Log in

Log in

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."

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • November 30, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Children in Parish of the Epiphany's 2021 Christmas pageantI write this while sitting on the steps in the front of the sanctuary on a quiet weekday morning. I'm the only one in here — I may be the only one in the entire church — and it's cavernous and quiet. But the work I'm focusing on will be anything but quiet, as I get ready to start our Christmas pageant preparations with the children. 

    Contemplating one of the most chaotic-yet-beautiful worship experiences of the year while in the solitude of our empty sanctuary feels right for Advent. Think of Mary and Joseph, amid a crowd but all alone. A king in a barn. God's new relationship with all of creation bursting into life but entering so subtly. 

    For as long as I have the privilege of ministry with children, I'll repeat this: the Christmas Pageant is not a show, it is worship. It is not a play, it is a service in which the children offer you a rare window into the sacred scriptures. It is full of wiggles and stillness, laughs and whispers, distraction and rapt attention. Like the real thing, it is chaos and plan, art and nature, human and divine. 

    Welcome into the real, rich holiness of the season, and into the young and burgeoning life of this ancient faith and venerable Parish. You saw these steps on which I now sit full to overflowing with children last Sunday. In the coming weeks and months I hope you — yes, you — will get to know them better, in all their holy energy and sacred serenity.

    Joyous Advent,

  • November 23, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Stock image of a family praying over Thanksgiving dinnerIt can be hard to give thanks. From an early age, we learn to say the words that we may have forgotten: "thank you." Giving thanks on Thanksgiving is often shaped by football, family, and food. But not always. Sometimes people do give thanks when they are alone, or hungry, or unentertained. This is possible, I imagine, because giving thanks is something we all can do while life is still within us. Giving thanks gives us life.

    And yet, today might be a hard day to give thanks. I'm not sure where you are or what you are feeling. But, if today leaves you feeling hollowed out, then know you aren't alone. The weight of the world is felt by many and, in that feeling, we are one. But, if today your thanks is clear, then do not hold it in or keep it for yourself, for such life is needed all around.

    As I sit down today, on this Thanksgiving, and take a breath, to let go of all that I've falsely believed that I alone can do, know that among my thanks, will be you. I am fortunate that some of the great gifts of my life are gathered round me — they have names, and cowlicks, and sticky fingers. And some gifts are not nearby, but scattered far across time and space and beyond, now. But you, my Epiphany family, are a gift completely given, completely unearned, gratuitous — thanks to God. For God has called us together. And I am thankful. 

    So know this: Even as there is weight in the waiting to see what we will become, what our world will be, I give thanks that God does not let us go, and does not let us be without each other. I am grateful for you. Happy Thanks Giving, beloved.

    See you Sunday,

  • November 16, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Epiphany volunteers at the Malden Warming Center for a training in November 2023On Sunday, a group of about 20 of us from Epiphany completed volunteer training at the Malden Warming Center (MWC). MWC offers overnight housing during the cold winter months every night from December through March. What I love about MWC is that it’s a collaborative environment. There are recovery coaches and mental health therapists on-site in addition to volunteers checking in guests, cooking meals, monitoring the bathroom, and operating the clothing closet. This happens every single night until March. People who were guests at MWC who find housing will come back to volunteer. The mayor at Malden likes to volunteer too. Many of the same people are there each evening and it's truly a community.

    The primary value at MWC is recognizing each person’s inherent dignity, which reminds me of our Baptismal Covenant to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” With God’s help, we make promises to respect the dignity of every human being. This goes beyond being nice to people. Recognizing the dignity in another human being means caring about the things that threaten that sense of dignity.

    You might hear the word 'solidarity' from time to time here at church. It’s this concept that living in right relationship with one another and with God (where we get our word salvation) is at the heart of our faith. Scripture is filled with stories of Jesus caring for the poor, the sick, and those in prison. Sometimes in church, we may talk about people on the margins (that is those who experience oppression due to race, poverty, sexuality, ability, health, or an intersection of several of these) in these ethereal terms or as an abstract category. Solidarity means moving beyond the ethereal to real people — with names and faces.

    Father Greg Boyle says this, “[Through solidarity], I discovered that you do not go to the margins to rescue anyone. But if we go there, everyone finds rescue.”

