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

Wednesday Service: 9:30AM
Reflections on my mother, Joy Culbertson Huttar (1930-2015; organist at Grace from 1978-2005)

The Joy Culbertson Memorial Recital will be on All Saints Day, Sunday, November 4 at Grace Church with guest recitalist, Mr. Al Fedak.  Joy holds the record for being the longest serving staff member in the history of Grace Church. In her role as organist and faithful member, Joy impacted generations of Grace with music, kindness, humor, a steady presence, and amazingly good food. As we celebrate Grace’s 150th anniversary, her daughter, Julia Huttar Bailey, was asked to write this piece about Joy.  Join us this Sunday for a celebration of All Saints Day at 8:15 and 10:30 am and the Memorial Recital through which we give thanks for Joy Culbertson Huttar, one of the many saints of Grace at 1:00pm. 

My Mama, Joy Huttar, became the organist here at Grace suddenly, when her predecessor quit but didn’t tell anyone. When he didn’t show up that Sunday, Mama was asked to fill in on the spot, since she could play the piano. But she really didn’t know anything about the organ. She found a book of organ music left by Marian Voetberg, and thought that the pieces where Marian had written “swell” and “great” meant that they were especially good ones. (In fact, “Swell” and “Great” are the names of the manuals on an organ. Marian was simply marking which keyboard to play on.)

Well, my mother decided that if she was going to be the organist, she ought to know what swell and great actually meant, so she’d better take organ lessons. She figured that she should learn a little more about music in general too. This led to the enormous privileges for me of being in Freshman Music Theory class at Hope College with my mom in there too, teaming up with her we me as choir director while she was organist at Grace, and her earning a second bachelor’s degree. She worked hard, and it proved what I always believed: My Mama, Joy Huttar, could do anything she wanted to, if she just set her mind to it.

* * * * *

I loved growing up in our big family, and our family was always expanding to include whoever needed a home away from home. My mother would say, I’m already making dinner for 9, what’s a few more? It was common throughout my growing up for people to just happen to drop by near dinner time, so of course we would set another place. Or for someone who was going through some difficult time to be invited home to dinner after church. There was a period when we had Sunday dinner for 15 people week after week. I also grew up with a love of hymns. We were always singing in our family. So on those Sundays after we ate, I would sit down at the piano and play a hymn. A sister or two would come and sing, and pretty soon we were all gathered, calling out hymn numbers. We didn’t realize this was such a regular thing until Mary Meade answered the after-church invitation: Well, I would love to come for dinner, but I have a big test tomorrow and I wouldn’t be able to stay for the hymn sing!

* * * * *

At the end of her life, all seven of her children gathered round for a holy time, keeping vigil, singing, sharing stories and memories. It was not her most flattering moment, lying there in the hospital bed. But my father saw through the eyes of so many years of love. Taking her hand, he said: “Oh Joy, here we all are, admiring you.”

I join with so many people who greatly admired her, and give thanks for her remarkable life.

Submitted by Julia Huttar Bailey

What in the World is the 144th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan?

Every year, the elected delegates from each parish in our diocese gather to worship, sing, celebrate, and conduct the business of our part of the national church’s presence in the world. We are what our Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Michael Curry, calls the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. This annual gathering of about 300 people from all of the churches in our diocese is a joyful, thoughtful, and important part of the work we are called to do in Western Michigan.

The convention is always held the first weekend in November, and this year we will gather at the Radisson Hotel and Convention Center in Lansing, Michigan on November 2nd and 3rd.  Our theme is “Going Deeper,” which is an inspiring notion of living into our diocesan re-structure so that we can continue to bring to life God’s dream for us and for our world. Our keynote speaker is The Right Rev. Robert C. Wright, the Bishop of Atlanta. He is a dynamic preacher, teacher, and evangelist, and we look forward to his message and presence!

