January/February 2017

A New Calendar Year at Grace Church 
Grace Church 150th Anniversary Celebration,  Stewardship, Youth Day of Service, Parish Ice Skating Party, African-American History Month, Stephen Ministry, and More
The Christmas season has ended, and we welcome a new calendar year at Grace Church .  During the season of Epiphany we reflect on the journey of the Magi to visit the Christ Child in the manger, and on the gifts they brought to honor Him.  Following Epiphany, the liturgical season of Lent will begin with Ash Wednesday on March 1 and will culminate in the Feast of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, April 16.  During the month of February, we will observe African-American history month.  Plans for the celebration of Grace Church's 150th anniversary are ongoing.

Special thanks to those who have provided articles and photos for this newsletter.  Thanks also to all who have offered comments about Greetings from Grace, either by e-mail or in person.  If you would like to comment on any aspect of this newsletter, please contact the Grace Church Office (office@gracedc.org) or me (maruehling7@mac.com).  

Mary Ann Ruehling
Your Editor

- Grace 150th Anniversary Celebration
- Grace Church Youth Day of Service on January 16
- Stewardship Update
- Congregation Based Shelter
- Stephen Ministers in Training
- Parish Ice Skating Party on January 29
- Georgetown Flash Mob Carol Sing on December 18  
- Grace's Table 
- Music of the African-American Tradition
- Save the Dates
- Around the Parish; Other Helpful Information 

150th Anniversary Celebration
by Rev. John Graham

A small task force of Vestry members met on Thursday, January 5 for a brainstorming session. Here are some ideas the group will present to the Vestry.  Comments, questions, and ideas from Grace members and friends are welcome; for now, please direct them to John Graham.

-         A "come one, come all" community celebration on a Saturday in April close to April 22, the date of the first service at Grace in 1867.  This event will take place on the grounds of Grace Church, weather permitting.  The celebration might include: an opening procession through Georgetown with members of St. John's and Christ Church, who collaborated to found the waterfront mission; some of Grace's favorite musicians and restaurants; brief re-enactments of key events in Grace history.   

-         A festive service to re-consecrate the Grace community to the service of God and God's people, on a Sunday in Easter season, with readings, prayers, and music fitting for the occasion.   

-         Friends of Grace 150th Anniversary Gala in the late spring, perhaps Pentecost Sunday; this might be held off-site, at a local restaurant, as was the 140th anniversary Gala.

Let us know your thoughts.

John Graham

Grace Church Youth!  Day of Service Monday, January 16!
by Rev. Sarah Motley

PRAY (Potomac Region Anglican Youth) will meet on Monday, January 16, to join in the interfaith Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service to be held at Washington Hebrew Congregation 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

From the PRAY coordinator, Deacon Sue von Rautenkranz:

On this day those from our PRAY congregations will join with our brothers and sisters at Washington Hebrew Congregation for "tikkun olam," a Hebrew concept of "repairing the world" or social action and justice ministry. The day will include packing meals, sorting donated clothes, making food, and even creating family craft projects. We will work alongside folks of all ages and all faiths to help those most in need in the   DC Metro area.

Please contact (by Saturday, January 14) either Jeanne Jennings (jeanne@jeajen.com) or Rev. Sarah (assistant@gracedc.org) if you can attend. 

by Michael Osborn

The entire Grace Church community is profoundly grateful for the responses to the Stewardship Campaign this Fall.  We have received 96 pledges to date and reached a total pledge amount of $395,755.  We welcome all additional commitments if you have not completed a pledge card to date.  They are available in the church on Sundays or can be requested from Helen Buhr in the parish office at office@gracedc.org .

The vestry is currently finalizing the budget for 2017 and your generosity will allow us to continue our ministries and meet increased operating expenses in the coming year.  We owe a deep debt of thanks for the work of the Stewardship Committee this year: Mike Osborn, Beth Lee, Helen Buhr, David Crawford, Peyton Craighill, Parker Deal, Rick Elgendy, Bob and Susan Tobias, and Janet Sale.


Congregation Based Shelter

by Peter Tietjen 
The annual Congregation Based Shelter for the Homeless was held at Grace Church between December 4th and 18th.  We welcomed 10 homeless men and women to sleep in the sanctuary and enjoy hot meals and fellowship during the Advent season.  Many members and friends of the Grace Church family volunteered their time and cooking talents to participate in this special outreach to the greater lower Georgetown community.   Special thanks must go out to my co-Shelter Coordinator Helena Dunn, as well as those who helped with the load-in and load-out of cots and duffels from the previous and subsequent Shelter locations..  We all look forward to Shelter Season in December 2017.

