“Emily, What Are You Doing after Graduation?”
A reflection by Emily Linderman
Many times in recent months when folks realize I’m graduating this June, I’ve been asked the natural question: “Then what?” I’ve been answering the question with “I’m not exactly sure yet.” And in many ways that’s true, but in other ways it’s not. I do know some things.
I know that I’m leaving my Associate position at Epiphany on May 31. This was a hard decision to come to, but I feel very clear that this is the best next step in a path that’s still unfolding. I love Epiphany. I love our incredible staff and ministry teams which I have been privileged to work with and help to lead. I wake up happy to come to work on this beautiful campus, full of ideas and anticipation to see what the Spirit is up to here. And I am excited and pulled toward my future. If my future included ordination to the Anglican priesthood I would ask to stay, possibly for a very long time, but alas, another membership of the Body of Christ got to me first. I am seeking ordination with the United Church of Christ, and I need to spend more time nurturing my relationships and justice-seeking vocation within that communion.
After I graduate, I will take a three-month sabbatical. This summer, I’m going to focus on wholehearted rest, renewal, and relationships. I plan to spend more time outside than inside—moving my body, reading fiction in the sun, getting out my watercolors, enjoying picnics in our parks. I plan to reconnect with folks who are dear to me around the country that I haven’t seen for several years, like my twin 3-year-old godchildren and their parents and grandparents on Cape Cod. I’ll spend some time with family and friends in the Midwest too. After Labor Day, I will start a practice as a spiritual director, make myself available for pulpit supply in and around the Seattle area, serve as a minister at Liberation UCC (my sponsoring congregation), and prepare to start hospital chaplaincy training in January 2017—all while moving along the ordination track.
I will miss you all. And, it’s not June yet, it’s March, and I am still here with all of you. I am savoring it. I have enthusiasm and many plans for the work at hand and our time together for the rest of this programming year. This is an inspired and inspiring season in the life of Epiphany. I have been incredibly blessed by my time here these past five years. I’ve grown in ways I never imagined when I sat down at the front desk in May 2011. I’m proud of who Epiphany is becoming as an outpost of the kin-dom of God. Surely the Lord is in this place, and I’ve been pleased to know it.
Goodbye, Emily Linderman
As you have read above, our beloved Emily Linderman, Associate for Staff and Ministry Formation, will be leaving Epiphany at the end of May. She is fabulous and will really be missed around here.
God set her in our midst intentionally. We were looking for a front desk administrative assistant after James Cowan left, and Pastor Darrell Goodwin of Liberation United Church of Christ recommended Emily. She was a Minister-in-Training at Liberation getting ready to start the Master of Divinity program at Seattle University and looking for a full-time job. We hired her instantly, and for the next two years she put together the Weekly Words, managed the office, maintained our facilities calendar, and cared for all who walked through the doors. As things got busier and busier, we moved Emily into the role of Communications Manager, and a year later to the Associate for Staff and Ministry Formation. This move was to formally acknowledge her management and care of the staff and ministry leaders.
Before Emily decided to go to seminary, she was an architect. Providence! Managing building projects was a skill she mastered long ago, and so she naturally became the staff liaison to the building committee. Twice a week she has been meeting with the team and communicating across all parties regarding what was going to happen, when it was going to happen, and what needed to happen before it could happen. What a blessing! And she always did this with aplomb.
But Emily’s greatest gift to the parish is her ability to listen. She can listen deeply and then give clear, straightforward feedback. She rarely, if ever, gets triangulated. If one person has a rub with another, she coaches them on how best to broach the topic, and then encourages them to talk directly. Emily has been a lovely presence at Epiphany, and I am already hearing people say, “Who will we go to when Emily is gone?” To which I give my Emily reply, “You can come talk to me or Kate, and then we will tell you to go talk to the person you’re struggling with directly.” To best honor what Emily has done at Epiphany these past five years is to internalize and practice the lessons she taught us: listen carefully; don’t triangulate or gossip; go directly to the person; and be gracious, forthright, and honest. Oh, and pray.
We will be hiring another ordained Episcopal Priest around the time Emily leaves this May. He or she will be responsible for pastoral care to ministries and ministry leaders, liaison to neighborhood groups, newcomer welcome and incorporation, special events planning, and general priestly duties as required. Kate will take on Adult Education, staff leadership, and continue to focus on small group development.
On May 29, Emily will preach her final sermon at Epiphany, and after the 11 am service we will have a big cookout for her and a bon voyage. We are also collecting a “purse” for her. This is an Epiphany tradition, our way of showing our gratitude. I invite you to give generously to this purse. You can send checks to Chinn at the church, or call Chinn to arrange a gift. It will be both appreciated and helpful.
We wish her well and Godspeed, and give thanks to God for her life and labor. She will forever be a part of Epiphany.
