Annie Strahan

As a long time member of this parish I’ve been supported by this community in a multitude of ways. The spiritual guidance and education by clergy and other parishioners have both grounded and elevated my being. Although it’s changed significantly over time, growing aesthetically and in size, the physical space here has supported the spiritual and social growth of my family. But it is the people of our church that have truly nourished me. Epiphanites have celebrated holidays, birthdays, graduations, and weddings with me and helped me navigate the devastation of sickness, death and grief. I am so very grateful for my Epiphany family and appreciative that on my first visit to the church, and regularly since then, I’ve been welcomed so warmly and invited to be part of the Epiphany family.

I came to Epiphany with my family of four in the late 1980’s, having “auditioned” several other churches. A realtor had warned us that Epiphany was “different” and she didn’t think it would be our kind of place, but we definitely wanted to see for ourselves. The sanctuary was very different then, with the altar where the choir loft is and the celebrant with her back to the congregation. The entry to the sanctuary was through the current sacristy and there were no side aisles. We entered with curiosity and the nervousness you feel when you’re a visitor. We discovered women priests (!) and a congregation that demonstrated their values by having a special, fun pew for children – the front pew, no less! And at the end of the service an older couple came up, introduced themselves and invited us to return. This invitation meant a great deal. We took them up on it and and soon experienced the unique warmth and depth of Epiphany’s spiritual community. It fit.

For years we were very actively involved in different aspects of life at Epiphany. However, as our children reached adulthood the cares of work and home led to a period of spiritual inertia and we grew more distant from the daily life of the church, although we still attended services. Then Randy, my husband, developed cancer and again, we experienced the love of this community. Parishioners and clergy reached out to support us in a multitude of ways through this ordeal. An Epiphany friend was by my side when I received his prognosis, folks reached out to comfort Randy from their own experience of illness, looked after my house, walked my dogs, and visited us. We weren’t able to come to church, so the church came to us. Epiphany support held me up during the funeral. My admiration and gratitude for this loving care are endless. And in my grief, I understood that the invitation still stood and also that I needed to return to my church family and wanted to give back.

Now, I experience Epiphany fully again. Serving on the vestry has been rewarding in terms of making a contribution and has stimulated the development of new bonds and friendships. I’ve had a fabulous time working with the Parish Life committee on events and serving on the Altar and Flower Guilds. I pledge out of gratitude and to maintain my church “home.” I invite any of you who may be thinking of becoming more involved with Epiphany in any way or on any level to approach any clergy, vestry member or committee chair with questions – really, just ask anyone with a nametag!

During Holy Week I was asked if my 4 year old granddaughter, Claire, would be coming to help the Altar Guild prepare for Easter Sunday. This wasn’t my plan, as I was thinking about efficiency, but I mentioned it to her and she was absolutely thrilled to be invited to have a special job. So, on that morning we arrived, got busy placing the cushions around the altar rail and I soon became distracted with another task. I walked into the sacristy to see Claire and several adults, including Keith Poole, sitting on the floor, engaged in putting candles in holders for the Easter Vigil and chatting and counting in Espanol. It was such a genuine Epiphany moment! They were sharing in community as they worked, as were a multitude of other folks (children, adults and clergy) arranging flowers, cleaning the sanctuary, rehearsing anthems and hymns, working outside to beautify the grounds, setting up for Easter breakfast, dying Easter Eggs and who knows what else. Some faces may have changed, but I still am filled with joy and awe at our uniquely warm and engaged Epiphany community. Please join us!