We have been fortunate over the years to work with some truly dedicated and talented leaders. So it is bittersweet that I announce three resignations that are happening at our Parish: Amanda Eap, Naomi Woodrum, and Ruth Anne Garcia.
Every leaving is unique and personal, representing a hope in each person’s heart for something new. While it’s always hard to say goodbye, all three of them leave us with hope for their futures. We will miss them, we will grieve; we will gather together, assess what we need to do as a community, and we will move forward with alacrity.
And so, this is a new time for Epiphany, as it is for many Christian communities, particularly here in Seattle. The pandemic has changed things, and many people are reprioritizing how they want to spend their time. (Apparently there is a name for this phenomenon. Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Texas A&M, coined the term the great resignation as the ongoing trend of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs, beginning from the spring of 2021 to the present, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic).
As the times change, we too will change, and shift, and follow, step by step, the power and persistence and love of the Holy Spirit. I will need your help and support and participation more than ever before. These resignations are a clarion call to us, an invitation, if you will, to step up and help out, and provide support as we can. I am undeterred in my hope and trust for what God has in store for us, and I’m grateful to be on this journey with all of you.
It is with both delight and sadness that I share that Amanda Eap has resigned. Delight because Amanda is expecting a baby in April and will be moving in with her partner Josh sometime before the first of the new year. Sadness, because our ebullient, dedicated, and highly effective Epiphany hospitality maven and security steward of 8 years will be leaving us. She has organized our Super Bowl parties and our annual picnics. She has covered for Gieth, our marvelous Sexton, when he has been out of town. And once she even called me at 2 o’clock in the morning as the water fountain in the Chapel basement bilged rainwater from its drain. Together we shoveled water out the door until the sun came up. These actions capture the sterling nature of her character. Yes, Amanda has a glowing grace-filled demeanor that has left a mark on many of our souls. She is not moving far away and will continue as a parishioner at Epiphany, but her role will change. No question we’ll have a going away party for her, probably in December. Stay tuned.
We will miss Naomi Woodrum. Over the last few weeks we have had an opportunity to get to know baby Aiko (born April 30), Naomi and her partner Pete’s baby girl and Luca and Mateo’s baby sister. Aiko shows up at the office every once in a while, and she could not be cuter with that joyous twinkle in her eyes. That said, Naomi Woodrum gave her resignation a few days ago, which will allow her to spend more time with her young family.
Naomi has been our Youth Minister for three years and stepped into Elizabeth Walker’s shoes to manage Children and Youth Ministries at Epiphany a year ago. The job is a big job, particularly as we come out of the pandemic and are seeking to rebuild so much of our church life. Naomi has a great gift for communicating with children and youth, as you will note if you’ve ever seen the YouTube videos she put out during the pandemic. Her craft making with young kids and her conversations with tweens and teens fostered camaraderie and fellowship. Naomi is thoughtful and patient and kind and loves to laugh and will be missed by staff and youth alike. We will celebrate and thank Naomi between the 8:45 and 11:00 am services, Sunday, November 7.
Finally, there is Ruth Anne Garcia. After 4 ½ years here at Epiphany, Ruth Anne is moving on. Over the years she has inspired us with wonderful, colorful, and contextual sermons calling us not only to imagine what life in small-town Montana is like, but more powerfully, to hear the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ruth Anne’s contributions as a preacher and a writer are significant, and they will be greatly missed here at Epiphany. During her time here she has opened the way to productive new Service and Outreach experiences, particularly working with the homeless and building tiny homes. Those will be legacy programs that she leaves as gifts to us. She has also been a solid liturgical partner, an advocate for the arts, and devoted leader and supporter of children and families. She has lined us up with great jazz music in the summers and stood shoulder to shoulder feeding the homeless. She has pastored and baptized and married and buried people, as is her duty as a priest, and has done so faithfully. And, I know she has prayed for you, so keep her in your prayers as she makes this transition. We are grateful to Ruth Anne for her service, for her dedication, and for our time together.
Please join me in saying goodbye to Ruth Anne on November 7. We will celebrate her between the 8:45 and 11:00 am services.
Together we will move forward, because only together can we move forward.
It is at moments like this that I ask you to consider the manner by which you can best support the mission and ministry of Epiphany. We are all called, each in our own way, to say yes to where the Holy Spirit is leading this church. There is one thing, however, we can all do, and doing it together unleashes the vitality and power of the Holy Spirit—it is coming together to praise God. Step up, and step into worship. There’s nothing more heartening than our gathering together to give thanks to God. Because God will still be God.
Also, please be patient. Know for certain that this string of resignations is a piece of the reconfiguration of a neighborhood church in response to The Age of the Holy Spirit. I believe that deep in my bones, which is why I am so optimistic about who we are, and how we are Christians in Seattle, and where we are going.
Please pray for Epiphany and for me and the staff.
Blessings to you all, and peace upon your souls.