David Epps's blog

Christmas traditions

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It is the season for traditions. When I was a child, everyone on my mother’s side of the family gathered for a Christmas Eve dinner at the home of my mother’s parents. My mom had two sisters and, all together, they produced six grandchildren. It was a lively gathering with wonderful food and lots of conversation. Read More»

Christmas cards

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Christmas cards

Finally, I finished all my Christmas cards! This year I sent out about 250 cards to members of my family, my church family, clergy in the diocese, and several military chaplains — oh, and several friends and other clergy colleagues.

It is an annual ritual that I try to start work on around the first of November. This year I didn’t get started until Dec. 3. But the cards are all in the mail now and I have breathed a sigh of relief. Read More»

The solace of the ocean

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I first saw the ocean when I was 19 years old. I was a young Marine Corps private stationed at a military base in Virginia and, one weekend, several of us ventured to Virginia Beach.

I was awed by the immensity, the power, the beauty, and the mystery of the ocean. That evening, while my comrades were bar-hopping and trying to pick up girls, I sat on the beach until long into the night. It was, for me, a place of peace, of calm, of solace. It has remained so throughout the years. Read More»

Forgiveness

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It is a strong truth that the God of Scripture is willing to forgive — more willing that we often believe.

Some find that a difficult concept, especially those whose lives have been filled with terrible decisions and flagrant sins. Read More»

Those who make things happen

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“What a beautiful service!” “This night was so inspirational and meaningful.” “Everything about tonight was wonderful!”

These comments, and more, were spoken to me last Sunday evening following a service of ordination. The individual who was being ordained began a process some five years ago, including the earning of a three-year Master of Divinity degree. As the bishop for Georgia and Tennessee for our denomination, I was the one who ordained him. But I was not the one who made everything so meaningful and inspirational. Read More»

Fine or F.I.N.E.?

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A few years ago, a clergy friend gave me a phone call. I answered and said, “Hello?”

He said, “Hey, Father David, it’s Kurt. The Lord has had you on my mind all day and I’ve been praying for you. How are you doing?”

I responded, “Hey, Kurt. I’m fine, thanks!”

A long moment of silence followed before he replied, “Well, that’s just a $%&# lie. The Lord wouldn’t have had me praying for you all day if you were fine! Unless F.I.N.E. stands for Frustrated, Insecure, Neurotic, and Exhausted!” Read More»

Thank a veteran

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Veterans Day is just a few days away. While Memorial Day calls to remembrance the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who died in the service of their country, Veterans Day commemorates all military veterans. A generation or two past, to be a veteran was a thing expected. Read More»

Big Stone Gap

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Some months ago, I came across an article about an upcoming movie, “Big Stone Gap.” The movie is to feature Ashley Judd and Whoopi Goldberg in key roles. Based on a novel of the same name, the author is Adriana Trigiani, who grew up in the real life town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. The book centers around the life of the main character, Ava Maria Mulligan. I was intrigued because Big Stone Gap is only about 35 miles across the state line from Kingsport, Tenn., where I grew up. Read More»

Kremlin tactics in Houston

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Politicians in Houston, Texas, have apparently adopted Kremlin tactics in dealing with dissent. The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

This all began when the City Council passed an ordinance allowing, among other things, men to use women’s rest rooms and vice versa. The action was part of the city’s “non-discrimination ordinance.” Read More»

Going home

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It had been a long time—a very long time—since I had walked through the doors. Some things had been changed, added to, moved, or eliminated...but it was the same: familiar, warm, and comforting. I was back in my hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee and it was a Sunday. It was just before 11:00 a.m. and I found a seat about two of the way back and settled in. After 41 years, I was back in a pew at Mountain View United Methodist Church. Read More»

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