The Fourfold Path of Forgiveness Workshop
Facilitated by Emily Linderman
“There is nothing that cannot be forgiven, and there is no one undeserving of forgiveness.” Do you believe it? Desmond Tutu does. His daughter and fellow priest, Mpho Tutu does too. I believe it or I at least want to believe it, most of the time. Sometimes I struggle to surrender to the “nothing and no one” in this declaration.
Tutu goes on to say, “There have been times when each and every one of us has needed to forgive. There have also been times when each and every one of us has needed to be forgiven. And there will be many times again. In our own ways, we are all broken. Out of that brokenness, we hurt others. Forgiveness is the journey we take toward healing the broken parts. It is how we become whole again.”
This is the part that gets me, that keeps me in the struggle to surrender. I deeply believe in and desire healing for myself, my loved ones, and the world. I have experienced the repair of some of my broken parts by both offering and receiving forgiveness. And still, I have more broken parts and I see brokenness in our society that needs healing. How else do we heal and not repeat cycles of violence without forgiveness? I don’t know. I think the path of forgiveness might be the only way.
The Tutus suggest a fourfold path that you might remember Kate included in her March 6 sermon:
- Telling the story
- Naming the hurt
- Granting forgiveness
- Renewing or releasing the relationship
Like Tutu, I don’t believe the work of forgiveness is ever finished, but I do believe that as we mature in life and faith, we can get more sensitive to knowing when forgiveness is required and be willing to take the first step on the path more quickly depending on the hurt.
This Easter season I will be leading a five-evening series through this path. I’m inviting anyone willing to walk the path of forgiveness with a hurt in mind. This series is also open to anyone who is willing to pray for the willingness to be willing.
The series will be based on Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Rev. Mpho Tutu’s, The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World as well as Dr. Fred Luskin’s work (director and founder of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project), and others.
If you would like to walk the fourfold path of forgiving yourself or another person(s) in a prayerful, community environment, please join me as we walk this path together. Sharing the details of your story with others may happen, but is not a requirement, nor is reading a book.
We will meeting five Wednesdays, April 6–May 4 from 6:30–7:45 pm in the Fireside Room. To sign up for the class or if you have questions, please email me.
Forgiveness Resources in the Library
- The Book of Forgiving (5 copies)
- Forgive for Good (1 copy)
- The Forgiveness Project (1 copy)
- The Power of Forgiveness film (1 copy)
Sunday Adult Forums This Spring
10–10:45 am, Great Hall
April 3: Not in God’s Name in the Holy Land
Doyt is offering a forum about two of his favorite things together: pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ book Not in God’s Name.
April 10: Judaism 101 with Dr. Erica Martin
Dr. Martin is a professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Seattle University focusing on the Hebrew Bible. She will share with us some of the basics of the Jewish faith that have stood the test of time.
April 17: Planning a Memorial: For Yourself or a Loved One
Diane Carlisle, our illustrious verger, liturgical coordinator, and facilities coordinator, will offer a forum on the decisions that need to be made when planning a funeral at Epiphany.
April 24: An Introduction to the Music Guild
Doyt has commissioned a group called the Music Guild that will promote Epiphany Parish as a prime musical venue in Seattle. At this forum, you will hear all about what they have planned.
May 8: Reconciliation Pilgrimage in Ireland
Ben and Charissa Bradstreet visited Ireland last year and would like to share what they learned about reconciliation processes happening there.
May 15: The Book of Revelation with Dr. Rob Wall
Dr. Wall is a long-time professor of New Testament at Seattle Pacific University who recently wrote a study series on the apocalyptic book of Revelation.
May 22: The Book of Revelation with Dr. Leticia Guardiola-Saenz
Dr. Guardiola-Saenz is a Professor of Christian Scriptures at Seattle University who specializes in the writings of John the Apostle.
Sunday Lectionary Corner
April 3, 2016
Second Sunday of Easter
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
This Week at Epiphany
April 2: Women’s Monthly Mini-Retreat
On the first Saturday of the month, the women of Epiphany get together to discuss the scriptures for the day and enjoy a continental breakfast. Feel free to join them in the Fireside Room at 9 am.
April 6: The Fourfold Path of Forgiveness Workshop
This Easter season Emily Linderman will be leading a five-evening series through the fourfold path of forgiveness, presented by the Revs. Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu, on Wednesday evenings from April 6 until May 4 at 6:30 pm. This is not a class about forgiveness, but an experiential workshop for anyone willing to walk the path of forgiveness with a hurt in mind. Sharing the details of your story with others may happen, but is not a requirement, nor is reading a book.
April 9: Second Saturday All Threads Together
On the second Saturday of every month at 10:30 am, the “knitters” of All Threads Together get together for an extra morning of crafting for causes in the Christie House Library! If you’ve always wanted to come on a Thursday, but work during the day, feel free to join the fun.
April 24 & 28: Fireside Chats and Tours with Doyt
There are two tour dates coming up on April 24 and April 28. If you haven’t had a chance to attend a tour so far, feel free to email Emily Linderman if you would like to sign up. More dates can be added into May depending on interest.