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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."

  • March 29, 2019 3:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    March was a poignant month, there’s no getting around it. We had our individual and communal journeys in saying farewell to Thomas. Even though he “has left the building,” we are still on this path. In this part of our clergy transition process, many of us are still actively experiencing the “saying goodbye” phase while starting to look toward what’s next.

    With that in mind, we do have much to look forward to:

    Our Transition Process

    • Canon Martha Hubbard returns this Sunday, 7 April. She will preside and preach and also will meet with the vestry at noon to kick off our transition planning.
    • During the next vestry meeting on 10 April, we will be discussing the process of forming our Search Committee. Please stay tuned for some additional insights coming from that discussion.
    • Our search for an Interim Rector is progressing. Suzanne Owayda and I have received a candidate name from our Bishops and Canon Hubbard. This candidate is currently finishing up as Interim Rector in another parish and then will be on sabbatical for a few months. For now, we’re investigating mutual interest and a possible starting time frame. While we are very early in this process, we want to provide as much information to you as we can, and we hope to share additional news soon.
    • Our own Miriam Gelfer is now serving as our Bridge Priest, while we anticipate the arrival or our Interim Rector. Miriam will be increasing her hours with us during this period, similar to when Thomas was on sabbatical in 2017. Please know that Miriam is committed to us throughout this transition process and will be working in concert with any Interim Rector whom we select. For now, Miriam and your wardens are working to secure some additional preaching help for Sundays – you will see some familiar faces in the pulpit in the coming weeks and months.
    • There’s a new page on our Parish website where you can browse through materials related to our transition. We will be adding to it throughout the transition. Click here to see current information.

    Our Elevator – It’s Happening!

    The momentum is building for our long-awaited elevator. Here are some highlights:

    • Our Accessibility Committee continues their hard work with our Construction Manager, CE Floyd. Our construction project was officially kicked off in late February.
    • At the March vestry meeting, we approved spending $75,000 to cover costs of some items requiring a long lead time.
    • We are on track to receive final pricing for the elevator on 22 April, and we will have a special vestry meeting shortly thereafter where we will vote to approve and fund the entire project.
    • We plan to break ground on 21 May.
    • Please help us complete the funding effort for the elevator and give generously to the Together Forever Property Fund. Click here to learn more!

    Finally, I leave us with a beautiful prayer I found on the front cover of our Diocese’s Parish Transition Process Document:

    O God, you know us better than we know ourselves. Guide us in our search for a new clerical leader. Empower each one of us to use our unique ministries, to share openly and honestly our thoughts, to respect the opinions of others, and to encourage humility, patience and joy. Instill in us a vision of the Church’s family that guided by your Holy Spirit we will be united in love and joyfully accomplish this mission of discovering the one you have called to service with us as our Rector. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

    Wishing us all the deepest peace.

    With gratitude for each of you,

  • March 22, 2019 10:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A confession, to start: I cringe when I hear clergy who take leave of their congregations by reciting long lists of accomplishments. You know what I mean. “I did this and that” or “when I arrived we had this many people, and now we have this many more” or “because of our work in this area we are now known throughout the diocese as the church who…”—it’s the same list no matter the words, and it’s usually about the clergyperson, not the congregation. I hope that neither this my last pastoral article for The Three Crowns, nor Sunday’s sermon falls within such lines.

    Nonetheless, there are memories, especially particular moments over these ten years that I shall always remember and cherish. I remember as if it were yesterday what it was like to anticipate joining you, those summer days in 2009 between the time when the vestry called me and Rally Day, the first Sunday I preached. What I remember most is feeling terribly excited and immeasurably scared.

    In late August of that year, Tom and I had moved into the rectory on Lakeview Road, and then we scooted north to the Saint Lawrence River to play and to get ready for Rally Day. I remember the insomnia in those days; I would lie awake throughout the night wondering how I could possibly be the Rector of the Parish of the Epiphany. After all, they all went to Harvard and Wellesley. Epiphany is really big, and I don’t know anything about big churches. They don’t have a parking lot.

