Grace Episcopal Church
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
News for March 20, 2014


Moving Forward


For the past two years, the Vestry has been involved in various studies related to how to grow a church in the twenty-first century.  Some of us made several trips to Louisville to participate in a yearlong program with Tom Ehrich who is a Church Wellness Consultant, and, based on his input and the knowledge we have gained through reading books and articles written by other experts in the field and attending other presentations, we have gradually developed a clearer vision of a number of things we could do in order to move Grace Church from a church that is in "survival" mode to becoming a church that is "thriving."  In February, 2013, the Vestry began a monthly practice of praying together what we call our Vestry Litany, asking for God's involvement in and blessing on this church as we work hard toward becoming the community of faith that we believe we are called to be in this particular place at this particular time.  The Vestry would be happy to share copies of that litany to those who would like to be part of a larger circle of prayer for this church. 


It has become clear to us that we must develop multiple ministries in order to provide what we need for people who are already members of Grace (e.g., programming for children, youth and young adults), that we must have a much more active ministry to newcomers, and that we must also create more opportunities to be of service to the community around us in our own unique way.  (More about that later!)  We have been heavily advised to continue the traditional worship that we do so well, but that we also must develop alternative forms of worship for those who come our way who might never be attracted to or comfortable with what we do on Sunday mornings.  Tom Ehrich told us many times that our growth might well not be reflected in Sunday morning attendance.  We have a big challenge in front of us, but the Vestry feels strongly that we are ready to take on that challenge. 


While our membership numbers at Grace have not decreased significantly in recent years, we do have a critical shortage of people who are in an age range that would make them likely to take on large projects and see them through.  A few months back, we became aware that we had a rare opportunity to hire a young Priest Associate who will be finishing seminary in May and who will be partially funded by the Diocese of Kentucky for two years.  After several months of deliberation and meeting and talking with him, the Vestry has voted to call the Rev. Benjamin Hart to join our staff.  The responsibilities that Benjamin will be assuming have mostly to do with new initiatives and are not intended to take away from what the Rector is already doing.  Some of you have read the draft of a job description and have noticed that most of the items listed are not currently being fulfilled.  All of those items should be a significant enhancement to Grace Church's ministry. 


Benjamin is very excited about this call.  He grew up in Murray and, therefore, will be living closer to family.  He graduated from college at Murray State and is completing his M.Div. at Virginia Theological Seminary.  He clearly sees Grace Church as a rich opportunity to develop his skills, to be involved with a wonderful congregation, and to have the experience of working with us on a program of "moving forward" that will help prepare him for a long and productive career in the twenty-first century church. 


The Vestry is committed to being fiscally responsible in taking this big step into our future and will soon be sharing plans for that part of our venture. 

                                                                                              Blessings, Alice+  


Kindergarten Update


On Tuesday morning all of our kindergarten and pre-school children participated in their Spring Show entitled "Hansel and Gretel Eat Right."  It was a priceless presentation!  Eva Akpom, along with a number of helpers, provided a delicious brunch with pancakes, sausage, eggs, and fruit.  It was all great fun for the kids and all the family members and church members who attended.  This event was a fundraiser for Grace School, and we made approximately $500 to go into the school coffers. 


We are putting every effort into, little by little, bringing the kindergarten closer to breaking even on cost.  It will take awhile to reach that goal.  An intermediate goal is to be able to cover teacher salaries.  We are in the midst of another project--a cookie dough sale--which we are doing through a well-respected company--Little Lambs Fundraising.  Parents and families have been challenged to take orders for cookie dough, cheesecake, and cookie-grams.  Little Lambs offers a $1,000 prize for the biggest seller nationwide, and we are offering a $100 tuition credit for our local biggest seller.  There will be other smaller prizes.  You can help with this effort by placing an order at church this Sunday.  Our deadline for orders is March 27, and filled orders will be delivered to us around April 14 or 15.  The cookie-gram option may be particularly attractive to those of you who would like to send an easy Easter gift to someone.  Choices are boxes of 12 or 24 freshly baked cookies delivered anywhere in the continental United States.  Please help us to make this a successful fundraiser!

Quiet Time for Lent


Please join us the next three Sunday evenings at 6:00 pm for Quiet Time for Lent.  This is a meditative worship service including periods of silence interspersed with familiar hymns, music, and brief readings focusing on quietness and peace.  Each service features a different musical instrument --March 23 will be the piano with Steve Wiggin playing, and March 30 will be Carolyn Milam on harp.   

Movie Night


On Wednesday, March 26, we will be having movie night at Grace, including a simple supper at 5:30 pm, followed by a viewing of "Babette's Feast"--a particularly appropriate film for the Lenten season leading up to Easter--a rather dark and dreary story that becomes a glorious celebration.  Please join us!  

Lenten Preaching Mission and Luncheons


Tomorrow will be having our third Noonday Prayer service for Lent, followed by a delicious lunch.  We have had two wonderful preachers so far and are looking forward to having Rev. Paige Williams with us for tomorrow's service.   


FRIDAYS AT NOON    -    2014 Lenten Preaching Mission


March 21, 2013     Rev. Paige Williams

                             First United Methodist Church

Spinach Lasagna & Salad prepared by Ginny Lawson & Tweetie White


March 28, 2014     Rev. M. O. Fort

                             Virginia Street Baptist Church

Chicken Artichoke Casserole & Salad prepared by Pam Vance


April 4, 2014                   Father Julio Barrera

                             Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church

Seafood Gumbo & Salad prepared by John Watson


April 11, 2014       The Rt. Rev. Terry Allen White                                             Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky

Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwiches & Green Beans prepared by

Lois White & Becky Wood


          **April 18, 2014    The Rev. Alice Nichols

                              Grace Episcopal Church


All services begin at noon and a luncheon follows the service in

the All Saints' Parish Hall, to which all in attendance are invited.

Lunch is $8.00 and proceeds from the luncheon and service benefit

several charitable organizations in our community.


                   **No lunch served on April 18th, Good Friday,

                                      a day of fasting


Adult Forum


Continuing this Sunday, March 23, those attending Adult Forum at 9:00 am are viewing chapters on a DVD entitled "Saving Jesus Redux."  This DVD is described as an "exploration of a credible Jesus for the third millennium" and is part of a series called Living the Questions. Contributors include Diana Butler Bass, Matthew Fox, Amy-Jill Levine, Brian McLaren, John Shelby Spong, and others. Please join us for some interesting input that is leading to great conversation.  The entire program is twelve sessions long, but this particular format makes it easier for those of you who want to participate to come and go as you are available.    

Quote from today's Prayer Group


"When we begin to walk with God, he is gracious and marvelously answers our feeble, egocentric prayers.  We think, 'This is wonderful.  God is real after all!'  In time, however, when we try to push this button again, God says to us, 'I would like to be more than your Provider.  I also want to be your Teacher and your Friend.  Let me lead you into a more excellent way.  I want to free you of the greed and avarice, the fear and hostility that make your life one great sorrow.'  Now, we may chaff under this and struggle against it, but in time we learn the goodness of rightness and begin to move into holy obedience.  Each day in a new and living way the brooding Spirit of God teaches us.  As we begin to follow these nudgings of the Spirit, we are changed from the inside out."  (Richard Foster, Prayer)

Remember the Peanut Butter Challenge!!!!

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