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News & Resources: Spiritual Spot


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

You'll find here occasional writings, a few rants, and hopefully some insights too, about Christian discipleship, the Episcopal Church, and on faith community's life at the Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, Massachusetts. At the Epiphany we understand ourselves to be "a welcoming Episcopal community, united in God, called to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and to transform the world with love and generosity."

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  • May 18, 2023 2:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Pentecost hanging with doves at Parish of the Epiphany, WinchesterI have a lot of things on my desk to help me be a good Episcopalian; special calendars, an Episocal dictionary, the Book of Common Prayer. The truth is, while I was raised in the church, I wasn’t raised in the Episcopal Church, and sometimes that leaves me with a twinge of what psychologists call “imposter syndrome.” Loosely translated, this finds me calmly nodding while wearing my staff nametag, but thinking “what are y’all doing and saying right now?” Maybe you feel that in the church sometimes, too.

    Maybe you’ll feel that when, today, I wish you a Happy Ascension Day! (Thanks official Episcopal Church Year Guide Calendar, and no, we don’t typically wish each other a “happy ascension day.”) Ascension Day, for those unfamiliar with the term, is exactly 40 days after the Resurrection of Jesus (aka Easter Sunday). Today we remember the day when Jesus, post-crucifixion and resurrection, ascends into Heaven. He leaves his disciples for the second, and final, time. But, lest the disciples fall into despair, Jesus promises that he will not leave them alone; he will send a helper and counselor, the Holy Spirit. The disciples wait together, praying, for another ten days, and the Holy Spirit comes upon them in gusts of wind and flame. (We celebrate this on Pentecost, next Sunday—that’s what all the red and the birds and the flame imagery is about.)

    I love the Holy Spirit. I love how accessible, how personal the Holy Spirit is. The thought that the presence of God is in me, with me, everywhere, gives me great hope and confidence. I was challenged recently to consider this: What if we believed—really believed—that the Holy Spirit was everywhere? How would this change our lives?  Maybe, we’ll find that much of what we are doing already is a holy practice where God is. Maybe, as we use these next ten days to pray for the Holy Spirit to be irresistible and unquenchable in our lives, we can own the fact that we are called to love God, to love our neighbor, and to build God’s kingdom both within the walls of Epiphany and everywhere we live our lives, and maybe—just maybe—we already are. 


  • May 11, 2023 2:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Youth and adult Epiphany volunteers at The Dwelling PlaceLiberation theologian Gustavo Gutierrez once said, “You say you care about the poor? Then tell me, what are their names?

    People that we label as ‘poor’ or ‘marginalized’ or ‘different from us’ have names, and dreams, and hopes too. It’s important for us to be in close enough proximity to know these things.

    Part of my responsibilities here on staff is exploring community partnerships and helping our Mission & Outreach committee discern where God might be calling us in this season. We sent out a survey a couple months ago to get a better idea of where the energy and excitement might be when it comes to being in solidarity with our neighbors and engaging in social justice.

    It was clear that a majority of your answers desired prioritizing local opportunities to serve. Some of you stated that with local “we can create real and lasting relationships with our neighbors” and that “charity beings at home and then expands outward.” Many answers also highlighted the importance of having our kids being involved and the ways that opportunities to serve in our community could be truly formative experiences for all involved.

    Serving locally does not negate global partnerships, but it was clear that local is something that our parish is wanting to prioritize in this season. As a parish, we read Tattoos on the Heart by Fr. Gregory Boyle during Lent. I head from many of you that this was an impactful book that increased your desire to be in better solidarity and kinship with our neighbors. I believe kinship is best embodied when we have done both inner and outer work. Inner work involves worshipping together, learning together, engaging in anti-racism practices, and connecting our faith to acts of justice and compassion. Outer work is showing up and being present in the community — creating friendships and learning people’s names and hopes and recognizing that we are deeply interconnected.

    Last week we explored a new community partnership with The Dwelling Place, a soup kitchen in Woburn, just eight minutes away from Epiphany. We had a crew of parishioners who cooked a wonderful meal for 45 guests on Friday evening and another crew of mostly youth serving the food on Saturday evening. It was a joy to see our 5th-12th graders leading the way, greeting guests, heating up food, and handing out coffee. We hope to continue to serve there as well as explore new local opportunities. If you know of any, please let me know!

