Summer 2021 

Resuming In-Person Worship; Grace Church Bach Festival; Search Committee Update; Garden and Grounds; Air Conditioning; Grace's Table; More! 
The Easter season is past, and we in the church are once again in Ordinary Time.  This term Ordinary Time is used in the Roman Catholic Church to indicate the parts of the liturgical year that are not included in the major seasons of the church calendar.  Ordinary time includes the Monday after the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord through the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, and the Monday after Pentecost through the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent.  Ordinary time can be understood in terms of the living out of Christian faith and the meaning of Christ's resurrection in ordinary life.  The term "ordinary time" is not used in the Book of Common Prayer, but the season after Pentecost can be considered ordinary time.  This is sometimes referred to as the "green season," because green is the usual liturgical color for this period of the church year.  (

At Grace Church, we resumed in-person worship for the 8:30 and 10:30 am services on May 23, which was Pentecost Sunday.  The 10:30 am service is also broadcast via livestream.  It has been possible to resume Sunday Coffee Hour on a limited basis.  Those who are able to attend in-person services enjoy seeing each other again, and we are delighted that we can continue to share worship by livestreaming services.
Details of these and other parish activities are found below.  

Wishing you a pleasant summer as we rejoice in the return to worship in the church, coffee hour in the garden, and the eventual return to our other activities.

Mary Ann Ruehling
Your Editor

- The Return of In-Person Worship
- Grace's Church Bach Festival
- From the Organist-Choirmaster
- Grace's Table
- Building and Grounds Update
- Search Committee Update
- Coffee Hour
- The Garden
- Pandemic Reading
- Pastoral Care
- Around the Parish; Other Helpful Information   


Worship Schedule as of May 23, 2021

  • Holy Eucharist with Contemplative Organ Music, 8:30 am (in-person only)
  • Sunday Cool, 9:30 am (via Zoom)
  • Holy Eucharist with Music, 10:30 am (both in-person and livestream)
  • Coffee Hour
Last Sunday of the Month:  Prayers for the Fallen, the Nation, and the World at 10:15 am (in-person at the Memorial Cross in the Churchyard)

Tuesday:  Centering Prayer,12:15 pm (Via Zoom)

Wednesday:  Evening Prayer with sermon discussion, 7:00 pm (via Zoom)


Grace Church 2021 Bach Festival 

Grace Episcopal Church, Georgetown, is hosting its 27th annual Bach Festival this July. Grace Church will once again welcome all music lovers to enjoy performances of some of the greatest music ever written on July 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, and 30.  Due to the COVID pandemic, we were not able to host our 27th festival in 2020.   Since similar restrictions are still in place, we will be producing our 27th Bach Festival virtually on our website  Performances will be available at the time they are initially released, and can be heard after that date on the Arts page of the Grace Church website.  Please join us, and invite your friends!  You might wish to consider organizing a watch party of family and friends to enjoy the music together.

Created in 1993 by then-Music Director Lawrence Molinaro, the Festival has shared the incomparable music of Johann Sebastian Bach through a series of innovative and integrated programs.  Festivals have also featured compositions by Bach contemporaries and those he influenced.  The Washington Post has commented: "Georgetown's C & O Canal runs near Grace Church, set quietly back from Wisconsin Avenue and a hairs-breath from the Potomac. The church offers one of Washington's supreme concert series, its annual Bach Festival."

The acoustics of the church are well-suited to chamber ensembles; the A. David Moore Organ (1981) is a fine partner for performances of the music of Bach and his contemporaries.  Organist/choirmaster Dr. Francine Maté has directed the Festival since 2000.  Performers in the 26 years of Bach Festivals have been drawn primarily from the Washington, DC area; others have been invited from within the United States and internationally.  Even though the concerts for 2021 will not be "live" in the Grace sanctuary, two concerts will feature the Grace organ.

