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.
Activate Faith! (4yr old-5th grade)- 9:15-10:15am
Join us for this wonderful Sunday School experience using the SparkHouse curriculum called Activate Faith. We are grateful to our wonderful group of teachers: Kim Shea, Julie Goglola DeCook, Judy and Megan Linn, Cherie DeCook, and Brian Coyle for leading our kids! Visit this link to see what the Activate Faith (Rotation Model) is all about as kids explore the stories of Scritpure through various mediums such as art, drama, music, science, cooking and more! Debbie Coyle is on board to be our Children and Youth Ministries support person. Join us!
Growing Into Worship – (4yr old-2nd grade) – 10:30am
This worship opportunity for Grace “littles” 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 to share in 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.
All kids and adults ages 3rd grade and up are invited to serve as acolytes in our Sunday and special services. This is a great way for kids to learn the details of our liturgy, to have something active to do as we pray, and to serve Grace. It’s also a lovely way to serve as a family, so parents are welcome to sign up too. Trainings will be posted in the Fall, but anytime there is an interest, we’re willing to work new people in.
Trained and ‘Safeguarding God’s Children’* certified staff are in our nursery Sunday mornings from 9:00am-12:00pm for kids ages infant through three years old. Children of all ages are absolutely welcome in our worship services, but sometimes families prefer this nursery environment for their little ones.
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.
Eucharistic Teaching: Rev. Jen runs a short program once a year to teach children and their parents about the meaning and worship of Holy Eucharist. Keep your eyes open for Winter/Spring dates.
Family Chow: All Grace folks are invited to come together and share meals through our small group experience of “Holy Chow.” People sign up and are put into groups that run for about three months. They share one meal a month for about three months and then groups are mixed up again. It’s a great way to get to know people. Families with young kids who would like the kids to participate can sign up for Family Chow and the kids will be included too!
Grace Young Families: Families with kids ages infant through elementary school come together for fellowship and fun, sometimes at Grace, or in homes, or at the beach, or… Let us know if you’d like to be a part of this group and be sure to watch for announcements of upcoming events.
Feeding America: On the second Thursday of every month Grace serves a warm meal to over 150 families and distributes over 8000 lbs of food. There is a ministry for everyone and nursery available for those whose parents want to participate but who themselves might be just a little too little to jump in. Let us know if you’d like nursery care and we’ll have it available. Know that kids as young as 4 years old have come to participate and share food with hungry folks.
Camping With Grace: About twice a year Grace families go camping for a weekend of fun and fellowship. Dates are announced in the bulletin and insert a couple of months prior to the trip.
*Our Commitment to Safety and Health: All Grace Staff and CYM volunteers have been trained and certified through the Safeguarding God’s Children program and work within the Diocese of Western Michigan’s guidelines for Safe Practices with Children and Youth.
All of our youth leaders, Sunday School teachers, and nursery care workers are Safeguarding certified. From The Episcopal Church’s website: “The Safeguarding God’s Children program was developed to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse in everyday life and ministry. By keeping our children safe we can empower them to grow, receiving and responding to God’s love.”