    It’s this idea that our liberation is bound up with each other. Being in solidarity with those on the margins brings healing to everyone involved. Our faith lived out, will bring us out into new places, into new communities, and into new solidarity. Volunteering at the Malden Warming Center is a tangible way to embody Christ’s hospitality and solidarity because showing up allows for friendship with those on the margins. If this is something new for you, it will change your life and you will experience God in new and profound ways.

    Practicing solidarity might mean driving to another town and getting stuck in a bit of rush hour traffic. It might mean getting a little out of your comfort zone. It might also mean actively participating in God’s future where dignity is restored and working for justice because as Fannie Lou Hamer says, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.

    If you are interesting in volunteering at the Malden Warming Center this winter, let Rev. Janelle know at (Teens can volunteer with their parents/caregivers in the clothing closet or kitchen, no training required.) And if you are interested in learning more about solidarity and justice, considering joining our Journey to Justice meeting this Sunday, November 19 at 11:30 in Upper Parish Hall.

    Rev. Janelle Hiroshige

  • November 09, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tealight candles against dark backgroundGreetings friends!

    I write to you during this month of remembrance; indeed, some traditions give special attention to the faithful souls of the departed for the entire month of November (the month of All Souls). For the liturgically minded among us, November begins with a bang with All Saints’ Day on November 1 (preceded by Halloween, or the Eve of All Hallows’ Day as Rev. Nick recently explained at Midweek), followed by the solemnity of All Souls’ Day on November 2. Continuing the theme, we have the secular Veterans Day (or Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day) on November 11, and often the transferred Remembrance Sunday following that. It marks the day in 1918 an agreement was signed between Germany and the Allied nations to end World War I. During this month, may we remember with both tears and smiles those we have been fortunate to share this journey with.

    Remembrance is not the only theme found in November. We are also nearing the end of the church’s liturgical year, which begins with the ‘first’ Advent season four Sundays before Christmas Day, when we prepare for our annual celebration of Christ’s first coming among us as a baby. Our liturgical year comes to and end with a ’second’ Advent season; no, it isn’t officially titled as such, but you’ll notice some of the same Advent readings and hymns starting to appear this Sunday, November 12, and running through the final Sunday of the year November 26: Christ the King Sunday (also known as the Sunday of the Fulfillment). This last Sunday in the church year is the day we celebrate and look forward to the next coming of Jesus; it points us to the culmination of God's purposes in history through Christ. It is not about Christ becoming king (since that happened at the resurrection/ascension), but about the fulfillment of his kingship. If you are a fan of Bach’s cantata "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" BWV 140 (Sleepers wake, for night is flying), you may be aware that he composed this in Leipzig for the 27th Sunday after Trinity, and first performed it on 25 November 1731, the last Sunday of the church year (Advent I was the following Sunday 2 December 1731).

    More so each year, I am struck by how suddenly the days become shorter and the temperatures shift, made more drastic still by the annual time change here Massachusetts. As we proceed through the rest of November, and the end of the liturgical year, I leave you with a poem by English classical scholar and poet Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936). Here he remembers a deceased friend, who can no longer be tormented by the cold. All best wishes as we approach the next round of Advent seasons!

    Jeremy Bruns

    The Night Is Freezing Fast
    (from Last Poems, published 1922)

    The night is freezing fast,
       To-morrow comes December;
           And winterfalls of old
    Are with me from the past;
       And chiefly I remember
           How Dick would hate the cold.

    Fall, winter, fall; for he,
       Prompt hand and headpiece clever,
           Has woven a winter robe,
    And made of earth and sea
       His overcoat for ever,
           And wears the turning globe.

    A.E. Housman

  • November 02, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Stained glass window at Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, MALikely, to your shock, this is your destiny, now: to be a saint. Ha!, we say. No thanks! As images of long-faced and dour saints come to mind. But, I want to say: it’s true. This Sunday, we welcome four young ones into the Body of Christ, claiming a gift that is already theirs: to be children of God. They have everything they’ll ever need to be saints, just like you. Sainthood is not some elite status of purity, but a way of following Christ that is unique to each person’s culture, experience, and personality. Thomas Merton, the great 20th century writer and monk made it plain: “For me to be a saint means to be myself.” God has made each one of us uniquely as we are and invites us into this divine Love just as we are. So, stop trying to be someone else and don’t look to someone else’s path to holiness. Trust the Spirit in you, inviting you forward more deeply into who you are—and, together, we’ll discover our destiny, now. This is, ultimately, what we have to offer to God. Yes, we offer to God our time, talent, and treasure—but what God desires above all is you.

