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Scouting Party #2: Epiphany, G Street

The Church of the Epiphany on G Street in Washington, D.C. was our field trip target of opportunity this past Sunday.  This urban parish is roughly 167 years old and has always been a powerful presence in Washington, D.C.  A number of ordained and lay leaders have been raised up through Epiphany to assume greater leadership roles in the national church and wider Anglican Communion.  

Their location in the district and the needs within the city itself allow it to be a positive place of shelter, a constant source for sustenance and a compassionate center of support to the homeless, destitute, addicted and afflicted.  Sunday mornings begin early with feeding the homeless with the study of scripture, a eucharist and then breakfast.  And on Tuesday afternoons, "Street Church" takes the eucharist and a light lunch out into a nearby park for any and all to receive.  

I immediately realized what an honor and privilege it must be to minister in a way and place such as this.

A few observations for our visit to their 11:00 a.m. service:

o   Weather and time dissuaded us from parking at Heart Of My Heart's office building, so we braved trying to find a street
     space or paying for a garage.  There's a garage right next door which offers complimentary parking to worshipers (up
     until 8pm) provided you get your ticket validated at the coffee hour.

o   The service was attended by a good number of street folk.

o   Announcements were made prior to the start of the service.  I liked that. 

o   When concluding the Old and New Testament readings, rather than hearing "The Word of the Lord ", the Lector said,
     "Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church".  That fit in nicely with what I'm currently reading in Public Reading of
     Scripture for the Oral Interpretation of Scripture class in seminary.

o   The clergy and altar party all sat together off to one side in the congregation during The Liturgy of the Word, and
     then moved up the sanctuary chance area behind the altar for The Liturgy of the Altar.

o   We both liked the Offertory sentences which were used when the Elements were presented:

     "Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation: Through your goodness we have this bread to set before you, which earth
      has given and human hands have made.  It will become for us the bread of life.  Blessed be God forever."
     "Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation: Through your goodness we have this wine to set before you, fruit of the
      vine and work of human hands.  It will become for us the cup of salvation.  Blessed be God forever."

o   Again, the Episcopal Church showed itself to be a small world indeed: One of the Lay Associates was a classmate
     of HOMH in the Big Old Seminary's Evening School, the diocesan-assigned Special Discernment Facilitator who
     directed my parish committee is a parishioner and healing minister leader, and Epiphany's organist and Music
     Director had been on the short list for our position at Grace when I chaired that search.

o   Finally, a greeter at coffee hour came on a bit strong, saying Epiphany was no "johnny-come-lately" to the Church
     about being open to those whose beliefs, circumstances, or lifestyles now test our national church and threaten
     to break apart our worldwide Communion.  She was adamant they have always been a welcoming and inclusive
     place for the LGBT community, or for any person from a broken or estranged relationship.  I imagined she was
     wielding her own winnowing fork to work the wheat from the chaff.  Maybe because I identified myself as a new
     seminarian from Virginia, she felt the need to speak out.    

Afterward, we enjoyed a lovely lunch at nearby Chef Geoff's before making our way back across the river. 


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Aug. 4th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
I like those offertory sentences too Dave. What kind of liberty does a parish have with respect to this?
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )