Jesus was a guy; he was human, like you and me. That was the crux of the article I wrote for the cover of the Monthly Message in November. The bottom line of this article “Jesus as a person like you and me” is: if Jesus can do it, so can we. If we don’t believe in or understand the humanity of Jesus, then his message is inaccessible and thus, in a sense irrelevant because it is unactionable. But, if we can live our lives as Jesus would if he had my life or your life, then indeed he can be our teacher and more than that, through us a world changing force for good. Nothing wrong with that.
And yet, we also believe that Jesus is God. In this article I’d like to talk about why this matters. There are three primary theological underpinnings of divine Jesus: 1) Incarnational-God blessed creation and marked it as good; 2) Trinitarian-God is a relational God; 3) Resurrection-God loves us and is freely accessible to us at all times. Here is how these three marks of divinity show up in the life of Jesus.
First there is Incarnation. The Bible starts with the story of the Garden of Eden, and God walking there with Adam and Eve. There is harmony, intimacy, and peace. Then humanity falls away. Adam and Eve chose anonymity over obedient equanimity, and because God loves them and has imbued them with the freedom to choose as a necessary, core component of love, they are allowed to forsake the garden by choosing to violate its operating principles. They leave the garden and they forget not only about it, but also that God has come with them, making them clothes and granting them offspring. When God comes back into the Garden as Jesus, the Incarnation, God reminds humanity that the world is the garden, and that it is good. That was Jesus’ core message: “Good news! The Kingdom of God is here!”
Next, we have the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Trinity signals that we have a relational God, and more than that, a God who is equitably in relationship. If God and the Holy Spirit and Jesus were not of equal rank, if you will, then their relationship would be structurally incapable of perfect love. I’ll give you an example. My love of my children is more than their love for me. That is just how it is and how it ought to be. My love for my wife however, has the possibility of being perfectly equitable. We both have chosen this relationship, and we both have the freedom to imbue it with all our love. When this happens love pours out into the world. Children then, ideally, are an outward and visible sign of this outpouring abundance of love between two people. These children, then, are made to be a blessing upon the world. We are the children of God and blessed by the outpouring of love that exists between Father and Son and Holy Spirit.
Third is Resurrection. This divine attribute represents both God’s deep obedience to human freedom and God’s unwillingness to ever leave us. As we study the life of Jesus we note that he is always on the move. This happens not because he is trying to maximize his message but rather so as not to deny those chasing him their freedom. For example, King Agrippa, son of Herod, is very curious about Jesus and on the march to meet him. Jesus keeps on the move because he knows “his time has not yet come.” That is to say, if Agrippa catches him, Jesus will either have to acquiesce to his will or thwart his will. If he does the latter, then he denies Agrippa his freedom. So, instead of confrontation Jesus just keeps on the move. Then, when it is his time, “he turns his face to Jerusalem.” He knows he will die there because he knows he will not thwart the will of those who seek his death. And yet, as God, Jesus always promises never to abandon us; and he promises to reign in this kingdom even if we deny him, ignore him, or seek to kill him. And so, in resurrection he returns and does so in a way that still gives humanity the choice to believe in God’s presence or not.
Incarnation, Trinity, and Resurrection are the marks of Jesus’ divinity. They are what make him different from us, and yet, in these three divine attributes we are marked by and connected to God. Without Jesus’ divinity we would have just another amazing teacher. By his divinity however, we have a changed creation. It is re-sanctified. It is marked by God’s eternal, yet accessible presence to us. And there is eternally inextinguishable love, freely available, and also freely deniable. Knowing these three things proves my salvation when I find myself falling short of my capacity to live my life as Jesus would if he were me.
Because of Jesus’ humanity I follow him. Because of Jesus’ divinity I worship him.