The series will begin on Saturday, July 17 at 7:30 p.m. with current Bach Festival Director/Organist Francine Maté performing works by J.S. Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, and Nicolaus Bruhns.  Works on the program include the famous Toccata and Fugue in d minor, BWV 565 and one of the two Preludes and Fugues of Nicolaus Bruhns in e minor.

On Sunday, July 18 at 1:30 pm Polish Organist Dr. Michał Szostak will present videos of his performances of works by J.S. Bach, Nicolaus Bruhns, and Dietrich Buxtehude on various organs in Europe including the organs of Saint-Eustache in Paris, France, and in Legnica, Poland.  His program includes the second of the two Bruhns Preludes and Fugues in e minor, and the glorious J.S. Bach Passacaglia and Fugue.  Dr. Szostak has been a friend of Grace Church since he performed a solo organ recital in the Bach Festival's July 2018 series.  We welcome Dr. Szostak back to our Bach Festival.

On Friday, July 23 at 7:30 pm Italian Organist Salvatore Pronestì will present a concert of organ improvisations on the organs of the Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche in Leipzig, Germany, as well as other organs in Italy and The United States.  J.S. Bach was Organist and Kapellmeister at both the churches in Leipzig in the last 25 years of his life. Mr. Pronestì is a unique organist in that he is not only a Concert Organist, but also a Master Organ Builder. One improvisation will be on one of the organs that he created. Several other videos will be on organs such as the Pantheon in Rome, of which he is the Curator.  His program is titled "An Italian Concert Organist/Organ Builder from Leipzig to Atlantic City:  Improvisations from Both Sides of the Pond."

On Saturday, July 24 at 7:30 pm, Founder of the Bach Festival at Grace Church and Harpsichordist/Organist Lawrence Molinaro will be joined by Shaughn Dowd and Martha Molinaro, Flutes; Erika Sato, Violin; and Grace Molinaro, Cello to perform a program featuring trio sonatas by J.J. Quantz and J.S. Bach as well as Bach's sublime Sonata in e minor, BWV 1034 for Flute and Continuo.  Mr. Molinaro and Ms. Dowd were a part of the first Bach Festival at Grace Church in 1993, and of many Bach Festivals since that time.  Mr. Molinaro and Ms. Sato have played in many of our Bach Festival concerts, and we welcome their return.  Grace Molinaro performed in our 2019 Bach Festival, and this is Martha Molinaro's first performance on our series.  We welcome them both this evening.

On Sunday, July 25 at 1:30 pm  Austrian Organist Michael Koenig will perform an all-J.S. Bach recital on the American organ of St. George's Hannover Square, London, England, built by Richards, Fowkes, & Company of Ooltewah, Tennessee.  Works to be performed include the Pièce d'Orgue (Fantasia) in G Major BWV 572, and the Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 541.  Mr. Koenig has lived in London, England since September 2018 where he completed a second Master's Degree. In September 2021 he will begin a Doctoral program at Oxford University, Oxford, England.  This is Mr. Koenig's first performance in the Bach Festival at Grace Church.  We are grateful to have him perform in our Festival, and we give him a big welcome to our Bach Festival.

The Festival concludes on Friday, July 30 at 7:30 pm with Soo Young Chrisfield, Soprano; Regino Madrid, Violin; Fatma Daglar, Oboe D'Amore; Charlie Powers, Cello; and Larry Molinaro, Harpischord performing movements from the Bach wedding cantata, BWV 210,"O holder Tag, erwünschte Zeit" (O Glorious Day, Hoped-for Time)  . Organ music will be performed by Mr. Molinaro on the Grace Church A. David Moore Organ.  Ms. Chrisfield, Mr. Madrid, and Mr. Powers have played in numerous Bach Concerts at Grace Church over the years, and we welcome them again. We welcome Ms. Daglar's first performance in our Festival.

For more information, please visit our website at, or e-mail or call the Bach Festival Director, Dr. Francine Maté, at or 202-333-7100.


