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

Wednesday Service: 9:30AM

Our liturgy is a history lesson, poetry, and a celebration. Within it, we are called – literally – to acknowledge God, the world around us, and the people next to us. The liturgy does not waste opportunities. My favorite part of our service is the confession of sin. I know that may seem sanctimonious at best or creepy at worst, so want to focus on this phrase tucked into the confession: “and by what we have left undone.” That line comes immediately after the confession of sins that had been committed (“by what we have done”). Committed sins are pretty easy to manage. They happened. We can quantify them — remember those Seven Deadlies? — because they are real: the hoarding of toys, the hurling of insults, the hatred of the Other. These we can picture in our minds, offer up an apology to God, along with a promise to learn from the mistake. Check the box. Breathe with relief. A sin not done? That is another story. It’s where this story begins.

What does it mean to leave something undone? The not doing of something gets away from my ability to count. I’ve yet to see anything about the Seven Deadly Sins You Didn’t Do. The grammar of this line in our confession grabbed my attention many years ago on joining Grace. I didn’t understand to what we were actually confessing. Over time, I learned from the examples of those around me that it wasn’t about what could be counted. The lesson was about to whom we were accountable.

“By what we have done and what we have left undone,” manages to present to us a burden in the midst of a moment of grace because saying the confession offers us a few brief moments to be both honest with God and with ourselves. The second part is not easy. I’ve found that being honest with God comes far more simply that being honest with myself. God offers me recognition and then forgiveness. I offer myself something far less useful. More recognition and less forgiveness. Being accountable to myself turned out to be pretty uncomfortable.

What have you left undone? Here’s my list, just in case you need something to compare:

1) not calling my mother

2) not (yet) sending this blog to Jeanne

3) not telling my family that I’m in the process of becoming a parent

4) not replying to an email about forming a book club

5) not saying hello to the person who always sits alone at a table in the coffee shop

This is a depressingly shortened version of the list I could have made. I can apologize to myself (if I remember) and promise to get them done. But I still have to do them. In several of these circumstances, I had promised another person that I would do something. I had given – in effect – someone my word. And it was on thinking about the stuff undone in terms of not fulfilling one’s word that the expression made more sense.  

To give someone your word is an easily understood idea: to make a promise based on your honor. Its interpersonal power shapes the cultural and social behavior of those involved in it. John’s gospel starts on that point: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Thinking about the undone stuff as failing to extend God’s Word to others lead to me to wonder about the parable of the Good Samaritan. As we know, the praise for the Samaritan comes after a pair of examples in which mercy for the wounded was withheld. And we absolutely can count those. Jesus said as much, on asking his followers which of the three men in the parable counted as one’s neighbor. I read into this story that the men who choose not to provide assistance to the injured man had in effect denied him the Word. While I have never refused to assist a human being suffering along a road, I have certainly left unacknowledged a person’s request for help. I live in Chicago. The requests for assistance — whether bus fare, food, or spare change — come at me daily.  

I once shared (nearly) all of this with Jen. She seemed surprised to hear it. I wasn’t sure how to talk about it, caught up in worry about that previously mentioned creepy sanctimony than being free to admit to a spiritual struggle. She was, as always, gracious in her shepherding me through an unexpected conversation. I had arrived unannounced at Grace that morning, having driven in from Chicago to spend a weekend in Holland visiting my family of friends. She opened up her morning and herself to an unexpected traveler. I think back on the conversation now as something that was on my then list of undone things: to talk with Jen about this little line tucked into our liturgy.

“And by what we have left undone,” became my favorite line in our liturgy for its subtly reminding us that the grace of God extends to the fulfilling of promises. It’s calling to us in words, like the better angel on our shoulder – to do the right thing and be who God wants us to be. Late is better than never, and we’re almost never beyond hope of doing the right thing. That’s a grace on which we can count.


Submitted by: Donald Martin 

Outreach and Social Justice at Grace

“If you have two coats, give one away,” he said. “Do the same with your food.” Luke 3:11 (referencing John the Baptist)

There are so many reasons to love the community of Grace Episcopal Church. One very big reason for me is that we are living the teaching of the Gospels in several ways.

Through Feeding America, we not only work to get food to the hungry, but we offer a warm space with a hearty meal, and we provide toilet paper and laundry detergent. We are currently offering our Parish House to a refugee family. Every Christmas, we use a ‘star tree’ to help connect people who have two coats (literally or figuratively) to give one away to someone in need.

When I first came to Grace in the 1990’s, the church had a daycare – Grace Christian Child Care. It was a very forward thinking form of outreach at the time. Over the years since that time, members of the Grace community have participated in numerous mission trips – some geared towards adults, some geared towards the youth. The two most recent youth mission trips tied in with the work we do with Feeding America. Four years ago a group went to Arkansas to glean food from fields for Feeding America. This past August a group worked on an urban farm in downtown Detroit that gave its harvest to the surrounding neighborhood.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second, like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Matthew 22:37-39

The Grace community intentionally welcomes everyone. In addition to welcoming all those who wish to worship at the church, safe spaces for people who may be marginalized in some areas of society have not just been created at Grace, but have been boldly proclaimed.

555 Michigan Avenue has been, and continues to be, the meeting place for the Holland chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and Gender SAFE (Supporting All for Equality).

For several years, Grace worked with Good Samaritan and Community Action House to provide transitional housing and mentoring to families through the Community Housing Partnership.

Members of Grace have joined to peacefully march in protest of inhumane immigration policy and practices. In 2016, Grace Church provided a safe place for many to meet and to express their grief following the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting.

Members of our community are supporting and working with Out On the Lakeshore, and with Lighthouse Immigration Advocacy.

