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News from The Parish of the Epiphany

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  • 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
     


  • March 25, 2020 11:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Mission and Outreach have put together a list of organizations that we can help during these critical times. For the most part, financial donations are preferred.

    1) St. Luke's in Chelsea is desperate for additional funds. This is where a group of Epiphany folks stock shelves weekly on Fridays at the Food Pantry. Checks can be sent to St. Luke's- San Lucas Episcopal Church (write "food programs" in the memo), 201 Washington Ave, Chelsea, MA 02150.

    2) St Stephen’s Youth Programs has created a Pandemic Relief Fund to support our families who face job loss and food/ housing insecurity. Donations can be made here designate Pandemic Fund. Contact Betsy Walsh for more information.

    3) The International Institute for New England work with immigrants and refugees and also need financial donations. Please donate here to help our neighbors in need.

    4) We should not forget that UU Bedford is still supporting their guest in Sanctuary even though the volunteer shifts have been temporarily suspended due to the pandemic. Financial donations will help defray their costs - they are into their third year of providing sanctuary. Send checks to: First Parish, 75 Great Rd., Bedford, MA. 01730, "Sanctuary Fund" in memo line.

    Sanctuary volunteers can no longer perform shifts, as per a Town of Bedford order that prohibits people from entering any public buildings in the town. For further information about our guest’s status, please contact Judy Cotton or Nelia Newell.

    5) A group from Epiphany prepare and serve breakfast and lunch on the 3rd Saturday of every month at St. Luke's in Chelsea. The serving of hot food is temporarily suspended. However a group of Epiphany folk prepared brown bag lunches which were distributed at the food pantry this past Saturday. Contact Claudia Bell if you would like to help going forward.

    6). Hospitals are running out of surgical masks. If you have a sewing machine and can help make any, please contact Judy Cotton for details.

    Obviously, there are many other worthy causes in need right now - most of this listed above are already supported by Mission and Outreach grants and Epiphany is actively involved with them.

  • March 05, 2020 11:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    5 March 2020

    Dear Beloved Parish,

    Your Search Committee is excited to share with you that we have now entered into the next phase of the process – we have established a “long list” of candidates!

    For the past 2+ months, the committee has been pouring over candidate cover letters, resumes, and written responses to common questions. We’ve also been reading, listening to, and watching videos of sermons. We continued to pray for God’s guidance as we considered, “could this person be the next Rector of Epiphany?” All of this careful review and consideration culminated in a winnowing meeting held in the Parish chapel this past Saturday, February 29th. At this meeting, the committee shared perspectives on candidates, noted pros and cons, and finally, voted on a slate of 11 candidates to take into the interview phase.

    This long list will be further refined through a series of interviews to take place over the next four to six weeks. Interviews will be conducted by sub-teams from our committee and each interview will be attended by as many committee members as possible. After conducting all the candidate interviews, we will gather for another meeting to further winnow the list. At that point, we will then begin visiting candidates to support the final rounds of discernment.

    It’s also worth mentioning that confidentiality remains paramount as we enter this new phase. It is respectful to candidates who are under consideration that neither their names or status be shared with anyone outside of the Search Committee. One can imagine the complication if a priest active in our process had her intentions  known to her current Parish. We thank you for helping us maintain this strict confidentiality.

    We thank you for your continued support and prayers for our work. At this time, we especially ask you to pray for the Search Committee as we begin to conduct interviews. Pray for our wisdom in selecting questions to ask candidates that will allow them to reveal their most true selves to us. We leave you with the prayer we begin each Search Committee meeting with:

    Loving God, as we gather tonight, help us to pause and remember your presence. We have faith that you are here, within us, among us, between us. In this moment, and in all our work together, help us to remain present to each other, to listen with attentiveness and to speak with care. In this period of transition, guide us in discernment. Give us strength, courage, and wisdom that we may remain open to the call of your Spirit and to the new life that awaits our community. In the months to come, help our beloved parish family to welcome and support a new pastor and priest. In all of this, keep us grounded in your love. We pray in the name of our brother Jesus Christ, the author of our salvation. Amen.

    Love in Christ,
    Liz Kinchen
    Michael Schrader
    Co-Chairs, Search Committee

    rectorsearch@3crowns.org

  • March 04, 2020 11:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    3 March 2020

    Dear friends at Epiphany,

    As announced this past Sunday, we want to share with you some commonsense safety measures – recommended by our diocese – for when we gather for worship, meetings, and other activities at Epiphany. These practices will help prevent the spread not only of the coronavirus but also the flu and the common cold. By following them, we can help care for each other.

    • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and hot water.

    • If you are sick, or simply not feeling well, the best thing to do is to stay home.

