Prayers for the Presiding Bishop
a reflection by the Rev. Doyt L. Conn, Jr.
It seems our presiding bishop, Michael Curry, is in need of our prayers. As many of you have heard, there was a bit of a dust up at the last gathering of Anglican archbishops. I call it a gathering, because it wasn’t an official meeting per se. The Primate gatherings are times when the 39 archbishops from around the world are invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to gather. We refer to archbishops as Primates because of their long arms… no, really because they hold the seat of primacy in their respective provinces. The Archbishop of Canterbury is considered the first among equals, and in the Anglican tradition, the only Primate given the privilege to convene all other Primates. The gathering of Primates is not a decision-making body. They have no legislative power. They are simply a gathering of peers who come together to share their ministry and talk about how they can support one another. It turns out that at this time they believe, as a community, that the best way they can support one another is by saying that Michael Curry can’t vote on any of the non-binding—that is, toothless—things they decide to vote on. And so, as we heard in the media, Michael Curry, as the representative of The Episcopal Church (TEC), can’t raise his hand to vote at Primate gatherings.
And while that is sort of silly, it is also OK. Here is why: because if that is what the other archbishops from the other provinces in the Anglican Communion think would be helpful to them and their flocks, then we can abide. As Christians, one of the primary things Jesus taught us is to ask, “What can I do for you?” People often ask me, “If Jesus had the power to heal people who had leprosy, why didn’t he heal everyone who had leprosy?” My response is about love and freedom. Jesus loves us, and for us to accept, return, and share this love, freedom—true freedom—must be present. So Jesus freely leaves it up to us to determine what we need. For some people leprosy was a curse, for others it may have been the gift that called them into deeper relationship with God. They were free to choose. Some asked Jesus to heal them, and some did not. A blanket healing would have, as strange as it sounds, taken freedom from people. We are free with our life, health, and relationships, and Jesus gives us our space. Jesus’ presence is particular, not universal. The call to “love your neighbor as yourself” rides on the underlying assumption that we have a personal knowledge of our neighbor and that we respond to what they think they need, not necessarily what we think they need. Michael Curry understands this.
In many parts of the world, the Anglican Church is in steep competition with Islam for converts. One of the strategies employed by both religions is ownership over cultural tradition and societal norms. Homosexuality in many parts of the world is still considered anathema. While we don’t believe that in the least, and are in no way going to say that just to benefit some weird cultural-battle taking place on the other side of the world, we will agree to keep our hand down during votes if that is helpful. If some Primates think it is, we accommodate.
That said, we remain steadfastly committed in the strongest way to the reality and rights of those of us in the LBGTQ community. In the Kingdom of God we all have the same rights and privileges of God’s children. That is the reality of the inclusive nature of Jesus. So we keep our hand down to be helpful, and yet without denying others their true status as children of God.
Michael Curry retains his voice without having a vote. That is sad because it reflects this sad corner of Christian thinking that has come to grip so many in our broader Christian community. But Michael is an adult, willing to humble himself for the sake of these church leaders who have yet to perceive the true breadth of the Kingdom of God.
So Michael Curry waits, and we wait with him. If the majority of the Anglican Communion wishes to impose more “sanctions on TEC” through other governing bodies, like the Anglican Consultative Counsel (ACC), then we will abide by that as well. We’ll wait for the inclusive nature of our wonderful God to open the hearts and minds of those still consumed by the lesser power of their own kingdoms. But we will wait and be engaged. We will stay in relationship. Why? Because in the Kingdom of God relationship is primary. It is the cornerstone of resurrection! That is the model Jesus gifted to us, that he would always be here, he would never leave us, he would wait for us to turn around, and when we did he would be right here. That is our charge as well: to wait, to stay engaged, to be right there, and also to be there for those repressed, hurt, and isolated by the limited vision of their leaders. That too is the message Jesus left us, and we will own it for Christ’s sake.
A Story of Conversion
a reflection by Diane Carlisle, verger and parish administrator
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of Paul. You may know the story of Paul. If not, here is a very quick summary of his conversion: Paul was a devout Pharisee. He believed in the law, and believed the followers of “The Way” were wrong. He was emphatic in his belief and was willing to go to any lengths to stamp out followers of Jesus. One day Paul (known at that time as Saul) was on his way to Damascus to persecute believers when a bright light shown on his face. Jesus appeared to Paul and asked him why he was persecuting him. When Jesus left, Paul was temporarily blinded. Paul continued on to Damascus where he prayed and fasted for three days. Finally Ananias came and healed Paul’s sight. Paul now knew that he had been wrong, and after staying in Arabia for three years he began his mission of converting others to Christianity. He tried to do this in Jerusalem, but he found his calling was to bring the Word to the Gentiles in areas outside of Jerusalem. This was a true conversion, one of believing one thing with all his heart, coming to know that he was totally wrong, and consequently having a new equally emphatic belief and intention to go to any lengths to promote this new truth.