The Poor Box

Up to about a hundred years ago, give or take a few decades, nearly every Episcopal/Anglican church had a "poor box."  It was usually affixed to a wall of the narthex, and had a narrow slot on top or in front to receive monetary donations for less fortunate folks in the area served by the parish church . Those in the congregation who were doing well, or at least staying afloat, would drop in a little extra from their pockets each Sunday to remember their poor and needy neighbors.  The priest would then collect the proceeds and distribute them where it was felt to be most needed.  Such boxes can still be found in older historic sanctuaries, though they are seldom used now for their original purpose.
The reason we no longer put up "poor boxes" in our churches, is that such giving has become a regular part of our collections in most of our congregations.  In many of our churches, the "loose offering" is designated on one or more Sundays a month to be given to a particular outreach effort.  Loose offering is just that: it's not what we put in regularly toward our pledges or what we designate for a particular purpose.  It is the loose money, (change or folding kind), from our pockets that we toss in to help our neighbors in need.  In my last Parish that I served as the long-term rector, each Sunday's loose change was designated, either to the Soup Kitchen, or the Outreach Center, or to Habitat for Humanity for building low-cost housing for the poor.
On the First Sunday, though, the loose change went to the Rector's Discretionary Fund. Of all of the above, this one is probably closest to the old "poor box" idea.  Monies received in this fund go directly to helping neighbors around us in our parish area who are having a difficult time making ends meet.  Here at Grace Church, folks often contact the Rector directly to see if they can get help to keep the electricity, gas, or water on in their residences, or food on their tables, or a much-needed prescription in their medicine cabinet. In most cases these folks have experienced an unusual expense due to illness or other emergency, and just need enough for the moment to get them through to their next paycheck or Social Security check.  Now and then, a neighbor has landed a job after a hard time off, and just needs a little gas to get to work and home again until they finally start getting paid.
We refer to these folks as neighbors, because they are.  They live and work all around us.  Some of them wait on us, or serve us, or take care of us in the shops and businesses we frequent.  Nearly all are hard-working folks with families to support, or older retired folks on fixed incomes.  They would be terribly embarrassed to have it known that they've hit a rough patch and need help.  There is also the occasional traveler who gets stranded in our midst.  Though not our immediate neighbor, travelers become our neighbors for the time they are here.  We remember that the word travel comes from the same root as travail . Like the Good Samaritan's neighbor, who suffered great travail in his travels, these folks too need our help to reach home.  And, of course, here at Grace, our neighbors include the homeless, and others who wander our streets and frequent our front yard.

Sometimes, the neighbor in need is a member of our own congregation.  Though the largest numbers of those helped come from the neighbors in our parish area at large, the largest expenditures from this fund are provided to members of our parish caught in a temporary jam.
The Rector's Discretionary Fund provides help in secure confidence for all in need. Names and amounts never become public.  Only the Rector, (or Interim Rector at the moment), keeps a record of names and amounts and purposes.  Just enough detail about the nature of each transaction is communicated to the church bookkeeper, who then reconciles the Fund's bank account and balance sheet each month.  This ensures compliance with Diocesan standards of financial responsibility and sound financial practice.  Everything contributed is faithfully given to those in genuine need, and nothing goes for anything else.
So here is my appeal.  The Rector's Discretionary Fund is nearly depleted.  Since we do not designate any particular Sunday's loose change here at Grace, we rely on members who are neighborly minded to contribute directly to the Fund to keep it solvent.  We need an infusion of "pocket change" and then some, if we are going to be able to continue to help our neighbors, and members, as unexpected needs arise.  Please consider dropping a small gift, (large is OK too), periodically into the offering plate, or through our website, designated to the Rector's Discretionary Fund.  Thank you for helping keep our "poor box" ready to help.
Fr. Rick



Altar of Grace Church--Ordinary Time, 2021


From the Organist-Choirmaster

Dear Grace Friends,

I cannot thank our choir enough for their continuing dedication throughout the pandemic, and for their patience as we all navigate the never before known territory of singer's masks, ever changing protocol, etc.  I am truly grateful to them all. It was simply marvelous when they were allowed to once again fill our church with their singing voices.

