FAQ

Frequently asked questions regarding Grace Episcopal Church

We hope these topics and frequently asked questions are helpful, but if you have any trouble finding the answers you want, please contact us directly!

General Questions

What do we mean by “liturgy?”
Liturgy refers to our style of worship and literally translated means “the work of the people.”

What is “the work” that we do?
“The work” that we do is relational and ritual, and its foundation is the Paschal Mystery – the death and resurrection of Christ. Through our church calendar, also called “the liturgical calendar,” we walk through the stories and events of Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension. We give our thanks and praise to God and work to connect the story of salvation with our stories. The ritual opens space for us to respond to God and to one another with faith and love.

Who are “the people”?
“People” means you and all the members and guests of Grace Episcopal, those who are gathered here and now in this time and in this place. The “people” also stretches wide to include the Communion of Saints, the whole Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, Catholics, Orthodox and Lutherans worldwide (they are all “liturgical traditions.”)

Who participates?
While there are leaders who have specific roles in the service (clergy, acolytes, Eucharistic Ministers, and choir), we believe worship to be a corporate act – inclusive and participatory. All who gather (kids too!) are invited to sing, to pray and to hear the proclamation of Scripture. We all pass the peace, we offer our gifts, and we share in the feast. All who are baptized, regardless of denomination or age, are welcome to receive Communion. It is through our worshiping together that we become a sign for the world of God’s abundant welcome, forgiveness and grace.

What is the BCP?
BCP is Episcopal shorthand for “The Book of Common Prayer,” located in every pew. Almost all of our services of worship can be found in this book, which lives at the center of Episcopal identity. The BCP contains liturgies, prayers for many occasions, the full psalms, the Catechism of the Church, historical documents and much more. Look through the BCP to get a sense of who we are as faithful, worshiping Episcopal people. It contains a collection of prayers that have been said by God’s people for generations, as well as some more recent additions. If you have more questions about the BCP, please seek out one of our clergy who can assist you. Jen, Christian, and Jodi love to talk church. So grab us after church or send us an email by clicking on our name.

Outreach

How does Grace do outreach?
Outreach at Grace is our Church family reaching out to assist those in need. Outreach is
our tangible efforts to live into our Mission to be the hand of God in our community and the world. We do this individually in our own ways and corporately through various projects and programs of the Church. It takes the forms of hands-on service and financial support.

Who benefits from Outreach?
The purpose of Outreach is to serve people and groups right here in the Holland area, throughout the world, and as part of the Anglican Communion. However, it is our experience that those who serve and give are sometimes the greatest beneficiaries – as it is truly “better to give than to receive.” In addition, making a better community, a better world benefits us all.

How does Outreach learn of those in need?
The Outreach Commission learns of needs through donation requests, some of which are recurring and some are new. The list is reviewed often, based on needs that are presented throughout the year.

How is the Outreach ministry funded?
By a quarterly budget amount from the Church, special gifts, contributions in kind like food stuffs and clothing, and special offerings. The amount available is dependent on funds received by the Church and allocated to the Outreach Commission by the Vestry.

How does the Commission operate?
The Outreach Commission meets monthly. Requests for funds are reviewed and prioritized. If the Commission chooses to fund the request it determines the amount to grant. The amount of the Commission’s gifts is limited to the budgeted amount for the period.

Does the Outreach Commission report back to the Church?
The Outreach Commission regularly communicates its actions to the Vestry through formal reports and to the parish by announcements during the Sunday morning services and the parish newsletters.

Marriage

Can we get married at Grace?
What are Episcopal weddings like? Our Book of Common Prayer says, “Marriage is intended by God for mutual joy, for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord.” At Grace, weddings are meant to be joyful, meaningful experiences. Our marriage liturgy comes from The Book of Common Prayer and each service is planned together by the priest and the couple.

What role does the church play?
One of the most challenging and rewarding of human relationships, marriage is meant to be lived out in a community of faith where it can be supported and nurtured by others seeking to grow in love, forgiveness, justice, and compassion. We invite and encourage those who choose to be married at Grace to be supported by and committed to this church community now and in the future. If the couple lives out of town, we’ll invite and encourage you to find a community that will support you in your life together.

What preparation is required?
A member of the clergy will meet with the couple for a series of premarital conversations. These meetings are opportunities to discuss the relationship, hopes and plans for the future and any particular challenges that the couple faces.

What about flowers?
How many people does the church seat?
What does this cost?
How do I get on the calendar?
What about music?
Can we…?

If you are interested
in having your wedding at Grace, please contact our office and request a copy of our “Wedding Guidelines” which includes information about our facilities, planning details, and a copy of the marriage service from the Book of Common Prayer.