We all have our own conversion stories. Maybe they aren’t as dramatic as Paul’s, but we all have them. I’d like to share my own conversion story. I am a longtime member of Epiphany, having worshipped and prayed here for over thirty years. Epiphany is very important in my life, and worshipping with this community is central to my being. A little over six years ago, however, I began to feel something was missing. Something was not right. The joy and peace were gone. Nothing on the outside had changed, but I began to feel I wasn’t living the life God had wanted for me. This feeling of despair and malcontent settled over me like a blanket, suffocating the very life from my being.
On March 26, 2010, I drank my last glass of wine. I don’t know why that date was the day that God helped me realize that I was living a lie, but there it was. I was tired; tired of living a double life, sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was a successful teacher, followed most laws, was active in my church, took care of my family, and did all of those things that were expected of me. However, my dark secret was that all of those things stopped the moment I had my first drink of the day (usually around 4 pm, earlier on the weekends). I never stopped at one; rather, I would drink until I passed out or blacked out, usually about 8 pm. I would “come to” at 9 pm or so, drag myself to bed, sleep fitfully, and then repeat the process the next day. Toward the end of my drinking days I tried to change this pattern, but found I could not. Alcohol ruled my life, and I had become its prisoner.
When I quit drinking alcohol that Thursday evening my life changed forever. I would like to say that it was my conversion moment, but it was not. The following week was Holy Week, and on Good Friday I went to confession for the first time in my life. I confessed that I had not been living the life God wanted for me, and that I was ready to be forgiven. Things got pretty good after that. I began living in what Alcoholics Anonymous calls a “pink cloud.” Everything was jolly, and I felt alive in a way I hadn’t for many, many years. But, as anyone in AA will tell you, this passes. And pass it did. In late April of 2010, I crashed and crashed hard. Life was unmanageable. I was extremely unhappy. I didn’t believe that God loved me, indeed I wasn’t even sure God existed. I felt forsaken and spent a lot of time on my knees with Psalm 22. I was devastated.
I didn’t know where to turn, alcohol was out of the question, so I turned to Epiphany. I turned to my community. And here I learned from a very wise person that I was in mourning. I learned that the god I had been worshipping was no longer a part of my life. I had been worshipping the holy spirits, not the Holy Spirit. And that relationship was dead. I had turned to alcohol to be with me, rather than God. I had turned to alcohol when I was happy, sad, distressed, in need of guidance, really for any and all reasons. I no longer had alcohol in my life, and it was a true death. I needed to learn to turn to God and trust God. That was my moment of conversion.
I’d like to say life has been a piece of cake since that day in May more than five and a half years ago. But that just isn’t the case. What I can tell you is that life is better than I could have ever imagined. Through prayer and the love of the members of this community, I now have an incredible relationship with God (most of the time), and I understand what it means to walk in God’s love. And that is transformation following conversion. Thank you Epiphany. Thank you for loving me when I couldn’t love myself. Thank you for helping me to know the love of God. And thank you for walking with me on this incredible spiritual journey. Jesus said the journey wouldn’t always be easy, but it would be worth it!
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30
Please join Robin and Mary Frances Hopkins from the Diocese at the Sunday Adult Forum at 10 am in the Christie House Library. They will be sharing the work of the Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church (RMEC) and the Commission on Alcohol and Substance Abuse (CASA), two wonderful resources we have to support those in recovery and churches who serve them.
Bring Some Champagne for Windows & Doors
Celebrating the Restoration of the Church and Have a Heart 2016
We hope you have Windows and Doors on the calendar for February 21 at 5 pm in the Church! Together we will celebrate the restoration of the church with a Festival Eucharist in the renovated church itself and the Have a Heart Party in the Great Hall, sponsored by the Service & Outreach Committee, which will highlight the outward-facing vision for the next 100 years of ministry at Epiphany.
As part of this celebration, we’ll be toasting to the next 100 years, so we would like to ask for your donations of champagne, wine, and sparkling cider. Please bring your bottles to the Parish Office any time between now and February 21, and we will put them to good use!
We hope to see you there!
Annual Meeting: Nominees and Vestry Bios
January 31 Sunday Schedule
7:30 am Rite I Holy Eucharist
10 am Rite II Holy Eucharist and Annual Meeting
- Contact the Parish Office if you would like to bring donuts to share! We’re looking for about 15 dozen.
- No Formation Hour.
- No 8:45 am or 11 am services.
- Nursery care available from 9:15 am to noon.
- Sunday School for children at 10 am in Matthew and additional activities during the Annual Meeting.
Nominations for Vestry
Jamie Balducci, Sherman Griffin, Margot Hill, and Richard Nelson (bios below)
Nominations for Nominating Committee
Laura Rodde and Cory Carlson
Nominations for Convention
Kay Robinson, John Robinson, Billy Rosewarne, and Camille Hayward
Nominations for Alternates
Bios of Vestry Nominees
JAMIE BALDUCCI and her family have been attending Epiphany since October of 2011. Jamie and her husband, Anthony, have been singing in the choir since their first week. Their daughter Sofia is enjoying her first year as a chorister, and their son Nico is an active member of the Sunday School crowd. During the week, she is a Business Intelligence Analyst at Group Health Cooperative turning data from the healthcare systems into information that leaders can use to make decisions. Jamie has served as a Delegate to our Regional Convention, and has been a member of Diocesean Council for two years. Jamie has also been involved in Summer camping trips, Middle School Youth Group, Small Groups, and All Thread’s Together, as time allows.