    I was genuinely scared, and I also felt deeply called to join you. Both. At a party one evening, standing in the kitchen of a neighbor’s cottage, I met a woman whose grandmother grew up at the Parish of the Epiphany. It was one of those small world connections all of us experience from time to time. She herself was a teacher at a prestigious boarding school; she was leaving The River in the morning to start her 22nd year of teaching. When I wasn’t prattling on about feeling intimidated about coming to the Parish of the Epiphany, I peppered her with questions about her grandmother. She listened. Then, after a little while, she asked, “wanna know what I think they’ll most want from you?” She continued, “just be curious, and listen. The rest will follow.”

    The curiosity part came naturally; the listening part not so much. And, that my dear friends, is what you have given me: a greater capacity to listen. I’ll never be the greatest listener, but I’m far more centered than I was in 2009, and that’s because of your patient, and sometimes impatient, method of forming me as a spiritual leader. I can feel—just as surely as I felt intimidation ten years ago—the truth that I am more interested to learn through listening than to teach by leading and speaking. Thank you.

    I suppose the next most grating characteristic of clergy leave-taking, after the recitation of accomplishments, is the clergy person who punctuates her or his tenure by giving advice. Guilty, as charged, but my advice isn’t a long list, it’s just one thing, and it’s not about you, and it’s not about me, and it’s not about the church—its budget or its ministry.

    Barbara Brown Taylor, the great preacher of the Episcopal Church, sometimes begins her sermons by saying, “Come Holy Ghost, for if you are with us nothing else matters, and if you are not with us, nothing else matters.” Here’s a take on that provocative statement: make the love of Jesus Christ your central focus. Everything else will follow. If what you do and who you are is about Jesus and his gospel of freedom, grace, and mercy, the Parish of the Epiphany will continue to reflect the kingdom. For if it’s about Jesus nothing else matters, and if it’s not about Jesus, nothing else matters.

    Jesus once said, “peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you…do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” Whatever peace I leave with you, or take with me to Maine, it is not mine, and it is not yours. It comes from our Lord, who desires to give us this gift always, and to lead us boldly into something new.

    My love for you remains, that’s for sure. So too will my thanks for all that you’ve taught me, all the ways you’ve shaped me. Unlike 2009, when I felt intimidated and excited, I leave you now feeling immensely joyous, and immeasurably thankful.

    Peace be with you.


  • March 14, 2019 2:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    …in our new elevator! It’s been a long time coming, but as you’ve probably heard by now, we have signed the construction agreement and will be breaking ground this spring. Epiphany’s elevator will “allow all of God’s beloved, not just the able-bodied, to participate fully in the life of our parish.” *

    While a fully-accessible campus has been a vision of Epiphany’s leaders for decades, it is finally happening thanks to those families who donated to our Together Now (2012) and Together Again (2015) capital campaigns, to the Vestry who contributed funds from two of our designated funds, and to generous families who have pledged over the past few months in the quiet phase of our current campaign. And not to be forgotten, the dedicated volunteers who have devoted countless hours to this vision over the years. Just some of the improvements we have made to date include the attractive ramp to the front of the church, the new accessible entrance to Hadley Hall from Church Street, and the power door to an ADA-compliant bathroom. We are in the home stretch now.

    Some of you may be thinking, I get all of these improvements so far, but why do we need to invest in an elevator? The reason is to enable us to truly integrate and welcome everyone into our parish life, regardless of physical ability. Our Parish is thriving. Our programming has expanded and we are currently using the Upper Parish Hall almost every week as a gathering space after church. However, these programs are primarily aimed at young families (because of the stairs), and it divides our community. Our current ability to fully occupy that beautiful space is limited, and any activities that are held there automatically exclude a good percentage of us.

