Update from Our Senior Warden

It is with much sadness that I am informing you that Joanne Hoff will be resigning as Grace Church’s office administrator effective November 13. Joanne has faithfully served Grace Church the last two years following the retirement of our longtime office administrator, Dawn Briley. The church office administrator is an important position whose work is mostly “behind the scenes” and goes unnoticed by many. Joanne has worked to bring Grace and St. Thomas by the Sea closer together as shared ministry parishes by combining many of our office practices, saving time and money for both churches. We are actively seeking to hire a new office administrator so if you know someone that might be qualified and interested, please contact me or any other vestry member. We wish Joanne all the best and want her to slow her pace to focus on her health and enjoy her well-deserved retirement years.

While I am on the topic of vacancies, I want to update you on progress regarding the search for a full-time priest. As you recall, we initiated a search process upon Mary-Alice’s departure in 2020. We established a search committee and interviewed several candidates, but we did not “make a call” to any of those interviewed. One challenge we have encountered is identifying qualified clergy candidates. This was in part, a result of the Diocese not having a full-time Canon to the Ordinary. That position title has always puzzled me. What does it really mean and what does this person do. Simply put, this person seeks and matches clergy to fill vacancies such as ours. As a result of this vacancy, the search committee decided to pause its efforts in 2022 until the position was filled. Well, I have good news! The Diocese filled this full-time, critical position in August by hiring Rev. Ashley Freeman. The search committee, that remained intact during the pause, reconvened itself and met face-to-face with Rev. Freeman and provided him an updated joint parish profile in September. Ashley is now actively seeking clergy candidates that meet our near and far term need.

I am often asked why we need to search for a new priest when we already have Fr. Joe every Sunday. That is a fair question to ask but the reality is that our Church life involves more than just a Sunday or Wednesday evening worship service. Because we are current lay persons led (the vestry) rather than clergy led, there are numerous things that we have paused or deferred. For examples, we haven’t sought new outreach opportunities, we don’t have any focus on evangelism to seek new members, we have no Christian education programs, etc, etc. This is intended in no way to discredit the awesome support that we are receiving from Fr. Joe. But again, the reality is we have only hired Fr. Joe as our part-time priest and his duties are purposely limited so that he has free time to enjoy his well-deserved retirement. I will strive to provide updated information on our search progress as it becomes available.

 Special Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendars! 

Sunday, October 30

-9:00 am: Rev. Canon Ashley Freeman will be visiting Grace Church to get to know us better as we search for a permanent priest. It will also, God willing, be the unveiling of our new stained glass window art in memory of Willodean Ketter

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Tuesday, November 8

-10:00 am: Episcopal Men's Adopt-A-Highway service project. Meet at Grace.

-Noon: Episcopal Men's Fellowship Lunch at Wicked Wheel.

NOTE: Come to one or both as your schedule permits.

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Wednesday, November 16

-5:45 pm: Holy Eucharist and potluck refreshments.

A HUGE thanks for all who served in September, from our lay ministry team to our Coffee Hour hosts. It takes many hands to make a great worship experience. And once again, thank you Sam Richardson for the delightful Sunday Breakfast.

This plea has been in Anchor Line for months now. We REALLY need more people to help out to lessen the burden on our skeleton crew and make it easier to cover absences. If you can say "Good Morning", Welcome to Grace", or "We're glad you're here" and hand out bulletins, then you can be a GREETER; If you can read out loud, you can be a LECTOR (we even have a pronunciation guide in the binder for those pesky unpronounceable Old Testament names), and if you are willing to do a little more training, you can become a CRUCIFER / CHALICE BEARERS. Please see any Vestry member if you are able to join the Lay Ministry Team at Grace. Thank you in advance for your help.

Sunday, November 6

Lector: Kelley Hodges

Crucifer: Katy Hodges

Chalice Bearer: Carl Walters

Greeter: Fred Pope

Counter: Carl Walters

Sunday, November 13

Lector: Bonnie Hale

Crucifer/Chalice Bearer: Jack Friou

Greeter: Deb Gray

Counter: Fred Pope

Sunday, November 20

Lector: Amy Helms

Crucifer/Chalice Bearer: Sam Richardson

Greeter: Bonnie Hale

Counter: Sam Richardson

Sunday, November 27

Lector: Jamie Shepard

Crucifer/Chalice Bearer: Sam Richardson

Greeter: Fred Pope

Counter: Fred Pope

Many thanks to our Lay Ministers who help make Grace the warm, welcoming church it is!

Grace Episcopal Church

9101 Panama City Beach Pkwy, (Hwy 98)

Panama City Beach, FL 32407

(850) 235-4146

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