As Holly Boone said in her sermon and again in the Weekly Word last week… “Let’s git ‘er done.” The reference, of course, is to stewardship. The reason is that it is by your financial gifts that we can run the church. Stewardship, as opposed to just relying on weekly cash contributions, allows us to set a budget based on projected cash flow for the year. This budget is built by our program leaders anticipating their coming yearly needs, and attaching a number to it, by our building folks looking at general operational costs and anticipated needs and putting a number to it, and by our executive committee looking at staff functions and performance and assigning a number to it. Revenues to off-set these expenses, we pray, are drawn from three sources: pledges, endowment interest, and rent. These revenues, percentage wise, break down as 75%, 11%, and 7% respectively.
Here is what we have included in the 2018 budget:
We have anticipated in a 6% increase in pledges so as to reach $ $1,223,287. Incomes are going up, and the stock market it strong, so we hope that some of the wage increases and bonuses received will reflect out in the generosity of parishioners’ pledges. In 2016 pledges went up 6% to $1,083,059 and 2017 pledges went up 7% to $1,155,648.
We anticipate the endowment income to remain flat at $157,654. Revenue from the endowment for operations is taken based on a three-year rolling average of our portfolio value. 5% is drawn based on this average. In 2017 our cash endowment for operations was $155,966. Building use revenue for 2018 will increase slightly, however other income tends to fluctuate; and in 2018 will go down. This is because of some onetime contributions, e.g., the grant from the diocese for our music program; and the diocese’s contribution to the Curate’s housing. This year other income is set at $64,100, where in 2017 it was $110,150. In addition to the above income revenue, we also transfer money from restricted contributions; e.g., for altar flowers, Have a Heart, Music Guild, senior housing, etc. These transfers are only as big as the contributions made throughout the year to these particular programs. We call these contributions pass-through dollars, and while they are included in the budget, they net out equally on the revenue and expense sides.
The table below illustrates the anticipated 2017 numbers and budget numbers for 2018.
The first thing to notice in the table above, is that there is basically no difference between 2017 $1,661,024 and 2018 budget $1,660,712. Let’s look at each category in a little more detail:
Clergy expense will go up from 2017 to 2018 by $7,000. This is because we have had several months with only Doyt and Todd on payroll. Kate and Ruth Anne’s compensation is roughly the same, however Ruth Anne’s family will be receiving Health Care benefits under Epiphany, where Kate’s had not. This adds significant cost. Additionally, Ruth Anne, because she qualifies for the Senior Staff Housing Allocation drawn from an endowment that is being developed, will have a higher pension fund cost. This will be offset some by the fact that Todd Foster will only be here until June of 2018, when his curacy ends.
The Music Ministry is essentially unchanged. However, this ministry has increased significantly since 2015. As some of you may know, Tom Foster generally eschewed pay raises. If he received them anyway, he would reallocate them toward the support of paid section leads in the choir. Tom believed that the church was one of the last remaining enclaves in our culture that should, when it could, honor artists for their God given talent. We have a long tradition at Epiphany, and indeed the Anglican Church, of honing our choral capacity for the glory of God and the edification of the soul. It remains our intention to continue this legacy. Many will say they come to Epiphany because of the music. Music is a key to our spiritual formation, our evangelism, and our growth. Having said that however, the number of paid section leads will be reduced by two, through attrition, over the coming year. This will be done to help offset the necessary compensation increase needed to attract a new Music Director.
The Administration area encompasses office supplies, postage, bank fees, insurance, etc. Kudos to the staff for their effectiveness and efficiencies in managing these costs.
The Diocesan assessment has gone down by 3%. This is because in 2017 we transferred in reserve funds to pay for the Associate Priest and Music Director search administrator, and an intern, as well as Todd’s full year compensation. With these gone in greater part in 2018, the assessment will go down.
Parish Programs consists of parish events, fellowship, worship, and outreach ministries. These large areas of activity within the church remain essentially flat on the budget line, and relatively moderate to small from an overall cost point of view. That is because of the huge volunteer commitment in these areas. Regarding outreach, as you may know it has a very small place in the budget. That is because we have found that fundraising for outreach, whether for Service and Outreach, via Have A Heart, or The Music Guild via the Gala, achieve greater capacity in volunteerism, event participation, and money raised, that attempts to increase operating stewardship appeal.
