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News from The Parish of the Epiphany

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  • May 16, 2019 10:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Episcopal City Mission has nominated Parish of the Epiphany the 2019 Shaw Award for Social and Economic Justice for your communal commitment to social justice.

    The M. Thomas Shaw Award for Social and Economic Justice was established by Episcopal City Mission on the occasion of the retirement of the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE as the Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts as a memorialization of his Episcopacy and passion for justice. The award started in 2014 and is bestowed annually on a parish, mission, or faith community in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts at the ECM Annual Dinner as a celebration of how this particular church gives continuity to the work and vision for social and economic justice imparted by Bishop Shaw in this Diocese during his time as bishop.

    Epiphany's extends its deepest thanks and congratulations to all who support our immigration justice efforts, especially Roz Nazzaro and Pam Chester. Click here is you would like more information on ECM's Annual Celebration and Dinner on 11 June when Epiphany will be recognized.




  • April 24, 2019 4:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For more than three decades, the Parish of the Epiphany has had a relationship with the people of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Boston's South End and for almost 20 years we've partnered with their youth programs. It's a long and strong friendship! St. Stephen's Youth Programs (SSYP) works in low income communities in Boston and Chelsea to provide enriching after school and summer programming for students in grades 1-8, jobs and support for high school students. SSYP also organizes and executes community campaigns to tackle the root causes of poverty. SSYP is committed to safer neighborhoods and reduced gun violence, higher quality and better funded public schools, urban teen employment opportunities and training, and empowering and equipping parents to advocate for their children.

    Here's how you can get involved:

    1. On Sunday, 5 May, come hear the Reverend Liz Steinhauser, Senior Director of Youth Programs at SSYP, preach at Epiphany's 8:00 and 10:00 services. She will lead discussion at the adult formation class. Don't miss this opportunity to learn more and be inspired!

    2. In May and June, we will be collecting new and gently used children's book for the Literacy Program at SSYP. Please consider donating your picture books, early readers, chapter books, non-fiction books or graphic novels that are appropriate for children in kindergarten through 8th grade. There will be bins for the books in the back of the Church and in the entryway to Hadley Hall.

    3. August 5-8 is Epiphany's B-SAFE week! B-SAFE is the name of SSYP's summer program. In order to reduce costs for the program participants, SSYP partners with about 55 Episcopal churches throughout the Diocese. These partners collectively provide lunch everyday to almost 700 kids and staff at six sites for five weeks. Partners host a full day field trip at the end of each week. This year, Epiphany will provide lunch for about 85 kids and staff at the St. Stephen's South End site. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday lunch os from 11:00am-1:00pm. On Thursday, we will host a field trip day from 9:30am to 3:00pm outside of the city. The day will be full of fun activities, water play, food, and friendship. This is a great day for our Epiphany family to turn out to welcome and build relationships with our friends from SSYP. Sign-up here.

    4. There are ongoing volunteer opportunities at SSYP as well- reading buddies, mentors, Blackstone School library volunteers, food preparers, and folks who would like to share a talent, skill, or passion are always appreciated.

    Please be in touch with Betsy Walsh for more information on any of the above and to volunteer.



  • April 18, 2019 1:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As you know, being a member of Epiphany means much more than attending a Sunday Service - there are so many educational events, social events, and service events scattered throughout the week. Each one provides the means to participate in every manner of Christian service.

    One such opportunity is Epiphany Visitors, a group of parishioners who periodically check in on fellow members who are unable to get to church each week. There are about 20 folks who are being visited by one of our Epiphany Visitors. Currently, most of those being visited and most of the visitors are women. We would like to expand the number of men involved, both to be visited and to be visitors.

    Do you know men who might enjoy an occasional visit by a member of the congregation?

    Are you available to be an occasional visitor?

    If so, email Jack Roll to schedule a chat at La Patisserie or Starbucks, or wherever, to see if we may have a fit. Or, if you are interested and do not need a coffee/scone chat, get back to me via email.



