Parish Life

Parish Life at Grace and Holy

We are an open, diverse, and hospitable community that strengthens and supports the mission of the church through group activities and the interactions of individuals. Here are some of our programs and small groups.

Worship

Altar Guild

The Altar Guild prepares the church for each service, including special services such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals. The members set the altar for communion, mark the lessons, and arrange flowers. They also maintain the pristine condition of the linens. Currently, the Altar Guild has about twenty members who serve on five active teams. The schedule is rotated yearly to make sure that each team gains experience with different types of services and celebrations. Catherine Perrin is the Guild member who is in charge of the flower arrangements. This ministry is led by Jean Jumet; contact her to learn more.

Acolytes

Serving God in his church starts young. The acolyte program is an excellent way to serve the church, and to learn responsibility and discipline. Age-appropriate duties may include giving alms basins to ushers, helping the priest to set the communion table, marking pews at communion, and as able, to lead processions carrying a cross. Younger children can start as junior acolytes. Young people are trained before being scheduled to serve. How often an acolyte serves depends on the individual’s or family’s schedules, and regular participation is encouraged. If your child would like to serve as an acolyte, please contact Dan McNamara to find out more, or to sign up.

Greeters

The Sunday Greeter’s Ministry welcomes everyone to church before the later service, both parishioners and parishioners-to-be. We are welcoming and warm to all, affirming the friendliness of this parish, and offering newcomers an opportunity to be included in the church’s email list. Most people volunteer once a month. To volunteer, or to get more information, please contact Lisa Dawson.

Ushers

Ushers warmly welcome congregants at the door of the nave for the 10:30 a.m. service and hand them bulletins. We keep track of the total number of congregants at each service for the church’s attendance records, and for those who are preparing communion. During the service, we collect offerings from the congregation and deposit them in the church’s safe. We try to have four ushers each Sunday, and we fill the spots for the upcoming month by email to the pool of volunteers. We would love for you to join us and put your name on the list. The time requirement is minimal, but the reward is great. Contact Clay Hilbert or more information.

Lectors

Lectors come to the lectern to read the lessons designated for every service. If you love these texts, are able to read with understanding and humility, and can commit to reviewing your readings ahead of time, please consider serving in this meaningful way. If you aren’t sure, we’re happy to provide a little coaching. We’ll also connect you to internet sites that will teach you how to pronounce things that are not decipherable out loud. To investigate the 8:00 a.m. roster’s process, contact Andrew Peacock. For information about the 10:30 a.m. group’s routine, contact Ann Gray.

Lay Eucharistic Ministers (Chalice Bearers)

According to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, “A Eucharistic Minister is a lay person authorized to administer the consecrated elements at a celebration of Holy Eucharist when an adequate number of clergy is not present. A Eucharistic Minister acts under the direction of a Deacon, or under the Member of the Clergy who oversees the congregation or community of faith.” [He or she is a] “Confirmed communicant in good standing, Faithful in worship and in stewardship,” and “Mature in faith.” If you are interested in becoming a chalice bearer, please contact Ann Gray.

Parish Choir

Everyone, from youth in high school to people of a certain age, is welcome to join the Parish Choir. We rehearse on Thursday evenings from September through May from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. This choir sings for the Sunday worship services at 10:30 a.m., and for Choral Evensongs, Christmas Lessons and Carols, and other special worship services. The choir is a welcoming and caring community of faith that shares its musical gifts to the glory of God. The Parish Choir is directed by Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Melcher Davis, Choirmaster and Organist, and accompanied by Sean McDonald, Assistant Choirmaster and Organist. To talk with Beth, please call (804) 359-5628, x18 or contact her using our Contact page.

Children’s and Youth Choir Ministry

Assistant Choirmaster and Organist Sean McDonald is a trained, experienced children’s music educator. Under his leadership, and with the able assistance of Abigail Stinnett, children and youth have the opportunity to develop singing skills, grow in fellowship and community, and participate in worship. We invite children from pre-K through 5th grade to join the Children’s Choir. Upper elementary and middle school students are welcome to come join the Youth Choir. Children’s Choir rehearsals began on Sunday morning, September 11th, and will be scheduled throughout the year when they are to sing. Rehearsals for the Youth Choir are to be scheduled during the months of November and December. Parents of interested children, please contact Sean.

Youth Orchestra

The Music Ministry Team invites youth to sign up for the Youth Orchestra. Strings, brass, woodwinds, piano, and acoustic guitar are all welcome. We hope to have many opportunities for our young instrumentalists to perform throughout the year. October 30th is children and youth Sunday, and we would like to have a group that can perform “Ode to Joy” or something similar. If interested, please contact Sean McDonald, Assistant Choirmaster and Organist, at (910) 373-1776 or via the Contact page.

