© Grace Episcopal Church. 2019

Ministries

Worship Ministries

The goal of the worship ministries is to guide and assist clergy in the celebration of the Mass and the Holy Eucharist and to guide parishioners and visitors in understanding the flow, function and purpose of every aspect of an Episcopal Church service. The hope is that as individuals learn of the role each ministry plays, they will gain a deeper appreciation for the importance of “service” – just as Jesus Christ came to serve, so we also come to serve at the altar of God.

The Adult Choir

 

The Grace Church Adult Choir is comprised of women and men who love to sing. It is not far off the mark to say that “as long as there has been a Grace Church, there has been a Grace Church Choir.” Currently, there are 11 choristers under the direction of Organist and Choirmaster, Donald Morton and Assistant Organist, Timothy Thomas. On occasion, the current choir voices are augmented with other voices/parts as necessary. 

 

The Choir leads the service in singing hymns which range from traditional 14th and 15th Century hymns to 21st Century church music. The principal books in use are the traditional Episcopal Church hymnal, The Hymnal 1982, and the African-American Episcopal Church hymnal, Lift Every Voice and Sing II. In addition to hymns, the Choir chants the Psalms in the Anglican Church tradition using The Anglican Chant Psalter. This tradition also involves canticles when part of the liturgy for a particular day; the Choir leads the responses during the sung Mass. On special occasions, the Choir in its entirety, in special grouping or individual members will render anthems or present other special musical offerings. 

 

The Choir sings every Sunday at the 10 am service (9 or 9:30 am on occasion) from Homecoming Sunday until the last Sunday in June of the following year. The Choir also sings at major services which do not take place on Sundays – these services include The Great Vigil of Easter (Saturday before Easter Day), The Midnight Mass Service (Evening of December 24) and at some funerals.

 

Choir rehearsal is on Tuesdays at 7 pm in the undercroft of the church. Other rehearsals, as needed, are called by the Choirmaster.

 

What is required to be a member of the Choir?

1.    A love for singing all the music – classical, gospel, contemporary, etc. – of the church.

2.    The discipline to attend rehearsals regularly.

3.    Punctuality.

 

For more information or to join the Choir, please contact the office.

 

 

The Acolytes Guild

 

Acolytes have a long history in the worship ministry, beginning around 250 A.D. This ministry originated from the Old Testament times, where scriptures tell us of the prophet Samuel assisting Eli the priest and of Elisha assisting Elijah. The word “acolyte” comes from the Greek word “akolouthos,” which means a servant or attendant who waits on another. 

When acolytes first assisted with the liturgy, they carried candles in processions, lighted candles on the altar and assisted with the Holy Eucharist. However, when one is called by God to serve as an acolyte, he or she is doing more than carrying a flame to the altar candles. Acolytes symbolically bring the light of Christ’s spirit into the worship service. 

Grace Church acolytes current serve as Crucifers, who carry the cross, or Torch Bearers, who carry the candles in the procession. Children who are at least 10 years of age and older are welcome to join the Acolytes Guild. Most acolytes serve at least one service per month and at special services during the Christmas and Easter seasons. 

 

“Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and delight.” – Psalm 43:4

 

For more information or to have your child participate in this ministry, please contact the office.

 

 

The Altar Guild

 

The purpose of the Altar Guild is to prepare the altar for worship, the Eucharist, daily services, weddings, funerals and other services as scheduled by the Rector of Grace Church. The work of the Guild encompasses ensuring the proper altar hangings are the proper liturgical color according to the church calendar and preparing the chalice, paten, purificators, corporal and burse for the Holy Eucharist. Following each service, Guild members are responsible for cleaning and setting up the elements for the next service. Additionally, the parish vestments and linens are properly cleaned and maintained by Guild members. 

 

For more information or to join this ministry, please contact the office.

 

 

The Lay Eucharistic Ministry

 

Lay Eucharistic Ministers perform two specific functions:

1.    Assist the Celebrant, usually the Rector, in the administration of the elements (the consecrated bread and wine) during the Holy Eucharist at Sunday services and other special services during the liturgical year – especially in the absence of a sufficient number of Priests or Deacons assisting the Celebrant. 

2.    Directly following a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, take and administer the consecrated Sacrament to members of the congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity, were unable to be present at the Mass.

