The Joy of Finding

Luke 15
 
My mother-in-law Mary is a great finder of lost things. One time when my son Joel was 18 months old she came to visit for three weeks, and before the time was out, she located the play walkie talkie from the ride on truck- in the bushes the stuffed animal joey that went with the mama kangaroo – behind a bureau and my favorite: 6 drink coasters, in the pedals of the pump organ.
 
All these things had been lost for months; Read more…


Jesus’ Unexpected Family Values

Luke 14:25-33
 
In my early ministry, my colleague and I co-led premarital classes each year.  Our classes always began with a skit about some common marital challenge.  I wrote one called, The Holiday Question, which featured a couple who had recently married and did not choose to attend the family holiday celebrations.
 
Every year, this skit was controversial. Read more…


Six Days a Week

Luke 13:10-17 
 
In my first church, I started a Taize service along with a couple of musicians.  We took over the prayer chapel, and covered the altar with candles of various sizes.  Each Monday evening we joined with a dozen other parishioners to sing contemplative songs and petitions written by the ecumenical community in Taize, France.  It was moving and prayerful, and though the number of participants was not great, it was an oasis of peace for those who attended. Read more…


Community Level High

Dear People of Epiphany, 
 
I want to let you know that last week the CDC moved Montgomery County’s COVID Community Level to High.  The CDC recommends wearing masks indoors when community levels are high (COVID-19 Community Levels | CDC).  While Epiphany retains its official policy as ‘mask optional,’ we do recommend wearing masks while indoors and in the presence of others, in keeping with the CDC’s guidance.  Our care for the community is another facet of how we love Jesus and serve others.   
 
If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to reach out to me. 
 

Pastor Julie 



Mary Moment

Luke 10:38-42 

 
Have you ever had a Mary Moment? I have. 
 
It happened one Sunday morning as I pulled up to church. It had been a challenging Sunday to make it there – The church was an hour commute from my home, and I had to get the kids out of the house and off to church with my husband before leaving. I was teaching adult education before worship, so I had to be there an hour early. I’d left dishes in the sink, and I was pretty sure the bed would still be unmade when I got home. Read more…


A Word About COVID

As of June 29, 2022, masks are optional indoors at Epiphany’s campuses. Please see Pastor Julie’s message below.

Some have asked me to give a little explanation about my recommendation to wear masks indoors two and a half weeks ago. I understand COVID to be a chronic illness, in that we can expect flare ups of infections to occur for the foreseeable future. This means we have to learn to live with COVID and to carry on in the safest way possible. Fortunately, as of last week, we now have vaccination available to all age groups; in addition, despite the recent high transmission rate of the disease, hospitalizations and deaths have continued to be low in Montgomery County. We are not in the same place from a public health perspective that we were in 2020.

I also understand our Christian responsibility to love our neighbor as ourselves. This means we take into consideration the needs of others when we make personal decisions and church policy. When we had a number of infections three weeks ago among our staff and our VBS volunteers, and our ability to carry out functions of ministry in was temporarily threatened. I honestly did not know if we could keep the office open or staff VBS. I felt it was important to limit the spread of the disease, as families and businesses could be affected in a similar manner. This is why I recommended wearing masks indoors at church.

Each congregation’s culture is different, and what I am learning is that mask wearing is a deal breaker for some in our community. That doesn’t mean people are being selfish or wrongheaded; it just means that some will sit out instead of coming to church because mask wearing for them is really an imposition. As a new pastor in this community, loving my neighbor means not only protecting the vulnerable; it also means getting to know all the community. It is clear to me whatever recommendations or policies the Council and I make, that they need to support people’s participation. 

For these reasons, I am recommending that masks be optional at Epiphany’s campuses. I continue to encourage people to social distance when indoors as a precaution, given that people are infectious prior to exhibiting symptoms. I will continue to ask all communion assistants to mask while they are serving, as this offers a layer of protection for those coming into close proximity to receive. For those who have health concerns, I encourage lowering your mask and consuming the communion elements in the pew when worshipping indoors. We will pray for continued good weather, so we can enjoy worshipping together outdoors. Coffee after worship will resume next Sunday, July 3. 

Going forward I will keep COVID recommendations simple, and follow the overall Covid-19 Community Level ratings from the CDC. If the Community Level is High, we will recommend people wear masks indoors. Otherwise, masks will be optional. Under these guidelines, an outbreak like the one that happened three weeks ago at Epiphany would NOT alter the mask optional recommendation. 

I want to say thank you to those who came to me with questions and feedback about this and other matters; alongside the Council, your thinking and prayer help inform my decisions.

– Pastor Julie



All In

I Kings 15-16, 19-21;
Luke 9:51-62    
 
I first met Ren at a summer music program. We were both playing in the orchestra, me on the French horn, and Ren on the flute. Ren was serious about music; all he wanted to do was apply to music school, get a degree, and play. His father, however, was serious about Ren being a success. He was a chemist, an immigrant who had worked hard to make it in a new land. He thought Ren should become a pharmacist. Read more…


One in Christ

Galatians 3:23-29
 
When I was in high school, I went on a study trip to Washington, D.C. It was a year-round program that brought together kids from around the country for a week to learn about civics, politics and American history. 
 

As soon as we arrived, we kids began the social size up: 

  • Who were the jocks and cheerleaders?
  • Who were the nerds? Read more…


Three-Person Partnership

Trinity Sunday

In my college dorm, there were three types of rooms: singles, doubles where you shared with a roommate, and quads, where four people shared two bedrooms with a common room between. 
 
Because the campus had some historic old buildings, there were also odd-sized rooms in which they housed three students at a time. These ‘triples’ as they were called, were great from an architectural standpoint — Read more…


Satisfied

John 14:8-17, 25-27
 
The advertisements say it all: Satisfaction guaranteed! Money back if you are not completely satisfied!
 
Has there been a time when you were completely satisfied? Honestly, it seems to be a human impulse to always want more. We can always go a little faster, burn a little brighter, consult one more website, order one more thing on Amazon. Read more…


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