Thursday, March 26, 2015
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Grace Calls Jonathan Tan to Lead Music Program
After a lengthy interview process, the Worship Team recommended to Mission Council that Grace Church call Jonathan Tan to lead an expanded music program. The intent of this newly-defined program is to enliven and enlarge our Sunday worship through music selection and leadership, and by involving musicians from our partners and the larger community in our Sunday worship.  
This new position is made possible by a generous grant from Christ Church Cathedral.  
Jonathan looks forward to his work at Grace, saying, "At this stage of my life, what excites me is working with missions and parishes that seek to grow, transform, and embrace change." Of his approach to this new position, Jonathan says, "I want to work with Mission Council, the worship team and the mission leadership at Grace on reflecting and discerning the future of Grace .... [O]nce we figure out Grace's mission ... then the music program will emerge as a natural development and growth of Grace's missional outreach to the world. ... It would be a parish endeavor, and not merely the director of music ministries' fancies--one that is rooted in scripture and tradition (Christian and Anglican/Episcopal), yet transitioning to reach out to the changing world..."
Jonathan had been Grace's organist before moving to Australia.  On his return to the US, be became Professor of Catholic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Even before taking this position, he had been coming to Cincinnati on weekends to visit his son, KeKe. 
Jonathan holds a Ph.D. in Religion from the Catholic University of America. He has held Organist/Music Director appointments using a variety of musical and liturgical styles in churches and universities in Australia, Singapore and the US.  
Decorate the Church with Flowers for Easter

Putting flowers in church are one way to join in the celebration of New Life on Easter. For Easter, extra flowers will be put on the main altar and the peace chapel altar. We also will put Easter lilies and other spring flowers around the baptismal font. What a change this will be from the spare greens we've been using during Lent! 


You can donate flowers in memory or in honor of someone. Suggested donations for spring flowers are $12 and for the altar flowers is $25 to $50. However, any donation is welcome.


You can donate onine here.  Or make your donation by signing up the flower sheet near the upper Belmont door entrance, or by calling the church office (513-541-2415).
Responses to March's Healing Service 

From Hawley Todd...


Just wanted to say thank you to Mission Council and Grace Leaders for supporting the Wednesday healing service and the community dinners.


We had a fantastic evening.  As usual there was a constant flow of people coming throughout both events. Both the community dinner and the healing service were packed!


It was a joy to see so many people being blessed by the Lord.


From Gwynne Gabbard...


YES!!  Another amazing Love Filled-God Blessed evening at Grace Church!!!!!


From Anni Macht-Gibson


It is such a relief to know that the Drumming & Healing  Service--like Sunday Church Service--is a dependable constant that can be counted upon to be there.


It turned out to be particularly important last night--unexpectedly so--because I'd had surgery on my face for what I thought was a small, relatively harmless skin cancer on my face Monday - that turned out to be more invasive and painful than expected.


While I suppose I was bouncing back ok, it turned out that the rhythm of the drums and the energy healing I received on the table during the service really helped me turn a corner.  For me, the drums really help me to go deeper in prayer and I was so relaxed on the table . . . Wow!!!!


To echo the others: Thank you Grace Church, Mission Council and all who make this Drumming and Prayer Service Possible.

Read more about the monthly Celebration of Wholeness and Healing at Grace here.
Mark Your Calendar 

This Friday (tomorrow), the Prayer & Meditation Hour starting at 11am 

will be devoted to a period of meditation on each of the 14 stations of the cross--events based on our Lord's passion and death.  This devotion is also known as the "Way of the Cross" and follows our Lord's path from his arrest to his burial.  We take the time to make this "local pilgrimage" in lieu of observing  the custom of actually making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  We will be guided in this devotion by the form provided in the Book of Occasional Services - 2003.   Since this may take us a bit beyond our usual noon hour, please feel free to come when you can and leave when you must.  We hope you will join us in the sanctuary.


Palm/Passion Sunday is This Sunday, March 29. Everyone will get palm branches to wave in procession, and then several members and friends will read the passion narrative. Again this year, we'll be passing out palm branches to passersby after the service. 


Grace Church's Maundy Thursday service will be a shared service with St. Stephen's at St. Stephen's Church, starting with a soup supper at 6pm and a service at 7pm, the Rev. Anne Warrington Wilson presiding. St. Stephens is located at 9191 Daly Rd.


The Community Good Friday Service will again be held at Grace Church, from noon to 2pm on Friday, April 4.  Preachers from seven local churches will share their reflections on the Seven Last Words of Christ.