Grace has been participating in Faith Leaders for Justice with several other churches. This is a group of leaders (religious, secular, lay and ordained) working for broader acceptance and justice for and with those who find themselves on the margins of our community.

A Hispanic/Latino Ministry Committee has been formed to pursue ways that the church can be more welcoming and inclusive of Holland’s Latino community.

And there are many, many other ways that Grace reaches out.

But perhaps the most bold example of Grace’s outreach and inclusivity is noted in the bulletin every Sunday: “ALL ARE INVITED TO RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION”.

Submitted by Elizabeth Brubaker

The Music of Grace

Rev Jen and I often reflect on the unique nature of the community at Grace. One important aspect of this uniqueness is its ability to pray in song with heart, mind, and soul. Another unique trait is the wide range of musical styles we use to do this.


When we pray together at Eucharist, we do so with all Christians who have ever lived, who are living now, and will live in the future. As the General Editor of the Hymnal 1982, Ray Glover, has written, “… in [our congregational song,] we are bound together with countless numbers of those with whom we share the faith experience. Among them are not only the visible body of people with whom we gather for corporate worship, but also that invisible body of people who share our faith, but live and worship in other places. And even larger than all of these is that body of the saints who are present with us and who continue to sing their endless songs of praise and prayer around the ‘Lord of hosts Most High.’ The rich variety and sheer magnitude of congregational song is almost beyond human comprehension, imagination or conception.”


The Hymnal 1982 was followed by several other authorized American Episcopalian collections for use in our prayer. These extended the variety and excellence of songs available to us in our weekly prayer. Wonder, Love, and Praise: A Supplement to The Hymnal 1982 was published in 1997. Its preface tells us that this collection “should be seen as a continuation of the current hymnal.” Hymns from this book and other supplements are printed in our weekly bulletin for ease of access to us. Wonder, Love, and Praise has added many of our favorite hymns including:

“We are marching in the Light of God,”

“Now let us rise and hymn the grace,”

“We all are one in mission,”

“Will you come and follow me,” and many others.


Even before Wonder, Love, and Praise, the national Episcopal church recognized the rich and unique heritage of African American religious singing traditions and published Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal in 1993. Drawing on the incredible rich tradition of Negro Spirituals which is at the core of our experience as Americans, this book also reaches into other traditions including African, Caribbean, Native American, and Hispanic hymns and songs. From its pages we use:


“Ain’-a That Good News,”

“There’s a sweet, sweet spirit,”

“Is there anybody here who loves my Jesus?”

“Just a closer walk with thee,”

“Standing in the need of prayer,”

“This little light of mine,”

“Take me to the water,”

and “Soon and very soon.”


In the 21st century, historians are correcting American history to reflect those of us who arrived here in chains enslaved and continue a life of incredible pain and suffering even after the abolition of slavery. In my opinion, the genius of American music is its eclecticism, the fusion of so many musics to make something very unique. The African American experience has been a key ingredient in this.


In 2003, the hymnal supplement, Voices Found, was added to list of authorized hymnal supplements. The purpose of this book was to provide a “rich collection of hymns and spiritual song by, for, and about women.” It is another important resource we use. Many songs we use come from this work such as:


“Give me oil in my lamp,”

“O wheat whose crushing was for bread,”

“We stand within the circle,”

“Bread of Life,”

“Jesus, name above all names,”

“Be still and know that I am God,”

“Blessed assurance,”

and “Love astounding, love confounding.”


As individuals, we come from many religious backgrounds. Many times parishioners who have decided to be part of our community express surprise at the songs we sing. Our resources draw on the breadth of Christian song only limiting it to the theology of our church.


Of course there are many other ways we use the beauty of music to enhance our prayer. While the choir is an important leader of our sung prayer, it also brings the heritage of choral music into our Eucharist. Our group of dedicated singers meets weekly during the choir seasons. Performing the wide range of excellent choral music we do requires a rigorous discipline. For every minute of fine music in our service, choristers have spent hours practicing and learning it to the best of their ability. The result is a first rate church choir. The beauty of its offerings elevate our sense of who we are as humans and Episcopalians and is an significant part of the story of Grace Church.


Our bodies and voices are the essential instruments of praise in our worship. Grace is also privileged to have a significant pipe organ to lead us in song and provide preludes and postludes. The Martin Pasi, Opus 26, installed in 2017, is an example of the highest art of pipe organ building. The purity of its sounds leads us to not only sing better but also experience the beauty of the great organ music. As the wind passes through the pipes and creates ripples in the air around us, it moves among us like a reminder of the real presence of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit in us. Both in its appearance and sound, the craftsmanship, authenticity, and beauty of this splendid instrument will enhance the worship of Grace community for years to come.


The Grace community is a remarkable one. But we also are humbled by the privilege of serving Christ and each other with our time, talents, and treasures. When we embrace each other and the larger community through social justice and inclusiveness and other ways, we are most ourselves and the Church. Thus the “circle is unbroken” as our daily lives draw us to gather together in our weekly communal prayer to hear the living Word in proclaimed scripture and gather at the Table of Eucharist. Then the doors of our church building open and we go out to be the Church in the world.


In our ears ring the words of songs we have sung together.

“How often, making music, we have found, a new dimension in the world of sound,

as worship moved us to a more profound Alleluia” Hymn 420 in The Hymnal 1982

“The church of Christ in every age, beset by change but spirit led,

must claim and test its heritage and keep on rising from the dead. Hymn 779 in Wonder, Love, and Praise


Submitted by: Steve Jenkins, Music Director of Grace Episcopal Church, Holland, MI

150th Anniversary Hymn

Jay Bylsma wrote a hymn in honor of the 150th Anniversary, which we sang for the first time at the 2019 Annual Meeting. Below are his reflections on the hymn.