At this year’s convention, we will hear news from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, discuss and decide on various resolutions, policies, and procedures, and engage in the annual business meeting of our diocese. We will also have an inspiring and meaningful worship service at St. Paul’s Church with a real celebration of our lives in Christ in this time and place, including Holy Baptism, Confirmation, Reception, Holy Eucharist, and an incredible choir! Watch the diocesan website for videos, photos, and summaries of all that occurs at this year’s convention. You can also talk to Rev. Jen Adams, Rev. Jim Steen, Robbie Schorle, Karen Bylsma, Renee Kruger, or Joanie Smith, as they will all be representing Grace Church at this event!

Submitted By: Joanie Smith

HOW Steward Ship – The Musical(s) CAME TO BE

It started in a Vestry meeting during a discussion about an upcoming Stewardship pledge drive in 2016 and the wish to “do something different.” And the blame (or credit) can all be laid at the feet of Elizabeth Brubaker who said, “I know, we should do a musical.”

When I heard about it, I thought, “A musical? About Stewardship? Mmmm. Stewardship. Wait… how about a musical about the Episcopalian ship. It could be called the ship Steward – the Steward ship!” And with that Steward Ship – The Musical was born.

The challenge was to make it as serious as stewardship is and yet entertaining enough so the audience will stay awake (unlike some stewardship presentations – present parish excluded, of course). While I had done some writing, I don’t write music, so I contacted Brad Richmond. We agreed I would write the lyrics and he would write the music. Unfortunately, two things went wrong: we didn’t decide which came first so I waited for him to write the music, while he waited for me to write the lyrics, and, Stewardship Sunday fell on the same day as his choir concerts. Sadly, the team of Richmond and Bylsma was not destined to become immortalized like the team of Rogers and Hammerstein.

I moved to using existing popular songs and re-writing the words to fit the three themes of stewardship: time, talent, and treasure. The theme of a ship led me to a voyage with passengers to play out the themes. A bumbling First Mate who wouldn’t give of his TIME to assist the ship’s captain in the stormy sea (and who better to bumble then John Shea), a damsel rescued from a deserted island (and who could be more TALENTed than Kim Shea to play my favorite damsel and her soccer ball friend “Wilson”), to be followed by a fearsome pirate who would board the ship to hijack its TREASURE, and who could be more fearsome than a chemistry professor?

So, the makings of a story line existed, but now came the task of making it entertaining. I decided to combine several forms of humor and set up the stewardship message with parodies of well-known songs. For the first mate, I borrowed the ship scene from and film classic, Princess Bride, where the cast made all their lines end in a rhyme. It came out like this:

Ship Captain: Wake up mate

and help me or we’ll be late.

First Mate: I’m not experienced as a first mate.

You’ll have to demonstrate.

SC: We’ve no time to wait,

get busy or we’ll become fish bait.

FM: Your attitude is hard to tolerate.

I’m sorry I signed on to sail this crate

This was followed up by revising the words to “Time after Time” by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, i.e. “Time after time, I tell myself that I’m, so lucky to be serving Grace….” (Instead of “…lucky to be loving you”).

The damsel in distress, a.k.a. soccer-loving Jennifer Adams, was rescued by the good ship Steward from a deserted island with her sidekick “Wilson”- the soccer ball from the movie “Castaway.”

Here the humor was to portray the castaway as out of touch (or worse) because of being on the deserted island for so long as portrayed in the following dialogue as she talks about the sermons she and Wilson preached in her one-person church. (Hint; hermeneutics is the study of methods of interpreting the Bible and exegesis is the study of Biblical test to discover their original meaning).

Damsel in Distress: As you might expect, the sermons were outstanding when I preached (wink wink), but Wilson’s were full of a lot of hot air. And he bounced around the lectionary too much. And psst, (holds the ball out of hearing) he doesn’t know the different between hermeneutics and exegesis.

Ship Captain: Do you know the difference between hermeneutics and exegesis?

DD: (Indignantly) Of course I do. Herman Neutics was one of my professors in seminary. Exegesis is nothing but a fancy word for the ascension.

SC: A fancy word for Jesus’s ascension is “exegesis”?

DD: You know…. “Exit Jesus”.

The lyrics for “There’s No Business Like Show Business” were modified to “There’s no talent like Grace talent…” belted out Ethel Merman style by Kim.

