Glorious weddings with God’s blessing – Wedding Guild ministry minute (714/13)

Posted by & filed under Ministry of the week.

The Wedding Guild’s purpose is to help engaged couples arrange the church and work with members of the wedding party to ensure a perfect wedding.

The couple first meets with Daniel and they know that while the wedding will be glorious, it must be with God’s blessings.

When the wedding becomes official and the dates for the rehearsal and wedding are set, the Wedding Guild meets with the bride or the couple to discuss all the necessities of organizing a perfect wedding.

Give a gift that keeps on giving – GEC Foundation

Posted by & filed under Ministry of the week.

Ministry of the Week – 25 September 2015
By Ward Kuhn – President, GEC Foundation

The ministry of the Grace Episcopal Church Foundation is to receive gifts that will perpetuate the ministry at Grace forever and to educate the congregation about different giving tools. Here’s an article from our brothers and sisters of the Christian Church on the need for church people to have wills. Seven out of 10 of us DO NOT have a will!! What are we thinking? No will? Do we not care what happens to those assets or people we will leave behind? Do you want the government to determine your estate or do you want to do it?

Eight Important Reasons to Have a Will

Did you know:

1. Without a will, your state’s laws-not you- determine how, when and to whom your property is distributed?

2. You can reduce (or perhaps even eliminate) estate taxes and save taxes in a survivor’s estate?

3. You can name your executor to manage and settle your estate?

4. You can designate beneficiaries for items such as heirlooms, art objects, jewelry or real estate?

5. You may create trusts to provide for your spouse, children and others?

6. Through a pour-over will, you can transfer leftover assets to your living trust, bypassing probate?

7. With a will, you can designate the guardian you wish for those under your care?

8. You can be a blessing to Grace Episcopal Church Foundation through a bequest, which is simple, flexible and tax-deductible? You can designate other charities to receive gifts.

By including the church in your estate plan, the Gospel will be proclaimed. If you would like to contribute to the current ministry of Grace, then make your estate gift to Grace Episcopal Church of Traverse City, Michigan, EIN #38-1854119, or its successor, which shall be used for the advancement of the Gospel. If you would like to contribute to the endowment that makes ministries happen forever, then make your estate gift to Grace Episcopal Church Foundation of Traverse City, Michigan, EIN #38-3275843 which shall be held in an endowment for the ministries of Grace Episcopal Church, Traverse City, Michigan or its successor. If you have any questions contact a member of the Foundation Board or Ann Hackett at the parish office.


Sign up now for Play and Pray in August

Posted by & filed under Events.

By Catherine Turnbull

Play and Pray is returning to Grace Church this summer!

Happy, smiling faces of the Grace children participating in Play and Pray.

Happy, smiling faces of the Grace children participating in Play and Pray.

This week-long program will be run by Grace staff and volunteers from 9am to noon, August 5-9. Children entering Kindergarten up to those entering grade 6 are eligible; younger siblings who are too young to enroll can be signed up for childcare during Play and Pray hours. We’ll tell Bible stories, participate in accompanying activities (art and action!); we’ll worship and sing and be led in prayer by Rev. Katheryn King.

Registration forms are on the Table in the Commons and available for download here: 

We hope your children will join us!

Pilgrim’s Progress – Students board plane for Camino de Santiago

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes.

By Linda Schubert

The 11 members of Grace Episcopal Church's pilgrimage to Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Grace Church’s pilgrims Art Schubert, Linda Schubert, Graham Kelly, Zak Collins, Ella
Bruining, Peter Andreasson, Hannah Wescott, Abigail Crick, Clare Westcott, Kathy &
Brad Will (left to right) are ready to board their flight to Spain.

From the time of the very early Church until today, Christians have made pilgrimage to holy places as a part of their discipline and life of faith. Long before the notion of vacations, holidays, and mission trips, individuals within the Christian tradition set out to see the places where our Lord and his saints walked, slept, prayed and preached the Good News. By mindfully walking in their footsteps, we put ourselves in touch with our tradition, our roots, our God. The Grace pilgrims set off on their two week journey last Sunday, June 9,  after receiving a traveler’s blessing at the 10 o’clock service.

Pilgrimage is a time for seeking and finding God in new ways. Individuals confront the struggles of travel in unknown territory, as well as all the demands of living as a pilgrim community for the time of the journey. In the midst of all that these tasks entail, there is the possibility of tremendous joy and laughter and growth. Once normal activities, relationships, and obligations which sustain our day-to-day lives are removed, individuals are free to look again at their understanding of God and their need for God’s grace and presence in their lives.

