The Church Is Not a Building
a reflection by the Rev. Doyt L. Conn, Jr.
When we started raising capital for the 100 Year Campaign, there was some push back against this idea of raising money just for the building and not setting aside a percentage to be given away. I remember one parishioner folding his hands and singing: “The church is not a building; the church is not a steeple; the church is not a resting place; the church is a people.” And then he opened his hands and wiggled his fingers, continuing, “I am the church; you are the church; we are the church together; all who follow Jesus, all around the world, YES, we’re the church together.” And then he started to sing it again with an emphasis on “the church is not a building.” No wonder I’m getting grey hair.
But let me say this: he was right. The church is the people, acting together as the body of Christ alive at a particular time, in a particular place, and operating together under the direction and leadership of Jesus! I love that about the church! We are the church, all of us, all around the world. YES, we’re the church together. And this little subsection of the greater church meets at Epiphany, and Epiphany has a building. It is the place where we worship God. It is the space that marks our community beyond the time, body, and soul of any priest or parishioner. It is the place we care for and pass on, even as we act as the body of Christ in the world as well.
So, it was decided that now was the time to raise money to take care of our building, to ready it so future generations can continue to congregate here to be nourished as the body of Christ in the world. And so, all resources were focused on Epiphany’s buildings and grounds. I said at the time that the amount of money we raise will be the right amount of money to do what God hopes we can do to ready our church for future generations. WOW! Mission accomplished. Thank you all. Well done. As you will see Epiphany’s campus has been graciously restored and beautifully appointed to serve for the next 100 years.
Yet, it is important to remember that we have built these windows to see the world and these doors through which to go out into the world to invite people in to praise God, study the Kingdom, and practice following Jesus. That is the very point of Epiphany the place. It is where we come to be nourished by each other, to give thanks to God, and to be sent forth to carry kingdom principles to the world.
And so, on February 21 we will celebrate both the restoration of our buildings and the manner by which we reach out into the world. Our renovation is coming to completion in mid-February. I consider this providential. The timing of the completion of our building aligns with our annual Have a Heart outreach fundraiser that happens each year around Valentine’s Day. God is good, and the vision aligns. We restored our church so we can better serve the world!
Parishioner Courtney Greene captured it for me when she said, “We built windows to see the world and doors through which to serve it.” That is our theme for the celebration on February 21: “We built windows to see the world and doors through which to serve it.”
I look forward to seeing you on February 21 at 5 pm in the church.
Further Reflection on the Anglican Communion
by Robin Mondares
I received this thoughtful reflection on my article about Michael Curry and the Anglican Communion. It is a powerful point that I wanted to share with you. I am grateful to Robin Mondares for this kind of feedback. We are a family and appreciate our common conversation.
I like your article. It speaks of freedom and of how Jesus chooses, and why.
To accede to what others want for themselves is one thing. It respects their freedom to make, and to abide by, the consequences of their own choices. It is not, however, acceptable or Christ-like for someone to choose for another person, based on what s/he thinks s/he needs for her/himself. Slavery is an example. To the masters, what they think they need is to enslave a person. But this choice on their part is not something that the enslaved person should have to tolerate, even in Jesus’s Kingdom. Your reflection on Presiding Bishop Curry’s position comes perilously close to that. Bishop Curry, whether the other primates like it or not, is part of their group. They are choosing for him what he may or may not do. To me that is not OK for them to do. Bishop Curry should speak against this (I would guess that he and others have). They should not even have the right to make a decision to exclude one of their own from his choice to vote. It is deathly sorrowful to me to hear that Christian leaders, particularly archbishops, have chosen to do this. It is, I think, a wrong reading of Jesus and of the Kingdom of God.
Sometimes pacifism is not helpful, and a more strident stand must be taken, even while supporting and loving others in Christ. Does Jesus instruct us always to abide and to wait? I don’t think so. Sometimes voices must be raised. Thank God Bishop Curry has not been silenced. May he speak with the voice of Jesus! I believe that in all circumstances Jesus thought first of God and always chose the Kingdom way. We can as well. Bishop Curry can be our model in this regard! Below you will find a prayer I wrote for Bishop Curry.
Thanks for listening.
“Lord God, we lift up to you in prayer our beloved Michael Curry, your servant and your child. Bless him to be lifted by you in all his circumstances. Bless him to know Jesus’s ascendancy over his circumstances through your tremendous love for him. May he feel your breath within his own lungs, strengthening him, giving him vigor and power to move through this world as your very own beloved and cherished child. May he feel your kiss on his brow, so that he feels his presence as a representative of the love of Christ within his church. And may he receive support, kindness, and the most beautiful surprises around every corner, as those who would reach out to him demonstrate their love for you and for all humankind. Bless those who turn against him, and the love for which he stands, to learn from their errors, and to learn more of you, even in their own turning away from invitations to grow in love, as their actions are reflected starkly in a mirror that makes them reflect on who they are and whose they are. Bless all of us, also, to learn from our mistakes, to be drawn closer to you, even as we realize the wrong turns that we take. Amen.”
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Amen.” From The Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:12
Speaking of Dying with Dr. Mike
Two weeks ago, Epiphany was privileged to host a program on death and dying led by Trudy James. Trudy is a national expert on this subject, and has worked with patients and healthcare facilities for a number of years.
The program included a screening of the DVD titled “Speaking of Dying.” Jennifer Jones, the producer of the program was also in attendance. A copy of this film is available at the church.
This program features the experiences of several patients and families, as they approach the end of life. All of these encounters were both poignant and inspiring. In all of these situations, the person in question had made decisions necessary to enable them to die at home with family.
