New Churches for Austin, Houston

Khánh Hmoong • Flickr •

Adapted from a report by Carol E. Barnwell for the Diocese of Texas

The diocesan vision to establish more church plants by the end of 2020 continues in full force with two additional clergy answering the call.

“The Diocese of Texas has an annual goal of planting three new congregations each year,” said the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas. “This is a bold vision and it takes bold and courageous people. I am so excited and proud to join the staff and others in celebrating the call of the Rev. Brin Bon, who will plant a church in Austin, and the Rev. Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis, who will plant a church in Houston. Brin and Carissa are joining us in our work of sharing the good news of God’s reconciling work with the world around us.”

Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis and Brin Bon | Diocese of Texas

The Rev. Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis, part-time associate rector at St. Andrew’s, Houston, has started in her new role as church planter, working on establishing a new community in Northeast Houston. She will take on this project full-time early in 2019.

“I am as thrilled as I am dazed by the unknown that awaits me,” Baldwin-McGinnis said. “The new ministry to which I have been called will be an adventure and challenge not only for me but also for my family.”

The Rev. Jimmy Grace, rector of St. Andrew’s who works alongside Baldwin-McGinnis, believes she is uniquely gifted to be priest in charge of a new congregation and possesses all the tools to be successful.

“She has enriched the life of this parish over the past three years through her gifts of preaching, leadership, administration, and passion for outreach and social justice,” Grace said.

Baldwin-McGinnis is a native of Austin and was a member at All Saints Church on the University of Texas campus. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and began her nonprofit vocation in Washington, D.C., in the field of human rights. Baldwin-McGinnis graduated from the Seminary of the Southwest in 2007. Her wife, Pam, and two children will support her in this new endeavor.

Bon is just as excited to begin her journey as a church planter. Most recently an associate rector of St. Michael’s, Austin, she is now vicar of a church plant in Central-South Austin.

“What really inspires me is the possibility of forming an Episcopal community that is committed to forming disciples and doing that in innovative new ways,” Bon said. “I have at least 37 new ideas a week about how to be church outside the walls of a church building.”

Bon has started a new blog documenting her progress as a church planter. The blog also serves an interactive tool for the community she is now serving.

Bon was raised in Utah. She is married to J. Elijan Powell, has three children, and loves the outdoors. She graduated from Yale Divinity School in 2013 with a Master of Divinity.

The Rev. Joann Saylors, canon for mission amplification, echoed Bishop Doyle’s excitement. “We are blessed to serve in a mission field where we see the diversity that reflects the expansiveness of the kingdom of God. These new communities demonstrate our commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”


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