The Epiphany Staff - Supporting the Ministry of the Congregation
Associate Pastor of Faith Formation & Family Ministry
The Rev. Megan Dalby-Jones
Rev. Larissa Forsythe brings over 20 years of experience in theatre and performing arts and a love of learning, exploring, and adventuring to her role as Senior Pastor of Epiphany UCC. She was ordained in 2014 after graduating from Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Missouri with a Master of Divinity degree. During her ten years in ministry, Pastor Larissa has been active in advocacy, community organizing, and working to enrich the Church through engagement with the Arts. She is passionate about the ongoing conversation between God and God's people as we try to discern what it looks like to faithfully follow The Way of Love in our particular time and place. She loves witnessing God's Spirit working in and through our congregation - using our gifts and our shortcomings, healing our wounds even as we learn to be a healing presence for others, and calling us out of our comfortable spaces and towards transformation.
Pastor Megan brings experience from a variety of congregational and hospital settings. She is passionate about using art and story to nurture connection: between faith traditions, generations, and communities. This passion informs her work as Epiphany’s Associate Pastor of Faith Development and Family Ministry and as a pediatric staff chaplain at Advocate Children’s Hospital. Pastor Megan holds a Masters of Divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School and completed a 2-year chaplain residency at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. She and her wife live in Park Ridge with their 2 sons, 2 cats, and golden retriever.
Born in Mississippi, grew up in central Alabama, Joe Burt has been a Chicago resident since the mid-80s. He holds degrees in architecture, sacred music, voice, theory and composition from Auburn University, Samford University, and Northwestern University. Joe has spent 18 years as a college professor in the humanities and music. His performance skills are in voice, piano, and organ. Additionally, he sang professionally in opera, oratoria, musical theater and recital and presently maintains a studio for voice, piano and theory/composition. A church musician from the age of 14, Joe enjoys blended worship that merges the liturgical traditions with contemporary elements of the worship music of today. He is a lover of the Sacred Harp music of the south. Joe is a recognized composer whose work has been honored by a Pulitzer nomination, a National Endowment Award, the Faricy Prize, the Southeastern Composers League, The Bradley University prize in contemporary music. His works have been performed by the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony, Mobile Symphony, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, Bradley University Chorale, Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus, Midwestern Composers Consortium, among others. In addition to his musical endeavors, Joe is an avid sailor. After serving Epiphany for 16 years, Joe has retired to Dallas to be closer to family. He was named Music Director Emeritus in July 2015, as recognition for his many years of faithful service to the congregation.
Philip Seward has worked internationally as a composer, pianist, tenor and teacher. In 2013, How To Date A Coloratura, Philip’s chamber opera was one of three finalists at the National Opera Association Chamber Opera Competition. In the same year another opera, Eve, premiered as a part of Midwest New Musical’s series of new works in concert.Highlight’s of Mr. Seward’s compositions include productions of Les Dames á trios…et piano at the Kaye Playhouse in New York City and the Stages Festival in Chicago; High Fidelity at Merkin Hall in New York City and the Chicago Humanities Festival; and Jeff Award-winning Hans Brinker, which ran for five seasons at Theatre Building Chicago. The world-renowned Lyric Opera of Chicago commissioned numerous piece that include the following: Stone Soup, A Noteworthy Tale, and African Stories. These works were produced in Chicago, Toledo Opera, Memphis Opera, and Pensacola Opera among others. The Lira Ensemble of Chicago also commissioned works by Philip Seward including Blessing premiering on WFMT radio. Another piece for chorus and orchestra, Sonnet, was performed at the Chicago’s Symphony Center. As a pianist Philip Seward has performed his compositions for piano as well as other contemporary composers all over the United States and in Europe including stops in Holland, Germany and Poland. As a singer Seward sang the role of Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus for Intimate Opera; John Jasper in The Mystery of Edwin Drood; Lt. Cable in South Pacific; the prince in R & H Cinderella. Other productions featuring Philip Seward – The Beggar’s Opera, A Chorus Of Disapproval, The American Clock, Happy End, and The Phantom of the Opera. Internationally he performed Art Song recitals in Rzeszów and Wroclaw in Poland. Philip Seward is the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award that he received during his teaching career at Columbia College Chicago. Aside from his composing, performing and teaching Philip also conducts the Edgewater Singers and completed his doctoral work in Composition with Dr. Stephen Davismoon at the University of Salford.