TEN WAYS TO GET INVOLVED AT GRACE CHURCH
1. Hang Around after the Worship Service
Perhaps the quickest way to begin connecting with the life of Grace Church is to stay for the fellowship hour that occurs each Sunday following the 9 am and 11 am services. After the 11 am service on Sundays, numerous people gather in Tuttle Hall for coffee, tea, pastries, and the opportunity to visit informally with each other. Sometimes it takes great courage to venture into a crowd of people whom you don’t know. But remember that we are always delighted to meet you!
2. Check out one of the Adult Education classes
On most Sundays from September through June we offer the Sunday Forum at 10 am in the Reception Room. The Sunday Forum strives to address the questions that you are asking about life, death, God, and what it means to be a Christian in the world today. With invited speakers, discussion forums, and use of the various arts we have engaged such topics Science and Religion, Politics and Religion, Terrorism and Reconciliation, Understanding the Trinity, and various issues of social, ethical, and Biblical concern. We always leave time for questions, so come and participate or just listen. See more about Adult Education here. See the Sunday bulletin announcements or Epistle e-news for upcoming events. Want to subscribe to the Epistle e-news? Contact the Parish Administrator at EMAIL.
3. Inquire about the “small group” ministry
In January 2011, a ministry of small group Bible studies began. Groups meet at the church following the Wednesday, 6pm Eucharist. For more information, contact the Rector, Don Waring at 212 254-2000 x127 or EMAIL.
4. Sign on for an outreach project
The Outreach Committee strives to alleviate some of the human suffering we find in the community and world. We have taken several trips to New Orleans to work on recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina, and we have recently begun working with the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia. We regularly engage in projects that are local, accessible, and measurable. Contact the Rev. Stephen Holton at 212 254-2000 x114, or EMAIL for more information.
You can also check out the GO Project – a joint outreach effort between Grace Church and Grace Church School. GO offers tutoring and a full range of social services to at-risk, public school children and their families. Here is an excellent avenue for making a difference in a young life. For more information take a look at the website http://www.goprojectnyc.org/ or contact Olivia Nunez at 212 533-3744 or EMAIL.
5. Become an Open Door Greeter
Grace Church is truly one of the glories of New York City architecture. Throughout the year visitors and tourists come through our doors to appreciate the richly carved woodworking, stone, and stained glass. Many others are simply seeking a quiet place for prayer and meditation. One of our most important missions is keeping the Broadway doors of the church open as much as possible. A dedicated corps of parish volunteers serve as welcoming, friendly greeters to those who enter. You don’t need to be an expert on architecture or the Episcopal Church. It’s an easy way to become familiar with the church and meet lots of interesting people. For more information contact the Rev. Stephen Holton at 212 254-2000 x114 or EMAIL.
6. Help out with Children’s Ministries
Grace Church offers many opportunities throughout the year designed to help children see and name the love of God at work in their lives. Church School meets every Sunday for grades K through 4 from September through June. Young people assist in the worship services as acolytes. The Christmas Pageant and the Easter Eve walk seek to engage children with the story of our faith. Please contact us at 212 254-2000 x113.
Families with children might also wish to explore the Choir of Men and Boys and the Girls Choir for their sons and daughters. Currently, 75 choristers sing in these two choirs. Membership is open to boys and girls, aged 8-14, from any school. Contact the Choirmaster, Patrick Allen, at EMAIL.
7. Join the Parish Choir
On Sundays at the 9 am Eucharist a group of parish volunteers comprise a vested choir that sings from September through June. Membership is open to any adult or teen with a desire to sing. No auditions necessary. Rehearsals are on Sunday mornings. For more information contact the Choirmaster, Patrick Allen at 212 254-2000 x110 or EMAIL.
8. Take on a role in the worship services
Each week a number of dedicated parishioners lend their time and talent to help make our worship services run smoothly. Ushers, Acolytes, Altar Guild members, Lay Readers, and Chalice Bearers all perform vital roles in our weekly worship services. For more information contact the Rector at EMAIL.
9. Make an effort to attend special events
Throughout the year we host special events that celebrate the liturgical seasons and draw us together in fellowship. These events are usually multigenerational, and go by such names as: Advent Wreath-making, Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, 1st Century Agape Dinner, Church School Picnic, Sunday Evensongs, and others. Don’t let these opportunities for getting involved pass. See the Sunday bulletin announcements or Epistle e-news for upcoming events. Want to subscribe to the Epistle e-news? Contact the Parish Administrator at EMAIL.