    • If you are sick, or not feeling well, and are scheduled to serve (as an usher, greeter, teacher, lector, LEM, etc.) or attend a meeting or class at Epiphany, again, please stay home. Notify someone if you can, but even if you can’t, rest assured that someone will cover for you.

    • You may choose to exchange the Peace with a simple bow or verbal greeting, rather than a handshake or other physical contact.

    • Hand sanitizer is available in every gathering space at Epiphany. In the sanctuary, bottles of hand sanitizer are on the tables in the back of the church; they are also now on small tables by the chancel steps so that you may use it on your way to receiving Communion.

    • Intinction (dipping the Communion wafer into the chalice) is not recommended. Sipping from a chalice that is continually wiped with a purificator and rotated presents relatively low risk. If you wish to receive only the bread, please know that in the Episcopal Church, we believe that the grace of the sacrament of Holy Communion is fully present in either the consecrated bread or wine.

    • Those who welcome others – such as greeters, or clergy and wardens in the receiving line – may choose to greet either by shaking hands or by offering a verbal greeting.

    • Please pray for those who are ill, for caregivers, and for healthcare workers.

    We hope that this information is helpful to you. More information and resources from the Diocese of Massachusetts can be found here. We are actively monitoring the situation and will provide any revised guidance as needed. Please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.

    Faithfully in Christ,
    Suzanne Owayda and Dave McSweeney, Wardens
    The Rev. Sarah Conner, Interim Rector
    The Rev. Miriam Gelfer, Associate Rector


  • February 28, 2020 3:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Beloved Community,

    We have begun our Journey towards the Cross, our Lenten Journey to prepare us for the Greatest Feast Day of the Church Year - Easter. I hope you will look upon these next six weeks as "spring cleaning" or a "tune up" for your soul. This holy season bids us to slow down and take some time to pray and reflect and find ways to express our faith in new ways, perhaps.

    If you long to cultivate a regular time for prayer but feel like you just can't squeeze one more thing into your day, I have some resources for you below. Like any new habit, whether it is exercising or eating better, or setting aside time to pray, it takes time and discipline to cultivate a behavior that will last.

    So I offer you some "habits of the heart" to bring you closer to the heart of God, who longs to be in relationship with you!

    Blessings and Peace,

    Miriam +

    Online Daily Prayer: click here 
    Five minutes or less. Geared toward youth & young adults but good for all ages

    Beautiful, brief daily devotions by the Irish Jesuits click here

    Celtic Prayer Book – beautiful prayers click here

    The Book of Common Prayer online click here

    Some helpful tips on eco-friendly Lenten disciplines click here

    In the Book of Common Prayer,
    The complete Psalms begin on p. 585
    Prayers and Thanksgivings begin on p. 814
    A Prayer attributed to St. Francis on p. 833

    Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.



  • February 11, 2020 9:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Epiphany heartsSurely, you’ve seen the colorful hearts draped over the lovely crab apple tree in our front yard. The explosion of color against the flat gray February sky is the perfect anecdote for the longest stretch of New England winter.

    These calico, striped and rainbow hearts dot trees and porches throughout town. You might wonder, as I did, how this kind tradition began. It all started with Helene Cabour, an avid quilter looking for a second life for the abundant scraps left over from projects. A friend suggested making hearts and hanging them from the tree in front of her house on Bacon St. She went right to work and began stitching together and stuffing the hearts with excess quilting supplies.

    That first year, almost 30 years ago, Helene hung about 70 hearts from the tree in front of her Bacon St. home. It was such a large tree; she didn’t think anyone even noticed. So, the second year, with an arsenal of hearts built up, she and a friend hung 400 hearts. “Then”, she says with the spunk of a less-than-90-year-old, “they paid attention!”. The following year they multiplied to 1500. The current residents of the Bacon St. house still honor the tradition.

    In the following years parishioners Nancy and Carl Hagge began hanging hearts anonymously at night at the homes of friends and shut-ins, anyone who might need a boost of cheer on a winter dawn. It’s such a heart-warming gesture and one that has been copied by others.

    In 2006 a group of crafty parishioners began making “heart kits” for people to make at home. The hearts are sold at the Christmas Fair and in the office as a fund raiser. An ample supply of hearts is still available for sale in the office each year.

    Each year following the Annual Meeting, the tree is “hearted” by parishioners. Fred Benson removes them later in the month and then Alison Taber tackles the monstrous task of untangling them all and then hanging them to dry before packing them up for the next season.

    As the Christmas candles fade in the distance these spectacular hearts are just what we need to inspire some happiness mid-winter. As Helene so eloquently put it, “If these hearts can make someone smile, even just for a minute, they are worth hanging.”

    Written by by Linda McDonough


  • November 14, 2019 3:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Parish of the Epiphany was recently awarded two Diocese of Massachusetts Global Mission Sustainable Development Grants which we applied for on behalf of global mission partners: Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children in East Jerusalem, and Hopital Ste. Croix in Léogâne, Haiti. We are delighted that each partner will receive about $8,800.

