Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost - Oct. 15, 2023

Do Dogs Go to Heaven?

It happened again last weekend. I got asked a theological question that weighs on people. Do dogs (and cats, or for that matter pet gerbils) go to heaven?

The Bible doesn't say, but many Christians have quietly and sadly assumed the proper theological answer must be "no." Part of this comes from the simple fact that in the Bible, humans and animals are clearly in different categories of God's good creation. As humans, we bear the image of God in a way that animals do not (Genesis 1.26). But at least as much of this thinking comes from the Enlightenment philosophical systems of thinkers like René Descartes. He grounded "being" in thinking to such an extent ("I think, therefore I am" cogito ergo sum) that he saw anyone and anything with less than a completely developed human mind as merely a biological robot.

C.S. Lewis offers another perspective, not just in his talking animals in Narnia, but also in "The Great Divorce," where he describes a powerful saint in heaven. She enters, surrounded by angels and all the people she touched by her holy life.

Lewis goes on, "And how... but hullo! What are all these animals? A cat - two cats - dozens of cats. And all these dogs... why, I can't count them. And the birds. And the horses..."

"They are her beasts."

"Did she keep a sort of zoo? I mean, this is a bit too much,"

"Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over to them."

Is this how it is for our animals? I don't know, and as he would readily admit, neither did C.S. Lewis. There are also all kinds of things Lewis didn't address or have an answer for (What about wild animals? What about farm animals?) But the picture he gives is simple enough as far as it goes. Just as we are fully and eternally who we are created to be not because we think (pace Descartes), but because we accept God's love through Jesus Christ, so our pets may receive that same sort of life-giving love from us as part of our dominion over them given to us in Genesis chapter 1.

It's what I think about when I decide how to treat our dog, Copper Agamemnon Frank (pictured above in all his glory), and also why we do things like offer to bless your pets this coming Saturday (8-10am 13541 Point Pleasant Dr. in Chantilly). Our love for our animals matters, and may even matter more than we know.

God bless,

P.S. Dads and moms get your best joke ready. As part of our Fall Gathering and Chili Cook Off this year, we will be having a "Best Dad Joke" contest, to be judged by Epiphany's kids!

"Press on Towards the Goal" - Brett Miller from CRU at George Mason

Oct. 14 Pet Blessing in Chantilly

Epiphany will have a "pop-up" neighborhood pet blessing. On Saturday, Oct. 14, we will be blessing pets between 8 and 10am at 13541 Point Pleasant Dr. in Chantilly. Stop by with your pets!

Save the Date: Epiphany Fall Gathering, Chili Cook-Off and Dad-Joke Contest Oct. 22

We are bringing back the Chili Cook Off Contest (prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place) along with comedy karaoke “Tell Us Your Best Dad or Mom Jokes” headlined by our very own Rector, the Very Very Reverend Father Peter Frank*! (He claims to have the best Dad joke ever!)

There will be face painting and games for the kids! This will be a potluck lunch with hot dogs, chips and drinks provided (to go with the amazing chili) and if not entering the chili contest, you can sign up to bring a side or dessert. We will need volunteers to help set up and take down and to oversee the children’s activities. Sign up sheets will be available in the Gathering Place. Please reach out to Leslie Johnson or Malu Torabi with any questions. PS: We would like to have at least one vegan/gluten free entry for the chili. 

*title exaggerated purely for entertainment value

Marriage Enrichment Morsels:

Holiday Traditions

Consider a weekly date night to connect with your spouse.  Find a comfy spot, put way your media distractions, and focus on each other to rediscover who you are as people.

Make your time together fun and enriching! Here are some questions to get you started: 

  • The fall holiday season can be a busy time at home. Have you recently switched roles and responsibilities to support one another? Are there any responsibilities you would like to keep or discard?
  • What were your favorite family traditions growing up? And, what new family traditions did you or do you want to create as a couple?
  • Talk about a time when you experienced God’s presence in your marriage/lives this fall. 

Epiphany’s Marriage Ministry Mentors are available to walk beside you in prayer and with marriage building resources. 

Prayer Ministry Meeting Oct. 28


What:  A Meeting of the Entire Prayer Ministry – Prayer Lines, Prayer Letter, Prayer Corner, Prayer Vigil, Stand in the Gap

Time:  10:00am – 1:00pm

Why:  A review of all the branches of the prayer ministry (how they work, what to do, what is needed), an opportunity to discuss what is working and what is not, a chance to ask questions.

Food:  light snacks and coffee/tea in the morning, lunch before we dismiss

Who:  All prayer people involved in these ministries and those who are curious and would like to learn more. 

Questions:  Call Jan Reiter – 703-620-1118 or email -

Please sign up in the Fellowship Hall so we know who/how many are coming.

Thanks for Assembling Coates Food Bags

Thanks to many helping hands we were able to deliver 50 weekend food bags to Coates Elementary School this month. Please bring your donations of individual food items or packed gallon bags by Sunday, November 5, when we will again be assembling bags after the 10:15 service. Not sure what is needed? Contact Sally Eckard ( or Bea Long (

Thanksgiving Food Drive Beginning

WFCM's annual Thanksgiving food drive, in mid November, has a goal of 1200 boxes to feed families in our local community.  Epiphany has committed to help by completing 25 boxes!  

WFCM gives us a detailed list of what to include in each box.  Here is the signup for the Thanksgiving groceries we need.  

Cash donations will be used to purchase items needed to complete our boxes and any remaining funds will be donated to WFCM. Cash donations can be made payable to Epiphany with ‘Holiday Food’ specified in the memo line.

Food & cash should be dropped off at Epiphany by Sunday, November 12. If you have any questions, please contact Debbie Hanger at or 202-436-1686. 

This Week At Epiphany

Epiphany Calendar

Oct. 13 - Oct. 22

Friday, October 13

9:00am Morning Prayer

Saturday, October 14

8:00 Pet Blessing in Chantilly

9:00am Band of Brothers Men's Group

Sunday, October 15

8:00am Worship

10:15am Worship (livestream)

Monday, October 16

9:00am Morning Prayer

9:30am Ladies Morning Bible Study in Library or via Zoom

Tuesday, October 17

9:00am Morning Prayer

Wednesday, October 18

12:00 noon Simple Eucharist

6:00pm Crossover Rehearsal

Thursday, October 19

9:00am Morning Prayer

7:00pm Choir Rehearsal

Friday, October 20

8:00am Men's Ministry in Library or via Zoom

9:00am Morning Prayer

Saturday, October 21

9:00am Band of Brothers Men's Group

Sunday,October 22

8:00am Worship

10:15am Worship (livestream)

11:30am Epiphany Fall Gathering

1:15pm and 2:00pm Worship at Chantilly Heights

If you have an Epiphany event to add to the calendar, please contact Jimmy Crawford at

Church of the Epiphany | 3863 Centerview Drive | 703-481-8601


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