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News from The Parish of the Epiphany

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  • May 02, 2018 12:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you poke your head into the Dewart Room (the room net to the Chapel), you will see on the far wall a friendly shepherd waving to you as he guides his sheep. This picture is one of a series of photographs that were taken during our visit to the Holy Land in 2015. Along with 36 other pilgrims, we spent nearly two weeks walking, learning and praying where Jesus walked, taught and prayed. The photographs, along with their accompanying descriptions and Bible quotations, attempt to reflect some of the beauty, history and spiritual power of that amazing, holy region.

    This exhibit was sponsored by Epiphany's Gifts and Memorials committee, thanks to a bequest from Margaret Hemmingsen. Margaret's gift also funded the renovation and refurnishing of the Dewart Room.

    We hope you enjoy the exhibit!
    Scott and Mary Street

  • April 09, 2018 2:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Parish is looking for someone to be responsible for assisting the Director of Music and Organist in all aspects of the church’s music ministry, including assisting with playing for worship services and assisting with conducting the Parish Choir. More details here.

  • March 19, 2018 10:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear friends,

    After two years as Epiphany's Youth Minister, Jake Athyal has decided to step down from this position in order to pursue opportunities he has been offered in theater. His last Sunday with us will be 3 June, the end of the program year. He has agreed to accompany our youth team as a chaperone during the El Hogar mission trip in July.

    We will miss him greatly. It has been a gift to work alongside Jake, we are thankful that he has been our youth leader during this exciting time of new life and growth in our youth programming. His enthusiasm and commitment have been so remarkable. YPF has been invigorated, many new youth are now serving in our Parish as acolytes, as members of a new high school choir, as frequent volunteers at Parish events, and as counselors at Vacation Bible School and our youth are also serving outside our Parish at such places as Rosie's Place. YPF has become more outward looking, through meeting and becoming friends with youth of other faiths and cultures and by attending and learning at multi-cultural events.

    Most importantly, what Jake has helped to build in these past two years is a sustainable youth program which will continue to evolve and grow. We are so grateful to Heather Keith-Lucas and Chris Deter who have been youth mentors alongside Jake and will continue to do so during this transition.

    We send Jake much love as he embarks in this new adventure in his life.
    Please read Jake’s letter the parish below.
    Talk to you soon,

    Dear Parish Friends,

    I'm writing this letter with a heavy heart to inform you that I will be taking my leave of the Youth Minister position on June 3rd. Those of you who know me should be aware that a lack of words isn't a challenge I struggle with, but I can't find the proper ones to fully express the gratitude I hold for the members of this Parish.

    I have been offered a few opportunities in other cities and I plan on pursuing them.

    I've been at the Epiphany for ten years and being the Youth Minister here for the past two has been the greatest honor. I can't possibly thank the staff enough. I can say that Carolyn has been my dream boss, simply because she has been a more considerate, guiding, and kind than I could have ever wished.

    The community we have at this church is unparalleled. Coming to Winchester from India as a 14 year old was a tough transition and God guided my parents and I to Roger Nelson, Thomas Brown, and this community so we could finally feel a sense of home somewhere. As a member of YPF with Jason Kinchen and Sandy Bristol was where I found friendship and trust.

    And it’s that same age group, of middle schoolers and high schoolers, that guides me today. This is the part that hurts the most. People say that the children are the most important, because they are our future. I disagree. They are the most important because they are our present. These young ones have shown me and so many others what the Christian spirit at its best can accomplish. I owe you the world. Thank you for teaching me true patience, fearless understanding, and unfettered love. We all know how incredible you are, now we can't wait for the rest of the world to find out.

    This isn't goodbye. It's only until next time.

    Much love,

  • March 16, 2018 12:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    If you attended the Parish's annual meeting this year, you may have heard Thomas mention that there was going to be a search for an Assistant Director of Music and Organist. This may have been a bit of a surprise to many of you since Craig Benner was just announced as Epiphany’s new Director of Music at the beginning of January.

