Grace Episcopal Church has suspended all in-person campus events, activities, and worship services until further notice. Please visit our Grace@Home page to see ways we are staying connected to one another, to Grace, and to God during the days ahead.
422 Brenau Avenue, Gainesville, GA 30501
Believe it or not, The Great Vigil is the pivotal moment in our celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. THIS is the service that symbolically marks the transition of Christ from death to life, and thus invites us to reflect more fully on our own practice of faith.
We come to the vigil from a place of confusion and chaos, looking for guidance. So quiet until proclamations is appropriate. We will begin with the lighting of a fire and encourage everyone to have a candle if possible. You may want to turn down the lights in your home for the first part of the service to truly share in the symbolic nature of the prayers and the reading of pivotal moments from the chanting of the Exultet and the reading of our Scriptures.
At the moment when we celebrate the Resurrection, we will unmute everyone so we can all ring bells and keys together–or even bang on pots and pans! We need a moment of hope and joy in these days, and look forward to the chaos of glory!
We all look forward to Easter Sunday each year, and it is important to acknowledge that there will be grief at not being able to be together in person. We all hold this together, don’t we?
That being said, here are a few things we are encouraging to help us all embody our prayers this year as we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord on Sunday, April 12 at 10:45 AM. The Flower Guild and anyone in the parish who wants to is encouraged to make a bouquet of flowers from your garden. Each and every one will be special, and during the prayers, we will offer a blessing of beauty at which point we can all hold up our flowers, pause, and scroll through the screens to see our lives-perhaps-filled with a bit more beauty and grace.
This might also be the year when you decide to break out that celebratory Easter hat! Or your favorite Easter dress or suit-anything to help you embody the celebration a bit more given the circumstances. Use your imaginations and share in the prayers!
Jennifer wisely said at one point this week, “the Lord will still be resurrected on Easter even if we are not in the building.” She is so right! And that is cause for an Alleluia! To help all of us remember this essential piece of our faith, I’ve included links to two files below that contain different versions of Resurrection Butterflies that you can color, meditate on, and share-this week as we prepare for Easter, and as an “Alleluia” when we can finally worship together again.
You may know that butterflies are often thought of as symbols of the resurrection because they so visibly demonstrate for us the process of transformation and change: from something that appears constricted and lifeless comes something beautiful and free. Easter is about hope that is willing to wait in the darkness while it trusts in transformation.
While we wait together, I invite you to print out and color one (or both) of the images linked below. One is of a Resurrection Butterfly that can be printed on one page of paper. The other is the same image, designed to be printed mosaic-tile-style, on four pieces of paper and taped together into one larger poster – maybe each person in your household could color part of a butterfly! When you’re finished please send me a photo so we can share our Alleluias together. And bring them with you on our first Sunday back together again and we’ll make a display of our renewed and transformed lives together!
Director of Christian Formation
The sights and sounds of Easter morning will no doubt be different this year, but I hope these two things bring some extra joy to your day and the rest of your week! Here is a video clip of our opening hymn and collect from Easter 2019:
And for those playing along at home with Spotify, here is your Easter playlist!
Director of Music/Organist
Fr. Stuart’s online forum on prayer will be on a sabbath/study break April 13-17, spending time resting and reading, writing and collecting thoughts and images. The class will return on Monday, April 20 as we dig even deeper into the theme of “what does it mean to participate in the life of God?” and explore Thomas Keating’s God is All in All: The Evolution of the Contemplative Christian Spiritual Journey.
Grace Church typically honors all graduates from high school, college, and graduate school each spring. Although nothing is typical right now, we are still planning to produce our annual Graduate Recognition bulletin! The publication will be provided as a printable .pdf document link in one of the May issues of our email newsletter. High school graduates will also be recognized at a 10:45 AM worship service on a Sunday in the future when we are able to be together again in person!
If you will graduate (or have a child graduating) this spring/summer, please submit the online information form on or before Sunday, May 3. Information submitted after the deadline will not appear in the printable bulletin but high school graduates will still be recognized at church.
Grace parishioners – do you own or work for a company that has come up with creative solutions to continue to safely serve customers? We’d be happy to post that information on our new virtual community bulletin board. Send information to Jennifer Williams.
This post highlights some events and news pertinent to the upcoming week.