  • March 29, 2019 3:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In the fall of 2001, Epiphany’s Associate Rector, Mark Wastler, asked me if I would be an adult volunteer for the Young People’s Fellowship. I had no experience working with teenagers, so I had no idea why he asked me, but it rapidly turned out to be one of the most important invitations I had ever received. I soon counted among my best friends the young people I sat with on Sunday nights in the garret. The openness, the authenticity, the honest sharing of struggles and joys was a weekly blessing. Mark then announced he was going to take the youth to El Hogar in the summer and asked if I would consider helping him escort the team.

    For those who may be new to the Parish, or otherwise may not have heard of this extraordinary place, El Hogar Projects is a school for children of extreme poverty in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Our then Rector, Rob O’Neill, served on its Board of Directors and he and Mark were trying to deepen the relationship between the school and our parish. Indeed, Rob had just hired my wife, Liz, as the new Executive Director in North America. The year before, a team of adults and youth from the Diocese had visited the school, and Mark felt the opportunity to get our youth together with kids of El Hogar was too good to pass up. So, he organized Epiphany’s first service team to El Hogar.

    And so began my sojourn with the youth of our Parish and the students and staff of El Hogar. This journey has been one of the great joys and formational experiences of my life. Mark left us in 2003, but in 2004, I returned to El Hogar, and have been going there every summer since – except for 2009 when the political situation caused cancellation two days before we left. That makes 15 trips with 205 people – and I hasten to point out that I always returned with the same number I left with! Many people went with me multiple times, but a total of 131 unique souls honored me in this way. One hundred and fifteen of our youth and 18 brave co-leaders helped me pull this off. Why do these numbers not add up to 131? Because two awesome people went with me as youth – grew up and helped me lead as adults.

    This year I will be not be going with the team to Honduras. As I write that line, a lump rises in my throat even as I know that the time has come to let others take up this extraordinary ministry. Apart from how much I will miss it, I feel only grateful. El Hogar is a place where the transformation promised by our Christian faith is worked out intentionally and lovingly on a daily basis. Children are given desperately needed shelter, food, and education in the hard environment of one of the world’s most cruelly poor and violent countries. It’s difficult and relentless work, yet they graciously welcome our young people to witness it and to take part in it. Every year, I have been honored to observe the gathering in of our youth as they experience a reality that could hardly be more different than the one in which they were raised. Without exception, our young people embraced this experience and were in turn transformed by it themselves.

    So, every summer, I got to re-experience this amazing process – each team took me along and showed me again the Kingdom of God. I cannot adequately express how thankful I am for those sacred moments. Thank you, beloved community, especially parents, for trusting me and sharing your precious young people with me. I remember and pray for every single one of them. To my teammates, my friends who always accepted me as one of their own indulged me, and showed me the light of Christ, I am humbled by your courage, compassion and good cheer. Many of you are grown now and even have babies of your own – something I can hardly process. God bless you all.

    Our Parish owes great appreciation to these travelers to Honduras. The relationship with El Hogar enriches and invigorates our community immeasurably. In many ways, the youth have led us in bringing it about and nourishing it. I know they will continue to bless us with their ministry. Good luck and Godspeed to this year’s team!

    Jason Kinchen


  • February 25, 2019 10:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear Sisters and Brothers, 

    When I first learned that Thomas was on the ballot for the Bishop of Maine, I got an uncomfortable knot in my stomach. What will we do? How will the wardens and vestry cope with all that needs to get done? The staff will feel unsettled, will they leave too? What is Miriam thinking? We will miss Thomas so much, what do I pray for… that Thomas is not elected?

    Now that the election is over and Thomas is indeed “Bishop-Elect,” I have had time to reflect and pray over what is in store for the Parish of the Epiphany, and my feelings have changed. I am very happy for and proud of Thomas, he will be a wonderful addition to the Episcopal Diocese of Maine. In turn, Maine will be an energizing place for him. The knot in my stomach is gone, replaced by feelings of excitement and anticipation of walking together with all of you during this time of transition.

