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News from The Parish of the Epiphany

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  • November 12, 2020 11:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here we are in November, and in "normal times," we would be getting ready for festive Thanksgiving celebrations with extended family and friends. We would be attending concerts, theatre, and sporting events and preparing for Advent and Christmas. This year it's quite different. While there is disappointment, sadness, and yes, even anger about our current limitations, there can also be joy and gratitude if we look closely enough; we are by nature creative beings with the ability to adapt and persevere. "What you pay attention to grows" (Emergent Strategies, adrienne maree brown).

    God is our refuge and strength, a very present [proven] help in trouble (Psalm 46.1)

    Today, I'm writing to let you know about a few important things that we're getting ready for during this "different time."

    Getting Ready for in-person worship

    Our Regathering Committee has completed their report and handed it off to the vestry. We are grateful for both the time and due diligence that the committee dedicated to creating the report, which serves as a fantastic blueprint for moving forward to reopen as safely as possible.

    Please join me in extending our thanks to Mary Street, committee chair, committee members Virginia Barrow, MD, Jared Cumming, Jason Kinchen, Gloria Korta, MD, and Lauren Michalski. You can read the executive summary and recommendations here. There is a link to the full report in that posting.

    I do want to emphasize we don't have a reopening date, as there is much preparation work to do, and the pandemic is still an ongoing source of concern and caution. But we want to move forward with our preparations so that we will be ready when conditions are right. Here is an outline of our implementation plan:

    The vestry has authorized spending $40,000 to upgrade our streaming equipment and our sanctuary ventilation systems for simultaneous in-person and at-home worship.

    • Those projects are being transferred to the capable hands of our Property Committee for implementation.
    • We are forming teams to handle the creation of indoor and outdoor signage, the recruiting and training of the re-envisioned roles of usher and greeter, the handling of weekly requirements for cleaning/disinfecting, and the managing our reservation system.

    Please join me in praying that we have a clear path forward together and that our work and patience will result in a meaningful reunion.

    I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. (Psalm 122.1)

    Getting Ready for our Rector

    The vestry has created a Rector Transition Committee whose membership includes Jane White, chair, Annie Bing, Jim Bracciale, Lee Kaukas, and John McConnell. Their responsibilities are to:

    • Serve as a committee of welcome for the Rev. Nick Myers and his family
    • Introduce Nick and his family to the Winchester and broader community; help as needed in relocation.
    • Work with Nick, Bethany, Bennett, and Lennox to determine creative ways to meet the congregation during this period of social distancing; organize and facilitate as necessary.
    • Assist at the beginning of the new ministry.

    The committee will work closely with church staff members, appropriate committee chairs, and individual parishioners to carry out its responsibilities.

    Since announcing our call, Suzanne and I have had a few planning calls with Nick; we are excited to be working together as a team and are looking forward to his arrival.

    Please pray for Nick and his entire family as they embark on their journey with us. We are blessed.

    Stay tuned for information on how we will celebrate the completion of Sarah Conner's Interim ministry with us.

    For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (Psalm 91.11)

    Faithfully,
    Dave McSweeney,
    Warden


  • September 18, 2020 2:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is hard to believe that we have been in quarantine or socially distanced for over six months and most of us have not been in the physical presence of those with whom we are enriched. Thanks to the dedication and tireless efforts of so many people at Epiphany, we have been able to participate in many of the valued activities of Epiphany, maintained for us as an online community.

    We are social beings and despite all the collective efforts to live “virtually” and remain connected, pandemic fatigue may have set in, leaving exhaustion in the trail of disruptions that have been experienced. You or someone you know may be struggling with challenges that the pandemic has brought, such as anxiety over health, isolation and loneliness, or grieving the loss of “normal.” The significant celebrations of life – births, weddings, anniversaries, holidays – have been changed. The physical support we normally feel from our families when in grief or illness is diminished. Work, childcare and school are all taking place in the home for some, where previously it was our haven from daily stresses. The uncertainty of financial strain, potential job loss or the future haunt some. For essential workers and health compromised people, there is fear for their own health as well as for the people they encounter each day. Added to the issues surrounding the pandemic, our daily news brings us news of injustice, natural disasters and issues relevant in a significant national election year.

    In Miriam’s last message to us in 3 Crowns, as she thanked the Epiphany community, she reminded us that God sends us companions along the way to accompany us in our life work and faith journey. She was instrumental in helping us start a Stephen Ministry program here about two years ago. Stephen Ministry is a 45-year-old national organization that helps parishes to organize, equip, and supervise a team of parishioners—called Stephen Ministers—to provide high-quality, one-to-one, Christ-centered care to parishioners experiencing life difficulties.

