Practicing the Spiritual Disciplines Through Ministry
Lately I have been reflecting a lot about Epiphany. Epiphany is a place to worship God, learn to think theologically, and be in fellowship with other parishioners, all in the hope of helping us move along on our spiritual journeys. Every Sunday we hear one of the priests say, “Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you have a place at Epiphany.” What actually happens at Epiphany, and how does being on this Holy Ground help move people along on their spiritual journeys?
Doyt has talked about Spiritual Disciplines as being the exercises that help strengthen our souls and as Epiphany being the gym where we come to “work out.” One of the frameworks we use is the seven spiritual disciplines: prayer, worship, the liturgical rhythm, pilgrimage, sabbath, fasting, and tithing. Each of these disciplines (exercise circuits) allows us to work on a particular aspect of our spiritual life with the goal of what the Orthodox call “theosis” or “journeying into God.”
Sunday worship is one of the seven spiritual disciplines. When thinking about all of the moving parts in the pageantry of Sunday, it is important to remember that worship isn’t a show, it is a spiritual exercise. Everyone who comes for worship participates, from the worship leaders to those in the pews.
That being said, you may have noticed that it takes a lot of people (staff and volunteers) to enable worship to happen at Epiphany the way it happens. Each Sunday between the four services we generally have 2 priests, 2 organists, 10 ushers, 2 vergers, 12 Eucharistic Ministers, 6 – 8 acolytes, 4 lectors, 5 altar guild servers, one flower arranger, 2 sacristans, 4 – 8 food providers, 2 nursery workers, 1 hospitality specialist, 1 – 4 Adult Formation presenters, and 8 children and youth teachers and conveners. That is approximately 70 people involved each and every Sunday at Epiphany, and that doesn’t even include our 35+ choir members! The 70+ leaders have a role to play in nourishing each soul that comes to praise God at Epiphany on a Sunday. And through this heightened duty of soul service to each worshiper, the server’s soul is magnified as well.
Just as there are diverse ways to get a cardio workout (running, swimming, and biking to name a few) there are many ways to get a spiritual workout. Each person must decide for themselves which discipline they feel called to work on and then develop a circuit that best meets their unique spiritual path. Within each of the seven spiritual disciplines listed earlier, there are many ways to “work out” or exercise and strengthen our souls. Dallas Willard articulates them as Disciplines of Abstinence and Disciplines of Engagement (The Spirit of Discipline p. 158). The Disciplines of Abstinence are: solitude, silence, fasting, frugality, chastity, secrecy, and sacrifice. The Disciplines of Engagement are: study, worship celebration, service, prayer, fellowship, confession, and submission.
As a member of the liturgical team, as you might imagine, I spend a lot of time focused on Sunday worship. How can people delight in their souls and come into more full union with Jesus while serving in a liturgical role or contributing in other ways to the parish at times of worship? How can Sunday worship help people become more the person God wants them to be? How can participating as a worship leader help people to continue on their spiritual journey? Are there especially suited spiritual disciplines or “exercises” that people can explore through leading worship? I began to think about Dallas Willard’s Spiritual Disciplines and how each one might be practiced within the various ministries during Sunday worship.
Over the next few weeks I would like to explore with you how people at Epiphany might develop their own spiritual circuit using the disciplines in a way that works best for them. Look for sporadic reflections in the Weekly Word. To begin this dialogue, Doyt and I will be hosting an information session on the various ministries that participate in Sunday worship at Epiphany on August 31st at 7:30 in the chapel. Please join us to learn more about ways you might want to start a spiritual exercise program in this holy gym. To RSVP or ask questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you will join in this program towards spiritual fitness.
Worship and Administration
Are you ready to serve?
Sunday Ministry Opportunities Information Session
This Thursday, August 31 at 7 pm in the Chapel
Join the Rev. Doyt Conn and Verger Diane Carlisle to learn about the many opportunities to serve your church on Sundays. Learn how serving can magnify your soul through practicing the Spiritual Disciplines. Email Diane at email@example.com to let us know you are coming.
We exceeded our goal, we have 120 Backpacks!
Help Stuff Backpacks for YWCA This Sunday
Sunday, August 26, 2017, 10-10:45 am in the Youth Room
All ages are welcome and needed!
Questions: Contact Jennifer Alviar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark your calendars for our Kickoff Sunday on September 10, when all learners will be blessed for the Beginning of the School Year at all services.
The Music Director Search Committee is hosting a series of interactive sessions this Fall in which we invite parishioners to share experiences with music at Epiphany and ideas about how the music program might evolve and grow.
Committee members will also describe the search process, timeline, and the core competencies of our ideal applicant. Upcoming Everybody Hour sessions will be on September 24, October 1, and October 22, each in the Garden Room. In addition, we are scheduling sessions with many ministries and small groups.
We invite all to come help shape the future of music at Epiphany. Questions?
The Search Committee can be reached at: email@example.com.
Sherman Griffin, Chair, Music Director Search Committee
Vestry Members and Convention Delegates Nominations
Epiphany is in the process of compiling a slate of candidates for nomination to the Vestry and as delegates to the Diocesan Convention, with terms starting in January 2018. If you are interested in knowing more please read on:
The Vestry is an “administrative committee” (think Board of Directors) of the church. Here at Epiphany it is a mutual ministry with the Rector. The role of the Vestry is both leadership and fiduciary oversight. The Vestry adopts policies, oversees the maintenance of the buildings and grounds, and approves the budget. The term of a Vestry member is three (3) years. We seek four new members each year. The Vestry meets monthly and has an annual retreat. Vestry members are expected to be involved in the community of Epiphany as leaders, who worship regularly, are learning actively, and who participate in other parish activities.
