The Tallen Family
Why Epiphany? Why did we come and stay at Epiphany? To answer that I have to start with a question, Do you believe that God is Providential? I mean do you believe that God, through His divine care and direction, will put people, places, things, and circumstances in front of us that are designed for our choosing, and for our own good? I do believe that, and I have a lifetime of witness to God’s faithfulness, to support it. This time however, God’s Providence was different, and quite special.
It all started in 2014 when we told our youngest child, and the only one still at home, that we were moving to Bloomington. Sam was about to start Junior High School. This can be a tricky time to move and start a new school. Sam’s request of us when we moved was that he could go to school where everybody believed in Jesus. Now, the Lord has a big presence in our home, but we were surprised to hear of Sam’s request. I said it was a surprise, and it was a pleasant one. We are a Catholic family so that meant Catholic schools. None of our children had gone to parochial schools before, so this would be new experience for all us. My husband Jay grew up in Catholic schools, and this had always been his preference for our kids, so this would be a blessing for him.
We moved into our house the first day of sixth grade. This was the latest of several moves for our family. We have always prayed that God would guide us and provide for us the things we would need in our new home. He has always proved himself faithful to us, but I admit, moving into a new town and a new school is an anxious time. But God, in his great goodness, blessed Sam with an extraordinary Junior High school experience. He will remember the people he spent his days with at Epiphany, with true fondness and joy, for the rest of his life. But better than just that, Sam has learned through the people of this parish, a deeper understanding of God. He has an unapologetic Christian love, that was kindled, and has grown through the people here. A gift that God gave to us, through the people of Epiphany, and we are forever grateful.
As I said, we are a Catholic family. Jay is Catholic and we have raised our children to be Catholics, but I was not. I was raised a Protestant and I had remained a Protestant for my entire 30-year marriage. Out of all of the five people of my immediate family, I was the most “ religious”. I have studied the Word of God since I was seventeen. I have done countless bible studies. I have read Christian writers from the early church fathers, to the saints, to G.K. Chesterton, to C.S. Lewis, to Billy Graham, to Joel Osteen. I am a believer and I love the Lord and I try (as flawed as I am) to walk closely with Him. And all that time, as I sat every week in a Catholic Church I never had it on my heart to become a Catholic. And to be honest, I had deep questions about the faith and never really found anybody that had satisfying answers or wanted to talk about being Catholic besides my family. Until we came here.
Once again, just like in all the other churches where we had been members, I joined small groups and bible studies. This time it was different. This time I met people who know their faith. The people of Epiphany, love their faith, and they want to learn more about their faith too. When I had questions that they couldn’t answer, they would find the answers and bring them to me. As I continued in these small groups and studies, God put on my heart a great desire for the Eucharist. I had been around the Church long enough to know there was only one way I was going to get it. So, in the Fall of 2017 I began RCIA classes and became a Catholic in the Spring of 2018.
Through the goodness of His people at Epiphany, the Lord has taken my faith and widened it and deepened it. Through His people here, He has shown me the beauty and richness of the Catholic faith. This has permeated throughout my whole family and deepened all of our faith. We will be Eternally grateful for the people at Epiphany who patiently walked with me as I came into the Church. Jay and I were married 31 years ago in a small town just outside Cincinnati, Ohio. After our wedding, we immediately moved to Springfield, Illinois where Jay started his career in the wines and spirits business. Over those years we have moved ten times, lived in seven states, including Illinois three different times. Bloomington, is our tenth home. We have been to countless churches in our travels. Now we find ourselves at Epiphany.
Is God Providential? For over thirty years Jay and I have lived all over the country, working and raising our family. I have deeply studied the Word of God and my devotion for Him has grown, but in His sweet Providence He waited 30 years to bring me 60 miles up the road from where I started and through the salt and light of His people at Epiphany, He brought me into his Church. Maybe, through divine guidance is why we came here, but the Lord is alive in His people of Epiphany and that is why we stay.
Leslie, Jay, Ben, Katie, and Sam Tallen