    Going forward, the elevator will enable us to use our Upper Parish Hall for more multi-generational and parish-wide events (remember the Boar’s Head Feast and junior choir plays?). It will be helpful for choir members who regularly use this space. It will facilitate transporting food from the kitchen to provide hospitality for our activities and will make the space more attractive for outside rentals. And the elevator is not for just the second floor. We can more easily move items up from the basement for rummage and the fair, fully utilize the basement rooms for committee meetings, make another set of bathrooms available to all, and help participants in weekly parent groups get their strollers downstairs. The elevator will make it seamless to travel around the building, and clearly demonstrate that we value the participation of every member of our church.

    In a forward-thinking move, Epiphany’s leaders decided to combine this final push to complete the elevator with the establishment of a new designated fund that will also provide for future large-scale property needs. This January the Vestry approved the Together Forever Property Fund along with a short fundraising campaign with a goal of $150,000. This campaign will top off the funding needed to complete the elevator ($70K) and seed our new Together Forever Property Fund ($80K). Thereafter, the fund will provide an object for planned giving and a funding base for future capital projects such as the master landscaping plan or a possible renovation of the Upper Parish Hall.

    On a personal note, I can say how grateful I am that the ramp to the sanctuary was completed before my husband Rick was confined to a wheelchair. It made it easy for us to walk through the front door of our church every Sunday. We felt at home, and not like an inconvenience. I am eager for the day when everyone in our Parish family feels similarly welcome throughout our entire building.

    …for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”   Isaiah 56:7

    Eileen Marks
    Chair, Elevator Fundraising Steering Committee

    If you would like to learn more or contribute to the Together Forever Property Fund, please click here. To learn more about Epiphany’s progress over the years toward becoming a fully accessible campus, please click here.

    *from Epiphany’s Accessibility Master Plan (2013)

  • March 08, 2019 11:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ...and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. The Methodist Hymnal, #93

    Once upon a time, beginning in 1830, a missionary roamed the vast, lonesome and wild terrain of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, ministering to the Indians of the Great Lakes. Bishop Frederic Baraga, known as the Snowshoe Priest, traveled by foot over 500 miles every winter through blinding snowstorms and deep forests, over trackless mountains to the remote villages of five tribes.

    A modern-day traveler can discover more about Bishop Baraga’s life by visiting the Shrine of the Snowshoe Priest on Keweenaw Bay, featuring a 60-foot bronze statue atop 26-foot-long snowshoes. This curiosity is surrounded by five teepees, a table with votive candles, and a Cornish-Pasty stand. Tourists not awestruck by the Bishop’s treacherous calling to bring thousands to Christ in howling, arctic conditions probably liken this quirky, hidden shrine to others in its category, such as the famous Corn Palace in South Dakota, constructed entirely of corn husks, or the world’s largest concrete peanut sculpture in Oklahoma.

    One-hundred-fifty years later, a young lad was growing up not far from Keweenaw Bay in the Upper Peninsula. There Tommy Brown became a mediocre skier - even breaking his leg one season - on the nearby Porcupine Mountains. He played hooky with his classmates at the majestic Bond Waterfalls, only a bicycle ride away. His spiritual life began at the tiny Ewen Methodist Chapel, with only four pews on each side, and an organ, powered by a frayed extension cord, that he sometimes played. His faith grew in the summers at Camp Michigamme, a church camp where campers plunged into the glittering lakes, hiked through meandering forests and leaped over swift white rivers, and, when feeling puny - or faking it - would rest at the Ernest T. Brown Memorial Health Cabin, named after Tommy’s great-grandfather.

    It may be only a piece of a state, but it has a feel of a lost continent. If there’s a grander landscape on the planet, another intrepid new bishop just might begin discovering it soon in another state miles away.

