Fourth Sunday of Epiphany - January 28, 2024

When We Don't Feel God's Presence

For the past year, we have been sharing stories about encountering God in our lives at Epiphany. This has been a real joy. I hope the stories we have heard, like this, this, and this one, have been encouraging to you. They have encouraged me.

At the same time, many of us would like to see God in our lives, but aren't right now. We might even wonder if we are doing something wrong, or if God is just not that interested in us.

This is a painful place to be, particularly when others are seeing God. I know, I have spent time there. Most Christians do sooner or later. "Now we see in a mirror dimly," as Paul said last week in our Sunday reading from 1st Corinthians.

So, how do we move forward when we are more aware of God's absence than His presence? Well, for what it is worth, this is what I do. First, while I continue to look for God in my life, I don't actually try to make myself encounter God. That is, I don't try to force Him to show up. God sets His schedule, I don't. I also don't think it's useful to feel guilty about how we feel. We are where we are. I am where I am. Next, I keep doing the things that have connected me with God and have connected others with God in the past. I continue to read my Bible. I go to church. I pray. I also call to mind moments where I have encountered God before. Just because that is not where I am at now, doesn't make those times any less valid.

Finally, and this is important, I ask myself what assumptions I am going to live under. Am I going to live like God is real and God loves me? Or am I going to live like that isn't true? For me, this is an easy choice. Whatever I feel, or don't feel today, I am going to live like God is real and God loves me.

None of this makes God do anything, much less show up in my life in ways I can see and feel. That is still something for God to do on His time (it always is). But again and again, following this way has kept me on the path of discipleship even when my vision of God gets dim for a bit.

Sooner or later, He shines in my life again.

God bless,

Anglicanism 101 Class Starts Feb. 11

Are you new to Epiphany, or just want to explore in a bit more detail what following the Anglican way of being a Christian means? Have you ever wondered if Henry VIII really founded the Anglican Church just so he could divorce his wife? Starting on February 11, and continuing on Feb. 18 and 25, Fr. Peter will be offering "Anglicanism 101." This class, which will be held between 9:15 and 10am on those Sundays, offers a brief overview of Anglican history, theology and worship. Taking it also is a great step for those desiring to be formally received into the Anglican Church by Bishop Chris when he makes his yearly visit to Epiphany on March 17. Send Fr. Peter an email if you are planning on attending. He would also love to hear any specific questions you would be interested in having me address.

Uganda University Banquet Feb. 2

UCU Logo

Everyone is invited to join the Uganda Christian University Partners board for a banquet! Come and enjoy an Italian dinner and hear from the Executive Director of UCUP, Mark Bartels, the Vice Chancellor of UCU, Aaron Mushengyezi about what God is doing through UCU! The Banquet takes place here, at Church of the Epiphany on Friday, February 2, at 6:00pm. Please sign up in the gathering place or contact Lisa Baehr ([email protected]) to RSVP.

Altar Guild, Lay Eucharistic Minister,

and Lector Training Feb. 24

Are you interested in learning more about what our lay ministries (Altar Guild, Lay Eucharistic Ministers, and Lectors) do?  Maybe considering joining one of those ministries?  If so, please join the members of the Altar Guild, LEMs and Lectors for an orientation / training session on Saturday morning, February 24th.  A SUMPTUOUS LUNCH will be provided after the training.  So please join us at 9:30am on February 24. A sign-up sheet will be available at the Church, so we’ll know how many folks to plan lunch for. See you there!

Livestream Moving to Youtube on Feb. 18

Our current live streaming service is ending operations, so we are moving to a new platform. We will be moving to YouTube starting February 18. What does this mean to you? If you view live streamed events by going to the church’s website and clicking on the “Livestream” link on the top, then continue to do that. If you currently receive email notifications of events that are about to start and click on the link in the email to go to the event, then you will have to register again by sending an email with your name and email address to [email protected]. Set the Subject to “Register me for live stream events”. If you go directly to our livestream page, you will need to go to If you have any questions about this change, please send an email to [email protected].  

To Fish or Not

Coates Food Bag Donations by February 4

Please bring donations of individual items or packed gallon bags by Sunday, February 4 for our next delivery. We have a special need for lunches and dinners that will fit in the one gallon bag. Questions?. Any questions? Sally Eckard ([email protected]) or Bea Long ([email protected]). 

Pancake Palooza is coming soon

Thanks to all who have signed up for Pancake Palooza 2024. Please plan to join us again this year for pancakes, music, and fellowship on Shrove Tuesday, February 13, at 6:00 p.m. 

We’ll be doing a topping bar this year, so please bring your favorite topping to share and let your imagination be your guide. (Think kids at Sweet Frog!) Also, Bob Schulenberg and his band will be back this year, so gear up for some good live music.

As you sign up, please indicate if you can bring a griddle to cook pancakes. We’ll try not to overload the outlets this year, ha. We’re again suggesting a donation of $5 per person to offset the cost.

And invite your friends and neighbors! You know they don’t want to cook on a Tuesday night, either. See you there!

This Week At Epiphany

Epiphany Calendar

Jan. 26 - Feb. 4

Friday, January 26

8:30 Men's Ministry in Library or via Zoom

9:00am Morning Prayer

Saturday, January 27

9:00am Band Of Brothers

Sunday, January 28

8:00am Worship with Holy Communion

10:15am Worship (livestream)

11:30am Confirmation in Library

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

January 29

9:00am Morning Prayer

9:30 Ladies Morning Bible Study

January 30

9:00am Morning Prayer

Wednesday, January 31

12:00 Simple Eucharist

6:00pm Crossover Rehearsal

Thursday, February 1

9:00am Morning Prayer

7:00pm Choir Rehearsal

Friday, February 2

UCUP Board Meeting

9:00am Morning Prayer

10:00am Journaling at Melanie Miller's home

6:00pm UCUP Banquet

Saturday, February 3

UCUP Board Meeting

9:00am Band Of Brothers

Sunday, February 4

8:00am Worship with Holy Communion

10:15am Worship (livestream)

11:30am Confirmation

11:30am Coates Food Bag Assembly in Fellowship Hall

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

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


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