    What you may not know is that Craig was not looking for a full time job when he came to Epiphany as the Interim Director of Music. When Thomas began to talk to Craig about taking the regular position, one of Craig’s requests was that his position be three quarter time so that he has a bit more time to do other things. Craig accepted a full time position in January, with the expectation that Epiphany would look for and assistant who could be with us 10 hours a week. This person's main responsibility will be playing the organ, but they may also be asked to lead the choir when Craig is away.

    In January an advisory committee was formed to help Thomas and Craig write a job description for this position, advertise the position, and then give feedback from the interviews. The members of their committee are Eunice Aikins-Afful, Kathy Hodges, Corey Hollenbeck, Carolyn Pershouse, and William Sullivan.

    Over the past few weeks this group has completed writing the job description, and is now in the process of advertising the position. As resumes come in they will be reviewed and interviews will be scheduled. When a suitable person is found, Craig’s position will become thirty hours a week, and the new person will be with us ten hours a week.

    Please look for updates on our progress in the newsletter as we continue with this process. If you have any questions, please feel free to talk to any of the committee members.

    We look forward to sharing updates as they occur,
    The Search Committee

  • February 09, 2018 1:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Reverend Miriam C. Gelfer, Associate Rector, will be on vacation the end of March and the beginning of April. We will miss Miriam and her wife, Lisa’s joyous presence among us, but how great for them to have time to relax and travel in Italy!

    Miriam’s absence, even though it’s only three weeks, occurs during Holy Week and the early part of the Great 50 Days of Easter. It’s important to me, and I believe to many of us, for our liturgy and worship to reflect the breadth of our church, which includes the gifts of women as preachers, presiders, and leaders. During Holy Week and Easter, the Parish of the Epiphany will welcome two familiar clergy persons, and two who are new to us.

    The Reverend Thea Keith-Lucas, is the chaplain at MIT. Along with her husband, Jake, and their children Renee and Dimitri, Thea is an active member of our congregation. Thea will preach at our celebration of Maundy Thursday, 29 March at 6:00pm. The Reverend Randall Chase, Jr., is returning to help us liturgically and pastorally. During my sabbatical Ran loved being here, and we loved having him! The drive from Barnstable isn’t exactly around the corner, but his willingness to be with us is a blessing. In addition to Thea and Ran we’ll welcome two clergy women, the Reverends Ann Broomell and Nancy E. Gossling. Some of you will remember Nancy because she served as a substitute preacher and presider a couple of years ago, Nancy lives in East Cambridge and most recently served as the acting dean of the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul; she’ll be with us as an assisting priest on Easter Day.

    The Reverend Ann Broomell, on the other hand, is new to us, and she’ll be with us for a longer time, from 18 March until 15 April. Now retired, Ann has served as an intentional Interim Rector in parishes throughout New England and in Maryland. She has also served in parishes as rector and cathedral dean and completed a chaplain residency program. A graduate of Episcopal Divinity School with a Master of Divinity degree, Ann earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Congregational Sstudies from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. She currently serves as a spiritual director and mentor with students through the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, and sings with Polymnia, a local choral group.

    Faithfully in Christ,

  • January 30, 2018 1:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Click here to read Thomas J. Brown's annual address to the Parish.  The address was given on the occasion of the Parish's Annual Meeting on 28 January 2018.  To hear his address click here.

  • January 12, 2018 4:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Wider in Welcome: a reflection from Thomas J. Brown

    The Parish of the Epiphany has long been a community committed to welcoming all. In celebrating the Eucharist we have widened our welcome in two ways. First, several years ago, we began administering communion in front of the pulpit. We did this both to support the number of people for whom the chancel steps were a barrier, and also to expedite that part of the worship service. Second, in the last few years we have responded to people with celiac disease by consecrating rice or bean wafers. 

    Effective Sunday, 7 January 2018, we will use non-alcoholic wine or grape juice at the pulpit station. Holy Communion with sherry or port will continue to be administered at the rail near the high altar.

