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ECW Update September

 

The purpose o fECW to empower the women of The Episcopal Church to carry out Christ’s work throughout the world. As the eyes, ears, hands, and heart of Christ in the world, we will persist in the work of healing, justice, and peace.

ECW of Transfiguration meets the first Saturday of each month. Jo Laslo is president. The following is a synopsis of some of the actions from the September meeting.

  • Secret Prayer Sisters continues to grow.
  • Over 400 items were donated to Brinton Schools from our Back to School Drive.
  • Five bags of clothing have been donated to Sunshine Acres.
  • A new project for our group is the Soup and Bread Ministry. Soup will be made and frozen by members and given to parishioners who are ill or recovering from surgery.

Dates for following upcoming events were announced.

  • Clergy Appreciation October 21
  • Turkey Drive First Sunday in November
  • Rummage Sale November 16th and 17th
  • Spring Luncheon March 16th.

Vestry Update September

Vestry meets the second Tuesday of the month. Members include Bob Saik, Rector; Miriam Waddington, Senior Warden; Pat Mack, Junior Warden; Joan Crossman, Treasurer; Ann Williamson, Clerk; Steve Dingle; Elena Little; Meg Stresen-Reuter, Eileen Chandler; Dea Podhajsky; Ruby Seyfert; Pat Gutsch; Gordon Noyes; and Barbara Turner.

A quorum was not present for the October meeting so no formal actions were taken. Informal discussion was held on the following topics:

  • Fr. Bob, Miriam Waddingham and Bobbi Lafford will meet soon to discuss the progress on Strategic Planning.
  • The status of moving offices to the Parish House was discussed
  • The confirmation class has been completed. A time for confirmation will be announced.
  • Schedule of Adult Formation topics will be listed in the bulletin. October's topic is the book of Proverbs.
  • An update on the Bishop Selection was presented. Information about the candidates is available on our web site. The decision on the Bishop will be made at the Diocesan Convention. Input on the candidates should be given to Fr Bob.t
  • The vestry contact for the month is Meg Stresen-Reuter.
  • Recycling was discussed
  • A report on Social Media was given
  • Possible uses for the Diocesan Rebate money was discussed
  • The kitchen preparedness is progressing.
  • Another Newcomers Dinner has been scheduled.  Check the dates in our calendar.

The Story of Our Icon

Icon of the Feast of the Transfiguration by Br. Bill

 

To better understand the Icon of the Transfiguration, it might be helpful for us to have a short understanding of the nature of an “icon”, and why this particular graphic format is different from other types of religious artwork.

 

The word “Icon” is simply the Greek word for image, and “icons” consist of symbolic images of Jesus, Mary, all of the canonized Saints and, occasionally, the feasts and events of the church year (such as The Feast of the Transfiguration).   They are usually painted on wood, or fresco, or done in mosaic, and they always illustrate portions of scripture.  Icons are regarded by the major liturgical churches as “graphic scripture”.  Like scripture, icons are said to be written rather than painted.  By interacting with icons in prayer and contemplation, icons can become windows and doorways to a spiritual connection that one might not otherwise experience.   This is similar to the icons on phones and computers.  Interact with these icons by clicking, rather than prayer, and whole programs open up!

 

The three synoptic Gospels tell us that Jesus took the three apostles, James, Peter, and John “the beloved” and led them up a high mountain.  There, as Matthew tells us, he was “transfigured into blinding light; both his face and clothing changing before their eyes”. Mark, in his Gospel, writes that “His face shown like the sun, and His clothes became dazzling white.” And again, Mark says that his clothes were “such that no one on earth could bleach them”.

 

 In today’s Gospel, Luke tells us that the transfiguration took place while Jesus was praying. It is this comment that is depicted in this icon, where Jesus is raising His hands in prayer.  Luke says, “While He was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and His clothes became dazzling white.” Then, before the eyes of the apostles, appeared the Old Testament prophets Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus. Then, if that was not already enough, a voice came out of a cloud and said, “This is my Son, the beloved. In today’s Epistle, written near the end of his life, Peter states “We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed.”

