Grace Church carries out the ministry of Jesus Christ through a range of committees, guilds, organizations and community service groups. Following is a brief discussion of the various ministry groups within Grace Church and parishioner community outreach.
Altar Servers assist the clergy throughout the service by carrying the processional cross, holding the Gospel book, leading the Prayers of the People, and helping with Communion. It is a small but dedicated corps, and we are always happy to get more parishioners involved.
Psalm 150 encourages us: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” Worship is our center, and music plays an essential role. Our intergenerational choir of teens through adults sings weekly from September through Pentecost (late May or early June).
We rehearse Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00 in the undercroft. Our selection of music is eclectic in tradition and style, and still strongly rooted in the Episcopal tradition, using the choir with organ and other keyboards. Newcomers are always welcome. If you sing or play an instrument and would like to offer your talents in worship, please contact our Director of Music anytime.
The Grace Church Altar Guild prepares the church and altar for each service, mid-week services, weddings, funerals and all services, scheduled and unscheduled throughout the year.
Lay readers are parishioners who read the appointed lessons and Psalms from the revised Common Lectionary during the service. There is a set schedule and the lessons are mailed to the appointed parishioner one week before reading.
Individuals or couples who welcome members and visitors, provide service bulletins and take up the Offertory collection.
Episcopal Church Women (ECW)
Worship as a community of women, turning to God in gratitude for blessings of family, home, and friendship. We ask the Lord for guidance in translating our Christian belief into action in our lives.
Our ECW embraces the tradition of working together on parish functions, raising funds to support outreach, seeking out and offering spiritual and learning experiences, praying daily for those in need, and simply enjoying the loving fellowship of each other.
We participate in supporting the United Thank Offering. The UTO is an outreach program, administered by the ECW Diocese of Chicago, awarding grants for new ministry, providing tools and vehicles to carry out programs, funding staff, among other requests. “It’s not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.”
We meet on the 1st Firday of each month at 11:30am in St. Stephen’s Hall.
To learn about opportunities to participate on the Deanery, Diocesan, Province, or National level, please visit the ECW, Diocese of Chicago website
People of Grace Breakfast
Fellowship for people of the parish. Meet at 9 East Café at 8:00am on 3rd Saturday of each month. All are welcome to attend.
At Grace Church, we take environmental stewardship very seriously. In this spirit, Grace’s Green has been exploring ways to encourage sustainable living as a church and as individuals. Our group plans to build on past accomplishments and continue to seek opportunities to protect and care for God’s creation. All are welcome to join.
Eats and Beats
Eats and Beats is a community festival featuring food and live music. It was started by Malcolm Eaton Enterprises in order to help local non-profits raise money through food booths at the festival. Grace Church has acquired great notoriety for its Giant Cookies.
Volunteers deliver altar flowers following the Sunday service to members unable to attend and others periodically send cards or make hospital and home visits as needed or requested by clergy.
Our members volunteer with the FHN Hospice program serving Freeport and the surrounding area. They serve by singing with a choir that visits nursing homes and private homes, providing brief respite care and individual visits to people under Hospice care, and others volunteer in our local Hospice office
The Freeport Area Church Cooperative (FACC) is a collaborative group of Freeport churches whose mission is to provide emergency food, clothing and shelter to those in need. Grace Church was a founding member of this organization and strongly supports all their programs.
The annual Stephenson County CROP Hunger Walk is held in September. 25% of the funds raised stays in Freeport and the rest is donated to Church World Service.
Freeport Recycle Store
A “second-chance” community non-profit store. Freeport Recycle Store opened after receiving a generous grant from the Freeport Community Foundation. The store is staffed entirely by volunteers and their mission is to generate funds for community outreach in Freeport.
The Vestry are the legal representatives of Grace Church, in accordance with Canons of the Episcopal Church. Members are elected from the parish at the annual meeting. The Vestry appoints a Parish Treasurer and Vestry Clerk. Vestry duties include:
- Define and articulate the mission of the congregation.
- Support the church’s mission by word and deed.
- Select a Rector.
- Ensure effective organization, planning and management of resources and finances.
Vestry standing committees are Worship & Music, Building & Grounds, Finance, Endowment/Trustees and Memorial/Columbarium.
In recent years, cremation with interment of the ashes, rather than traditional burial, has become more common. Grace Church Columbarium was established in 1985 to provide a place within the church for the interment of the ashes of deceased parishioners and their families.
Our Columbarium is located beneath the wood parquet floor in the altar area and has 100 niches currently available. The names, birth dates and death dates of all who are in the Columbarium are engraved on individual brass name plaques located on a wall near the Columbarium.