    What follows are my theological and pastoral thoughts about this change. Basically, we are widening our welcome to people who are recovering from addiction, or who refrain from alcohol for other health reasons, or for parents who would prefer their children not receive wine. This decision is rooted not only in our desire to respond pastorally, but also in our theology: it is God who feeds us with the spiritual food of the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood, and God who welcomes us home. 

    Historically the Episcopal Church has suggested that “quality bread and wine should be used for the Holy Eucharist.” However, in some parts of the Anglican Communion, the 38 independent churches around the globe with historic ties to the Church of England, concerns abound regarding what can be used to celebrate the Holy Eucharist. These questions and concerns are subjects of lively debate here in our diocese, too. 

    In some Islamic nations where alcohol is carefully controlled or even banned, Anglicans make do with quite remarkable products, including Coca-Cola! In other contexts bread and wine carry different cultural meanings, or they are prohibitively expensive, leading Anglicans to use rice or corn products for their eucharistic feasts. 

    Consider our relatively recent addition of gluten-free wafers, made from beans or rice, as a species for consecration. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church does not suggest that gluten-free wafers are unacceptable. Given our local context, I can’t imagine we, the Parish of the Epiphany, would say to somebody with celiac disease, “sorry, only a wheat wafer contains the Real Presence of Jesus Christ.”   

    What is bread and what is wine? One wouldn't typically think of an overly crisp wafer (stored in an electric brisker in our sacristy) as bread, but wafers have been used since the 9th century. For some of us they represent “communion” because they are what we’ve always had. Others would much prefer to see and to taste actual bread. Yet for most of us, I think, whether we receive a piece of bread or a wafer doesn’t matter because each not only symbolizes Holy Communion, but also contains the Real Presence. 

    When a gathered community gives their consent to a priest to lead them in prayer, as you do every Sunday to me and Miriam and any other priest who is with you, we rely, together, on the Holy Spirit to bless whatever gifts we offer, sanctifying them to be for us the Body and Blood, “the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him” (from Eucharistic Prayer A in the Prayer Book).

    Please contact me if you have additional questions, concerns, or comments. I welcome your thoughts. 

  • December 07, 2017 3:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    In his recent newsletter article, the Rev. Ran Chase described many of the highlights of the Diocesan Convention. What follows is a brief summary of the meeting from Epiphany’s lay delegates to the convention, Carolyn Pershouse and Scott Street, along with some web links for those who want additional information.

    The 232nd(!) convention of the Diocese of Massachusetts was held on 5 November at St Paul’s Cathedral in Boston. Epiphany was represented at the convention by clergy delegates the Revs. Miriam Gelfer and Ran Chase, and by lay delegates Carolyn Pershouse and Scott Street. Also in attendance from Epiphany were Lisa Garcia (Diocesan Treasurer), interim Cathedral Organist Louise Mundinger, Intern Paul Shoaf Kozak, and parishioners the Rev. Thea Keith-Lucas and Brett Johnson.

    Our day began with a Eucharist that featured enthusiastic congregational participation, robust hymn singing (accompanied by Louise), and an extended sermon/address by Bishop Gates. In his address, Bishop Gates told a delightful and provocative fable, the moral of which is: sometimes we have to deal with immediate issues instead of what we might prefer to tackle; we must always deal with more than one thing at a time; and, in the end, there will always be a song. The full text and video of his address can be found here.

    A significant portion of the Convention was spent on financial and organizational matters. The biggest financial issue is the impact of the recent 10% change in the Diocesan assessment (the amount each Parish is expected to contribute to the Diocese for its operations and ministries). This decrease in revenue has lead to major staffing changes (layoffs and redeployments) and a decrease in Diocesan services. An excellent and detailed summary of the budget can be found here.

    Another portion of the Convention was devoted to the mission of the Diocese. The three key initiatives presented were the launching of a cross-congregational relationship building process modeled after an approach developed in South Africa called “indaba”; Mission Match, a web-based inventory of ministry resources that will help us “to better describe our communities’ gifts and resources for ministry, in order to strengthen our capacity to directly connect people and congregations in collaborative mission”; and, continued discussion to determine how best to organize the Diocese. More on these initiatives can be found here.