 

The icon we are discussing today is a symbolic representation of the event described in the Gospels.  The composition of this icon follows a strictly symmetrical scheme. It shows a stylized mountain landscape, characterized by a central peak that is flanked by two lesser peaks.  Jesus stands (or almost floats) on the central peak. He is clothed in a white and gold robe that appears to have dazzling light coming from within it.  This is not sunlight.  It is what students of theology refer to as the “uncreated light of God”-- a source of light, unlike sunlight or chemical light or electrical light that appears to come right out of darkness.  Furthermore, He is surrounded by a gold and red boat-shaped image known as a “mandorla—the ancient symbol of the creator God. At Jesus’ feet is a round medallion showing an Agnes Dei—the Lamb of God, which is one of the earliest symbols for our Lord

 

Jesus is flanked by the two prophets. Moses is on His left (your right as you look at it), and Elijah on His right, each standing on his own peak. The image of Jesus is larger than the two prophets. This follows an iconic convention, which calls for the most important figure to be the biggest.  Moses carries the tablets representative of the Law, and Elijah wears the “mantle of prophesy” that he passed on to Elisha before ascending to Heaven in the chariot of fire.  Elijah’s mantle, or cloak, is described in the Old Testament, and in the icon it is shown as somewhat ratty.  The same cloak is depicted in one of the stained glass panels at the back of our own church!

 

The three medallions at the bottom of the icon represent James, Peter, and John.  Normally, the three apostles are shown as figures rather than symbols, but the round shape of this icon did not permit that design.  The medallions, however, are accurate copies of the symbolic representations of these apostles that also appear in the stained glass windows at the back of our church. These designs have been a part of this church since its construction.  So, even though the icon is new to this church, the symbols have design continuity with our whole history. James is symbolized by the three shells.  After his martyrdom in the first century, James’ remains were moved to the village of Compostela in NW Spain, and the cockleshell became the symbol worn by pilgrims to his tomb.  Peter is symbolized by the crossed keys. Jesus told him: “I give you the keys to my kingdom.  James’ brother, John, is identified by the serpent in the chalice, which symbolizes his willingness to drink from the same cup as Jesus, and which leads to his death.

 

The Latin word for transfiguration, transfiguratio, means, “to be changed to another form”. The Greek word is metamorpheos and has much the same meaning. The Transfiguration, therefore, is a revelation of Christ’s divine nature, a manifestation of the Trinity, and a confirmation of the continuity between the Old and the New Testaments.  This is shown symbolically by all of the white and gold lines that crisscross the image of Jesus and seem to come from within Him, rather than from an external source.  This light is the central feature of this icon and was mentioned earlier as the uncreated light of God.  It is a supernatural light with transforming power that has its source in God’s own being. It is the light that Jesus Himself speaks of in John’s Gospel when He says “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” As Jesus becomes that light, his true nature is revealed.  As Paul says in his letter to the Colossians, “For in Him the whole fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily.

 

Today’s Gospel account of the Transfiguration also serves as a very early recognition of the Trinity. The disciples hear the voice the Father, they see the Son, and they were enveloped by the Holy Spirit in the brilliance of the uncreated light.  They also witnessed Moses and Elijah, who represented the “Law and Prophets”, and who confirmed that Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophesies of the Old Testament.  Thus, the God they had served so faithfully for so long, without actually seeing, could now be seen and spoken to face to face. Here, in the blinding light on the mountain of the Transfiguration, prophets and the disciples were able to witness God’s personified radiance directly. 

 

 

Message from the Rector

Message from the Rector

Thank you for visiting the Church of the Transfiguration website.  The Church of the Transfiguration is a faith community of people celebrating different understandings of the Christian faith within the Episcopal Church.  We attempt to live out our call to be the body of Christ in the world, and we welcome you to join us in our endeavor to "Let all who enter here be received as Christ."

As the ministry leader of the church my goal is to encourage and challenge people to find a closer relationship with God through vibrant worship, studying scripture, and helping others in a supportive community of fellow seekers. It would be my pleasure to  get to know you personally and answer your questions about our community.  I hope that you will give us a try by worshipping with us as your schedule permits.  Please call the church at 480-986-1145 if there is any way in which I may be of assistance. I hope to see you soon!

