Changes in Vestry

Today we express our deep and continuing gratitude to three vestry members who are rotating off their leadership role: Mike Harber, Jimmy Weldon, and the deceased Michael Williams. Today in our annual meeting, we elected two vestry members to serve beginning in 2018, Amanda Borden and Jere Van Etten. Thanks to all of you for your service and leadership!

News from St Ursula’s

Hugh Thompson has been diligently following the latest developments from St Ursula’s on St John, and he was able to locate this article about the church’s work to restore its meal service to elderly citizens in the community. The article contains lots of information we didn’t have before, including word that St Ursula’s steeple is toppled over and that there are gaping holes in its roof. We have our work cut out for us!

Updates on St Ursula’s

Hugh Thompson met Wednesday in Birmingham with Alabama Diocese staff who are in touch with the churches on St John. Here’s his summary of what we know now:

Initial minutes of the meeting held Oct 4th in Birmingham. I will try to prepare a one page highlights for your  use soon.
I did confirm that there were no known deaths or serious injuries to the parishioners from St. Ursula’s from the two hurricanes or for other Episcopal Parishes, as far as the attendees knew. While  Bishop Gumbs is clearly faced with an overwhelming challenge, he has stated, “don’t send any volunteers down here until we are ready to accommodate them.”
Discussion of clergy relief now was raised as a very important need.
Sanitation debris removal and adequate shelter were also key items discussed.
Hugh is in direct contact with Alecia of St Ursula’s, who is in the states but able to communicate with St Ursula’s. They are already holding Sunday services! There is a chance that they will need hymnals and prayer books, but we will know more about that as information filters through.

October 9 Update from Hugh:
A Good Status of the current support effort was posted on the Dioceses Website by Deacon Judy Quick and the info important to supporting ST Ursula’s on St John is summarized below.
1. Emergency Funds have been sent to the Diocese of the Virgin Islands.
2. Emergency supplies have been shipped or planned to be shipped to all three deaneries to include tarps, mosquito nets/repellent, batteries, non-perishable food, water and water purification systems, gasoline, plywood, as requested by the leadership of the three deaneries.
3. Coordination and Distribution of supplies will be managed by the Bishop and his designated leadership, and they are coordinating with all clergy and congregations.
4. St. Thomas/St. John Deanery: The shipment of goods has been sent through a voluntary network coordinating with FEMA.
5. Regular postal and other delivery systems are not yet operational.
6. The Church Pension Group is addressing the many questions concerning insurance claims and process.

In many churches, prayer books, hymnals, and Lift Every Voice Songbooks were damaged and are unusable. Deacon Judy is coordinating the replenishment of these supplies with Bishop Gumbs (the total numbers have been requested) and with The Episcopal Church as a request was also made to TEC and we need to ensure coordination and not duplication of replenishment.

The Companion Diocese Commission and its diocesan partners met on October 4 to share information and begin developing our long term partnership for hurricane recovery and rebuilding for our Virgin Island friends.

1. Bishop Sloan’s focus is first and foremost about relationships. We have established ours with St Ursula’s and Alecia Wells is the individual that I communicate with.

2. Health concerns are growing as the water is contaminated and mold is beginning to be a major problem in the damaged homes and in the debris removed from the damaged houses. There is also a problem getting the debris removed from the streets and lack of waste disposal sites.

3. Comment was made by Bishop Sloan that this would be a long term effort and that church vestry’s should include VI support as part of their coming years budget. I noted that we were considering having a special collection one Sunday each month for St Ursula’s. Deacon Judy will communicate process for stock donations.

4. Each church was asked that the parishioners who are interested and available to assist with the recover effort fill out the Alabama Episcopal Asset Map for Disasters. Examples of areas of need and interest are disaster rebuilding capabilities, mental health workers, medical workers, and senior care professionals. Bishop Gumbs says that they are not ready at this time to support people coming to the Islands to help with the recovery effort.

5. My initial impression is that Deacon Judy and the key people she is working with are facing a very large challenge. One individual, who said that he knows Rev Wells very well , James Browne, seemed to be the most capable individual that fully understands the complexity of getting repair and rebuilding work planned and executed. Not sure how best to support his role and we can discuss as we get further along.

Any questions, please let me know.

Peace ht

St Francis Sunday

Bring your family, your pet on a leash, and your friends to the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany Sunday morning, September 25, 2017 at 10:30 am to celebrate the feast of St Francis. We will enjoy an outdoor Eucharist, a Blessing of the Animals, and afterward, an old fashioned cookout on the grounds. Dress down, folks. This is church, but it’s funky church.

St Francis is recognized as the patron saint of animals. He’s also often (although probably incorrectly) remembered as the author of the beloved Prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Do We Call It a Sister Church Yet?

In the wake of Hurricane Irma and now Hurricane Maria, our vestry decided Sunday to reach out to the Episcopal church in the Virgin Islands, our sister diocese, to see if we could provide specific and localized assistance to one particular parish. In conversations with our own Alabama Diocese, we’ve identified one church, St Ursula’s Episcopal Church, St John’s US VI (US Virgin Islands). We found this picture of the church online.

Our own Hugh Thompson, who is coordinating our relationship with St Ursula’s, says this: “We are looking forward to supporting [St Ursula’s] in this time of need. However, the pressing need now is prayers for the safety of the parishioners and the church as they face Hurricane Maria, that is projected to be a direct hit on the Virgin islands.”

