Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice,to undo the thongs of the yoke,to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and God will say,
“Here I am.” – ISAIAH 58
“The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” is written on signs that point the way to our congregations all over the United States.
At Grace we try our very best to make sure that all who enter our doors feel welcome and invited to participate in the life of our community.
The mission of our church however, asks much more from us than just to welcome people into our midst. According to our Book of Common Prayer
This means that we are called to not only to welcome people inside the church, but to make space for all manner of people to participate, to thrive, and to love one another in ways that heal and reconcile. We are called to go beyond the walls of the church, to proclaim and be agents of God’s mercy, to be makers of peace, remembering that there can be no peace without justice.
Today (and all days) we offer a special welcome…
to those who are single, married, divorced, partnered, LGBTQ+, filthy rich, dirt poor, or struggle to speak English. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying newborns, thin as a rake or could afford to lose a few pounds.
We welcome you if you can sing like Pavarotti or can’t carry a tune in a stainless steel bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re ‘just browsing,’ just woke up or just got out of prison. We don’t care if you’re more Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury or haven’t been in church since little Jack’s baptism or Uncle Fred’s funeral.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up far too fast. We welcome soccer moms and football dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians and junk food eaters.
We welcome those who are addicted – whether in recovery or not.
We welcome you if you’re having problems, you’re down in the dumps, or are suffering in body, mind or spirit. We extend an especially warm welcome to those
who don’t like ‘organized religion’ (don’t worry, we’re not that organized.)
If you blew all your money on the horses, you’re welcome here. We offer a welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work or can’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down their throat as a kid, or got lost trying to find their way back to 131 and ended up here by mistake. We welcome tourists and locals, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts and hardened ones … and you!
We seek peace in our community and in the world. Through the community of our Jubilee House day shelter for the unhoused we foster belonging and decrease the desperation that so often leads to violence. Our chapter of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship annually recognizes a local peacemaker for their work.
Our food pantry and community meals are a part of our witness that in the kingdom of heaven, no one goes without food, dignity, or companionship. We advocate in public spaces on behalf of the unhoused, the abused, and the marginalized.
If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. – ISAIAH 58