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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 gechurch@graceepiscopalholland.org and she will send you a PDF of them!

Submitted by: Renee Krueger