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Watering Seeds at Epiphany

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 

Location & Contact

70 Church Street
Winchester, MA 01890
Phone: 781.729.1922


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