All Things New
a reflection by the Rev. Doyt L. Conn, Jr.
On a recent Sunday, I chatted with a visitor from Los Angeles after the 11 am service. She said she had spent her early life at Epiphany, but hadn’t been back since 1956. She noted that, “Nothing has changed. It is as beautiful now as it was then.” “We try to keep it up,” I replied.
Enduring, stable, perpetual. These are words that come to mind when I think about church, and indeed our church. In real estate parlance they say a church is like a mountain, a river, or a lake. If you don’t like it, don’t move next to it, because it’s not going to change, and it’s not going anywhere. My greatest prayer is that we are like a mountain, a river, or a lake. Today too many churches are shuttered; too many churches are atrophying; too many churches have lost their way. This breaks my heart, as I know it breaks yours.
But here is what the church too often forgets: that while the church is enduring, stable, and perpetual, it is also meant to be visionary, malleable, and new. As Paul said in his second letter to the Corinthians:
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:16–18, NRSV).
As church we are supposed to be old, grounded, and unchanging. As Christians we are supposed to be new, other-worldly, and eternal. We are to be in this world, but not of this world. We are called to regard no one from a human point of view, but as God’s own, known, cared for, welcomed, and beloved.
For the last seven years we have been grounded in the incarnation—in this place, space, and time. We have been working in the particulars of restoration and renovation. We have been in the muck and metal of this world, and God has blessed us to do so. Thank you, and thanks be to God!
Now we pivot. Now the new has come. Now we declare ourselves Christians, with vision and purpose that not only matter in the world, but also are necessary for the life of the world. The key word, given by Paul, is “reconciliation.”
Reconciliation in Greek means “adjustment.” I like this translation, because to adjust seems possible. It seems a small thing to do to make things better. It is like when you’re driving down the highway and make a slight adjustment to the wheel. It is little and easy, but critical for keeping you on the road. No adjustment and, well…
At Epiphany we are making little adjustments here and there all the time. This newsletter is full of articles about how this is happening in our midst. But the one continuing adjustment I’d like to invite all of us into is that of welcome, invitation, and hospitality. From January through March 2014, our average Sunday attendance was 350. In the same time period in 2015, it was 340. This year it is at 373. For whatever reason, the Holy Spirit is inspiring people to wander through the doors of Epiphany. Be here to welcome them. Invite them to join you in the pews or for coffee. Share the love of Christ that has reconciled you to God. As I have often said, a newcomer never forgets the first person they meet in a church. Be that first person. Your graciousness has a real, lasting, and maybe even life-changing impact.
It may seem a little adjustment to consider Sunday both a time of gratitude and a time of graciousness, but please do so. It is where we are, and what we are called to. This is the vision of Christ. We are in Christ. We are a new creation.
Introducing the Epiphany Seattle Music Guild
On April 24, 2016, the Epiphany Seattle Music Guild introduced itself and its mission to the parish in the Chapel during Formation Hour.
The purpose of the Music Guild is threefold. First, the Music Guild will curate the presentation of music in our sacred spaces. They have developed a series of concerts to be presented between May 22 and the end of December that is a rich array of musical and liturgical events.
Second, the Music Guild will assist in outreach to the greater Seattle area. The offerings scheduled this year are designed as instruments of outreach. We have invited well-known musicians to participate and will be publicizing these events widely.
Last, but certainly not least, the Music Guild is responsible for raising funds to continue this work of outreach and music curation. We anticipate contributions coming from within and outside our parish due to the quality of our programs. Our goal, based on the anticipated performances in 2016–2017 is $50,000. All donations will be used exclusively by the Music Guild.
The entire parish is invited to participate in the Music Guild, whether you donate funds, volunteer your time, or attend a meeting twice a year. Any and all contributions are welcome. Please contact Doyt or Kent Mueller to see how you can help out. If you are unable to join our list of contributors, we hope you will honor us with your enthusiastic presence whenever possible.
With your help, we believe that Epiphany Seattle will join the most respected centers for fine music in the Pacific Northwest. Thank you for your support!
—Doyt Conn+, Tom & Carol Foster, Kent & Suzanne Mueller, Julia Putnam, and John Starbard
Music Guild Launch Concert: To Music
The opening concert of a long series of music organized by the Music Guild will take place on May 22. Named “To Music,” the concert is inspired by Saint Cecilia, the ancient patron saint of music. Epiphany Choir and staff singers
Erika Chang (soprano)
Zachary Finkelstein (tenor)
Gregory Lewis (baritone)
Tyler Morse (countertenor)
Linda Tsatsanis (soprano)
will be joined by noted Seattle performers
Naomi Kato (harp)
Henry Lebedinsky (harpsichord)
Ingrid Matthews (violin)
Nathan Whittaker (cello)
The concert will be followed by a reception in the Great Hall. Please join us and bring friends!
- “Jubilate Deo” by Henry Purcell, composed for Westminster Abbey’s 1694 St. Cecilia’s Day celebration.