    Sustainable Development Grants support projects undertaken by congregations engaged in mission with partners outside of the Diocese. Award decisions are guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: to end poverty; improve health and education; reduce inequality; and spur economic growth, while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

    Princess Basma Center is owned and operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem and has received strong support from Epiphany in recent years. The grant is for their Mother Empowerment Program, a two-week residential program that provides children with newly diagnosed disabilities and their mothers with intensive, individualized early intervention.

    Hopital Ste. Croix, owned by the Diocese of Haiti, is the only surviving hospital in the region. Over nearly a decade, our Haiti Mobile Medical Mission has built a deep relationship with this key player in efforts to rebuild the health care system in the region hardest hit by the 2010 earthquake. The hospital is well on the way to becoming the first self-sufficient Haitian hospital run by and for Haitians. However, deepening political and economic problems make it difficult for it to meet its energy needs. This grant will help HSC to develop a comprehensive plan to achieve energy independence through green solar technology.




  • October 21, 2019 2:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    29 Lakeview Road, Winchester, MA

    After a successful tenancy, the family who was renting the Rectory will be returning to a new home. The Rectory will be available for rent starting 1 December 2019 until approximately 30 July 2020. Please feel free to pass this information on to anyone you know who may be looking for temporary housing or please contact Suzanne Owayda or Lee Kaukas.

    DESCRIPTION: A 4 Bedroom, 2 ½ bath Colonial Revival style home located near the Upper Mystic Lake and directly across the street from the Wedgemere train station in Winchester, MA (on the Lowell line). Home includes an eat-in kitchen, wood paneled dining room, detailed living room, and a finished sun porch. A bonus finished attic that can be used as a study, playroom, or a guest room, for a total of nine rooms. This home is approximately 3400 sq ft on .22 acres of land with a detached garage. It also has a fenced in back yard and a spacious front yard. Recently finished floors, updated security system, painted.

    Winchester is a bedroom community located nine miles north of downtown Boston. It has a very small-town feel although access to North Station via the Lowell line of the commuter rail makes Boston very close. Winchester has five elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school, 29 Lakeview Road is in the Ambrose School District.


  • October 11, 2019 1:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As part of Epiphany's theme for our program year – Belonging, Believing, and Becoming the Beloved community, we’re kicking off an experiment – a creative way to build, maintain, and deepen connections with each other. We’ve organized the Parish into 16 randomly created fellowship groups, each led by a member of the vestry. You’ll be hearing from your vestry leader in the next few weeks via email.

    With a church as large as ours, it’s a challenge to get to know everyone. We hope these groups will provide us with a new opportunity to connect. We encourage you to think of your vestry leader within your fellowship group as your “go to” person if you have any questions about our period of transition or any other church related items.

    Our first communication to you will be about introducing you to each other in your fellowship group. Subsequent communication will be related to updates on the search process, our stewardship campaign, faith formation, and additional fellowship opportunities.

    You can participate as much or as little as you’d like. We ask that you give it a chance, provide some feedback to us along the way, and we’ll make adjustments.

    Thank you,
    Suzanne Owayda and Dave McSweeney
    Wardens


  • October 04, 2019 2:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear Epiphany Friends,

    It’s remarkable to me that six months have passed since we said farewell to each other. Words cannot begin to convey how much I miss all of you. At the same time, I am loving the new ministry in Maine. The rhythm and the responsibilities are different from parish ministry, and certainly I am put in mind every day about how little I know. Nonetheless, there is excitement and an eagerness to get acquainted with the people of Maine. Next month I meet in two gatherings with the clergy (where I’m supposed to have something to say), and then, it’s the diocesan convention, where I’m really supposed to have something to say. I’ve already put nearly 6000 miles on the diocesan truck, which I affectionately call “the Oliver Leland”—the first and middle names of the 5th Bishop of Maine, who had also been a rector in Massachusetts, at St. Mark’s in Dorcester.

    Thank you for the exquisite gift of vestments (cope, chasuble, stole, and miter), given to me for the consecration in June and presented on you behalf by David McSweeney, Ellen Wilson, and Emily Holt. They were constructed by a designer in Brooklyn (who made Bishop Gates’ vestments), and whenever I wear them I see the dedication label on the inside which reads “for the tenth Bishop of Maine, Thomas J. Brown, given to the greater glory of God by the Parish of the Epiphany, in thanksgiving for their tenth Rector.” They’re a beautiful reminder not only of our decade together, but also of our futures: yours is as bright as ever, and as for mine, well, I am saying my prayers and leaning wholly on Jesus. You taught me how to do that, and so much more.

    Tom and I send our love and our life-long thanks for the seasons we shared.

    As ever,

           



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