Our congregation is small, and many of us are fairly old. We know that we must change if our church is not only to survive but also grow in Mission!
We met at length with our Bishop on June 7, 2017, and confirmed our planned changes at a Bishop’s Committee meeting on June 18.
With a willing spirit, the Church of the Epiphany has launching a new vision of how we worship, and how we join with God’s mission in our neighborhood. Both Bishop Rob and Canon Kevin were moved and impressed by Epiphany’s eagerness for renewal, and we have their full support. There are 3 key aspects of this renewal:
1) Our WORSHIP SPACE has been re-ordered, using the main space of the nave, on a single level. The baptismal font was moved to a central place. One end of the space holds the ministry of the Word (the readings and our responses), the other end is where we celebrate Holy Communion, gathered around a newly constructed altar table. A team of parishioners is worked hard and quickly to effect this transformation.
2) UPBEAT CHOIR: Launched following a children’s singing camp August 14-18, Epiphany’s liturgy is now greatly enhanced by the music of UpBeat, our children’s singing group. Upbeat Afterschool (on Fridays) has joined our Monday Epiphany 4H Explorers program, as we serve God by providing opportunities for the children of Newport and nearby.
3) Our WORSHIP TIME: Epiphany now worships on Saturday evenings at 5 pm. Hopefully this will attract more souls to worship with us!
On June 30 our discussion was two-fold, both physical and emotional. We decided that the floor would be of refinished wood, and that screening would not block off our stained glass window. We also talked about how to support and encourage each other during this time of change, and and about the need to nurture the faithful as we make room for those whom god will send our way.
On July 5 the physical work of reshaping our worship space began! And on July 9 we first worshiped in the new open space Our congregation loved it! We are continuing to learn how to best use our new space!
On July 22 we hosted our first outside event, a benefit concert, in our new venue. Audience and musicians alike were happy with the space and the excellent acoustics!
Floor refinishing was completed in early August.
We began our new services on August 19, with the help of our UpBeat Choir. Our services became shorter, but with more congregational participation both in the service of the Word and in the Eucharist.
We hope to return to in-person services this Lent.