I went to a funeral of a dear friend that was held in his church, a church more conservative and evangelical than Episcopal.  During the service, the attendees stood to sing “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. Because my deceased friend’s favorite hymn was not in that denomination’s hymnal, it was projected on a screen in the front – words only.

I was taken aback and momentarily confused by how hollow and flat this magnificent hymn sounded.  For a minute I didn’t understand why when it struck me: there was no harmony and it was muddy, as people didn’t know the hymn and, without the music, struggled to sing along, usually one note behind and a half note flat or wrong.

I made a silent vow to always contribute to the richness of the hymns sung in worship by singing a harmony part, as anyone who sits in the pew in front of me can testify.  It is vow to which I stubbornly cling even when only the melody is printed, as in the case of more than a few hymns in the hymnal we use at Grace. And as a life-long Barbershop singer, woodshedding (making up a suitable harmony part as you go along) is part of my experience and tradition.

When I heard that the 150th Committee entertained the notion of having a hymn commissioned, I was pleased.  I very much like the contribution from Rev. Elizabeth Smith who set new and very lovely words to an existing hymn in honor of Rev. Jen Adams’ ordination.  But – a whole new hymn – words and music just for Grace? That was an exciting prospect!

As time went by and none materialized, I thought – why not give it a try?

I always wondered what comes first, the tune or the words.  In this case it was part of the tune, but when the verses came out, they had more lines than the music.  So the music needed to be fleshed out to satisfy the words.


I always try to guess if any particular hymn-writer/arranger is a woman or a man by which voice parts have the richest harmony because it appears to me that arrangers tend to have a fondness for the part they sing.  Because I sing bass in the Great Lakes Chorus and Holland Chorale, I really worked hard to achieve a very rich bass harmony part with chromatic runs and a major seventh cord here and there. Tenor came next to compliment the bass with some actual tenor notes (above the melody line) and some complimentary notes to the bass part.

Sorry ladies, the alto part just fit in nicely with mostly thirds below the melody. You should try the bass part an octave higher some time – but you may be jealous.

It is my belief that hymns should both tell a story and also be the part of the service that allows us to praise and do so at the top of our being (lungs?).  And the praise part should be corporate but also personal if possible. I tried to incorporate both.

So, I hope you like the submission.  I hope it allows you to speak personally and us to speak corporately about that which makes Grace a wonderful place.  And do so at the top of our beings, perhaps for another 150 years.


We Gather here to serve our Lord

We are gathered now to serve our Lord,

In all we say and do.

To keep the covenant of faith,

And love and justice to pursue,

As Grace was wont to do.


The spoken word, the common prayer,

The hymns through which we praise,

Creator God, the son – the Christ,

And Holy Ghost who with us stays.

And hears the prayers we raise


I enter here to taste the bread,

And take a sip of wine.

Remembering the sacrifice,

Of him, the one who was divine,

And claim that gift as mine.


In deeds and actions, thoughts and prayers,

Grace seek to do God’s will.

Through storm and tempest, peace and calm,

The poor and least their needs to fill,

And so God’s works fulfill.


Down through the decades Grace has been,

A place for all and few.

May it continue to lead on,

In ways both tried and true and new,

In all we say and do.

Stewardship Means Many Things

When I tell friends that Cate and Ian were part of a musical production at church, they say how great that is, and ask what it was about. When I mention that Brent was also a part, the reaction usually changes to a more flabbergasted, “What?!?” I smile and nod and say, “Yeah, well we like our church, so we all contribute when we can.”

During our nearly 17 years at Grace, stewardship has taken many different forms for us. We contribute financially, but that isn’t our main contribution. From serving on vestry, to acolyting, to volunteering at Marktplaatz, to cooking dinner (we loved cooking with the Bylsmas!), the four Kruegers have tried out lots of different ways to be good stewards of Grace Church. But my favorite by far was helping to plan and being a leader on Pilgrimage in 2016.

Our trip was so full of surprise moments of Grace. We stumbled (quite literally) upon parts of the Episcopal Church’s history we weren’t expecting. We met new friends who welcomed us with a warmth that was wholly unexpected. I even ran into an old friend by accident! And along the way we got to know our kids, each other, and God in new and deeper ways. These were holy moments and I carry them with me every day. It’s such a gift.

So, though I went to help as a leader, pilgrimage was as rich a time for me as it was the youth. I feel so blessed to have been part, and it never would have happened had I not tried a new form of stewardship at Grace. And we keep trying new ways. We sing songs. Even when we can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

If you’d like to read more reflections from the 2016 Pilgrimage, please email Mary Miller at and she will send you a PDF of them!

Submitted by: Renee Krueger

Submitted by Paul Trapp

Paul Trapp has done extensive archival work on the history of Grace Church. In this blog post, he shares his research on Henry Clay Matrau, who was a prominent member of Grace Church in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

When word reached Holland of Henry Clay Matrau’s death, local scribe and historian, Gerrit Van Schelven described Matrau as one of the “Pillars” of Grace Episcopal Church. [1] And he was correct for Matrau provided support and continuity during a tumultuous decade when rector and vestry struggled to shape the course of the young congregation.

