Weekly Word for November 25, 2016

November 22nd, 2016

Healing and Speaking in Tongues

Dear Epiphany,

My daughter Margaret hurt her knee again playing soccer.  Last year about this time she tore her meniscus and ACL.  Well, it may have happened again.  She sees the orthopedic surgeon today and will probably get an MRI later in the week.

On Saturday she said she wouldn’t be going to church with us because she was going to a healing service at her friend’s church in Shoreline.  This is a friend of hers who plays with a competing ECNL soccer team.  But at the high end of soccer in Seattle, all of these girls seem to know each other, and over the years they have become friends.  This particular girl is new to Christianity.  I don’t know the entire story of her conversion, but I know it was recent, I know her entire family and extended family converted at the same time, and I know it had something to do with a miracle they witnessed.

Her church up in Shoreline has a monthly healing service, and she invited Margaret to attend.  Now truth be told Margaret is in her skeptical years. But she loves soccer, her knee hurts, she grew up in the church and continues to go to church, and she lives in a house that seeks to follow Jesus. And this girl is a good friend of Margaret’s.  So off to Shoreline she goes.  When she got there she found that this girl had invited a lot of other friends from soccer, all who are suffering one type of injury or another.

“The church is nothing like Epiphany,” was her first comment when she returned home.  I’ll spare you the detailed comparison.  But what she did say is that, like Epiphany, they were faithful.  After thirty minutes of praise music the Associate Pastor spoke for a while, then the Senior Pastor spoke for a while, then came the healing.  There were a few healing stations.   At the station Margaret went to a husband and wife team asked her some questions, then had her sit on the floor.  They laid hands on her and spoke, sometimes with words Margaret could understand and sometime in tongues.

Tongues?  That was a new experience.  I explained to her that speaking in tongues has a deep tradition in Christianity.  Right from the very beginning, immediately after Jesus ascended into heaven, as the Holy Spirit rushed throughout Jerusalem people began to speak in tongues.  Speaking in tongues is an outward and audible sign of baptism by the Holy Spirit.

Over the generations the charisma of tongues has ebbed and flowed.  It usually becomes most prominent when the church is going through a time of renewal.  William Seymour, the great Holiness priest from Los Angeles, CA shouted out in tongues as he preached from the porch of Mr. Lee’s house on Bonnie Brae Street in 1906.  His words started a massive renewal that resulted in the founding of the Pentecostal Church.  In 1968 The Rev. Dennis Bennett, an Episcopal clergyman at St. Mark’s in Van Nuys, CA, started speaking in tongues from his pulpit.  It caused some consternation, and it spurred a huge renewal in his church.  Ask Ed Emerson about it some time.  He grew up at St. Mark’s Van Nuys and knew Father Bennett personally. Later Father Bennett moved to St. Luke’s in Ballard, which flourished in charismatic renewal just as St. Mark’s had.

The question often asked about speaking in tongues is: “Is it is a real language?”  That question has been studied by scholars with no conclusive evidence.  It has language patterns, but no specific language associations.  Some practitioners believe it comes from some lost language; others that it is the language Jesus spoke.  But to my mind understanding tongues isn’t about actually interpreting the language, or knowing if it is or isn’t a real language.  To my mind speaking in tongues is the action of opening one’s mouth and giving voice to one’s soul.  “Open and speak” is the command.  And for those open to hearing the sound of their soul beyond the parameters of articulate language, speaking in tongues is a powerful, liberating type of prayer.

What those folk speaking in tongues over Margaret were doing was opening themselves to the power of their souls, released to embrace Margaret and her soul.  Soul to soul, together seeking the healing power of the Holy Spirit.

“And how are you feeling this morning Margaret,” I asked the day after her healing service.  “Actually, weirdly, better.”  We’ll see what the MRI says.


YWCA Shelter Family Christmas

Please help make the holidays brighter for families living in YWCA shelter housing. Epiphany will be helping out in two ways:

1. We will adopt 30 YWCA families, providing two presents (approx. $35 – 40 each) per child and a $50 Safeway grocery store card so they can buy and make a holiday meal. Half of these families have one child and half have two. You can adopt one or more of these families by emailing Sherilyn Peterson. (speterson@perkinscoie.com) and telling her if you have a preference for one or two child families. The gifts need to be wrapped and they and the grocery card need to be delivered to church by the start of the 11 am service on Sunday December 11. You will see an Adopt-a-Family tree in church starting Thanksgiving weekend. The ornaments on that tree simply have a reminder about how to adopt a family. 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!

2. There will also be another YWCA Giving Tree at church starting Thanksgiving weekend which will have 75 ornaments on it, each one specifying a gift for a child or teenager. These gifts need to be delivered unwrapped to church by the start of the 11 am service on Sunday December 11. These gifts are for children of families that move into shelter housing so close to the holidays that they are not yet part of the Adopt-a-Family program. Case workers choose from among these gifts to give to these newer families. Please consider taking one of these ornaments and buying these gifts.

The December 11th deadline is important since it allows us to transport the gifts to the YWCA in time for them to organize and distribute the gifts.

Thank you all for your generosity. We at Epiphany are blessed in so many ways. We can share our blessings with those less fortunate.

