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The Epiphany

Jan 6, 2019

By

Glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen

Happy New Year and Happy Feast of Epiphany! We just transitioned from Christmastide and I’m sure most of you are excited to see the holiday come and go as you recover from spending your life savings on gifts and catching up on bills.  If you haven’t already, I have good news for those who still have their Christmas decorations up.

According to tradition, you can leave them up until Epiphany, which is today or Candlemas, which is coming up on Feb. 2 or you can be like me, years ago, when I kept my Christmas tree up until Easter, establishing a groundbreaking record in my family tradition of “tree standing for the longest period of time” – (the lights were just so pretty).

The liturgical season envelopes the narrative of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. So it is important to know that when we come to worship on Sunday mornings, indeed are entering into another time and space, we are witnesses to things of the past, present, and future. Technically, we are time travelers (that was my pop culture reference, and I’m really serious about it).

During advent we lived into the season of “anticipation” and “preparation” for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ and explored ways in which we anticipate and prepare in our personal walks. We commemorated the birth of Christ, God in the flesh, Emmanuel on Christmas morning. Some went on to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas-maybe ascertaining: “7 Swans a Swimming, 6 Geese a Laying, 5 Golden Rings,” I think that’s the one part that everyone really knows…Oh and the partridge in a pear tree!

We have bore witness to and commemorated Christ’s birth, and now here we are in the story on Epiphany, when we commemorate not so much the birth of Jesus, but those who witnessed the nativity. We commemorate the sojourn of the magi who came to see “he born of King of the Jews” and “have come to worship him.”

Tradition has it that Epiphany is the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles, highlighting:

  • the messiah was for everyone and not for one specific group of people;
  • the messiah was not exclusive, but rather was the hope of the world;
  • the messiah, God on earth was for every entity represented in the nativity-human beings, creation (critters large and small), and even cosmos — the star that brought that magi to bear witness to this hope.

What is critical to note in the nativity scene, was that the act of God being present on the earth, united people and creation, erasing lines of intolerance, erasing lines of division, erasing lines that would have kept all present separated, but God brought them together.

Even the threats of the plot of King Herod to continue killing infants, was derailed by this very act of unification. The nativity revealed to us that we can unite, that we can come together in love, but we have to be willing to offer this gesture ourselves.

There was an epiphany of sorts, a revelation in a dream to the wise people, to not return to King Herod. I am thankful this day, for a dream that thwarted their path to return to King Herod, that would have reported the location of Jesus. I am thankful today for a dream that derailed a calculated perpetuation of violence against children. I am thankful today for a dream that derailed a plan to snuff out the light of this world, Emmanuel the future hope of God’s people.

The disturbing truth about Epiphany is that there will be divine revelations given to you, to each one of us that will disrupt business as usual, and we will have to respond to God’s call.

Much like the magi, there were many others who had visions and dreams that would call them to diverge from their initial paths, it would call them to uncharted territories, and reroute them from that they were on-sending them a new way. Time and history shows us different people who have had different visions and dreams that were life-giving and empowering.

One person in particular, who’s legacy we will soon celebrate, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also had a dream. He had a dream that,”one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” He had a dream that,” one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.” He had a dream that his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin had a dream.

If it were not for his dreams and others who dreamt like him, I might not be able to stand before you today. We would still be drinking from segregated water fountains, women would not see ordination, and poor whites would be forced to sit at the back of the church, because they couldn’t afford to rent pews in the front. Dreams are important. We are being called to be dream-following people. Just as God revealed a plan to the magi, to Martin, and to the countless others who seek to nurture creation and each other, God is stilling revealing God’s self to us today.

What are your dreams revealing about God in your life during this Epiphanytide?

I imagine a world, where when under threat of annihilation, will have the courage of the magi, to follow their dreams, to come together, and seek out hope. We don’t know much about the magi/wise men, not even how many there were- our tradition says three or in Syrian traditions 12, but the text does not note a number. We don’t know if they were really kings. We sometimes call them kings, assigning them kingship, but nowhere in the narrative does it assign the them royal lineage. We do not know how smooth or bumpy their journeys were- to get to Jesus, but we know that they had courage to go and seek out the messiah. Courage is right actions in the face of fear.We are often to call to do good and to perform right actions while being afraid.

“What is God revealing to you?” In what ways is God calling you into a season of deep reflection and spiritual groundedness? Just as God was revealed to Jews and Gentiles, what ways is God drawing you to be in fellowship with individuals and communities that are not like your own? How will Epiphany disrupt business as usual and reroute your feet to walk a path that requires courage, bravery?

