The central formational experience for Episcopalians is our common worship. At Grace we value and encourage intergenerational participation in our traditional, liturgical, communal prayer. We “become” as we pray. On Sunday mornings, young and old are present in the pews, at the altar, serving as acolytes, serving as greeters, singing in the choir, and serving as Lay Eucharistic Ministers. The presence of children, youth and adults is genuinely welcomed and valued by this congregation. It is in worship that we learn the readings, prayers and rituals of our tradition. In our common prayer, we are formed as a people of faith.
On Sundays September through May we also offer age-based educational classes using various resources, guest speakers and materials from SparkHouse Publishers. Fantastic teams of parishioners serve as leaders for every group. See detail below:
Activate Faith! (4yr old-5th grade): Kids meet in the undercroft to explore Biblical stories through the lenses of story telling, art, science, food, drama and music. Visit this Activate Faith link to learn more!
Holy Ground (Middle and High School Students): Youth meet in the Youth Room in the undercroft to dive deep into the Biblical narrative using videos, story telling, and creative reflection through sketchbook journaling. Visit this link to learn more about Echo!
Adult Forum: Throughout the year we explore a variety of issues and topics.
Growing Into Worship – (4yr old-2nd grade) – 10:30am
This special opportunity is held during the 10:30 am Sunday service. Kids sit in the back pew before the 10:30 service starts and then join in the procession when the service begins. They move downstairs for the first part of the service for their own “Liturgy of the Word” as they hear a Bible story, reflect on it together, and offer their own prayers for themselves, their families and friends and God’s world. They rejoin the congregation at The Passing of the Peace and join with us in Holy Communion. Kids are welcome to join this special worship experience or remain in the pew with their family for the entire service.
In addition to the formation that happens at Church, Grace recognizes “at home with family” as another primary setting in which Christian formation takes place. And so, every liturgical season, Grace provides a take home resource for families with children. The resource is available in the Commons for pick-up. The Episcopal tradition also offers daily prayer and readings (check out the Book of Common Prayer!) that are easily integrated into the lives of our members.
Middle Schoolers (6th-8th grade) are invited to meet at Church on the first and third Sundays of the month from 11:45-12:15. Special programs will also happen throughout the program year so stay tuned!
High Schoolers (9th-12th grade) are invited to meet at Church on the first and third Sundays of the month from 11:45-12:15. Special programs will also happen throughout the program year so stay tuned!
The leaders of Trinity Institute led into their 2018 conference with these words: “We all want to create a better world—and that requires action and connection too. Discerning shared values is crucial to forming powerful partnerships and moving forward with courageous intention.” Their focus was on gathering, listening to people of faith in the center and on the margins, and forming (or re-forming) communities of faith and action. Along with many Episcopal Churches across the country and at various international sites, Grace Church became a “Partner Site” meaning that we can access the full content and “host” the Institute here at Grace.
And so, “Values in Action” will be spread out over the Sundays and Wednesdays of the season of Lent, providing content for Sunday Forums (9:15-10:15am) and Wednesday night programs (7:15-8:45pm) following supper and Eucharist. Folks from Hope Church will join us for Wednesday classes.
We’ll use the book, Church Meets World, by The Rev. Winnie Varghese as our guiding text and experience “visits” from speakers who are leading activists, theologians, authors, and experts on how to integrate core values into strategic and effective action. These speakers include the Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness; Pádraig Ó Tuama, poet, theologian, and mediator; Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filmmaker, and undocumented immigrant; as well as Deirdre Good, Andrea Weiss, Adnan A. Zulfigar, Elizabeth Edman, Mark Bozzuti-Jones and Varghese all of whom spoke live at the Institute at Trinity Wall Street in January. Read about the speakers and link to their work via the Trinity Institute website. The book The Church Meets World, by The Rev. Winnie Varghese is available online or in the Church Commons.
Sunday Forums are at 9:15-10:15am in the Forum Room
Wednesday Conversations are 7:15-8:45pm in the Forum Room
Sunday, February 18 – Sermon from the Institute’s Opening Worship – The Rt Rev. Michael Curry Preaching
Wednesday, February 21 - Michelle Alexander: A public conversation with the author of The New Jim Crow about the values that fuel her work and how values help create movements for change
Sunday February 25 – March 18 an exploration of Church Meets World, led by Rev Jen
Wednesday February 28 - Valuing the Story Pádraig Ó Tuama, poet, author, and leader of the Corrymeela Community will explore stories where values emerge, bump into each other, conflict, and create opportunities for deep dialogue about important values in contemporary life.
Wednesday, March 7 - Values and Voices: Speaking Out in Public Spheres Deirdre Good, Andrea Weiss, and Adnan A. Zulfiqar describe a national non-partisan campaign, American Values Religious Voices, that brought together scholars from a diverse range of religious traditions to articulate core American values after the national election.
Wednesday, March 14 - Playing Politics vs Incubating Justice: Witnessing to The Queer Power of God Elizabeth Edman, priest and political strategist, sees our job as people of faith as being to show the world that the power of God is a real thing – to make it plainly, graphically, authentically visible in the world.
Wednesday, March 21- Wrap Up with Mark Bozzuti-Jones & Winnie Varghese, priests, authors, and Trinity Church Wall Street’s directors of Core Values and Justice & Reconciliation lead us in reflecting on how we put values into action.
Sunday March 25 (Palm Sunday Services) – No Forum
This Episcopal Life is offered once a year, usually in the winter/spring and is a class for newcomers to the Episcopal tradition and for old timers or middle timers too! It’s for those who just want to know more and for those seeking Confirmation or Reception into the Episcopal Church. This class is open to folks ages 16 and up. When we meet, we’ll share lunch while we learn about the history, liturgy, polity (what’s that?), and place of Scripture in the Episcopal Church. We’ll explore the Book of Common Prayer, read Your Faith, Your Life: An Invitation to the Episcopal Church and talk together and online about what we think, what we wonder, what we know and what we don’t. This class will be that safe place where you can ask your burning questions such as: “What exactly is ‘The Eucharist’?” “How can I become a member here?” “Why do people cross themselves?” “How are we different from other denominations?” and “What is an undercroft, anyway?” At the end of the class, participants will have the opportunity to be formally Received or Confirmed in the Church (sacramental rites which will be explained at our first meeting.) Email Rev. Jen,or the Church Office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
Through the season of Lent, we will use the book, Church Meets World, by The Rev. Winnie Varghese as our guiding text. Please see above: Lent Program-Values in Action for more information.
This group meets every other Monday 4:00-5:30pm. Bring a Bible, a snack and a drink if you’d like.
Programs will pop up through the year – guest speakers, summer opportunities, special services, Eucharistic teaching classes, confirmation class etc. Often these will overlap with the basic structure already in place.