Buildings and Grounds has gone up slightly around payroll with the addition of a Facility Manager, but down due to new and improved quality of the campus after the renovation.
The Education Ministry consists of adult education, children’s ministry, youth group, and Vacation Bible Camp. The children’s ministry does hire people to manage the nursery, but outside of that, and the part time employment of Laura Sargent for middle and high school, and Elizabeth Walker for all other Christian education, this program too is thickly populated with volunteers. Summer Vacation Bible Camp (VBC) has a very small budget presence, because it is a fee-based enterprise. Summer Children’s Choir Camp (CCC) has received a $10,000 grant to get it off the ground this its first year.
Although quite a bit to digest, The Vestry, the Rector, and I thought that a review of the budget process might be informative. The numbers may flux a bit before it goes to the Vestry in December for approval. Please let a Vestry member, the Rector, or me know if you have any questions.
Ed Emerson, Treasurer
Something Old is New Again
Or, Do Christians Underestimate the Power of Stories?
Often, while I am cruising down my spiritual path, I will pause and wonder why God never gave us an executive summary. It would make it so much easier. It is hard for me to understand at times that God chose not to hand us a list of truths about himself, or an instruction manual, but instead, God has given us an epic story in which he reveals himself in narrative after narrative after narrative. And, if you continue reading this article, you will know why stories and storytelling are such an integral part of humanity.
When things went wrong for the Israelites (which was, of course, often), they would recount the stories of God’s intervention in the lives of their ancestors. Retelling the history of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob reminds us what kind of God we are praying to: one who has shown himself faithful throughout time and will act again and again on our behalf. Later, the sermons in the New Testament recite significant events and purposes in the history of the people of God, placing our lives in a larger context.
We are a community shaped by stories. Anthropologists, philosophers, historians, and theologians agree that we experience our lives and the world around us narratively. We seek beginnings and endings, climax and conclusion. We also weave our own personal stories into the larger ones like human progress through science, social systems, or religion. We all want to be part of a bigger story than our own.
Meta-narratives, like the Old Testament stories, seem to be out of fashion, at least in our post-modern cultures. Even the Church has, at times, seemed reluctant to tell the stories as being too simplistic or pure for the truths we seek. Yet, storytelling is an important part of formation for the Christian community and integral to the dynamic of teaching.
Moreover, with our storytelling we can subvert the dominant narratives around us. In a book entitled Disciples and Citizens, retired Anglican Bishop from Maidstone, Graham Cray writes “Jesus was a storyteller. He taught in parables. Many of the parables retold Israel’s story in ways that seemed familiar when they began, but brought the listener to a conclusion they did not expect. In this way, He gave His listeners the opportunity to see their assumptions and world views differently and to respond accordingly…This was subversive engagement with Israel’s understanding of its story. We need to find similar, imaginative ways to retell, subvert, and challenge our nation’s stories.” Jesus’ parables were provocative stories, inviting the hearers to leave conventional understanding and encounter new and potentially transformative views. And, today, we are called to shape our work, family life and community activity in such a way that it points to the story of Christ.
Our parish wants to make storytelling an active part in our adult forums starting in the Winter/Spring season. I know there are a lot of storytellers in the congregation, and I would like you to reach out to me if you are interested in putting together a program of stories told by storytellers that inspire, encourage, and empower us to subvert the dominant narratives that are contrary to Kingdom living. There are many directions this project can go, but if you feel you would like to make the old craft of storytelling something new and exciting for our parish, please contact me at email@example.com or text at 206 355 1269.
Next week, I am writing a blurb on the science behind storytelling. Stay tuned….
First Sunday Brunch & Autumn Ministry Fair
November 5 in the Great Hall
During the First Sunday Brunch, Epiphany will be hosting our autumn Ministry Fair! This is an opportunity for the many different ministries carried on by our parish to make themselves known to the congregation. It is an opportunity for individuals in the parish to see what kinds of things are going on at Epiphany and perhaps to be inspired to participate in one or more of them.