Grace Church Prepares to Receive Guests of the Congregation Based Shelter  (Photo courtesy of Tracey Johnstone) 
Stephen Ministry at Grace Church:
Stephen Ministers About to Graduate
by Nancy Seferian

Grace Church is so proud of our three parishioners who are now training to become Stephen Ministers:  Sally Stanfield, Sharon Schambra, and Bill Schrambra. These parishioners are now about two months away from graduation on March 28, 2017. They are presently participating in the DC Stephen Ministry Network Stephen Ministry training group being held at the National Presbyterian Church on Nebraska Avenue.

This network includes churches of various denominations in the DC area which have Stephen Ministry programs at their churches.  The churches in the network help each other when there is a need.  Grace Church is indebted to St. Bartholomew's Roman Catholic Church for inviting our first Stephen Minister, Nancy Seferian to their Stephen Minister training when our program at Grace was just getting established.

After a Stephen Minister has been trained she or he commits to attending a Peer Supervision group for support and help in caring for Care Receivers and continued Stephen Ministry education.  Since Nancy had no other Stephen Ministers at Grace on completing her training, she had no peers as yet.  So St. Columba's Episcopal Church graciously invited her to join their Peer Supervision group until more Stephen Ministers were ready to serve at Grace.

When our Grace Stephen Ministers have completed their 50 hours of training there will be a commissioning ceremony and celebration at Grace Church.  In the interim between now and their graduation we will be talking at Grace about the procedure for asking for a Stephen Minister for yourself, or for referring someone you may know who is in need of one.

How to Ask for a Stephen Minister or Refer Someone Who May Need One

If you have a friend who may need someone to walk with him or her during a difficult time you may listen to the situation and then tell your friend about Stephen Ministry.  Then you may ask if he or she would be interested in having a Stephen Minister, knowing it all will be kept confidential.  If he or she gives you permission, you call the Referrals Coordinator and share basic information about your friend's present difficulties.

Then the Referrals Coordinator will call your friend and set up a time to meet together to discuss the situation and to prepare your friend for Stephen Ministry.
The Referrals Coordinator at Grace Church is the Rev. John Graham: 202-333-7100.

Annual Parish Ice Skating Party on January 29 

by Jeanne Jennings

Please join us, one and all, for the annual Grace Church Ice Skating Party on 
Sunday, January 29 th, following the  10:30 am Service.   We'll be walking from Coffee Hour to the Washington Harbour Ice Rink - or you can meet us there, 3050 K Street NW.  Cost is $10 for adults, $9 for children, plus $5 if you need to rent skates.  Please RSVP to Jeanne Jennings,  JJ@JeaJen.com  or  202.365.0423.  We hope to see you on the ice! 


by Rev. Sarah Motley

On Sunday, December 18, at 1:30 pm., representatives of the Georgetown congregations met at the corner of Wisconsin and M Streets for a Flash Mob Carol Sing.  The Grace Church contingent greatly enjoyed the afternoon.  (Photo courtesy of Rev. Sarah Motley)


Sunday Evening Eucharist

by Rev. Sarah Motley

Epiphany I, Baptism of Jesus, January 8. 
'...star of the east, the horizon adorning, guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.' (Hymn 117, The Hymnal 1982)



Grace's Table 
Grace's Table welcomes additional volunteers.  To volunteer or to obtain more information, email gracestable@gracedc.org; your message will reach both Dave Ryder and John Graham.  See the Weekly Update and Sunday Service booklet for current information on dates when help is needed.  In addition to food preparation and contribution, Grace's Table coordinators could use assistance with set-up and clean-up.  Learn more about Grace's Table by reading the description of this ministry on our website.  For details contact Rev. John Graham and Dave Ryder.