When his son was born in Berrien County on 24 April 1845, Joseph Matrau named him after the “Great Compromiser,” the Kentucky, Whig politician, Henry Clay, who had struggled to keep the country together. The Matraus were a frontier farm family struggling to clear land and establish a homestead near Watervliet, Michigan. [2]

Following President Abraham Lincoln’s call for volunteers after the attack on Fort Sumter on 12 April 1861, sixteen year old Henry responded to the call to arms. Whether he was responding to patriotism, seeking adventure or just trying to escape from the drudgery of farm life Henry was determined to join the army. He was young and stood only five foot, four and one half inches tall. Having a round happy face he seemed younger. Michigan officials, perhaps local men who knew him and his age refused to enroll him. He was not to be deterred. Learning there were places open in a company that was being formed in Beloit, Wisconsin, he traveled to that town and signed in as a resident of Milwaukee. Arriving at Beloit and lying about his age (the minimum age was eighteen) he still feared he might not pass muster so he acquired a large pair of shoes added higher soles and heels then stuffed more insoles into the shoes to raise his height about an inch. After topping himself off with a high crowned hat he marched past the recruiting officer with an air of confidence and he was enrolled into the “Beloit Star Rifles,” Company G of the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry on 11 September 1861. [3] His enthusiasm and willingness to follow every assignment without hesitation led to his being named a corporal in November 1852. [4]

The Second, Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin along with the Nineteenth Indiana and later the Twenty-fourth Michigan made up the all-western brigade that became identifiable by their tall black felt hats. After their tenacious stands at Second Bull Run and South Mountain, the “Black Hats” became known as the Iron Brigade. In addition to Second Bull Run, they fought in many bloody battles including; Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Richmond–Petersburg. The Iron Brigade suffered the most casualties of any brigade in the Civil War. At Gettysburg 61% of those engaged were killed or wounded and at Antietam of the three hundred men of the Sixth Wisconsin who entered the battle, 40 were killed and 112 were wounded. [5] Matrau survived the war without a serious wound; perhaps being short made him a smaller target. The unit’s many casualties included a number of officers. This opened opportunities for advancement. Matrau was promoted to sergeant in September 1863. During the siege at Petersburg Company G’s field officers were killed and in August the governor of Wisconsin commissioned him as a first lieutenant. [6] As General Grant kept sending troops to batter the Confederate lines, the company’s captain was killed and Matrau, now just nineteen years old, was named captain on 7 March 1865, probably the youngest captain in the Army of the Potomac. [7] When Robert E. Lee abandoned his defenses at Petersburg, Matrau led his company as part of the pursuing force that brought Lee to surrender at Appomattox. [8] He wrote to his mother that the hard fighting was over and “the boys are beginning [to] plan what they will do for a living when the war is over.” While there wasn’t much more fighting, there was still a lot of marching. After a sixty-five mile march to Burkeville Junction, he wrote his last letter home and described himself as “a sorry looking object. I have waded creeks, plunged into swamps & morasses, laid in the dirt until I look more like a gopher than a human being.” [9}

Despite the dangers, fatigue and hardships he had experienced; Captain Matrau hoped for a military career, but so did a lot of other officers. That hope died when his unit was mustered out on July 14, 1865. [10] He returned to Berrien County and became engaged in the “mercantile business.” On 8 October 1867, he married a cousin, Jerusha Owen Woodruff. Henry and “Rusha” had five children. [11] In 1872, he took a position with the Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore Railroad and moved to Holland. [12]

As the station agent in a small community Matrau was the public face of the railroad company and he had contact with as much of the community as anyone in the area. Like Matrau, most station agents came from a commercial background and their activities were governed by the rule book, the “Company Bible.” Those rules outlined his responsibilities and stipulated in detail how to meet them. He had to sell tickets, make out waybills, make up switch lists for local crews, and maintain a myriad of records and ledgers. A required skill was mastery of the language of dots and dashes so he could pass on train orders as well as serve as the fastest form of communication for business and personal emergencies. He served many trades while maintaining the depot, updating bulletin boards, filling lamps and signal lanterns, throwing switches and servicing the water tower. He met every train to assist passengers and handle baggage and package freight. He met with business leaders to solicit business and coordinate shipments. He dealt with public officials and paid local taxes. He met with community residents to give travel advice, sell tickets, deal with losses and damages and handle complaints. Depots were public gathering places over which he had to maintain order among the hangers on and tramps, some of whom he occasionally hired on as day laborers. He also knew more about what was happening in the community and the outside world than anyone else in town. He knew the message of every telegraph, met passengers from far-away places and learned about business from both locals and “drummers” or salesmen waiting for their trains. [13]

In addition to his responsibilities as station agent, Matrau served on the Holland City Council as an alderman representing the First Ward. [14] He was also an officer in the Free and Accepted Masons Unity Lodge 191. [15]

Matrau, a former Methodist, joined Grace on 7 October 1876 and his wife, Jerusha, joined him in March 1877. [16] As a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Holland, Matrau provided leadership and support during its financial and leadership crisis of the mid–1870’s. Following the 1871 fire that destroyed Grace Church and much of the city of Holland, the parish’s first rector, J. Rice Taylor traveled east appealing to congregations in the larger cities for help to rebuild his burned church. He raised enough money to construct a building sufficient for the needs of his parishioners. However his vision outstripped available resources and the church was left with a debt it struggled to pay. A bitter dispute developed between the rector, the vestry and the bishop. Taylor had served a church in New York for a year then demanded that Grace take him back as their rector. When Bishop George D. Gillespie insisted that Taylor be reinstated, the vestry led by the founders of the church including Heber Walsh resigned on 31 March 1877. Matrau was one of three members who stepped forward to reorganize the church. He was elected to the vestry and named both as warden and treasurer. [17] Taylor offered to again serve on alternate Sundays and Matrau was licensed by the bishop as a lay reader for the weeks when Taylor was not available. Serving as a lay reader, he could lead a service using the form for morning prayers found in the Book of Common Prayer and read a sermon from a collection a messages approved by the bishop. [18] Matrau was faithful in upholding the duties of lay reader as long as he remained in Holland. There were years in which he read the service more than thirty times. [19] As Grace suffered financially, J.R. Taylor resigned and left the Diocese of Western Michigan. After a one year gap, E.W. Flower took leadership of both Saugatuck and Holland. In his first report he expressed his gratitude to Matrau stating; “During the whole year there has been lay reading, one service every Sunday by Mr. H. C. Matrau, to whose fidelity and zeal the Parish is greatly indebted for the continuance of services, and Parish work during the vacancy of Rectorship.” [20]

