Advent 2017 How to Prepare for Christmas

Advent 2017 How to Prepare for Christmas

Mark your calendars! On Thursday, December 7th, beginning at 6 p.m., the Rev. Scott Bullock from First United Methodist Church, New Iberia, will give a presentation on “How to Prepare for Christmas.” The liturgical season of Advent is the Christian’s way to prepare for Christmas. Rev. Scott Bullock will teach us some very practical ways we can engage in some serious preparations for Christmas, and in the process, perhaps catch some of that “Christian Spirit.”   The Vestry, in conjunction with the Faith & Fun Committee, is inviting everyone to participate in Epiphany’s Pot Luck and Presentations, which will be a new way for us to engage in Adult Christian Formation. My hope is that we will have four or five offerings of this nature throughout the course of the year.  Come and be a part of this new beginning in Adult Christian Formation here at...
Flooding in Texas and Louisiana

Flooding in Texas and Louisiana

Dear Friends, Our hearts have been rent by the images and stories of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction in Texas. Many in our Diocese fear for family and friends in the storm’s path. Responses from our congregations have been swift and generous, whether through Episcopal Relief and Development or other services. Now Harvey has turned toward Louisiana. Schools and offices have been closed in several of our parishes. Floodwaters are encroaching on some homes and businesses in the south and west. We wait together not only to see what this storm brings but also to discern how to be most helpful to those in need. Our Disaster Relief Coordinator Deacon Lois Maberry has been hard at work for days preparing and coordinating responses and providing resources. I have been communicating with clergy in charge of our congregations to stay informed about all of you. You are in my prayers for safety. Together we will get through this and bring aid to those in need. We have received notes and phone calls of support from around the Church. The Presiding Bishop, my fellow bishops, and fellow Episcopalians around the country are praying for us and offering their support. I’m sure you share my gratitude. May our holy and gracious God guide, guard, and comfort us through this storm. And may our common hope sustain us in the weeks ahead as we begin the work of recovery. Blessings…. +Jake The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, PhD, DD 4th Bishop of Western Louisiana Dear Friends, As many of you are aware, Hurricane Harvey has brought catastrophic devastation to the Texas Gulf Coast and now...
DIME: Delving Into the Mystery of the Eucharist

DIME: Delving Into the Mystery of the Eucharist

DIME: Delving Into the Mystery of the Eucharist – Children & Eucharist At what age should my child receive Communion? This is a question many parents ask as they are striving to raise their children in the Episcopal Church. Once we are baptized, regardless of our age, we are welcome to receive Communion. Our Book of Common Prayer (p. 858) indicates that, at the time of Baptism, we receive the inward and spiritual grace of union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God’s family (the Church), forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit. Once a child is born into God’s family, that child is welcome to participate in Communion. This represents a change for many of us as parents since we may have had to wait until Confirmation or other instructional opportunities before taking our first Communion. What caused this shift? The General Convention of 1970 resolved that “children might be admitted to communion before confirmation.” In 1971, the House of Bishops stated, “Confirmation should not be regarded as a procedure of admission to the Holy Communion.” How does my child learn about the Eucharist? First and foremost, children learn from attending church. Here they can see and be a part of the service and begin to understand the sacrament they are seeing. Additionally, from your actions and discussions with your child, he/she sees that Communion is important and that participating in Communion is something you do on a regular basis. Children recognize your reverence at the altar from your body language (kneeling, placing your hands one over the other). For them to...
The Great Vigil of Easter

The Great Vigil of Easter

April 16: The Great Vigil of Easter – St. Augustine first introduced the phrase, “The Paschal Mystery.”   One theologian describes the Paschal Mystery as the saving event by which God in all times and in all places saves the human race. Epiphany will celebrate the Easter Vigil with a Sunrise Service beginning at 6:00 a.m. on Easter Sunday morning. During the Easter Vigil, we recount the following sequence of events.   *The kindling of the new fire and the lighting of the Paschal (Easter) Candle. *The recounting of Passover/Exodus from Egypt, and the entrance into the Promised Land. *The service of Baptism and renewal of our own Baptismal vows. *The First Joyful Eucharist of Easter.   Following the Easter Vigil, Epiphany will celebrate Easter with a delicious breakfast. We will then conclude our three great days of celebrating the Paschal Mystery with the 10:30 a.m. Easter Sunday Eucharist during which the children flower the cross of our redemption. After the service, there will be an Easter Egg Hunt and refreshments for both the children and adults. Since Maundy Thursday, we have been involved in an extended liturgy which is brought to conclusion at Epiphany’s principle service. This is the day of the Passover of Christ from death into life. It is also the celebration of our own pass-over in Holy Baptism, in which “we were buried with Christ in his death and raised with him into new life.” Fr....
Observance of Holy Week

Observance of Holy Week

The Book of Common Prayer issues the following invitation: “I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word” (p. 265). I hope the invitation to observe a Holy Lent has born much fruit in your lives this sacred season. Soon we will be preparing to celebrate the high feast days in the Episcopal Church’s liturgical year or Holy Week. In order to mark these days as special, I have scheduled various prayers for every day of holy week. Please refer to the Holy Week Schedule to see what is scheduled each day of the week. For your convenience, all of the evening services are scheduled at 6:00 p.m. The exceptions are Good Friday when Epiphany will pray The Way of the Cross at 12:15 p.m. (in addition to the principle service at 6:00 p.m.), and the Holy Saturday Prayer Service which will take place at 10:00 a.m. May your participation in the drama of Holy Week fill you with abounding love, joy and peace. Fr. Matt April 9: The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday – The Liturgy for Palm Sunday is in two parts.   *The Liturgy of the Palms celebrates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. *The second part of the liturgy changes from triumph to tragedy as it focuses on the suffering and death of Jesus. During this week, we will rediscover what God has done for us, rediscover the meaning of our Baptism as well as what it means to share...
Epiphany’s Lenten Program

Epiphany’s Lenten Program

Epiphany’s Lenten Program will begin on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. We will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at 5:30 p.m. in the church. Following the service, we will gather in the Parish Hall for a light meal of soup and salad. Following our common meal together, everyone is invited to participate in the Lenten Program. This year, Fr. Matt will be leading us in a series of Biblical Meditations based on the book by Peter Van Breemen, S.J., entitled: The God of Our Deepest Longings. (Please Note: It isn’t necessary to buy the book unless you want to add it to your library.)       March 8: First Meditation:        “What Are You Looking For?” March 15: Second Meditation:  “Where Do You Live?” March 22: Third Meditation:      “Becoming Transparent” March 29: Fourth Meditation:    “Living From Plenitude” April 5: Fifth Meditation:           “Jesus’ Suffering, Our Suffering” April 12: Sixth Meditation:        “Shalom” Following Fr. Matt’s presentation, we will be invited to delve more deeply into each session’s theme by reflecting on suggested Scripture passages as well as entering into small group discussion. In this way, group members become teachers to one another, following a personal, respectful, and engaged model of adult learning. Please sign up in advance if you are interested in participating in this year’ Lenten Program. We also need hosts to sign up to provide soup, salad and bread for the Wednesday...