    Thomas was called to be our 10th rector in 2009. His leaving after almost 10 years is very normal in the life cycle of an Episcopal parish, although very few rectors leave their church to become a bishop. We can all expect some type of major change or transition in our lives every ten years or so, and our church life is no different. 

    As your wardens, Dave McSweeney and I are aware that Thomas’s leaving will affect us differently. I am keenly aware that some of our elderly envisioned Thomas presiding at their own or their spouse’s funeral, some of our newcomers may be thinking “I just got here, I hardly know Thomas, and I want to know him better,” our children may not know what all the fuss is about, and many of us fear a time of uncertainty. With grace and prayer, Dave and I will do our part to make this emotional time a Spirit-led journey.

    When I get overwhelmed with too much to do in too little time I turn to lists. The Diocese of Massachusetts makes the transition process a little easier for us by providing a fairly extensive “checklist” of the tasks that we'll complete during this time. One of the first things to do is to give Thomas a proper goodbye. We are currently planning a party on the evening of Sunday, March 24th to celebrate with both Thomas and his spouse Tom Mousin. On Thomas’s last Sunday, March 31st, we will have a luncheon after the 10:00 am service. We will have two opportunities to be together, so please put those dates on your calendar and let us know if you can help with organizing either of these events.

    This past Friday Dave and I met with our Regional Canon, the Reverend Martha Hubbard. The next action on the “checklist” is to discuss how to set ourselves up for a successful search. We are very pleased to report that the Reverend Miriam Gelfer, our Associate Rector, will serve as our “Bridge Priest” until we engage an Interim Priest. We also discussed with Canon Hubbard the process for calling an Interim Priest. An Interim Priest is specially trained to assist a parish to evaluate its mission and ministry and to help the parish prepare for the arrival of a new rector. Dave and I will have an opportunity to interview many Interim Priests, but Miriam’s time as a Bridge Priest could be as long as six months.

    During a time of transition, our diocesan canons (the rules and policies, not the staff persons) make it clear that the role of the Interim Priest is to supervise the staff and to perform the offices of a priest (baptisms, weddings, funerals, services, pastoral care). The wardens, with the vestry, are the chief lay officers and legal agents of the parish.

    You will have the chance to hear directly from Canon Hubbard on March 17th. She will preach at both services. At 9:00am she will describe in more detail the search process, so please join us for this important informational session.

    In 2008, when the Parish of the Epiphany was preparing to call a new rector, we composed this prayer:

    “We pray that our new rector will provide long-term stability for us, allowing us to develop, articulate, and work together toward a shared mission for the parish. We hope above all else that every action of our rector will be rooted in Christ and Christian spirituality. We seek a woman or man of God who will embrace us completely and help us love others more fully.”

    Looking back at that chapter, I am struck by how blessed we have been. Thomas did bring stability. Our spirituality has grown both individually and as a congregation, and we certainly love others more fully as displayed by becoming a much more welcoming community than we were in 2008.

    Please join Dave McSweeney and me as we anticipate with joy, and as we share our joy in the next stage of our communal lives together.

    Faithfully yours,



  • February 01, 2019 3:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Two big, green lights!
    Vestry’s actions from last month’s meeting

    Wednesday, 23 January was a significant day in the life of our parish. The vestry met, as it does every month, but this was no ordinary meeting. In fact, last month’s meeting might get recorded as among the most monumental in our lifetimes. First, upon the recommendation of the accessibility team, as well as a committee who is responsible for advising the vestry about capital campaign expenditures, we chose C.E. Floyd to construct our elevator. The firm is well-established, has an excellent reputation, including with religious organizations, and is already planning for ground-breaking, maybe as early as next month.

