Grace’s motto is, “Whoever you are, wherever you are in your journey of faith, the grace of God is for you.” Grace welcomes all people, of all faiths, from all walks of life, both to participate in our services and to share with us in Holy Communion. Everyone who wants a space to gather, or who needs a prayerful moment, or who is simply curious, or who even has no conscious reason for coming at all, is welcome to participate fully in the services at Grace.
Everyone is welcome at Grace, and children are no exception. The noise of children can glorify God just like a song or prayer. At the Sunday 10am service, a nursery is available, and there is Children’s Chapel during the sermon.
You will never be singled out, asked to come forward, or speak up during our service. If we are doing our job as a welcoming community, people will introduce themselves and might invite you to coffee after worship.
A handicapped accessible ramp to the church building is on the north side of the church, just off the upper parking lot on County Street. An elevator located inside the building provides access to every level of Grace House, our parish hall.
There is no “dress code” at Grace, and you will see a wide range of dress – from people wearing the traditional “Sunday best” to jeans and T-shirts. Regardless, you will not be “judged” on what you are wearing. What is important is that you are comfortable and that we, together, worship as a parish family.
A leaflet (handed out by greeters at the back of the church) will be a guide to the service, with page numbers for the red Book of Common Prayer and our two hymnals. Many people seated around you will be regular attendees of the church and can help if you have questions. Episcopal liturgy is known for its use of beauty and symbol and ritual, but have no worries - simply let the liturgy and the community carry you along. Feel free to participate at any level you are comfortable. Whatever opens you to deeper connection with God is the right thing for you.
The Book of Common Prayer is a prayer book used in Episcopal churches across the United States and, in various other forms, around the world. It can also be read online. The first Book of Common Prayer was produced by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1549. The book was intended to facilitate worship in English rather than Latin, to bring the people of the church together in – literally – common prayer, ordained and lay, “Catholic” and “Protestant.” In the Prayer Book, you will find outlines of worship, prayers for use in home devotions, the lectionary (the scriptural readings used in corporate worship, organized so as to carry the congregation through almost the entire Bible in a three-year period), the Psalter (Psalms), the calendar of the church year, an outline of the faith (Catechism) and various historical documents.
Membership is not required to attend services at Grace, to enjoy its communion and parish life, or to participate in any of the parish ministries. If you are new to the congregation, you could fill in a pew card and give it to an usher or priest, or place it in the plate that is passed around during the offertory part of the service. Many members of Grace deepen their participation in parish life by volunteering in one or more of our ministries and supporting the church with a financial pledge, which supports what God is doing through Grace Church.
If you have not been baptized and would like to be, or if you were raised in or previously belonged to another church tradition and would like to join the Episcopal Church, or if you are completely new to the church, we have adult baptism, confirmation, reception and reaffirmation of one's faith.
A pledge is your commitment, to the best of your ability, to contribute financially to Grace Church. Pledges allow the Budget Committee to plan a balanced budget based on promised income, which then in turn allow us to continue our ministry both within and well outside the walls of our church. Pledge forms are available through the mail or at the church. The information you provide is confidential. You may make a pledge payment in person, by mail, or electronically. You may pay a lump sum or make payments over time on a schedule you designate. If your circumstances change, you may alter your pledge by calling the church office and speaking with the Parish Administrator.
Policy and financial matters are decided by a representative group of elected lay people called a Vestry. The head priest, often the Rector, handles day-to-day oversight of staff and all spiritual and worship-related matters. All individual congregations are part of a larger geographical area called a Diocese, which is led by a bishop and meets together an an annual Diocesan Convention. Representatives from The Episcopal Church (bishops, priests and lay people from all the dioceses) then meet every three years at General Convention to consider and vote on policies and, at every third Convention, to elect a Presiding Bishop, who represents the Episcopal Church to the Anglican Communion for a nine-year term.
The Episcopal Church (TEC) is one branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion which came into existence as an independent denomination after the American Revolution. Today, The Episcopal Church has between two and three million members on five continents.
The Anglican Communion is an inheritor of 2,000 years of catholic and apostolic tradition dating from Christ himself and rooted in the Church of England. When the Church of England spread throughout the British Empire, sister churches sprang up. These churches, autonomous in their governance, are bound together as “family”. Together they make up the Anglican Communion, which is headed spiritually by the Archbishop of Canterbury. With over eighty million members worshipping in 165 countries around the world, we are the third largest group of Christians worldwide (after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches).