Sunday Services: 8:30AM and 10:30AM

Wednesday Service: 9:30AM
Christmas Services at Grace

Christmas Services at Grace

The Eve of the Nativity, December 24, 2019: 

Music and Christmas Pageant by Grace Kids & Youth – 5:30pm: Kids of all ages are welcome to participate in the annual Grace Christmas Pageant!

Christmas Eve Service – 6:00PM: Following the pageant, we will have a Christmas Eve Children’s service. All are welcome to this service. The sermon will be geared towards children and families.

Christmas Eve Choral Service of Carols and Holy Eucharist – 10PM: The choral service of carols will start at 10:00PM and will be followed by a Traditional Midnight Eucharist starting at 10:30PM.

The First Sunday after Christmas Day, December 29, 2019: 

Holy Eucharist Service – 10:00AM (One service ONLY today!)

Advent Star Tree

The annual “Star Tree” will be in the Commons for the season of Advent and here’s how it works: There are stars that have an item for you to purchase and return to Grace for the Rodriguez-Matos family, who came to us as refugees two years ago and are preparing for the spring/summer build of their Habitat home. Other stars will ask for gift cards which are given out during the year by our pastoral staff to people in need of food or gas. And some stars ask for a gift to the ‘Beyond Grace Fund’, through which we give to local organizations such as: Out On The Lakeshore, Lighthouse Immigration, Resilience, and Community Action House. Write a check to Grace with “Beyond Grace” on the memo line and place it in the offertory plate on a Sunday. Lastly, next to the tree are envelopes addressed to “Habitat for Humanity.” You can make a contribution directly to Habitat with “Rodriguez-Matos” in the memo line, and those will go directly toward materials for their build. Know that together, we’re reaching out with Grace for the world! The Star Tree gift wrap party will be December 15 after the 2nd service in the Forum Room. There will be Christmas carols, hot cocoa & cookies!

Oktoberfest 2019 is here!

Join us on THIS Sunday, October 20, 5:00-7:30pm for this annual celebration of the mission and ministries of Grace Church.  We’ll kick off the annual pledge drive with wonderful food, music, and dancing for the whole Grace family!  Featuring beef tenderloin, apple crisp, beer from Big Lake Brewery, and local cider with food & fun for the kids too. 


Raise the Roof!

Last summer we raised over $150,000 for roof repair in honor of our sesquicentennial. Phase I of this major project which involves the roof over the sanctuary began on Tuesday, July 9 and will continue for several weeks. Roof tiles will be removed, the sixty year old felting replaced, and any other necessary repairs taken care of before the tiles are put back on.  We should be able to remain in the sanctuary through the entire project  We’ll have a few trucks and equipment on the grounds, but thanks to the parking expansion, that shouldn’t be a problem!  Phase II involves the roof over the entire rest of the building and is planned for Summer 2020.  THANK YOU, to all who contributed to Raise the Roof, making this important work possible!  We are enormously grateful and celebrate that the “Shelter” of that is Grace will continue on.


A liturgy in thanksgiving for the life of former Grace Rector Tom Toeller-Novak will take place at Grace on Monday, July 8.  There will be a visitation in the Commons, starting at 10am, followed by the service, including committal in the Resurrection Garden, starting at 11am. Following the committal, please join Tom’s wife, Deirdre, and other family members for a reception in the Undercroft.

Beginning a New Sesquicentennial

On June 9, appropriately enough the Feast of Pentecost, Grace’s year-long 150th Anniversary Celebration is officially over.  As a newcomer to Grace (I joined the staff as Assistant Priest on September 1, 2018), I’ve enjoyed hearing and reading stories of Grace’s past, and they’ve taught me a few commendable things about the parish.  But now, we’re beginning a new chapter, and I think it’s safe to say that after completing our first sesquicentennial, Grace has launched its second. What follows will make it clear why I’m bold enough to make that prediction.


I arrived last summer not knowing much about Grace, apart from having a budding friendship with Jen Adams, who has just completed 25 years here!  But very quickly, impressions about Grace, itself, began to form, and my initial impressions have only grown stronger. Unlike many churches where I’ve had connections, it’s easy to identify several very distinctive qualities of Grace.


