Our outreach starts within our church, but outreach on the local, national and international levels has long been a vital part of Grace’s mission.
Serve Our Church
Liturgical and Eucharistic Ministries
Our common prayer is the focal point of our faith life. We come together to praise God, give thanksgiving for our many blessings, lift up prayers for those in need, mourn for those who have died and participate in the liturgy of the Holy Eucharist.
Supporting the clergy, lay liturgical and Eucharistic ministers read Holy Scripture and the Prayers of the People, assist at the altar and serve as chalice bearers to the congregation. Readers and intercessors are lay parishioners who have been trained to read Scripture with understanding and clarity, and to convey the prayers of the congregation with conviction. Eucharistic ministers serve as acolytes and assist the clergy in worship at the altar.
Training sessions for all lay ministries are conducted twice yearly, in the spring and fall. For further information, please use the Contact Grace form.
Children 6 and older may also serve as acolytes, and those that do take great pride in their role in the Sunday service. Interested children must attend a brief training session; these sessions occur at least twice a year. Watch for acolyte training news in worship service bulletins or call the Parish Office at (718) 624-1850, x 10 for more information.
The Altar Guild is responsible for Communion service set-ups and manages the church silver and textiles. Everyone is welcome to join. For further information, please use the Contact Grace form.
Every Sunday, Eucharistic Visitors are commissioned from the altar to take Communion to members of the Grace community who are unable to come to church, whether they are recovering from severe illness or surgery, enduring chronic illness or in their final days. To those confined to home or hospital, these visits are more than a simple extension of Sunday’s service—they’re a tangible reminder that despite their absence, these parishioners continue to be part of the Grace Church family. Eucharistic Visitors provide support not only to the parishioner, but also to family members, friends and caregivers.
Eucharistic Visitors are members of the parish who are trained and licensed by the diocese to perform this ministry. If you are interested in learning more, or becoming a lay Eucharistic Visitor, or if someone you know is unable to attend church and would like to receive Communion, please use the Contact Grace form.
The Bereavement Group meets on the first and third Sundays of a given month (first Sunday only in July and August) at 12:30 pm in the Colonial Room (Nursery) across from the kitchen. Whether your loss is recent or sometime in the past, you will find loving support and encouragement among others who continue to hold their grief. During July and August, sessions take place on the first Sunday of each month. For further information, use the Contact Grace form.
Welcome Ministry Program
The Welcome Ministry Program seeks to ensure that all who come to Grace feel that their presence makes a difference. To this end, members of the Welcome Ministry volunteer to be at our doors on Sunday before and after the 11:00 am service to answer questions and facilitate introductions to other members of the Grace community.
In addition, the clergy reach out by email to those who fill out a Welcome Card, ensuring that all who have just come to Grace know that we are happy to meet them, as the newest members of our community. If you are interested in participating in this ministry, please call the Interim Rector at (718) 624-1850, x 14 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serve Our City
Daily Recovery Meetings at Grace
Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon and other self-help groups use our church Parish House every day of the week for meetings and other activities.
Entry and exit to and from the Parish House for these meetings is via our 254 Hicks Street entrance.
For a schedule of these meetings, please check the church calendar.
Community Help in Park Slope
Community Help in Park Slope (CHiPS) is a well-established Brooklyn feeding ministry and shelter in Park Slope that serves meals daily to our neighbors and houses mothers with infants in a program that helps them find permanent housing and employment. Grace Church’s CHiPS ministry provides a continuous connection between our parish community and the homeless and hungry in our immediate neighborhoods, spreading the compassion of our faith to our wider community.
Our CHiPS ministry is supported in several ways. Individuals and families donate non-perishable food items by placing them in collection baskets at the back of the church. A team of volunteers purchases and delivers food supplies on an ongoing basis. During the Christmas season, Grace parishioners donate winter clothing wrapped as Christmas gifts for distribution by CHiPS to those in need. Finally, CHiPS always accepts monetary donations, which can be made via Grace Church. When making a donation, be sure to indicate that it’s for CHiPS.
