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 firstname.lastname@example.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