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. Here is the Fall Schedule:
October 22: Stewardship the Musical (the First Year) Last year our parish was invited to board The Steward-Ship as we kicked off the pledge drive in fine musical fashion led by our Stewardship Commission and the “Off Ninth Street Players.” During this Forum we’ll watch the video of last year’s musical and even sing along to some of its ground breaking hits. We’ll do this in anticipation of Oktoberfest 2017 which will happen this evening at 5:00pm and will include the world premiere of Stewardship the Musical, The Sequel.
October 29: The Rt. Rev. Whayne Hougland, Bishop of Western Michigan Bishop Hougland will be with us for the morning as our guest speaker at Forum, as Presider and Preacher at the 10:30 service, and to meet with Vestry members at noon. Come hear updates on Diocesan life and bring any questions or thoughts you have for this conversation about Grace, Western Michigan and the greater Episcopal Church.
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!
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 email@example.com if you’re interested.
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. In October we are discussing When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka. The read for November and December is The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle.
This group meets every other Monday 4:00-5:30pm. (October 23, November 6, 20 ). 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.