Our weekly Offertories are currently suspended due to all the upcoming summer trips by our choir members.  Choral Offertories will resume in September when everyone returns from vacation.

I hope you are all aware that we will once again have a Bach Festival this summer!  It must be virtual this summer because of the continuing issues with the COVID 19 epidemic.  We will have six concerts this year performed by musicians from our area, and by 3 European organists.  In addition, Cellist Charlie Powers from the Pittsburgh Symphony will be once again performing on our July 30 concert.  Charlie has been performing in our Bach Festivals for the past 12 years.

On a very special note, our own Grace Molinaro, Cello, and Martha Molinaro, Flute, will be performing in our Festival on Friday, July 24 at 7:30pm.

Grace Molinaro, who is fluent in Italian, is providing a special treat for us by hosting a video interview with Italian Organist Salvatore Pronestì.  Salvatore is performing our July 23 recital.  The interview will be in Italian with an English translation provided by Ms. Molinaro.  We will be posting their interview on our website as soon as it becomes available.

Thank you all for your continued support of our Choir and our Bach Festival.

We sing and make music only for the Glory of God.


The A. David Moore Organ, Grace Church, Georgetown, Washington, DC with Organist Francine Maté
(Photo by Nancy Seferian)


Grace's Table
by Beth Lee
Grace's Table is continuing its ministry of providing lunch, in a "grab and go" format, on Saturday mornings between 11:30 am and noon.   We are ordering individually wrapped fresh sandwiches from Subway and combining them with donated chips, packaged cookies or granola bars, bananas, and water.  Volunteers meet at 10:45 am to assemble the lunch bags and then assist with set up, distribution and clean up.  Total commitment is about 2 hours.   Current volunteers come from both the Grace Church and greater DC communities.  Friends can also help by donating to the Grace Outreach Fund, which helps fund our weekly purchases.   For more information, contact Beth Lee at


Junior Warden Buildings & Grounds News
by Will Ollison
The most notable recent development in the status of our Buildings & Grounds is the return of air conditioning in the church as of Sunday, June 27.  Although Grace Church resumed in-person worship services on May 23, the air conditioning was in need of repair and a necessary part was ordered.  The part arrived in time for repairs to be completed for the Sunday Service on June 27.

It has been proposed that Mr. Carrier be included in the next edition of Holy Women, Holy Men and be given a day on our church calendar.
(Meme by Deacon Art Bass for Episcopal Church Memes)


Search Committee
by Rick Elgendy

The Pastoral Search Committee is pleased to report that our listing in the employment system will be posted in the next few days.  After that, review of candidates and discernment will begin.  You'll be hearing more from us soon!  Please reach out to Rick Elgendy or Stacy Carter should you have questions.


Coffee Hour is Back!
by Helen Buhr

Coffee Hour has always been one of the glues which holds the church together and I hope you might think about hosting a Sunday as we begin catching up with each other.

If you are interested in hosting or assisting with coffee hour, or if you would like information in addition to that which is provided here, please email Helen Buhr.

There are some rules from the Diocese we must follow, but they do not stand in the way of a good time catching up with people over coffee or a cool drink (water? iced tea? lemonade? juices?). 

The food and drinks need to be served by a  person wearing a mask and  gloves. 

 Light pre-wrapped snacks or fruit which can be peeled are fine, with the emphasis on pre-wrapped.  Wrapped cookies are fine, as is anything  packaged such as Dole fruit cups.  These too need to be served. Many things like this are available at BJ's or Costco although regular supermarkets also have the same things.  This food is to be served as well so I have been thinking we could draft a person that day to help with the serving. 

We can not have buffets with platters of food which many people might be in contact with. Simple and safe are the keys here.  If you have any questions please contact me through the link shown above.
I hope we might have at least two hosts for each Sunday.  You do not need to have this organized when you reply.  I will let you know if anyone has already spoken for the date and pair you up.  This is really easy to do- just a bit different from the past

I look forward to hearing from you and enjoying simple Coffee Hours with cool drinks and easy pre-wrapped snacks.   Please use the link to our website below for details of the rules we are to follow. 


