Who we are
We are an Episcopal church plant in the Near Northside of Houston, founded in 2019. We invite you to come and grow with us. We are children. We are elders. We are single. We are couples and mulitracial families. Some of us are blank slates. Some are human canvases. We are gender affirming, and we are gender bending. We are converts and lifelong Christians. We are seekers. Most of us know our way around hell and now live courageous lives of love, liberation and celebration. At Northside Episcopal Church we are who we are. And, you can be you.
We all join together as we pray, worship and serve our neighbors. Together we are becoming and sharing God’s light in community.
The Rev. Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis was ordained an Episcopal priest in 2008 after being inspired by Roman Catholic priests in Nigeria teaching human rights law to their congregations. She went from the field of Human Rights based in Washington, D.C. to faith-based community organizing in South Texas before attending divinity school in her hometown of Austin. Carissa has built her family with her wife, Pam McGinnis. They are the proud parents of three profound and powerful children.
Carissa loves contemplative prayer, funk music, and a good dance party. She serves on the boards of St. Francis Ministries in Salina, Kansas and the Episcopal Foundation of Texas in Houston. She is the current president of the alumni steering committee for the Seminary of the Southwest.
Before being commissioned to start Northside Episcopal Church, Carissa served Episcopal congregations in Houston and Los Angeles with a consistent focus on spirituality and social justice.
“I was not born to plant a church. But in 2019 I was called. I have come to understand that this was a sacred opportunity to explore an unsatisfied vocational hunger while attempting to meet the spiritual needs of my non-traditional family; all the while attempting to help realize a vision for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. I had been healed in some ways by my time in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. So, where else but Northside to pursue authenticity and future church?”
Follow Carissa on Twitter: https://twitter.com/carissabaldwin
Shawn Welling leads our worship each Sunday morning. Following a career in the Nashville music industry, Shawn has led music in churches for more than 15 years while also co-creating liturgies with other worship leaders, leading workshops, and working as a spiritual director and pastor. He is the founder of Colectio, a consulting group which supports church musicians in their spiritual lives and vocations.
Shawn earned certificates in Spiritual Direction and Youth Ministry from SMU | Perkins School of Theology, and is pursuing a Master of Arts in Christian Practice at Duke Divinity School. Shawn finds that the best part of life is being a husband, father, and grandfather. He and his wife, Demi, live in Houston.
100 percent of the money you give today goes to the ministry, outreach, and growth of Northside
As a new church plant, the Episcopal Diocese of Texas contributes a generous part of Northside’s operating expenses. At this time, the diocese pays for our priest’s salary, housing allowance, pension and healthcare. The contributions of church members and supporters support all additional ministry expenses. The hope for Diocesan church plants is that as our congregation grows, we will rely less upon Diocesan contributions over time.
Our 2022 balanced budget includes $198,000 for expected income and the same for spending. 100% of the core leadership team gives financially to the church.
Members of Northside’s Bishop’s Committee (lay leaders appointed by Texas Bishop Andy Doyle) are responsible for the congregation’s fundraising efforts and stewardship of finances, like approving ministry team leaders’ estimated expenses.
Northside clergy and lay leaders work diligently to ensure that we are good stewards. Documentation for all expenses are reported to the Diocesan Finance Office for multiple layers of approval and accounting.