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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."

  • 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

  • September 21, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Parish of the Epiphany children hugging at annual retreat at Barbara C. Harris CampThis weekend we go to camp: Barbara C. Harris Camp, in particular. We are very excited for this year's Parish Weekend Away. And, while we all cannot attend, it is good to know that we are bound together by the Spirit in all our gathering together.

    Growing up, camp was a place of joy and laughter, fun and faith, but also touched by the familiar feeling of nervousness. I was nervous, wondering: Will people make fun of me? Will I be liked? Will I fit in? Meeting new people, going beyond the casual "hello," making friends is always a bit of a risk. Making friends asks something of us and that can be challenging. You likely know this from your place of work, your time at school, simply being a neighbor, and by being a part of Epiphany. Over the past few years we have focused on renewing our relationships here at Epiphany by simply being together. This year, we want to deepen our relationships with God and one another by making time and spaces for us to become friends. Friends? What does that have to do with church?

    One of the last things Jesus says is this: I no longer call you servants; I call you friends. I think if we are understanding Jesus, he has told us that being friends has everything to do with church. Friends share their lives with one another. Friends are dependable and understanding. Friends value one another simply because they are—as who they are. Friends, Jesus tells us, love one another. In a world that makes it harder and harder to simply have friends and be friends, Jesus' invitation to friendship is no small thing. As humans, friendship is an antidote to loneliness. As Christians, friendship is an invitation into love—God's love.

    This weekend, this year, I want to invite you deeper into friendship with God and friendship with one another. Our lives are bound together as the Body of Christ; yes, God's Spirit binds us together—it's just a given since our lives are held in the one true love of God. As the saying goes: you show me your friends, I'll show you your future. Knowing this, we can simply be who we are together, because, in Christ, we have a friend and our future with God and one another is certain. It's all love. Let our life together make it so.

    Have a blessed weekend, friends,

  • September 14, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Parish of the Epiphany's Youth BBQ in September 2023This past weekend, we had our Youth Fall BBQ kick-off hosted by the Clarks in Arlington (thanks Clark family!). I was curious to see how it would go, knowing that we would have new 6th graders with us. I knew we would be running the gamut from 6th to 11th graders present, which is quite a jump!

    It ended up being a wonderful start to the new program year. The most memorable moment actually came at the very end of the evening, when parents were coming to pick up their youth. By that time, it was getting darker and out in the grass two of our high schoolers started to toss a frisbee with two of our 6th graders.

    I can imagine that being a 6th grader and joining the group with “the big kids” would be quite daunting. And here, in the most gentle of ways, they were handed a frisbee and welcomed into the game by two high schoolers, five years older and just about double in height.

    In my time at Epiphany thus far, by far the most common word I hear when describing our community is “inter-generational.” This tends to be a goal of most church communities. For us, not only is it a reality, but it’s a value. A community can be inter-generational without it being an inter-generational community. Just like how diversity doesn’t automatically mean there’s equity. But I have already seen the seeds of the real stuff here at Epiphany.

    When we say “inter-generational” we tend to think of kids, youth, and adults, but what we witnessed this past Saturday was inter-generational care and connection within a youth group. We all know that every grade between 6th and 12th grade involves some significant life development and growth. And at school, you’d typically stick with the people in your grade. But at church, we practice friendship across grades, generations, and all kinds of difference, because that’s what Jesus would do.

    I am looking forward to the ways we build community with one another this year, bringing little bits of heaven here on earth.

    With gratitude,
    Rev. Janelle

  • September 07, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Parishioners eating lunch at Parish of the Epiphany's 2021 Rally Day celebrationI recently learned that whenever I said the word parish, my 10-year-old son thought I was saying perish. As in “die, whither way, suffer ruin.” As you might imagine, as a staff member here at Epiphany, I say the word parish a lot. And as someone in Children’s Ministry, I was more than a little wide-eyed that I hadn’t caught this before. I mean, good grief, my own child was hearing the opposite of what I intend to preach: that we come to this parish to find life abundant, shared, and full of eternal hope. 

    After establishing that this verbal confusion hadn’t caused my son any unnecessary existential crises, I had two thoughts: first, that church language proves once again to be exclusionary and too often left undefined. 

    My second thought was that my son could say I'm the Director of Parish Life and Oxymorons

    But back to that first thought: as we head into the fall, let's lay out some things that can clearly be misunderstood. 

    1. Parish means this church–the building but also the people. We are all the parish—all who come and worship here, and consider this place a part of our lives. We are the parish together. And this parish is a place of life, growth, hope, and joy. 
    2. The Program Year is how we refer to September through June, when we have lots of regular programs going on all week long. The opposite of the Program Year is summer, when things are quieter and fewer programs are happening during the week. The Program Year starts this weekend.
    3. Rally Day is like a big festive kick-off for the Program Year. It is this Sunday, September 10, after worship. It’s fun, and the food is delicious. After Rally Day, our ‘23-24 Program Year has officially begun, and we jump back into all sorts of formation opportunities. 
    4. Formation can mean everything one does when walking and growing in faith–prayer, music, worship, outreach, fellowship, small groups–but also we use this word to mean more overtly teachy sorts of things like Bible studies, church school, and adult classes. Friends, there are so many opportunities about to begin. 

    Dear parish, I am so grateful, and so excited, to begin this new season together. I think it’s going to be an awfully good year. 


  • August 24, 2023 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I always find this time of the year to be particularly nostalgic. Summer is winding down, and these days, the mornings have a slight crisp to the air reminiscent of the upcoming fall. How is it that summer is already almost over? I wish I could hold on, but whether we are ready or not, the seasons come and go.

    This season tends to be full of transitions. Even though I am no longer a student, fall always seems like the start of a new year! Kids are entering new grades at school. Some of you might be starting new jobs or different roles in work or life. Some of you have welcomed new little ones into your family. Some of you are saying goodbye to children as they leave for new schools in the fall. Some of you have been traveling to new places and some of you to old places. And at Epiphany, our program year begins with a bit of a homecoming for Rally Day on September 10. The calendars are starting to fill, and there’s anticipation in the air!

    All of these are reminders of the passage of time, inevitably accompanied by change. 

    Now I don’t want to give away the whole sermon on Sunday, but the Old Testament lesson tells the story of two of my favorite Biblical heroes — Shiphrah and Puah. They are the Hebrew midwives who defied Pharaoh. They were ordered to kill all Hebrew boys. They did not follow these orders and allowed the boys to live. The scripture commends them for their faith! They are praised for their civil disobedience and resistance of abusive power systems.

    As we know, the role of a midwife is to help birth something new (normally a baby). But what if we were to expand this imagery to our time together at Epiphany? I believe much of the church's work is to be like a midwife because the Spirit of God is always birthing something new. In the midst of change and transition, we are called as Christians to cultivate new life. Part of this role is relinquishing control, looking to areas where we might not normally look, and acknowledging that sometimes things will hurt. It’s not easy and not always comfortable! But the joy of new life is worth it. 

    We don’t know yet what this new year at Epiphany will hold. Perhaps this time next year, we can look back with gratitude at all the new life we cultivated.

    With hope,
    Rev. Janelle

Location & Contact

70 Church Street
Winchester, MA 01890
Phone: 781.729.1922


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