This is my final pastoral article in the 3 Crowns and it is filled with gratitude. For those of you who were members of Epiphany during “First Miriam” in the 90s, I am so grateful for the way you helped to form me as a parish priest. Those four years really grounded me in my vocation as a priest, pastor, and preacher.
Few priests have the opportunity as I have had to return to the first parish in which they served. From the first moment I returned in 2015 to the present, I am certain that God has had a hand in it all. New relationships, new ministries, and an even deeper sense of God working in and through all of you has been evident from my first day back.
I cannot say enough about the Staff at Epiphany. Thomas called us the “Dream Team” and he was right! I have never felt such collegiality as I have serving with Sarah T., Craig, Bryn, Brian, Fred, Suzy, Carolyn, and most recently, Sarah Conner. We struggled together, created together, laughed and cried together. Our focus has always been, “serving God and God’s people here and beyond our walls.”
The Lay Leadership at Epiphany is strong, confident, and dedicated. The Wardens, past and present, have given sacrificially of their time and talent, often at the expense of their own self-care. So many of you in the Parish are involved in lending your talents to serving on Sundays either behind the scenes or during the service; others are dedicated to the formation of our children, youth, and adults. There are so many vital ministries in this parish, and I have watched the way in which you engage everything you do with your hearts, minds, and souls!
At the heart of everything we do at Epiphany is prayer and worship. I have treasured every single Sunday morning with you in our beautiful sanctuary with Craig and our choir offering music to lift our souls and express the inexpressible. I have treasured the ebb and flow of the seasons of the church year and the seasons of our lives – baptisms and watching children and their families grow in faith; people new to the faith or new to Epiphany finding a spiritual home; our elders giving us much wisdom on how to live a life of commitment and grace; and all the ages in between, finding your voice and contributing to the life of this Parish. I have loved working with all of you in every age and stage of your faith journey. Your commitment to prayer, social justice, worship, and music has enriched my own faith and life and for that I will always be grateful.
As we know from the gospel stories, not one of us does this work alone. God sends us companions along the way to accompany us in our life’s work and our journey of faith. I could not have served you these last five years without the support, love, and encouragement of my spouse, Lisa. Being a clergy spouse is not always easy, to say the least, and Lisa has always been there for me, and has embraced the people I have served with over the years. Her generous heart and her love of offering hospitality has enhanced my ministry among you and been such a gift.
You all have changed my life in ways I cannot fully articulate. I will never forget your dear faces, the moments we have shared, the laughter, the tears, and the hugs. Although we may not see each other, our lives are forever linked and the connections of heart-to-heart will remain forever.
With deep gratitude and affection,