“All who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ.”
-The Rule of Saint Benedict
There is no shortage of ministry work at Grace. On any given day throughout the year, you might find volunteers bagging food for families in the Food Pantry; sorting through socks, scarves, and jackets for the Clothing Closet; or getting ready to stay overnight in the emergency warming station with those who need shelter in our community. You might find parishioners setting up for the altar guild, servers preparing for Sunday services, or flower guild creating arrangements.
In the summer, you’ll see the GraceWorks ministry in full force as those in attendance work on projects like planting vegetables and building raised garden beds, cleaning up the cemetery grounds, creating art murals, and learning the ins and outs of building renovation while working at Grace Place.
Ministry work is integral to living a Christ-centered life, and that’s the heart of Grace. Serving the community, being the hands and feet of Christ, is what we are called to do. You’ll never find a shortage of opportunities to get involved at Grace.
The Grace cluster of outreach ministries includes:
- Grace Food Pantry began in 2004 and distributes bags of groceries 3-4 times a month to area families.
- Grace Clothes Closet gives reclaimed clothes to those in need.
- Emergency/Warming Shelter offers overnight shelter in the Parish Hall during inclement weather and emergencies.
- GraceWorks provides a summer day camp for adolescents ages 10-14
- Community Kitchens was established in 1980 by Father Maurice Branscomb and serves lunch 365 days a year in the Parish Hall at Grace (and St. Andrews Episcopal across town). No one is required to attend a religious service; rich or poor are equally welcome – they only need to be hungry. Those who dine with us are called our “guests,” and we treat them as such.
Ministries in progress include:
- Portable Showers – a 19-foot camper purchased by the church and repurposed as a dual mobile shower station equipped with showers, toilets, and sinks.
- Grace Place – a formerly abandoned church that was donated to Grace Church to expand GraceWorks programming. It is currently undergoing a significant renovation in conjunction with area parishes.
The following worship ministries are always looking for helpers:
- Acolyte: assist during the service with the lighting, extinguishing, and transporting of liturgical candles.
- Crucifer: carrying the crucifix during the procession and assisting the priest during Eucharist.
- Thurifer: burning the incense and swinging the thurible.
- Lector: reading the first or second lesson during the Liturgy of the Word.
- Choir: singing the anthems, chanting the psalms.
- Usher: greeting, handing out bulletins, and assisting with seating.
- Hospitality: providing the refreshments for the post-Sunday Mass coffee hour.
- Altar Guild: setting up and cleaning up the communion elements and linens.
- Flower Guild: arranging the flowers around the altar.
Other ways to get involved include:
- Catechumenate Class: preparing new members for baptism and confirmation.
- Christian Formation: the leading of bible studies and education classes.
- Grace by Day: pre-pandemic, volunteers would offer hospitality (cookies & juice) in the Parish Hall every weekday at 11 am.
- Lay Eucharistic Ministers: licensed by the diocese to take consecrated elements to the home-bound and sick.
- House Eucharist Host: Grace members take turns hosting a midweek Eucharist and potluck at their homes during the summers.
- Buildings and Grounds: helping with keeping the Grace campus lush and clean.
- Gardening: Grace Church operates a modest garden of vegetables and herbs during the farming seasons.
- Episcopal Church Workers [ECW]: Episcopalian workers of all genders & ages doing Christ’s ministry in the world.
- Cursillo: a movement focused on the spiritual training of lay church leaders.
- Prayer Ministry: participating in a cycle of prayer for members of the Grace community.
- Stewardship Committee: coordinating members’ time, talents, and financial resources for the good of the parish.
- Vestry: the church board operating the parish day-to-day.
Seed ministries begun at Grace, now established as independent organizations:
- 55th Place Community Thrift Store, located at Five 55th Place North, was opened in 1988 by Fr. Branscomb in the hallway of Grace before moving to its own building a few blocks away from the church several years later. Since 1988 over $2 million in proceeds have been shared with various ministries in the metro Birmingham area.
- Interfaith Hospitality House began in 1981 at the Grace Episcopal parish house and provided interim shelter to families who had lost their homes. Now run by the YWCA, it remains one of the only shelters in Birmingham open to families with adolescent male children.
- Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama is a community development and advocacy organization that champions economic equality, civic engagement, and social justice for Latino and immigrant families in Alabama. HICA was established in 1999 by a Grace Woodlawn parishioner.
- St. Benedict’s House (Three Hots & A Cot) was established in 2010 as a shelter for veterans without homes.
Please connect with us to learn more!