Henry Matrau also took Walsh’s position as Superintendent of the Sunday School. Sunday school still served as more than a children’s Bible school. Some children in Holland still did not attend regular schools and many that did only attended four months of the year. So Sunday school was an important source of instruction particularly in reading. During Matrau’s six years as superintendent the average enrollment was about fifty children. At the same time there were only about twenty-five communicants at Grace and during that time were never there more than five male communicants.[21]

Matrau accepted a position with the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad and left Grace moving to Grand Rapids in October 1882. In 1884 he accepted a position as Northwestern passenger agent on the Michigan & Ohio Railroad. It seemed like a promotion and friends in Holland hoped this position would allow him to return to Holland. But that was not to be. For he was hardly settled in with the M&O when the line went into receivership. [22] He then accepted a position with the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad arriving in Norfolk, Nebraska on the Fourth of July 1885. The F,E&MV also known as “The Cowboy Line” covered an area from Omaha to the Black Hills. It was operating under the control of the Chicago & North Western by the time Matrau arrived in Norfolk and in 1903, it was purchased outright by the C&NW. 23] He served twenty-two years as station agent with the F,E&MV and the C&NW

He lived an active life in Norfolk. Within a year of his arrival he was elected to the school board, a position he held for twelve years and he served on the city council. He was mayor of Norfolk for two terms, 1893-1894 and in 1911 he served as a member of the state legislature. After a combined thirty-six years in railroading he resigned in 1907 entering a partnership with Theodore Wille operating Matrau and Wille, a lumber and coal company.

      In 1913, Matrau made one last move, this time to Windsor, Colorado where he opened another lumber and coal business. He died on 5 January 1917, suffering a heart attack while undergoing dental surgery. He was buried with military honors by the Grand Army of the Republic at Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska near the home of his children. After Henry’s death, Jersusha disposed of the family business and lived with a daughter in Lincoln, NE where she died 20 March 1928. [24]

  1. Holland City News, 25 January 1917.
  2. Background items found in, accessed on various dates. Marcia Reid–Green, Editor, Letters from Home: Henry Matrau of the Iron Brigade, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993), pp. 1-3.
  3. Reid-Green, Letters from Home, pp. 3–5; Allen C. Guelzo, Fateful Lightening: A New History of the Civil War & Reconstruction, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 236-237; Holland City News, 12 March 1896
  4. Reid-Green, Letters from Home,p. 42n; Holland City News,12 March 1896
  5. O. B. Curtis, History of the Twenty–Fourth Michigan of the Iron Brigade Known as the Detroit and Wayne County Regiment. (Detroit: Winn & Hammond, 1891; Reprint Edition, Gaithersburg, MD: Ron Sickle Military Books, 1987), Chapter 13, “The Iron Brigade,” pp. 452–473; David S. Heidler and Jeanette T. Heidler, Editors, Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History, 4 Volumes, (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC–Clio, 2000), sv. “Iron Brigade” pp. 2: 1040–1041. James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 528;-529, 540n, 654.
  6. Mataru to Parents, Yellow House, VA, 30 October 1864 in Reid-Green, Letters Home, pp. 98–100.
  7. Mataru to Parents, Near Petersburg, 13 February 1865, 22 February 1865 in in Reid-Green, Letters Home, pp. 107–112; Holland City News, 14 March 1896; Watervliet Record, 19 January 1917,, Accessed 18 November 2018.
  8. Elizabeth R. Varon, Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War, (New York: Oxford University Press 2014), p. 83;
  9. Matrau to Mother, Burkeville, VA, 18 April 1865, in Reid-Green, Letters Home, pp. 115–116.
  10. Curtis, History of the Twenty–fourth, p. 457; Reid-Green, Letters Home, p. 123n.
  11. Reid-Green, Letters Home, p. 127; Henry and Jerusha’s children were Ruth born ca. 1874, Grace born ca. 1875, Mamie Born ca. 1872, Harry born ca. 1885 and Agnes born ca. 1891. Census of 1900, Norfolk, Madison County, NE accessed through
  12. The Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore Railroad was formed by the consolidation of five shorter lines on 23 April 1869 and reorganized as the Chicago & West Michigan Railroad on 20 December 1878. The C&WM RR merged with the Grand Haven Railroad to form the Chicago & West Michigan Railway which was sold to the Pere Marquette Railroad on 20 September 1899. Nick Korstange, “Railroads of Ottawa County,” West Michigan Railroad Historical Society, Waybill, (March 1989), pp. 4-5; Graydon M. Meints, Railroads for Michigan,(East Lansing, MI, 2013), pp. 187, 243, 295.
  13. Walter Licht, Working on the Railroad: The Organization of Work in the Nineteenth Century,(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988), pp. 34, 37–38, 42–44, 83–86, 91; H. Roger Grant, Railroads and the American People, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012), pp. 110–131.
  14. Holland City News, 25 January 1917, City Council Minutes, Holland City News, 4 December 1875 and 5 December 1876.
  15. Holland City News, 27 December 1879 and 18 December 1800.
  16. Grace Episcopal Church, Register 1,Grace Church historical records. Held at the Joint Archives of Holland.
  17. Holland City News, 7 April 1877; Heber Walsh. “History of Grace Episcopal Church, Holland.” 1878. Both a draft and a final edition are preserved among Grace Church historical records held at the Joint Archives of Holland. A typescript transcription of the final edition by Paul Trap in 2015 is available.
  18. Episcopal Church. Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan [DoWM]. Journals of the annual conventions of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Michigan. Published annually from Primary Convention, 1874 to the present. A set of these journals are archived at the Bentley Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI and available Canon XIV, DoWM, Journal, 1st, 1875, p. 120; Rev. George D. Gillespie, Compiler, A Manual for the Use of Rectors, Wardens and Vestrymen, in the Diocese of Michigan with Annals of the Diocese, (Ann Arbor: Dr. Chase’s Steam Printing House, 1868) pp. 90-91.
  19. DoWM, Journal3rd, 1877, pp. 75, 106–107; 4th, 1878, pp. 63–64, 79, 136–137; 5th, 1879, pp. 85, 120–121; 6th, 1880, pp. 93, 161; 7th, 1881, pp. 81, 120–121; 9th, 1882, p. 106; Church Helper of Western Michigan, February 1881,September 1881, July 1882.
  20. Parochial Report, DoWM, Journal, 5th, 1879, pp. 120-121.
  21. DoWM, Journals, 3rd, 1877, p. 106; 4th, 1878, pp. 136-137; 5th, 1879, pp. 120–121; 6th, 1880, p. 129; 7th, 181, pp. 121–122; 8th, 1882, p. 106; Church Helper of Western Michigan, July 1882.
  22. Holland City News, 1 November 1884; Graydon M. Meints, Michigan Railroad Companies, (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1992) S.V. Michigan and Ohio Railroad; Norfolk Weekly News Journal, 13 December 1907, Accessioned through Chronicling America, Library of Congress.
  23. Norfolk Weekly News Journal, 13 December 1907, Accessioned through “Chronicling America”, Library of Congress; Robert J. Casey and W.A.S. Douglas, Pioneer Railroad: The Story of the Chicago and North Western System,(New York: McGraw-Hill, 1948), pp. 126, 145, 169, 217–219, 232–238.
  24. Norfolk Weekly News Journal, 13 December 1907; Reid–Green, Letters Home, pp. 127–128
Reflections from Missionary Bonnie Greydanus