For the TREASURE theme, a looting pirate was called upon to hijack the Steward’s treasure only to be disappointed that the treasure at Grace is in the form of pledges to the stewardship campaign. Because the pirate (Brent Krueger) admittedly can’t sing, a rhyming patter was used, like this:

Pirate: As a pirate, I’m confused…

Chorus: This pirate is confused…

Pirate: It’s been my pleasure – to take treasure – without measure – at my leisure

I like to plunder – as I wonder – how to rip a ship asunder – and I never make a blunder.

Pirate: But here I must peruse…

Chorus: Here he must peruse.

Pirate: I need to cogitate – as I estimate – and also celebrate – what I can confiscate

From a ship – that I predict – is not equipped – with any loot that can be nicked.

Pirate: Now I’m not amused…

Chorus: This pirate’s not amused…

Pirate: This Captain now kvetches – and stubbornly alleges – that all he has on board are pledges.

Pledges for a budget – and if I’ve not misjudged it – unless he gets to nudge it – he’s going to have to fudge it.

After the lighthearted stuff, the announcer (Gary Bogle) got down to the business of reminding us that this was the kick-off of the annual stewardship pledge drive, and that the continued success of Grace and its ministry required the time, talent, and treasure of its parishioners.

Some light-hearted stuff, some serious stuff… but no doubt “something different, Elizabeth.” Its acceptance prompted a sequel which looked in on our heroes of the first musical some years later in time. “Not enough,” the vestry cried. So a third musical portraying our heroes as they might have been in their youth will soon premier. Come see the Off the 9th Street Players in Steward Ship – the Musical – the Prequel at the Oktoberfest dinner on October 21.

Submitted by: Jay Bylsma 

Being Grace

While I appreciate the sentiment, a part of me cringes when churches proclaim they’re welcoming and affirming of LGBTQ people. It’s a step in the right direction, no question. But, for me, it isn’t a matter of being welcomed or affirmed. That should go without saying. It’s a matter of being.

And what I love about Grace is that I’m Grace along with all the rest of Grace. Whoever we are, wherever we happen to be, or feel, or find ourselves, we’re Grace. And there’s something about how we come together and are together that makes Grace home for all of us.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot because October 11 is the 30th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, a day created to encourage the LGBTQ community to make ourselves visible. The founders’ goals were to help dispel fears and stereotypes by enabling the broader community to see who we are.

There’s been a lot of progress in the past three decades, thanks to places like Grace and events like National Coming Out Day. LGBTQ people are more visible at work, in the arts and entertainment, in government, and in the church. We have the right to marry and, in some states, to adopt children. But we’re still a long way from full equality, especially in areas like Western Michigan where the fear and reality of discrimination in employment, housing, and everyday living are real.

Which makes Grace as home all the more important.

One of my favorite parts of Grace’s 150-year history is that we provided space for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) to meet in the early 2000s. That was – and still is – a big deal in Holland. We’ve also been instrumental in Holland is Ready and the opening of Out on the Lakeshore, an LGBTQ resource center. Grace is a place where all of us can be. We call it Being Grace, and it’s a tradition I know will continue in the coming years and decades.

Submitted by: Holly Anderson

For All Kids 90 Years and Under–Come Visit the GRACE CHURCH ZOO!

Dr. Charles Huttar is an expert on the stained glass windows at Grace Church, and he will be doing a special tour of the windows during the adult education forum in January. In the meantime, he has created this guide to the Grace Church window zoo! It is especially appropriate that we publish this blog post this week because October 4 is the Feast of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals.

Can you find all the animals in the Grace Church zoo? Grab a friend, go on a hunt, and make sure to share your discoveries with Charles!

  • First, there are a number of birds to discover: 4 doves; 2 phoenixes; a pelican, and 5 other birds             
  • There are 6 sheep or lambs. Also, there is something strange about one of the sheep—can you spot it?  
  • Representing aquatic life, there are 3 fish and three 3 seashells             
  • There are 2 snakes. Hissssssss.               
  • And there are a number of other animals: 2 horses; a deer; a donkey; a camel; a pig; a cow, and a butterfly                     
  • BONUS QUESTION: Can you find anything for them to eat? Bananas? Grapes? Anything else?
Grace Youth Group: A Way Station on the Journey

I am beginning my seventh year with the youth group. The makeup of the youth group changes slightly yearly, as the older youth move on and the younger youth become part of the group. I have seen some parents every year, as the older children graduate from high school and the younger siblings have become part of the youth group.

