|By Levon Kinney|
WILBRAHAM Introducing people to a new church is not easy, but Father John Talk is here to greet them. After all, he and his family were welcomed just the same way when they arrived a few months ago.
"Not only did the church accept us, but the whole community [did]," Talk said. "From the guys at the bank to the guys at the village caf , they have all gone out of their way to help my family feel welcome."
After Father Kenneth Campbell retired in 2004, Church of the Epiphany started a nation-wide search trying to fill the space left by Campbell. After more than a year, Epiphany found Talk, and his excitement about the church and its congregation made it a good match.
Talk was on his own nation-wide search, "From Provincetown to Seattle," he said.
"I was in Epiphany one day, and I noticed a bulletin board the children made about how they could help other children in the community," he said.
On another occassion he witnessed the action of the "Food, Friends and Fun," service.
"Every day it feeds 2,000 underpriviledged school children," he said. "Wow!"
He said he saw that the programs the church community provided were not superficial -- they were part of the people, part of the community.
Growing up in Texas the son of a Methodist pastor, Talk saw the commitment his father made and soon realized it wasn't the life for him. He attended law school and converted to the Episcopal Church. But while he was still in school he heard a calling.
"God had something else for me," he recalled. "It is like trying on clothes, when I was a lawyer I put on a pair of shoes that just didn't fit right. But when I put on the shoes of the priest, they seemed to fit me just fine."
Already hard at work, Talk has started a community youth group and he is looking to start an adult Christian group, as well. He said he wants the church preschool to become more integrated in the community.
"This will help us grow spiritually and broaden our service to the community," Talk said. "There are new ways of developing all of our Christian identities and examining how Christ leads up through our lives."
Talk is also very aware of the gap between popular culture and Christianity.
"Jesus is about loving, forgiveness and community, looking around society will find the three absent," he said. "We are taught to be selfish by our economic system, taught to be unforgiving by our justice system. Building relationships with God, other people and yourself is what Christ is all about."
Talk, his wife Shelley, and their five children are "Glad to be here," he said.
He added, in a message to the community, "If there is anything I can do, let me know. We would love to introduce folks to Epiphany."
For more information about the Church of the Epiphany of Father John Talk, contact the church by calling 596-6080 or go to www.epiphanyma.org.