    Second, upon the recommendation of the elevator fundraising team (Eileen Marks, chair; Dave McSweeney, Suzanne Owayda, Gabrielle Stott, and James Gammill) the vestry established a new unrestricted designated fund, now known as “Together Forever Property Fund.” Together Forever was created by transferring $200,000 from our unrestricted endowment. In the long-longterm we hope Together Forever will grow considerably, be the object of our planned giving, and be the source for funding annual maintenance/property costs at the Parish of the Epiphany. In addition to the transfer of $200,000 from our unrestricted investments, the vestry authorized the transfer of $125,000 from the General Fund into the Together Forever Fund. These monies, along with what we already have in hand (about $500,000), what has been raised quietly in the last few months ($175,000) will be combined, and then spent to pay for the elevator. Additional fundraising, to get us to the $1,000,000 that we need, will be necessary. We look forward to launching this parish-wide opportunity very soon, so that every part of our church will be accessible to all people.

    Faithfully in Christ,

    Rich Bartels, Clerk


  • February 01, 2019 3:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Annual Meeting revealed three truths

    Last Sunday’s annual meeting reminded me of three truths about our church family. The first is that we are transparent about what’s great and what’s not great. This is true about everything, but especially regarding our finances; we believe that when we give each other the whole story we foster generosity of spirit and treasure. By the way, the delicious tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches netted $1153.00 for the teen trip to El Hogar.

    The second truth is that we laugh. From where I was sitting I could see tables of people smiling and chatting and LAUGHING. That’s a gift of the Holy Spirit, even if it’s not listed so in Holy Scripture!

    A third truth I witnessed at the annual meeting is something that’s harder to explain. I sensed among us an embrace of the future, a certain excitement, mixed with readiness to roll up our sleeves. The great and late rabbi, Edwin Friedman, wrote and taught about being a “non-anxious presence.” One of the characteristics of the absence of anxiety is being able to look forward to what’s coming next.

    I would love to hear where you see God leading us into God’s future.

    Scenes from annual meeting:

                              



    Click here to hear the Rector's address to the Parish.
    Click here to read the Rector's address to the Parish.


  • January 18, 2019 3:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Thank you all for your participation in the nominating process; we were blessed by getting wider participation from more of the Parish. In 2018, we had approximately 70 people nominated for leadership positions by only six parishioners. This past nominating cycle, we had approximately 56 people nominated for leadership positions and they were nominated by 35 parishioners. The Nominating Committee had a wide variety of parishioners nominated for Warden, Vestry, and Delegates to Diocesan Convention; our discernment about who should fill those positions was quite lively. Thank you to all who participated as nominees and to the thoughtful nominators.
    We are pleased to announce that the slate for the 2019 Annual Meeting will include: David McSweeney for Warden
    Carol Kellogg, Jason Kinchen, and Warren McFarlan for Vestry
    Laura Dike and Cornelia Newell for Delegates to Diocesan Convention
    Susan Almquist and Marion Dry as Alternate Delegates to Convention 

    Also included in our discernment is the Nominating Committee for the 2020 Annual Meeting: they are Gayle Pershouse (as chair), Josh Reynolds, Patricia Aldrich, as well as one Warden and the Rector. This concludes the work of the Nominating Committee.

    Thank you,
    Suzanne Owayda for the Nominating Committee
    Laura Aldrich, Jonathan Foot, Martha Lewis.



  • January 04, 2019 1:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    submitted by Ashley and Holly Stevens

    With the recently enacted tax reform package, many more seniors will take the standard deduction and won’t itemize their deductions when filing their federal tax returns in 2018. The reasons for this are the coming together of two components of the tax reform package that the President signed into law on December 22, 2017.

    The first of these components was raising the standard deduction for a married couple filing jointly from $12,700 to $24,000.

    The second component was limiting state and local tax deductions to $10,000, well below the average $12,590 real estate tax bill in Winchester.