Some things have not changed. The pressures that the young people face have not changed, nor decreased in intensity. Their spiritual needs remain the same. But as the youth have more to do and less time in which to do it, the youth group has had to be more than just another social group. The youth group leadership has become more intentional with our time and meeting content. We work with parents to find the right balance of number and type of activities. And we want to address their spiritual needs through our activities.

Activities span a broad spectrum: from indoor (a game night) to outdoor (a nature walk in the woods); from not weather dependent (an overnight retreat) to weather dependent (e.g. skiing/snowboarding, with a backup plan, too); from local (e.g. rake & run service project) to not so local (overnight retreat at a monastery); from serving adults (literally, as at a church dinner) to serving the little ones (providing child care for the parents). Throughout the church calendar we also celebrate liturgical events such as Advent, Christmas and Lent. The goal is to have fun, to build healthy relationships and to provide a setting where issues and questions can be discussed and needs can be met.

Youth group is not limited to those who only attend Grace. Many of the youth have invited their friends to various activities, not just once but on multiple occasions.

In addition to what we do during the school year, we have a periodic big summer activity every other year. On years divisible by 4, there is a pilgrimage to England. On the intervening even years, there is a week-long service project. In 2014 it was gleaning food (from as small as tomatoes to as large as watermelons) in Arkansas; the food would be donated to the local food pantries. In 2018, it was working on an urban farm in Detroit (weeding, spreading mulch, working with other groups). These service projects seem to occur during the hottest part of the summer. J One of the key objectives is service, but another is community building.

What I have to bring is outweighed by what the youth have to offer, each young person in his or her own way. My primary goal is to listen to them deeply, to help them build character and confidence. If we view the youth as being on a journey in the process of maturing, then the Grace youth group is a way station, providing respite, refreshment, and encouragement along the way.

Submitted by: Howard Huyser

In the Tour de France you ride 21 days through some amazing European topography. In the Tour de Grace you ride 150 years through the fascinating history of Grace Episcopal Church. All in under half an hour. Sure, you won’t get the strenuous exercise of the race, but our casual pace will take you past all three former building sites and bring us to a picnic at Pilgrim Home Cemetery. There we will celebrate the communion of saints at the grave sites of Grace founders, Heber and Jenny Walsh and Sarah and Manley Howard. And this year you don’t even need a bicycle! Everyone is invited to join us at the picnic whichever way you wish to travel. (Of course, you really have been waiting for a reason to take your bike of the hook, right?)

All the details will soon be published but put it on your calendar now: September 30 following 10:30 worship.

This is the third annual Tour de Grace, a project started by the Creation Care group in 2016. These biking events are for the entire family with different length rides around Holland, including to Windmill Island. We encourage everyone to attend and enjoy the great outdoors!

Submitted by: Phil Harrington

Grace Youth on a Mission

The Grace Youth mission trip to Arkansas back in 2014 is one of the best trips i’ve ever taken (the other best trip also being a Grace trip). The satisfaction of helping others, bonding with fellow youth, a chance to see parts of the country I had never previously seen… it was a rewarding experience that I highly recommend to anyone considering a mission trip.

There was plenty of work involved, make no mistake about that. We would spend hours in the hot Arkansasian heat picking eggplant or harvesting watermelon or whatever produce our day’s field had to offer. But knowing that the food we picked would go to help hungry families was more than enough reason to wake up the next morning and get back to it.

The experience I shared is something that I will take with me for a very long time!


-submitted by Dunan Kelley

As summer comes to an end and head into kick-off Sunday, we are beginning a new season of Christian Education at Grace Church! Below are some of the opportunities we will be offering:

Sunday Morning Education Hour (9:15-10:15)

Activate Faith ( 4yrs – 5th grade): An exploration of Biblical stories through storytelling, art, science, food, drama and music.