- “Nine German Arias” by George Friderick Handel, composed during Handel’s stay in Italy, 1724–7.
- “Phoenix” by Peter Hallock, the Seattle composer’s story of the mythological bird that is cyclically regenerated from the ashes of its predecessor.
- “To Saint Cecilia” was composed in 1958 by the noted Pulitzer and Emmy award winner Norman Dello Joio.
Free admission—free-will offering at the door.
Taizé in the Church Followed by Healing Prayer in the Chapel
Wednesday, May 4, at 7:30 pm in the Church
Singing is one of the most essential elements of Taizé worship. Short songs, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character. The beauty of human voices united in song can give us a glimpse of “heaven’s joy on earth,” as Eastern Christians put it. As the words are sung many times over, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being. Meditative singing thus becomes a way of listening to God.
Epiphany offers an opportunity to experience the contemplative beauty of worship in the style pioneered by the ecumenical monastic community in Taizé, France, led by Epiphany Choir. These quiet, simple services of readings, meditative singing and prayer welcome us to a deeper, calmer experience of rest and renewal in the healing presence of God. This worship style is created to feed the soul in the midst of our turbulent lives.
When the Taizé service is over, the Chapel will be open for quiet meditation. You are welcome to come forward to ask for prayer for yourself or on behalf of someone else. Clergy and lay persons will be present to listen to your request and offer prayer, laying on of hands and anointing. A silent healing prayer station will also be offered if you would like someone to simply sit with you in silence.
Parish Prayer List
Sunday Lectionary Corner
May 1, 2016
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
This Week at Epiphany
May 1: Adult Forum – Reconciliation
During the Formation Hour (10–10:45 am), Doyt will facilitate a forum on the topic of reconciliation in the Great Hall.
May 1: Choristers Sing in the Community
Choristers and CITs are going to sing a half-hour program of worship anthems, gospel tunes, and some Northwest folk songs in the community on Sunday, May 1, at 1:15 pm at Aegis on Madison and at 2:30 pm at Skyline. Support our young singers and join us for a delightful short program!
May 4: Taizé
Singing is one of the most essential elements of Taizé worship. Short songs, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character. The beauty of human voices united in song can give us a glimpse of “heaven’s joy on earth,” as Eastern Christians put it. As the words are sung many times over, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being. Meditative singing thus becomes a way of listening to God. Join us at 7:30 pm in the Church.
May 4: Quiet Meditation and Healing Prayer
After the Taizé service in the Church, the Chapel will be open for quiet meditation at 8:30 pm. You are welcome to come forward to ask for prayer for yourself or on behalf of someone else. Clergy and lay persons will be present to listen to your request and offer prayer, laying on of hands, and anointing. A silent healing prayer station will also be offered if you would like someone to simply sit with you in silence.
May 6: Celebration of Life for Earl Cahail
Please join us at 3:30 pm in the church for a service of celebration for the life of Earl Cahail, beloved parishioner and husband to Bobbie Spaeth.
May 7: Monthly Women’s Mini-Retreat
Carve out some time for prayer and community, questions, and conversation. Join the women of Epiphany on the first Saturday morning of the month at 9-11 am in the Fireside Room as we use Forward Day by Day to guide our exploration of Bible readings and prayer. Women of all ages and stages are invited! We enjoy some morning treats, share our faith and doubts, and support each other in our spiritual and temporal lives.
May 8: Adult Forum – Reconciliation in Ireland
During Formation Hour, 10–10:45 am in the Great Hall, Ben and Charissa Bradstreet visited Ireland last year and would like to share what they learned about reconciliation processes happening there.
May 15: Adult Forum – The Book of Revelation with Dr. Rob Wall
Dr. Wall is a Professor of New Testament at Seattle Pacific University who recently wrote a study series on the book of Revelation. During Formation Hour, 10-10:45 am in the Great Hall, hear Dr. Wall give an introduction to this apocalyptic book.
May 22: Adult Forum – The Book of Revelation with Dr. Leticia Guardiola-Saenz
Dr. Guardiola-Saenz is a Professor of Christian Scriptures at Seattle University who specializes in the writings of John the Apostle whom tradition says wrote the apocalyptic book or Revelation. Join us at 10-10:45 am in the Great Hall.
May 22: Concert – To Music!
The opening concert of a long series of music organized by the Music Guild will take place on May 22. Named “To Music,” the concert is inspired by Saint Cecilia, the ancient patron saint of music. Epiphany Choir and staff singers Erika Chang (soprano), Zachary Finkelstein (tenor), Gregory Lewis (baritone), Tyler Morse (countertenor), and Linda Tsatsanis (soprano) will be joined by noted Seattle instrumentalists. Free admission. Free-will offering at the door.
April 30: A Mass for Healing
St. Mark’s Cathedral is hosting a Mass for Healing, dedicated to those who have been wounded by the Church, with music by Susan E. Bloomfield. The service will take place at 7 pm.