come, Emmanuel”; and “Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord” (Birmingham) were performed by both the Trinity Choir and the congregation. Dr. Burnett’s conducting of the choir and hand bells was enjoyed immensely by the congregation.

Trinity Cathedral’s new dean and rector, the Very Reverend Craig Loya gave his heartfelt thanks to St. Mary’s Church for the invitation of the performance of their choir. Dean Loya also spread the good news that, within the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska, although there may be fifty-three distinct Episcopal parishes, there remains only one church. He said Trinity was honored to share the gifts of diocese’s cathedral with the gracious people of St. Mary’s. The Reverend Deacon Ellen Ross of Trinity’s clergy staff participated in the Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols along with Dean Loya and the cathedral choir. Following a closing Advent blessing, all worshipers and choristers shared in a reception offered by St. Mary’s senior warden Mrs. Lynda Will and parishioners Mark and Cindi Card and Jack and Sandy Schneider.


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St. Mary’s members and friends from Blair and the surrounding area enjoyed the festival service


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Dr. Marty Wheeler Burnett conducting the Trinity Cathedral Choir


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Diocese-on-the-Road Report #3



Day 7 – Calvary, Hyannis
Day 7 of our Road Trip brought us to Calvary Church in Hyannis. This small parish was filled with family and youth who were all connected in ways that many larger churches do not always get to see. The families who established these communities and work hard to maintain the schools and other community activities are certain that parish life is the center of the family for their youth. Learning about foreign exchange students who love to experience the ranching life and help add to the student population, and the upcoming football games played before dark due to stadiums with no lights, are a real part of the lives of these parish communities. They are the everyday joys and struggles that make up their community. We thank the parish and youth of Calvary Church for hosting us and sharing so much of their lives with us last evening.
Heres the link to the full set of photos
St. George's Oshkosh

St. George’s Oshkosh

Day 8 – St. George’s, Oshkosh
The last visit on our Road Trip 2013 was spent at St. George’s Oshkosh. This tiny church is warm with love and kindness. We were welcomed with smiles and warm wishes. We celebrated the Eucharist and enjoyed a wonderful meal followed by great fellowship! Included in our pictures (click here) at the parish are those taken on the journey earlier in the day. We hope you enjoy!
Bishop Barker at Carhenge

Bishop Barker at Carhenge

Bishop Barker at Stonehenge!
Nebraska kitsch at its finest!
Morning sunrise on the road

Morning sunrise on the road

Beginning the drive home
The morning sunrise as we began our drive home from our 8-day Road Trip across the Panhandle. Thank you to everyone for hosting us and the wonderful hospitality we received!

– Kate Baxley

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Diocese-on-the-Road Report #2


Dirty Creek Saloon

Dirty Creek Saloon

Monday September 9th
The end of Day 4 of our Road Trip was dinner out with the Vestry of Grace Church in Chadron. Pastor Russ and the Vestry took us to a great place near Toadstool State Park. They also have a great Bunkhouse with nice clean rooms that are affordable and perfect for anyone looking to visit this part of the state!

Be sure to see all the pictures (click here).


Clergy retreat at Grace Church, Chadron

Tuesday September 10th
Day 5 of the Diocese Road Trip included the Clergy Mini-Retreat. We have a few pictures to share. Do you recognize any of your clergy?

Here’s the complete set of pictures (click here).

Backpack Filling Room

Backpack Filling Room

Wednesday September 11th
Our Day 6 evening was spent at St. Matthew’s in Alliance with a celebration of the Eucharist and a workshop. We were greeted, just like last year, with smiles and warm hugs from a congregation who has recently welcomed their new rector Coke McClure. As people arrived, they were heading to fill backpacks for the Backpack Program, to the kitchen to prepare the parish hall or to see the Bishop and just say hello. A young boy was baptized, and the parish family celebrated with great welcome and love, as they always do! Our fellowship was fun and relaxing, and the workshop was useful and meaningful to all who attended. Great things are continuing to happen at St. Matthew’s in Alliance, so be sure to stop by on your next trip out west!

Click here for the full set of photos.

– by Kate Baxley


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Diocese-on-the-Road Report #1

The food pantry feeds 30 families in the community each week.