It is important to note here that not every moment of pilgrimage has to be ‘meaningful’, nor should it be. There must be time for play, laughter, quiet, and rest. But somehow, even in the lighthearted activities which enhance our relationships, there is something afoot. God is moving in the hearts of these pilgrims in ways which are undeniable, deeply personal and sometimes surprising.

The blessings of pilgrimage can take time. Certainly the very fact that we are away for nearly two weeks helps. This is long enough for even a free spirit to begin to long for familiar food and the comfort of their own bed. But what happens on pilgrimage has to be processed in the life to which we all must return. Some pilgrims may say very little while traveling and even in the weeks and months that follow, but time will show that the long-term effects are profound. It is not only a trip that will never be forgotten: it is a journey which changes lives.





An open letter to parents who bring children to church…

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes.

Jamie Blondia

Dear Parents with Young Children in Church,

You are doing something really, really important. I know it’s not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.

I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant car seat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them.

And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper. I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet as you feel everyone’s eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.

I know you’re wondering, is this worth it? Why do I bother? I know you often leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But what you are doing is so important.

When you are here, the church is filled with a joyful noise. When you are here, the Body of Christ is more fully present. When you are here, we are reminded that this worship thing we do isn’t about Bible Study or personal, quiet contemplation but coming together to worship as a community where all are welcome, where we share in the Word and Sacrament together. When you are here, I have hope that these pews won’t be empty in ten years when your kids are old enough to sit quietly and behave in worship. I know that they are learning how and why we worship now, before it’s too late. They are learning that worship is important.

I see them learning. In the midst of the cries, whines, and giggles, in the midst of the crinkling of pretzel bags and the growing pile of crumbs I see a little girl who insists on going two pews up to share peace with someone she’s never met. I hear a little boy slurping (quite loudly) every last drop of his communion wine out of the cup determined not to miss a drop of Jesus. I watch a child excitedly color a cross and point to the one in the front of the sanctuary. I hear the echos of Amens just a few seconds after the rest of the community says it together. I watch a boy just learning to read try to sound out the words in the worship book or count his way to Hymn 672. Even on weeks when I can’t see my own children learning because, well, it’s one of those mornings, I can see your children learning.

I know how hard it is to do what you’re doing, but I want you to know, it matters. It matters to me. It matters to my children to not be alone in the pew. It matters to the congregation to know that families care about faith, to see young people… and even on those weeks when you can’t see the little moments, it matters to your children.

It matters that they learn that worship is what we do as a community of faith, that everyone is welcome, that their worship matters. When we teach children that their worship matters, we teach them that they are enough right here and right now as members of the church community. They don’t need to wait until they can believe, pray or worship a certain way to be welcome here, and I know adults who are still looking to be shown that. It matters that children learn that they are an integral part of this church, that their prayers, their songs, and even their badly (or perfectly timed depending on who you ask) cries and whines are a joyful noise because it means they are present.

I know it’s hard, but thank you for what you do when you bring your children to church. Please know that your family – with all of its noise, struggle, commotion, and joy – are not simply tolerated, you are a vital part of the community gathered in worship.”


Jamie Bruesehoff

Reprinted with permission of Jamie Bruesehoff,  a stay at home mother to two little boys and a pastor’s wife, who posted this letter on her “that Mom” blog:

Congratulations to our 2013 Graduates

Posted by & filed under Events.

  • Connor Brewer, grandson of John & Nan Strickler, graduated from Haslett High School, accepted into Elmhurst College.
  • Noah Fowle, son of Bill Fowle and MaryLee Pakieser, graduated with a Juris Doctor Degree and a Masters in Bioethics from Case Western University.
  • Graham Kelly, son of Tom and Anne Kelly, graduated Salutatorian, from Suttons Bay, accepted to University of Michigan.
  • Hannah Isenhart, daughter of Chris and Mariana Sanford, grand daughter of Alice and Harold Sanford, graduated with a Registered Nursing Degree from NMC.
  • James Lovell, son of Sue Lovell, graduated from Elk Rapids High School, accepted into the Air Force.
  • Tyler Stachnik, son of Terry and Kelly Stachnik, graduated from Glen Lake High School, accepted into Grand Valley State University.
  • Hannah Kate Wescott, daughter of Jeff Wescott and Catherine Turnbull, graduated from Traverse City West High School, accepted into Mt. Holyoke College.
  • Hannah Will, daughter of Brad and Kathy Will, graduated from Traverse City West High School, accepted into Luther College.
  • Henry Lee Winters, son of Ann and Bill Stephen Winters and grandson of Dixie Stephens, graduated from Ann Arbor Pioneer High School.
  • Elizabeth Wolterink, daughter of Charles Wolterink, graduated with a Masters Degree in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.

