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About Us: History


"Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me.” Isaiah 46:9

The Parish of the Epiphany began as a small mission church in 1882. Worshiping first in rented space in a commercial building, the congregation erected a modest wooden Queen Anne style structure the following year on land across from the Town Hall. The mission was formally organized as a self-sustaining parish in 1888, and its first rector called.

A journey in time

The cornerstone of the present building was laid in the fall of 1904, and services began there the following year. A wonderful clipping from the Winchester Star of October 21st, 1904 describes the cornerstone-laying ceremony, lists the objects placed in “the box” in the stone, and includes the text of a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who wrote: “I pray that God’s blessing may rest upon all your endeavors for His glory.”

In celebration of the 20th anniversary and opening of the new church in 1905, a special dual service was held in both the old and new buildings. Notes on the reverse side paint an intimate picture of the life of the Parish at the time, and the excitement surrounding the new building’s opening.

A reprint from The Church Militant, the Diocesan publication and forerunner to today’s Episcopal Times, contains an account of the inauguration of the church building and a detailed description of the structure as it was then. A photograph of the interior looks very much as the church building looks today — including the same pews and light fixtures!

Over time, our building has been enlarged many times to meet parish needs, attaining its present size in 1959. The building is not the only thing that grew:

  • 1883 “28 communicants; 23 children in the Church School; $500 raised for all purposes”
  • 1950s and early 1960s Attendance peaked at almost five hundred at a single service, when parish life was the center of the family. *
  • 2000 – Today Between two hundred fifty and three hundred worshippers attend on a given Sunday.

"An Anthology of Epiphany History, 1888 - 1988" 

  • Introduction:  edited by Lane McGovern
  • Chapter 1:  A Chronology of Events, by Lane McGovern
  • Chapter 2:  According to this Beginning, by Bradford Eddy
  • Chapter 3:  The Parish of the Epiphany, by R. Allen Page
  • Chapter 4:  Excerpts from Epiphany History, by Lane McGovern
  • Chapter 5: The Ellison Years, by The Reverend John W. Ellison
  • Chapter 6:  Epiphany Women, by Frances Elliott
  • Chapter 7:  The Seventh Rectorate, by The Reverend John J. Bishop

Changing times, changing attitudes

The parish occasionally experienced times of great turmoil. An overly ambitious construction project strained finances (and tempers) in the late nineteen-twenties and thirties. An act of protest against the war in Vietnam by a young assistant priest came close to splitting the parish, and the appointment of an assistant priest living in a same-sex relationship in the 1990s invited controversy — and ultimately, growth.

Location & Contact

70 Church Street
Winchester, MA 01890
Phone: 781.729.1922


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