The fall is flying by and soon our beloved Rector will return to us. There will be much to share on both sides – what we have learned, how we have grown in our faith and life, and how we have changed. We began the Program Year by looking at what it means to be a follower of Jesus, a disciple. We have been looking at our Baptismal Promises, especially the one that bids us “to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves.” We have asked the question, “who is our neighbor” as we invite those new to our community of faith and as we encounter the stranger in our daily lives.
Despite the fact that our Rector, our Interim Director of Music, and our Youth Minister have been absent for a good portion of the fall, we have continued to thrive and grow. Many of you have stepped up and given even more of your time to help keep our programs vital and engaging for our children, youth, and adults, and for that I am truly grateful.
Now we are in the heart of our Annual Commitment Campaign. Our Neighbor to Neighbor program for stewardship is moving into its third and final week. If you have not received the blue 3Crowns bag yet, please let us know. We need everyone’s commitment, even if your circumstances have changed since last year. Rather than saying that you cannot pledge at all, I invite you to make some pledge as a sign of your commitment to God and to the ministry of this Parish. For those of us blessed with resources, I hope that you will prayerfully consider increasing your pledge by five percent. This increase will help us go beyond the programs and ministries already in place.
As some of you know, we are excited about starting Stephen Ministry here at Epiphany. Stephen Ministry is a special training program for lay people that deepens the pastoral care already in place here and offers one-on-one companionship with those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, employment, illness, or other life transition. Stephen Ministry has been in existence for over thirty years and over one hundred different denominations all over the world have benefited from its training and resources. We would like to send four lay people from our Parish along with me to a week-long training in January. These four will then become the trainers for our Epiphany Visitors, Lay Eucharistic Visitors, and Prayer team, along with those who wish to become a Stephen Minister.
In a Parish of our size, having someone on staff who can administer the many aspects of communication is crucial to our common life. With your increased pledge we may be able to hire a part-time communications person to keep our website fresh and engaging, help us keep Epiphany current with social media, and find new ways to invite those who are looking for a faith community.
We have much to give thanks to God for as we look forward to Thomas’ return. It will be a huge gift to him if he sees how much our love of God has grown and our commitment to this Parish has grown. Let’s make this Annual Commitment Campaign the best ever!
In gratitude and faith,