 

Lay Eucharistic Visitors are a group of lay members of the church who, like Eucharistic Ministers, are trained and licensed by the Diocese of Long Island to visit sick and shut-in parishioners at hospitals or at their homes to administer the Sacrament. By definition, Eucharistic Ministers are also Eucharistic Visitors.

 

Qualifications

Those interested in becoming Eucharistic Ministers or Visitors must be at least 16 years of age and a member of Grace Church. No prior experience is required – only faith and a genuine interest in serving in this ministry.

 

Training 

Training sessions for Eucharistic Ministers and Visitors are conducted at The Mercer School of Theology – permission from the Rector of Grace Church is required to register for and attend these sessions. The Diocesan Bishop issues a license to those who successfully complete these sessions.

 

Scheduling

New Eucharistic Ministers are scheduled to serve on consecutive Sundays with experienced Ministers for at least one month (or until they become accustomed to their role in the service and the Holy Eucharist). Afterwards, Eucharistic Ministers are scheduled to serve at least once or twice a month at the service time of their choice. The schedule is created and distributed on a monthly basis; copies of the schedule are also posted in the Grace Church sacristy.

 

For more information or to join this ministry, please contact the office.

 

 

The Lay Readers Ministry

 

God’s Living Word is proclaimed to His people through those who are part of the Lay Readers Ministry. At Grace Church, Lay Readers volunteer and are scheduled to participate in the Mass by reading the lessons and prayers at Sunday services and on other special occasions, including Good Friday, The Great Vigil of Easter, Christmas Lessons and Carols and Kwanzaa (usually celebrated the Sunday after Christmas). The schedule is created and distributed on a monthly basis; copies of the schedule are also posted on the bulletin board located at the entrance of the church.

 

For more information or to join this ministry, please contact the office.

 

 

The Ushers Guild

 

The Ushers Guild is a group of volunteers whose mission is to warmly welcome and assist both visitors and parishioners into Grace Church while providing quiet, consistent support to ensure the seamless flow of each service. Usher responsibilities include: 

1.    Greeting parishioners at every service.

2.    Seating parishioners who arrive late to the service.

3.    Distributing service bulletins.

4.    Receiving and presenting the offertory.

5.    Guiding parishioners to and from the altar during communion.

6.    Clearing the sanctuary before and after each service.

7.    Addressing any needs that arise during the course of the service, as necessary.

 

For more information or to become an usher, please contact the office.

Discipleship Ministries

The goal of the discipleship ministries is to understand our role as Christians and followers of Jesus Christ. This involves studying God’s word, learning and following his commandments, receiving and meditation on Jesus’ teachings and pondering the acts of his disciples so that we also may be “fishers of men” and bring others to Christ.

The Sunday School

The mission of the Grace Church Sunday School is to make children aware of Jesus Christ and his love for Christians and humanity, at large.

 

It seeks to:

Engage children and help them understand the word of God, including the principles and values of what it means to be a Christian.

 

Ensure that every child will come to know Christ and develop a vibrant faith in Him.

 

Provide tools to enable children to demonstrate Christ’s love for humanity as they grow and experience God’s love for themselves.

 

Help children understand God’s purpose for them in their personal and social lives.

 

Teach children the importance of participating in the work and life of the Church.

 

Grace Church parishioners volunteer to teach Sunday School classes and prepare the children for participation in worship during Sunday services and on certain Feast Days and celebrations. The first Sunday of every month (with the exception of July, August and September) is designated as Youth Sunday; on these days, Sunday School children attend and fully participate in the Mass – ushering parishioners and visitors to seats, reading lessons, leading the congregation in prayer, receiving offertory collections, transporting the elements to the altar in preparation for the Holy Eucharist and assisting the ushers during communion.

 

Additionally, Sunday School children make special presentations to the congregation during Harvest (collecting canned foods and goods for Thanksgiving), Christmas (acting/participating in the Christmas Pageant) and Palm Sunday (participating in the Passion narrative) and Easter (singing traditional hymns to celebrate Jesus’ rise from the dead).

 

​The Sunday School meets weekly at 10 am (except for the first Sunday of every month) in the Grace Church Parish Hall from October through June. While the Sunday School conducts a formal enrollment period in September, parents are welcome to have their child participate in classes at any time. Parishioners are also welcome to volunteer to teach weekly classes.

 

For more information or to enroll your child, please contact the office.