    We continue to serve meals at St. Luke’s in Chelsea on the third Saturday of each month. Our Mission & Outreach committee meets on the third Tuesday of each month. We plan to volunteer regularly at the Malden Warming Center this winter, a place that offers overnight housing to the who need it. We have parishioners involved in prison ministry, housing for the Rawan family, education, creation care, food justice, and much more.

    I believe we are in an exciting season as a parish. You may have heard talks of discernment and dreaming together. Those conversations are happening for all aspects of Epiphany. There is much we do not know yet about what the future holds. What I do know is that the life of Jesus and the great commandments to love God and love our neighbor are quite clear. Whatever the future holds, I do know that it will involve new and meaningful ways of being in kinship and solidarity with our neighbors. This is how we encounter our shared humanity. This is how we encounter God.

    Dreaming and hoping — together!

    Rev. Janelle

  • May 04, 2023 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    YouTube thumbnail of Rev. Nick Myers standing in front of brick chimney

  • April 27, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Two Choristers rehearsing at Parish of the EpiphanyIt is now two weeks after Easter Day, and though not yet recovered from the Holy Week experience, or from a quick trip to perform in Maryland, I find myself immersed again in admin work, and the end of the season rapidly approaching. Amidst making plans for the choir’s joint Evensong with Christ Church-Andover IN Andover, our own Evensong  on June 4, and an upcoming Service of Ordination, I am also already booking musicians for Christmas Eve, Lessons & Carols, and for Easter Day 2024. It is surprising just how much of my job is serving as a booking agent, both for outside ‘guests’ but also our core group of volunteers! Yet, how exciting it is when all of the planning and preparation actually comes together; planets line up, and the Spirit takes over. If I take a mindful moment and reflect on this, I realize that what I want to say in this article is quite simple — thank you!

    Indeed, a very large Thank You goes to all who made the Holy Week and Easter Day services so meaningful and inviting. Many folks were involved, from the planning and preparation to the final execution, and I felt that the journey from Palm/Passion Sunday through Easter morning was offered with sincerity and had great impact both on those worshipping and also those participating. In particular, I’d like to thank the volunteer choir members and choristers, who so generously donated their time and talents. Many of the Parish Choir adults sang the entire Holy Week and Easter Day rota; those folks would have been ‘on duty’ in their vestments for approximately 16 hours that week (a part-time job!). After having sung on Palm/Passion Sunday, five of the eight young Choristers chose to also sing on Easter morning, and three of those five choristers sang both services— this is hardcore dedication at an early age!  Or, perhaps they just wanted the food, which reminds me to thank Marie Johnson for once again snapping her fingers and creating an amazing Easter Day brunch between the services.
    In closing, I’d like to list all of the volunteer singers who offered their time and talents during Holy Week/Easter, and to again say Thank You for a remarkable week together.

    Soli Deo Gloria,

    Leslie Aitken, Melanie Blake, Mary Lou Burns, Juliet Hollenbeck, Jennifer Khudairi, Mary Ann Marcinkiewicz, Margot Young

    Susan Almquist, Linda Davidson, Susie Kendall, Martha Lewis, Nelia Newell, Sara Post, Jenifer Tidwell, Jane White

    Allen Ernst, Corey Hollenbeck, Neville Lee, Frederick Spencer, Gabrielle Stott, Pierre Trepagnier

    Ron Almquist, Bruce Glabe, Josh Reynolds

    Josie Bing, Reagan Clare, Katherine Cumming, Ilario Faienza, Caleb Keith-Lucas, Bennett Myers, Zoe Rossettos, Mags Valdini

  • April 20, 2023 1:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Parishioners at 8am fellowship hour at Parish of the EpiphanyOne of the best kept secrets at Epiphany is the coffee hour after the 8am service. Ask any 8 o’clocker and they’ll tell you. It’s a beautiful expression of community. Instead of separating into groups at different tables, everyone sits at the same round table.

    “How does everyone fit?” You may ask. Well let me tell you. The table keeps expanding. Those around the table push their chairs out to expand the circle to make sure everyone is included.

    What a beautiful image for us during this Easter season. Being Easter people means seeking out community practices that bring life and hope. No one gets left out. The beauty of church communities is that they include all types of people. (Even some who might not be the first we’d choose to be friends with.) That’s a good thing! When you reach out of your traditional circle of friends to include others, you are embodying the love of Christ. We get to practice this together as a church community — which is good news for the world.

    I’m reminded of the hymn, Draw The Circle Wide. The lyrics go like this: “Draw the circle wide, draw it wider still. Let this be our song, no one (sits) alone. (Sitting) side by side. Draw the circle, draw the circle wide.”