Bishop transition: The Not Chosen

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes.

We had a wonderful slate of nominees before us and a difficult set of choices to make regarding them. We are all blessed by their willingness to stand for election. They were each ready to be called upon to serve if chosen and to serve if not chosen. All of us at the convention were elected, chosen, to serve as deputies. We know the satisfaction that comes from such an honor and the difficult stewardship this responsibility entails. But the Not Chosen in every election have an important role to play as well. They have as much to say about the life, nature and ministry of our Church as the Chosen do.

The Not Chosen are subject to particular temptations. They have done all of the qualifying stints of service, they have good ideas and important insights, and they stand vulnerable as do all nominees to the harsh light of vote counts made public. Because of this, the Not Chosen are especially subject to resentment, an attitude that Carrie Fisher says is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. Resentment is neither reasonable nor good but it is human and hard to resist.

The Not Chosen have been with us for a long time. Have you ever heard of Eleazer of Damascus? Probably not but he was the servant that the Patriarch Abraham expected to inherit his estate –until Isaac was born. The name Isaac means “Laughter” reflecting the joy Abraham and Sarah felt at his birth. There is a good chance that Eleazer had a different name for him, but it is not recorded. Nor do we have a record of the feelings of Hagar, the slave girl who had mothered Ishmael to Abraham at Sarah’s insistence, only to be driven out when Sarah finally conceived. And then there was Justus who had been with Jesus from the beginning and through all of Holy Week so that he qualified to replace Judas among the apostles but lost that coveted position in a roll of the dice to Matthias. All took their place among the Not Chosen.

But rather than defining them by their losses and temptations, let us be aware that the Not Chosen have a unique opportunity to be the very heart of the Christian enterprise. Because by the spirit and attitude with which they bear disappointment, resist resentment and continue to serve the Lord, the Not Chosen declare, in ways not available to the Chosen, whether or not this Church actually serves something larger than individual feelings. The Chosen have opportunity to show that we are a wise Church with good stewardship and a vigorous claim on our hopes. But the Not Chosen have the power to show that we really are a servant community and followers of the One whose management style was foot washing.

Let us be grateful for all who stand for elections. Let us be supportive of the Chosen. But let us know that we rely on the Not Chosen to show what kind of Church we really are.

Adapted from a meditation written by The Rev. Dr. Francis Wade



Embrace the circle of giving – Stewardship ministry minute 6/02/13

Posted by & filed under Ministry of the week.

The goal of Grace’s stewardship ministry is to help God’s people grow in their relationship with Jesus through the use of the time, talents, and finances that God has entrusted to them. There are certain characteristics that the Bible lifts up when it talks about giving, and the stewardship committee has adopted the following six characteristics as “The Grace Circle of Giving.” We encourage each member of the congregation to pray for God’s guidance as how best to grow into the practice of living into these biblical stewardship characteristics.

· Value #1: Intentional: Being intentional in one’s giving means to develop a plan for your giving and then follow through with the plan. One tried and true method of being intentional is to indicate the amount you will give in the coming year with a pledge card.

· Value #2: Regular: To be regular in your giving means to establish a pattern in your giving, such as giving weekly or monthly, and to follow that pattern.

· Value #3: Generous: Generous giving is perhaps the most basic stewardship value. In Luke 12:34, Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Generous giving is a tangible sign of your spiritual health.

· Value #4: First: First-fruits giving means giving to God first and living off the rest. If you are going to give generously, you need to give first.

· Value #5: Proportional: The Bible always calls us to percentage giving: “Give in proportion to the blessings you have received.” Those who have much wealth are expected to give proportionately. Those who have little wealth are also expected to give proportionately. The tithe, or ten percent, is obviously the best example of the Bible’s teaching of proportional giving.

· Value #6: Cheerful: Perhaps the best known stewardship verse in the Bible comes from 2 Corinthians 9:7: “God loves a cheerful giver.” If the first five values characterize your giving, you will be cheerful in your giving. If they don’t, you won’t.

Giving intentionally, regularly, generously, first, proportionally, and cheerfully will lead a giver’s heart to Jesus. As we live our stewardship values, we increase our giving, not so that our church will have more money, but so that, as God’s children, we will grow in relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Adapted from Ask, Thank, Tell: Improving Stewardship Ministry in Your Congregation by Charles R. Lane. Adapted from Ask, Thank, Tell by Charles Lane copyright © 2006 Fortress Press, admin Augsburg Fortress. Reproduced by permission. All rights reserved.