    Tommy Brown, who grew into Thomas James Brown, Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Maine, might feel like he’s going home. Replacing snowshoes with snow tires and maybe a navigational gadget a bit more advanced than a compass, Thomas will be visiting congregations spread across 33,265 square miles. Thank goodness Bishop Baraga never snowshoed through Maine’s tangled, desolate 100-Mile Wilderness; he would have succumbed to exposure and starvation just trying to get out, a fate which has befallen even hikers of today. Near this unforgiving wilderness is Church of the Advent, the northernmost outpost of the diocese in Caribou, nearly in Canada.

    As he makes his way to All-Saints-by-the-Sea summer chapel on Bailey Island, probably with just four pews, the rugged seashore might remind Thomas of miles of crashing waves on the shores of his boyhood: Lakes Superior, Huron, and Michigan. He’ll climb to St. Peter’s Church in the eastern White Mountains, and gaze northward towards abandoned paper mills, reminiscent of abandoned copper mines of his youth.

    Thomas’s well-worn Book of Common Prayer will be next to him as he navigates those miles of two-lane winding, country roads. With the defroster full on and the windshield wipers frantically keeping the ice from forming an impenetrable crust, his flocks, from California to Vermont to Massachusetts are praying with him the beautiful Prayer for Travelers:

    Preserve those who travel;
    Surround them with your loving care;
    Protect them from every danger;
    And bring them in safety to their journey’s end;

    Godspeed, Thomas, and welcome home.

    Ellen Wilson, former warden and cross-country cyclist,
    including 533 miles in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

  • March 01, 2019 12:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Whenever I see a family in church on Sunday mornings I am in awe. I am in awe that they got themselves dressed and out the door and in church after a week of school, work, and many other activities. For those of us who do not have children, there is a deep sense of respect and awe that parents take their roles of nurturers so seriously. You often put your own needs aside to ensure that your children have everything that they need. Clearly, the Christian formation of your children matters to you. Week after week, you do whatever is necessary to get your kids to church and to Sunday school and Children’s worship. It’s not an easy task, but the payoff is beyond measure.

    Thomas and I notice when families come to the altar rail for communion. We notice the wonder in your children’s eyes, even children who are not yet two years old, getting caught up in the mystery taking place. Somehow, they know they are a part of it all. I see little thumbs and forefingers come together as I approach them with communion. They know something sacred is happening and they want to be a part of it! And I am in awe when a young boy receives communion and bows his head for prayer at the altar rail. He lingers longer than the rest of his family and it seems he is caught up in that liminal space that no words can describe. And I am in awe.

    In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus said, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14 ESV) At Epiphany we believe that our children and youth are vital members of our Parish and contribute to our common life by their wonder, their desire to learn about their faith, and their sheer joy in living every day. Our children have so much to teach us about the love of God. If we are patient and are willing to engage them, they will open our eyes and hearts to the mysteries of life that many of us have forgotten or ignored.

    I hope that if you haven’t had a chance to have a conversation with one of our children or youth that you will make a point of doing so. They are bright, funny, creative, and full of joy! As you engage them you just may see the world in a different way. And if you’re like me, you will be forever changed and filled with awe.

    Faithfully yours in Christ,

  • February 13, 2019 5:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What do you mean, sit in silence? You don’t talk to anyone? How do you do that? Why would you do it at all?

    I’ve had all of those questions and many more when I mention to friends that I will soon be leaving for an annual silent retreat. I’ve had similar, if less intense, reactions to the idea of gathering in the chapel at Epiphany for contemplative prayer. I am often surprised by the response of stunned disbelief at the thought of not talking, at least out loud, for some length of time.

    So what does happen on a silent retreat, or even in the half-hour, contemplative prayer service at Epiphany on Thursday mornings at 9:00am? There are, of course, the logistics. We use simple spoken prayers to lead to the silence; we use the chime of a singing bowl to enter into silence; we sit before the chapel altar with lit candles and an icon. We sit in silence for fifteen minutes before another prayer takes us back into fifteen more silent moments. We say amen after a final short prayer and go our way.

