24 AUG 2016
This Week at Grace

Transforming Hostility into Hospitality

Dear Grace,

What a wonderful Sunday we shared with one another and with the staff and families of Global Ministries. Thank you for inspired worship, a delicious and hospitable lunch in the new "living room," and for sharing stories as we ate together and toured the renovated back building. I'm excited to see the ways our partnership will continue to bear fruit for relationships and ministry, both locally and globally.

Our theme for worship this week is "A Place for Hospitality" and I believe Grace is one of the most hospitable church communities around. As we move towards worshipping together on Sunday, I invite you to meditate on these reflections from Catholic theologian, spiritual writer, and prophet, Henri Nouwen:

Our society seems to be increasingly full of fearful, defensive, aggressive people anxiously clinging to their property and inclined to look at their surrounding world with suspicion, always expecting an enemy to suddenly appear, intrude and do harm. But still - that is our vocation: to convert the hostis into a hospes, the enemy into a guest and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.

... if there is any concept worth restoring to its original depth and evocative potential it is the concept of hospitality. It is one of the richest biblical terms that can deepen and broaden our insight in our relationships to our fellow human beings. Old and New Testament stories not only show how serious our obligation is to welcome the stranger in our home, but they also tell us that guests are carrying precious gifts with them, which they are eager to reveal to a receptive host ... When hostility is converted into hospitality then fearful strangers can become guests revealing to their hosts the promise they are carrying with them. Then, in fact, the distinction between host and guest proves to be artificial and evaporates in the recognition of the new found unity.

Hospitality, therefore, means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy.

- Henri Nouwen in the chapter "Creating Space for Strangers" in Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

I'm grateful to pastor a church that welcomes the stranger, makes space for guests, and opens safe territory for openness with one another and God. What can we do better? How can we share this Spirit of hospitality with a hostile world? Pray with me about these questions and I look forward to exploring them together.

See you for worship on Sunday and think about who you can bring with you!

Grace and peace,


The Vision at Grace
To feed our surrounding community, spiritually and physically, while reaching outward with God's love and intentionally welcoming all in the name of Christ.


Calendar of Events

TONIGHT - Wed., August 24
Women's Group (Bible study and fellowship), 7pm, Calissa's home

Thursday, September 1
Grace Reads, 7pm, Starbucks in Whole Foods Ponce Plaza

Monday, September 5
Grace office is closed for the Labor Day Holiday.

Thursday, September 8
Church Council Meeting, 6:30pm, Grace Cafe

Tuesday, September 13
Needles & Prayers, 7pm

Wednesday, September 14
Women's Group (Bible study and fellowship), 7pm, Calissa's home

Tuesday, September 27
Needles & Prayers, 7pm

Event Spotlight

September 25th, 11am
Piedmont Park

How can YOU volunteer?

As in years past, Grace UMC will host a Blessing of the Animals this fall. This year, the pet blessing and worship service will take place on Sunday, September 25th at 11am in Piedmont Park. (the entrance near 10th St. and Charles Allen Dr.) In order to make sure that we have the people power to make this event a success, we're trying something new.

We've created a sign-up form where church members can volunteer where they feel led to contribute. You can access that form here.We need to fillour necessary volunteer slots by September 1st to ensure that we'll be able to host the pet blessing. So, if you're eyeing a particular job, go for it! We look forward to worshipping with your furry and feathered friends!

Congregational Care
Recovering at home: Shawn Stephens

Sharing Our Gifts
Give to Grace. Safe, secure, one-time or recurring, tax-deductible giving is available by visiting www.graceonponce.org/donate or by scanning the below QR code.

Your gifts make a difference in the lives of our church and community.

And remember that Grace's financial documents are open and available. Simply email our financial assistant, Nora Harris (nharris@graceonponce.org) with any questions you may have.

Thank you for your faithful support of the work that God is doing through Grace Church!

458 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

Stay In Touch

Like us on Facebook