Lectio Divina

This Wednesday night group has been meeting by Zoom from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to discuss the upcoming gospel for the following Sunday. Because it’s worked out well and people have really enjoyed it, we will resume these meetings in September, and we welcome anyone who’d like to join us. For more information, please contact Beth McClelland, or Mary Ann Blankenship.

Shining Examples

The Shining Examples Committee polishes brass every Thursday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. The brass contributes so much to the beauty of the church, and we have a good time chatting while we work. Stop by our table and pick up a list of what we polish. We think you will be surprised, and will want to help! Contact Dougie Erikson or details.

Education

Children’s Ministry

The backbone of Children’s Ministry is the Children’s Chapel service, which meets for children in Pre-K through fifth grade at 10:30 a.m. every Sunday. We pray, sing, and learn the stories of our faith. Six times throughout the year, the Parents’ Night Out series provides Christian education for children and youth, a date night for parents, and formation for both groups. Children’s Ministry also organizes a variety of events, including Grace and Holy-Ween, the Christmas Pageant, and the annual Easter Egg Hunt. This busy ministry welcomes volunteers who want to support the church’s youngest parishioners and their families. Whether you are interested in working with the children or providing more “behind the scenes” support, there are a wide variety of opportunities to get involved! For information about how you can help with any of the activities in this ministry, please call Kate Given at (804) 229-3110 or via the Contact page.

Youth Formation

Based on input from the families of our young people, we are focusing our youth programming on monthly events and quarterly retreats. The quarterly retreats will become the center of programs to educate and equip young people for Christian practice. These quarterly retreats will also serve as steps toward Confirmation.. On Sunday mornings and in the continued monthly events, we will continue to emphasize fellowship and service in worship as well as on outreach in our community for youth and their families. Contact Kyle Bomar at (804) 543-4258 or via the Contact page.

Lectionary Group with Jack Sutor

Last Christmas, the Reverend Jack Sutor began leading a Sunday morning discussion group that focuses on the lectionary texts for the morning services. The group’s thoughtful and engaging discussions invite participants into a deeper understanding of how the Scriptures have been interpreted by the Church throughout history and how they are still speaking to us today. The group meets in the parish library on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. All are welcome. For more information contact The Rev. Jack Sutor at (804) 994-4809.

Spirited Sisters Book Club

At four o’clock on the third Monday afternoon of each month the members of the Spirited Sisters Book Club arrive at the appointed hostess’s home with copies of a novel – or a biography, perhaps a mystery, or maybe a current volume of non-fiction. In any case, discussion is lively and thoughtful, the snacks are tasty but not elaborate, and everybody nominates reading suggestions and gives input. Come join us – it’s a great time. For more information or to let us know you are coming, please contact Mary Ann Blankenship.

Parish Life

Men’s Group

Chuck Bleick is beginning to build a social group for men in the parish who are interested in getting together once a month or so for fellowship. No particular theme has been established, and how the group organizes itself will be up to those of you who participate. Contact Chuck Bleick if you have questions, are interested in being part of the process, and might like to join such a group.

Sunday Morning Breakfast Crew (The “Crew”)

The Crew provides nourishment to parishioners as they go about their Sunday morning activities. We cook and serve an old-school, high calorie meal that adds vigor and stamina to one’s spiritual journey. The Crew offers a menu of eggs, biscuits, bacon, sausage, apples, grits and potatoes most Sundays between Labor and Memorial Days, gathering at 7:30 a.m. (for the cooks) in order to serve from 9:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact Dave Hetherington with questions.

Hospitality Committee

The Hospitality Team organizes the receptions celebrating the parish’s activities, including the Christmas festivities.  Volunteers are on hand for each event, and take on the requirements of the plan, including organizing beverages, baking, preparing savory hors d’oeuvres, and whatever else is on the menu. Then they handle serving as necessary, and cleaning up. Contact Karin Walker or co-chair Sandie Hale to add your entertaining skills to the group.

Foyer Groups

These informal gatherings for brunch, lunch, or dinner, either potluck or in a restaurant, have been largely suspended during Covid restrictions. We happily anticipate the resumption of these opportunities to enjoy good conversations and excellent meals, and hope you will join us. Your contact people are Maurice and Debra Cole.

Holy Strollers

The intrepid Susan Hankins organizes and leads comfortable, companionable excursions on foot to explore parts of the city that are historic, or inspiring, or beautiful, or all three. This fall, itineraries have included the Richmond Slave Trail, and will include Hollywood Cemetery and the Richmond Flood Wall. Keep an eye out for the plans in the regular parish communications. Susan invites you to contact her if you have questions.

