Sunday Worship is Formation

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.

Sunday Education for All Ages: 9:15-10:15am

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.

Kids and Families At Home:

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. 

Youth:

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!

Adult Formation:

This Episcopal Life:

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 gechurch@graceepiscopalholland.org if you’re interested.  

Grace Reads:

Grace folks read about a book a month and are invited on the first Monday of the month to gather to discuss it at 1:00 or 6:30pm. Grace reads for December will be on December 10 (11:45am) & 11 (1:00pm) The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why, by Phyllis Tickle As Christians around the world celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this Fall, we’ll sit with Tickle’s work and explore a phenomenon she refers to as “the Great Emergence,” a once-every-500-years trend within Christianity, in which a new and “more vital” form of the religion emerges. She believes such a development is happening now.

Bible Study Opportunities:

Men’s Bible Study:

This group meets every other Monday 4:00-5:30pm.  (December 4, 18).  Bring a Bible, a snack and a drink if you’d like.

Occasional Special Programs:

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.

December 3, 10, & 17: Walking the Labyrinth through Advent
We will have a labyrinth set up in the undercroft, candles lit, special prayers to pray and response opportunities available during Forum these first three Sundays in Advent. This will be an opportunity for meditative, quiet preparation apart from the business of the season as we seek to welcome the Christ into our hearts, into our lives, into this world.  The labyrinth will remain up weekdays through Advent (except for a brief takedown for our December Feeding America) so come anytime, and many times, to walk , pray, and center yourself this season.

December 24 & 31: No Forums over the Holidays

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