We begin a new schedule of four Sunday worship services on September 6. Read more here.
Sometimes Things Aren’t What They Seem
It is funny what can illumine the mind when discussions that were started at another time in another context are opened anew. For me, when this happens, it is a chance to chase down the history to see why there might be so much energy around a topic that, on the surface, seems so benign. The topic in question, as you can guess, is incense.
Long ago before most of us were born, there was a controversy in the church known as the High Church vs Low Church debate. The field skirmishes in this war were fought over candles or no candles, said or sung Eucharist, alb and chasuble or cassock and surplice. Just reading the list makes your blood boil, doesn’t it? Or does it? It most likely depends on your relationship to this late nineteenth century controversy within the church.
Like with most controversies, this one sprang forth in the midst of great societal flux. The church, as the center of most communities at the time, became the place where social change was worked out, or, should I say, played out. This is still the case today, as we bear witness to gay and lesbian relationships becoming acceptable and normalized in society. I believe the Church can and should be the place these arguments and changes work themselves out because the Church is a place made big and safe by the larger presence of Christ. I know, it didn’t always seem that way. Churches do take sides and cast stones, but God is good, and our role as Jesus’ followers is to let the battles range in our midst when they need to. We can hold them without losing our bearings or giving away our identity. At least I believe that to be the case here at Epiphany.
So back to the High Church vs Low Church controversy. The High Church Movement began in New York City at the Church of the Holy Communion, founded by William Muhlenburg in 1844. Their mission was to serve the newly emerging working poor of the city that blossomed during the Industrial Revolution. Their goal was to create a feeling of other-worldliness, where people who had hard lives could escape into the beauty of magnificent worship. The altars were set high up in the sanctuary; priests were dressed in fine chasubles; and liturgy was chanted. The nave was filled with candles, incense, and stained-glass windows. And the craftsmanship was not only fine, but adorned with angels, cherubims, and seraphims. Things like pew taxes were eliminated, and everyone was welcome. And so, despite the grandeur and pomp of the High Church, these were mostly inner-city parishes that served the poorer working classes.
The Low Church, championed by the land owners of Virginia, was very simple. The windows were plain glass and often looked out on pastoral landscapes. The attire of the priest was a simple white surplice to go over the priest’s everyday cassock. The service of choice was the unadorned Morning Prayer, with the high point being the priest’s sermon. Art and craftsmanship were resplendent in their homes, clubs, and offices, and so parishioners preferred a simple church, that called to mind humility, duty, and faithfulness.
The High Church vs Low Church debate reflected an America trying to work out the relationship of the newly formed working class and managerial class after the Industrial Revolution. Some of you may remember your parents’ passions over this church controversy.
Yes, there are real health issues triggered by incense, and my observation of the parishioners who feel strongly against incense in no way represents their capacity to be present to all manners of class in America today. That said, passions seemed somewhat higher with a demographic that probably grew up hearing their parents discuss High Church vs Low Church. I wonder what fun we could have looking back at our parents’ place in relationship to the High Church vs Low Church conversation and see what insight that may give us in how they were working through all of these class and culture changes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I wonder what lessons we might learn.
An Invitation to Acolyting
Dear Future Acolytes,
The program year is about to begin at Epiphany! Although we are still under construction and worshiping in a temporary location, all of our usual fall activities will continue (with a few changes), and there are even more wonderful and exciting opportunities for involvement. One of the most notable changes is the addition of church services, which you can read about in Doyt’s reflection last week. Beginning September 6, we will have four services at 7:30 am, 8:45 am, 11 am, and 5 pm.
With the addition of services comes the opportunity for more parishioners to serve during worship. One opportunity that is available to anyone in 6th grade and up is acolyting. Acolytes participate in processions by carrying the crosses, torches, and the gospel book. They assist with the Eucharist and help in any other way needed during the services. My hope is to have at least four acolytes at the 8:45 am and 11 am services and up to three acolytes at the 7:30 am and 5 pm services.
