Worship (Sundays at 8:15am and 10:30am)

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” and we are “formed” 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.  It is in worship that we learn the Scripture, prayers, hymns, and rituals of our tradition.  In our common prayer, we are formed as a people of faith. Together we become the Body of Christ.

Sunday Forum (9:15-10:15am)

Throughout the year we explore a variety of themes and topics that pertain to living a life of faith as Episcopal Christians.  We welcome guest speakers, read Scripture, watch videos, and reflect on events in the world and the happenings of Grace.   The Forum schedule is included here and is added to as we move through the year.

September 23:  Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s “Revival Sermon” (with translation in Spanish)

Come hear the main sermon preached by our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at this summer’s General Convention of the Episcopal Church.  Our Presiding Bishop has passion, vision and deep faith. As an incredibly inspirational preacher, he’s putting forth his vision and hopes for the Episcopal Church today.  Throughout this entire year we’ll be listening to Bishop Curry via his sermons, writing and other means. For this first Sunday Forum, we’ll listen to and discuss this Convention message as he speaks out to us all.

September 30: A Crisis of Spiritual Connection

We live in a time when we ache for connection yet feel brokenness all around us, and in us too.  Brene Brown, author, spiritual leader, sociologist, and Episcopalian puts some of her response into words in this sermon preached recently at the National Cathedral.  Why does Brown come to church? She says this, “Because I want to sing with strangers…I want to pass the peace with people who the other six days of the week I might like to punch…I want to share the rail and break bread with people I don’t know.”  With humor and grace, Brown offers good words to our church as we seek a faithful and loving way forward day by challenging and blessed day.

October 7: Reclaiming Jesus

This ecumenical project is being coordinated by Presiding Bishop Curry and other current and retired denominational leads. It was begun in Lent 2018 as this group of elders explained: “ We are living through perilous and polarizing times as a nation…It is often the duty of Christian leaders, especially elders, to speak the truth in love to our churches and to name and warn against temptations, racial and cultural captivities, false doctrines, and political idolatries—and even our complicity in them. We do so here with humility, prayer, and a deep dependency on the grace and Holy Spirit of God…We believe it is time to renew our theology of public discipleship and witness. Applying what “Jesus is Lord” means today is the message we commend as elders to our churches.”  Come hear and discuss what Reclaiming Jesus is about.

October 14: The Musical Adventures of the Steward-Ship

In Fall of 2016, inspired by so many things, our annual Oktoberfest celebration took a turn toward the tunes with the world premiere of “Stewardship the Musical!”  That was such a Grace-full way to celebrate our ministries and kick off the annual pledge drive that “Stewardship the Musical: The Sequel” debuted to a record undercroft audience in Fall of 2017.  This year, the third of the trilogy (and therefore final) will sing us forward with “Stewardship the Musical: The Prequel” on October 21st. As Grace looks back over 150 years, the crew of the Steward-Ship will remember the early years of Dread Pirate Richmond, Captain Shea, The Damsel in Distress, Piano Man, and the others who have helped us smile our way over the seas.  During this Forum on the 14th watch the first two Musicals, get up to speed, and hear from original and current cast members about this Grace adventure.

October 21: All Hands on Deck!

Rather than a Forum this morning, we’ll help the kitchen and decorating crew set up for this evenings Oktoberfest.  All hands down to the undercroft to help set tables and decorate for the celebration!

October 28: Everything You Wanted to Know About Vergers But Were Afraid to Ask

The office of verger has its roots in the earliest days of the Church’s history and it shares certain similarities with the “porters” and “acolytes.” Generally speaking, vergers were responsible for the order and upkeep of the house of worship, including preparations for the liturgy. Here at Grace, vergers will support Rev. Jen and other liturgical ministers of Altar Guild, Lay Eucharistic Ministers, and Acolytes as they help to prepare the space for worship, close down following services, and occasionally participate in the processions.  Grace members, Matt Schmidt, Paul De Coninck and David Murray (Junior Verger) have been studying and preparing for months to serve as Grace’s first Vergers and it’s a joy to welcome them into this new role.  They’ll be here at this Forum with Rev. Jen to tell us all about this ministry.

Grace Reads

An (approximately) monthly offering through which all Grace members and friends are invited to share in a common read and come together for learning and conversation. Open to all.

Upcoming meetings & reads:

September/October 2018: Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel – This is in conjunction with the NEA Big Read Lakeshore. Discussion is THIS Sunday, October 28 at 11:45 and Monday, October 29 at 7:00 pm in the  Forum Room.

October- December 2018: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan – Meeting TBD. 

Other Programs and Groups

Pints and Perspectives (First Mondays, 5:30-7:00pm at Big Lake Brewing): An offering of our Church Family and Fellowship Hub, Grace folks and friends are invited to gather at Big Lake Brewing on the first Monday of every month for food, drinks and conversation on a shared topic.  Topic and basic format will be provided.

St Mary’s Guild (Second Mondays, 7:15-8:45pm): A women’s group that comes together monthly for shared fellowship and often a guest speaker. Open to all women. Guest speakers are publicized and open to all.

Men’s Bible Study (Every other Monday, 4:15-5:15pm):  This group reads through a book of Scripture at a time sharing questions, insights and reflections. Brinks snacks and drinks of choice. Open to all men. Specific dates are available in the Sunday bulletin, Grace newsletter, and Grace google calendar.

Pop-Ups: What are you exploring or reading that you’d like to sit with others to talk about or wrestle with?  Let us know and we’ll help you “Pop-Up” the offer of a one-time or short-term conversation around a topic, book, issue, podcast… of interest.

Education for Ministry (aka “EFM”) (Weekly on Tuesdays 6:00-8:00pm): A four-year program out of the Seminary of the South that explores personal spirituality, Scripture, Theology and Church History in a small group setting.  Registration is open every summer.

EFM’s “5th Year” (Monthly on third Tuesdays): Graduates of EFM continue their learning by sharing good reads and other sources and using the EFM model of theological reflection.  Open to all EFM grads.

This Episcopal Life (about once a year and by request):  It’s a class for newcomers to the Episcopal tradition and for old timers or middle timers too, ages 16 years and up. It’s for those who just want to know more and for those seeking Confirmation or Reception into the Episcopal Church.   We learn about the history, liturgy, polity (what’s that?), and place of Scripture in the Episcopal Church. We 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 know.  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 gechurch@graceepiscopalholland.org if you’re interested.


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