    This Sunday, we will celebrate the ingathering of our pledges at all three services (8:00 am, 10:00 am, 5:00 pm Word & Table). After Communion, we will offer a prayer of thanks and for guidance in our ministry and life together. And we remember that what God seeks, before all else, is us. This Sunday, we celebrate our life together with this ingathering, with four baptisms, and with our Ciderfest celebration (apple cider donuts, hot cider, etc.). Join us in Hadley Hall and the Cloister Garden after the 10:00 am service for Ciderfest to celebrate our commitment to moving forward in all the ways that we are giving from the heart.

    Your pledge makes a significant different to our life together. As of Tuesday, we have received $640,745 in pledges bringing us a little over halfway to our goal of $1.2 million.  If you have not yet submitted your pledge, please complete it online this week or bring your pledge card on Sunday to bring to the altar when you come forward to receive Communion. For those who have pledged already, there will be cards available at the back of the church so that you can participate in physically presenting your pledge at the offering. Your pledges have a direct impact on our life together through how we support our wonderful staff and the programs we plan for next year.

    I look forward to seeing and celebrating with you this Sunday,

  • October 26, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Parish of the Epiphany's Journey to Justice (J2J) logoDear Church Family,

    It is with great excitement that I am writing to you today! This past Sunday, we launched Epiphany’s new Journey to Justice (J2J) with 50 or so members of our community in attendance. Rev. Janelle Hiroshige, Rev. Edwin Johnson, Lisa Core, and I gave an overview of what we hope this newly imagined iteration of Mission and Outreach will be. 

    We talked about justice: why Christians should care about justice, how charity and justice are at odds yet intertwined, and what it means to see our engagement through a justice lens as we move into this next chapter. We talked about journeys: moving from faith being a Sunday morning thing to living our faith daily in the world, moving from charity to justice, moving from racism to antiracism, moving from doing for (saving others) to doing with (mutual partnership), moving from harmful actions to empathy and allyship. There are so many journeys to take together as we learn and grow.

    I am excited about ALL of this! I am excited about journeying with each of you. I am excited for us to learn about ourselves, our community, our history, and the societal structures in which we live, to think critically and feel deeply, and then to act with justice at the center of what we do. 

    I am excited about engaging the entire parish in this work so keep your eyes open for more information. Please share your email address with me (click on my name below) if you would like to receive a monthly J2J email about upcoming opportunities for engagement, and join us for our next gathering on Sunday, November 19 at 11:30 am. It's never too late to start this journey!

    Lastly, I am excited to be on this journey with our fantastic clergy. Rev. Nick and Rev. Janelle both bring a true heart and passion for justice work to Epiphany. I am incredibly grateful to Rev. Nick for including Outreach/J2J in Rev. Janelle’s responsibilities. This is the first time in my 25 years at Epiphany that our work has had staff representation. The.First.Time. Having our incredible staff as partners in this work is the reason that this significant change from Mission and Outreach to Journey to Justice is possible. 

    With gratitude for this church community and our journeys together,
    Betsy Walsh
    Co- chair, Journey to Justice

  • October 19, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Exterior of the Parish of the Epiphany, located in Winchester, MALast Sunday, we gathered informally after the 8:00 am service and after the 10:00 am service for a State of the Church Forum to hear Reverend Nick talk about what is happening at Epiphany. Rev. Nick’s message was clear: We are a vibrant and growing parish. We continue to see new energy and vitality as we welcome new visitors every week, welcome new households who call Epiphany their home, and many of us are deepening our connection with each other and our faith through attending one or many of our programs this year: Parent Book Groups, Parent Conversation Series, Church School, Grades 6-12 activities, Rev. Nick’s Discover Course, Faith Circles, Midweek, Word & Table, and eagerly looking forward to next Sunday’s launch of J2J (Journey to Justice) after the 10:00 am service. 

    We also explored how we fund the budget that supports these activities. During our fall stewardship campaign, we as a parish community determine the revenue that will support our budget for the following year, and every household is invited to join in
    making a pledge to financially support our worship community for the coming year. Historically, pledges have represented 90% of our revenues, and our vestry uses the pledge totals to build the next year’s budget for clergy and staff salaries, program costs, and building maintenance that are the nuts and bolts of what we do together as a parish.