SHERMAN GRIFFIN is a lifelong Episcopalian and has been a member of Epiphany since 2010. Originally from San Francisco, California, Sherman grew up at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and St. Luke’s Parish. A member of the Epiphany choir and a life-long choral singer, Sherman also participates in the Teen Feed ministry with his family and loves his men’s small group. Sherman works at Amazon and previously attended Saint Marks, where he also served on the vestry. Sherman and his wife Amy moved to Seattle in 1999 and have two children, John (13) and Kate (11).
MARGOT HILL has been attending Epiphany Parish most of her life. One of her first memories of Epiphany is of teaching Sunday School underneath the chapel during high school. She and her husband Tim were married at Epiphany, and they continue to commute from the north end to Epiphany because “it seems like home.” Over the years, Margot has served as the chair of the hospitality committee, pastoral care, and the stewardship committee. She has also participated in the EFM program, been on two pilgrimages, and served as a convention delegate. Her current activities are knitting with All Threads and helping with Teen Feed dinners. She and Tim have three children and six grandchildren who live in Seattle.
RICHARD NELSON is honored to be considered for our Vestry. He has watched the women and men serving in this capacity, for several years, with admiration. Dick and Meri came to Epiphany needing a new place to walk with our Lord and grow spiritually. When they found Epiphany it showed them that they could deepen their faith in community as opposed to trying to do it on their own. John 1:7 tells us, ‘If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.’ They are privileged to have found great light and thereby wonderful fellowship at Epiphany. Dick has had experiences which will be useful to help the Epiphany community deepen in faith and provide a spiritual home for many who are either seeking or disappointed in their faith journey. He is very excited about what can be accomplished for Christ’s Kingdom as we continue to let Him work through us.
Parish Prayer List
Sunday Lectionary Corner
January 24, 2016
Conversion of Paul
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
This Week at Epiphany
January 24: Adult Forum – Episcopal Recovery Ministries
Join Robin and Mary Frances Hopkins as they discuss the work of the Committee on Alcohol and Substance Abuse (CASA) and the Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church (RMEC). Hear their stories of recovery and learn what the Episcopal Church is doing in the area of recovery from addictions of many kinds at 10 am in the Christie House Library.
January 28: Teen Feed Monthly Dinner
Every fourth Thursday Epiphany’s Teen Feed crew gathers at the UCUCC kitchen in the University District to cook their famous enchiladas for young people living on the streets. You’re welcome to join us, but please contact Ann Beck before you show up!
January 29: Memorial Service for Naraine Baker
Join the Epiphany family to celebrate the life of Naraine Baker at 10 am in the Great Hall.
January 30: YWCA Apartment Beautification
On the last Saturday of the month, we give vacated apartments a good scrub, stock them with basic supplies, and leave them looking a bit more like home for the next family. Please contact Ann Beck before you show up for times and locations.
January 30: Safeguarding God’s Children
Anyone working with children or youth, as well as staff and parish leadership, are required to take this training aimed at raising awareness of issues of abuse and providing prevention tools. The training will take place in the Upper Room at 10 am–noon. Read more about the training here. If you would like to register, or if you have questions about your training status, contact Laura Sargent.
January 31: You’re Invited to Our Annual Meeting
You’re invited to gather with the rest of the parish to vote on nominees for the Vestry, Nominating Committee, and Convention. Join us at 10 am in the Great Hall for Holy Eucharist, the Annual Meeting, and coffee and donuts afterward. Contact the Parish Office if you’d like to bring some donuts to share! Find more information here.
February 3: End-of-Life Planning Groups
There are important questions we need to consider and answer before crisis hits to avoid burdening our friends and loved ones with complex and difficult tasks. If we talk about our concerns and do our advanced planning well, we can have more control of our own dying process and our own legacy. Jennifer Jones from Heartwork will facilitate groups for discussion of these difficult topics on Wednesday evenings in February. Registration is $125. Download the flier for registration information.
February 9: Save the Date for the Mardi Gras Pancake Supper
On Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, enjoy some pancakes and bacon before Lent. Dinner is from 5:30–7:30 pm. No tickets, just a free-will donation.
January 27: Life, Love and Struggle
St. Mark’s Mideast Focus Ministry is hosting the third annual film series this winter focusing on ordinary people living in extraordinary circumstances in Israel/Palestine. Download the flyer.
Wednesdays at 7 pm, Skinner Hall
January 27: A Borrowed Identity
February 3: 1913: Seeds of Conflict
February 17: The Wanted 18
February 24: Roadmap to Apartheid
March 2: Corner Store