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News & Resources: Spiritual Spot

Welcome! 

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

You'll find here occasional writings, a few rants, and hopefully some insights too, about Christian discipleship, the Episcopal Church, and on faith community's life at the Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, Massachusetts. At the Epiphany we understand ourselves to be "a welcoming Episcopal community, united in God, called to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and to transform the world with love and generosity."


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  • July 18, 2024 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Parish of the Epiphany RectoryWith the generosity of donations being made against pledges to the Capital Campaign, Epiphany’s Property Committee is working with structural engineers to identify a solution that properly repairs the Church’s historic roof and brick. In addition, Property has taken action to address needs at the rectory.

    The rectory, where Rev. Nick lives with his family, is a three-story single family home with a wood and stucco exterior that was built in 1910. Property is responsible for all maintenance and home improvements on the rectory. We are mindful to expedite decisions related to the rectory especially as it relates to any disruption to their family life. Rev. Nick’s sermons always leave me thinking more deeply about how to live better in Christ’s footsteps… I don’t want to imagine sermons if he was writing them under a leaky roof, in wet clothes and cold food — for his family of six! All joking aside, in the case of 2024, quick action was needed for the clothes dryer and kitchen cooktop. Additionally, the rectory’s roof required replacement.

    Property also made planned longer-term investments that included upgrading the heating system to mini-split heat pumps with air conditioning and adding insulation to the rectory walls. Property is grateful to Creation Care for guidance on these energy-efficient improvements. As part of their mission to reduce our church’s energy consumption, Creation Care coordinated an energy audit of both the church and rectory, providing valuable information to guide maintenance and improvement decisions of our properties.

    Rev. Nick and Bethany are currently proposing paint colors to be approved by Property. Once the interior/exterior painting is completed, we will have fully restored the rectory for its home maintenance/improvement needs.

    The collaboration between Creation Care and Property is one example of the strengths of Epiphany. While we think primarily of ourselves as a church, a place to worship together, what happens beyond services is our parish life. Said another way… Creation Care’s engagement with Property was effectively able to elevate our actionable stewardship of the Earth. Together, we make larger impacts on our world.  

    Darwin Keith-Lucas, Warden
    Ghost written by Heather Keith-Lucas

  • July 11, 2024 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    People gathered around tables with food in Hadley Hall at Parish of the Epiphany, WinchesterTwo weeks ago, our fridge died. And when I say, "our" fridge, I mean, that workhorse of an appliance in our parish kitchen off Hadley Hall. That day, I made several phone calls. First, to the company from which we bought it and discovered that our fridge was 13 years old. In dog years, that refrigerator was 91 years old--a great run for a commercial fridge. When it was clear that we'd need to purchase a new one, my mind turned to working with Tony Catino, our sexton, to salvage what we could from what was inside the fridge. It was then that I realized I needed to make a few more phone calls. First, I called Winchester Rotary to let them know that they wouldn't be able to store anything in the fridge for their weekly meetings on Thursdays. Then, I checked with the women's  En Ka Society to make sure they had not planned for an upcoming event as they'd have no place to cool anything. We reached out to our Sunday hospitality team to warn them of the need for new summer punch ingredients. And, finally, I connected with AA and had to share the very bad news that they'd need new milk and cream for the sacred evening coffee at their meetings. The dead fridge reminded us how alive the parish hall can be with our community partners.

    A new fridge is on its way and with it, my hope that more people will be using it. There is room here for AA, En Ka, Rotary, and so much more. This summer, the vestry has approved the formation of a vision team to work with me to begin imagining a process where we, as a parish, will explore how we can use our building to engage the needs and gifts of the surrounding communities. We are just beginning, and it will likely take us some time before we are ready to jump into imagining what is next here at Epiphany. But, for now, it's a blessing to be reminded of the partnerships we have, the ways we use our space, the life we share, and that what's important is not the soured milk, but the people we love and serve who come here for connection, commitment, and community.