Laba Diena, Dear Friends,

One of the questions that I am asked most frequently when I am back in the States is how do students from over 43 different countries hear about LCC International University in Lithuania. This fall I asked that question of my freshman students, and I would like to share some of their stories with you. As I listen to their stories, I am constantly reminded of the following:

  • The tenacity of the human spirit and the hope that God places in each one of us. Students affected by war especially evidence this tenacity and hope.
  • I lose hope as I hear the news from the States with more and more enmity between people. The history of the former Soviet held countries and the current wars in other countries remind me of how that divisiveness can increase until thousands of innocent people suffer.
  • However, the stories of the students reveals the quiet power and strength of humans helping humans to survive evil and to flourish. People working with people, people praying, people sending money – all creates brilliant connections around the world that bring a student, a parent, a husband, a child out of despair into light. As I listen to the stories, I see the brilliant connections and I have hope.


Three years ago, the board of LCC University felt the call to help young adults from war torn countries to continue their university studies which had been interrupted by war. The Middle East Scholars Program was begun. Through contacts in the Middle East and brave recruiters who were sent to war torn areas and to refugee camps, interested young adults were identified and led through the college application process. To date, around 25 Middle Eastern scholars have entered the program, and the Lithuanian government must be applauded as they allowed these students to receive visas and provided a grant for their education. Scholarships from donors and professors like myself working without salary help to provide the rest of their costs.

One of these students is Khalid. He is a Yazidi, a Kurdish religious minority which in August 2014 was attacked by ISIS. Many fled up Mount Sinjar where they were surrounded for days, and in the attack thousands were killed and tortured. Khalid was there. Before the war, Khalid herded his family’s sheep everyday, until one day when he was 12, his grandfather suggested that he go to school. He entered primary school at the age of 12. Following is Khalid’s story as he tells it:


Finishing High School by Khalid

         When I started my intermediate school I had been told that I had to go to evening school   because I began primary school late. The problem there was not any evening school in my area and my family had not enough time to send me to town or city.

         First, my teacher – the manager of school – went to talafer, registered my name there and accepted me in his school as what we call it ”guest student” which mean I will study in his school, doing exams there and in the end he will take my grades to evening in the town. After one year he transferred my name to town shingal – my town – because it was easier for me to go there for final exams. The other issue was the distance between my house and school, I remember most of the times I was not able to study anything before I take nap at least for 40 minutes because of tiredness and stress

        Second, I had to go to my aunt house in one of the villages close to the town that was going to do my final exams. It was very scary and stressful because it was the first time for me to be away from my family. In spite of that I graduated from Shingal evening intermediate school as the first student among 400 students with GPA 91%.

        Next, I went to high school – secondary school – but this time in the same village where I started and finished my primary school. After three years of study and stress we got to do the national exam again, we did the first one which was Arabic, a day after that ISIS – a terrorist group – attacked Mosul – my city – so the government canceled exams. A month after that ISIS attacked my town too. They killed and captured more than 7000 of my people, they killed men, used children for training on using weapon and also suicide attacks after they force them to convert to Islam and washed their brain, and they took girls and women as sex slaves and sold them in markets. After eight days of struggling in mountain Shingal which was surround by ISIS we found our way to go to safe place in Kurdistan.