The nativity models for us, how we ought to be in community: being unified; honoring children; honoring each other and honoring creation.

Each of you took a star that has a word of inspiration on it, to help you reflect, question, and implement courageous actions into your daily lives. This year will hold many pleasant and unpleasant surprises. Some of our paths will require courageous actions that will deepen our walk with God and one another path. Do not be afraid, be comforted, for God is with you in this journey-always.

May your dreams guide you on a prosperous and holistic path that is transformative in ways that are healthy. Have a blessed new year and may this Epiphanytide deepen your faith, your walk with God, and one another. Amen.


This sermon was preached by the Rev. Deacon Shayna Watson at St. Stephen’s Cathedral on January 6, 2019, for the Feast of the Epiphany. The texts for the day, which can be found at this link, are:

  • Isaiah 60:1-6
  • Psalm 72:1-7,10-14
  • Ephesians 3:1-12
  • Matthew 2:1-12
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Serve in WorshipAcolyte

Acolytes carry the cross and torches at processions and help the priest prepare for Holy Communion. This ministry is ideal for youth (grades 7 and up), and is also open to adults. A brief training session is offered to help you learn the job. Acolytes are scheduled on a rotating basis.

Clergy & StaffAmy Welin

Dean | Email: adwelin@ststep.org

The Very Rev. Dr. Amy D. Welin has been serving as the Dean of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral since August 2017.

Prior to her priestly ordination, Amy worked as an instructor of medieval and world history, an insurance claims processor, and a pastoral associate in a large mid-western church. Before accepting the call  of the Cathedral Church of St. Stephen in Harrisburg, she served a variety of parishes in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, as a member of the Standing Committee and the Chapter of Christ Church Cathedral.

One of the founding members of the Episcopal Clergy Association in Connecticut (ConnECA), and a prior board member of the Network of Episcopal Clergy Associations (NECA), Amy devotes her energy to issues of clergy and parish wellness.

Married to Greg Welin, who is also an Episcopal priest, and mother of four young adults, Amy likes to garden and practice yoga in her free time.

Clergy & StaffCindy Harbert

Administrator | Email: charbert@ststep.org

Cindy Coombs Harbert joined the staff at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral in 2017.  Most of Cindy’s professional career has been centered around non-profit administration.  Cindy holds a BA in social work and education from West Virginia Wesleyan College and has completed graduate coursework in counseling at Messiah University. The mother of two adult children, she enjoys traveling, volunteering in the community, watching field hockey, and exploring new places that she hasn’t visited before.

Clergy & StaffFred Miller

Canon Pastor

The Rev. Canon Fred Miller began on staff as Canon Pastor for spiritual care July 2020.

Fred is a MDIV graduate of the Episcopal Divinity School with graduate studies in Congregational Development at Seabury Western Seminary, and marriage and family counseling at Trinity Counseling Center, Princeton. He served 4 parishes in New Jersey before coming to Central PA at All Saints’, Hershey. After receiving certification with the Interim Ministry Network he served in NJ, & Kansas, before returning to this diocese, working in Altoona, State College & Williamsport. Serving with the YWCA as a volunteer, retired Red Cross volunteer and as a previous College Chaplain in two states has opened the possibilities of living into the Episcopal Church becoming a bridge to interfaith relations.

Married to Kris with whom we proudly share three children, now grown. Fred enjoys outdoor activities, simple meals, and quiet conversation.

Clergy & StaffGene Schofield

Parish Nurse

Gene was born and grew up on family farm in MN. After getting her Bachelor’s degree in nursing, she worked at a Navy hospital where she met and married her husband, Mike. The mother of 4 (Kirsten died of CP complications at age 40) she keeps busy with her children, her 9 grandchildren and her great-granddaughter. Gene returned to work in nursing after her children were in middle school with her last position being a Hospice nurse until her retirement in 2008. Gene is available to assist the newly diagnosed, helps with securing durable medical equipment and checks in with those on our prayer list on a weekly basis.

Serve in WorshipGreeter

Greeters are the public face of the Cathedral on Sunday mornings. Our greeting team welcomes guests and members alike, and helps guests find a seat and matches them up with a member to assist them in the service.