East Brooklyn Congregations
East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC) is a community-power organization of churches, schools and homeowners associations, of which Grace has been a member since the early 1990s. Centered in East Brooklyn, EBC organizes individuals and leaders of its member institutions to leverage their collective power to improve their communities through social action. EBC has influenced public policy regarding housing, immigration, police and community relations, public schools and the preservation of urban green space. Of EBC’s 20-plus member institutions, Grace is the only one located downtown.
Members of Grace Church have worked with EBC for over a decade to advance educational equity. Volunteers from Grace and other neighboring congregations work with high school students from Frederick Douglass Academy VII (FDA VII, an EBC member school) as tutors in academic subjects and writing skills, and as mentors in life skills such as looking for employment, interviewing for jobs and college, and preparing for life after high school.
In addition, the arrival of thousands of young families who have made downtown Brooklyn their home over the past 15 years has severely overcrowded many public elementary schools. Through EBC, Grace Church advocates on behalf of residents and families in its surrounding neighborhoods in an effort to address this severe space shortage.
An Update from Grace’s East Brooklyn Congregations Representative,
The EBC assembly last Thursday evening, July 27, was one of the best I’ve ever attended. A standing room only crowd of 1,400 people with EBC leaders and clergy pushing and prodding two powerful city commissioners on issues important to the community.
For the first time, Police Commissioner William O’Neill said he would meet with Glockenspiel, the gun manufacturer, to press the company not to sell their products to Arrowhead Pawn Shop in Georgia, which has sold guns that wind up involved in murders in NYC, including two cops murdered two years ago. Metro IAF, the umbrella organization made up of EBC and three other NYC affiliates, has been pushing the NYPD on using its purchasing power with gun manufacturers to prod them to sell guns with smart technology (guns that can only be operated by a single person) for four years.
On immigration, O’Neill, however, said he could not commit to having NYPD respond to 911 calls from undocumented immigrants confronted by ICE. “I cannot make this commitment tonight,” O’Neill said.
On affordable housing, commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, at her first meeting with Metro IAF, said she could not commit to EBC’s demand that the next phase of city-funded affordable housing in the Spring Creek Nehemiah development be open to families of all sizes. She is holding firm to current HPD policy that affordable homes only be offered to families of three or more people.
Looking forward, the assembly focused on plans for a mass rally at City Hall on Columbus Day to demand that Mayor de Blasio commit to building 15,000 units of senior housing on surplus NYCHA land. EBC and Metro IAF are committing to bring 5,000 people to the Columbus Day rally. I committed Grace to bringing at least 20 parishioners.
Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.
Brooklyn Heights Interfaith Shelter
As part of an interfaith effort that includes local synagogues and churches, Grace Church hosts eight to twelve homeless men on weekday nights each November. The men come from The Gathering Place, a walk-in shelter run by CAMBA, a Brooklyn-based community support organization. Many Grace congregants share in this outreach effort: Volunteers bring hot, home-cooked meals each night, eat dinner with the men, or serve as overnight hosts. Families with children visit the shelter in the evening for conversation and desert. For further information, please use the Contact Grace form.
Heights and Hills Thanksgiving Dinner
Each year, Grace hosts Heights and Hills, one of the largest providers of services to the aging population of Brooklyn Heights, as it serves over two hundred neighborhood seniors for a traditional Thanksgiving feast in our Guild Hall. Volunteers are needed to help set the tables, bake pies (many pies!), serve the meal and then clean up afterwards. For further information on how to get involved, please contact Heights and Hills directly at (718) 596-8789 and watch for announcements in Grace Notes each November.
Lenten and Christmas Outreach
Grace Church has designated the seasons of Lent and Advent as times for our community to join together in support of outreach projects that have special meaning for Grace Church or that address urgent, timely needs. Organizations that have received aid and service through these seasonal efforts include CHiPS (Community Help in Park Slope), Habitat for Humanity, Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services, and the Collateral Repair Project, which provides assistance to refugees and war victims in Jordan. To help or obtain further information, please use the Contact Grace form.
Serve Our World
Episcopal Relief and Development
Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is the compassionate response of the Episcopal Church to human suffering in the world. One of the most effective worldwide agencies for the relief of human suffering, ERD is supported by individuals and by the parish. For more information about how you can join in ERD’s good work, visit the ERD website.