Easter Sunday is April 5. 


 Grace continues to host a free Community Dinner  every Wednesday from 5pm to 7pm. All are invited to share in food and fellowship.


The online Grace Church Calendar lists most everything we know about that's happening at Grace Church. If something's not listed, or if you see errors, please tell the office (, 513-541-2415).


See Grace Church worship services and participants' assignments here.

Community Good Friday Service at Grace Next Week--April 3

A long standing tradition will be continued on Friday, April 3rd as Grace Church will again host the COLLEGE HILL COMMUNITY GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE at 12 Noon.


The whole community will meet to reflect on the meaning the crucifixion of Jesus as we prepare ourselves for Easter.


The service is sponsored by the College Hill Ministerium--a group of ministers from many of the College Hill churches.  The theme of the service is the "Seven last words of Christ," and will feature seven pastors from seven different churches.  Each pastor will preach on one of the words of Jesus.


Please join for the service which always proves to be a moving experience for all who are present. The service is expected to last about two hours.


Thanks to Roger Perna for organizing this important worship experience.

A Prayer for Grace Church

Dear Lord, Grace church has been your Presence on the Hill for almost 150 years.  Let us remember the past but also give us guidance to lay the groundwork for the next 150 years.  Amen.


Thanks to Carol Lyon for this prayer.
A Quote to Ponder

Your editor shared the following with several people at Grace and got such a positive response that he's sharing it here as well.  The bottom line:  "We all need to know that God does not love us because we are good; God loves us because God is good. Nothing humans can do will ever decrease or increase God's eternal eagerness to love."


Love, Not Atonement

The common Christian reading of the Bible is that Jesus "died for our sins"--either to pay a debt to the devil (common in the first millennium) or to pay a debt to God the Father (proposed by Anselm of Canterbury, 1033-1109). Anselm's infamous Cur Deus Homo has been called "the most unfortunately successful piece of theology ever written." My hero, Franciscan philosopher and theologian John Duns Scotus (1266-1308), agreed with neither of these understandings. Scotus was not guided by the Temple language of debt, atonement, or blood sacrifice (understandably used in the Gospels and by Paul). He was inspired by the high level cosmic hymns in the first chapters of Colossians and Ephesians and the first chapter of John's Gospel.


After Anselm, Christians have paid a huge price for what theologians called "substitutionary atonement theory"--the strange idea that before God could love us God needed and demanded Jesus to be a blood sacrifice to atone for our sin-drenched humanity. With that view, salvation depends upon a problem instead of a divine proclamation about the core nature of reality. As if God could need payment, and even a very violent transaction, to be able to love and accept "his" own children--a message that those with an angry, distant, absent, or abusive father were already far too programmed to believe.


For Scotus, the incarnation of God and the redemption of the world could never be a mere mop-up exercise in response to human sinfulness, but the proactive work of God from the very beginning. We were "chosen in Christ before the world was made," as the hymn in Ephesians puts it (1:4). Our sin could not possibly be the motive for the divine incarnation, but only perfect love and divine self-revelation! For Scotus, God never merely reacts, but always supremely and freely acts, and always acts totally out of love. Scotus was very Trinitarian.


The best way I can summarize how Scotus tried to change the old notion of retributive justice is this: Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity (it did not need changing)! Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God. God in Jesus moved people beyond the counting, weighing, and punishing model, that the ego prefers, to the utterly new world that Jesus offered, where God's abundance has made any economy of merit, sacrifice, reparation, or atonement both unhelpful and unnecessary. Jesus undid "once and for all" (Hebrews 7:27; 9:12; 10:10) all notions of human and animal sacrifice and replaced them with his new economy of grace, which is the very heart of the gospel revolution. Jesus was meant to be a game changer for the human psyche and for religion itself. When we begin negatively, or focused on the problem, we never get out of the hamster wheel. To this day we begin with and continue to focus on sin, when the crucified one was pointing us toward a primal solidarity with the very suffering of God and all of creation. This changes everything. Change the starting point, change the trajectory!


We all need to know that God does not love us because we are good; God loves us because God is good. Nothing humans can do will ever decrease or increase God's eternal eagerness to love.


Adapted from Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, by Fr. Richard Rohr.


Thanks to Charlie Parker for sharing this.
Selected Short Subjects


Roger Perna recently announced that we now have 11 young people enrolled in Sunday School, and had nine participants on a recent Sunday.  

Thanks to Roger and our parents for renewing our Sunday School program for young people. 