    See you on Sunday,
    Nick 

  • July 04, 2024 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This past year, the Website Committee has been hard at work finding a new developer for our new website, bringing in a photographer to take photos of our Sunday and Midweek services, updating our welcome video, having a designer create a new logo, and, most importantly, listening to you, the parish, as we think of how we can be more and more welcoming. When we held listening sessions in the spring about our visual storytelling, over and over again we heard the word “welcome” and many of you shared your Epiphany story of how you felt welcomed when you first entered those doors on Church Street.

    When thinking about our new logo, we wanted it to feel welcoming, and we wanted it to really feel like us. Because Epiphany is in our name, we wanted something in the logo to draw back to that story of the Magi visiting Jesus, so we thought about a star representing that story as well as having an “Epiphany moment.” We also wanted to nod to our unique

    community and building. When thinking about inspiration from our building, we were drawn to the pattern found in our sanctuary lights and the concept of light going out or spreading. We also thought about how our building is in the Arts & Crafts style. In trying to resist industrialization and machinery, there are intentionally placed tiles throughout our building that are unique, human-made, and imperfect.
    We liked that image of a tile, or even a mosaic, that represents our humanity and symbolizes, like our Epiphany community, how individual shards of tile create something beautiful and unique when they come together.

    Lamps of the sanctuary of Parish of the Epiphany, Winchester
    When thinking about the fonts for the logo, we kept hearing from you that Epiphany blends both tradition and creativity/innovation and wanted a way to visually represent honoring tradition with an older style typeface and a more contemporary one. When thinking about the icon, we thought about blending a star that signifies the Epiphany story and our Epiphany moments, the pattern from our sanctuary lights that is distinctly us, and a tile to connect to the Arts & Crafts style of our building — representing how our community that comes together creates something beautiful. 

    Parish of the Epiphany's new logo as of 2024
    Serendipitously, after we landed on this logo, we started seeing it everywhere! Turns out this pattern is also on our sign outside the door, on our door, around the baptismal fount, on the wood that we kneel at to receive Eucharist, and more. 

    Parish of the Epiphany's outdoor wooden sign

    This whole process made us feel that this was here the whole time. Our team felt such validation that when we were creating a “new logo” we were actually using something quite old,  that has been a part of our Christian faith, our building, and our community the whole time. You’ll see the new logo on our bulletin starting this Sunday but we will wait to put it online until our new website is launched in the fall. We are excited about this next step and this next chapter that we will all be creating together!

    With gratitude from our website team,

    Jim Bracciale
    Erika Clapp
    Kathryn Dominguez 
    Kim Haynsworth 
    Kate Reynolds
    Alex Rodriguez 
    Janell Sims
    Rev. Janelle  

  • June 27, 2024 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Green liturgical hanging on lectern at Parish of the Epiphany, WinchesterWe are definitely deep into the green, growing season now. It's the longest season of our liturgical (church) year, and—surprise!—it isn't referencing our northern hemisphere's summer of lush trees and plentiful crops. The liturgical green, growing season is also known as "ordinary time," meaning the seasons between periods of preparation (Advent, Lent) and the great holy moments of Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, and Pentecost. 

    But "ordinary time" does have a lot in common with summer. Because there's not a lot of formal stuff going on, the green, growing season offers us a time to "choose your own adventure." The mixture of summer and our liturgical calendar offers each of us time for our own personal itinerary of purposeful rest and bountiful nourishment. It's like an independent study for the soul. 

    So, how would you like to grow during this green season?

    My summer will involve rest in the form of time off (from the church office, but also from So Much sports driving). I'll also work on my ability to let my kids grow and explore independently, as my youngest goes to sleep-away camp for two whole weeks, and my oldest travels an ocean away. (Welcoming prayers!)

    And, of course, there is summer reading. Summer is my second favorite official reading season of the year. (My first favorite reading season is January—the other green, growing time of the church year, proving it really isn't about plants). This summer I'm reading Mathish: Finding Creativity, Diversity, and Meaning in Mathematics; and The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness; and a whole bunch of fluff. How about you?

    Whatever you read, wherever you go, and however you grow, I hope you find rest for your body, mind, and soul in this green season. I'll see you for some summer punch in the Cloister and I'd love to hear all about it. 

