eGraceNotes from Grace Church
News for and about Grace Episcopal Church
April 10, 2009
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Dear Friend,

As I write this late on Maundy Thursday, the altar has been stripped and the church made bare. It will remain that way for the Community Good Friday Service, and then will burst into bloom and color for our Easter celebration. 

Join us for the life-giving drama of Good Friday and Easter. See schedules below.

In This Issue ...
Grace Church Fish Fry TODAY (Good Friday)
Holy Week Services at Grace
Let's Fill Grace Church Easter Sunday
Coming Events
Keep in Your Prayers
Members & Friends on the Future of Grace
Tammy Robertson on "What Grace Means to Me"
Fr. John Bower on the Future of Grace
One Way to Invite People to Grace
"Building Bridges" Facilitates Dialogue
Living in the Mind of Christ
Worship Leader Training
Paint the Sanctuary Work Party April 14 & 15
Muslim Standup Comics?
Grace Church Fish Fry TODAY (Good Friday)
You don't have to cook supper today.  Just drop by Grace between 5 and 7 pm for a great fish dinner.

Dinner consisits of whiting fish, fish sticks, macaroni & cheese ,green beans, cole slaw, applesauce, tossed salad, French fries, rolls and soft drinks. The cost is only $5 for adults and $2.50 for kids 1-11 years old. Desserts (cake, pie, cookies) are $1. A special discount is offered to our members with large families.
Carry out is available, call 513-542-2941 to pre-order.

Thanks to Virginia Chapel for making this happen.
Holy Week Services

Good Friday at GraceGood Friday from noon to 3 pm at Grace. The College Hill Ministerium will again sponsor an ecumenical Community Good Friday Service from noon to 3 pm. Representatives from several College Hill churches will participate, preaching on the seven last words of Christ.

If past experience is any guide, this will be an inspiring service, with a variety of worship and preaching styles. See pictures of previous Community Good Friday services here.

Deanery Easter Vigil

Deanery Easter Vigil
Saturday evening at 7:30 pm at St. James in Westwood. This, the first service of Easter, is a powerful drama, going from preparation in quiet darkness to a light-filled Eucharist celebration. See pictures of this Deanery service when it was held at Grace here.

Easter Lilies

Easter Sunday
at 10 am at Grace. Bring your friends, neighbors, family and people you meet on the street to a celebrative Easter service. Alleluias return, as in "Alleluia, Christ is Risen!  The Lord is risen indeed!"
East Window at GraceLet's Fill Grace Church Easter Sunday

At the recent congregational meeting ago, several people suggested that it's time to ask our friends, neighbors, family--anybody!--to visit Grace Church.

Since Easter is a time when people are thinking about church, this would be a good time to invite them to Grace.

Let's fill Grace for Easter Sunday!
Coming Events

Grace Church Calendar

See the Grace Calendar Page for the most up-to-date listing of events at Grace and of possible interest to Grace people.  Let us know at if we've missed anything.

Coming Special Events:
  • Stir the Pot Series:
  • Do Not Go Gentle, Sunday, April 26. A film about the power of imagination and aging.  The filmmaker will be with us.
  • Traces of the Trade, Sunday, May 17. In this film A Story from the Deep North,  filmmaker Katrina Browne discovers that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history.  This event is being co-sponsored by Ascension and Holy Trinity Church, Wyoming.
Keep in Your Prayers ... 

Prayer Requests
Eloise Pinto, Ruth Bertram, Joyce Markham; Mrs. Matthews; Judy Handy, Shelly Martin, Barbara Todd; Kim Martin, Robb Martin; Florence and Bob Poyer; Dean Bryeans, Mary Hall, Chris; Irene Bryeans; Joshua, Caleb, Anne, and Darryl Handy; Marcus Flemister; Kim Herrmann, Al Berghausen; Teri; Mary Lou Bellows; Jackie Lewis.

Please let us know if you need pastoral care or know of someone who does. This includes information about illness, hospital stays, requests for visits, communion, and prayers for special concerns. Please help us to serve you.
Members & Friends on the Future of Grace

At the congregational meeting, many of those present spoke with some passion about their love of the Grace community and about their hopes for its future.

Your editor has been asking those who spoke, and those who didn't speak, and those who weren't there, to share their thoughts about the future of Grace in writing. Some have responded already, and their thoughts are in the following articles.

If you haven't written yet, please do it now. Click and share your thoughts. We'll edit and print them in future issues of eGraceNotes.
Tammy Robertson on "What Grace Means to Me"

Tammy Robertson & Lisa PerryGrace has become like a second family for Lisa and me, accepting us for who we are and for what talents we are able to contribute.

Like most families, Grace is not perfect. Thank goodness not! We accept and love everyone at Grace church for being exactly who they are and what they contribute to Grace's whole.