 
     
Blessings,   Bob Saik
Rector, Church of the Transfiguration

Outreach

The Church of the Transfiguration is very active in outreach.  Our members of the church share their time, talent, and gifts with those in need.  You are invited to support these various ministries.  Some of the outreach that we support is listed below:

  • Brinton Elementary School –  We provide school supplies to the local elementary school.  We also have an angel tree at Christmas to provide gifts for numerous children whose families don’t have the means to provide gifts for them.
  • Project Help – An Apache Junction Unified School District program designed to meet the needs of students whose economic condition may affect their general welfare and opportunity to attain educational success.  We provide school supplies and backpacks to those in need.
  • Apache Junction Food Bank – Food is collected weekly and taken to the Apache Junction Food Bank to feed those in need.
  • Chile Garden - Our parishioners grow and process chile peppers from our garden and sell them to fund church outreach including food, scholarships and refugee support.
  • CAAFA -  Community Alliance Against Family Abuse is a community oriented organization that saves lives and prevents violence. Our donations support the needs of their clients.
  • Million Meals – Our community supports several food bank distribution agencies such as Genesis Project, Wings of Hope, Apache Junction Reachout and CAAFA.  
  • Boys and Girls Club of East Valley - We provide financial support for the after school programs for children.
  • El Hogar Elementary School - We support a family of three children attending El Hogar Elementary School in Honduras.  These children live in this safe environment and get an education with skills that will allow them to become employed upon graduation.

The Crazy Chile Farm

The Crazy Chile Farm was formed in 2014 to support the food relief programs of Transfiguration Episcopal Church.  We live in a State where hunger is endemic. In Arizona 1 in 4 children, 1 in 5 adults, and 1 in 6 seniors are at risk for adequate daily food.  Our response was to create an all-volunteer non-profit farm growing a 400 year-old un-hybridized landrace chile pepper.  Chile was selected because spicy foods are a trending item in high demand in the gourmet market and, fortunately, grows quite well in our low desert climate.

 

Since its inception, profits from the sale of our chile powder have been used to support our local community, by funding food distribution agencies of the Feeding America Food Bank system.  We also fund programs in our local public school systems to support underfunded students, food support for a large women’s shelter, and other outreach programs at Transfiguration and in The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona.  In 2016 over $5600 was provided for outreach.  Likewise, the 2017 crop got off to an exceptional start, and in March and April we were able to provide over $1000 in grants to Million Meals, Project Help, and Lutheran Social Service’s Refugee Focus Program.  But then we hit a “speed bump”.

 

In early May, we picked over 150 pounds of ripe chiles—a record for that month.  Yet by the end of the month it had become apparent that about 80% of our only field was inexplicably near death.  After examination of our fields by U. of A. Cooperative Extension and an independent agricultural laboratory, our crop was diagnosed with Verticillium wilt, a fungal infection causing irreversible vascular failure in chile peppers and other members of the Solenacea family (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants).    

Nevertheless, while the harvest was down, it did not disappear.  We continued to produce enough revenue to cover our operational expenses (including our water bill!) for 2017. And by working with our sister program, A Million Meals for our Neighbors and our summer parishioners, we were able to provide funding for 27,500 pounds of food for Hurricane Harvey relief—an extraordinary project that gained us national recognition!

 

Our current objective is to recover our revenue base, to enable us to provide even more food support in our local community, and additional funding for disaster relief food. To that end, we recently opened a second growing field.  This will enable crop rotation between Field #1 and Field #2 to reduce pathogen build-up in our soil, give us the space to diversify our product offering with different crops, and increase the size of our harvest.  If you haven’t seen it yet, Field #2 is located behind the Parish Hall on what used to be a dirt parking area.  “Ripping” the new field was a project.  We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Bob DeSpiegelaere and Liz Farmer for renting a John Deere Tractor and doing the initial plowing.  We also are indebted to Laura Ward and her manager Todd for initial disc and plow work in the new field with her team of Clydesdales, and continuing to bring the horses back for additional work. 

In November, The Farm was invited to participate in an agricultural funding program called “Seed Money”.  We subsequently earned $800, which will permit us to buy a greenhouse to enable our farmers to start our own seedlings in an "all-weather" facility.  This will give us better control of our seedling production, higher volume, and better quality seedlings.  Currently seed flats are sent home with individual farmers in January, with sometimes disappointing results.  Having our own greenhouse will also allow us to recover more rapidly if we are afflicted with transplant failure or pathogen attacks. If this project is successful it will allow us to gain at least a month on our growing season, lengthen our harvest time, and hopefully enable a 20% to 25% increase in annual revenue.

 

As we move into the first quarter of 2018 we give thanks to all those who have encouraged and supported our “sometimes fumbling” efforts.  The love, patience and enthusiasm extended to us by the clergy and people of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona and of The Church of the Transfiguration in Mesa has been extraordinary.  We are also especially thankful for the help and information provided by U. 0f A. Cooperative Extension, the Arizona Dept. of Agriculture Advisory Council on Food and Agriculture, the Association of Community Gardeners of Maricopa County, A&P Nursery, Native Seeds/Search, Tenth Generation Farm in Apache Junction, and David Archuleta, the Farm and Ranch Mgr. at the New Mexico State University Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Alcalde NM.  But, most especially, we thank our own volunteer chile farmers for their tireless energy, extraordinary insights, and constant efforts to improve our processes, our service, and the quality of our products.  Our hearts have been truly touched!