    ~Bryn

  • June 20, 2024 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Parish of the Epiphany parishioners removing their name tags from name tag boardNames are a big deal. With a name we feel known, heard, and seen. Names are so important that we see it throughout scripture—the first human is given charge to name things in creation, the disciples are often given new names (think of Peter, the Rock), and we also observe Holy Name Day, commemorating when Jesus is named by his parents. Names make all of the difference and, at the same time, I can't tell you the number of times that I have blanked on someone's name, even as I know that I know them. You know the feeling. It does not feel great for anyone involved. And, of course, we're human. So, we need help, and it's good to admit it! "I'm Nick, can you remind me of your name!" One of the ways we do this at church is to wear our nametags—it is an important act of welcome and hospitality. We do it for one another; to call each other by name. I remind us of this as we undertake a new effort with our name tags. You'll see it unfolding in the coming weeks. Our name tags holder at the back of the church will be replaced by a wall-mounted system to hold our nametags. The Property Committee has worked on this for the past several months, and I'm looking forward to this new set-up to make our names available to one another and free up room to make our space more welcoming, inviting, and open. These small things make a big difference—and they are reminders that it is the small ways of being welcoming that grow together to help make our church a community open to all—a community where we work together, to know and be known, to work to call each other by name. 

    See you on Sunday,
    Nick

  • June 13, 2024 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Collage of photos made by parishioners at Parish of the Epiphany, WinchesterLast Wednesday was our final Midweek of the program year. In closing our time together, we did a liturgy of gratitude and created an altar of photo collages of our community throughout the whole year together. As a sentimental and nostalgic person, I loved looking through all the photos from the year that Kathryn, our communications person, put together and printed out for us. There were images from Midweek, Parish Weekend Away, Sunday mornings, the Blessing of the Animals service, Choristers, youth events, young adult gatherings, parent gatherings, and so much more. We had a very full year together! As we were preparing these collages, I couldn’t help but notice that many of the kids picked photos that had themselves in them. Of course, this makes sense! Yet, it was meaningful that each of our kids were able to find at least one photo with them in it. A testament to their presence within this community. And this tells a simple yet profound truth about who we are becoming — we are becoming a community that you can literally see yourself in. I hope we continue to lean into this in the years to come to continue to become more and more of a welcoming place for all.

    With gratitude,
    Rev. Janelle

  • June 06, 2024 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Epiphany parishioners gathered around a table at a spring 2024 MidweekOne of the hallmarks of Epiphany is that we create spaces to enjoy being together. This week, we end our program year as we began it... with a meal and celebration together. In September, it was Rally Day, complete with empanadas from Bella Isla, bouncy houses, and a dunk tank. This week, it was our potluck on Sunday and our Midweek End-of-Year Party on Wednesday (no bouncy houses, although the dunk tank would have been more welcome in Sunday’s weather than it was in the coming-and-going rain last September!).

    One of the things we discovered during the pandemic is that being together is really important to us. It’s not just that we enjoy it, it’s that it sustains us and reminds us that we are a community and that we matter to each other. 

    I remember the vestry meeting during the pandemic when Reverend Nick told us that the staff wanted to try a thing called ‘Midweek’ which would be a chance to share a meal outdoors. Thank you to all of them for recognizing how important it was to create a space where we could be together and for finding a way to make it happen.

    And thank you to all the people who make these spaces happen for us. There is no way that I’ll successfully list everyone without waking up tomorrow morning remembering key people who I forgot so I’ll let a few of you represent many: to Marie and everyone who turns Hadley Hall into a community space time and again throughout the year, to Duane and the Midweek team who have turned Midweek into a uniquely Epiphany institution, to Joan and everyone who somehow make cleaning up hundreds of plates and mugs a time of laughter and incredible conversations, and to people like Sarah who take on the less visible tasks like wrapping napkins around countless bundles of silverware. Thank you all, I am so grateful for each of you.