    In 2023, salaries and benefits were the largest item in our budget (54%), followed by property (18%, including a significant annual provision to our maintenance fund), Journey to Justice (formerly Mission & Outreach) and Diocesan Support (13%), and our various programs and ministries. See the chart below for details:

    Our $1.2 million goal this year supports sustaining existing programs, increases in salaries and health insurance costs, inflationary increases in property-related costs, and the annual increase in our assessed contribution to the Diocese. We are also hoping to increase our median pledge from 2023’s median of $2,400 to something closer to $5,500 in order to reduce our reliance on the small group of households (20) whose pledges currently cover 42% of our operating budget. If you read nothing else in this message, please read this: While this is an important goal, we want to make sure that everyone hears that the $5,500 median is not intended to be an individual challenge. It is a collective goal to distribute our pledges more evenly in order to make our budget more sustainable. Please be assured that the pledge that is right for you is exactly where you should be, and we are immensely grateful for your contribution to our lives together. For some that number may sound insanely high and for some it is a good reminder that, unlike the contributions we make to many organizations, our pledge here at Epiphany represents our share of the budget that supports our life together. It is hard to craft a message that each of us will hear in the way that God is calling us to listen. Thank you, friends, to each of you for who you are and for all the ways that you come together to make us who we are.

    The vestry and stewardship committee encourage anyone who wants to know more about our hopes for 2024 or who would like a more in-depth discussion of the details behind these numbers to reach out to us. You may connect with us individually, or email We would love to talk to you!

    The Ingathering will be celebrated on Sunday, November 5, where during the 8:00 am and 10:00 am services we will rejoice and give thanks to God for our pledging gifts for the upcoming year. We welcome you to stay after the 10:00 am service to continue in celebration of our parish life together with a New England-themed Ciderfest, an Epiphany tradition featuring friendship, apple cider donuts, and cider.

    Nelia Newell and Heather Keith-Lucas, Stewardship Co-Chairs

  • October 12, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A pair of hands serving CommunionHave you ever looked back at your prior self and seen how you’ve grown? If you were to ask me years ago, “Why do we pledge?” I may have given you a practical response: “We pledge to set expectations for next year’s budget. Operationally, we need to know the income we expect from pledging to pay our staff, facilities maintenance, and bills.” Truthful and to the point; nevertheless, a definition of stewardship that is flat and dry.

    Except, I have been unable to reconcile such a definition that fits this place. For me, Epiphany is warm, vibrant, and nurturing. Epiphany is growing, thriving, and connecting people in meaningful ways that fill my soul and sustain me.

    As co-chair of Stewardship, I’ve been contemplating the scripture of our Stewardship campaign: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)  Then, on Stewardship Sunday, Rev. Nick shared with us, “Stewardship is everything you do after you say ‘YES’ to God.” Then Rev. Janelle preached.  “This is obvious, but trees don’t eat their own fruit, right? The whole point of bearing fruit is for others.” We are “Stewards, not owners; relinquishing control and leaving room for surprise.”

    And I listened to this podcast from The Bible Project that explores a story about two Harvard Business School Graduates who are confronted with a biblical view of money that changes their lives. (It’s worth the hour!)

    The result is my answer to “Why do we Pledge to Epiphany?” has transformed.

    We pledge to Epiphany because:

    • We believe that we will be transformed by sharing our lives with each other.
    • We care for our exceptional staff’s financial security in the form of salary & benefits.
    • We are guardians of this place and everything we have belongs to God.

    If our ‘why’ is transformed, then determining how much to pledge deserves to be reconsidered. That said, the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ of pledging are the same:

    What does a pledge do?
    In the Episcopal Church, we fund our own budget. Pledges fund 90% of Epiphany’s budget. We raise our own money and we can only budget for what we expect to receive. For example, we cannot commit to salaries for clergy and staff without pledges to match.

    When should I pledge?
    Submit your pledge by November 5th. If we don’t know your pledge, we cannot budget.

    How should I pledge?
    Pledges need to be received in writing or directly entered by you into Realm (our secure database) for audit purposes. Our Finance Administrator and Treasurer thank you!

    How much should I pledge?
    The amount is discerned between you and God. A preliminary estimate is the median pledge donation needs to be $5,500 to sustain the current budget. We receive annual pledges of $100 and others that exceed $25,000. All pledge amounts are appreciated. 

    Where can I find more financial details?
    The 2024 Stewardship Brochure
    On October 15 for an informal discussion after the 8:00 am service.
    On October 15 at the State of the Church after the 10:00 am service.

