Each One, Meet One
A Reflection by the Rev. Doyt L. Conn Jr.
Last week I reflected on worship as our core purpose here at Epiphany; how it is the fuel that fires our outward push in service and our inward pull of hospitality. The metaphor I used was church as a star. It works because the same outward inward balance needed to keep a star burning is the same balance needed to keep a church alive. A star has a dynamic interplay between the pull of gravity and the explosion of nuclear fusion. A church has a dynamic tension between being a spiritual center of gravity for the parishioners and a source of transformational energy for the world.
This week I’d like to focus on Epiphany as a spiritual center of gravity whose core is invitation and hospitality. It is a continuing conversation. On January 8, hospitality came up during the first half of our Annual Meeting held at the Everybody Hour. I asked people if they would like to share a story of their experience of hospitality at Epiphany.
Thom offered his experience. We were still having services in the Great Hall during construction. Thom had moved out to Seattle ahead of his family who would be joining him in the summer. His welcome at Epiphany wasn’t effusive, and he would often leave not having really talked to anyone, and yet every week Laura Blackmore would wave at him or say “hi” as she stood with the choir waiting to process in. She did it every Sunday. Every Sunday he was noticed, acknowledged, and welcomed.
Normana had a different experience. She came here for weeks, and no one talked to her. Finally, she stopped coming. One day at her water aerobics class, she struck up a conversation with a classmate, Jan Melin. Jan asked her if she had found a church as Normana was a recent transplant to Seattle. Normana replied that she had not. She had tried one church near her house, Epiphany, and that didn’t work out. What? Jan asked her to try Epiphany again. It was her church she told Normana, and she apologized for our lack of hospitality. Normana did, and thanks to Jan, she has settled into life at Epiphany.
Coming to a new church is hard, particularly if you left a church where you were known, included, and acknowledged.
So, on January 6, at the Feast of Epiphany I challenged the congregation to meet one person each Sunday. The challenge is titled: EACH ONE MEET ONE. It doesn’t matter if they are new or not, just meet someone you don’t know. I suggest you make it intentional and maybe even a personal goal. I believe that if we each meet one person every Sunday, hospitality will be the spinning core that makes Epiphany a compelling spiritual center of gravity.
And this is what I have witnessed since that sermon… Each One Meeting One. I have heard more stories and seen more folks who didn’t know each other talking to each other than I have ever witnessed previously. It has been remarkable, and it says something true and good about what we at Epiphany, believe about life in the Kingdom of God… that relationship is primary, and everyone is included.
Here is another thing I know: A connection with another congregant has way more influence in giving a new person a sense of welcome and acceptance than a connection with the clergy.
Here is yet another thing I know: Sometimes we forget the person’s name the next time we see them. That is okay. Just ask again. And if you forget it yet again and are embarrassed, still ask. Never let your embarrassment get in the way of someone else’s experience; for if you avoid them because you forgot their name, they won’t necessarily know that. They may think you don’t like them.
Our hospitality and invitation say something about the Good News of God. Because we know we are beloved, included, and considered by God, then we can naturally share that reality through our actions with other people. Sunday is our time to collectively share that reality. Join me and others in doing so intentionally. On Sunday: Each One Meet One.
Now that we have four services on Sunday we will be changing up how we organize our Annual Meeting. It will be at 10 am during the Everybody Hour in the Great Hall. At that time we will have the Senior Warden and the Treasure’s reports, and elect the new vestry members as well as the Diocesan representatives. There will also be time for questions to be asked and conversations had. Please plan to attend.
Making Plans… Vacation Bible Camp 2017
All children and youth should gather in the Youth Room for a Vacation Bible Camp 2017 kick-off during the Annual Meeting. Look for more information coming soon, and see you there!
Seattle Epiphany Music Guild Concert This Sunday
Mark Brombaugh, organist
January 29, 2017 – 6 pm
In the Chapel
Organist Mark Brombaugh will perform works of Buxtehude, Bach, Stanley, Woodman, and Gade on the new Chapel organ by Martin Pasi and Associates. Co-Director of Music at Christ Church, Tacoma, Brombaugh is formerly a faculty member in organ, harpsichord, and church music at the University of Oregon, Westminster Choir College, and the University of Illinois. At Westminster Choir College he was also Acting Head of the Church Music Department. He holds degrees from Oberlin College, the University of Louisville, and Yale University.
Attend a Concert this Saturday
Epiphany parishioners are welcome to attend a concert of youth choirs this Saturday 1/28 @1 pm at St. Mark’s. The Epiphany Choristers will be participating this festival and will sing in the concert in the mass choir and a piece on their own. Come hear wonderful music sung by young choirs of our region!
Our 2017 Vestry Nominees
Affinity Group Mixer for Newcomers to Seattle
February 4, 5-6:30 pm
Affinity groups are mixers meant to foster connections with people who have common interests, backgrounds or experience. The next Affinity Group is intended for those who are newcomers to Seattle. If you moved to Seattle from someplace else within the last year or two, please join us in the Fireside Room on Saturday, February 4, any time between 6 pm and 7.30 pm. If you know someone who just made the move, invite them, too! Snacks and beverages will be provided. RSVP to the church office.
Upcoming Affinity Gatherings
– Grown Children of Clergy (PKs): February 11, 5-6:30 pm
– High-Tech Professions: February 25, 5:30-7 pm
Join Us for Have a Heart and Evensong
About this time of year, the phrase “Have a Heart” starts flying around here at Epiphany. Many of you newcomers to our parish must be scratching your heads. So here’s a brief explanation: Have a Heart is Epiphany’s big parish party where we eat and drink and chat with new and old friends. It’s where this parish also praises God and gives thanks while raising fund for its Service and Outreach ministries.
