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  • Writer's pictureGrace Episcopal Church

Continuation of Grace To You Forward Letter


We have a lot of assets to consider: A beautiful, historic church, that is decidedly not “for sale.” Our church will remain at the center of our parish’s life. It is the place where us and future generations will take communion, experience baptism and confirmation, and bid farewell through funeral services. Rest assured, the church is here to stay.

But we have other real estate – our parish house, church offices, a school campus, and vacant land – all located a block from downtown. We have two nearby rectories. But there’s more than just real estate.

We have a growing and engaged congregation, gifted priests and staff, talented musicians, and a trendsetting residency program. We have ministries, journey groups, Alpha, and more. We have growing participation in children’s church, preparing our youngest members to live a life built on the firmest of foundations. Stepping into cyberspace, we have a website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. These things let us reach more people and touch more lives than ever before. The list goes on.

This process will involve answering some questions – how do we use the assets with which we have been blessed to follow Christ’s example and minister to our community as He intended? Do we do something radical? Or do we keep the course we are on, double-down, and go full speed ahead? Do we sell some of our real estate, or do we keep it and repurpose it? Do we develop two or three ministries and go all-in, or do we partner with as many existing ministries as will have us in order to spread our talent, time, and treasure far and wide? We need to look at ourselves and ask – given all that we have, are we doing the best job that we can to grow those who are already here, but also to reach out to our community, especially to those who thirst for a way to deepen their relationship with God but who lack a church where they feel at home? Can we do better? If so, how?

You once walked through Grace’s red doors for the first time. Before you did, maybe you were someone who was what we’ve heard referred to as “dechurched” – the kind of person with whom our church has a unique ability to reach. If you hadn’t found us when you did, and were looking for a church today, would we have reached you? What could we have done to better reach you? Just as importantly, why have you kept coming back?

Let’s get back to our so-called assigned seats.

It’s Sunday morning. You show up 10 minutes before the service begins. You go towards your usual spot in the pews and somebody is there you’ve never seen before: a newcomer, sitting in your spot. Maybe you feel a little anxiety creep in as you think to yourself, “Great! Now where am I going to sit?” In that moment, remember, you being gently pushed out of your comfort zone is itself a blessing – it is happening because somebody new is in our church because they are being drawn closer to God, which is really the greatest of things. It also gives you the chance to sit somewhere new, talk with somebody you’ve only seen from across the church, and exchange the peace with somebody who you’ve never spoken with.

Sometimes, growth is accompanied by some initial discomfort, and the prospect of change is accompanied by a little anxiety. Honestly, the possibility that this whole alignment process could result in some changes around here makes me a little uneasy. But if change stems from growth brought about by doing God’s will, isn’t it a good thing? And if we go about this process prayerfully, I trust that God will reveal His will for us and whatever changes we make will only make Grace an even better place for us to come together. We don’t need to give up who we are to become who we are intended to be. I’m personally convinced that any parishioner of Grace, from any time, would feel at home no matter when they attended services here – be it 170 years ago, or 170 years from now.

And if you’re still not sold on the possibility that some change could be a good thing, try this: The next time you are in church, sit somewhere different.

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1 comentario

24 sept 2022

What a beautiful message by Timmy McCourt on our Vision! It explains our Vision more clearly and I am excited about where it takes us.

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