Pastoral Care Ministries

The goal of the pastoral care ministries is to care for and assist individuals as they grow in their knowledge of God and mature in their relationship with Jesus Christ – thus equipping them to become effective servants in God’s Kingdom. Achieving these goals occurs through the work of the Holy Spirit by helping people appropriate His salvation and healing in all areas of their lives, allowing them to understand their true identity in Christ and encouraging them to integrate into and function in a redemptive manner within a grace-filled community.

The Anglican Fellowship of Prayer

The Grace Church chapter of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer (AFP) was established in 1954. The ministry currently consists of approximately 15 to 20 individuals who are committed to intercessory prayer and study of God’s word on a daily basis and meet weekly at Grace for fellowship and bible study. As part of a national prayer fellowship, the chapter follows and abides by the national network’s philosophy and practice.​

 

History

 

Anglican: The roots of AFP are within the Anglican Church. As Christians, we believe that a key element that holds Christian people together is prayer – not only in our corporate worship, but in our prayer life throughout the week, wherever we are. 

 

Fellowship: Praying together in fellowship enriches the lives of both the individual and the community of faith. In the 1940s and 1950s, Helen Shoemaker, wife of the Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, developed a ministry of group prayer at Calvary Episcopal Church in New York with the help of Polly Wiley. Mrs. Shoemaker continued the ministry when her husband was called to serve at Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh. Bishop Austin Pardue suggested the name “Anglican Fellowship of Prayer” for this ministry in 1958 and his friend, Bishop Cuthbert Bardsley of England, taught at one of the ministry’s first international conferences. Prayer groups, prayer retreats and conferences are all encouraged by the AFP, which has chapters in Canada, the United States and throughout the Caribbean.

 

Prayer: Prayer begins in the heart of God, and it has the power to change the word. This means that prayer is a vital business. However, most Christians, when honest, admit that prayer does not always come easily to them, especially at the beginning. Given the proper time and commitment, however, our relations with the Lord, as known to us through Jesus Christ, becomes closer than any human relationship through the power of prayer.

 

Mission

 

The AFP serves the church by encouraging, facilitating and promoting the understanding and discipline of prayer in the Anglican Communion. Although adoration and thanksgiving are the highest forms of prayer, most of us find a larger part of our prayer time spent in “asking prayers;” intercession and petition. Not only is intercession asking God to handle the difficulties of another but, more importantly, it is the placing of ourselves within God’s will to be a channel through which He can accomplish His purpose in the other person. It is also the offering of our imperfect love as the vehicle through which God can work His perfect love. Intercessory prayer is a major focus of the Grace Church chapter of the AFP.

 

Meetings and Events

The Grace Church chapter of the AFP meets weekly on Wednesdays from the third week of September through the last week of June for bible study, fellowship and intercessory prayer.

 

In addition to its weekly activities, the AFP sponsors several annual events:

 

Annual Parish Quiet Day: Held on the Wednesday of Holy Week, the entire parish and community are invited to spend this day in prayerful meditation and reflection under the guidance of a moderator.

 

Prayer Partner Network: Every quarter, prayer partners are selected among the congregation and the partners are encouraged to pray for one another.

 

​For more information or to join this ministry, please contact the office.

 

 

Cursillo

​Cursillo (pronounced Coor-see’-yo) is a world-wide movement which strives to penetrate and Christianize environments by building Christian communities in action.  Individuals who are involved in the movement have attended and actively participated in the weekend retreat during which one’s spirituality is developed and thereafter, may be lived and shared in any area of human life where there are Christians willing to dedicate their lives to God. 

The movement works to form a group of Christian leaders who can provide the backbone for Christian life in the world. It is designed to make it possible to live in union with Christ and with a desire to bring others to Christ. For a Cursillista (an individual who has experienced Cursillo), the “Fourth Day” after the retreat refers to the rest of his or her life during which he or she maintains contact with Christ through individual prayer, study and action. The community spirit continues long after the retreat through Ultreyas – reunions of the Cursillo community where Cursillistas are supported and encouraged to continue penetrating and Christianizing their environments. By resolution of the National Episcopal Cursillo Committee in October 1986, candidates for Cursillo must be members of the Episcopal Church.

 

 

Currently, there are over 20 Cursillistas at Grace Church who may be found preaching, teaching, caring, sharing and loving the Lord and singing His praises. Cursillistas aim to make a friend, be a friend and bring a friend to Christ. Rainbow Ultreyas meet in the Grace Church Parish Hall on the third Monday of January, April, July and October at 7:30 pm.

