Grace Episcopal Church
Walking the Way of Love
Parish News
For the week of January 17, 2021


The Parish Office will be closed
on Monday, January 18
in observance of Martin Luther King Day
We have suspended in-person worship at Grace until it is safe to regather.
Prison Ministry
In 2020 the Christian Outreach Committee formed a Prison Ministry subcommittee to support two paroled returning citizens (RC) through the STEPS (Supporting Transitions by Engaging in Parolee Sponsorships) program. Several documents that describe STEPS are found on a Grace website for the prison ministry.

In summary:
RCs are vetted by the W&L Law School Clinic.
  • Two men have been identified for our STEPS program and await a parole decision in early spring 2021.
Mentors
  • Five mentors have volunteered to be mentors (2 per RC and a substitute). They are Lyn Dent, Keith Gibson, Pat McGuire, Grigg Mullen, and Steve Riethmiller. Many thanks!
  • They have written letters to the men at the prison and started bonding. Once released the RC and his mentor will meet weekly for support and “creative time together designed to foster friendships and fellowship.”
Employment
  • Jobs at Lee High Truck Stop have been promised by Bobby Berkstresser for both men.
Transportation
  • RATS will transport the men to and from their job and residence.
Housing
  • A place to live has not been secured for the men. Do you own a 2 bedroom/1 bath apartment or house in Lexington or possibly Rockbridge County you would consider renting? $1,000 per month has been allocated for rent.
  • Grace Episcopal is paying the first 3 months rent, RARA one month rent plus food every 2 weeks.
  • Home furnishings have been donated by Grace parishioners and The Community Closet at Christ Episcopal Church in BV. Contact Susan Cross (susan.cross025@gmail.com) if you would like to donate.
  • Alternatively, use the online giving on the Grace Episcopal website (STEPS Option) OR send a check to the church with “STEPS” or “Prison Ministry” written on the memo line. 
Additional Support
  • Physical health care, counseling, and other services will be accessible to the RCs.
  • Keep the RCs, the Prison Ministry of our parish, and the mentors in prayer.
Augusta Health / Hospice of Shenandoah is offering
8 week Grief Support Programs
5th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration
On January 18, 2021, share the joy of inclusive community
in downtown Lexington!
An Invitation from CARE Rockbridge
Due to pandemic health concerns, this year’s celebration is designed to allow community members to find and maintain a distanced space to demonstrate public commitment to an equal and inclusive community. For the health and safety of yourself and others please wear face coverings. We will Stand Up for Justice, Love, and Equality in the streets of our Community!

CARE will simultaneously use a rectangle of streets at the heart of our parade route. The Stand Up will begin at 10:30 and finish at 10:45. Participants should begin taking spaces in the street at 10:15 a.m. and no earlier than 10 a.m. The parade will finish before 11:00 a.m.

Participants will be directed to open spaces with assistance of our Marshals. For the health and safety of yourself and others please wear face coverings. All participants not dependent on the physical assistance of others will stand as single individuals. We will direct participants to find spots that are isolated by a minimum of 6 feet on all sides.

Distancing is not only for safety. It is also our attempt to symbolically occupy community space and hold up all the lives, especially black and brown, lost to Covid and to racist violence this year. So we are creating empty spaces amongst us as an important part of the event.
We will use photography, professional drone imagery, and individual selfies (bring your phones!) to capture a images of a community that is claiming its streets for nonviolence.
For further details, please read our participation and safety guidelines here.

CARE plans to have a moment during the celebration on Monday remembering persons who have died from the virus as well as African American persons shot dead or maimed while unarmed by police officers. CARE would like for churches, with church bells, to ring their church bells. Come to Grace and help ring our steeple bell, O Come and Worship, at 10:40 am for 45 seconds on January 18 in honor of COVID victims, Health Care Workers, and victims of Police violence.
Sharing Our Resources to Support Our Community
50 Ways Rockbridge is a group of concerned citizens from Rockbridge County, working together to research, educate and act on major issues in our community, with guiding principles of inclusion and fairness.

They ask that you consider a plan to support our local community, sharing any resources you might receive. https://www.50waysrockbridge.org/where-to-contribute highlights multiple ways to financially support organizations that serve the needs of people affected by Covid-19 or programs that empower the community to build a more just and caring Rockbridge.
As we work together to live out justice, equal opportunity and love of one’s fellow human beings, we become more fully the beloved community.
A Request from Augusta Health
Our caregivers are exhausted and are in need of some encouragement and support from the community. Augusta Health has created an email for the larger community to write messages of care and support to their staff. We did this in the fall and we received many wonderful messages from the community such as: “Thank you!” “We love you!” “We care!” “Hang in there!” Pictures or drawings could also be sent.
 
January Birthdays
Colin Murphy (4)
Elizabeth Branner (5)
Martha Burford (5)
Laurent Boetsch (8)
Kitty Farrar (8)
Debbie Arnn (8)
Helen Moore (8)
Janet Lemmer (10)
Peter Grover (10)
Signe Lewis (11)
Carol Muir (12)

Bonnie Gates (14)
Liz Moss (14)
Farris Hotchkiss (15)
Gabrielle Frascati (16)
Elizabeth Boetsch (19)
Paul Strickland (20)
Maille Carrington (26)
Molly Hellwig (27)
Sean Carrington (27)
Jane Brooke (29)
Melissa Gladwell-Sayre (30)
Tom Gosse (31)
Visit Grace's Google Calendar for events and ZOOM link information!