Grace Church
in New York

This Week at Grace

This Week’s Services

Wednesday, June 20

6pm Holy Eucharist in the Chantry
Sermon: The Rev. Chase Danford

Sunday, June 24
The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

9am Holy Eucharist
Sermon: The Rev. J. Donald Waring
Music: The Parish Choir

11am Holy Eucharist
Sermon: The Rev. J. Donald Waring
Music: Melissa Kelley, soprano, soloist

6pm Holy Eucharist
Sermon: The Rev. J. Donald Waring
Music: Hymns with Instrumentalists

June 19 – Newcomer Cookout

Calling all Grace Church newcomers! On Tuesday, June 19 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, we will host a festive celebration to welcome you. The evening will be held in Seymour Close (the courtyard off Tuttle Hall), and will be full of delicious grilled faire and fellowship. We hope to see you there! Please contact the Rev. Martha Korienek for more information or to RSVP.

June 21, July 12 – 20s/30s Pub Theology

Young adults and guests are invited for fellowship and theological conversation on Thursday, June 21 and Thursday, July 12 from 7-8:30 pm at Peculier Pub at 145 Bleecker St. On June 21, we’ll discuss book 4 of Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, and on July 12, we’ll discuss Soren Kierkegaard’s “Preparation for a Christian Life.” To RSVP, email the Rev. Chase Danford.

June 24 – Newcomers’ Class

New people to Grace are warmly invited to our Newcomers Class. The class is Sunday, June 24th in the reception room at 12:30pm.  Each session will discuss how to become a member of Grace, as well as this session we will be talking about Church History.  We recommend that you attend at least three classes throughout the year, as a way to get acquainted with the clergy, with other new members, and to grow in your faith.  Lunch will be provided, so please RSVP to Martha.

Bach at Noon – Summer Series on Wednesdays

Thirty-minute meditations celebrating the organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Every Wednesday through Sept 5, at 12:20 pm, in the Church, subject to special services. Free admission. Further information please call 212-254-2000/6. More information on the music program here.

News from The Rector

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dear Friends,

Happy summer! We have arrived at the blessed time of year when school is out (or soon to be), the pace of life slows down a bit, and hopefully we all find opportunities to relax, refresh, and recharge ourselves.  Here at Grace Church, we begin summer hours today.  On Fridays the parish office closes at 1 pm, and the church itself at 3 pm.  Also, today’s Epistle will be the last “Weekly” that you will receive until September.  The next editions coming your way will be monthlies in July and August.

On Sundays our worship schedule continues unabated, but you’ll notice some changes for the season, particularly at 11 am. First, the choristers are on break for the summer, so we won’t see or hear them in the choir stalls until September.  In their place various members of the professional adult choir will offer solos, and the congregation will be trying a new form of Psalm singing called Simplified Anglican Chant.  Second, the 11 am liturgy itself will shift to the Holy Eucharist every Sunday for the summer months.  Morning Prayer will return in September with the choristers on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Sundays of the month.

Some of you may be wondering why we are shifting to the Eucharist for our summer 11 am services. In what follows, allow me to sketch four purely practical reasons for the change.  I will leave the theological debates for another day.

  1. The Eucharist is what the wider church expects. Morning Prayer is beautifully suited for Grace Church during the academic year because the chorister program brings many interfaith and non-Christian households into our fellowship. Never in the service are these folks left behind while the baptized go to the altar to receive. But the truth is, the choir families are largely not here during the summer. At the same time, New York City is full of tourists, some of whom may be looking for a church to attend. Granted, the universe of visiting, church-shopping Episcopalians is not huge, but whoever they are, they are looking for the Eucharist, not Morning Prayer. In the 14 years I have been here as the Rector, never once have I had a tourist thank me for not offering the Eucharist. But many times have visitors expressed disappointment that we did not.
  2. The Eucharist is more “user-friendly.” For those of us who attend worship frequently throughout the year, the canticles of Morning Prayer get into our bones and we sing them. But even for the initiated, they can be a challenge without a choir leading us. For those who have never heard the canticles (sadly, most people outside our doors), they can be an insurmountable barrier to participation. Music for the Eucharist, on the other hand, consists largely of hymn, and our aim for the summer is to keep them familiar.
  3. We need practice! Offering the Eucharist at 11 am comes with a different and more active set of requirements for the altar guild, ushers, acolytes, and even clergy. When it occurs only once or twice per month, we all tend to have a deer-caught-in-the-headlight moment. We have recently recruited ten new ushers to our corps, not all of whom will serve every Sunday (of course). So these summer Sundays can be a time of rehearsal and practice so that come the high feast days on the liturgical calendar, we are ready.
  4. The “bread” narratives. The Scripture readings we hear on Sundays come from the lectionary in the back of the Book of Common Prayer. The lectionary runs on a three-year cycle: Years A, B, and C.   Currently we are in Year B, and from late July through the end of August, the Gospel readings focus on Jesus as the bread of life. The momentum set in motion by these readings is that Jesus will be offered to us in Word and Sacrament. Not offering the Eucharist interrupts this momentum, and creates a conundrum for the preacher. When it is offered, the preacher who proclaims Jesus as the bread of life can also say, “let us now taste and see how gracious the Lord is.”

Allow me to say again that these changes are for the summer only. Morning Prayer at 11 am is an honored tradition at Grace Church that makes good practical and theological sense during the academic year.  It will return in September.  For the summer, let’s enjoy the slower pace and something different.

See you in church.

The Rev. J. Donald Waring

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New York, NY 10003


An Episcopal Church in the Diocese of New York