Holy Ground (MS & HS): A place for our youth to find quiet in their busy lives through journaling, art and other self-directed activities.

Sunday Forum (MS, HS and Adults): This year we will be guided by the thoughts, writings and teachings of our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.  Watch the bulletin insert for details!


Growing Into Worship (10:30 – Announcements): A time for our youngest members to share in a worship service geared to them in preparation for joining their families for the Eucharist.

Youth Group (As scheduled): A gathering time and place for our youth and friends to continue on their journey of pilgrimage.

Grace Reads (approximately monthly): An opportunity for Grace members and friends  to share in a common read and come together for learning and discussion.

Men’s Bible Study (every other Monday 4:14-5:15pm): This group reads through a book of Scripture and shares questions, insights and reflections.

St Mary’s Guild (Monthly on Second Mondays 7:15-8:45pm): This group comes together monthly for shared fellowship and often a guest speaker.

Pints and Perspectives: A monthly offering of our Church Family and Fellowship Commission.  Grace folks and friends are invited to gather at Big Lake Brewing for food, drinks and conversation on a shared topic.

Education for Ministry (EFM): A four-year program out of the Seminary of the South that explores personal spirituality, Scripture, Theology and Church History in a small group setting.  Registration is open every summer.

EFM 5th year: A setting for EFM graduates to come together in a small group and further learning and spiritual integration using an EFM model of theological reflection and readings chosen by the group.

The Episcopal Life: A class for newcomers to the Episcopal tradition and for old timers or middle timers too, ages 16 and up.  It is for those who just want to know more, are seeking Confirmation or Reception into the Episcopal Church.

Pop-Ups: What are you exploring or reading that you’d like to sit with others to talk about or wrestle with?  Let us know and we’ll help you Pop-Up the offer of a one-time or short-term conversation around a topic, book, or other issue of interest.


Grace Church Infant Care Center

In 1984, Grace Church undertook major renovations to the buildings. This idea was to enlarge the interior space to accommodate new office space, add a choir room, and provide a commons area. The Sanctuary was also reversed by placing the altar to the north, opening space for a Chapel at the South end and expanding the altar area. An elevator was also installed in the building to allow all three stories to be accessible.

Father Bob North, Rector, was very interested in having Grace Church provide outreach to both parishioners and townspeople by utilizing some of our new “vacant” rooms.  The vision was to open a day care center for young children. A task force was appointed by the vestry, and the origins of Grace Church Infant Care Center were put in motion. As the task force moved forward, it was our intent to open as a day care center for infants as well as toddlers. There were no centers in Holland at the time that provided care for babies as young as six weeks of age given that there was some community resistance to mothers working outside of the home.  Grace saw a need and responded.

Grace Church Infant Care Center opened with Denise Riley as the first director, and quickly grew into Grace Church Child Care Center (G4C) with a new director, Nancy Passimore. The Center grew from serving only infants and toddlers to accepting kids up through preschool age.  Much work went into funding, furnishing, hiring, and training of staff to ensure inspections by health and safety experts were passed, and that laws governing everything from food service to the the placement of the outdoor play area were met. Enrollment continued to grow.

We received accreditation from the NAEYC (North Association for Education of Young Children) and were recognized by the Episcopal Church as a Jubilee Ministry in 2001. The G4C always offered scholarships for up to 30% of the enrollees. We consistently offered caregiver to child ratios of 1 to 3 for infants, 1 to 4 for toddlers up to 3 years, and 1 to 5 for preschoolers; the best standards for child care centers.

Early board members Bev Plagenhof, Treecy Borgman, Linda Elder, Paul Klenbaum, Peggy Keegin, Cindy Light, David Meier, Mary Rinks, Diane Christofferson, and Val McCoy were instrumental in supervising the core aspects of this outreach in its early years. High quality results were achieved by paying close attention to safety, staffing, interaction with children and parents, daily programing success, accountability, and accessibility between the staff and the G4C board.

