Today's Message

Grace is a dynamic community of faith grounded in Episcopal tradition, welcoming all, and serving Christ through worship, spiritual growth, and compassionate care for one another, the community and God's world.


Simple Calendar

December 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  • Holy Eucharist
  • Holy Eucharist
  • Men's Bible Study- Beer and Bibles
  • Pints & Perspectives at Big Lake
  • Eucharist
  • The Life and Death of the Great Lakes
  • Choir rehearsal
  • Contemplative Prayer
  • EfM
  • Holy Eucharist
  • Pizza Sunday
  • Holy Eucharist
  • Confirmation Meeting for Youth & Parents
  • Monthly Financials-Target Date
  • St. Marys Forum Room
  • Holland Historical Group
  • Eucharist
  • Choir rehearsal
  • Feeding America Food Distribution
  • Contemplative Prayer
  • EfM
  • Holy Eucharist
  • Holy Eucharist
  • Men's Bible Study- Beer and Bibles
  • Buildings & Grounds Meeting
  • Vestry Meeting
  • EfM 5th Years
  • Choir rehearsal
  • EfM
  • Contemplative Prayer
  • Maria Clean UPC
  • Holy Eucharist
  • Holy Eucharist
  • Christmas Eve Children's Service
  • Christmas Eve Choral Service of Carols and Holy Eucharist
  • Choir rehearsal
  • Contemplative Prayer
  • EfM
  • VanArk Christmas Party-Undercroft
  • Christmas I - Holy Eucharist
  • Men's Bible Study- Beer and Bibles

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Advent Giving Tree:  Our Advent tree is up in the Commons full of stars and angels!  Each ornament has a gift described on its back.  Some of the gifts are for the Rodriguez family (the refugee family of seven who lives in our Parish House.) Others are requests for gift cards for emergency gas or food needs. Others request donations to our Beyond Grace Fund whose contributions will go at the end of the year to either our Feeding America ministry, the Out on the Lakeshore Community Center, or Lighthouse Immigration Advocates.  Each angel or star has a detailed description.  We ask that gifts, including gift cards be returned unwrapped by Sunday, December 23 so that we can wrap and deliver them.  And if you are donating to the Beyond Grace Fund, you may simply designate that on the memo line of your check or put it in an envelope designated as such and place it in the offering plate on Sunday.  Many thanks, Grace, for the ways in which we give to the neighbors beyond our doors. 

Our next recital in our Grace Notes Series is a special one!

Grace Notes 2018: The Joy Huttar Memorial Organ Recital, November 4 at 1:00pm: Joy Huttar served as Grace’s organist from 1978- 2005 and as such is the longest serving staff person in Grace’s history.  This concert marks the first of what will be an annual event in her memory. Mr. Alfred Fedak, Hope College graduate, former Grace Choir Director, composer and Minister of Music at Presbyterian Church on Capitol Hill in Albany, New York will be our recitalist. Al became an Episcopalian while serving as Grace’s Choir Director decades ago. 


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Reflections on St. Nicholas

Saint Nicholas lived in the 3rd and 4th centuries in Lycia, Asia Minor, a Greek Province of the Roman Empire that is now part of modern Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a faithful Christian,  died while he was young. Inheriting a fortune, Nicholas used all of it to aid those in need. Stories of his devotion, generosity, and care for the vulnerable were carried all over Europe, and he became the most popular saint during the Middle Ages.

How did I become interested in this saint? When our children were small I wanted them to know there was a person of faith behind Santa Claus, and that he represents something more about compassion than consumption, more about giving than getting, more about need than greed. Living here it was easy to add Dutch touches to our St. Nicholas observance. My boys would get two matchbox cars and a bag of Dutch chocolate “gold” coins in their wooden shoes, creating an opportunity to talk about St. Nicholas. This made a small, fun, bright spot early in Advent.

Along with some good friends, I began looking for St. Nicholas figures. They were hard to find then and the hunt was something of a sport. As the collection grew I began having exhibits at the Holland Museum. Then eBay came along, making it possible to add more things that illustrated more Nicholas’ stories and customs. Through eBay, I heard from Jim Rosenthal, then director of communications for the Anglican Communion and one of the world’s foremost St. Nicholas enthusiasts. In 2002 he challenged me to do a St. Nicholas website. launched that year and has over a million visitors each year and correspondence from all over the world. The site has grown beyond what any of us would ever have imagined.

    Why St. Nicholas? As patron saint for children, his most recognized role, he is a beloved, kind gift giver. However, as I learned more, I came to love him because so many of his stories care for and rescue those who are most vulnerable. He rescued people from starvation, women from slavery, innocents from execution and incarceration, children from kidnappers, and people from usurious imperial taxation. When St. Nicholas saw injustice, he acted. He ought to be the patron saint for advocacy–advocacy especially for those with limited voice and power. Today St. Nicholas would encourage us to speak and act boldly against injustice, including against human trafficking, the death penalty, mass incarceration, hunger, and all kinds of discrimination.

Bishop Nicholas loved God first and foremost and worked to bring about God’s reign of justice and mercy. As he embodied Micah’s charge to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God, Nicholas’ example challenges us to do the same.

Yes, Nicholas is the children’s saint and brings treats and joy to all ages. But that is only the beginning . . . .

Submitted By: Carol Myers

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