This Sunday we begin a new era in the life of the parish of All Saints’, Carmel, California. We will welcome the Rev. Amber Sturgess as our priest in charge. We will begin a life together exploring what God is calling us to be for the future. Times have changed; we have changed. We have members who have been involved in this parish for half a century or more and we have people who have just recently chosen to make All Saints’ their spiritual home. Together we will determine the future of All Saints’ under the guidance of our new pastor.
We will also welcome little Somerset Lys, who represents the future, as she is christened and welcomed into the Christian family. Somerset is Gwynn Romano’s granddaughter.
Wednesday evening at least 25 members of All Saints’ attended the Vespers service and celebratory dinner of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. It was also their patronal feast, so it was a very special occasion that included a visit from their Metropolitan, or bishop, (episkopos).
In his homily, his Eminence Nikitos, referred to the Epiphany as the Theophany– Showing forth or revealing of God. In the Eastern churches Christmas takes a back seat to the Epiphany. Why is the Epiphany so important? After some thought I realized that the Nativity celebrates the Jewishness of Jesus. He is born into a specific culture and trained in its ways, but if he had stayed within that community, few, if any of us, would be Christians today. The Epiphany, on the other hand, celebrates God in Christ for the whole world. And that is all the difference. Jesus’ relevance to all of humanity means that everyone matters, not just a few people in a tiny country on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean. EVERYONE matters, from the most humble peasant to a powerful head of state, from those languishing in prisons, to us, comfortable in our middle class lives. But it also means that each individual matters, a very Christian notion which has had enormous influence in Western Civilization.
We are anxious that the arrangement with St. John’s will work out. Please share any concerns you may have with the vestry. We will address any problems. At the same time, we hope that everyone will be positive and welcoming. This is a wonderful opportunity for ecumenism.
This Sunday, we will have coffee hour after the 10:30 service in Seccombe Hall to welcome Amber, little Somerset Lys and to meet the members of St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church.
Also, please mark your calendars for our annual parish meeting: 31 January, after the 10:30 service. We will have a potluck luncheon. It will be a time to choose three vestry persons, diocesan delegates and a clerk of the vestry. We hope to have an annual report ready for you by the 24th.
Let us go forth and show forth the light of Christ.
Claudia Ward, Senior Warden
All Saints’ Episcopal Church