PRAYING FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM
I can’t but help thinking about the Holy Land these past few weeks. I remember the lead-up to my first visit there. It wasn’t on my bucket list. By that time in my life I had been all over the world. I had spent a good deal of time in rather unstable places, like North Africa during the Ethiopian-Eritrean war, Yugoslavia as it was coming apart, Iran during the First Gulf War, and Panama while Noriega was still on the loose. I wasn’t avoiding the Holy Land for safety reasons; rather, in truth, I just wasn’t interested (heresy, I know, especially as a priest). I’d rather have gone back to London or checked out Sweden or Norway or Spain. Then one day, Carol Anderson called me to her office and said, “I’d like you to lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.” It wasn’t a question. Carol Anderson didn’t ask me many questions. She had led some twenty pilgrimages to the Holy Land as the Rector of All Saints’, Beverly Hills. It was part of the deal at All Saints’ and one of the reasons it was such a thriving church. We were a pilgrimage parish, and as an Associate, it was now my turn to lead a group. So I did what I always did when Carol Anderson asked me to do something. I said, “Yes.”
An unexpected thing happened: the pilgrimage changed my life.
A moment in time sticks in my memory. It was a touchstone moment for my soul. Near the end of this first trip, I sat alone on an ancient wall outside the little chapel known as Dominus Flavius. I sat there for a few hours with my feet hanging over the edge staring across the Kidron Valley at Jerusalem. Dominus Flavius is a small chapel, built in the shape of a teardrop on the ground where Jesus wept. The scene is captured in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke when Jesus said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37 & Luke 13:34). On that day I wept as I sat there, as my heart bled over how we, all of humanity and myself, have so failed to meet God’s hope for the world. In Jerusalem I turned a corner. In Jerusalem I began to unlearn a lot, as I was compelled toward the hidden life God had for me in the person of Jesus.
Jerusalem changes lives.
The Holy Land is both the most magnificent and most malignant place on earth. Magnificent because it is where Jesus walked, talked, taught, healed, died, and rose from the dead. Malignant because we have ignored the reality of what it means to be children of God made in God’s image for the benefit of our neighbors, whoever they may be. Jerusalem is the threshold of heaven, and we have soiled it.
When Jesus smashed the gates of hell, a cosmic hole was ripped between the profane and the sacred. A corner was carved into the path. A vortex was opened. A window was lifted. In the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, it is said this way: “At that moment the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:38 & Matthew 27:51). Now we can see in. Now we can walk through and even pass back and forth if we like. We have perfect, unfiltered access to the kingdom of God. Everything has changed. Love wins, fear fades then flees, death is rendered defunct, and we are given the wisdom to act eternally in the moment for the glory of God.
Now we are fearless, because we can taste and see the love of God. This is what the Holy Land dares us to do. The Holy Land is a place rich with a mix of life like no place I have ever been: Arabs, European Jews, Africans, and all stripes of humanity flock there. They are compelled to come, to pray, to trade, to argue, to weep, to wander the streets looking for footprints from the past and a pathway into the future, and to rejoice. We are compelled to do the same. Mount Zion, the hill upon which Jerusalem sits, holds the promise for what the world can be when the world decides to be the world God made it to be.
That is our way—the pilgrim’s way—and it will continue to be until the pilgrimage is done and/or God has wrapped up the entire enterprise and invited us home. At Epiphany we are a pilgrimage people, and I pray we continue to be. If ever a day comes that it is too dangerous to travel to the Holy Land, I will be the first to postpone our trip until the threat passes. And then we will go, compelled, with tears in our eyes. So we plan for pilgrimage even in the midst of turmoil in the Holy Land. We plan because we are a pilgrim people, seeking the place where the sacred and the profane meet and there giving thanks to God.
Pray for the peace of the Holy Land. Pray that God has God’s way. Keep us steadfast and fearless and with hearts full of joy as we live as people who have turned the corner and are heading for the kingdom. That is our Epiphany. It is our guiding light. May that light continue to shine in our eyes.
From Bishop Greg Rickel:
“I received this information from Janet McCully, member of St. Mark’s Cathedral and a Board member for the American Friends of the Diocese of Jerusalem. In addition, our diocese has a long standing companion relationship with the Diocese of Jerusalem. In my former parish we had a direct connection and gave regular support to Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza. With the current unrest, bloodshed, and death the need at the hospital has become critical. Here is the text of the letter from the President of the American Friends:
Gaza Update, July 14, 2014
Reports from around the world show a mounting death toll in Gaza, and no end in sight. The Egyptian government, often a mediator in Israeli/Hamas confrontations, remains silent and has sealed the tunnels and borders. Humanitarian aid is not getting in and those suffering in Gaza have to rely on their own resources to aid the wounded and feed their children.
While many governments and the Christian Patriarchs in Jerusalem have called for calm, negotiation and respect, the way forward is far from clear. Latest word is that a ground attack is still a possibility.
