We welcome you to Grace’s website and encourage you to come to Grace for a visit! Grace is a congregation of about 400 members committed to worship, hospitality, education, outreach, and care. All those who come to Grace are welcome at our Sunday table and the many tables we set throughout the week for our programs, projects and worship experiences. As Episcopalians, we’re a part of the Diocese of Western Michigan, the larger Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. Enjoy our website. Contact us. Visit us. At Grace, the doors are open for all.
– The Reverend Jennifer Adams, Rector
Whether you’ve never been to church before, or you’ve been attending church your entire life, we want you to feel comfortable at Grace Episcopal Church. We want to make sure you leave your worship experience feeling that it’s been engaging, prayerful, and enjoyable. Below is an overview of what to expect on Sunday morning:
Grace offers two Sunday worship services and a service on Wednesday morning.
The Sunday 8:15 am Eucharist is a traditional service of Holy Eucharist, without music. We follow Rite I from the Book of Common Prayer.
The Sunday 10:30 am Eucharist is a service of Holy Eucharist with music. We follow Rite II from the Book of Common Prayer.
Wednesday 9:30 am Eucharist- Rite I is a service of Holy Eucharist with no music, held in the Chapel at the rear of the Sanctuary, following Rite I.
All visitors are welcome to join us for communion at all of the services.
When you arrive at Grace, you will find our parking lot on the south and east sides of our building. We have designated a few spots on the south side for visitors each Sunday, but please feel free to park where it works best for you. Because our parking lot is small, you are also welcome to park on Cherry Street to our north or Elmdale Court to our east or 24th Street to our south. The dentist office and medical buildings to the south also allow Grace folks to park in their lots on Sundays.
From the parking lot, enter the building through a set of double red doors, which (to the left) leads to an elevator or a flight of stairs which bring you up to the main level where the church sanctuary is located. From the stairs or the elevator (2nd floor), turn right and make your way across the Commons through a set of double doors to the sanctuary.
The building can also be entered from the red door on Michigan Avenue. The sanctuary is located immediately inside the door.
When entering the sanctuary, the Grace greeter will give you a service bulletin. You choose where to sit and once you are seated, we have more information in the pew racks about our service. Please also see the newcomers card in the pew, fill it out and place it in the plate during the offertory if you would like more information about Grace or a call from a clergy or staff person.
The service bulletin will lead you through our liturgy, referencing page numbers for The Book of Common Prayer (the red book) or music from the Hymnal (the blue book), which can be found in the book rack on the back of the pew.
You’ll notice that everyone is dressed comfortably, in anything from “office casual” to flip-flops and shorts. If you arrive early, you’ll probably overhear the organist and choir warming up before the service.
Children are always welcome to worship at every service. Kids are a part of us and their presence contributes to our experience of being Church. Activity bags called “Pew Pals,” filled with crayons, coloring books, a “page of the day,” and a children’s Bible, are in a black storage bin on your right as you walk into the sanctuary. Pick one up as you enter.
A special opportunity, “Growing Into Worship” (for age 4 to 2nd grade) is held during the 10:00 am Sunday service. Kids sit in the back pew before the 10:00 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 the Bible story, reflect on it together, and offer their prayers. They rejoin the congregation for the Passing of the Peace and Holy Communion. Kids are welcome to join this group or remain in the pew with their family.
Childcare is also available on Sundays and during special services and programs. Care is available for children up to age 3 in the staffed nursery, located off the Commons on the main level of the church.
Educational programs for children of all ages are also available on Sundays at various times throughout the church year. See our Education and Formation page on this site.
Our worship services come from the The Book of Common Prayer, which is located in every pew. Most services are also printed in full in the bulletin. You’ll notice that throughout many parts of the service, the congregation participates by saying the prayers together: all the words will be in the service bulletin or in The Book of Common Prayer (see service bulletin for page numbers), but it’s also ok to stand silently if that feels more comfortable.
You will see people around you who may bow or cross themselves at times, while others do not. Feel free to do whatever is comfortable for you. We are a wonderfully free denomination concerning such matters so there is no right way or wrong way in worship.
The first part of the service is called “The Liturgy of the Word” which includes hymns, readings a sermon and prayers.
After the sermon, we have an experience of “Passing the Peace” Folks get out of their seats, shake hands, hug, and say hello.
Next, the greeters/ushers collect the offering. We want you to feel welcome as our guest, with no pressure to give. Our regular attendees will put their contributions in the offering plates to pay for our expenses and fund our local and global outreach programs. Even though we hope you’ll simply be our guest on your first visit, we do hope you’ll drop your visitor/newcomer card into the plate, so we can send you any information you request. If you want to stay anonymous, that’s okay, too.
The Holy Communion is the second part of our service and happens every Sunday. At Grace, we come forward down the center aisle to either stand or kneel while we receive communion and return to our seats via the side aisles. When we get to the front of the church, we find a place at the communion rail, and hold our hands together, palms up. Bread or a wafer will be placed in your open palms and is usually eaten before you are offered a small sip from the chalice of wine. Some people who choose a wafer prefer to hold the wafer until the chalice is offered and then dip it into the wine. Others prefer not to take wine at all.
Parents are encouraged to have even very young children participate and they are welcome to either receive communion or a blessing. It is our hope that no one would ever feel turned away from the Lord’s table.
Following the service, please join us for coffee and refreshments in the Commons, the large gathering room directly off the sanctuary.