    If you are feeling disconnected or in need of a companion, a Stephen Minister is ready to listen, care, encourage and provide emotional and spiritual support so that you don’t have to face your issues alone. With complete confidentiality, a Stephen Minister can meet with you privately – by phone, video chat or, if safely possible, outside in person – to offer care and support. If you would like to learn more about Stephen Ministry at Epiphany, or if you would like to have a Stephen Minister, please contact our interim rector, the Rev. Sarah Conner, at sconner@3crowns.org. She will be glad to talk with you and, if you wish, to connect you with a Stephen Minister.

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

    ~ Epiphany’s Stephen Ministry Leaders: Joan O’Connor, Ted Kellogg, and Gloria Korta


  • August 28, 2020 11:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As COVID-19 infection rates remain high in Chelsea and job loss and food insecurity persist, St. Luke’s- San Lucas Episcopal Church continues to work hard to meet the need. Volunteers at St. Luke’s distribute thousands of pounds of groceries to over 600 people every Saturday.

    For over 10 years, Epiphany has partnered with St. Luke’s by supporting their feeding programs with both volunteers and funding. In pre-COVID times, we stocked the shelves of the pantry every Friday morning for Saturday distribution and one Saturday per month a group of volunteers prepared and served breakfast and lunch for anyone in the community looking for a hot, home cooked meal. With these programs closed for now and the city funded emergency food distribution in place, there are 4 ways that we can continue to help our friends in Chelsea.

    Donate to the “Meals for Chelsea” Partnership

    In May, Parish of the Epiphany, St. Luke’s, and Bella Isla Restaurant entered into a “Meals for Chelsea” partnership. Funds are raised through a GoFundMe account (managed by Betsy Walsh) and each week funds are disbursed to the restaurant. Bella Isla creates 150 certificates for free meals and these certificates are distributed on Saturday to those waiting in line for groceries. This program provides a hot meal for those who need it AND helps keep a small (minority woman owned) business open. It is going really well and we are seeing a certificate redemption rate of over 90%. As we increase the number of certificates over time and extend the program into the fall, we will need additional funding. Please consider donating by clicking this link.

    Donate Gift Cards

    When the food runs out on a Saturday or local people come to the church on other days looking for help, Father Edgar (Vicar at St. Luke’s- San Lucas) really appreciates having gift cards to give out. Please purchase $25 gift cards for either Market Basket or Stop and Shop. Roz Nazzaro (1 Dunham Street, Winchester, MA 01890) collects them in Winchester and Tracy Podol (9 Falmouth St, Belmont, MA 02478 ) collects them in Belmont. Please drop the cards at one of their homes and they will deliver them to St. Luke’s on Fridays.

    Donate Personal Care Items

    Father Edgar likes to have a supply of toiletries and feminine hygiene items on hand for those who ask. Donations of soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant, and sanitary pads are in the greatest need. These can also be dropped off or mailed to Roz or Tracy (see point #2).

    Donate Funds to the Funeral Fund at St. Luke’s

    Father Edgar has alerted us to the increased need for assistance with funeral costs. He will gladly accept checks made out to the Vicar’s Discretionary Fund with “Funeral Fund” written in the memo line. Checks may be mailed to St. Luke’s- San Lucas Church, 201 Washington Ave, Chelsea, MA 02150

    Thank you so much and please contact us with any questions!
    Betsy Walsh
    Claudia Bell
    Roz Nazzaro


  • August 26, 2020 10:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    August 26, 2020

    Dear Friends,

    In the midst of all that we are coping with right now, we hope this summer has offered you and your family some time of rest, relaxation, and renewal. As September approaches, we’re writing with an update about what the fall will look like at Epiphany. We expect that our fall worship and programming will remain online.

    Our bishops continue to strongly encourage parishes to refrain from in-person worship and to provide online opportunities for worship, formation, and all other aspects of parish life. Our Journey by Stages Advisory Committee continues to tackle the complex diocesan requirements for preparing our church for reopening. It is slow, patient work that will be extremely helpful once it is safe for us to gather in person.

    Epiphany’s staff, committees, and parishioners have been working hard to plan for the fall – here is just some of what’s in store:

    Rector Search Process is in the Homestretch: Our Rector Search Committee is now conducting final interviews, and we anticipate that a new rector will be called sometime in October! The committee has been prayerful and thorough in its work, and committee members are enthusiastic about the candidates with whom they are in mutual discernment.