Clergy & StaffJordan Markham

Director of Music

Jordan R. Markham studied at The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. He is a classically-trained lyric-baritone, pianist, organist, and conductor, having previously studied under the Grammy-winning baritone, William Sharp and soprano Susan Solomon Beckley of Bucknell University. For two years he was a professional chorister at The Washington National Cathedral, and was a paid chorister and soloist in The Handel Choir of Baltimore. While with the Handel Choir, he sang the tenor solo role of Apollo in Handel’s Semele, the tenor solo in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy (both with full orchestra), and the tenor solo in Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in The Lamb. Prior to this, he sang the baritone solo in Rossini’s  Petite Messe Solennelle with the Peabody Singers and most recently has been heard singing the baritone solo in The Seven Last Words Of Christ by Theodore Dubois, accompanied by a full orchestra.

Throughout the past decade, Mr. Markham has performed at The Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Nobuo Uematsu, composer of the soundtracks for the Final Fantasy Games. He has also sung at Carnegie Hall, The Boston Symphony Hall, and the Jackie Gleason Theatre. He has been active in the musical theatre scene for over a decade directing, accompanying, and acting in theaters throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. Mr. Markham has most recently been seen in South Pacific with The Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, as “Jimmy” in Reefer Madness, “Peter” in Bare: A Pop Opera, and as “Chip” in The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee, for which he was also the music director and whose cast received a nomination by Broadway World for Best Ensemble. He has also performed onstage with the Peabody Opera in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and  Cosi fan tutte, Verdi’s La Traviata, and Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.

Mr. Markham is currently the Artistic Director and Conductor of The Central Pennsylvania Womyn’s Chorus, and a co-founding member of Allegro con Fuoco, a keyboard duo with Tyler A. Canonico, and proudly serves as the Director of Music and Organist at St Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

Serve in WorshipLay Eucharistic Minister

Lay Eucharistic Ministers (LEMs) assist the clergy at the altar by distributing Holy Communion to members of the congregation. LEMs are scheduled based on their availability to serve one or more Sundays each month. This ministry is open to all baptized and confirmed members of the church, after attending two hours of training and receiving a license from the Bishop of Central Pennsylvania.

Serve in WorshipLay Worship Leader

Do you have an interest in leading prayer and worship services that do not require ordained clergy? By receiving a license as a Lay Worship Leader from the Bishop of Central Pennsylvania, you will be able to lead the congregation in Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and other prayer services. This ministry requires significant study and preparation, and is open to all baptized and confirmed members of the church. 

Serve in WorshipLector

Lectors proclaim the Word of God by reading from the Old Testament and the New Testament during worship services. Lectors are scheduled based on their availability. All interested persons are eligible to become lectors by attending a 30-minute orientation session.

Clergy & StaffMicalagh Moritz

Director of Formation for Young Adults and Youth

In 2021, Micalagh transitioned into the role of Director of Youth & Young Adult Formation. She previously served as the Sycamore House Program Director, starting in 2017. She has over 15 years of experience in various community nonprofits in Harrisburg, Belize, and Washington, DC.

She majored in Human Development & Family Science in college, and continued on to receive her Masters in Social Work. She has a counseling and therapy background, which is applicable to many areas of life-both on the job and off. She has worked with youth and young adults in many different settings, including through Harrisburg-based after-school programs, through the Sycamore House, as Director of a study abroad program in Belize, and through teaching college courses locally.

She is passionate about helping to create healing spaces for people to grow and learn, exploring the intersections of faith and justice, and building bridges between people of various backgrounds. She is also passionate about spiritual formation as an integral part of building community.

Micalagh lives in Harrisburg and can often be found riding her bike up Riverfront Park, in a local café, or walking to Broad Street Market. She is married to Joshua Moritz, a middle school Case Manager and farmer at heart, and they have 2 children who attend St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. 

Clergy & StaffMichael Frascella

Facilities Manager

Michael Frascella has served as our part-time Facilities Manager for several years.  He works diligently to see that our campus stays beautiful, our buildings are problem-free, and that there are inviting and welcoming spaces for all who enter our doors.  Michael is a member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral and is the father of two adult children and the grandfather of 4. 

Clergy & StaffMichael Nailor

Deacon

Michael was born and raised in Mechanicsburg, PA as a member of First Evangelical United Brethren (United Methodist) where he was active throughout childhood and as a young adult.  He came to the Episcopal Church while he was in college at the University of Pennsylvania.  The pioneering women of the “Philadelphia Eleven” had just been irregularly ordained and the church was struggling with the role of women in leadership. Michael was drawn to a church that was willing to deal with – sometimes successfully, sometimes not – the important social justice issues of the day. 

Agreeing to disagree but still staying in communion around the Holy Table appealed to this English teacher and debate coach throughout his 41-year career in education.  Michael serves the Diocese of Central PA as a deacon at St. Stephen’s Cathedral as he has since his ordination in 2018. He also works at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral.