    And the prayer? There are no rules other than to keep silence. But in the silence, prayer is the process of building and deepening our relationship with God. Talking and listening are the foundation on which all relationships are built. It’s no different with God.

    Jesus tells us to ask for what we need, to ask for our deepest desires. Jesus also holds us in our anger, sadness, despair, fear, or joy and gratefulness. We can tell him anything and ask for help, forgiveness, love, or strength and courage. We can ask for a change of heart or the strength to make a change. We can always talk to God – about anything.

    Listening is what happens if we stop talking, if we quiet the narrative that is so often going on in our heads. It’s what happens if we try to enter the silence, calm our minds, slow our breathing, and simply sit with Jesus. We don’t have to ‘do’ anything. We have the privilege of not worrying about what we need to achieve, we can simply be – open and receptive to the ultimate love that Jesus represents. It’s an opportunity to pay attention and to open the creaky gates of our hearts.

    Maybe you’ve tried this kind of silence and contemplation and you just couldn’t sit still or your mind continued to race. That’s what often happens to me. But, I think God calls us to be faithful, to keep on trying, to care about the deep relationship that can only be built by intentional talking and listening, even if it’s in five-minute increments. I invite you to join us on Thursday mornings or to begin your own practice, somewhere in your day. Say it all from your heart and open your heart to hear. God’s love is always with us.

    Mary Street

  • February 08, 2019 11:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Every child is born with a biologically based capacity for natural spirituality. This natural spirituality, if it is supported, is a tremendous resource for health and thriving. The research supports this: adolescents with a strong personal spirituality are 60 percent less likely to suffer from substance use and abuse and 80 percent less likely to engage in risky and unprotected sex than adolescents who are not spiritually oriented…Religion traditionally offers a language and guidance for spiritual growth and development, as well as a sense of community and relationships based upon spiritual values. These are all critical elements of developing a personal spirituality.    Quote from Lisa Miller author of The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving

    Thank you for allowing me to attend the 2019 FORMA conference in Indianapolis, Indiana on 23 -25 January. FORMA is a network for Episcopal formation leaders whose mission is to celebrate, equip, support, and connect leaders who form followers of Jesus. Both lay ministers, like myself, and clergy gathered from all over the U.S. to attend this conference to connect with each other and learn how others are forming children, youth, and adults as people of faith. I have never attended a conference like this before and it was such a gift. It was a full schedule of worship, workshops, lectures, and networking receptions. I met and made friends with many other formation leaders from all over the U.S. It was an eye-opening experience for me to realize that I am not alone in the challenges of formation ministry. The conference offered a snapshot of where the Episcopal Church is today, helped remind me why this ministry is so vital right now, and gave glimpses of the many different ways we are formed to be the Body of Christ in the world. It was a gift to see how others are creatively working on this challenge, especially with children, youth, and intergenerational formation. The conference provided an abundance of information and insight on the questions: how does Liturgy form us, and how are we forming people for Evangelism? Since returning, I have allowed this experience to stew for a while as there was much to take in.

    The two biggest things I came away with were:

    I learned to be comfortable worshipping with liturgy that is unfamiliar to me. To me and perhaps for you, the most essential way that I am formed as a Christian is in worship. I love traditional Anglican worship. It is comforting and familiar and what I grew up with. I was able to experience for myself what it feels like when we allow other voices into our traditional liturgy. I attended worship at Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis where worship and music were in both Spanish and English. Once I got over the discomfort of unfamiliarity, I found the worship joyful and freeing and opening. Our traditional worship is so beautiful to me but I saw that our worship can be exclusive and unwelcoming to someone unfamiliar with Anglican traditions and music. I experienced worship and music which opened up liturgy to allow the music and language of several other cultures; it also opened me up to new ways of being Church. A speaker during one of the lectures pointed out that keeping worship on our terms was a form of spiritual segregation and when other voices are invited to speak we are practicing vernacular Anglicanism. I experienced that we can hold the framework of our traditional worship and still allow for room to invite others into it.