Maryann Perrett shows Bishop Baker the food pantry, which feeds 30 families in the community each week.

Friday September 6th
We had a GREAT first stop at St. John’s in Valentine! Lovely visit! During our time of sharing, some comments made by the parishioners were so moving we wanted to share them with all of you. One member stated, “this is like my family…I love this church!” Another shared, “We are a very special group of people. We are all connected to each other.” This parish has a food pantry that helps feed the community, participates in community outreach, and loves to see our youth each summer! Come visit St. John’s in Valentine and see how Christ is truly alive in their parish!

And Jesus said, 'Bring the little children to me.'  Multi-tasking at its finest!

And Jesus said, ‘Bring the little children to me.’ Jeannine Metzger displays multi-tasking at its finest!

Saturday September 7th
We had a GREAT visit at St. Mark’s in Gordon! Such a lovely group of prayerful people who share joy with one another! They have a wonderful Head Start program in their parish during the week and gather weekly for prayer as they only have a supply priest.  You can tell by the photos of the service and the fellowship that followed, that these parishioners know how to pray, eat and laugh together!

Bishop Barker walks in the morning fog

Bishop Barker walks in the morning fog

Sunday September 8th (part 1)
We celebrated the Eucharist at St. Mary’s Holly in Rushville this morning. We enjoyed a peaceful drive and arrived at the church early enough to capture some beautiful photographs of early morning fog, which is rare in this part of Nebraska. You might recognize our own photographer in one of the shots as he walks back from taking “the perfect picture” of the morning. As you can see by the pictures, we were fed very well by St. Mary’s Holly! They are a joyful congregation and we greatly enjoyed our time together!

Bishop Barker with Pastor Russ and the acolytes

Bishop Barker with Pastor Russ Seeger, and Harlie & Henry Kennell, acolytes

Sunday September 8th (part 2)
We ended Day 3 of our Road Trip at Grace Church in Chadron. Bishop Barker celebrated the Eucharist with Pastor Russ who serves and cares for this parish part-time. We had lots of kids and youth in the service and tons of food at the fellowship afterward! Parents are interested in getting their youth involved in other events throughout the diocese! Wonderful hospitality and welcoming spirit to all! We will be working at Grace Church in Chadron tomorrow and they left us leftovers from dinner tonight for lunch tomorrow so we are all set!

– by Kate Baxley

Be sure to see all of the photos on the Diocesan facebook page (click here).

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Diocesan Office on the Road

dio-ne-westThe Diocesan office has taken to the road to work in the western part of the state.  We are again excited to spend time with our parishioners and clergy who are the furthest distance from our office. We look forward to offering support and services, as well as fellowship and friendship.


Traveling with Bishop Barker this year will be Kate Baxley, Director of Administration and Communications, and Beth Byrne, Director of Finance.   We are happy to offer training, guidance and/or workshops to your Vestry or parishioners as needed.


We have listed our schedule below.  We hope that if you are in the area, you will come by and visit. Feel free to drop by during our office hours during a visitation or contact us and we will be happy to make an appointment with you personally.


We hope to see you during our visit!



Friday, September 6:

Visit and all parish meeting at St. John’s, Valentine – 7:00 p.m.


Saturday, September 7:

Bishop Visitation and Eucharist at St. Mark’s, Gordon – 5:00 p.m.


Sunday, September 8:

Bishop Visitation and Eucharist at St. Mary’s Holly, Rushville – 8:30 a.m.

Bishop Visitation and Eucharist at Grace Church, Chadron – 5:00 p.m.

Dinner and all parish meeting following service.


Monday, September 9:

Office Hours at Grace Church, Chadron -10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.


Tuesday, September 10:

Mini Clergy Retreat at Grace Church, Chadron – 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Community Workshop Offering –  Worshipful Work: Lay Leadership in
Our Episcopal Church
  – 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 11:

Office Hours at St. Matthew’s, Alliance – 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Bishop Visitation and Eucharist at St. Matthew’s, Alliance – 5:30 p.m.

Dinner – 6:30 p.m.

Community Workshop Offering – Worshipful Work: Lay Leadership in
Our Episcopal Church
  – 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.


