inclusion       service        discovery        gratitude

Grace Happens... be  ready!

There's a Reason We're Here!|  

June 30, 2010

 Dear Friends and Family of Grace:

We are writing to invite you to participate in a shared conversation about Purpose and Focus for the community of Grace.  The point of departure for these discussions is the draft of our work which is enclosed with this letter.

 In the month of July there will be four facilitated conversation sessions, led by Julie Shryock, in which we are asking members of the Grace community to share their reflections on the work we have done.  Based on the outcome of these sessions, we will revise or refine the material you find enclosed with this letter.  Once finalized, we will use this as we make decisions that allocate time and money, and as we decide which new initiatives Grace will pursue.

 We want to ensure that all in the Grace community have a chance to contribute and shape the final outcome of this effort.  The conversation sessions to do this will be held on the following dates, in Walker Hall:

 Session 1/Thursday, July 8                             7-8:30pm                         Past BC members

Session 2/Friday, July 9                                   10-11:30am                       Open to all

Session 3/Wednesday, July 14                     7-8:30pm                         Men of Grace

Session 4/Thursday, July 15                           7-8:30pm                         Open to all


 On Sunday, May 23, those of us who currently serve on the Bishop's Committee, charged with doing the "Trustee" work of Grace, met to tackle some important questions.  It's been four years since this kind of work was last done, and we felt that this was the right time to re-assess where we are currently and where we feel called to go over the next few years. 

 Grace continues to grow, in both numbers and depth, and we feel the need to respond to that growth with forethought and even some wisdom.  So we decided to frame this work with the following questions:  What is the core purpose that makes Grace unique?  How should we focus our efforts for the next few years?

 We felt it was important to carve out a substantial amount of time so these questions could be pondered and discussed, and we hoped we would be able to agree on some tentative answers to these questions.   Our goal was to come up with something tangible that could be taken to the community of Grace, and to finalize our work after we received input and refinement from a broad cross-section of people at Grace.

With a blessing by the Grace community during that Sunday's worship, we began our task.  We had each been asked, in advance, to focus on these questions:

 "What makes Grace unique?"

"As we move forward, what are we called to do?"

 Through conversations and exercises facilitated by Marilyn Price-Mitchell and Gerry Porter, we were able to agree on three areas of focus for the work of Grace.   The following three areas of focus are further described in the enclosed material:

 Faith and Spirit ~ Children and Youth ~ Compassion and Justice

 Subsequent to the retreat, we did some additional work and developed a draft purpose statement for Grace:

"We feed souls and openly share blessing!"

 We have integrated this new work with our defining four "principles of faith" - Inclusion, Service, Discovery, and Gratitude - which remain unchanged.

 Now we are seeking broader input and help.  We believe that this statement of purpose, along with our three areas of focus and our principles of faith, can provide us with both a strategic and a spiritual compass as we plan for the days and years ahead.  We think we can use these directives to set budget priorities and shape program growth.  However, we firmly believe that we should not step further in that direction without input from others.  We may need refinement or correction. 

 And so, we want to invite the Grace community into some shared conversation.  We hope you can join in!  

 If you can participate in one of these sessions, please reply by email to Julie Shryock at: If you have comments or questions please contact Don Warkentin at:


The Bishop's Committee:

John Waldo

Don Warkentin

Rhonda Manville

Judy Cozine

Ted Cozine

Jay Mitchell

Mark Kruse

Petra Velie

Dallas Young

                Lynette Baisch

Our Purpose
                 We feed souls and openly share blessing!
Our Focus

Grace is home to many opportunities, experiences and programs, and we strive to focus our efforts in three areas that are deeply rooted in the DNA of the community of Grace:

Faith & Spirit, Children & Youth and Compassion & Justice.

Faith and Spirit

We focus on deepening faith and spirit through transformative experiences. We put emphasis on our worship and liturgy, our Soul School offerings, and anything that fosters the spirit-filled moments that come when we share our stories and see God in the faces of others.

As we move forward, we will increase opportunities that help us take our faith into the world - as individuals and as the community of Grace.

Children and Youth
We focus on children and youth by cherishing and welcoming the young people of our community, and by providing them with the space and culture they need to experience the possibilities of faith and spirit in their own lives. We provide them with stories to live by and living examples to follow.

As we move forward, we will help children and youth experience appropriate rites of passage, and we will help them build hearts of compassion and justice through service and experience in the world.

Compassion and Justice
We focus on personal compassion as well as social and environmental justice, both within the Grace community and in the world. We care for each other when there is need, and we give 10% of our parish income to others in need.

As we move forward, we will encourage lay participation in pastoral care, and we will seek to increase the impact of our Outreach efforts by taking a major role in projects that match Grace dollars with the hands-on involvement of the Grace community.

Our Principles of Faith

Grace is a community united by a belief in God's grace, and a shared commitment to four principles of faith:

 Inclusion, Service, Discovery, Gratitude.


We believe that God values and unconditionally loves all people. With Jesus Christ as our model and teacher, we strive together to create an inclusive community. We value and unconditionally welcome all who wish to share our table.


We believe in a shared ministry in which clergy and laity serve and lead together. We look on our church community as extended family, and we accept the responsibility and welcome the privilege of sharing our gifts, resources and lives with each other, our larger community, and the world.


We believe in a living faith. We are willing to try new things and consider new thoughts to keep our traditions alive and vital. We want to strengthen our relationship to God, both as individuals and as a community. We embrace the challenge of inevitable change, understanding that our growth may not be easy, but trusting and remaining open to God's future for us.


We believe in the fundamental goodness of Creation and the original blessing of life. With a grateful heart, we commit ourselves to praising God, to conserving the natural world, and to experiencing the beauty and simplicity of Creation through our Grace community and our daily relationships.

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