Epiphany’s Phenomenal Thanksgiving Caring for YWCA Shelter Families

I want to share three thoughts with you about our YWCA Thanksgiving outreach this year—one statistical, one about the recipients of our donations, and one about all of you—each is equally important: This was an extraordinary year for this outreach. We commit each year to provide 35 meals. Some years, we reach 37 or 38. This year, when we were 3 meals short, we sent a parish wide email asking for help to reach our commitment and your response yielded 56 baskets! Think about that.  Because of you, 56 families this Thanksgiving will have a good family meal.

What I saw when we delivered the baskets: There are 12 apartments at the East Cherry YWCA shelter housing.  We drove up in five vehicles to deliver our baskets.  Twelve baskets remained at East Cherry for those apartments, and YWCA caseworkers took the rest in vehicles for direct delivery to families in other YWCA units in the city.  When we arrived, I saw many residents of the East Cherry apartments waiting on the sidewalk outside their apartments to receive their baskets.  I saw children in the apartment windows and adults on stairways waiting for us and watching the delivery.  I saw a man with children in his car drive into the parking lot, asking anxiously if he was too late to receive a basket. (He wasn’t.) It was hard not to cry seeing people in this much anticipation for a basket of food.

What I saw in all of you: Families brought baskets.  Parish and neighborhood groups came together to provide baskets. Some people talked about how good it felt to do the shopping. One ran out to the store to pick up a few items that had been overlooked in a delivery. Still others asked if we needed help assembling. People helped carry baskets to the cars and deliver them.  I loved it most when people involved their children in shopping or delivery because providing for others is best learned as a child.  Everyone took pride in the contributions we all were making.

This truly brings out the best in us.  Thank you for your generosity in contributing your resources and your time.  It is much appreciated.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Sherilyn Peterson


We received so many baskets, thank you!

Love, Sharing, and Thanks at QFC

As a relative newcomer (2013) to Epiphany, I have no idea how long the parish has been collecting and delivering full ready-to-prepare Thanksgiving meals for local families in need (nearly 60 meals this year!).  And I have no idea how many years the dedicated Sherilyn Peterson has been coordinating this lovely and important ministry.

What I do know is that for the past two years my EMG2 (Epiphany Men’s Group #2) brothers* and I have taken up a collection to sponsor several meals.  It’s a generous and thoughtful group of men.  I have had the privilege of serving on the “procurement brigade” both years – last year with Scott Davies and last evening with Sterling Stiff.  My 9-year-old daughter, Moira, even jumped into the fray this year and helped us load eight groaning baskets.

It took us three large carts (one with the infamous wobbly wheel) to collect all the groceries as we made our way through the QFC on the south end of Mercer Island (offering a great selection, helpful staff and wide aisles!).  As you might imagine, this sight always draws more than a few stares (we’ve even had little kids giggle and point at “those hungry men”).  But Sterling and I experienced something else last evening – many people actually stopped us to ask what the heck we were doing.  They were delighted to learn about our church’s outreach ministries and gave us a great opportunity to “plug” Epiphany Parish.  To a person, these strangers thanked us for helping families in need…and a few of them blessed us for our generosity.  One woman even assisted us by navigating the third cart to Sterling’s SUV (and wouldn’t you know it…we discovered she is a cradle Episcopalian and she and her husband are long-time friends of our own Cory Carlson and Rhoda Altom!).

It felt to me like folks were hungry to witness something good and generous and caring…especially during this time of uncertainty and fear and negativity.  I was very grateful to have the opportunity to share with our fellow QFC shoppers something beautiful – Epiphany Parish’s love for and support of Seattle families in need.  I am honored to share this corner of the Kingdom of God with all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Brad Neary

Second Annual Thanksgiving Dinner at Epiphany

Are you dreading all the work of cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner for a small family? Thinking of not even going to the trouble to celebrate Thanksgiving? Making reservations for two at a Chinese restaurant? Planning to turn on the TV and watch a football game that you don’t even care about? Instead, join your Epiphany family on Thanksgiving Day in the Great Hall for dinner at 2 pm with all the trimmings! Terry Carlisle will be cooking the turkeys. All we are asking is that you bring a dish to share and perhaps a game to play. We will come together as early as 1 pm, and then give thanks to God with a shared Thanksgiving meal at 2 pm. Please contact the office to let us know how many people are coming, and what you will be bringing to the potluck. Email Diane Carlisle, or call 206-324-2573.

Thanksgiving Eucharist Service

Thursday, November 24 at 9 am in the Chapel
Before you start cooking your Thanksgiving meal, stop by Epiphany to give thanks for what God has done. We will have a service of Holy Eucharist in the Chapel.

Advent Workshop

The Circle of the Church Year: An Interactive Godly Play Lesson for All Ages
Sunday, November 27 at 10 am in the Great Hall

Each year, the Christian people move through a circle of memory and expectation to open themselves to the elusive presence of God. All are invited (children, youth, and adults) to begin Advent and a new church year by experiencing this circle of movement through the Godly Play story “The Circle of the Church Year,” told by Candy Moser. Response time will include Godly Play materials and Advent crafts to use at home. This is an Everybody Hour not to miss!

Click here for more up-coming events