Diocesan Convention delegates serve two-year terms. The Convention consists of the Bishop, clergy, and lay delegates elected from each parish. The convention typically occurs in late October, when they elect officers, ratify budgets, set assessment levels for financing the operation of the Diocese, vote upon resolutions (here is typically where the excitement is), elect General Convention deputies, hear the Bishop’s annual address, and conduct other business. The Convention starts Friday afternoon and goes through Saturday. Delegates and Alternates meet a few times during the year before the convention to discuss diocesan issues and initiatives as well as Epiphany’s role in the Diocese. We seek four new delegates each year for a two-year term. These delegates attend Diocesan Convention and vote on issues and elections. We also seek four new alternate delegates for a two-year term, who also attend the Convention if they can. They do not vote, but may vote if they are replacing a missing regular delegate. Alternates are good positions to learn the workings of the convention and as preparation for a delegate position.
We seek a broad range of active parishioners for these positions. That means young and mature, recent and long-term attendees, female and male, attendees at all services, quiet and loud, shy and outgoing. God’s kingdom relishes variety, and as we have all heard, relationship is primary. If you have an interest or seek more information on any of these positions, or would like to nominate someone for consideration, please contact any member of the nominating committee: Jamie Balducci, Laura Blackmore, Cory Carlson, Pete Melin, Laura Rodde, and/or Mike Simmons, Chairman.
(Cell: 425-583-6691 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Music Department Transitions
Tim Drewes, our beloved Music Associate has accepted the call as Director of Music at St. Andrew’s Parish. We are thrilled for him in his new post but we are also sad that he will be leaving Epiphany Parish. Whilst at Epiphany Tim has shared in the playing of Sunday Eucharists and accompanied the choirs beautifully over the last three years. Please join us on Sunday, September 3rd at the 7:30, 8:45, & 11 am Eucharists to express our deep appreciation for Tim and to wish him well on his new endeavors at St. Andrew’s.
Soli deo Gloria!
On Sunday, 20 representatives of Epiphany (including one dog!) joined other churches and volunteers at Madrona Elementary (previously K-8) to paint a new playground surface and do some gardening in anticipation of new play equipment coming soon. Inviting and whimsical designs, including four-square, hopscotch, and tetherball courts were painted with bright, attractive colors to welcome back the students in just a couple weeks! Thank you to all those who participated and gave of your time to show that Epiphany cares about our larger community!
Annual All Clean Day
September 9 from 9 am to noon
All Clean is an opportunity to come together with other parishioners and spruce up our campus in anticipation of Fall Kickoff Sunday the next day. There is silver to be polished, dusting and light maintenance work to be done, windows to be washed, and much much more! Come help us get the campus sparkly clean and looking its best. This promises to be a fun time of fellowship and service. Lunch will be served to participants at noon. Please email Diane at email@example.com to volunteer.
A Good Time Was Had By All
Last Friday we launched a new affinity group for 20s/30ish. There were five of us; we were small in number, but mighty in spirit. In attendance were two parishioners, two newcomers, and yours truly. There was an abundance of food, rich conversation, and we shared stories until about 11 pm. It was a good evening. And there is no question that the five of us were yearning for this time of fellowship.
A couple Sundays ago Rev. Doyt encouraged us to talk to God more- 30minutes a day for the next few months. One of the group attendees shared that sometimes it is difficult to hear God speaking to us. There were questions like, “Why would God want to talk to me?” “Where is God in the midst of all the hurt that is going on in the world?” Over the next few days I found myself thinking about these questions and trying to answer them. Through a bit of prayer and a couple chats with God, it became clear that God is present, always, everywhere. If ‘we are his people and the sheep of his pasture’, God wants to get to know us- there’s no reason why God shouldn’t! Sometimes there are no people around to share our stories with, so why not share with God? I confess it feels kind of weird at first. But like most relationships, having more conversation and sharing more stories brings people into closer relationship with one another.
So what about “Where is God in the midst of the goings on in the world”? In my mind, one of the difficult struggles of being a Christian is to see God in people. Most challenging, to see God in people we do not like or are in disagreement with. So how do we get around that? My mind comes back to prayer. Talking with God. Being in relationship with God. Talking to people and being in relationship with people. I think we learn to exercise grace the most when we are in deep conversation with God. So, meeting people where they are, sharing stories, loving people, finding God in people and in the world… these things connect us. These are what heals us. And it is through prayer and steadfast faith that at the end of the day, “All things shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
Interim Music Director
Do you have a New Epiphany Name Tag?
Have you seen parishioners sporting their lovely new Epiphany Parish name tags? Have you picked up your name tag yet? Name tags will be available for pick up at the Fall Kick Off Picnic. If you have already ordered one you do not need to order again. If you haven’t ordered a name tag you can email Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be ready for pick up on September 10th. Name tags are $5.00 payable when you pick yours up. You may also order a name tag at the picnic.
Safeguarding God’s People
September 16 – 9 am to noon in the Great Hall
The Diocese of Olympia takes its responsibility for the safety of our people seriously. The Safe Church program teaches how to identify and prevent abuse within the church community, and is conducted several times per year, free of charge. Safeguarding God’s People is part of the Safe Church Program All clergy members, diocesan team members, and people in leadership (Vestry and Bishop Committee Members), all Eucharistic Visitors, and all paid staff in our congregations are required to take the training. Any other interested parishioners are encouraged to participate in training sessions. Certificates are valid for five years and then re-training is required. To register, contact Diane Carlisle at email@example.com.
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Click here to view Prayer List.