a reflection by the Rev. Doyt L. Conn, Jr.
Back in October, I had a conference call with my small group from seminary. We talk the third Thursday of the month at 10 am, and have been doing so for 12 years. This time as we talked, I walked around the campus. Most of the phone time is spent listening, as each man takes a turn sharing what’s going on in life and work. So I like to walk around as I listen. Walking around Epiphany these days is real treat. I’d like to encourage you to do so. For a long while I stood in the St. Francis garden and watched the water spill over the edge of the pot at St. Francis’s feet. I thought of Jesus and the living water he speaks of in the Gospel of John 7:37–38: “On a festival day Jesus cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”
And that is my sense of you and this parish: hearts flowing forth with living water. Where I see it most, of course, is Sunday. There is a sense of wanting to share Epiphany, like sharing a cup of water with a thirsty friend on a hot day. When someone new wanders into the parish, I see you sit with them and talk to them. I see you jump up and get them a hymnal and bulletin, even bringing it to their seat. You are introducing yourselves and asking their name. There is no program built around this. There is no newcomer strategy or hospitality training inspiring this. It is simply streams of living water flowing from you to a thirsty world. The world is parched, and you are the remedy.
The prophet Isaiah said it this way: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring” (Isa 44:3). This is the quote Jesus is alluding to as he points to his followers as the living water. The world is parched, and you are the remedy. Epiphany is the shop or the gym or the clinic or the spa, or whatever you term it, for the soul; and we are built ready for another 100 years of service.
And it is for this that I give thanks to God. As Thanksgiving rolls around I give thanks for your overflowing hearts. I give thanks for the way you welcome newcomers. I give thanks for the way you praise God. I give thanks for your patience during this time of construction. I give thanks for the construction itself, given by you for us, for future generations, and for newcomers today. That is what I give thanks for.
God has blessed Epiphany by leading you here. And it is here that together we hear the Good News of Jesus. We hear about the Kingdom of God, and seek it with our lives by our actions—actions that begin first by saying thank you to God. May gratitude be at the center of your life this November, inspired by God, and complimented by Epiphany, your spiritual home.
Christmas Giving Tree Drives Begins on Sunday
Please help make the holidays brighter for families living in YWCA housing by participating in the annual Giving Tree Drive! There are two ways to give:
Provide a family with a $50 grocery store card, so they can buy and make a holiday meal, and two presents (approx. $35 each) per child. Half of the families have one child and half have two. You will see an Adopt-a-Family tree in the Great Hall starting Thanksgiving weekend (November 29). The ornaments on that tree simply have a reminder about how to adopt a family.
- Adopt one or more of these families by emailing Sherilyn Peterson and indicating a preference for one- or two-child families. She already has family assignments waiting for you.
- Bring the WRAPPED gifts and the grocery card by the beginning of the 11 am service on Sunday, December 13.
You do not need to take an ornament to obtain a family. Just email Sherilyn. As with the Thanksgiving baskets, if adopting a family is more than you can take on yourself, consider teaming up with one or more parishioners to adopt a family together!
YWCA Giving Tree
Giving Tree gifts will be given to a child or teenager that has recently moved into YWCA housing and is not part of the Adopt-a-Family program yet. Case workers choose from among these gifts to give to these newer families.
- Choose one of 75 ornaments on the Giving Tree, each one specifying one gift for a child or teenager.
- Deliver the gifts UNWRAPPED by the start of the 11 am service on Sunday, December 13.
The gifts, both wrapped and unwrapped, will be transported to the YWCA on December 13. You can bring the gifts beforehand, but we would prefer that you bring them on the 13th because we don’t have a lot of storage space on campus at the moment.
Thank you all for your generosity!
Car Prowls Continue in the Neighborhood
Car break-ins on or near the Epiphany campus continue to take place. Break-ins and thefts have taken place in broad daylight as well as after dark, so be vigilant when leaving your car in this neighborhood. We recommend not leaving anything on seats, floors, or even in the trunk and we also recommend not leaving your valuables unattended in empty rooms on campus. So far, the prowlers do not seem interested in stealing cars, however, so you may even want to leave your vehicle unlocked if there is nothing to take. That’s what Doyt does.
Thank You for the Thanksgiving Meals!
Heartfelt thanks Epiphany Parish ministry teams, families, and groups for your outpouring of donations in response to our appeal for Thanksgiving meal baskets for YWCA shelter families! Our goal was 35 baskets, but we were able to donate 42 baskets, thanks to your generosity. You have helped these families celebrate Thanksgiving with a proper meal this year. Thank you also to the many parishioners who volunteered their time staffing the donation drop-off and delivery effort. Bless you all!