If you are interested in serving as an acolyte, please join Doyt and me after the 9:30 am service THIS SUNDAY (August 30) or after the 11 am service on September 20 for an overview of acolyting at Epiphany. Students in grade 6 and above, their parents, and any other interested individuals are welcome. If you have any questions, or just want to let me know if you are coming, please send me an email.
I am so excited to begin another year!
100 Year Campaign Pledge Payments
As the end of construction at Epiphany nears, we are managing cash flow to pay the construction costs. While we have already collected a large percentage of the pledges, others are scheduled for payment over the next couple years. While the total costs are still expected to be less than the amount pledged, we will need to borrow from the unrestricted endowment as a bridge loan. To minimize the amount borrowed, it is important that we receive payment on all pledges due by the end of 2015. In addition, if anyone who has pledges due after 2015 would be able to pay early, it would help reduce the borrowing from endowment. Thank you!
—Gary Sundem, Treasurer
Youth Singing at Epiphany Begins on September 10
All families are invited to be involved in youth singing at Epiphany! Have your child join the Choristers-In-Training (CITs), Choristers, or Senior Choristers this season and build their connection to worship and community here at Epiphany.
Choristers-In-Training, or CITs, are our youngest singers who meet weekly to sing a variety of fun songs that aid in learning good vocal production, musicianship, ear training, sight reading, liturgy, and the joy of group singing. These youngsters sing in services at Christmas and the end of season, as well as in the community. This group meets Thursday afternoons and Sunday during formation hour.
Choristers are our older singers who sing regularly in worship. These singers meet weekly to work on skills as the CITs do, while also learning score reading, artistry, and anthems for regular and special services. Choristers sing on the first Sunday of each month, Christmas, Holy Week, and several times in community performances. This group meets Thursday afternoons and Sundays during formation hour.
*NEW* Senior Choristers are a group comprised of middle- and high-school age singers who sing with the Choristers as well as select times on their own or with the Adult Choir. Senior Choristers meet weekly to continue work on their singing skills and preparation for performing, including a more challenging repertoire. These singers will also serve as leaders and mentors to the younger singers while working to improve their choral and liturgical proficiency. Singers in this group will also have the opportunity to work through the Royal School of Church Music’s Voice for Life program during the course of their regular rehearsal and preparation. This program is a wonderful system in which choristers can work toward achieving benchmarks in vocal production, sight reading, musical literacy, liturgy, choral membership, and more.
5–5:30 pm—Communal Dinner
6:15–7:15 pm—Senior Choristers
10–10:45 am—Praise and Worship (PAW) Singing
Sign Up with Kathea
Join us! ALL Epiphany families are invited to participate in singing praise music and activities with CITs and Choristers! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kathea. Singers in grades K–5 can simply let her know they are coming. Singers in grade 6 and up should contact Kathea for a short assessment interview.
The Passing of an Iconic Musician
It is with great sadness that I share with you the untimely death of John Scott, age 59, organist and director of music at St. Thomas Church, New York. John had returned to New York City on Tuesday from a six-week organ recital tour of Europe. He reported not feeling well the following day and suffered a cardiac episode. He was taken to Roosevelt Hospital and never regained consciousness.
Any description of John as a person and a musician would be deficient; he was quite simply an international iconic figure in the profession and ministry of church music. Since his arrival at St. Thomas in 2004 from his native England, John developed a choral product whose excellence was recognized throughout the Anglican Communion. Carol and I first witnessed his work in 1980 when he was 24 years old, traveling as the assistant organist with the Choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, to the American Guild of Organists convention in Minneapolis. He was later to become organist and director of music at St. Paul’s in 1990 for an exemplary 14 years.
On June 7, 2015, we were at St. Thomas Church for the last service of the choir season with the Choir of Men and Boys. (The St. Thomas Choir School is the only remaining resident choir school in this country.) After the service, he greeted us warmly, as always, even with the presence of the families of the choir boys gathered to take their boys home for the summer break.
