Welcome to Grace, where God’s love is given and received…

By The Rev. Carlton Kelley

Fr. Carlton Kelley

On behalf of all the people of Grace Episcopal Church, welcome to our online presence.  We trust that it will serve as a good introduction to the many activities in which we are engaged for Jesus Christ, the Church, and the world.  Of course, this site is but a glimpse of the rich variety of our life together.  It is something to be experienced – in person – before it can truly be appreciated.

We are a remarkably diverse group of Jesus’s followers and our opinions differ on many issues that affect the church and the world.  Yet we are made one by the power of the Holy Spirit in our common baptism as we “strive to respect the dignity of every human being.”  If you are reading this as someone new to this site or want to investigate Christianity, that means we respect you – whoever you are.

Christianity is about reforming our lives to God in Jesus Christ, with and through one another by the power of the Holy Spirit.  As Episcopalians, we are part of a world wide communion of Anglicans who find a common source of unity in the ancient office of the Archbishop of Canterbury in England and in our particular ways of approaching God’s gifts of Holy Scripture, the traditions of the Church, and our intellectual abilities.  The Anglican Communion as it is today is a product of the Reformation, but we consider ourselves fully catholic while enjoying the benefits of the Reformation such as worship in one’s native language, a full and equal participation of the Laity, and a robust use and appreciation of Holy Scripture.  Additionally, our clergy who are able to marry and may be men or women, gay or straight, are composed of bishops, priests, and deacons.

Our worship on Sunday (and other times) is a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, otherwise known as the Lord’s Supper, the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Communion or the Mass. All these names point to the same reality that our Lord commanded us to do on the night before he died for us: “Do this in remembrance of me.”  We take bread and wine and, through the gracious action of the Holy Spirit, receive these common elements of the earth, returned to us as our Lord’s Body and Blood, for our sanctification and the world’s redemption.  Of course, the absolute foundation of this is our incorporation by Holy Baptism into Christ’s Body, the Church in which we receive forgiveness of sins and newness of life.

This congregation has a long history of service in the Grand Traverse region. We continue that legacy in our Jubilee Ministries — the Jubilee House and its “partners” the Food Pantry, and Hygiene Pantry. Jubilee House is a place where the homeless are given something to eat, the use of showers, laundry facilities, and computers. It also may serve as a physical address for our guests who otherwise might not be able to access benefits or other important correspondence.  The Food Pantry is a place where people are able to shop in an atmosphere of dignity and peace. We strive to welcome our guests as we would welcome Christ.

If you are able to visit with us, we will strive to give you that same welcome. As Jesus said to his disciples “Come and see!”  If you are one of those people who consider yourself “spiritual but not religious” come and experience a place where we lovingly strive to be both as God gives us the ability to be and do.

Blessings on your journey in things great and small.

Fr. Carlton Kelley