    As the season is changing and there is literally new life popping out of the ground and growing on the trees, let us be seekers of new life in our parish community as well.

    Grateful for you all!

    Rev. Janelle

  • April 13, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Parish of the Epiphany's 2023 Easter worship serviceI sit in the same place this morning that I sat a year ago: the Tuesday before Easter writing a message that you will read in 3 Crowns the week after Easter. So much will happen between my writing and your reading.

    Last year I was so aware of how uncertain the next week would be: we hadn’t celebrated Easter together inside our sanctuary for two years, and we had learned from the arrival of the Omicron variant right before Christmas just how quickly plans could change. Clearly it would be risky to write a message about how wonderful it would be to be together.

    I thought that I would sit down this year much more confident that I knew how we would walk the coming week together.

    And yet… how much do I really know? I know what my calendar tells me about when I will walk through the doors of Epiphany each day between now and Easter… but do I really know what that journey will look like? 

    I wonder if the uncertainty of the past few years has taught me something about the powerful presence of that uncertainty… to take each step wondering what will be revealed in the moments to come. The uncertainty is a gift in itself that leaves me open to wonder what will actually happen when we join together and bring our relationships and presence to one another in a journey that is both familiar and new each year.

    So I send this off a bit like a message in a bottle… looking forward to encountering each of you as we walk the path together from Palm Sunday to Easter. And you will read it at the other end of that road when we all look back at where that path took us this year.

    Nelia Newell

  • April 06, 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    People in pews during Easter worship at Parish of the Epiphany, WinchesterAccording to the scriptures, something unimaginable, something unprecedented, something historically unique happened nearly 2000 years ago when Jesus, who was dead and buried, was raised to new life by God. To say it so clearly is to feel how inconceivable it is—not because such things are beyond God (in fact, such a thing could only be God's doing), but because we just don't experience the dead coming back to life. Of course, the earliest Christians knew this as well as we do. And yet, they proclaimed it as true: "He is not here"; "The tomb is empty"; "Jesus is alive, and I have seen him." These were their words. And this led them to proclaim and work for a world that was shaped by the love, mercy, justice, and peace of God. Their first words were not, "Jesus is in heaven, and we will be too, one day." Instead, they said very clearly to all who would listen: "repent and be forgiven"—really religious things in our minds, but which in reality simply mean: get back on track, turn to God; you've got infinite second chances to live and love as God has shown us in Jesus Christ—together, we can make it on earth as it is in heaven. 

    Easter is the day we proclaim clearly that with God there is enough faith, hope, love and courage to dream God's dream for this world. To see the world through our tears (like Mary and the women at the tomb), and know that through the power of God in Christ, we can and will, with God, create a new world—for ourselves, and for all, where sorrow is held by joy and death is turned to life.

    I look forward to being with you this Holy Week and rejoicing together on Easter Sunday. 

    See you there,

  • March 30, 2023 9:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Crowd of people from behindAs a parish, we have been reading Tattoos on the Heart by Father Gregory Boyle. (If you missed out being in one of the book groups, I’d still recommend for you to read the book!) In our groups last week, one of the questions was this: “Father Boyle quotes Jesuit theologian, Leon Dufour, who said “I have written so many books on God, but after all that, what do I really know? I think, in the end, God is the person you ’re talking to, the one right in front of you.” (Pg. 158) How does this shape your relationship with God? With others?”

    In the Thursday evening group, Epiphany parishioner Marion Dry took this question a bit further. She encouraged her group to use this week to actually practice experiencing God in the person right in front of us. In their final session, they will be sharing about their experiences doing this practice.

    I’d like to invite all of us into this practice in the coming weeks. What if God is the person you’re talking to, the one right in front of you? Because if we take the incarnation seriously, then God is actually in the faces of those around us. The unhoused person holding up the sign. The mail person. The people we see on a walk around the neighborhood. A friend who is experiencing a difficult time. People who are different from us. People who are difficult to be around. Classmates, coworkers, family and friends. To encounter these people with love and gratitude is what it means to love God.

    We’ll be seeing each other a lot this upcoming Holy Week. Perhaps we can extend this practice to our own community and the ways we are to be together. In the familiar rhythms — waving palm branches, eating together, washing feet, keeping vigil at the foot of the cross. Might we experience each other in new ways, recognizing the divine sacredness in each and every face.

    C.S. Lewis once said, “Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.” What if we noticed the people around us in the same reverence we would have for God? What if God is the person we’re talking to, the one right in front of us?