    Nelia Newell

  • May 30, 2024 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Photo of Psalm 1 in the BibleWe are at the end of May, the close of the month, the winding down of the school year—for some, a bit of feeling another cycle past, a summer fast approaching. About a month ago, I made a decision to do something I have never done in my life. I decided that I would read through, at my best, pray through, the Psalms. The Book of Psalms has been called "the gymnasium of the soul" by St. Ambrose (4th century bishop of Milan). He called it that because he encouraged people to "use the psalms" to stretch their prayer muscles, to strengthen their hearts, and connect with their spiritual core. So, I used the Book of Common Prayer's version of the Psalms (starting on page 585 of the BCP), and you'll notice there that the directions note which psalms you should pray on "first day" or "second day" of the month—going for thirty days. Sometimes people ask me how they should pray or what they should pray. One simple suggestion is to use the psalms as your prayers. They may not be the words of your heart, but sometimes, you'll be surprised, that they are. Other days, you may wonder: What is going on here? Some days, you'll say to yourself, "This can't be in the Bible!?" What I've discovered so far by letting the Psalms be my prayers is that I, too, am in need of support and help and strength when I don't have the words, don't know how to talk with God, and it's a deep gift to trust others (even those who wrote the Psalms so long ago), not only with my words, but with my heart. Coming to the close of this month and praying the Psalms, I've noticed that I've become more open to God, to myself, and to my own limitations. It's been a pretty good month in the gym.

    Friends, this Sunday we are throwing a party to celebrate the close of another program year. I hope you'll be there, bring a dish to share, and let yourself be open to one another, to the love we share here, which is where God happens. I'll see you on Sunday, with a full plate and an open heart.


    Peace to you,
    Nick

  • May 23, 2024 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    2023-2024 youth leaders Ellen, John, and Hannah at Mystic LakeAccording to data, a critical response to loneliness, social isolation, and stress in a young persons life is to have more trusted adults in their sphere. It’s important for young people to have trusted adults that are not their family or their teachers. This is one of the things that churches do, at their best. And, I’m proud to say — something that Epiphany does really well because we have youth leaders like Hannah Cumming, John Jenke, and Ellen Wilson (among others!). This year, Hannah, John, and Ellen helped facilitate a Youth Faith Circle that met on Wednesday evenings over a shared meal. John and Ellen graciously hosted us in their homes starting in September all the way to May. During that time we celebrated birthdays, celebrated holidays, celebrated ordinary life and watched these teens and tweens grow taller — some of whom like to remind me that they are now taller than me! Our teens and tweens come from different towns, different schools, and different personalities all converging at Ellen or John’s house on a Wednesday night eating together and learning to be in community together. Learning to be church between Sundays. And last night, we celebrated the final Youth Faith Circle of the year along Mystic Lake, playing frisbee and croquet and watching the sunset. I am thankful for our leaders and thankful for our youth who show up and show me what it means to be Christ to one another (with a touch of sarcasm and Gen Z/Gen Alpha lingo.)

    With gratitude,
    Rev. Janelle

  • May 09, 2024 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For many years, I would run to be in shape—for my bodily health. As I've gotten older, and those extra pounds are harder to "run-off" so quickly, I realize that I keep running, mostly, for my mental health. That's curious to me. Running has always been something I've not excelled at. It was hard to be called "caboose" when your older brother was the star distance runner in high school and ran in college. Through it, I realized I ran, ultimately, for me, and it didn't matter where or when I "finished." There is only so much a watch can tell you; time and distance and metrics that don't ultimately matter. It's the metrics of the heart and soul that help us go the distance. So, I run for me. I run for my health, both bodily and mental, which is a way of saying, my whole self.

    This Easter season (yes, it's still Easter!), it's good to remember that Jesus always showed up to the disciples with his scars—his hands and feet. They wanted to see them; it helped them know it was all real. The scars were part of the wholeness of Jesus, and they spoke to a wholeness the disciples, and we, seek. Our culture wants us to downplay, cover, disregard, or even be defined solely by the scars. But what Easter reminds us is that our health, our wholeness, our fullness of life, depends upon our scars being there and becoming sacred, revelatory to us. If we can't figure out a way to embrace this, we will surely push them away, onto others. This is what happens so often with unhealthy relationships, self-love, and even religion. Unresolved hurt and scars are often passed on to others. Let this season of Easter remind us that our scars speak something to us, invite us into the mystery of God, the mystery of one another, the beautiful mystery of ourselves—ultimately, so that we can love and be loved into new life. A life, where God happens, and has always been happening. Happy Easter, friends.

    Nick

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