The Epiphany Farm
a reflection by the Rev. Doyt L. Conn, Jr.
I was standing in the St. Francis garden the other day with Tyler Morse (many of you know him as our fabulous counter-tenor) looking out into our neighborhood. I love that the St. Francis garden is now open to the neighborhood. It is no longer cut off and hidden behind a wall; thanks be to God (and the wonders of inspired architecture).
As we looked down 37th street, it occurred to me that the ground upon which we stand connects us. What grows in our garden also grows in our neighbor’s garden. The foundation that holds their homes also holds this church. The earth, like a great big farm, connects us. In fact, it wasn’t too many years ago that this neighborhood had cows grazing in it and corn growing on it.
A few days after this big farm vision, I was standing in front of the Chapel. The soil there is still bare and it occurred to me that instead of planting grass, maybe we could grow some crops. We are blessed with beautiful flower gardens already; maybe it is time we plant something that people can eat. After all, we have already made a commitment to buy fresh vegetables from MacPherson’s every week for the families in transitional housing at the East Cherry Street YWCA. By putting a garden in front of the Chapel, right there on E Denny Way, we share, as an outward and visible symbol, our core mission of growing souls for the glory of God.
God seemed complicit in this idea. I ran it by our preeminent gardener and steward of all things green, Alice Gautsch Foreman, and she was enthusiastic about the project. Further, it turns out Tyler Morse is a bit of a farmer. He has joined Dan Luethy, a wonderful bass in our choir, in managing a small farm north of Edmonds. I ran the idea by them, and they offered to step up and help get seeds in the ground. Dan’s idea was to plant the Three Sisters: corn, beans, and squash. It turns out they dance well in the ground together. The corn acts as the beans’ trellis, the squash covers the ground to retain the moisture and minimize weeds, and the beans’ roots provide the necessarily nitrogen to the soil for the corn. And besides, the Three Sisters has a Trinitarian resonance that fits our context. So, this past week the crops went into the ground.
Now it is ours to care for. If you’d like to help out, please let me know. Weeding and watering will be the duties at hand, and Alice will help coordinate the efforts.
We are not the first church to plant a garden. There is nothing new here under the sun. But like most things here at Epiphany, originality is not our charisma; implementation is, and not just implementation, but evangelistic implementation. What I mean is, we seek to make space for the newcomer by inviting them to witness and experience our love for God through the manner by which we act as a community. Our liturgy and music are examples of this, as is our Sunday School and the care we give our campus. We are diligent and dedicated to our outreach programs, and we seek to be good neighbors to EELP, Epiphany School, and Holy Trinity Ukrainian Church.
The garden will be another example of evangelistic implementation. I can see it leading to a little farmer’s market, where neighbors gather to sell produce and homemade products with the proceeds going to the poor. Like with the Music Guild concerts once a month, the Friday night July concert series, and Vacation Bible Camp, the Epiphany farm, I pray, may become another reason we gather as a neighborhood.
Thanks to you, we have built a beautiful campus. Now we are building new ways in which neighbors can gather and participate, for the common good, in a common life; so that no matter where they are on their spiritual journey, they have a place at Epiphany.
We Are All Connected
a reflection by the rev. Kate Wesch
I recently watched a live video of a Eucharist celebration happening at Lambeth Palace in London, the place where Archbishop Justin Welby lives, works, and prays. The video was on the Archbishop’s Facebook page, and as I listened and watched, letting the prayers, scripture, song, and sermon wash over me, comments from around the worldwide Anglican Communion streamed across the bottom of the screen.
The comments ranged from a simple “Amen” to personal petition for prayer, prayers of thanksgiving and joy, even connections being made as people recognized one another. The body of the faithful was joined, from Seattle to Nigeria, from London to Poland, Jerusalem, Texas, Australia, and beyond. In addition to the rolling comments, Facebook emojis floated across the bottom of the video so as you watched a sea of “thumbs ups” and hearts bounced along. But then I noticed something as Canon Wells preached: the emojis changed and an occasional “wow” face appeared in response to something she had said, then a few more “wow” faces interspersed among the hearts and thumbs. One lone “sad” face drifted across, and I wondered about it, then suddenly realized it must be in response to an angry commenter present in the space who felt the need to post something negative and ugly every few minutes.
To worship alone in my study with a cellphone all the while being connected to people around the world was spiritually nourishing and incredible, but this goes even one step further. When we sit together in worship, you don’t know what people are thinking or feeling. It is a mystery. Watching the comments and emojis while engaged in prayer added another layer to the experience. I found myself alternately watching and not, sometimes closing my eyes and simply listening, then opening my eyes again to see the comments, to feel that connection to people on their lunch break, or over breakfast with their children doing the same thing I was doing: praying together around the world.
Praying with the body of Christ in this manner was inclusive and full. It served as a gentle reminder that we are part of something so much larger than our everyday experience. Not only are we part of the Anglican Communion, with faithful Christians praying in a comfortable and similar pattern all around the world each and every day, but also we are connected to God and one another as we seek and strive to live in God’s kingdom.