 

Bill Robinson

Altar Guild

A bit of background of your altar guild director: I was baptized, confirmed and married in the same church.  During my youth the only time I ever saw a woman in the sanctuary was when I saw the altar guild preparing the altar.  In those days, there were no girl acolytes, no female lay readers, no female chalice bearers or lectors, and no females were ordained as priests. When asked to be on the altar guild 25 – 30 years ago, to my mind I was following in my mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps.  I was living out a legacy.  This is what the women in my family did, they served on the altar guild.  That heritage was my connection and my motivating force. It was a good time to be in the altar guild in the early 1970’s.  It was a time of change; the church had a trial prayer book; the altar was moved from the wall; the priest began to face the people.  The holy Eucharist became normative for worship.  I learned a lot at the time, “I am lucky to be born when I was born! I’m having a really good time learning, something that my mother and grandmother didn’t”.

Our Altar guild has an annual bake sale, along with other get togethers and we love it.  (and we don’t wear gloves and hats).  There is not a business  meeting at these sessions, though Fr. Bob  will join us often. He may quite often have a request and we have never turned him down.  He always tells us how very grateful he is for us.

In the early days of the church, the duty of caring for the altar and sanctuary was the concern of the priests and attendants.  Nuns now do the work in certain parts of the world.  Although the altar guild was primarily a women’s  ministry, members today are of an age and gender.

The Altar Guild was an important element in the following celebrations during the course of 2017.  Memorial services, some for our members or their family member, confirmation, memorial service for the Vietnam veterans (which we have many within our congregation), the usual services for Lent/Easter and four Christmas services; on Christmas eve  9:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. and a morning service on Christmas day.  We were so blessed this year, as there was a very special five year old young man, who wished to have his lego man given to baby Jesus as his gift to him.  Needless to say, we were all so touched by this love for Jesus. 

Altar guild is also the flower guild, being sure flowers are on the altar for those who request them for: anniversaries, thanksgivings, memorials, birthdays, etc.  There is a flower chart on the bulletin board in the narthex that you can view at your leisure and select any date you wish.  There can be more that one person on any given Sunday. Our meetings are held monthly, normally the first Saturday of the  month at 11:00 a.m. in the church.  Meetings last one hour.  The meetings are informational and for preparations needed for our Sunday services.  There are special church seasons that require us to come together for seasonal preparations. 

Should you wish to join our ministry, you would be serving with a partner once a month at either the 8:00 or 10:00 whichever is your choice. We are a ministry that enjoys working together and lovingly preparing the Lord’s table for the Eucharist celebrations and other services. We look forward to having you be a part of our Altar Guild ministry. At our bake sale we cleared about $450 and these funds are used to purchase linens, wine, silver vessels and any other item needed.     

    

Respectfully submtted,      Ruby A. Seyffert, Altar Guild Director

 

Daughters of the King

The St. Teresa of Avila Chapter of the Daughters of the King was reestablished at the Church of the Transfiguration in 2014.  The current officers are Lynn Whayne Graff, President, and Miriam Waddington, Secretary.

 

We usually meet monthly at 10 a.m. on the same Saturday that the Episcopal Church Women meet.  Membership has been stable.  The only change occurred when one person moved away. We now have 10 members.

 

Five of our members attended the annual Daughters of the King Province VIII Spring meeting at Litchfield Park.  We learned about other Chapters and their work here in Arizona.  The program centered on the Navajoland Area Mission, the churches there, their development, special projects and plans.  The communion service was done with Native American influence in the processional, the readings, the sermon and the music.

The focus of the Daughters of the King is prayer, service, and evangelism. Prayer concerns for the church or individuals are discussed at each meeting.  The Daughters pray for these needs throughout each month.  Our service has centered on providing receptions, following funerals, memorial services or special events. There were seven such events during 2017.  We also strive to support the minister in his work.

 

Our vision as Daughters is to know Christ, to make him known to others, and to reflect God’s love throughout the world.  As an order we undertake a Rule of Life which includes a Rule of Prayer and a Rule of Service.  We fulfill these vows by praying daily and seeking to do God’s will as service to Him each day.

 

Respectfully submitted,  Lynn Whayne Graff, President