St. Arbucks, Patron Saint of Coffee Hour and of Those Episcopalians Who Enjoy It
(Meme by Deacon Art Bass for Episcopal Church Memes


Obituary of Bishop Carolyn Irish, Formerly Associated with Grace Church

The Rt. Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish, the scion of one of Mormonism's most influential families who went on to serve as the X Bishop of Utah, died June 29 at her home in Salt Lake City at the age of 81.. Irish emerged as a rare advocate for progressive causes in the conservative state, and, as a philanthropist and civic leader, played an outsized role in the life of her native city.

Bishop Irish became interested in the Episcopal Church at the age of 35 while living in Washington, DC.  She entered Virginia Theological Seminary in 1979 and was ordained in 1983.  She and her husband Lee were at one time a part of Grace Church.   Click on the link to read the full obituary.  Utah Bishop Irish Obituary
(From the article by Mark Michael.)


In the Garden
by Mary Ann Ruehling

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear falling on my ear, 
The Son of God discloses....

The hymn "In the Garden" was written by C. Austin Miles (1868-1946).   Inspired by  John 20:16, which describes Mary Magdalene's encounter with Jesus after the Resurrection, it celebrates the joyous companionship its author, C. Austin Miles (1868-1946) experiences with Jesus as he walks through the garden.  (It has been reported that the hymnist C. Austin Miles is a distant cousin of our Interim Rector, Rev. Dr. Richard Miles.)  

Charles Austin Miles (1868-1946) (Pseudonym: A. A. Payn) at­tende­d the Phil­a­del­phia Coll­ege of Phar­ma­cy and the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­van­ia.  In 1892 he aban­don­ed his career as a phar­ma­cist and wrote his first Gos­pel song, "List 'Tis Je­sus' Voice" which was pub­lished by the Hall-Mack Com­pa­ny.  He served as ed­i­tor and man­a­ger at the Hall-Mack pub­lish­ers for 37 years.. In his own words, "It is as a writer of gospel songs I am proud to be known, for in that way I may be of the most use to my Master, whom I serve willingly although not as efficiently as is my desire."  He wrote at least 398 songs, and the music to at least 8 more. 

Miles' hobby was photography, and he had managed to build his own "darkroom" for developing his film.  He discovered one day that he could read his Bible in the special "red lighting" of the darkroom.  He often read passages of scripture as he waited for the developing process to finish.  Since he was a musician and a songwriter, he often found himself reading for the express purpose of getting ideas for Christian songs.

One day in March 1912, Miles, while developing film and waiting for the process to complete, picked up his Bible.  It had fallen open to John, chapter 20.  He found in that chapter the story of Mary Magdalene coming to the garden to visit the tomb of Jesus.  As she looked into the tomb her heart sank because he wasn't there.  He, standing nearby, spoke to her, and she recognized Him.  Her heart leaped for joy!

Miles imagined that he was present with them in the garden on that glorious occasion, witnessing the wonderful event.  When his thoughts returned to the business at hand in the darkroom, he was gripping his Bible.  His muscles, according to his own recollection, were tense and vibrating.  Reverently he thought, "This is not an experience limited to a happening almost 2,000 years ago.  It is the daily companionship with the Lord that makes up the Christian's life."