For the Maundy Thursday meal (at 6pm at St Stephen's Church), Ann Warrington Wilson suggests that Grace Church people provide green and black olives, string cheese and almonds.  Decide what you'll bring and sign up on the sheet on the table in the nave.




Hawley Todd shared the following from the organizer of the 2015 CROP Hunger Walk:

We will have an organizing meeting for the 2015 CROP Hunger walk on Thursday, March 26 at 6:30 PM at St. John's United Church of Christ, Newport. The purposes will be to firm up leadership, settle on a date, settle on a route, and make plans to widen participation.  (This would actually be a good time to engage older youth in a planning process.) We hope to see you there.- Russ Kimmerly

If you're interested, contact Hawley Todd (, (513) 967-6581).




More ChiKung/TaiChi Classes at Grace are now scheduled:

  • Pure Potential ChiKung/TaiChi, 5 Thursdays, April 2 - 30, 2015, 9:30 - 11:00AM           
  • Engage Your Inner Healer Chikung, 5 Fridays, April 3 - May 1, 2015, 6:30 - 8PM

Contact Jackie Millay at for details or to enroll. 




Aaron Fleming is offering a free gentle yoga class for those of us who are older and/or are not so flexible on Tuesday, April 14 from 4:30 to 5:45pm.  The new 7-week class will start the following week. Contact Aaron via 
Altar Flowers


Altar flowers on March 15 were donated by John Thayer in loving memory of his mother Helaine and his sister Christine.


Altar flowers on March 29 are donated by Virginia and Calvin Chapel in celebration of 26 years of marriage.


Altar flowers on April 19 are donated by Rhonda Partin Sharp in loving memory of her father Estil Partin on his heavenly birthday.


Altar flowers on April 26 are donated by Rhonda Partin Sharp in loving memory of her father Estil Partin on his April 27 birthday.


If you would like to donate for altar flowers on any Sunday, please sign the Flower Sheet by the Belmont door or call the church office or email or donate online at

Thanks to ...


... the Reverend Jim Strader for visiting with several members of Grace Church at the Community Dinner Wednesday.  It was a stimulating conversation.


... Candy Moxley, who has arranged to have some repairs made on our boiler.  




If you want to thank anyone in the congregation for something they did week (leading the meditation in the Friday Prayer and Meditation group, going above and beyond on a routine responsibility, donating food or cooking for the Community Dinner, etc.) then please send that thank you to Ken Lyon ( or the office (, so they can be recognized.
Prayers and Thanksgivings


Mary Beth Summers is now at the Llanfair Retirement Community, 

1701 Llanfair Avenue, 45224, in "the Grove."  Please keep her in your prayers and send her a card.  


Prayers for healing are asked for

Rev. Ernestein, Patty Rogers, The Rogers Family, (Sarah and Joe Rogers - Patty's parents), Carl, Jackie, Robb Martin, Kim Martin, Melissa, Jordan and Brandie, Rhonda and D.L. Sharp, The Partin Family, Maree White, Our President and Our Country, Albertha Howard and DeConte Howard, Christian, Peter Hawkins, Judy Handy, Madeena Nolan, Gwynne and Naomi Gabbard, Mae Armstead, James McNabb, Paul, Katharine Thayer, Grace Moore, Stella Parker, Jim and Nancy Vath, Darryl, Anne, Caleb, and Joshua Handy, Father Hufford, Father Ray Betts and Mary McLain, Ken Lyon, Cyndi Miller, Gene, Wilson, David Malis, Jo Carroll, Dean Gail Greenwell, Beth Hall, Geraldine Stallworth, Earl Sharp, Virginia Chapel and Family, MaryAnn Chappelear, Jane Davis, Kiki, Desmond and Anna Black.


Prayers are asked for members often not able to come to church: Elizabeth Kelly, Janet Henthorn, Naomi Koester, Elva Gscheidle, Jo Carroll, Anne Henneberg, Raymond Betts.


To add or subtract from this list, please contact the Church Office (513-541-2415, with the names of the persons to be included on this list. If you email, please place "Prayer Request" in the subject line. Please also indicate whether the name of the prayer recipient is to be listed in the bulletin.


Names remain on the list for about a month. Please let us know if people should be put back on the list.


Pastoral Care. If you need pastoral care or know of someone who does, please call or email the office (513-541-2415, Keep us informed about about illness, hospital stays, requests for visits, communion, and prayers for special concerns.
Absalom Jones From the Editor...

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