    As a consequence, since most seniors have generally paid off their mortgages and hence have no mortgage interest deduction, and since only medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of Adjusted Gross Income (“AGI”) are deductible, unless a couple’s charitable giving exceeds around $14,000, putting their total itemized deductions over $24,000, they will be better off taking the standard deduction than by itemizing their deductions. As a result, they will not be able to take a tax deduction for their charitable giving, including their pledges to Epiphany.

    However, there is still a way for seniors to make charitable donations, including fulfilling their Epiphany pledges, in a tax efficient way, with very little effort.

    Once you pass 70½ years of age, you must take Required Minimum Distributions (“RMD’s”) from all your retirement accounts each year (apart from Roth IRA’s and apart from your current employer’s retirement plan if you are still working for that employer). The RMD starts at 3.649% of the value of your plans on December 31 of the year before you turn 70 and goes up each year after that. Most importantly, these RMD’s constitute taxable income to you.

    However, you can take up to $100,000 of your RMD’s as Qualified Charitable Deductions (“QCD’s”). To make a QCD, you simply ask the Trustees of your plans to issue checks directly to the charities to which you wish to give – say Epiphany – for however much you chose to give. You can make as many QCD’s as you chose, to as many charities as you chose, as long as the total does not exceed $100,000 in any year. The Trustee will generally send the checks to you, made out to the individual charities, and you will then send the checks on to the charities of your choice, so that the charity knows that the money came from you and not, say, Merrill Lynch.

    The big benefit to the donor is that the number of the QCD’s reduces their RMD by the same amount and hence reduces their taxable income by the total amount of their QCD’s. They therefore don’t pay any tax on the amount of their donations, whereas they would have paid tax on their donations were they to have made the donations by writing checks from their regular checking accounts.

    The process is very simple. You simply write to your financial advisor or plan custodian identifying the amounts you wish to give, to whom you wish to give them, and when you wish the payments to be made. Every financial advisor and every plan custodian knows what a QCD is and can make a QCD for you. Allow a week or two for the advisor / plan to process your request – you may have to sign a form, either electronically or in person confirming your instructions, so don’t wait until December 28 to initiate a QCD. That’s it.

    We only came on this idea in late summer in an article in Monday’s “Investing in Funds” section of the Wall Street Journal. We immediately realized what a benefit it would be for us and, among other charitable donations, we fulfilled our Epiphany pledge this year this way, plus we were able to add on our donation for the Chapel refurbishment, and we’ll certainly make all our charitable donations this way in the future.

    We prepare our own taxes using TurboTax, so obviously, we haven’t filed our 2018 returns yet. If we discover any complexities in handling QCD’s in TurboTax, we’ll write a follow-up note for Three Crowns later in 2019.


  • December 21, 2018 7:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Parish of the Epiphany is committed to deepening our prayer lives, and we continually work to expand our capacity to pray with and for each other.

    We do this on Sundays primarily in two ways:

    • During the prayers of the people, when we pray for global and local concerns, and for people on the parish’s prayer list. The person who leads these prayers always invites the congregation to add additional names out loud.
    • At the prayer desks in front of and at the back of the church there are ministers prepared to pray with you, anoint you, and to keep completely confidential your prayer requests. These prayers, offered by the healing ministers, are not shared with the clergy and staff, and the healing ministers will not follow-up with you by asking questions. You may go to a healing station either before or after you receive Holy Communion.

    We do this during the week, too:

    • On Tuesday evenings, all are invited to the Chapel at 6:00pm to pray for the people on our Parish’s prayer list. The format is simple: somebody says aloud the name of each person, a period of silence is kept, a bell is rung, and then the next name is read. You are invited!
    • We ask each other to pray. If you have a prayer concern please ask others to pray. “My mother is sick, and needs prayers for peace. Would you pray for her? Her name is Marjorie.”
    • We submit online prayer requests at 3crowns.org. These are processed by lay people who lead our Tuesday night prayer group. If you wish, we will also include the person’s name in the Parish’s prayer list that’s read on Sunday mornings.


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