    Rally Day is September 20th: Rally Day is a cherished tradition at Epiphany, and an online Rally Day is being planned this year. Though we will not be able to gather in person, we are excited to offer a program that we hope will capture the spirit of Rally Day. Stay tuned!

    Programs for Children and Youth to Offer Love, Support, Hope, and Connection: Bryn Hollenbeck, Interim Director of Faith Formation, shares this update: “This fall, Epiphany will offer full programming for our children and youth, focusing on what they need most right now – love, support, hope, and connection – and on ways children and youth can bring love and healing to our world. We’ll build our relationships with Zoom time, offer asynchronous online learning opportunities with new classroom websites, and provide off-screen materials for faith formation at home. We are excited for a fall full of new ideas.”

    Choral Music Will Continue to Feed Our Souls: Craig Benner, Director of Music and Organist, shares this update: “Choral music will continue to play a vital role in Epiphany’s worship this fall even in these difficult times. We will continue to have our ‘Hollywood Squares’ style anthems done by the choir, and two of our section leaders will continue to lead us in worship. New for this fall, our section leaders will be recording four-part anthems, and leading Zoom choir rehearsals with choir members. You will also see occasional online choir videos that feature the whole choir. Watch for these on our online Evensong in November and our online Lessons and Carols in December.”

    Look for more information about this fall at Epiphany – including adult formation and stewardship opportunities – in The 3 Crowns. We are grateful to each of you for your patience, your perseverance, and your prayers as we navigate this challenging time. Truly, Christ continues to walk with us, giving us the strength and resilience we need. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have.

    Together in Christ,
    Suzanne Owayda and Dave McSweeney, Wardens
    Sarah Conner, Interim Rector


  • August 21, 2020 11:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear friends,

    I hope you are finding joy in these late-August days. Parents, I share with you the stress of making choices for our children's new school year: public, private, remote, blended, hybrid, homeschool, pods. There is loss and grief in each choice, and I hope some joy and anticipation as well. I pray that you may feel peace in your decision and a freedom from comparing your choice with that of others. Every family is unique in what will work best for them.

    While school may be full of questions and anxiety, I hope this church will be a steady rock of support and encouragement for your family in the coming year. Your clergy, staff, Sunday School teachers and youth leaders have been working and planning throughout the summer. Although we aren't gathering in person this fall, the Parish of the Epiphany will offer a full and exciting program year of learning, creating, and sharing for all our children and youth. This community of faith is ready and eager to share our love of God and one another.

    Our 2020-2021 programming will focus on what children and youth need now--love, safety, hope, connection--and on ways they can be empowered to shape and heal the world around us.

    Full details, and directions for how to connect and receive materials, will be in next week's newsletter.

    Peace and love,
    Bryn


  • June 25, 2020 1:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Journey By Stages Advisory Committee had its first meeting on Monday, June 15, and they have begun the work outlined in the Vestry's charge to the committee. The members of the committee are

    Mary Street, Chair
    Ginger Barrow
    Jared Cumming
    Jason Kinchen
    Gloria Korta
    Lauren Michalski

    In addition to their strong faith and commitment to our parish, this group's professional gifts include deep medical, scientific, technology and public sector experience. Please be sure to thank them for the very important work they are undertaking to help us determine how we can open for in-person worship.



  • June 05, 2020 9:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In addition to the 10:00am Sunday morning service online, Epiphany also offers: Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, and Compline.
    May God continue to strengthen the bonds of love among us as we pray together in these days.  

    Tuesdays at 12:00pm via Zoom: Noonday Prayer

    A few minutes of prayer at noontime can refocus our minds and hearts on God, and refresh us for the afternoon ahead.  The Reverend Sarah Conner leads a brief service of Noonday Prayer at noon every Tuesday.  The service, found on page 103 of the Book of Common Prayer, includes a psalm, a short reading, the Lord’s Prayer, time for intercessions, and prayers.  Here is the Zoom link for the service. 

    Wednesdays via Youtube: Morning Prayer

    Each week Suzanne Owayda presents Morning Prayer from Epiphany's Chapel as a way to start your day with prayers, lessons, and a variety of lay preachers.  The service is from the  Book of Common Prayer, page 75. Here is the Youtube link for the service.