  Then, when we got Kurdistan, we stayed in unfinished house in a Christian village after we used wood and plastic to cover windows and doors. After five days I had been told that next day was our first exam. I was still shocked because of what happened to us and it had been two months that I had not read anything, also we were unconscious of what was going on. We did not know withier we were going to stay there or we were going to leave the country or there will be any hope for us to return to our villages again, that is why I did not go to do my exams, basically there was not any sign of hope for good future for me and my family there in Iraq.  

     After that, in next year, I started again to continue my study. But in the middle of year I had been told that I had to go to the evening school again, so I took my documents from that school to evening secondary school in Duhok, a city in Kurdistan. The other sad surprise was that after all that study I did they canceled exams at evening schools I think because they were not able to control it because of what the country was going through with its war with ISIS. I was shocked, that was very stressful, somehow I gave up and worked as volunteer with an American NGO, we were helping refuge and displaced people. The year after that I did not apply to school because I had to help my family, so I worked as glass cutter with one of organization in Shingal far away from my family about four hours.

         Finally, in 2016, I applied to high school by what we call it in Iraq ” external school ”, that means I will study at home and only go to do my middle year and final exams. I studied while I was working to help my family. I graduated from secondary school in 2017 with GPA 71%. After that I worked as volunteer teacher in one of intermediate school in the same village where I started my primary school. I was teaching students mathematic one of my previous teacher told me about LCC. He was working with Yazda NGO, which cares about students and trying to help them to continue their study beside their main work which is about Yazidi case and last genocide. So they share the study opportunities through media so that students know about especially scholarships. My teacher sent me the link and that is how I heard about LCC and applied to the Middle East Program and I am so glad that I did.


See this video on the Middle East Scholars program:

Advent Calendar

‘Advent Calendar’ is a poem by former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. The poem was published in his first book of poetry, ‘After Silent Centuries,’ and is now available in the collection, ‘Poems by Rowan Williams.’ Advent Calendar was was set to music by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies as one of the 44 Anthems in the Choirbook for the Queen, which was launched at Southwark Cathedral in November 2011. Our Anglican heritage contains many thoughtful works which weave together theology and creative expression. Archbishop Williams had this gift.


Advent Calendar


He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to the bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.
He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.
He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.
He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.


Post submitted by The Rev. Jennifer Adams, Rector

Fellowship Commission at Grace

The Grace Fellowship Commission organizes social events that give parishioners opportunities to connect and to celebrate our life together as a Christian community.

I became involved with the Fellowship Commission when I was first elected to the Vestry in 1998. Soon after, I attended the annual Vestry retreat, during which the Vestry members are assigned to each of the various church commissions. I remember looking over the list of church commissions before the retreat and thinking that any of them would be fine except the Fellowship Commission. I definitely did not want to coordinate Fellowship. At that point, I had only been peripherally involved at the church and didn’t know many people. Also, the engineer in me just didn’t seem compatible with organizing and promoting parties and social events.

Well, I was assigned Fellowship, and I guess it all turned out okay as I’ve been involved with Fellowship ever since (for over 20 years!). Over the years, Fellowship has organized the Greeters Guild, Coffee Hour, the annual church picnic, Easter Brunch, Lenten suppers, West Michigan Whitecaps baseball games, Grand Rapids Griffins hockey games, the Hope College Madrigal Feaste, the Teusink’s Farm hayride, Hope College Summer Repertory Theater productions, newcomer receptions, Mother’s Day sherry and cake, Easter Vigil refreshments, and more.

Undoubtedly, Coffee Hour is the Fellowship activity in which the most parishioners participate, and for at least the past decade has been so adeptly managed by Laurie Van Ark.

The Greeters Guild got its start during my first year with Fellowship in 1998 when Rev. Tom Toeller-Novak, the parish priest at that time, asked Fellowship to provide greeters for the Sunday services. The guild got off to an inauspicious start, as only one parishioner showed up for the first organizational meeting! However, the guild grew quickly and since then, guild members have welcomed parishioners at over 1000 Grace worship services.

The newly created Host program was started in the fall of 2018 to enhance how Grace welcomes visitors and follows up with them afterward.

Thanks to the help provided by fellow parishioners, events by-and-large have gone smoothly over the years. However, there have been some mishaps. A memorable one occurred while preparing the Easter Brunch, which was served immediately after the Easter sunrise service. As the sunrise service was ending and a full church was headed down to the Undercroft for the brunch, a refrigerator shelf containing 15 pitchers of orange juice suddenly collapsed, pouring all of the orange juice onto the kitchen floor. What a mess!

In the end, Fellowship is all about creating opportunities for building the community of Grace, and the Fellowship Commission has been fortunate over the years to have had so many dedicated parishioners help and participate in the events.

Submitted by Jeff Erickson


Reflections on St. Nicholas

Saint Nicholas lived in the 3rd and 4th centuries in Lycia, Asia Minor, a Greek Province of the Roman Empire that is now part of modern Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a faithful Christian,  died while he was young. Inheriting a fortune, Nicholas used all of it to aid those in need. Stories of his devotion, generosity, and care for the vulnerable were carried all over Europe, and he became the most popular saint during the Middle Ages.

How did I become interested in this saint? When our children were small I wanted them to know there was a person of faith behind Santa Claus, and that he represents something more about compassion than consumption, more about giving than getting, more about need than greed. Living here it was easy to add Dutch touches to our St. Nicholas observance. My boys would get two matchbox cars and a bag of Dutch chocolate “gold” coins in their wooden shoes, creating an opportunity to talk about St. Nicholas. This made a small, fun, bright spot early in Advent.