    I learned that those in dire need are our children, youth, and families. In all of the workshops I attended, we named that the anxiety and stress and over scheduling that children, youth, and families feel is not balanced by the development and nurturing of an inner life right now. Our children and youth are growing up in a fast-paced, technological society where great demands are put on them to perform.  Our Church has the potential to become the counter-balance, the sanctuary for them and for us. We as Church could reach out to both those who walk through our door and to those who are not but should. This is where our work could be.

    Many of us left the conference with the realization that the Episcopal Church needs to transform quickly as it tries to align what Church is to what the reality is today. I have returned from this experience with renewed knowing in my heart that we, with the help of the Holy Spirit, are called to become more than what we are today. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves with all of you as we continue to form this blessed community together.


  • January 23, 2019 2:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Several years ago, during a challenging time in my life, my spiritual director gave me a wonderful quote from artist and writer Brian Andreas. His art is very quirky, which I love, and his quotes for each day either make me smile or give me hope. Here is the quote from Brian that she gave me: It is the way of all things that the night ends & the light returns. The light always returns...

    For those of you who find the winters difficult, especially with ice and cold and shorter days, this may give you some comfort. I know that I always rejoice when the Winter Solstice comes, for I know that sometime in February it will become clear that the days are indeed getting longer and with more daylight comes the hope of spring!

    For those who may be struggling with an illness or some issue in your life, I hope this quote reminds you that the light of Christ is in you and around you. Even if you do not feel it at times, the prayers and concern of others, along with God’s love are there to bolster you when you may be feeling completely alone or without help.

    The other thing that always amazes me is the fact that there are contemplative people all over the world – some who are monks and nuns and some who are lay people – who have devoted their lives to praying for others, even strangers. Someone, somewhere in the world, right now is praying for you and is praying for me. They may not know us by name, but they are praying all the same. These people of faith, of all faiths, pray for peace, for those in danger, for those who are dying, for those who have no one else to pray for them. Some of them chant their prayers and I believe that their music and prayers change the Universe somehow. Just like a stone thrown into a body of water creates ripples that go on far beyond what our eyes can see, so the intentional chant of prayerful people ripples out and changes the world. These prayers bring light where there is darkness. And when we pray for others, our prayers join that light that scatters the darkness.

    In the first chapter of the Gospel of John we hear, “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” Christ is our light and the darkness – whether it manifests itself as fear, anxiety, grief, depression, or illness – the darkness will be dispelled by the light of Christ that is in each one of us and dwells with people of faith in every corner of the world.

    When the light returns, we are not the same as we were. We are forever changed, maybe in small unaccountable ways, but we are changed nonetheless. “It is the way of all things that the night ends & the light returns. The light always returns....”

    Faithfully yours in Christ,

  • January 18, 2019 3:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear Dr. King,

    Today is your birthday, and it’s been 35 years since our nation’s Senate and House of Representatives agreed that we would take the third Monday in January of every year to remember you. I’m writing to you on a cold, sunny winter morning. Soon I will preach and celebrate the Holy Eucharist with a faithful band of people who desire healing and wholeness, as do I.

    All of that aside, what I want to say is that in your short life you made a remarkable contribution; you left an indescribable legacy. For those of us born after 1968, our experience of you comes from our ancestors, but that’s precisely the point: you have shaped at least two generations, including my own, in our understanding of racial healing and reconciliation.

    My nephew is black, born in Ethiopia. Next week he’ll have his 15th birthday. I think he’s the only person of color in his public high school in New Hampshire. I worry about him, Dr. King. I worry that navigating race in America as an identified racial minority will lead to unpredictable moments—out of nowhere—where he’ll have to encounter racism and disrespect. I was heartened at Christmas to see him and his cousins, some of whom are also not caucasian, speaking about their experiences as young people of color. They were laughing, comparing notes about the stupid things people say to them. Yet I was also disheartened to hear my nephew say within earshot of all the adults, “Yeah, I hate it when people just walk up to me and touch my hair like I’m something they’ve never seen before.”

