|Date Posted||December 11, 2020|
Washington (Paula Clark & Robert Phillips)
|Health Benefits||Clergy + 1|
|Communicants in Good Standing||657|
|Average Sunday Attendance||313|
|Child Population in Church School||0|
|Adult Population in Church School||35|
|Teacher Population in Church School||15|
Grace's continued vitality during the pandemic evidences their congregation’s strength. Grace members are dedicated to one another and to their clergy and staff. Services via Facebook Live have allowed Grace to worship together week to week. Pledges have continued to come in: 90% of pledges have been fulfilled during this time. No clergy or staff have been let go, nor have they taken salary or benefit cuts. Online Sunday service has been enhanced with improved sanctuary lighting, multiple cameras, and an updated sound system, an effort initiated and implemented by parish volunteers.
The clergy have added weekly meditations, prayer services, Bible study opportunities, and mid-week email check-ins from the clergy. The director of music has made innovative videos of musical offerings for Sunday worship, the Music of Grace concert series, and special offerings for holidays. Many of these musical offerings have featured guest artists. These and other activities have kept their congregation engaged and fulfilled in spite of their inability to gather in person.
While Grace's diversity is a strength, they have hard work to do to include different groups in their ministries. If they take their diversity for granted, they could lose it. This work will be challenging given that divisive forces permeate our society. They want to be intentional about their diversity: ideally, it would permeate every mission they undertake by integrating new members and members of all age groups and racial backgrounds. This would foster closer bonds and relationships across demographics in the church.
Grace is a parish that has gained energy towards stepping outside of their comfort zone. They are a faith community open to new ideas and need a leader who will engage them in ways that "meet them where they are." Their location in Silver Spring, an urban area just outside of the District of Columbia, lends them to even more conversation and engagement surrounding true diversity and its associated benefits and costs. A great place for a seasoned, creative, and pastoral priest.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Robert T. Phillips