Along with some good friends, I began looking for St. Nicholas figures. They were hard to find then and the hunt was something of a sport. As the collection grew I began having exhibits at the Holland Museum. Then eBay came along, making it possible to add more things that illustrated more Nicholas’ stories and customs. Through eBay, I heard from Jim Rosenthal, then director of communications for the Anglican Communion and one of the world’s foremost St. Nicholas enthusiasts. In 2002 he challenged me to do a St. Nicholas website. launched that year and has over a million visitors each year and correspondence from all over the world. The site has grown beyond what any of us would ever have imagined.

    Why St. Nicholas? As patron saint for children, his most recognized role, he is a beloved, kind gift giver. However, as I learned more, I came to love him because so many of his stories care for and rescue those who are most vulnerable. He rescued people from starvation, women from slavery, innocents from execution and incarceration, children from kidnappers, and people from usurious imperial taxation. When St. Nicholas saw injustice, he acted. He ought to be the patron saint for advocacy–advocacy especially for those with limited voice and power. Today St. Nicholas would encourage us to speak and act boldly against injustice, including against human trafficking, the death penalty, mass incarceration, hunger, and all kinds of discrimination.

Bishop Nicholas loved God first and foremost and worked to bring about God’s reign of justice and mercy. As he embodied Micah’s charge to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God, Nicholas’ example challenges us to do the same.

Yes, Nicholas is the children’s saint and brings treats and joy to all ages. But that is only the beginning . . . .

Submitted By: Carol Myers

It’s A Small Miracle I’m Attending Church at All

In 2014, I was weary of church. Faith was almost non-existent, depression had set in. Every time I went to church, I felt like, “Can I go home now?” And then some people popped off at me:

“Depression is God’s will,” they told me.

“Marathon running is a sin,” they said.

“Oh, you doubt any of this? SHAME ON YOU!”

On it went. So I walked away, swearing I was done. As 2016 became 2017, I was confident that I would never set foot in a church again, except for a wedding or a funeral which I might occasionally attend.

Then I came out of the closet as bisexual and transgender, taking the name Amber Marie. People in that church were upset about that, too. Lines of communication dried up. I was told I was confused. My aunt disowned me via a brutal text message, calling me “different,” telling me with whom I should have sex, telling me, “You need to find God.” On it went, until she closed with “the only family I have are my kids and my grand kids,” cutting me out of the family. I was at work when I read this, and I wanted to cry right then and there.

If I wasn’t done with God before, I was definitely done right then.

The hurt set in. But in November 2017, I walked into Out On the Lakeshore, Holland’s LGBT community center. I met Robbie Schorle and Brother Francis, two Episcopalians, and they tell me all about this denomination. At this point, all I can think is, “I’m in a good place.”

Two weeks later, Rev. Jen has coverage duty at Out On the Lakeshore. We talk. Jen can tell I’ve been hurt by the church, by my aunt, by my best friend, etc… and she just listens. So I think maybe church isn’t such a bad thing.

New Year’s Eve, I attend Grace for the first time. I just observed.  I liked the “order of things,” style of worship. Everyone was super nice.

In subsequent visits, people wanted to know my name and my story. Coming out to Dennis, Debbie, Elizabeth, etc, was never easier. Dennis, a retired pastor, told me “all are welcome at the table.” Janet gave me clothing advice, such as “hands up, sweater down.”

I am sure I’ll join at some point, as well as receive communion. Soon. You are watching me as I go through a “second puberty,” watching as I mature once more, watching as I become the person I am meant to be.

Can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Submitted by: Amber Marie Cowles

Feeding America at Grace Church

Eight years ago, Steve and Sue Cloutier began to investigate the possibility of bringing the Feeding America Program to Grace Church. They put many hours into learning how this program worked. They found a church in Holland that was serving the community through Feeding America, and visited Fourth Reformed Church to see how they set up this outreach. It was decided by the Outreach Committee and the Vestry that this would be a good program for us to put into effect at Grace.

We started by serving around 50 families. We offered them some light snacks while the truck was being unloaded and the food put out on tables. The only way we could get this food out to distribute was to put up tables in the parking lot. We worked in teams: some people outside and some inside to help our guests sign in and get ready to receive the food. For many months we ordered 5,000 pounds of food every second Thursday of the month. We were outside in rain and snow and we always had enough volunteers to get all the work done.

It was brought to our attention that our guests could not buy bathroom tissue or laundry detergent with their bridge card. A call went out to the congregation asking for contributions of these two items. We were able to give out the bathroom tissue and laundry soap with the 5,000 pounds of food. When our guests were told they would receive these items they gave us a round of applause in thanks. We now have an anonymous member of the congregation who provides the two items.

As the years went by, we have served up to 200 families. We were able to increase our food poundage to 7,500 pounds. We also have an extra 500 pounds of protein, usually chicken or Boars Head meat. This extra protein is also supplied by a member of our congregation. We have been giving our guests a hot meal for the last few years, and try to do something special for the holidays. If we have 160 to 200 families, we could have over 400 people to feed when you include spouses and children.

Feeding America is the largest outreach program we have at Grace. Many people are involved in making this work. It takes many volunteers to get the food unloaded and at times packaged. We have people in the kitchen making and serving food. This definitely takes a village.

Giving out food and having a meal with our guests has been a privilege and a learning experience for everyone involved. Every month we learn something new. We meet new people and make new friends. This was and is a very special work of the church and I am always privileged to be a part of this outreach.

Submitted by: Robbie Schorle