Thursday, September 12:  

Office Hours at St. Matthew’s, Alliance – 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m

Community Workshop Offering – Worshipful Work: Lay Leadership in

Our Episcopal Church  – 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Bishop Visitation and Eucharist at Calvary, Hyannis – 5:00 p.m.
Fellowship and all parish meeting – 6:00 p.m.


Friday, September 13:  

Bishop Visitation and Eucharist at St. George’s, Oshkosh – 5:30 p.m.
Fellowship and all parish meeting – 6:30 p.m.

**Please remember, all are invited to these events and visitations!  You do not have to be a member of these parishes to attend.   See you soon! 

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New Prayer Request Site

pray-without-ceasing-400There is a new TNE “Sister Site” for daily prayer requests.  Please pass the word that all are welcome to post prayer requests here as a comment to each day’s devotion, and others will “Like” the comment as they pray for the intercession.

or Facebook:  Nebraska Common Prayer

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I Was Thirsty…(Bus Stop Ministry)

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Church of the Resurrection renews water/bus stop ministry.

The summer has finally arrived in Nebraska.  With temperatures nearing 100 predicted for the next two weeks, the Church of the Resurrection renews a much needed urban ministry.

There is a bus stop at the corner of the church yard and led by the St. Teresa’s Guild, COR has placed a cooler of water bottles, a bin, and a tablet there.  Pedestrians, bus commuters, and neighbors are invited to take a water and leave a prayer request.

This is one of the many small ways the congregation serves its neighborhood.  You may not have a bus stop near your church or be in a metropolitan area, but there are probably many ways your church can reach out in this way – construction workers, roofers, farm workers…

Peggy Mitchell, St. Teresa’s Guild

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Deacons Meet in Kearney

Deacon David Holmquist from St. Augustine's Elkhorn discussed effective ways to advocate in the Nebraska Unicameral

Deacon David Holmquist from St. Augustine’s Elkhorn discussed effective ways to advocate in the Nebraska Unicameral

Thirteen deacons gathered at St. Luke’s, Kearney, August 16 and 17 to visit, eat together, worship together, and reflect on our vocations. Throughout our gathering, we celebrated the variety of ways in which the small group that had assembled manifests the ministry of deacons.

Friday night was for visiting with each other, enjoying a catered barbecued beef dinner that Deacon Colleen Lewis had arranged for us, and praying compline together.

Saturday morning began with Deacon Wes Agar’s pancakes and sausages. After breakfast, each of us shared what’s new in our ministries, and several also shared about ongoing ministries and ways of balancing diaconal service with other things going on in our lives.

We congratulated Deacon Cheryl Harris on receiving a Stephen’s Award at the Association for Episcopal Deacons assembly in June, and she shared the story of her travel adventures and what she learned at the AED workshops. As a result of Cheryl’s information from the assembly and some of the issues raised during the sharing about our ministries, there is interest among the deacons in getting the film Traces of the Trade about the legacy of slavery and the relatively unknown complicity of New Englanders and the Episcopal Church in the slave trade.

Using notes and materials from the spring AED Archdeacons conference, I shared some thoughts on the historical waves of the diaconate in the Episcopal Church and reflection on who we are now and what the diaconate might look like in years to come. With ordination dates ranging from 1984 to 2013 for the deacons at this gathering, we were able to see how the development of the order of deacons is reflected here in the Diocese of Nebraska.

Deacon David Holmquist told us about effective ways to advocate in the Nebraska Unicameral. Along with helping us understand more about the legislative process, he described several issues we may want to continue watching because of their ties to social justice issues that concern deacons and provided us with packets of information about the legislature. We agreed that a longer workshop would be very worthwhile for deacons and others who want to join us in advocacy.

After lunch and more time to visit, we gathered for Eucharist with Fr. Jerry Ness celebrating. We used the propers for St. Mary the Virgin. In the homily, I suggested that Mary’s Song of Praise in Luke 1:46-55 in the context of our common notions about Mary’s life and character could help us reflect further on our own vocations as deacons.

As we left, the consensus was that an informal annual gathering of deacons would be beneficial – and fun. Look for another gathering of deacons in 2014.

Archdeacon Betsy Blake Bennett

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