The Grace Church Child Care Center was a first in the Holland community, reaching out to working moms when we saw a need, and supporting them for many years. As other centers began to open, the market got competitive and the need lessened. The cost of keeping up with Center building codes outpaced our ability to keep up and the church’s programs and Center were both growing in a building that could not expand.  And so in 2006, we knew it was time to let go. The daycare center launched off site as its own non-profit separate from the ministries of Grace Church.

The G4C is something for which Grace can always be proud.  Hundreds of infants, children, and families were served for over two decades by this important ministry.

Submitted by: Peg Keegin


My name is Dan Aument and my wife Sharlene and I are members of the 8:15 congregation from May to mid October. We live in our cottage on the upper boardwalk at Ottawa Beach for five months of the year. We feel very welcome at the 8:15 service at Grace. Within the past few years, we joined the post-service breakfast group and then we began to help out with the Feeding America program and we discovered that many of our new church friends  assisted with that program.

I am an Episcopalian from birth. My  I have worked as a distributor of non theatrical and Christian 16mm films, managed a small format  digital printing facility and finally was self employed as an interior and exterior residential painter. My wife Shar was raised Christian Reformed, and I enjoy her view of the Bible and Christianity in general. She and I started to attend Grace Episcopal Church Holland about seven or eight years ago.

Shar worked in mid level management for Sears retail for 23 years, then she taught first grade for about 13 years. All her first grade students were Latinos, monolingual in Spanish, and she taught them in Spanish. We vacation in Central America for six weeks of the year, returning to our Grand Rapids home in time for Advent 2.

With Shar’s help, I started to learn Spanish about 12 years ago. She and I read the daily lectionary passages after breakfast, and then we read from “Dia a Dia” the Spanish version of  the “Day by Day” booklet of meditations.

Shar is an excellent cook and is what I would describe as an extreme knitter. I am a watercolorist, a film archivist. I’ve graduated from EFM, Disciples of Christ in Community (DOCC) and  the Stephen Ministry program.

We like Pastor Jen’s style very much – both her solid preaching and her gracious friendly and welcoming manner. We appreciate the liturgical service which is centered around Holy Eucharist, and we like the strong emphasis on outreach and mission work.


Submitted by: Dan Aument

Raise the Roof

It’s a challenge to make roofs interesting because much like toilet paper, both are generally ignored until the obvious happens. So I’ll give this a try by touching on composition of the tiles, history, and general installation approaches. But first a few quotes I’ve heard over the years:

“We built this in ‘54 and the leaks commenced in ‘55.”

“Well, we have a strong wind and a heavy rain and it’s just like holidays and the in-laws. We know what to expect”

“Do you building and grounds folks ever get used to chasing your tail?

The tiles are actually made of terra-cotta (clay) material. This material has several advantages over a concrete tile. The color is consistent through the whole tile and not a surface coating so a little surface wear, say from a branch, won’t show up. The moisture absorption is about half of a concrete tile so you get less damage from our freeze/thaw cycles. This means less cracking. The life of a terra-cotta tile is over 100 years. Now a big thing is they are lighter. This means you can cover much larger roof areas with less reinforcement. The modern clay tiles manufactured today have a clear coat that prevents moisture absorption. We don’t have that feature due to age of our roof.

As you might guess terra-cotta tiles have been around for some time. They have been  found in some Greek village excavations that date back to 3rd millennium BCE . Their usage rapidly grew and spread around to and through Asia Minor, and would have replaced thatched roofs for 2 major reasons. They didn’t need annual maintenance and the family cooking fire couldn’t ash the village. This is a good thing, in any millennium. They have been very popular across Europe through today.

The general construction method follows one of two methods with the only difference being the use of a plywood sheeting under the felting sheet. A lot of European structures are built by run the felting across the open rafters, then batten strips are placed perpendicular to the rafters for the tiles to be nailed to, and they form their own self supporting structure. The the other method uses plywood underlay for the felting to lay on. The advantage of no plywood is that the felting can sag slightly so water that gets thru the tiles simply runs down to the gutter. This is the more common method. The felting generally has about 30 year life, which explains our need to replace ours. Hence we kicked off the “Raise the Roof” fundraising campaign this year. and we are so very grateful for all your generosity.

Thanks for your attention, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask me.

Submitted by Ron Brown, Junior Warden