Virtual services are held on Sundays at 8:15 and 10:45 AM and every weeknight at 8:00 PM. Please visit our Grace@Home page for links and to see all the ways we are staying connected to one another, to Grace, and to God!
422 Brenau Avenue, Gainesville, GA 30501
Work continues on the Sanctuary Plaza and the concrete sit wall was poured this past Tuesday. The formwork should be able to be removed by Monday at the latest. WLA Studio reports that, with the wall complete, the balance of the work should go quickly!
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 a May issue of our email newsletter. We hope to recognize 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.
Another great week for music…once again a set of readings that offer endless possibilities for music. There is an extremely vast body of art and music that deals with images of the Good Shepherd/Sheep/The Lamb/etc. Two main texts that come to mind are obviously Psalm 23, but also the “Agnus Dei” text links so well with our reading from 1 Peter: “O Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world…”. I started this playlist with three settings of Psalm 23, the first you have heard many times at Grace, the second is hopefully also somewhat familiar, and the third setting is one of my personal favorites. Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms is an extended three movement choral work that sets multiple psalm texts in their original Hebrew. Movement two features Psalm 23 with a dramatic interruption of a segment of Psalm 2 and provides one of the most hauntingly beautiful melodies of 20th Century American choral repertoire.
Next we turn to three settings of the Agnus Dei, words we typically observe every week as part of our service. The texts of the Mass “Ordinary” and the texts of a Requiem Mass are probably the most commonly set texts to music, so options for an Agnus Dei really are endless! Hopefully these three provide some good variety. A brief nod to Palestrina’s setting of the Easter “Victimae paschali laudes” text: “Let Christians offer sacrificial praises to the Passover victim. The lamb has redeemed the sheep: The Innocent Christ has reconciled the sinners to the Father…” Sticking with this 1 Peter reading, three movements from Handel’s Messiah. Handel’s libretto, quotes Isaiah 53:5-7 for these three movements, but I can’t hear this reading from 1 Peter without my brain singing Handel! To close the list, I’ve included a spiritual followed by a familiar return to Psalm 23. Click here for the playlist.
Director of Music/Organist
P.S. for those wanting to explore more Bach cantatas…check out Cantata 175 “Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen,” “He calls His sheep by name.”
EfM will begin on Tuesday, September 1 (tentatively). The seminar group will meet from 6:30-9:00 PM at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Oakwood. The cost for this year is $375.00.
What is EfM?
Education for Ministry is a program created by Sewanee: University of the South; School of Theology. It takes 4 years (can be non-consecutive) and each year is 36 weeks. The group usually starts in September and ends early to mid May. As an adult learner, you decide how much work to put into it and what you want to get out of it. It can take at least 2-4 hours each week to read and complete the work. If you like to take your time and explore – count on more time. If you are a fast reader – it could take less. It all depends on YOU. At the end of the year, you aren’t graded.
What does EfM Look Like?
The seminar group is the nucleus of the Education for Ministry program. A group consists of six to twelve participants and a trained mentor who meet weekly over the course of a nine-month academic year. These meetings are usually from two and a half to three hours in length.
Through study, prayer, and reflection, EfM groups move toward a new understanding of the fullness of God’s kingdom. This process can be illustrated by a two-rail fence. One rail is the Christian tradition. The other is the collective experience of the group’s members. The rails are linked by fence posts which represent the seminar sessions where life and study meet. The fence is grounded in the soil of regular worship which is vital to the life of the group.
Participants are given weekly assignments to study with the help of resource guides and are responsible for setting their own learning goals. They spend between two and four hours in study and preparation each week. In the seminars members have an opportunity to share their insights and discoveries as well as to discuss questions which the study materials raise for them.
Through discussion and guided reflection, the seminars furnish an opportunity to deepen understanding of the reading materials.
More important is the development of skills in theological reflection. The goal is to learn to think theologically. By examining their own beliefs and their relationship to our culture and the tradition of our Christian faith, participants can learn what it means to be effective ministers in the world. In coming to terms with the notion that everything we do has potential for manifesting the love of Christ, we discover that our ministry is at hand wherever we turn.
The seminar is supported by a life of prayer and regular worship. EfM groups are encouraged to develop a pattern of worship appropriate to their situations. Liturgical materials are furnished with the course materials.
What does all that hard work get you?
Over the course of 4 years, you will read the Bible (Year 1 – Hebrew Bible, Year 2 – New Testament) and study Western and Eastern church history (Year 3) and ethics, worship, spirituality, and interfaith encounter (Year 4). You will also learn a process of theological reflection that can help you go deeper into your understanding, your own life experiences, and differing cultural and social contexts. This kind of reflecting is important in shaping a life attuned to listening for and responding to God’s call.
If you are interested please contact Jenny Massey, mentor of EfM. We can talk on the phone, or set up a Zoom Meeting. Registration forms need to be completed no later than July 15. Also, please feel free to discuss your interest with our clergy. They have a great perspective and, in the past, have given prospective students a “taste” of what it is like. Their input is greatly appreciated.
This post highlights some events and news pertinent to the upcoming week.