    I serve a church that is predominantly white. When we talked about putting a black lives matter sign in front of the church one man said, “I think we’re behind that issue at Epiphany, thank God, so let’s not use signs to divide us.” President Obama was in office then, the man pointed that out to me and said, “doesn’t get much better than being president.”

    Still, I think, despite the work that’s ahead of us, you’d be overwhelmed by the progress we’ve made since you died. Our country is changed because of you, and because of thousands of others, of every race, who have marched forward to continue your dream.

    The thing about your teaching and preaching, at least as I’ve read and heard recordings, is that you helped us see racial healing as a moral imperative; you opened our eyes to Holy Scripture, and you showed us the way of love. That means that many of us are working for a United States of America that is not only fair but also morally and ethically just.

    So, on this your 90th birthday we reaffirm that racial or religious bigotry has no place in our nation, in our society, or our church.

    Happy Birthday, Dr. King. We shall overcome. We shall overcome.

    Faithfully in Christ,

  • January 11, 2019 2:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “Ask, and it will be given to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you” [Matthew 7:7]

    What? How can this be? All of us have experienced unanswered prayers, lost treasures, and closed doors. Surely, God is not Santa Claus doling out presents for good children who behave. Furthermore, I can’t believe we need prayers to convince God to take action or to inform God of our needs. God knows and acts and loves, without our prompting. So, why practice intercessory prayer? What good does it do?

    I’ve had several experiences in recent years that have made me, once skeptical of this spiritual discipline, a regular practitioner.

    First, an experience of asking for prayers. Several years ago, parishioner Brett Johnson asked if he might pray for my family. At his request, every few months, I send an email sharing specific joys and concerns of our family. Crafting this email is a centering and rewarding work. It forces me to think carefully about those I love. What do they need? What would help them grow? What blessings have they received recently? This task refocuses me on the most important issues in our life -- those experiences of grace that draw us into the abundant life Jesus promises and those experiences of suffering that hold within them the hope of resurrection. Asking for prayers transforms me. I wonder, how would our Parish be changed if each of us asked a fellow parishioner to share his/her deepest prayers with us?

    Second, an experience of offering prayers. For the last four years, I have had the privilege of helping to lead the prayer list team at Epiphany. Every week, one of us reaches out to members of our community who have asked us for prayers, either for themselves or those they love. We write to assure them of our prayers and to inquire about how their loved ones are faring. It’s deeply humbling work. I know how much trust and courage it takes to ask for prayers. When I write these emails, I’m filled with gratitude, humility, and connection. It’s one of those moments when I am sure that the Kingdom of God is at hand. Offering to pray for others transforms me. I wonder, how would our Parish be changed if more of us asked to place the names of those we love on our weekly prayer list?

    Finally, an experience of praying in community: Every Tuesday night, five to twelve of us gather in the Chapel at 6:00pm. We sit in a circle and recite the names of those who are on our prayer list. It’s a short, contemplative service. To be honest, there are weeks when my brain is racing through the first fifteen minutes. In these moments, I often imagine God smiling gently, waiting for me to return to the present. And I look around at the faces of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I also know that there are others who will receive the prayer list via email and have promised to lift up these needs to God. I feel inspired by their faith and welcomed by their love. Praying in community transforms me. I wonder, how would our Parish be changed if you (yes, YOU) joined us in person, or prayed with us at home on Tuesday night.

    And so, what good does intercessory prayer? Well, for me, it helps me return to the Good News of Christ Jesus - the promise that we are made for love, that we are called to deep connection with all of creation, and that we are never, never alone.

    Jacob Montwieler

Location & Contact

70 Church Street
Winchester, MA 01890
Phone: 781.729.1922



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