Six young people of the Northern Miami Valley Episcopal Cluster, their families and parish congregants will participate in the Rite of Confirmation administered May 29 at the Church of the Epiphany by Bishop Thomas E. Breidenthal of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio.
Confirmation will take place during a combined 10 o’clock worship service of the Cluster parishes, the Church of Our Saviour in Mechanicsburg and the Church of the Epiphany in Urbana. Bishop Breidenthal will be assisted by Rev. Nancy Hardin.
A luncheon to follow the service is being arranged by a committee of the Epiphany Vestry headed by Senior Warden Diane Kremer.
In the Anglican tradition, Confirmation is a re-affirmation—-a personal yes—-spoken now in their own voices by persons, age 12 or older, whose baptismal commitments were usually made by others on their behalf.
In the Episcopal Church, twelve is considered the “age of discernment” at which time baptized individuals make a public affirmation of their faith, receive the symbolic laying on of hands by the Bishop and are received into the Church.
The 2016 confirmands are: Will Boeck, Charlie Bradford, Cecilia Bradford and Leo Compton of Our Saviour and Mary McDavid and Jesse Titus of Epiphany. They are currently completing six weeks of classes with Rev. Nancy Hardin, studying creeds, covenants, beliefs and practice in the Episcopal Church.
The Northern Miami Valley Episcopal Cluster (NMVEC) united the parishes of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Bellefontaine and the Mechanicsburg and Urbana Episcopal churches into a single entity served by one priest. Holy Trinity has since closed and the two Champaign County parishes now comprise NMVEC.
The Cluster is currently in transition; a priest is being sought to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Rev. Robert L. Ficks. Services continue with Episcopal clergy from the area presiding. Sunday worship is offered at 9:15 a.m. at Our Saviour and at 11 a.m. at Epiphany.
Cluster parishes not only share a priest, but collaborate on special services and outreach. A free, monthly family-style meal for the public was begun by Our Saviour in 2011. It has flourished, marking its fifth anniversary in April.
Epiphany followed suit in 2013 and since then, both churches have welcomed community residents to a free, mid-week supper once a month. Epiphany offers its buffet from 5-7 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month and Our Saviour serves from 6-7 p.m. the last Wednesday.
With the decline of the family meal, this gathering around the table has become a source of food and friendship. Likewise, local organizations, businesses, schools, churches and social and service clubs have teamed up with the churches to provide, prepare and serve food.
The Cluster has also become known for its robust support of the Diocesan summer camping program. An annual potluck meal and auction provides funds which are dispensed as full scholarships to individuals and families for a week at Procter Camp and Conference Center. About 20 Cluster members and friends of all ages attend each summer.
Several Cluster ventures have become traditional: the Epiphany/Well-Child Clinic Christmas celebration, a summer swimming party and the popular Easter egg hunt at Melvin Miller Park.
The Cluster Council maintains general oversight of mission and activities and a Worship Committee makes service, policy and practice decisions.