I am often asked about the LGBTQ+ community and the Episcopal Church. Here are some words from our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry:
Jesus said: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
In my years of ministry, I have personally seen and been blessed by countless LGBTQ sisters, brothers and siblings. Dear friends, the church has in like manner been blessed by you. Together with many others you are faithful followers of Jesus of Nazareth and his way of love. You have helped the church to be truly catholic, universal, a house of prayer for all people. You have helped the church to truly be a reflection of the beloved community of God. You have helped the church to authentically be a branch of the Jesus movement in our time.
Your ministries to and with this church are innumerable. I could speak of how you often lead our vestries, and other leadership bodies in the church. I could speak of how many of you organize our liturgies of worship, lift our voices in song, manage church funds, teach and form our children as followers of Jesus, lead congregations, ministries and dioceses. But through it all and above it all, you faithfully follow Jesus and his way of love. And in so doing you help the church, not to build a bigger church for church’s sake, but to build a better world for God’s sake.
During June, Americans and people around the world observe Pride. Today, as we mourn the 49 people who were murdered at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando five years ago, I am mindful that Pride is both a celebration and a testament to sorrow and struggle that has not yet ended. Especially this month, I offer special thanks to God for the strength of the LGBTQ community and for all that you share with your spouses, partners and children, with your faith communities, and indeed with our entire nation.
In the Way of Love,
This Sunday, we will have a special service celebrating Pride Month.
At 9:30 am, the children of the Church School and their parents or guardians will gather in the school for an in-person 10 minute service of story and prayers with Rev. Debbie. At 9:40 am, they will move outside to begin the Abundant Life Garden Project, growing food to be given to Lifebridge Center forr their meals. This week, we will hear stories from the Bible about water.
At 10:00 am, the Morning Prayer service will be livestreamed from church. Gavin Watson-Bertrand is assisting Debbie with the readings. Caroline Watson-Felt and The Reverend Cliff Cutler will offer reflections. Please join us on Zoom or Facebook.
At 4:00 pm, the Celtic Evensong will will livestreamed from the church. Tim Braughler will offer the reflection. Please join us on Facebook for this service.
Please join us wherever you are
in your search for meaning.
Everyone is welcome at any and all services at
Grace Episcopal Church
Parish Prayer List
Please keep the following in your prayers:
For the peaceful repose of the soul of Spencer Feller. For Martin Ryan, Kristin Gourley, on her cancer diagnosis, that she made find healing and find the inner peace she seeks. Scott Tucker, Zan Duffy, Dianne, who is facing a lumpectomy for breast cancer, Linda Whalen, Deb Guilford, Kim Colvin, Sarah Colvin Duffy, Michael Towey, Christine Reichert, Nancy Brown, Jesse Kamp, Stacia, Bob Peterson, Brian Peterson, Robert Squillaro, Jenny, Loretta and Kris, Deb Papps, Derek Fuller and Family, Kathy Southern, Becky, the people of Palestine, and the Salem Public Schools.
For an end to racism, gun violence and oppression.
At Monday’s meeting, the Vestry will receive the report from the Regathering Committee with their proposal for reopening the building for worship. Keep an eye out for next week’s GraceNotes for any new information.
Pride Sunday This Week
In the first century, Jesus of Nazareth inspired a movement. A community of people whose lives were centered on Jesus Christ and committed to living the way of God’s unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial, and redemptive love. As Episcopalians, we believe in a loving, liberating, and life-giving God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have a legacy of inclusion, aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being; women and men serve as bishops, priests, and deacons in our church. Laypeople and clergy cooperate as leaders at all levels of our church. Leadership is a gift from God and can be expressed by all people in our church, regardless of gender, sexual identity or orientation. We believe that God loves us all – no exceptions.
Our services on this day will reaffirm this belief, particularly as it relates to LGBTQ+ persons. We will offer reflections and readings that will allow us to more openly engage in this belief.
Most of us consider July Fourth as our Independence Day, but not all. On June 19th, 1865, the last slaves in the US received word of the Emancipation Proclamation; over 2 years after declared by President Lincoln, thus making slavery illegal everywhere in this country. For the descendants of those slaves, this is a day of celebration and joy.
We will commemorate this important date in our history with a special service to be streamed on Facebook and Youtube on Sunday, June 20th. During this service, we will hear from an amazing local cellist, Mashunda Smith, and sing hymns written by Black composers. We will also listen to the words of Black poets and preachers. Brian Fizer and Jason Stonehouse will share with us their experience of raising a daughter of color and an antiracist son. The service will conclude with our own specific commitment to work towards becoming and anti-racist. Please remember to go to either our Facebook page GraceEpiscopalChurchSalem, or the Grace Episcopal Church Salem Youtube page at 10:00 am next Sunday.
Every Wednesday from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm we offer adult education. For the past few years, we have been studying the Gospel passage for the following Sunday. Actually, we have been engaging in a conversation with Scripture, discovering ways it is speaking to us in the moment.
Beginning June 16, we will focus on Black poetry during this time. The first week, members of the Anti-Racism Team will lead us in a discussion similar to our cottage meetings. The weeks after that, we will explore works of Black poets. On Wednesday, June 23, we will study the poetry of Lucille Clifton.
Please feel free to join us on Zoom for this new series that allows us to encounter God in new ways. The link is on our website under “Bible Study.”
Rector on Vacation
Debbie will be away from June 16th until July 3rd. If you need assistance, contact Brian Fizer at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 412.867.1021. There will be no Tuesday Morning Prayer or Wednesday Evening Prayer during this time.