Judy Quick of the Alabama Diocese has sent this message to Bishop Ambrose Gumb and to a key lay person at St Ursula’s, whose first name is Alecia:

 Dear Bishop Gumbs and Alecia,
Two parishes in Alabama have expressed a desire to partner with St. Ursula’s on St. John’s as you walk  through your rebuilding and recovery after Hurricane Irma:  The Church of the Epiphany in Tallassee and St.  Dunstan’s in Auburn.   The priest/rector at both parishes is the Reverend Wells Warren.   …
It’s too soon to know for sure what kind of help St Ursula’s will need, but we expect the relationship to be one that lasts for some time, perhaps years, as we work to reach out in love to this fellowship of believers.
This afternoon (Wednesday), Hugh posted this update:
This is the current status of the damage to St. John Island and St Ursula church as I know it.
1. Thanks for your prayers for the safety of the people on St John. Our point of contact, Alecia Wells, said that she was not aware of any significant injuries to the members of the parish or to individuals on the island. Obviously there is very limited communications at this time and I will update the status as additional information becomes available.
2. There is a total loss of electrical power on the Island. This power outage is expected to last at least until Thanksgiving or possibly until Christmas before it is fully restored. This is a major issue for the health and safety of the individuals who are currently living there; and will clearly hamper the repair and recovery efforts.
3. There is also a total loss of the water supply. Duration is not fully known, but expected to be similar to the loss of electrical power. Again, this is a significant health and safety issue.
4. St Ursula’s roof was damaged by hurricane Irma. The additional damage from Maria is not known at this time, but it is anticipated to more extensive due to the degraded roofing before Maria hit. Alecia is trying to contact the sexton to get a better assessment of the damage to the church.
5. I continue to stay in touch with both Rev Quick and Alecia Wells. Right now, the plans for our financial support to St Ursula will be through the Alabama Diocese and I will coordinate with Rev Quick to ensure we have the proper procedure on place.
Your prayers for the safety of those remaining on St John and for the restoration of the damaged utilities are needed.

Discovering Discipleship

For six weeks beginning Sunday morning, September 10, at 9:00 am, Leigh Warren will lead us on a journey through discipleship, using as her principal resource The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Join us in the nave, beginning with a continental breakfast courtesy of Father Wells.

Here are the readings we will explore each week, but Leigh insists that we should plan to come and take part even if we have not been able to read the assigned chapters for that week.


Vestry Leadership for 2017

At their Vestry Meeting this week, Vestry members chose the following leaders for 2017:

  • Mike Harber will serve as Senior Warden
  • Jimmy Weldon will serve as Junior Warden
  • Mike Rallo will serve as SWEEPS chair for Stewardship
  • Father Wells will serve as SWEEPS chair for Worship
  • Jean Kerr will serve as SWEEPS chair for Education
  • Mike Harber will serve as SWEEPS chair for Evangelism
  • Kay Dickey will serve as SWEEPS chair for Pastoral Care
  • Jimmy and Betty Weldon will serve as SWEEPS co-chairs for Service

Congratulations – and a big THANK YOU – to all those serving in our leadership for 2017!

Three New Vestry Members

Congratulations to our three new vestry members elected Sunday, who take office immediately:

  • Kay Dickey
  • Jean Kerr
  • Mike Rallo

And congratulations and a hearty thank you to the three vestry members stepping down at the end of 2016:

  • Lee Borden
  • Mike Dickey
  • Hugh Thompson

With these changes, our vestry is now composed of the following persons:

  • Kay Dickey
  • Elizabeth Harber, Clerk
  • Mike Harber, Senior Warden
  • Jean Kerr
  • Maurice McCord
  • Mike Rallo
  • Father Wells Warren, Priest
  • Betty Weldon, Treasurer
  • Jimmy Weldon, Junior Warden
  • Michael Williams

At its next meeting, the vestry will decide who should be the senior warden and junior warden during 2017.

Special Report on Recycling at Epiphany

Epiphany is fortunate to be selected as a collection site for the Elmore County recycling program.  Our receptacle is located midway back on the far right side of the church property, near the utility shed.  We encourage all members of Epiphany to contribute to recycling rather than the landfill.  Items need not be separated.

Accepted Materials
Paper (shredded paper must be bagged)
Plastics 1 & 2
Tin Cans

Materials NOT Accepted

Elmore County asks that NO food or medical waste be included.  So rinse out those cans and scrape food off pizza boxes prior to depositing in the bin.

How you can help:
For plastic containers–if in doubt–check the bottom for the #1 or #2.
Most plastic water bottles as well as milk, juice, soft drink, and ice tea containers are recyclable, as are the Sam’s Club clear plastic cups we use for refreshments.  Many deli containers for snacks, cakes, cookies, etc. are eligible, but not all…so check for the #1 or #2. It helps if you can take time to remove and discard caps and rinse out bottles before adding them to the bin.

Aluminum cans may go into the large bin, but Jimmy Weldon heads up a special program for exchanging aluminum for cash, which goes into Epiphany’s coffers.  So please consider separating your aluminum and making arrangements to get those items to Jimmy.  We have two receptacles in the rear of the Little House, one of which is for aluminum only. Please DO NOT include tin or steel cans; those need to go into the general bin.  Typically, soft drinks and beer come in aluminum containers; canned goods are in steel.

And a special request: please be especially careful to rinse thoroughly any cans left in the aluminum can receptacle. Recently, Jimmy and Betty had to clean up a big mess caused by critters getting into unrinsed steel cans that were left in the aluminum can receptacle.

Contact information:
Richie Beyer, Elmore County recycling director:  334-398-3325

Respectfully submitted,
Amanda W. Borden