Diocese of West Texas

If the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas (DWTX) were a state of the US, it would be the 24th largest and its population of 5.6 million would rank it 23rd. Petrochemicals, military installations, tourism, shipping, agriculture, and fishing make up its economic base.

The diocese is both urban and rural. San Antonio is the 2nd largest city in Texas and Corpus Christi is the 8th. But the large land area of the DWTX is rangeland and farmland and the communities that have served the rural population since the days of Spanish colonization and the later Anglo-American and German migrations. Most cities in the DWTX have Hispanic populations ranging from 60 to 97 percent. 

The DWTX has more than 200 miles of coastline on the Gulf of Mexico, including the world’s longest barrier island with its extensive bays and estuaries. 

Rivers bring freshwater and nutrients into the bays, creating wetlands and estuaries, which are some of the most productive ecosystems on Earth. Thus, the health of our many rivers in the DWTX directly affects the health of our wetlands and estuaries. Rivers that flow from the DWTX include the Colorado, Lavaca, Blanco, San Marcos, Medina, Guadalupe, San Antonio, Nueces, and the Rio Grande.

Bays in the DWTX include Matagorda, Espiritu Santo, San Antonio, Copano, Aransas, Nueces, Corpus Christi, Baffin, Laguna Madre, Bahia Grande, and South Bay.  

Inland the land rises gently through the Texas Brush Country to an elevation of about 2,500 ft. in the Texas Hill Country.  The Hill Country is beloved by many, with its rugged landscape, fascinating small towns, vineyards, and traditional ranching culture. 

However, all of the diocese is threatened by climate change. The Texas State Climatologist at Texas A&M University forecasts higher heat, more wildfires, and sea-level rises. 

The Episcopal Church recognizes that it is impossible to separate our environment from the millions of people who live within it. The following is from the Immigration & Refugee Ministries of the Diocese of West Texas.

The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas and Mexico share approximately 500 border miles along the Rio Grande. Individuals and Episcopal congregations are responding to the needs of people seeking asylum along the border, as well as individuals in local law enforcement, in a variety of outreach and pastoral care ministries. 

Each day, individuals and families seeking asylum flee their home countries to escape violence, religious persecution, and war. In an effort to respond faithfully to the needs of our siblings-in-Christ, the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas established Immigration Ministries in 2019, to distribute factual information about the ongoing humanitarian needs at its southern border and to equip congregants with resources to welcome and embrace migrants in our communities.

Immigration & Refugee Ministries strives to share the realities of the migrant experience, to provide education around immigration laws and policies, to support partner organizations serving migrants in our communities, and to help individuals and Episcopal congregations walk in love as we endeavor to follow Christ and serve our neighbors.