A WELCOMING AND AFFIRMING CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
Epiphany is a Christian community.
We are people who have experienced the merciful, compassionate, liberating love of God revealed in Jesus Christ and who seek to embody that love in our life together as a community, in our families, and throughout our lives.
We are a congregation of the Metro D.C. Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Many of us have been Lutheran all our lives. But many of us have come from a wide variety of faith backgrounds or were not raised in any formal church setting.
Regardless of where we come from, we seek to be faithful to the central teaching of the Bible and historic Christianity – the good news that God’s saving love is given to me in Jesus Christ by faith, without any work on my part to earn it – while recognizing that this eternal saving Word has been expressed in a multitude of human words and practices, ancient and new, which are to be treasured when they are helpful for us today and reformed when they are not.
Epiphany is a welcoming community.
The Bible records that, on the first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit allowed people from all over the world to hear the good news of Jesus in their own language. They didn’t have to become someone else in order to hear the word about what God had done for them. The Holy Spirit worked in and through the beautiful diversity of human beings, and we believe that God continues to speak to everyone as the people God made them to be.
As Christians, we strive to be faithful to the God who has loved us as the people we are, and to do the same in our life together. At Epiphany you will meet people of many ages, ethnicities, languages, gender identities and expressions, occupations, family backgrounds, sexual orientations, life experiences, and physical abilities. Scripture says that in God’s kingdom we will be together with “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (Rev. 7:9), and we believe in practicing and living that diversity now.
Epiphany is an affirming community.
We celebrate the gifts that God has given each of us in the uniqueness of our own life journeys. We may not always agree on politics, theology, musical tastes, or many other things. But we strive to listen to one another in respect for the unique perspective each of us brings and to discern the presence of God in each other’s lives.
For the LGBTQIA+ community in particular, we recognize that church has often been experienced as a place of judgment and rejection. At Epiphany we celebrate all the ways God has enabled us to live in love with one another. In particular, we affirm LGBTQIA+ people as full participants in the life of our church, including ministry and leadership.
We believe that every person made in the image and likeness of God is someone who matters to God – and therefore someone who must matter to us. We try to be especially attentive to those who have been told by church or society, in word or in action, that they do not matter, and to particularly affirm them in our words and deeds as beloved children of God and fellow heirs of God’s promise in Christ.
The story of our congregation dates to 1957, when the mission board of the American Lutheran Church purchased the land on which our church building now sits, which was once included in the part of the Mount Vernon estate of George Washington that he gave to his nephew Lawrence Lewis and Martha Washington’s granddaughter Nelly Custis as a wedding gift in 1799. The first services in the church building were held on Palm Sunday, March 26, 1961, and the congregation was formally organized on April 9, 1961. The Epiphany Weekday School was launched in 1967.
The called pastors of the congregation have been:
Cecil Propst (1960-1970)
Deford Kahl (1970-1973)
Myron Barber (1974-201__)
Charles H. Oberkehr (201__-2016)
Interim pastors have included:
Richard Tupy (1973-1974)
Karis Graham (2017-2018)
Visit the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s website for more information on our denominational beliefs and structure.