You can also pick up your name tag, get ChurchLife on your phone, and purchase an Epiphany tote bag, baseball cap, or Hour By Hour.
Please come with open hearts ready to be surprised, to find your passion, and to begin a new chapter in your spiritual journey!
Benjamin Britten Canticles
November 12 at 6:15 pm in the Church
Zach Finkelstein, Teno – Joseph Adam, Piano
Tyler Morse, Countertenor – Gabriel Lewis-OConnor, Baritone
Naomi Kato, Harp – Jonathan Karschney, Horn
LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU
The Epiphany Seattle Music Guild Concert Series in November is perhaps the pinnacle of our fall concert events this season. We have, without question, bared witness to enormous talents on the piano, organ, violin, voice, and our very own Epiphany Schola.
On Sunday evening, November 12, We encourage each and every one
of you to prepare your hearts and minds (and calendars) for an evening
of transformative music offered by some of Seattle’s finest musicians,
including our very own Tyler Morse.
This performance is made possible by the generous financial support of the Epiphany Seattle Music Guild. As a result, this concert is presented without charge.
Come to the Newcomers’ Event
November 19 at 6 pm at Doyt’s House
If you’re relatively new to Epiphany and would like to spend some time getting to know our rector and other leaders of the parish, join us for a reception at Doyt’s house after the evening service. Beverages and appetizers will be available. Please RSVP Todd Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual Epiphany Men’s Retreat
Who: All men of Epiphany (and friends!)
What: Feed your soul with good company, good food, reflection and spiritual nurture
When: Friday through Sunday, November 17-19
Where: St. Andrew’s House (about a 2-hour trip if you take the ferry)
How: RSVP by making payment of $225 online, via text message (with payment code “MR”) , or by bringing a check to the church office with “Men’s Retreat” in the memo. Scholarships are available.
This retreat starts as a relaxing get-away, builds through an engaging discussion on Saturday, and becomes a great party on Saturday night. Our speaker this year will be basing our program on the Parable of the Prodigal Son with additional ideas drawn from Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward and a talk by Rohr entitled Discharging the Loyal Soldier. (You don’t have to read these materials ahead of time.)
The 2017 Thanksgiving Drive is Here
Every year Epiphany parishioners come together to donate turkeys, pies, potatoes, and all the other ingredients for a Thanksgiving dinner to families in YWCA housing who can’t afford the extra expense of holidays. Will you help us provide 35 Thanksgiving dinners?
1. Sign up your family, your small group, or another team for at least one meal.
2. Decide how many complete meals you can donate.
3. Email Sherilyn Peterson with your team name and contact information and how many meals you will provide by November 10.
What if I can’t provide a whole meal and just want to give a turkey or other items without a team?
Not a problem this year! Thanks to our Formation Team and the youth Confirmation Class, this year you can sign up to bring individual items at the November 5 First Sunday Brunch and the youth Confirmation Class will collect those items and package them into baskets.
1. Click here to download the list of Thanksgiving dinner ingredients.
Your team is responsible for all items on the list.
2. With your team, devise a plan for who will bring what and when and where you will assemble it.
3. Assemble it all in a large family-sized laundry basket. This makes delivery to the YWCA easier for our volunteers and ensures that meals do not get mixed up. It also provides YWCA families with a laundry basket!
4. Delivery Day is November 19. Please bring your completed basket to the Parish Hall before the 11 am service. Have someone from your team responsible for getting the basket where it needs to go and ensuring that all the contents are present. We have a very narrow window for delivery to the YWCA that day so we need everything to be ready on time.
Please contact Sherilyn Peterson with any questions.
Dr. Rowan Williams to Preach at Epiphany Parish
November 12 at the 8:45 and 11 am Services
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams will preach at Epiphany on Sunday, November 12, at both the 8:45 am and 11 am services. This is a most unusual opportunity to hear and meet an amazing pastor, scholar, teacher, and author. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the office that symbolizes the unity of the entire Anglican Communion – all those churches, like the Episcopal Church – that trace their heritage back to the Church of England and the English Reformation. Currently serving as Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, Dr. Williams also sits as a life peer in the British Parliament’s House of Lords. It is a great honor for us to host Dr. Williams and hear him preach. We expect a full house, so be here early!