Cool Music (from Pedro and Jay) and Warm Food on a Snowy Saturday at a Full-to-Capacity Grace's Table  (Photo courtesy of Rev. Sarah Motley) 

Music of the African-American Tradition:  "Lift Every Voice and Sing"

by Mary Ann Ruehling

James Weldon Johnson initially wrote "Lift Every Voice and Sing" as a poem.  It was first performed by 500 school children in celebration of President Lincoln's Birthday on February 12, 1900 in Jacksonville, Florida.  The poem was set to music by Johnson's brother, John Rosamond Johnson, and soon adopted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as its official song.  Today "Lift Every Voice and Sing" is one of the most cherished songs of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.  ( www.pbs.org)

The text to this song, found in The Hymnal 1982 as #599, was written by James Weldon Johnson in 1899.  Born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1871, James Weldon Johnson accomplished a number of firsts over the course of his life.  Educated at Atlanta University, he was the first African-American to pass the bar in Florida during his tenure as principal of Stanton Elementary School, his alma mater.
As a scholar of African-American literature, Johnson edited The Book of American Negro Poetry (1922), the first anthology of African-American poetry in America.   A pioneering ethnomusicologist, Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson, his brother and fellow composer, compiled and edited The Book of Negro Spirituals (1925), the first of a two-volume collection of Black sacred songs framed by a jointly authored introduction that traces the development of one of the earliest Black art forms in the Americas.  Johnson also was the first African-American poet to adapt the voice of the Black folk preacher to verse.  These poems are gathered in his masterful collection of folk sermons in verse entitled God's Trombones (1927), one of three collections of verse by Johnson.

Admired for his able, judicious, and creative approach to leadership in an era tainted by harsh racism, Johnson, fluent in Spanish and French, was the first African-American to serve as the United States Consul to Venezuela and Nicaragua.  In 1915, after his service in the consular corps, Johnson joined the staff of the NAACP.   Rising quickly through the ranks, a year later he became the first African-American to serve as Field Secretary and later as Executive Secretary of the NAACP.  As Executive Secretary of the NAACP, Johnson organized in Manhattan the historic Silent March of 1917 to protest the national crime of lynching.

After retiring from his position as head of the NAACP in 1930, Johnson joined the faculty of Fisk University as the Adam K. Spence Professor of Creative Writing . In 1934. he accepted an appointment as Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at New York University, becoming that university's first African-American faculty member.  Johnson's productive and multi-faceted life ended tragically when he was killed in an automobile accident in the summer of 1938 while vacationing in Maine. ( www.hymnary.org)

The music to Lift Every Voice and Sing was written by James Weldon Johnson's brother, J. Rosamond Johnson.  John Rosamund Johnson was one of the more important figures in black music in the first part of the 20th century.  Usually remembered today as the composer of  "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," he had a varied career as a pianist, songwriter, producer, soldier, singer, and actor.

J. Rosamond Johnson was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1873.  He began playing the piano at age four.  He studied at the New England Conservatory and with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor in London.  By the end of the 19th century, Johnson was teaching schoolchildren in the Jacksonville region. Around 1900 Johnson wrote and taught these schoolchildren "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing."

Johnson moved to New York City in 1900 and became an active participant in its musical life.  When World War I broke out, Johnson received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 15th Regiment.  After the war, he toured with his own groups, and even sang and played the part of a lawyer in the original production of Porgy and Bess in 1935.  J. Rosamond Johnson died in New York City on November 11, 1954.  ( www.loc.gov)

J. Rosamond Johnson, at piano, with James Weldon Johnson, c. 1920s  (ASCAP Photo) 



8:30 a.m. - Holy Eucharist 
9:45 a.m. - Adult Forum
10:15 a.m. ( last Sunday of the month) - Prayers for the Nation and the World, with Remembrance of the Fallen
10:30 a.m.  
- Holy Eucharist, with full music*; Sunday School
5:00 p.m.  
- Sunday Evening Eucharist
*Child care available


Vestry Meetings
Altar Flowers    
If you would like to contribute flowers for the altar on a given Sunday, please find the signup sheet on the kiosk during coffee hour,  or contact Helen Buhr at office@GraceDC.org.  We can order flowers and have them delivered to the church for $65, or you can make arrangements to purchase and deliver them yourself


January                                        February
Bill Carter
Henry Carter
Adam Harrington
Sharon Ollison

Bobby Aselford
Stacy Carter
Isabel Dower
Kimberly Ludwig
Georgia Murphy
Nancy Seferian
Elizabeth Shank
Susan Shank
Elena Valdez Torres

January 16:  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, to include Youth Day of Service

January 29:  Parish Ice Skating Party

February 13:  Feast Day of Absalom Jones, first African-American to be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States

February 20:  Presidents' Day Holiday 

February 26:  "Fat Sunday" Brunch, to include decadent food.  It is anticipated that indulgences will be available.  All donations will go to the Outreach Fund.

March 1:  Ash Wednesday

April 16:  Easter Sunday


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!