How much more can the civilian population endure? They face polluted water, extremely limited power supply, shortages of everything from medical supplies to building materials.
And through it all, Al Ahli Hospital and its heroic staff treat those in need with compassion and skill.
AFEDJ can get funds to the Hospital. They can purchase fuel, food, and whatever medical supplies are available. It’s possible to do something to address the need and do it now. Pray, stay current and support those suffering in a desperate situation.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Anne K. Lynn, President
Click here to give to AFEDJ.
To date, Iyad Qumri has led 37 members of Epiphany Parish on pilgrimage in the Holy Land. He is not merely a tour guide, he works with pilgrims to discern the difference between a tour and a pilgrimage. Iyad is a Christian who expresses his Christianity through both words and deeds. Iyad considers his role as a pilgrimage leader his ministry. Along with prayer, historical facts, and cultural experiences, he appropriately introduces pilgrims to the realities of life for Palestinians. Last week I emailed him to check in about the current violence there, and this was his reply.
Greetings from Jerusalem,
Thank you so much for writing, it is always good to hear from you. I am on my way to the desert with my group from Texas, we will be spending 2 nights at the Sisters of Nazareth. My family and are doing fine; the boys are with us for summer vacation and that is wonderful. Please keep us in your prayers as we still have some trouble in certain areas, and at the same time the groups are still coming, thanks be to God. Please give my love to Fr. Doyt when you see him.
AN UPDATE FROM THE BUILDING TEAM
The Building Team, John Nesholm, and Tom Foster met with Martin Pasi, our organ builder. We discussed the design and saw the layout of the new organ in the Chapel. The team is scheduling meetings with leadership from the Altar Guild and Vergers to discuss the renovations to the Sacristy and Altar Guild rooms.
The Next 100 Years Building Team
Ed Emerson, Laura Blackmore, Bob Barnes, Jim Marlow, Ben Bradstreet
Contact the Building Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOUR GIFTS AT WORK IN THE WORLD
In my mental calendar, February’s Have a Heart fundraising dinner took place just last week. This event raised almost $55,000 ($54,866.55) for Epiphany’s outreach ministries, and it’s high time to let you know how these funds are at work in the world.
Outlays in the table below represent gifts allocated through June, 2014. Some organizations will be familiar to you. Epiphany has long supported the YWCA, Teen Feed, and Operation Nightwatch. Other funded projects and organizations are relatively new; some are receiving their first gifts from Epiphany. Future issues of the Weekly Word will provide information about these.
Note that all gifts will not add up to the figure raised at this year’s Have a Heart event. A balance of $3,700 was carried over from 2013. Some funds are also held in reserve for the weekly food bank costs for the remainder of the year and for anticipated holiday giving.
An especially exciting gift is yet to be determined. At the (brilliant!) suggestion of Sue Cary, 5% of this year’s Have a Heart proceeds are to be given to a project or nonprofit organization selected by Epiphany’s Youth Group, which has regularly served each year at Have a Heart. This event would not be possible without its excellent “wait staff,” so it is only right that the Youth Group have a hand in giving this money away.
If you were unable to attend Have a Heart and would like to add your own support to Epiphany’s service to others, you can make donations any time through the parish website. Thank you!
—Holly Boone, Service and Outreach Chair
TEEN FEED MAKES A DIFFERENCE
A young man who had earlier in his life been a guest of the Teen Feed program recently assisted a member of the Epiphany Teen Feed Meal Team by carrying a donation from the Essential Baking Co. to the car. The young man whose name is Anthony was overjoyed to encounter Teen Feed again. He explained that as a youngster he had been involved in selling illegal drugs and had “done some time.” In his words: “I was a real turd.” Teen Feed, however, had not only provided him nourishment, but also had helped him turn his life around. He now has a full-time job and has recently been promoted to supervisor at a bakery. Clearly he felt good about himself and was proud of what his life had become.
Anthony had a message for current Teen Feed guests: “Never, never, never give up! Regardless of where you are or what you have done, you can turn your life around.” Clearly, we too must never, never, never give up on the young people who need our support.
To get involved with the Teen Feed Meal Team, contact Ann Beck at email@example.com.
MELANIE BARKER’S LAST SUNDAY, JULY 27th
Date: July 27th
Time: Coffee Hour
Location: Great Hall
Be sure you come say goodbye to our long-time hospitality and security coordinator Melanie Barker. We’ll have a send-off celebration for her at Coffee Hour with special treats and flowers and something to sign. You’ll have to come to find out what!
WELCOME AMANDA EAP!
Although Melanie is truly irreplaceable, we have hired Amanda Eap as Epiphany’s new hospitality and security coordinator. You may know her already because she has been working on our childcare staff for several years. Her first Sunday was July 13th, so be sure to pop into the kitchen to say hello! The next issue of the Weekly Word will include a more complete bio.