    Other business included the passage of resolutions to support the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, to create a network of congregations and persons engaged in elder ministry, to adopt the Diocesan budget, and some other housekeeping matters. We also elected and/or acknowledged the appointment of many individuals to various roles, including our own Miriam Gelfer (Commission on Ministry co-chair), Lisa Garcia (treasurer), and Dutch Treat (Barbara C. Harris Camp Board of Directors). Additional details can be found here.

    The Convention adjourned an hour ahead of schedule, to the surprise and delight of many.

    On a personal note, we came away with the strong impression that Epiphany is part of something much greater than our Parish alone. We saw in action what Bishop Gates described as “Anglicanism’s historic affirmation of the Diocese, and not the congregation, as the basic unit of the church is an expression of Saint Paul’s vision of the earthly body of Christ, made up of many parts.” It was a privilege to serve as Epiphany’s delegates to the Convention, and we are grateful for the opportunity to do so.

    Carolyn Pershouse
    Scott Street

  • November 01, 2017 5:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Have you ever been unable to get to Epiphany and yet wanted to receive the blessings of the sacraments? Did you know that there is a dedicated group of Epiphany Parishioners ready and willing to visit with you and bring God’s word and gifts? We are the Lay Eucharistic Visitors and we are available to visit everyone, not only just those who are sick, or grieving, or disabled.

    We are a close-knit team working with Thomas and Miriam in support of Epiphany’s pastoral ministry. We are all trained by the Diocese and regularly visit Parishioners in their homes, apartments, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and wherever we are a needed.

    Aside from illness or a prolonged rehab stay, we are available to bring the quiet comfort of the Eucharist into your home. Have your travels kept you from attending church? Have your children’s athletic events made Sunday morning attendance impossible? Please consider inviting us for a visit at any time, night or day, convenient for you.

    Simply contact Sarah Twiss in the Parish Office at 781.729.1922 and she will contact us. Soon after you will hear from one of us to set up a time to visit you.

    We sincerely hope that you take us up on our open invitation and look forward to visiting you and being with you in God’s presence.

    Your Lay Eucharistic Visitors Team

  • October 20, 2017 4:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    My dad, Bill Saunders, has been working at Habitat for Humanity one Saturday every month with Epiphany's group for many years. I asked if I could join him this month after seeing all the devastation that hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Jose left behind. For each crisis, I usually try to find a way to to help those in need, mostly with monetary donations. Recently, it seems there is something happening almost every week, so I've been trying to think of different ways to help others. Habitat was a great option since I've done it a few times in the past and it was a great way to spend the day with my dad and help someone locally.

    This was one of my favorite trips because I was able to work on projects I've never done before and one of the homeowners, Joseph, was there working beside us. He is a veteran and has two children, who came to check out their rooms! He and my dad joked around with each other and he was very appreciative of the time and work we did. At the end of the day we were able to talk more and he told us how he still had not heard from his mother who lives in the mountains in Puerto Rico. I shared how some of my contacts from the hospitals down there have reached out and just how dire the situation is. We wished him and his family well and were hopeful that his cousin would be able to get up to the mountain to reach his mother soon and that he would be able to fly down there to visit.

    Not only was it a fun day to work and learn with my hands and spend time with my dad, but it also was a free way to do some good for the community. It's been hard the past few months to find relief from the constant heartbreak, but Habitat helped to show me how just giving one's time can have a huge impact on someone else. Maybe if we all could do one small act of kindness for another, not only would we feel good, but we could start to see a positive shift in people's lives.

    -Kate Saunders

    Epiphany volunteers with the Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity, building and refurbishing houses in Lawrence, MA on the second Saturday of every month. There are jobs for all levels of skill and all are welcome. Youth between 16 and 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Contact Bill Saunders if you are interested in coming.

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70 Church Street
Winchester, MA 01890
Phone: 781.729.1922



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