Remembering Our Departed Loved Ones in November
During the month of November, it is the custom at Epiphany to give members of our community the opportunity to remember and honor family members and friends who have died. This year we will be commemorating our departed loved ones with:
Commemoration of All Faithful Departed Service
On Saturday, November 4 at 7:30 pm in the Chapel we will have a Solemn High Holy Eucharist service to commemorate our departed friends and family members. There will be candles, incense, and Epiphany Choir at this service. Many parts of the service are chanted. The Parish Necrology will be read. Incense will be used. (See below.)
Altar of Remembrance
Beginning November 1 there will be an Altar of Remembrance in the Chapel until Sunday, November 26. You are invited to bring a photo of your departed loved one for the altar. Make sure you put your name on the back so it can be returned. A candle of remembrance will remain lit during the day.
The Book of Remembrance
The Book of Remembrance will be kept near the Altar of Remembrance in the Chapel during the month of November. You are invited to write the names of your departed loved ones in this book. Our clergy will remember them in their prayers.
The Commemoration of All Faithful Departed Solemn High Eucharist and the Reading of the Parish Necrology
Saturday, November 4 at 7:30 pm in the Chapel
In the Chapel on Saturday evening, November 4, we will celebrate the lives of All Faithful Departed. We will rejoice with the saints in heaven for the lives we knew and for those whom we did not know. A Solemn High Mass will be observed this evening; the Propers will be chanted and the Epiphany Choir will sing the Mass to a setting by William Byrd, one of the most prolific of Renaissance composers. And, the anthem will be English poet Edmund Spenser’s beautiful text, which was set to music by William Harris, called Faire is the Heaven.
“Faire is the heav’n Where happy soules have place In full enjoyment of felicitie; Whence they doe still behold the glorious face Of the Divine, Eternall Majestie.”
For each life we acknowledge, for the hovering of incense which will surround us, and for each prayer spoken and sung, we will remember them.
Come to Epiphany this night. Be inspired. Be transformed. Be nourished by the presence of the Divine and see the image of such endless perfectness which is the Kingdom of Heaven.
There will be incense at this service.
Upcoming Baptisms at Epiphany
All Saints’ Day
Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 11:00 am
Baptism Preparation Class and Rehearsal for Families and Godparents
Saturday, November 4. 9:00 am – 10:30 am
Block Printing Christmas Card Workshop
Wednesday Evenings form 6 to 7 pm in the Christie House Library
Workshop Dates are 11/8, 15 & 28
Make your own Christmas cards this season using linoleum or wood block and the card stock of your choice. You’ll need the basic block printing tools, such as a cutter, tips, and ink roller. Together we will draw and trace our images onto the blocks, cut the images and print. Contact Amy Tullis at email@example.com for information and registration.
A Celebration of Life for Robin Adair
November 10 at 11 am in the Church
Join your Epiphany family for a Memorial Service to say good-bye to longtime parishioner Robin Adair. If you can provide food for this reception, please contact Diane Carlisle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanksgiving Day Eucharist
November 23 at 9 am in the Chapel
Begin your Thanksgiving Day by giving thanks to God for all God has done for you.
Third Annual Thanksgiving Dinner
4 pm in the Great Hall
Are you dreading all the work of cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner? Thinking of not even going to go to the trouble to celebrate Thanksgiving? Planning to turn on the TV and watch a football game that you don’t even care about? Then consider instead joining your Epiphany family on Thanksgiving Day in the Great Hall for dinner at 4 pm with all the trimmings! Terry Carlisle will be cooking the turkeys. Bring a dish to share and perhaps a game to play. Feel free to come as early as 3 pm to finish pre- paring your dish, play games, or just hang out.
Please contact Diane Carlisle in the Parish Office at email@example.com to let us know how many people are coming, and what you will be bringing to the potluck.
Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
Click here to view Prayer List