An Update from the Building Team
The LCL team has advised us that the Church will not be ready in time for us to worship there on Christmas Eve. After a great deal of deliberation, the Building Team has instructed LCL to schedule their work to maximize efficiency, rather than prioritizing work that would allow us to re-occupy the space before completion. At this time we hope to return to worship in the Church by the end of January. The Chapel is tracking to wrap up in February with the organ installation to commence after that.
In early December there will be a few days, including December 4–6, where we cannot use the Church as an entrance to the Great Hall at all, because of floor finishing work. We are working on other accommodations where possible.
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
Parish Prayer List
Sunday Lectionary Corner
November 29, 2015
First Sunday of Advent
1 Thessalonians 3:9–13
Upcoming Events in the Life of Epiphany
This Week at Epiphany
November 26: Thanksgiving Eucharist
Start the day of thanks by giving thanks to God for everything God has done and is doing. Put the turkey in the oven and come to the Great Hall at 9 am for the annual Eucharist service.
November 26: Thanksgiving Dinner at Epiphany
Diane and Terry Carlisle are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner at Epiphany for anyone who would like to come and spend time with the Epiphany family. They will provide the turkeys, and you are invited to bring a side dish and a game to share with the group. We will gather in the Great Hall at 2 pm and sit down to eat at 3 pm. Contact Diane to RSVP.
November 26 & 27: OFFICE CLOSED
In observance of the holiday, the Parish Office will be closed on Thanksgiving Day until Sunday, November 29.
November 29: Adult Forum – Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry
At 10 am in the Fireside Room, come hear more about the Episcopal Church’s new presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry and watch the video of the sermon he preached on All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1) at the service of his installation as the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter & Paul in Washington DC.
November 29: Seattle Marathon Road Closures
The Seattle Marathon is taking place on Sunday, and most of the roads through and around the Arboretum will be closed. Please plan alternate routes for getting to church. Find more information here.
December 2, 9 & 16: Advent Evening Series – In the Bleak Midwinter
Do you sometimes find the false cheer of commercialized Christmas contrary to the inward longings of your heart in the Advent season? The days are short, the leaves have fallen, and trees laid bare. The mood outside the window often reflects the inner bleakness, and that’s okay. Join Carmen Hoffman and the Rev. Kate Wesch in conversation about faith laid bare in Advent on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm in the Great Hall and the Fireside Room. Find more information here.
December 4–6: No Access to the Great Hall Through the Church
Due to floor finishing work happening in the church, the accessible entrance to the Great Hall will be closed. The Building Team is working on other accommodations where possible.
December 5: Monthly Women’s Mini-Retreat
Carve out some time on Saturday morning at 9-11 am for prayer and community, questions, and conversation in the Fireside Room with other women of Epiphany. We use Forward Day by Day to guide our exploration of Bible readings and prayer. Women of all ages and stages are invited! We enjoy some morning treats, share our faith and doubts, and support each other in our spiritual and temporal lives.
December 6: Adult Forum – Pursue Peace with Everyone
Sometimes the smallest, most intimate tasks are the most difficult. Ben Bradstreet will lead a discussion on the implications of the imperative “Pursue peace with everyone” from the book of Hebrews at 10 am in the Fireside Room.
December 6: Advent Lessons & Carols
You’re invited to an annual Epiphany tradition: our service of Lessons and Carols at 5 pm in the Great Hall. In this liturgy, readers from the parish will recount age-old prophecies, and Epiphany Choir and Choristers will offer music to illuminate the stories. A reception will follow in the Fireside Room.
December 12: Advent Day of Quiet
In Advent we celebrate with quiet waiting for the Light who is to come. Much of the Epiphany campus will be devoted to silence with meditative activities. We’ll start with an orientation in the Fireside Room and end with guided meditation. Find more information here. Contact Diana Bender with questions.
December 4–20: Frank Lawler in Holiday of Errors
Parishioner Frank Lawler co-wrote and will act in a play called Holiday of Errors this season. A farcical mash-up of Twelfth Night, Richard III, and A Christmas Carol, it is as silly and bawdy as any Shakespeare comedy and lots of fun. Frank stars as William Shakespeare. Performances are at 12th Avenue Arts. Click here for more information.
December 4, 11 & 18: Organ Recitals at Noon at Plymouth UCC
On Fridays during Advent, Plymouth UCC is hosting guest organists for a midday recital series, including Michael Kleinschmidt from St. Mark’s and Paul Thornock from St. James’ Cathedral. Find more information about the music programs at Plymouth here.
December 11: Northwest Boychoir Presents Lessons & Carols
The Northwest Boychoir will perform at Plymouth UCC with Douglas Cleveland on the organ at 7:30 pm. Find ticket information here.
December 18: Early Music Guild Presents Praetorius Christmas Vespers
A joyful celebration of Christmas in the style of 17th-century German Vespers at 8 pm at St. James’ Cathedral. Find ticket information here.