In the inspiration of those moments, he wrote a poem.  He later said the words and phrases came quickly.  That same evening he composed a musical setting, and in doing so gave to the world a song that has now become extremely well-known, "In the Garden."  (Lindsay Terry:  Florida Headline News, March 5, 2015)

One occasionally hears stories of someone who disappeared and was assumed dead suddenly reappearing to their family and loved ones in a joyful surprise.  Imagine how much greater Mary Magdalene's shock and elation was when Jesus, whom she had seen dead and buried three days earlier (Mark 15:40, 47), suddenly called her by name and she turned and saw Him, very much alive and in person (John 20:16).  This hymn elaborates on the emotions she may have felt in that moment, when her grief was turned to joy.  (

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing;
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

In addition to Mary Magdalene's encounter with Jesus, there are other significant events in the Bible that take place in a garden  ranging from the experience of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane to the actions of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  The Grace Church garden has also been known to touch the hearts of guests.   A recent visitor to a Sunday morning service said that she frequently comes to the Grace Church garden to pray, as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  She regards the Grace Church garden as her Garden of Gethsemane.  If you are in the neighborhood, please stop by the garden to visit and reflect, meditate, or pray, as you wish..

I'd stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling; 
But he bids me go; through the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And he tells me that I am His own;
And the joy we share, as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.


(Public Domain)


The Grace Church Garden

The Grace Church garden fared relatively well during the recent storms.  Traditionally, Grace gardeners have met once a month to tend to sections of the garden.  It can either be done monthly as a group or individually when one has time.  If you are interested in joining our group of intrepid gardeners or want to sign up for a section of the garden, please contact me at or 703-527-8461 (landline) or 703-517-7817 (cell).

 Pandemic Reading:  Almost Time to Return to our "Regular" Reading Habits?
by Mary Ann Ruehling

Now that the restrictions of the pandemic may be relaxing somewhat, it might be a good time to consider our reading habits during the pandemic, and what works might be good ideas for future reading or listening.

Two books that were mentioned frequently in recent months as books well worth reading were David Blight's "Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom"  and Isabel Wilkerson's "The Warmth of Other Suns."  The Grace Church Adult Forum studied Blight's book during recent months.  Several members of the Grace Church community commented on how much they had learned from Wilkerson's story of the Great Migration out of the Jim Crow South to the North and West in search of what the novelist Richard Wright (author of "Black Boy," "Native Son," and "Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone") called "the warmth of other suns."

Even as it looks as though we may not be confined to our homes much longer, we hope that our reading friends will continue to read and explore new areas of interest.  If you have read (or listened to) a book which you think might be of interest to others in the community, please feel free to email me at the address in the introduction to this newsletter.  The current situation will probably continue to provide ample time for reading.



Parish Birthdays
Emma MillarJoanna Bujard
Fred TynerCindy Cole

Bill Mako

Bob Tobias


Pastoral Care Committee

During these complicated times the Pastoral Care Committee continues to assist those with pastoral care needs.  If help is needed, please contact either the Parish Administrator, or Lenore Reid, Chair of the Pastoral Care Committee.  All of these can be reached through the Church Office,  Click here to email the Grace Church Office.

Flowers for the Church
by Helen Buhr  

Grace Church welcomes donations of flowers to beautify the church for the services.  We would be pleased to see flowers in the church every Sunday.  If you would like to donate flowers to celebrate or remember a person or an event please email Helen Buhr.  We can order flowers for you or you can bring them to the church yourself.  We'll  place an Announcement in the Sunday bulletin with your remembrance or thanksgiving..




Holy Eucharist with Contemplative Music--8:30 am

Holy Eucharist with Music--10:30 am

Both Sunday morning services are held in-person in the church.  The 10:30 am service is also available via livestream.   Details are available in the Sunday emails and on the website at

10:15 am:  (Last Sunday of the month) Prayers for the Nation and the World, with Remembrance of the Fallen; in-person at the Memorial Cross
12:15 pm:  Centering Prayer;  Links to Zoom and the Order of Service are in the Tuesday morning emails.

7:00 pm:  Evening Prayer with Sermon Discussion; Links to Zoom and the Order of Service are in the Wednesday morning emails.

11:30 am:  Grace's Table (in-person)

The Green Season Has Returned

Helpful Information 

Grace Episcopal Church
1041 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington DC 20007
(202) 333-7100

A big-hearted Episcopal parish in lower Georgetown!

Join Us This Sunday!