    I suspect that just might change everything.

    With gratitude,
    Rev. Janelle

  • March 23, 2023 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Recently, this friend of mine, a priest in central London, told me that they had taken a group of parishioners for an outing—a walk in the countryside as a parish activitya way of making new relationships and getting outside the hustle and bustle of the city. While they were walking, they noticed commotion ahead near a fence-line as a farmer was struggling with a sheep. As the group approached, it was clear that the sheep was struggling to deliver her lamb. The farmer, no longer knowing how to help, stood up frantic and worried for both mother and baby. At that moment, a member of the parish came forward, rolled up their sleeves, got down on the ground and after a few moments, pulled the lamb into the world. The farmer, my priest friend, and all the parishioners were shocked. "Are you a sheep farmer too?" asked the farmer. "No," said the man; "I'm an obstetrician." This man was a newcomer to the parish and few knew much about him. My priest friend did know the man because the man was a recent arrival, not only to the parish, but the country. He was a refugee, fleeing persecution because of his sexuality, and now, struggling to start a new life. In his previous country, he was a doctor, a leader, a person well respected by those who knew him personally. But in central London, he was seen primarily as someone in need.

    It was on the walk back to the bus that the man looked at my friend and said: "All I want is for people to see my humanity." He needed opportunity; not mere charity.

    I am reminded of this simple and core moral call of our faith: Respect the dignity of every human being. Simply because we are—we are of infinite worth and dignity. 

    This Saturday, I hope you'll join our Reception for Locally Haiti at 4:00 pm in Hadley Hall. We will have food and fellowship and the gift of hearing from Wynn Walent, the Executive Director, about the innovative approach to development and the incredible leadership and work of the people of Haiti. We will learn how we can support opportunity, not mere charity. Wynn joins us on Sunday as our preacher, as well as our Forum after the 10:00 am service. I hope to see you there!

    Rev. Nick

  • March 16, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Adult and child planting seeds in cups in the backyard of Parish of the Epiphany, WinchesterIt was three years ago this week that the ways in which we approach church and ministry took a sudden, sharp turn. The practice of worship and teaching hadn't changed much in the decades prior to that precipitous moment. But quite suddenly, I found myself sending families emails with terms like "pajama church," and "faith-at-home." Parents were abruptly promoted to priest and catechist in their own houses. 

    That season was bananas. All of it. Schooling from home; working from home (with no childcare); childrearing through unknown crises. 

    And yet, that juncture encouraged Epiphany (and many churches who care deeply about children’s spiritual formation) to turn our eyes to something vital in any era. Since then, this community has tried to increasingly equip and encourage parents to share the Christian faith at home with their children. It turns out, this is the single most important factor in children developing a lasting faith of their own; it isn't worship or church school, but when faith is shared from parent to child through habits, example, rituals, and—most importantly—talk in the home. Research is glaringly clear on this. 

    Now, three years later, this whole community has the opportunity to work together to help root and water these practices. The Parish of the Epiphany has been invited into a four year partnership with the organization Vibrant Faith. With their support and guidance, we'll work to grow our ministry with families and parents in particular. Vibrant Faith has received a grant from the Lilly Endowment for this project—called The 4th Soil Parenting Initiative—and they have invited us and 19 other churches from around the country (from many denominations) to work with them as we develop relationships, programs and support for parents and primary caregivers here at Epiphany. This is an exciting opportunity for us and it is full of potential for everyone here, since a strong component of this work will be intergenerational support and mentoring. 

    The project is centered on 3 C's which we'll work on over the course of three years. 

    1. Connected — Developing trusting, authentic relationships inside the family, and outside the family with spiritual leaders, mentors, and peers (John 17:20-21)
    2. Called — Developing a deeper understanding of parenting as a calling, not simply a role (1 Peter 2:9-10)
    3. Committed — Supporting parents to "grow down" into an intentional, Jesus-centered life, while practicing what it means to "love your neighbor as yourself" (John 6:66-68)

    Our Epiphany steering committee is ready and excited to begin; thank you to Annie Bing, Pam Chester, Karen Fagan, Perry Haynsworth, Heather Keith-Lucas, and Ellen Wilson. We hope everyone will follow this journey closely, and enthusiastically participate in the ideas and projects to come! Thank you, all, for your support of children, parents, and family ministries here at Epiphany. 

    ~ Bryn 

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70 Church Street
Winchester, MA 01890
Phone: 781.729.1922


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