Welcome to Grace! Bienvenido a La Gracia!

To Love, Proclaim, and Serve God through

Amar, Proclamar y Servir a Dios a través de

  • life-giving liturgical worship
  • joyful community
  • empowering others

We live our mission through worship, in which lay adults, children and youth participate alongside our clergy.  Traditional, life-giving Eucharistic liturgy and fine music are hallmarks of worship at our parish, and we have weekly services in both English and Spanish.  We create a joyful community with a harvest of fellowship activities and events for all ages.  We empower and serve others through vital ministries, particularly around feeding the hungry.  Please explore our website to get to know us or, better yet, come visit!

For more information or to be added to our mailing list, please contact us at welcome@gracealex.org.

 

 

A Message from Mother Jenny 04.19.2024

This week, your clergy, staff and vestry have been actively engaged in significant conversations related to the process of transitional ministry. This is exciting work and I want you to be informed. So, grab a cup of coffee or tea and read on!

Meeting with the clergy and staff on Tuesday morning, Mother Shirley Smith-Graham, the Transitional Minister for the Diocese, shared with us a model for managing change and building trust. The model she shared identifies three stages. The first stage is “Ending, Losing, and Letting Go.” During this time there likely is to be confusion, frustration, denial, reservation, uncertainty and skepticism.

The “Neutral Zone” stage follows with notable signs of creativity, innovation, and anticipation emerging, but also with some continued resistance, confusion, uncertainty and skepticism.

And, then comes the final stage, “The New Beginning.” Commitment, exploration and relief, along with high energy and learning mark this stage along, perhaps, with some lingering ambivalence and uncertainty.

Keep in mind, these stages are fluid and not everyone is in the same stage at the same time. This is also true regarding trust. Trust builds by addressing concerns and needs. Openly acknowledging individual concerns and needs enables fruitful conversations and builds clarity needed to strengthen relationships, support ministries, and bring about positive change. These conversations are not always easy. And, yet, I want you to know as clergy and staff we are committed to this on-going work.

On Tuesday evening, when meeting with the Vestry, Mother Shirley shifted her focus to the Discernment Process. Within this process there are five phases a parish goes through when a rector leaves. The first phase of “Separation and Grief” was experienced at Grace last fall with Mother Anne’s departure and my arrival as Priest Locum Tenens. The second phase of “Stabilizing and Healing” is where our energies have been focused for the past six months.

Having done this work collectively as a parish, we are now entering into the third phase, “Search.” Pre-requisites for fully engaging in this phase are stability, focusing on priorities rather than distractions, assessing trust, establishing reasonable ministry expectations, and strengthening congregational understanding.

To this end, Affinity Groups are being scheduled to assist the Vestry in their discernment of whether to invite Mother Anne to return as Rector. An important fact to remember is that Mother Anne’s suspension from active parish ministry cannot be concluded any earlier than October 9, 2024. Additional means of providing input to the Vestry will be forthcoming and the hope is for the Vestry to enter Phase Four, “Discernment,” by early summer.

The fifth phase, “Welcome New Priest,” will follow when a call has been made and accepted, and the Rector called enters into the life of the parish. Support from the Diocese then will continue with coaching for the Vestry and congregation during this new period of transition.

As with the process of change, the phases of discernment also are fluid—meaning that some of this work is being done simultaneously. And, through it all, we will continue working closely with Bishop Stevenson and his staff to ensure a steady process of moving forward.

So, now that your cup of coffee or tea is either cold or empty from having read this very lengthy message, I hope you have a better understanding of where we are in the process, and how we are navigating change and building trust.

For those able to attend our all-parish conversation this Sunday after 10:30 a.m. Worship, you’ll have a chance to ask questions. You also can email me your questions. And, most importantly for now, please make it a priority to attend the Affinity Group that relates to you and your family.

Not to worry if you do not fit into one of the published Affinity Groups as additional conversations will be scheduled later in May and early June.

Grateful to be on this journey with you,
Mother Jenny+