    Thursdays at 9:00pm via Zoom: Compline 

    The service is a lovely way to end the day with prayers and readings, and can be done by each of us whenever we like, beginning on page 127  in the Book of Common Prayer. Mary Street joins with friends for this short service of evening prayers. Here is the Zoom link for the service. 

    Sundays at 10:00am via Youtube: Holy Eucharist

    The Reverend Sarah Conner officiates at a service of Holy Eucharist that includes a Prayer of Spiritual Communion. The complete service bulletin is available here. Here is the Youtube link for the service.

  • May 08, 2020 4:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Stephen Ministry at Parish of the Epiphany is currently providing one-to-one Christian care to members of our parish. Our ten Stephen Ministers are assigned to ten care receivers and are meeting twice a month in Supervision Groups that provide support for the Ministers during the process. While the Ministers listen to, care for and walk with those going through difficult times in their life, they also describe how much they grow through serving in this ministry.

    Care receivers are those struggling through a challenge, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness or some other life crisis. We can add loneliness and isolation as more prominent conditions in the times that we are now living in. Stephen Ministry is there to provide a compassionate companion to those who are hurting.

    Anyone in the parish can self-refer for a chat to assess their needs. Those who know others who may be in need can bring it up as an option to them or provide the referral to a member of the Stephen Ministry Leadership team.

    The current group of Stephen Ministers are Marie Lee, Neville Lee, Mary Street, Jason Kinchen, Sandra LaPerche, Shukong Ou, Nancy Nies, Susan Almquist, Jennifer Shire, and Ellen Wilson. We are so grateful for their faithfulness to their Care Receivers, especially during such challenging times. Epiphany's Stephen Leaders are Miriam Gelfer, Barbara DeWolfe, Ted Kellogg, Gloria Korta, and Joan O'Connor.



  • April 17, 2020 12:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Even though our building is closed, the work of our church hasn’t stopped. It has shifted.  And we want to thank everyone who has made an Easter gift to Epiphany and for staying current with your pledge.

    We encourage you to pay your pledge as you are able, as your financial support is needed.  Pledge payments can be made online, which is especially convenient during this time.  Please visit our Online Giving page for details.  If you’d like some help setting it up, please contact our financial administrator, Suzy Westcott.  You can also mail a paper check to the church or add the church to your bank’s online bill pay service. 

    We do understand that circumstances have changed, and that you may not be able to pay your pledge at this time. If you need to make an adjustment to your pledge, please notify Suzy.



  • March 26, 2020 6:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    March 26, 2020

    Dear Epiphany friends,

    It’s hard to believe it’s been two weeks since we made the incredibly painful decision to close our church building for worship and meetings.  We write to you today with grateful hearts and with a gentle reminder about our pledges. 

    Even though our building is closed, the work of our church hasn’t stopped. It has shifted: 

    • Our pastoral ministry teams – Epiphany Visitors, Eucharistic Visitors, and Stephen Ministers – and our clergy are reaching out by phone to help us stay connected;
    • We are offering virtual worship on Wednesday mornings (Morning Prayer) and Sunday mornings (Morning Prayer with music, followed by a virtual coffee hour!);
    • Our Vestry met via Zoom last week, and also restarted the Parish Fellowship Groups, reaching out by email to parishioners to see both what is needed and who can help;
    • Our youth groups – Genesis and YPF – are meeting via Zoom;

    • Families with young children are being offered support and new ways to help our children learn and grow spiritually;

    • Our Adult Christian Formation committee is exploring online formation resources;
    • 3 Crowns comes to us every Monday morning with parish news, and we are sending additional, regular updates during this time.

    • We are making sure that our building is clean and in good repair, ready for when we can gather again for worship, meetings, and events in that beautiful space;

    • We are paying our bills and making payroll.

    All of this – and more! – is made possible by the hard work of our dedicated and wonderful staff, lay ministers, committees, and other volunteers. 

    We encourage you to pay your pledge as you are able, as your financial support is needed and appreciated.  Some parishioners make their pledge payments online, which is especially convenient during this time.  Please visit our Online Giving page for details.  If you’d like some help setting it up, please contact our financial administrator, Suzy Westcott.  You can also mail a paper check to the church or add the church to your bank’s online bill pay service. 

    We do understand that circumstances have changed, and that you may not be able to pay your pledge at this time. If you need to make an adjustment to your pledge, please notify Suzy.

    With gratitude for each of you, and mindful of God’s abundant blessings, we are,

    Yours in Christ,
    Suzanne Owayda and Dave McSweeney, 
    Wardens
     


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Phone: 781.729.1922
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