John Scott leaves two adult children by a former marriage, and his wife, Lily, whom he married in 2013 and is expecting their first child in September. Please join all those worldwide in prayers for his family and his parish family at St. Thomas. John was a devoted churchman, a shining example of the best of humanity, integrity, musicianship, and accomplishment. St. Thomas, in their announcement of John’s death, stated that “John and Lily are at the very heart of the Saint Thomas Church family and its mission.”
Recordings of all services with music are posted on the St. Thomas website at saintthomaschurch.org.
A New Epiphany Record for the Backpack Drive 2015
Originally it looked like our YWCA Backpack Drive would end respectably well, with sixty or so backpacks to donate. But thanks to last-minute donations, as well as the amazing bargain-hunting skills of Chinn Eap, we donated a total of 88 fully stocked backpacks—a new Epiphany record! Chinn really stretched our donation dollars by hunting for great deals (bulk orders of backpacks for only $5 each!) and scouring multiple local stores for back-to-school discounted items. On Sunday, August 23, an energetic group of kids and adults stuffed 58 packs with the supplies we bought.
Epiphany is a growing, vibrant church that has the potential to really make a difference within our community. We just made a BIG difference in the lives of 88 teens living in YWCA emergency housing. On behalf of the YWCA, thank you!
We also work with the YWCA at Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Let’s see if we can set some more donation records this year!
Parish Prayer List
Sunday Lectionary Corner
August 23, 2015
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 45:1–2, 7–10
Song of Solomon 2:8–14
Mark 7:1–8, 14–15, 21–23
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
This Week at Epiphany
August 30: Acolyte Information Gathering
We are looking for new acolytes. Acolytes carry the cross, torches, and the gospel book during processions and help with communion. Anyone entering 6th grade or older is eligible to participate. Join Doyt and Diane after the 9:30 service in the Great Hall on either August 30 or September 20 to hear more details and sign up. Contact Diane Carlisle with questions or to RSVP.
August 30: Service & Outreach Meeting
Summer is over! It’s time for all those interested in Service & Outreach Ministries at Epiphany Parish to regroup and talk about the upcoming year after the 9:30 service in the Christie House Library. Contact Holly Boone with questions.
August 30: Epiphany Families Ice Cream Social
Families with children and youth are invited to have ice cream, get a sneak-peek at our new spaces, and catch up with friends you’ve missed this summer at 4-5 pm in the Memorial Garden. RSVPs are not required, but appreciated. Contact Elizabeth Walker or Laura Sargent.
Events Down the Road
September 6: First Sunday of Four Services
On Labor Day weekend, we will transition to our new Sunday schedule of four services. The new times are 7:30 am, 8:45 am, 11 am, and 5 pm. Each service has their own flavor, so feel free to try a few of them out before deciding on the one you will attend regularly.Why four services, you ask? So YOU can go to church! Read more at our website here.
September 10: Youth Choir Rehearsals Begin!
All of Epiphany’s youth singers begin rehearsals the week after Labor Day. Read more about each choir and when they rehearse here.
September 12: First Monthly Women’s Mini-Retreat
Each month during the program year, the women of Epiphany gather for a morning of conversation, laughter, Bible study, and a light breakfast. All women of any age are welcome from 9–11 am in the Christie House Library.
September 13: Kick-Off Sunday for Regular Epiphany Programs
Regular church programs like Sunday School, Adult Forums, Minyans, and Youth Group will start on this day or the week before. Keep checking the website for updates to upcoming events.
September 13: Fall Kick-Off Picnic
Welcome our rector back from sabbatical, catch up with old friends, meet new ones, take a jump in the bouncy castle, get a henna tattoo, and enjoy great food from parishioners Kevin and Terresa Davis, owners of Blueacre Seafood (and a new restaurant called Orfeo in Belltown). The festivities will start around noon in the Parish Hall and gardens. Click here for information on what to bring and how you can help out.