The program reinforced the fact that advanced planning is essential. This includes completing a Directive to Physicians, commonly known as a “Living Will.” The list of decisions to consider includes the question of emergency treatment, as well as the decision as to whether or not to accept artificial nutrition and hydration if such would be needed to sustain life.
Another decision that patients face is that of accepting Hospice services. Hospice supports patients who have elected for comfort care. These medical and social support services usually result in patients being able to die at home, as most people would opt for. Studies with families show that family members have a much more positive experience if a loved one dies at home, rather than in a hospital setting.
Historically, physicians have not been trained specifically to work with patients on death and dying issues. I certainly fall into that category, and gained what expertise I have in this area through experience. We should all give thanks to folks like Trudy, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and others who have led the movement towards more humane and personalized care for those facing end of life decisions.
—Dr. Mike Evans, retired MD
End-of-Life Planning Groups: A Gift for Yourself and Your Loved Ones
with Jennifer Jones, Heartwork Facilitator
February 3, 10, 17 & 24
6:30–8:30 pm on Epiphany’s campus
Discussing the details of our own dying process is still taboo for many people. We are conditioned not to talk about it, or even think about it, until there is a crisis.
There are important questions we need to consider and answer ahead of time 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.
$125 per person (sliding scale) includes 4 facilitated sessions, advanced directive document, binder with current handouts. For more about the groups and to sign up, click here or contact Jennifer Jones.
If these dates don’t work with your schedule, but you’re interested i an End-of-Life Planning Group later this spring, please let me know. I’m keeping a list and if there’s enough interest, I will arrange for another group after Easter.
Peace, Emily (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Passing on Your Legacy Through Decisions About Life, Death, and Faith
Saturday, February 13, 9–2:30 pm
St. John’s Episcopal, Kirkland
$20 registration, including lunch and resources
If you missed the film screening of Speaking of Dying and can’t attend the End-of-Life Planning Group, there is another opportunity for you to learn about the issues of death and dying.
The Diocese of Olympia is hosting a one-day workshop for lay persons and clergy on living a faithful life until you die, and how to involve your family in discussing end-of-life details. Many people would like to talk about end-of-life issues with their doctors, caregivers, and loved ones, but don’t know how or where to start.
Speakers in addition to the Bishop include:
- Dr. Ross Hays, Director of Providence Hospice, UW Prof. of Bioethics, and Director of Palliative Care, Seattle Children’s Hospital
- The Rev. Richard Weyls, Chaplain, Swedish Palliative Care, Swedish Health Services
- Alex Milkie, expert in Estate Law, and member of Emmanuel, Mercer Island
- The Rev. Canon Lance Ousley, office of Stewardship and Development, and Priest in Charge, St. John’s Kirkland
+TABLE Is Back!
A +TABLE group is an informal group that gets together for dinner and fellowship once a month in homes. Groups usually rotate hosting duties, and there is no agenda other than getting to know new people.
If you’d like to participate, you can find more information and sign up online on our website or email the Rev. Kate Wesch by February 22. She will match you with other individuals, couples, or families.
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
- 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.
5 pm Rite I Holy Eucharist
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
Submitted by the Nominating Committee,
Scott Davies, Peter Melin, Sherilyn Peterson, Kate Ross, Davis Walker
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 31, 2016
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
1 Corinthians 13:1–13
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
This Week at Epiphany
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 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 6: Monthly Women’s Mini-Retreat
Women of all ages and stages are invited to share some morning treats, share our faith and doubts, and support each other in our spiritual and temporal lives. No need to RSVP, just show up at 9 am in the Fireside Room.
February 7: Adult Forum – Evangelicalism and the Rise of Fundamentalism, Part 1
You know you’re in an election cycle when every candidate of every stripe has a comment on Evangelicals or Fundamentalists as a voting block. But are Evangelicals and Fundamentalists just a voting block? Or is there more to understand of what is probably the most significant Christian movement in the past 100 years. Join Steve Clemons for two forums discussing these distinct movements at 10 am in the Christie House Library. Part 2 will take place on February 14.
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 in the Christie House Library. No tickets, just a free-will donation.
February 10: Ash Wednesday
On the first day of Lent, we are reminded of our humanity with ashes and the words “Remember you are dust, and to dust you will return.” There will be Holy Eucharist services at 8 am and 7:30 pm, each followed by an opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation (private confession with a priest).
February 21: Windows and Doors 2016
We will be celebrating the restoration of the church at 5 pm with a Festival Eucharist. After that, we will have a party in the Great Hall, hosted by the Service and Outreach Committee. Find more information here.
February 1: Standing Together For Human Dignity, Justice, Compassion & Wisdom
Standing Together is an interfaith study and dialogue program that focuses on the founding principles of the United States in light of the teachings of leading religious scholars. In response to ever-increasing polarization and an alarming decline in respectful civil discourse, this program asks: During this time of challenge and uncertainty, are there shared values upon which we can stand together? The series meets on first Mondays. Register here.
February 13: Passing on Your Legacy Through Decisions About Life, Death, and Faith
St. John’s Episcopal in Kirkland is hosting a one-day workshop (at 9 am-2:30 pm) for lay persons and clergy on living a faithful life until you die, and how to involve your family in discussing end-of-life details. Many people would like to talk about end-of-life issues with their doctors, caregivers, and loved ones, but don’t know how or where to start. Bishop Greg Rickel will introduce the film “Speaking of Dying,” and other professionals will be sharing as well. Find more info and register here.