We at Epiphany may be a small outpost of the kingdom of God, a neighborhood church for the city of Seattle, but we are part of something so much larger too, and the manner by which we engage that—the tools and technology available for connection, for prayer, for unity around the world—is exhilarating. My sisters and brothers in Christ, consider your connections in this world. For as the Apostle Paul said, “For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” Consider how you can drink of that Spirit.
Many Thanks from Emily
I can hardly believe it’s been almost four weeks since my last Sunday here on May 29. Thank you for all the kindness you showed me in the generous traveling purse, cards and well wishes, that amazing indoor picnic with my favorite foods, and the perfect traveling communion kit. I felt known and appreciated.
I’ve run into many of you around town, on campus, and most recently at Todd’s glorious ordination service, and you’re curious what I’ll be doing and when I’ll be doing it. I have a lot of plans! I’ve decided to spread out my travels over the next few months. I’m going to spend time with my family in Michigan this summer and take a road trip south while I’m east of the Mississippi to visit a dear friend of mine from seminary with side trip to the Abbey of Gethsemane. In the fall, I’m making a pilgrimage to Los Angeles to attend a preaching workshop and visit a couple inspiring communities like Homeboy Industries and The Community of Divine Love. I have my sights on an art retreat this summer as well. We’ll see how it all shakes out. Before I leave I’m making progress on my pre-ordination requirements with the UCC.
In the fall I’m heading to New York to visit friends, experience St. Lydia’s Dinner Church and see a friend newly on staff at Riverside Church. I’ll also make my way to Cape Cod to spend time with my closest friend since childhood and her family including my nearly 4-year-old twin godchildren.
Epiphany, you’ve helped make all of this possible. I couldn’t have asked for a more worshipful Sunday with you all, and thank you to everyone who reached out to me to say goodbye knowing you’d be out of town.
God’s peace to you!
Prayers for VBC
This week is Vacation Bible Camp 2016, Taste & See: God is Good! We’ll have about sixty campers, youth, and adult leaders around campus each afternoon from Tuesday to Friday. From singing songs, to playing games, to creating art, to baking bread and more, we’ll be busy!
Please keep this event in your prayers. Pray for safety, fun, engagement, and of course, energy for our leaders! And also, join us on VBC Sunday, July 10. Campers will be participating in the 11am service, and we’ll have photos and work to share during coffee hours in the Great Hall.
Can I Borrow a Recliner?
A young friend of ours will be having jaw surgery in July and recovering at our home, and she will have to sleep sitting up for about a week. Propping up in bed with pillows isn’t an option. Do you have a recliner I could borrow? It will be so helpful! Please contact me by email or phone at 206-324-8954. Thanks!
Parish Prayer List
Sunday Lectionary Corner
July 3, 2016
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Luke 10:1–11, 16–20
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
This Week at Epiphany
July 1: Summer Concert Series – Scott Lindenmuth Trio
We’re kicking off this year’s summer concert series with a jazz trio led by Scott Lindenmuth, described as a “genre-crossing guitar virtuoso.” Bring a picnic and enjoy some sun and some music in the courtyard at 6:30 pm on Friday evenings in July. RSVP on Facebook!
July 4: Office Closed
The Parish Office will be closed on the occasion of Independence Day and will reopen as usual on Tuesday, July 5.
July 8: Summer Concert Series – Brass Band Northwest
Wanna be blown away by tubas and cornets? Come hear the Brass Band Northwest, a lively all-brass ensemble with percussion. Bring a picnic and enjoy some sun in the courtyard at 6:30 pm on Friday evenings in July. RSVP on Facebook!
July 10: VBC Sunday
During the 11 am service in the Church, the children who participated in VBC this week will be wearing their VBC T-shirts and sharing a song they learned. There will also be “show-and-tell” during Coffee Hour! Don’t miss the fun!
July 10: Music Guild Recital – Peter Mack
Peter Mack holds a doctorate in piano performance from the University of Washington and teaches piano at Cornish College for the Arts. In addition to performances on the new (to us) piano, Peter Mack will give lectures on his chosen program and the instrument, along with other nuggets from his vast musical knowledge. Join us at 6 pm in the Chapel. Find more information here.
July 15: Summer Concert Series – Your Favorite Friend
A Seattle-based soulful, driven, folk group, Your Favorite Friend plays songs to make you dance, sing along, and feel them feels! Judy Naegeli, your friendly Epiphany communications guru plays the bass in this band! Bring a picnic and enjoy some sun in the courtyard at 6:30 pm on Friday evenings in July. RSVP on Facebook!
July 9: “Seattle Idol”
The Sun Valley Opera will be featuring four young, professional, rising singers in the church performing favorite hits from Broadway and classic opera. You get to vote for the winner of cash prizes! Join us at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $20 at the door.
August 27: Save the Date for the Annual MTS Princess Luncheon
The Mission to Seafarers-Seattle will be holding its annual celebration and fundraising luncheon on a Princess cruise shop. Guests will be welcomed on board with a cocktail reception and short presentation, followed by lunch and an auction. Read more and register here.