Donations at this event determine the coming year’s budget for Epiphany’s outreach ministries, which are not funded with your stewardship dollars as a parish operating expense. Your gifts at Have a Heart mean Epiphany can help support several local and international nonprofit organizations that work to relieve suffering in its many guises. You can learn more about these organizations on the Service and Outreach page of Epiphany’s website.
SUNG WITH EPIPHANY CHOIR
Evensong is the most particularly Anglican service in all of Christian worship. Originating from the monastic hours, it consists of the distinctive parts of the ancient office of Vespers and Compline — the Magnificat, the canticle appointed for Vespers, the Nunc Dimittis for Compline. The choir traditionally offers certain portions so that our devotions may be enhanced by music, while the congregation joins in the hymns, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. Epiphany Choir will sing music of prominent English and American Composers.
During the last century, Evensong as a service has emerged as a liturgy of rare and mystical beauty in which the Word is illuminated by music. Evensong is sung regularly in cathedrals and parish churches throughout the country, and daily in many places in England. Join us at Epiphany Parish before Have a Heart for this service of rare and mystical beauty.
Have a Heart 2017 FAQs
What the heck is Have a Heart?
Have a Heart is Epiphany’s big parish party to raise money for our Service and Outreach ministries. We call it “Have a Heart” because it usually falls on the Sunday just before Valentine’s Day. (FYI: Alice Foreman coined the name; we did not steal it from a certain local marijuana dispensary.)
Why do you need to raise money? The parish budget includes only a small amount for our longstanding Teen Feed meal program and a few other expenses. Your gifts at Have a Heart provide financial help to several nonprofit organizations that work to relieve suffering close to home and far away. You can learn more about these organizations on the Service and Outreach page of Epiphany’s website.
When and where is it? Choral Evensong begins at 5:00 pm in the Church and the party starts immediately afterward at 6:00 in the Great Hall and other lovely spaces on the campus.
Do I have to buy a ticket or RSVP? Nope! Just show up. Food and drink are complimentary and you won’t leave hungry. All we ask is that you wear a name tag for the evening. We’re serious—no free drinks without a name tag!
What about my children? Child care is available during Evensong and a children’s program is planned during Have a Heart.
Who can answer my other questions about Have a Heart? Contact Holly Boone at email@example.com, or call 206-324-8954.
Relationship Really is Primary—and Makes for Smart Giving
When Hurricane Matthew swept devastation and suffering across Haiti this past fall, Epiphany Parish was in a blessed position to offer immediate help. Your generous donations at last February’s Have a Heart parish fundraiser allowed us to dash off a check for $5000 to Father Joseph Constant’s Haiti Micah Project. Haiti Micah’s facilities and staff in Miralebais, Haiti—an orphanage, technical training school, and feeding program—were ready to respond to the influx of storm refugees in the most effective manner possible. No NGO middleman delayed or misdirected Epiphany’s gift, and our dollars, as you can imagine, stretched very far.
Earlier that spring, Princess Basma Hospital for Disabled Children in East Jerusalem faced a different crisis. To receive the necessary licensing renewal from the authorities, they needed immediate upgrades to their kitchen. Through our association with the American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem (AFEDJ), which helps support Anglican health and educational institutions all over the Middle East, Epiphany was able to send $10,000 on short notice to help fund the necessary work. Epiphany pilgrims toured the hospital when we were in Jerusalem last February and learned first-hand of its incalculably vital work among disabled Palestinian children and adults in the West Bank. The hospital will continue to be a stop for future Epiphany pilgrims to the Holy Land.
At the end of the year, our Service & Outreach accounts had enough to make one final gift of $1500. Through our contacts at Wellspring Family Services, we knew those funds could be put to good use in their Early Learning Center.
Stories like these prove the value of our close relationships with the several local and international nonprofit organizations whose vital work this parish supports. As Doyt said in a recent Sunday morning forum, our offerings of prayers, time and money for this work are an outgrowth of our worship of God and discipleship of Jesus. And as everyone in the world of philanthropy can tell us, assistance we offer others is more meaningful and effective if we live in relationship with them.
Soon you will be receiving your invitation to the Have a Heart party on February 12. We invite you to come at 5:00 pm and first worship God at the beautiful Evensong service Tom and the Epiphany Choir invariably offer up. Then saunter into the Great Hall and enjoy the food, drink and good conversation. (It’s all free—no tickets necessary!) Look around and learn about Epiphany’s relationships with our nonprofit partners. Learn how much you can matter in so many ways to so many people here in Seattle and around the world.
We hope to see you there.
Epiphany’s Service & Outreach Team
Every Saturday in the Epiphany Chapel
8:30 a.m., for 30 minutes
The Prayer Team will lead us each week in prayer:
1. for folks on the prayer list;
2. for all newcomers to Epiphany (there are quite a few!);
3. that the Holy Spirit would come mightily in power and depth upon our church;
4. for the City of Seattle;
5. for our worship at Epiphany; and
6. for our own prayer requests today.
Everyone is welcome to join in this time of Epiphany community prayer.
“Transcendence and gifts of the spirit become more important in a world where truth is more questionable.” Doyt Conn
If you have questions, prayer requests, or would like to request healing prayer, show up on Saturday or please contact Robin Mondares by email or call 206-355-7948
Fourth Sunday After Epiphany
1 Corinthians 1:18-31