Almost immediately, I discovered a culture of abundance.  The funds necessary for replacing the roof were being raised when I arrived, and they materialized almost immediately.  More impressive, this challenge came shortly after the completion of major capital improvements included numerous enhancements to the physical plant, including a new organ, new office space, and a greatly enlarged parking lot to accommodate a growing community.  Not once did I hear anyone complain that it’s too soon to be asking us for money, again.


Soon after, I encountered another vital quality: a readiness to tackle tough challenges.  When it appeared that by offering a Latino priest a position to head the renewed diocesan Latino ministry we wanted to create, we might have the opportunity to keep him from being deported, I expected the Vestry to worry that raising the necessary funds would be too daunting a challenge to even consider.  Instead, I heard leaders say that protecting a vulnerable immigrant was so much in keeping with our values, we would find a way. This turned out not to be an option, but the willingness was there. And seeking justice for the vulnerable is yet another quality I’ve observed in numerous ways at Grace.


I want to mention yet another quality I’ve found here from the beginning.  It’s so pervasive that one encounters it every day at Grace. Perhaps it should be at the top of this list.  The study of leadership is one of my passions, and something present in every vital church is a culture of gratitude.  This emanates from the head – I’m amazed at how often Jen Adams acknowledges people’s contributions and says, “Thank you” – and at Grace this way of being permeates the community.  


I could say much more, but I especially want to mention how, now that the capital project is behind us, our leaders are already looking to the future.  There is great excitement among us when we discuss what lies ahead: opportunities to expand Grace’s faithfulness by developing a strategy for growth, by strengthening our ministry to children, youth, and families, by evaluating our communications at every level, and by developing a robust Hispanic/Latino Ministry.  This is all about openness to God’s Spirit, as it directs and empowers us to move into the future.  And it is that quality, perhaps above all else, that makes me proud to be part of the community so aptly named Grace.


Submitted by: Jim Steen

One Hundred Fifty-One

If I’ve learned one thing about Grace and our Sesquicentennial celebration over the past 12 months, it’s that our community – like every one of us – can’t be summed up in a few sentences, a few events, or a few months. We have more stories to tell than we have storytellers. And the love, courage, heartache, faith, kindness, doubt, and joy that’s alive in our pews and programs are too deep and complex for words … maybe even for music, though our music comes close sometimes.


I suspect that’s always been true.


We’ve had goofy fun this past year. We’ve talked and drummed and sung and laughed. We’ve blessed, baptized, and buried. We’ve welcomed newcomers and sent beloved family and friends off to new adventures. We’ve fought injustice, we’ve lost and mourned. We’ve lit candles to celebrate those who are living and those who’ve died.


It’s a jumble, and it’s beautiful. And it’s too much to fully take in, even with twelve months.


Thank you for 151 years, Grace Church. For sheltering, celebrating, and sustaining us. For challenging us to continue as Grace. And being Grace for us, always.


Submitted by: Holly Anderson


Reflections on the Grace Blog

This year I had the privilege of serving on the Grace 150th Planning Committee, ably led by Holly Anderson and Dave Masselink. It was a wonderful year of activities, lectures, music, worship, and even parade marching. The part of this that was most fulfilling to me personally, however, was working with Renee Krueger to edit the Stories of Grace blog. Hearing the various stories of our parishioners, past and present, has given me a deeper appreciation for how special Grace Church is.


As a historian, I enjoyed reading how our writers approached the histories of Grace. Paul Trapp, who has researched our history extensively through archival documents, shared the the adventures of Henry Clay Matrau, who fought in some of the most bloody battles of the Civil War and then became one of the most prominent lay leaders of the parish in the late 19th century. I also enjoyed reading the personal histories of parishioners like Jeff Erickson, Judy Linn, and Laurie Van Ark. They have been involved in Grace for decades and have had generations of their families involved in the Church. They show us the deep roots Grace has in our community.


The people of our parish also have a special talent for building community, both within the parish and beyond. Through stories about the Women’s Guilds, Pints and Perspectives, Octoberfest, the Fellowship Commission, and Youth Pilgrimage, I learned about the various ways we come together as Grace outside of worship. The “beyond Grace” stories inspired me. I learned from Robbie Schorle about how our commitment to Feeding America has grown over the years, and I learned from Amber Marie Cowles how our connection with Out on the Lakeshore helped her find a connection to a church, a “small miracle,” in her telling.