Spirited Sisters

The Spirited Sisters are a group of the women of the parish and their friends who meet once a month for dinner, drinks, and good conversation. We usually meet at a local restaurant, and enjoy each other’s company for about two hours. If you’d like to come for supper, please contact Cathy Saunders.

Concert Series

Our Music Ministry reaches out beyond our regular worship with musical offerings throughout the year. Because there are receptions in the Parish Hall after some of the concerts, we need people to help with those events when they are offered. There is usually one meeting in advance of each concert to plan the receptions, during which the group decides who will help with what. This is an excellent opportunity to support the music ministry with a relatively modest commitment of time. Please reach out to Dr. Elizabeth Melcher Davis at (804) 359-5628 x18 or via the Contact page to learn more.

Property Committee

The primary function of the Property Committee is to provide recommendations to the vestry regarding the physical components of GHTC. This includes soliciting bids as necessary for work. We also provide a proposed budget for the Major Repairs and Property Upkeep components of the overall financial budget.  We meet monthly to discuss current issues regarding the building and physical plant.  In addition, we have organized fall and spring work days to involve parishioners in the upkeep of our church, and this is where our volunteers provide help and support. Please contact Andrew Peacock to be added to the list.

Outreach

Red Door

The Red Door Ministry is always thinking of ways the church can help the guests we feed at lunchtime every Friday. When we can return to the Parish Hall, we will again be able to offer a healing service before the meal is served. The clothing closet continues to collect socks, mens underwear in medium to extra large sizes, jeans, toiletries, and plastic grocery bags.

Later this fall, there will be a coat drive, including gloves, hats, and scarves. We welcome your donations of used clothing that is clean and in good repair, understanding always that the people we serve should be dressed in clothes they can feel proud to wear. And in preparation for the winter ahead, Betsy Featherstone and Molly Howle have begun inviting people to be “mitten kittens,” and to knit worsted wool mittens for the closet. They have some easy patterns to share. Please contact Betsy or Molly for more information.

Campus Ministry

During the summer, we began a rebranding process for the Campus Ministry. To keep our visual clues and our message consistent. We have connected the name and location of the parish with the existing visual presence of the parish and the recognizable shield of the Episcopal church. An addition of Wednesday evening choral Compline services has begun alongside the established weekly Thursday online Compline. We are also tabling and meeting with students on campus to increase our visibility. To better connect parishioners with the campus community, we will be offering volunteer and leadership training for parishioners who would like to be part of the campus ministry team. If you’re interested, please contact Kyle Bomar at (804) 543-4258 or via the Contact page.

Circles RVA

Circles fills an unmet need in Richmond by partnering with families on the fence between surviving and thriving economically. We do this by recruiting volunteer Allies, who serve as intentional friends to walk with Leaders, the people who have joined Circles to move themselves and their families out of poverty. Volunteers also help with providing meals at the weekly gatherings on Tuesday evenings. Leaders are also supported by volunteer Resource Teams that help with jobs and education, connecting them to community services, and addressing systemic barriers at Circles Big View Night.  With your help, whether once a week or once a month, Circles RVA empowers families to break the cycle of generational poverty and to move permanently towards economic stability. Contact Glenn Moore with your questions.

Missionary Society

This parish’s Missionary Society gathers, trains, and supports members of our faith community as they join together in spiritual mission in Belize. The work we have done there has included dental care and vision screening for children, service and construction projects in the community, and an annual summer camp for children from age five to twelve. We welcome parishioners of all ages and skill levels. Please contact Mary Cay Kollmansperger for more information and encouragement.

Prayer Shawls

The Prayer Shawl Ministry began early in 2003, when a group of women began meeting once a month at various homes to knit. Each shawl is wrapped in tissue paper and put into a bag that is printed with the GHTC logo. One of three printed cards goes into each bag; one with a prayer for the bereaved, one for healing, and one for comfort. The shawls are given to anyone who asks, whether or not they are church members. Since we began, 265 shawls have been made and given away. We stopped meeting when COVID-19 intervened, and now that we can safely meet again, we encourage interested knitters to join us.  We invite anyone who would like to knit prayer shawls or wool mittens for our Red Door guests to contact Betsy Featherstone.

Micah – Faith Communities in Partnership with Richmond Public Schools

Join volunteers from other faith communities in Richmond to provide services to students, teachers, and staff of Richmond Public Schools. In addition to Front Office help and classroom assistance, volunteers have opportunities to serve as lunch buddies, tutors, and mentors. Volunteers assist with both short and long-term projects such as Career Day, Teacher Appreciation Week, and Back to School Drives. Contact Chuck Bleick for information about this ministry.

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