Serve in WorshipPrayer Leader

Prayer Leaders lead the Prayers of the People during worship services. Prayers are led from among the congregation, with prayer leaders adding a prayer of their own choosing to reflect the needs of the moment. All persons are eligible for this ministry — a brief orientation session is available to help prepare you for leading prayers.

Service OpportunitiesArtsFest

Downtown Harrisburg

Artsfest is always held the weekend of Memorial Day, Saturday through Monday, with St. Stephen’s members serving hot dogs, hamburgers, snow cones and beverages, while tours of the Cathedral are offered along with free organ concerts every hour. The profits from our ArtsFest work are all dedicated to a selection of service groups in the city.

Service OpportunitiesCommon Ground Cafe

Allison Hill - Harrisburg

When is a breakfast more than just a meal? When it is a community center, a kids’ craft session, a book nook for adults, a reading program and book giveaway for children, an opportunity for family members and neighbors to visit in a warm, welcoming place.

Please join the volunteers and community members who make all of this happen on the last Saturday of every month at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg at 1508 Market St. We serve about 250 people at each breakfast, so we need cooks, waiters, greeters, coffee servers, readers, a set up crew, dishwashers, piano players, and anyone who just wants the best breakfast in town!

Service OpportunitiesDowntown Daily Bread

Downtown Harrisburg

Downtown Daily Bread is a soup kitchen located at the Pine Street Presbyterian Church. Their mission is to provide services for the homeless & feed the hungry (40,000 meals/year) 7 days a week including weekends & holidays. On the first Sunday of every other month from approximately noon until 2 p.m., St. Stephen’s serves the food trays and then helps clean up afterward.

Service OpportunitiesLittle Free Food Pantry

Jessica McClard launched the grassroots mini pantry movement on May 2016 in Fayetteville, AR, when she planted the Little Free Pantry Pilot, a wooden box on a post containing food, personal care, and paper items accessible to everyone all the time no questions asked.

Service OpportunitiesRMMS

We participate in an organized program to support and encourage refugees hoping to make the U.S. their home.

Service OpportunitiesSt. Barnabas Children's Ministry

Uptown Harrisburg

St. Barnabas was founded by our own Bishop Charlie McNutt and Bishop Guy Edmiston from the Lower Susquehanna Synod. Located in Uptown Harrisburg, St. Barnabas offers children ages 7 – 12 an 8-week summer day camp. A variety of experiences allow spiritual, emotional, physical, educational & social growth. St. Stephen’s provides food for the children, along with volunteers to prepare, serve and clean up.

Service OpportunitiesSusquehanna Harbor Safe Haven

Uptown Harrisburg

Operated by the ecumenical group Christian Churches United, Susquehanna Harbor is a residence for homeless men. St. Stephen’s, along with other churches and service groups, is responsible for staffing the 25-unit overnight shelter several weeks each year.

Clergy & StaffStuart Scarborough

Property Manager

Rev. Stuart Scarborough, Deacon, joined St. Stephen’s Episcopal Cathedral part-time as a Property Manager after migrating northward from the Diocese of Maryland when his wife, Rev. Anjel Scarborough, was called to be Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Hershey. Prior to relocating, Stuart spent 13 years managing facilities, including three years as Facilities Operations Director for St. John’s Episcopal Church and Parish Day School in Ellicott City, MD and, before that, ten years as Director of Operations at the Claggett Center, Maryland’s Diocesan conference, retreat and camp center in Adamstown, MD. Prior to this, Stuart, who has a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Tech, worked for 20+ years in manufacturing. Stuart and Anjel have two adult children; Martin, who lives in Cockeysville, MD and Erin, who lives in Newark, DE.

As Property Manager, Stuart will oversee the care and maintenance of all the Cathedral buildings and property. In addition to this part-time role, Stuart is also serving part-time as Property Manager for the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. In this role, Stuart will look after all buildings and properties that are owned by the Diocese, but are not parishes. Further, Stuart has been assigned as Deacon to Mt. Calvary Episcopal Church in Camp Hill.

Serve in WorshipTechnical Guild

Are you looking for a behind-the-scenes way to get involved? Consider joining our technical crew and learning to operate our sound and light systems. Sound and Light Technicians facilitate worship services by ensuring that sound levels and amplification are appropriate, and that lighting is used to highlight the liturgical action. Some training is required.

Serve in WorshipUsher

One of the primary functions of an usher is to guide guests and members to various parts of the Cathedral (restrooms, parlors, nursery, etc.) and to assist with any special needs (e.g. wheelchair access). Ushers are also trained to summon help in the case of any emergencies.