What a warm place! I'm not speaking of temperature inside; I am talking about genuine spiritual human warmth.

We consider ourselves so lucky to have found Grace Church, We will continue to attend come what changes may occur.

May we continue to listen and grow in whatever direction God wants.


Fr. John Bower on the Future of Grace

John BowerFather John Bower, the interim priest who preceded Vicar Ernestein,  responds to last week's articles about the future of Grace Church:

Ernestein had indeed been a great blessing to Grace Church, and much progress has taken place during her time with the community. The current time is a very difficult one in which to contemplate "hanging on, " much less going forward. But the folks at Grace Church have a huge amount of heart and hope, and we can trust that God will use that in very significant ways. I can see that growth has taken place in attendance in the past couple of years, as well as growth in the life of Jesus among the people of Grace.
I hope that the nave is full on Easter, and I am very sorry that I will be supplying that Sunday at a congregation which as yet has no assigned priest. Otherwise Louise and I would be with you then.
A blessed Holy Week to you and all of God's beautiful people there, and a most joyous celebration of Christ's Resurrection. That resurrected life will manifest itself at Grace Church now and in the time to come.
Peace and love,
Fr. John
One Way to Invite People to Grace

Inviting people to visit Grace Church isn't something that comes naturally to some of us.  Getting clear on what it is about Grace that is really important to him helped your editor take the next step: telling others about Grace. Earlier this week, he emailed the following to his neighbors on Hillcrest and adjacent streets. He shares this in hopes that it will give you some ideas on wording your own invitations, whether via mail or in person.

Dear Neighbors,
If you are thinking about going to church Easter Sunday but don't have any particular place you're planning to go, I'd like to invite you to simply walk down the street and join Carol & me at Grace Episcopal Church this Sunday at 10 am.
I'm not sure if Grace would be your cup of tea, so let me tell you why it's mine: 
  1. Grace's liturgy, albeit in modern English, is clearly rooted in 2000 years of Christian tradition. It was strange to me at first (I was raised Methodist), but the combination of liturgy and the architecture created a sense of awe and mystery then, and now, after over 30 years, it still inspires me.

  2. The community of people at Grace represents, to me, what God's people should look like--all sorts of people worshipping and working together in significant roles: men and women, blacks & whites, gays & straights, US-born and immigrants, representing a full range of religious (or non-religious) upbringing. If you come, you will be welcomed to join as fully as you want in our worship.
As it happens, I'm the Grace webmaster and also the Grace eNewsletter editor, so if you'd like to know more, I'm happy to point you to Grace's website, and to the eGraceNotes page Of course, if you have questions, I'm happy to try to answer them in person or via email as well.
Your Hillcrest neighbor,
"Building Bridges" Facilitates Dialogue

The College Hill Ministerium, consisting of clergy from many of the churches serving the College Hill area, is resuming the "Building Bridges" series of inter-racial dinner dialogues, starting next Tuesday, April 14. The current series will run for five consecutive weeks. The "Building Bridges" series is the Ministerium's response to concerns about divisions across racial lines that exist in our community.  Read on for details about this important initiative.

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of  brotherhood."
--The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther. King
These words were delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial  on August 28, 1963.  Since then, separation laws have been struck down.  Workplaces and marketplaces have been transformed into a kaleidoscope of peoples and cultures.  And yet, in many areas of American life there is still a divide.  In social life, in worship and community involvement we tend to stay within our comfort zones, with our knowledge of other peoples and cultures remaining superficial. 
What is Building Bridges?
Building Bridges gathers people of different races and ages together for a meal and conversation.  At tables of eight, with a facilitator, people experience an evening of directed conversation lead by the Bridges' moderator.  Each dinner meeting will run from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

The conversations help to:
  • Promote genuine and substantive interaction across a broad spectrum of College Hill & North College Hill area community members,
  • Increase awareness and understanding of racial issues that continue to linger,
  • Provide on-going public dialogue that inspires action on challenging and divisive issues.
  • Demonstrate our unity in Jesus Christ.
Who May Attend?
We invite anyone to attend 13 years-old or above.  We want to provide for all generations to benefit and participate. If you are an adult, bring a teenager with you.  If you are a teenager, bring an adult.

