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St. Paul’s welcomes new vicar

June 15th, 2017 under Community
Susan and Father Michael Wallens

Susan and Father Michael Wallens

MARFA – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marfa will welcome a new vicar, Father Michael Wallens, and his wife, Susan, on Sunday, June 18. Fr. Wallens will celebrate Eucharist at 9am that morning. The service will be followed by a brunch in the parish hall. All are welcome.

Father Wallens comes to Marfa from the Dallas area, where he was most recently the chaplain at Canterbury Episcopal School in DeSoto. He is originally from Chicago, where he was raised in the Jewish tradition. He took a detour along the way and was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1978, having attended seminary at the General Theological Seminary in New York. Father Wallens completed his undergraduate degree at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he met his wife, who was in the first class there to include women. They have been married for 44 years and have two grown sons who live in Austin. Two dogs, Waffles and Obadiah, help fill the empty nest. Susan has a master’s degree in learning differences and has worked one-on-one with students from kindergarten to college.

Father Wallens has served in seven Episcopal schools in four states, in diocesan staff positions in Chicago, and in long-term supply and interim positions in many churches, in addition to once serving as chaplain at Kennedy Airport. He has worked with young people in juvenile detention centers and specialty camps, and has served as spiritual director and provided spiritual mentoring for those who felt called to the ministry. He says, “I am certainly excited about St. Paul’s and the people who make up this church community, and I am looking forward to various ministries of presence in Marfa and the surrounding communities.”

St. Paul’s is the oldest Protestant church in Marfa, having been founded in the late 1880s by a pioneer settler from England, Mary Walker Humphris. The church has been without a vicar since December 2016, when Father Jeremiah Griffin left to accept a position at St. Chad’s in Albuquerque, New Mexico. St. Paul’s is located on the corner of Washington Street and North Highland Avenue, just north of the courthouse.

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