10. Join a Committee
A busy network of committees is essential to advance the work of Grace Church. We have ongoing committees overseeing the work of: Archives, Hospitality, Outreach, Children & Youth, Finance and Audit, Investments, Fabric and Grounds, Adult Education. We also have committees that form to fulfill a specific purpose, and then disband when the work is done. For more information about serving on a committee, contact Don Waring at EMAIL.
NEW MEMBERS/MEMBERSHIP/JOINING GRACE
The best way to explore Grace Church is to attend one of our services and then talk to one of the priests; we’re very approachable, and will do our best to answer any questions you might have about Grace Church or the larger Episcopal Church.
To get you started, though, here are some newcomer FAQs:
I noticed that Grace Church is part of the “Episcopal Church.” What does that mean?
The Episcopal Church is the American branch of the Church of England, a church that grew out of the 16th century Reformation. It is part of the larger “Anglican Communion” – that is, a communion of churches all over the world that also stem from the Church of England. The term “Episcopal derives from “episcopos,” meaning “bishop,” and basically means that it is a church with bishops.
Is the Episcopal Church Catholic or Protestant?
Yes! The English reformers and their successors tended to avoid falling into either category, preferring instead to straddle what would eventually be coined as the “middle way” – a way that sought to retain the best elements of the Catholic and the Protestant traditions. As you get to know the Episcopal Church, you will notice elements of both branches of Christendom in our worship, our theology, and our polity.
On a more practical note, what is a Sunday service like at Grace?
Our services follow the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer, a beautiful book containing some of the finest prose in the English language. The Sunday 9 a.m. worship is Holy Communion (or “Eucharist”) and sermon. It’s a lovely mix between the formal and informal, and we’re finished before 10 a.m. so that all may participate in our Adult education hour (The Sunday Forum). A number of young families have been choosing the 9am service lately, and we love the energy that the children bring. The 11 a.m. service is usually Morning Prayer (Holy Communion on the 1st and 5th Sundays), with full choir and sermon. During the sermon we offer a children’s message in the chantry chapel geared more for our younger worshippers. The 6 p.m. Sunday Eucharist takes place in the Chantry. The service includes a full sermon and robust hymn singing, with music provided by a variety of instrumentalists. At all services it should go without saying, but still people ask: there is no dress code! Come as you choose.
If I am not a “member” at Grace Church, or even of the broader Episcopal Church, may I take communion?
Communion in the Episcopal Church does require that you be a baptized Christian. If you are not baptized and would like to be, please contact one of the clergy and we will work toward preparing you for the very next baptism service. In the meantime, feel free to come forward and receive a blessing at the time the bread and wine of Communion are administered. Also the Morning Prayer service on Sundays at 11 a.m. does not include Communion, so this may be a good service for you while you are making up your mind.
I have heard that children take communion in the Episcopal Church, too; is this true?
Children who are baptized do take communion in our church, and we encourage them to start receiving it as soon as they express a desire to do so. We talk to children about the meaning of communion during “Family Communion” lessons taught by our priests.
I want to get to know more about the Episcopal Church; are there classes I can take?
Yes. We offer newcomer class on a regular basis where we cover some of the basics of the Episcopal Church: worship, history, and theology. The course is both substantive and relaxed, and provides a great way to get to know fellow newcomers and the priests at Grace. If you’re interested in attending, see the Sunday bulletin announcements or Epistle e-news for upcoming classes. Want to subscribe to the Epistle e-news? Contact the Parish Administrator at EMAIL.
What do I need to do if I want to become an official “member” of Grace Church”?
Members of Grace Church are those who work, pray, and give for the spread of God’s kingdom through this household of faith. We volunteer our time to keep the ministries going and reach out into the city, we are faithful in attending the worship service of our choice, and we make an annual financial pledge. If you’d like to be on the rolls of membership at Grace Church, the easiest place to start is to contact one of the clergy.
What if I have never been baptized?
If you have never been baptized and think you might be interested, please don’t hesitate to call one of the priests; we would love to sit down and talk with you.
I am not sure about membership but may I be on your mailing list?
Of course. The best way to stay apprised of parish events is to subscribe to the Epistle e-news. Contact the Parish Administrator at EMAIL.
I belong to another Episcopal Church, but for various reasons may be interested in making Grace Church my regular church home. What should I do?
If you have records of your baptism and confirmation (if you’ve been confirmed, that is) at another church, call and ask them to ‘transfer’ your records over to us. To make it easier, you can contact Jennifer Metz in the Parish office at EMAIL or 212-254-2000 ext. 100 and tell her the name of your old church, and she will make arrangements for your records to be transferred over to Grace Church.
Do you have activities for children at Grace Church?
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