Author Archives: Susan Manville

Icon Writing Workshop Positions Still Open

St. Thomas invites you to immerse yourself in iconography with a week-long Icon Writing Workshop from Monday, August 6 through Friday, August 10 taught by Teresa Harrison and Kara Nelson.  In this Icon Writing Workshop, participants learn the prayerful practice of painting or “writing” a Byzantine style icon.  The emphasis is on the meditative, step by step process of painting an icon, using acrylic paints and gold leaf, as well as on the spiritual practice of allowing God to work in us and through us.  The workshop will run from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm each day and there are still openings available,

Teresa Harrison of Jacksonville, FL, is a lifelong Episcopalian and has studied with master iconographers Phillip Zimmerman and Ksenia Pokrovsky. Her work has been published in The Living Church and Anglican Episcopal World. She is very well known as an outstanding iconographer and will be leading the St. Thomas’ workshop.

Kara Nelson grew up in Portland, OR, studied Art History at the State University and joined the Episcopal Church in 2014. Kara became an assistant in Teresa Harrison’s workshops in 2016 and demonstrated icon writing at St. Thomas in May of 2018.

Please contact Mike Stone at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church for additional information or to register for the workshop: or call (281) 333-2384.

Icons in Transformation Exhibit to Close Soon!

This fantastic art exhibit has resided at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Nassau Bay since May but it will be closing August 10 and moving on to another destination. Don’t miss out on the fantastic art of Ludmila Pawlowska, Russian artist who has shown her work all over the world. The exhibit features paintings created by Pawlowska over the course of a decade of work, as well as traditional icons painted by the monks of Vasilievsky Monastery in Suzdal, Russia.  Ludmila has been an artist all her life.  After the fall of the Soviet Union, she moved to Sweden.  She and her husband operate a Scandinavian art center there with other artists.  She continues to develop her abstract expressionist paintings.  Characterized by unique layering, she produces highly textured and thematically compelling canvases.  Tours by docents are available every Saturday and Sunday from 2:00pm – 5:00 pm and on Wednesday, August 1, from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.  If you or a group would like to view the exhibit at a different time, call the church office at 291-333-2384 for more information.

Grammy-Nominated Ronn McFarlane in Concert at St. Thomas

On Saturday, July 7 at 6:30-8:00 pm, grammy-nominated lutenist, Ronn McFarlane strives to bring the lute – the most popular instrument of the Renaissance – into today’s musical mainstream and make it accessible to a wider audience. Since taking up the lute in 1978, Ronn has made his mark in music as the founder of Ayreheart, a founding member of the Baltimore Consort, touring 49 of the 50 United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Netherlands, Germany and Austria, and as a guest artist with Apollo’s Fire, The Bach Sinfonia, The Catacoustic Consort, The Folger Consort, Houston Grand Opera, The Oregon Symphony, The Portland Baroque Orchestra, and The Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. Ronn was a faculty member of the Peabody Conservatory from 1984 to 1995, teaching lute and lute-related subjects. In 1996, Ronn was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music from Shenandoah Conservatory for his achievements in bringing the lute and its music to the world. Ronn has composed new music for the lute, building on the tradition of the lutenist/composers of past centuries. His original compositions are the focus of his solo CD, Indigo Road; Ayreheart’s first CD release, One Morning, consists of all-original music by Ronn McFarlane; and Ayreheart’s 2016 release, Barley Moon, blends folk music and art music from Renaissance and Medieval England, Scotland, and Wales. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear this artist! Tickets are available through the church: $20 online, $25 at the door. Wine and bites reception included at intermission. For more information, please call the church office at 281-333-2384.


The Nearly New Shop volunteer Kerry Powell is the Coordinator of the UTMB Ryan White Program. This program is breaking down barriers to health care by providing obstetrical care for high risk mothers and their babies. High risk expectant mothers arrive from Harris, Galveston and adjacent East Texas Counties to spend the last weeks of their pregnancy under UTMB’s care.

Sadly, these mothers often have nothing for their newborns (most are below 200% of the poverty level). The Nearly New is joining Kerry in her goal to help these infants have a more comfortable start in life by providing basic newborn needs:

• Onesies/sleepers* – new or used
• Bottles (these mothers cannot nurse) – new or used
• Blankets – receiving blankets*
• Diapers and/or donations of diapers
*NN volunteers will remove stains and make blankets from cotton fabrics

Collections for Project Loving Start” will be at the NN Shop (tax receipt provided)

Pentecost Was Rightly Celebrated at St. Thomas!

Sunday, May 20 was a GREAT day that included the rousing Sunday Jazz Band, a beautiful baptism, the honoring of high school, college, and other graduates, and an amazing “upscale” brunch! What a wonderful time to be a member or guest at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church!

St. Thomas’ Habitat for Humanity Build

This is just a reminder that our date to work on the Habitat for Humanity house (Saturday June 16) is fast approaching!

In June this year Bay Area Habitat for Humanity is making a concentrated effort to build two houses for needy families.  They are bringing together contractors and volunteers to make it happen and we have been asked to participate.   The location is North 5th Street in Texas City.

We plan to work as a group the morning of Saturday June 16 and hope to have a big turnout.  Please mark the date on your calendar and I will be sending more info in the next two weeks..   If the 16th does not work for you, there will be work going on every day (except Sundays) in June and you are encouraged to go and volunteer when you can.

I will arrange for you to meet at church that morning for the trip to Texas City and I will be sending the exact address so you can go straight there by GPS if you prefer

St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church Hosts Renowned Speaker Eric Timmreck

Eric Timmreck from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston will visit the “Icons in Transformation” exhibition at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church and present his insights in a talk entitled “Iconic Reflections: The Power of Transcendence”. This presentation will occur Sunday, June 3 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm.

In Mr. Timmreck’s words; “Just as Ludmila Pawlowska’s “Icons in Transformation” transcend the Byzantine icons of old, so do other works of art, both old and new, provide the opportunity for further reflection on the power possessed by iconic representations. Pawlowska sees icons as communicating ‘deep sensitivity,’ as indeed they do. That very sensitivity can enable a powerful pathway to transcendence, connecting us with ‘the greater’ or with something ‘beyond.’ Works of art from many ages and of many different styles can be seen to share with traditional religious icons something of this power of transcendence”. This conversation will focus on works of art, including works from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, that inspire reflection on the iconic.

Afterward, the exhibition will be open for viewing. Docents will be available.

Icon Opening Great Success!

Saturday, April 14 was the opening of the Icons in Transformation art exhibit at St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Nassau Bay. The food was delightful and the speakers amazing! We heard from Christine Alexander, our own artist in residence, about the power of art. Then Kara Nelson, iconographer-in-residence this week, told the audience about how icons and “writing icons” have influenced her and her art. Finaly, the exhibit’s artist, Ludmila Pawlowska, explained some of the influences and themes throughout her fantastic works of art. The exhibit is open for docent guided tours Saturdays and Sundays from 2:00-5:00 pm and the first Wednesdays of each month through August from 10:00 am-12:00pm and 6:00-8:00 pm. Please come and enjoy this incredible body or work until August 10!

British Tea – Saturday, May 12

If you are a fan of Netflix’s The Crown, PBS’s Victoria or are eagerly awaiting the Royal Wedding in May, you are going to love our program with former British Journalist, Cathy Hollowell! Learn all the inside stories about Britain’s Royal Family….and more. Cathy has travelled with Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Phillip, covered Prince Charles and Diana Spencer’s wedding as well as interviewing stars of stage, screen and politics. Now, whenever the Royals wed, die or have a crisis, the Houston media calls on her to explain and interpret the events. So, come and join us and get an early update on all things Royal…plus a few others interesting tidbits!

Tickets are $20 per person, with only advanced ticket sales available. Please call St. Thomas’ Church Office at 281-333-2384 to reserve your space. Get your tickets soon before all the spaces are gone!

This amazing event is benefitting St Thomas’ Kimball Organ installation and will be held Saturday, May 12, 2018, at 2:00 pm in Krist Hall.