We are hoping that during this five weeks people will commit to attending each dinner.  We feel that it will give continuity to the conversations if the same people are present.  HOWEVER, folks are not able to make them all, people should come to those they can. 
Upcoming Events & Locations
April 14, 2009:     Hilltop United Methodist Church
1930 W. Galbraith Road, North College Hill
April 21, 2009:    College Hill Presbyterian Church
5742 Hamilton Avenue, College Hill
April 28, 2009:     First United Church of Christ
5808 Glenview Avenue, College Hill
May 5, 2009:      Grace Episcopal Church
5501 Hamilton Avenue, College Hill
May 12, 2009:     First Bapt. Church of West College Hill
6210 Betts Avenue, West College Hill
(to be hosted at College Hill Presbyterian Church)
Want to reserve a seat?  Contact Janis McLemore (, 513-541-5676, ext. 122).
Living in the Mind of Christ

The Reverend Ernestein FlemisterIn last Sunday's sermon, Vicar Ernestein said,

[Jesus] did not use [the fact that he was God] to get out of God's purpose for him. Instead, he emptied himself--he got rid of his own desires and ambitions--and allowed the will and purpose of God to fill and rule his life. He exchanged his Godly form and took on human form; a slave. He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death. Not just any death; but the shameful, ignominious death on the cross.
This blows me away. It amazes me, and it humbles me.


In his letter to the Philippians, Paul exhorts them to "let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus." Paul exhortation and challenge is also for us. Our response to God's amazing love and Jesus[' obedience is to live with the mind of Christ.

In order to do that we have to know and understand the mind of Christ. To do that we need to move from the realm of intellectual knowledge to an intimacy that only comes from being in relationship with Christ Jesus. We have to know Christ not only on an intellectual level but at the gut level. We have to get down in the dirt and mess of life with Christ. We have to go through the storm, anger, hurt, despair and death with the certainty that Christ is always present with us. We have to be real and practice our faith. To know Christ is to follow his example.


What is our response at Grace? How do we exhibit the mind of Christ? How do we live and support relationships that encourage the community to live with the mind of Christ at Grace?
Here are some of my suggestions; this is not an exhaustive list, more can be added.
  • We can pray for each other.
  • We can honor, respect and affirm each other and our differences.
  • We can speak truthfully and honestly with each other.
  • We can listen with an open mind to ideas that may be different than our own to problem solve.
  • We can avoid hidden agendas.
  • We can seek the good of the community. 
Christ disregarded his status as God. He emptied himself. He willingly allowed himself to become human and a slave and he was obedient to God's plan for his life. 

Can we join together to live cruciform lives in the manner of Christ, vulnerable, exposed and open to the will and desires of God? Can we accept Paul's challenge and live with the mind of Christ here at Grace?

Read the full text here.
Worship Leader Training 

A diocesan workshop for training and continuing education of Worship Leaders is being offered on Saturday, May 16 from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at St. James, Zanesville. The purpose of this training is to equip lay persons to plan and officiate at major liturgies in their congregations when a priest is not available.  This workshop will provide the necessary training to be licensed as a Worship Leader with the recommendation of the priest or Rector. Instruction in the use of the prayer book and liturgies of the church will be offered. Morning Prayer, funerals and wedding planning will be discussed. Teaching on choosing hymns and suggested resources for music will be presented. The day will conclude with an instructed Eucharist.

The cost of the workshop is $10 which includes lunch. Register and pay online by May 10. Checks may also be mailed to Kay Sturm at the Bishop's Center, 125 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215. For more information, contact Kay Sturm at 800-582-1712 ext 136 or
Work Party April to Paint the Sanctuary in Easter Week

Work days are planned for April 14 & 15 at which time we will begin repainting the sanctuary.  If you are a careful painter and can help, let Belinda Perna or Charles Bowles know.
Muslim Standup Comics?
Allah Made Me Funny
Grace Staples wrote from her winter retreat in Florida to bring to our attention an upcoming movie and dialogue event at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati in West Chester on Sunday, April 19, at 6 pm. The movie features three Muslim comics, and, based on your editor's viewing of this preview of the comics in action, looks to be pretty funny, if a bit edgy. Grace proposes that this could be an interesting "road trip" for Grace Church folks. She has now returned home, just in time for Easter and to go with us to this event.

Allah Made Me Funny is a groundbreaking comedy feature film that follows three acclaimed Muslim comedians on stage and off as they lift the veil to reveal the humorous truth of what it's really like to be Muslim in America.  Mo Amer, Azhar Usman, and Preacher Moss poke fun at themselves, their communities, government, human nature and the tricky predicament of living in post-9/11 America.

It's presented in collaboration with The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, Public Allies Cincinnati, Bridges for Just Community and Unity Productions Foundation.

Email Grace Staples if you're interested in carpooling.
eGraceNotes is published weekly whenever possible. Our primary purpose is to help keep members and friends of Grace Church up-to-date on what's happening at Grace.

While we try our best to represent the Grace Church congregation, opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anyone other than the editor (and perhaps not even his!).

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Ken Lyon, Editor.
Grace Episcopal Church | Phone: 513-541-2415 | 5501 Hamilton Avenue at Belmont Avenue | College Hill (Cincinnati) | OH | 45224