    Email and a member of our Stewardship Committee will respond.

    Heather Keith-Lucas
    Co-Chair of Stewardship

  • October 05, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Three Parish of the Epiphany parishioners volunteering at St. Luke's-San Lucas in ChelseaWhere do you find God? Some of you might say, in our Sunday services — listening to music, prayers, and liturgy. Some of you might say, in nature — experiencing God’s creation. Others might say, in community — gathering together and sharing life. In my own life, one of the ways that I have felt most connected to God is being connected with those that find themselves on the margins of our society.

    Matthew 25:35-36, 40 says this: "'For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these siblings of mine, you did it to me.'”

    This is the distinction. When we care for our neighbors in this way, we aren’t just doing what Jesus would do, but are actually serving Christ himself.

    When I came on staff, I was given two focus areas — youth formation and community partnerships. Within community partnerships was the expectation of working with our Mission & Outreach group to explore new models and new partnerships. For the past year, we have been discerning where God might be calling us next, in this new chapter that is unfolding here at Epiphany. In meetings, forums, book groups, and listening to you, there is a strong desire to be connected to our neighbors in a more authentic way.

    After much thought and discussion, we are excited to embark on a journey, a Journey To Justice. Mission & Outreach (M&O) will now be called Journey To Justice (J2J). We feel it is time to have the courage to let go of old priorities and to trust God leading us to new understanding and new action.

    We will continue to serve in many of the same ways, but with a justice lens to identify ways to work to transform the systems that exacerbate inequity and injustice in our world. For example, along with serving at the St. Luke’s feeding programs we will learn about food insecurity and what systems need to change in order for everyone to have enough. We will pair our service in the community with learning and advocacy work.

    For this program year, we feel called to focus on these areas: food justice, immigration justice, and racial justice. Focusing will help us define where we serve, how we spend funds and what we learn about. This will allow us to think more deeply and act more intentionally as we strive to live God’s justice, God’s righteousness, God’s shalom in this world.

    Monthly gatherings will kick off on Sunday, October 22 and will consist of a topic presentation and thoughtful discussion that will help guide us along our journey. We will meet on Sundays after church instead of on a weeknight hoping that this will allow greater participation. We will devote most of our time to formation and learning together.

    The Journey begins on October 22 after the 10:00 am service. We are excited to welcome the Rev. Edwin Johnson as our preacher at our services that morning along with Episcopal City Mission as we embark on this new Journey to Justice. We would be thrilled to have you join us! 

    If you have questions, please contact Betsy Walsh or Janelle Hiroshige.

  • September 28, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Group Photo of Epiphany's 2023 Parish Weekend AwayLast weekend, 90 of us ranging in age from not-yet-walking to walking-slower-than-we-used-to converged on the Barbara C. Harris Camp & Conference Center for our Parish Weekend Away, a weekend of time together. Rev. Nick started off Saturday morning with an invitation to think about Jesus’ words to his disciples at his final meal with them: “I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” (John 15:15). What does it mean to be friends to one another? And what does it mean for Epiphany to be a place where we are a friend to those around us and those around us are a friend to us? The memories and stories that we shared extended well beyond the 90 of us who were there this weekend. I doubt there is anyone reading this who did not somehow figure in someone’s thoughts and stories.

    The weekend was not all thoughtful conversation about friendship; there were plenty of ways to learn and play with old and new friends, and we have a treasure trove of new photos for the parish newsletter and website! Amid the fun, I discovered that doing something different with someone was an opportunity to get to know them better and was reminded of what a gift this community is. Thank you to each of you for being the person that you are.

    The weekend was also a reminder of the willingness of so many in this parish to volunteer your time and the gifts that so many of you have to plan, to teach, and to put on an amazing event. Thank you not only for all that you did, but for your welcoming smiles and joy!

    On Sunday we will kick off our stewardship campaign and we hope that we will all take the time in the next month both to celebrate this community that we love and to consider how we will each financially support our life together. It is not easy to have conversations about money, but an important gift that we can give one another is to learn how to have open conversations about what we need to put together a 2024 budget that will continue the exceptional staff and programming that are so integral to who we are and who we are becoming.

    Your friend, 
    Nelia Newell

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 

Location & Contact

70 Church Street
Winchester, MA 01890
Phone: 781.729.1922


   © The Parish of the Epiphany

Privacy Policy

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software