The blog posts have also helped me see the multiple ways Grace provides opportunities for prayer and reflection. Choir director Steve Jenkins reflects on the long and complex tradition of music in the Episcopal tradition, and teaches us that “our bodies and voices are the essential instruments of praise in our worship.” Linda and Bob Elder shared how meaningful silence and meditation has been to their prayer life. Paul De Coninck taught me that his job as an acolyte is to help people pray.


These stories have allowed me to see the beautiful layers of our community. Thank you for telling us your stories, Grace. I know there are many others. Let us continue to create and share new stories as we enter our next 150 years.


Submitted by: Jeanne Petit

The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, former Presiding Bishop and Primate


“All Gods People are Called to be Agents of Change”

Saturday, May 25, 10:00am-12:00pm, An Address and Conversation


Holy Eucharist and Renewal of Baptismal Vows

Parish Conversation with Bishop Jefferts Schori after the Service

Sunday, May 26, 10:30am-1:00pm


Bishop Jefferts Schori will be with us as Speaker, Preacher, and Presider to celebrate 150 years of Grace! Part of the history of this congregation is a commitment to women’s ministry in all areas of church life.  Grace Church sponsored the first woman for ordination in our Diocese and the first woman to serve on a commission of the larger Episcopal Church.  Bishop Katharine was the first female Presiding Bishop of our Church and the first female Primate in the entire Anglican Communion.  She is a thoughtful theologian and strong pastoral leader with a commitment to inclusion and a passion for caring for all of God’s creation.  Her coming to Grace is an extraordinary opportunity for Grace and the larger community to experience this world leader as she celebrates with us 150 years of being Grace.


We marched!

On May 11, Grace Church had the opportunity to march in the Tulip Time Muziekparade (Music Parade) in honor of our 150th Anniversary. Reverend Jen and about 25 parishioners proudly wore Grace’s 150th tee shirts, while Paul DeConinck and Matt Schmidt wore their Verger robes… Matt even wore wooden shoes! It was wonderful to have people cheering for us on the parade route, and we even heard “we’re glad you are in our community.” We’re glad too!  




Grace is marching in the Tulip Time parade!

On Saturday, May 11, we will be marching behind a huge Grace 150th banner and lining the parade route with Grace to celebrate an Episcopal presence in Holland since 1868! Per Tulip Time rules, we’ll have 24 Grace folks marching and a few in the car trailing.  Make sure to give us a shout or a wave when we walk by! Watch the Grace Facebook page or contact the office to find out where other Grace folks will be!


Tulip Time over the Years

Grace Episcopal Church has been actively involved in Tulip Time for several decades. I became involved starting in 1986.


In the past, we were serving meals to the bus loads right at the church. Grace could seat 150 in the Under croft. Tulip Time scheduled buses for both lunch and dinner for 4 days. Each bus group would make selections from a limited menu ahead of time and each morning and each afternoon we would prepare the meals and serve each customer for that day. Vivian Cook was in charge when I started. Each recipe was written in her beautiful handwriting on large poster boards. A schedule was set up each day for preparing each recipe and a great time was had by all in the kitchen!


When other churches began serving meals with significantly more seating capacity, it became difficult for the Tulip Time office to schedule buses for us. Our next adventure was to work at the information booth at Centennial Park. Meeting the visitors during Tulip Time was great fun. Many of us had more appreciation for what is good about Holland and Tulip Time!


Our next adventure in serving at Tulip Time was Marketplatz. For the months leading up to Tulip Time, we would help make desserts, pigs in the blanket, leek soup, meatballs and pea soup at First Methodist. For many years we then served this food and many other items in the hallway of the Civic Center for 5 days. The last two years we moved to Evergreen Commons during the renovation at the Civic Center. Rules have changed and we no longer can serve our meals in the Civic Center. So now we enter into a new activity!


In 2019 when another church was no longer going to be Grandstand Greeters, we accepted the invitation. Our location is the bleachers at Kollen Park. There, we manage the tickets and help our visitors to their bleacher seats before each of the 3 parades. More to come on this adventure.


Thanks to all who have served and serve now for Tulip Time!


Submitted by: Pam Brown