 

Visitors are welcome!

 

For more information or to become a Cursillista, please contact the office.

Outreach Ministries

The goal of the outreach ministries is to bring the Good News of God’s love, salvation and care for humanity into the surrounding towns, cities and communities. We are called to show all that we are Christians by our love for those who are less fortunate – both physically and spiritually – and are in need of prayer, healing, companionship, knowledge, resources, food and drink, clothing, shelter and other assistance. Through our outreach, we allow individuals to see the Holy Spirit working through us and therefore, are able to draw more people to Christ.

The Health and Wellness Ministry

The Health and Wellness Ministry of Grace Church is active and dedicated to connecting parishioners and community members to information and resources regarding health, wellness, nutrition, access to care and other topics which affect individuals in our surrounding communities.

 

Newsletter

 

In February 2017, the Ministry rolled out its inaugural newsletter featuring a brief summary on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Further newsletter volumes included highlights on Advanced Health Care Planning and Health Tips for Overseas Travelling. Newsletters are distributed to parishioners at Sunday services; copies are also available in the Parish Office.

 

 

Exercise and Fitness Program

 

In Spring 2017, Health and Wellness ministry members coordinated a fitness program, facilitated by professional exercise trainers, for parishioners and residents of Grace Houses. Subsequently, the Ministry has promoted NYCDOHMH-sponsored health promotion train-the-trainer programs and invited and encouraged parishioners and community members to participate. As a result of these programs, Grace Church parishioners were certified as Mental Health First Aid volunteers and as exercise fitness trainers. The Ministry intends to continue the fitness program with its in-house exercise trainers and encourages parishioners to get involved as research has shown that regular exercise is proven to prevent memory loss, unsteady gait and falls while improving muscle strength, endurance, heart and lung health and the ability to have a good, quality sleep. Gym equipment including balance balls, fitness mats, resistance bands, free weights and an exercise bike have been acquired to support this initiative.

 

 

Community Outreach

 

On August 5, 2017, ministry members collaborated with the Queens County Faith-based Advisory Group, sponsored by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NCYDOHMH), to provide a health promotion outreach kiosk at the Jamaica Arts and Music Summer (JAMS) Festival. Health practitioners provided blood pressure screenings and distributed health education information to 550 festival participants and distributed 800 bottles of water, 1,000 $2 Health Bucks vouchers (to purchase freshly harvested fruits and vegetables at the local farmers’ market) and dozens of children’s books donated by a grace parishoners. On September 23, 2017, members gathered once again to conduct a similar health promotion outreach at the Sutphin Boulevard Harvest Festival. In addition to these activities and events, the Ministry supports and frequently advertises opportunities to learn CPR and obtain a CPR certification; these courses are open to both parishioners and community members. The Ministry intends to continue its support of similar events in the future.

 

For more information, to join the Ministry or to participate in the Exercise and Fitness Program, please contact the office.

 

Soup Kitchen

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me

something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in.” – Matthew 25:35

 

​The mission of the Grace Church Soup Kiting is to feed the hungry by providing a weekly hot, nutritious meal to whoever will come. The Soup Kitchen aims to serve struggling families, the poor, the homeless, the addicted and the afflicted. The hope is that the community and those who benefit from this ministry will recognize the love of Christ through the generosity of our volunteers.

 

​The Soup Kitchen was founded in September 1991 when Mrs. Phillis Ellis, Mr. Reginald Richards and other concerned parishioners observed that people in their own community were going hungry. Originally, the ministry was a joint venture with First Reform Church, First Presbyterian Church and Presentation Catholic Church, but the group subsequently separated as demand for the service increased. Only one meal was served on the day the Soup Kitchen began at the Memorial House (Parish Hall). Today, over 180 meals per week are served on Tuesdays. In addition, special meals are served on holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

​The Soup Kitchen relies completely upon donations of food and money from parishioners, private citizens, other churches and businesses; it receives no assistance from governmental agencies. Every cent the Soup Kitchen receives goes toward feeding the hungry, ministering to the needy or to helping maintain the facility from which the ministry operates. The kitchen is staffed with numerous volunteers consisting of parishioners, members of the Police Explorers, students from local high schools and friends of Grace Church members.

 

For more information, to donate to this ministry or to become a volunteer, please contact the office.