AAM: SERVING THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The Association of Anglican Musicians is an organization of musicians and clergy serving in the worshiping communities of the Episcopal Church and the larger Anglican tradition. Founded in the early 1970s as the successor to the American Cathedral Organists and Choirmasters Association, AAM’s membership of approximately 900 today embraces musicians, clergy, and supporters of music in Anglican liturgical life. Members work and worship in cathedrals, parishes and missions large and small, theological seminaries, and church-related schools. They are organists, pianists, bishops, guitarists, priests and deacons, directors and trainers of choirs, teachers of music, and friends of Anglicanism’s musical tradition.
This organization is a vital support to the cause of maintaining and nurturing excellence in liturgy and music. In addition to news of members, the monthly Journal provides scholarly articles and information to the membership. Week-long annual summer conferences are held in various locations throughout the US; once each decade the conference is held in the UK. A professional concerns committee is on hand to assist when needed. A placement service is available to the membership whereby open positions are made known to the AAM membership ahead of their general announcement. A relatively new arm of AAM is a program to encourage mentorships for young musicians eager to gain experience.
The ever-expanding membership continues to grow in depth of both training and faith; the general level of training of young musicians is currently higher than ever, producing musicians anxious to serve the Episcopal church because of its long and rich tradition. Since 1969 I have been privileged to belong to AAM. I am pleased to share this organization, more like a huge extended family, with our rector, Doyt Conn. Doyt attended the recent conference in Washington, DC with Carol and me, and was welcomed there as a new member of AAM.
Although there were many conference high points, Doyt and the Fosters particularly enjoyed the energetic and humor-filled work of Julian Wachner, music director at Trinity, Wall Street, NYC. Julian rehearsed with the 300 adults who formed the conference choir, but particularly engaging was his work with the young men and women from the choirs of the Cathedral School for Girls and St. Alban’s School for Boys, along with three other Episcopal high schools from the DC area. The school setting enables a fine education in the arts, and it was exciting and encouraging to see high school students singing high quality choral music, touring with it, and enjoying it.
The conference spent one day at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandra (the seminary Doyt attended). Among the valuable presentations there was a panel discussion on the subject of music and liturgy in today’s parishes; panelists of clergy and musicians alike offered insightful input lauding the strength and worth of our Anglican tradition in worship and music.
Parish music programs of high quality were in evidence all over the DC area and the hospitality of the local clergy and professional organists and music directors was extraordinary.
EVER THOUGHT ABOUT USHERING?
What is it like to be an usher at Epiphany?
It has been said that the ushers are the “ground crew” at church services. But at Epiphany, ushering is more than that. It’s like dancing!
The ushers create a welcoming environment for both parishioners and visitors alike and set the tone for the church service. During the church service, they also provide cues for the congregation. And finally, the ushers touch base with the folks who might need information about Epiphany.
Would you like to be a part of this dance?
If you want to give ushering a try—even for one time only—please let me know! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a great opportunity for members of the youth group or someone who wants to be “involved-lite.”
Blessings! See you in Church!
—Trish Wallis Stone
Save the date for the Fall Kick-Off Picnic!
On September 7, catch up with old friends, meet new ones, take a jump in the bouncy castle, get a henna tattoo, and enjoy great food.
Look for details closer to the picnic!
As always, we can use your help before, during and after the event. Please contact Mary Anne Howard to volunteer.
Summer Backpack Drive for YWCA
September may seem far away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about back-to-school supplies! Every year, Epiphany partners with the YWCA to provide backpacks loaded with school supplies for teenagers in our neighborhood.
Between July 21 and August 17, drop off your full backpacks in the church narthex.
A complete list of needed items will be printed in the August 4th Weekly Word, or you can click here.
—Ann McCurdy (email@example.com)
2014 Epiphany Camping Trip
August 2 & 3 at Belfair State Park
Everyone’s invited to the Epiphany Parish Camping Trip on the Hood Canal. Enjoy swimming in a warm saltwater bay, kite-flying, and excursions with your church family! Saturday dinner and a Sunday pancake breakfast will be provided.
Email Eric Artzt to RSVP and get details and directions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Epiphany Summer Play Dates
July 26, August 9 & 23
A chance beyond coffee hour for children and parents to gather. Join Epiphany families at the Epiphany School “Chips” Playground at 10 am for an unrushed and informal play time. No need to RSVP; just come!
Summer Sunday School
We are currently following our Summer Sunday School Schedule. Check-in for children will begin at 10:15 am each Sunday at the EELP Playground or in the Nursery. Summer Sunday School starts at 10:30 am. Pick-up will be after church in the same location as sign-in. Our summer program’s objective is to build relationships and community among children at Epiphany through activities, including art, music, movement, education, and outreach.
Weekly Word Summer Schedule
August 4 & 18, September 1
Submission deadlines are Mondays two weeks prior to the issue date.
Sunday Lectionary Corner
July 27, 2014—Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
1 Kings 3:5–12
Matthew 13:31–33, 44–523
August 3, 2014—Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 145:8–9, 15–22
PARISH PRAYER LIST
To view the prayer list, download the PDF version.