Called by God, centered in Christ, and led by the Holy Spirit, Grace Church exists for a reason – to share Christ’s love with our neighbors in Elmwood Park and Mont Clare, and with the world both near and far.
We are called to pray, worship, study the Word of God revealed to us in scripture, meet the needs of others, train and equip people for leadership in ministry, and be witnesses for God’s reconciliation, justice, and peace. We are not defined by a single ethnic or racial group, a single socioeconomic class, a single sexual or gender identity, or a single generation; we are a community for all people without exception.
Our specific focus within our call is to grow a multicultural, multigenerational community of faith that celebrates the gifts and wisdom that all of our members bring. We have particular gifts for developing ministry with and for the youth and young people of our community, engaging with the living God through prayer and worship, and empowering people to grow as followers of Christ and leaders in ministry.
All of this flows from Christ, our center. It is only because Christ lives that we live; all of who we are and what we do finds its roots in the One who brings us into newness of life. We pray in Christ’s name; we worship around the cross and celebrate Christ’s resurrection every Sunday; we look for Christ in the scriptures; we serve others just as Christ has shown us; we raise up disciples because Christ calls us to do so; we work for the healing of the world because its reconciliation is the fullness of Christ’s vision for the world.
In all that we do, we trust that the Holy Spirit leads us and guides us. Our human plans will fail; our human intentions will not bring in the Kingdom of God. By prayer and discernment, we seek first the Kingdom of God, relying solely on the leadership of the Spirit. We cannot build the Church; only God can. We are just God’s servants, laborers in the vineyard, earnestly seeking to be about the work of our Lord; our successes are not because of our greatness, but solely because of God’s goodness.
Sharing Christ’s love with our neighbors and world
- Christ-Centeredness: We are nothing without the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. All that we do as a community is to be rooted deeply in the life-giving death and resurrection of Christ, bearing witness to the cross and empty tomb and to the grace and reconciliation opened up to all people through them. We must decrease so that Christ may increase.
- Respect: In a world of sound bites and snap judgments, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves and recognize that every person is made in God’s image. We are counterculturally dedicated to building one another up and treating each and every person as a beloved daughter or son of God, without exception. Respect encompasses our speech, our attitudes, and our way of being as people in society and creations of God.
- Permission-Giving: We actively resist the temptation to be controlling, micromanaging, and skeptical of others and their gifts. Instead, we encourage all people to discern for themselves their gifts and their call, and support them in using those gifts to live out their call to share Christ’s love. We are pro-participation, pro-experimentation, and pro-risk taking. We seek to cultivate an “I will” attitude that encourages all people to be involved with ministry.
- Contemplation: We step back from our society which glorifies “being busy” and recognize that God’s call for us is to “be still and know that I am God.” We make space to listen to God rather than just ourselves in all our ministry, and we offer up this gift of stillness, quiet, and reflection to our whole community. We do not embrace quietism or refuse to engage with our neighbors and world; we simply recognize that if even Jesus needed space to pray and rest in God in order to do ministry, then so do we!
- Celebration: We rejoice in the goodness of God! We taste and see God’s goodness every week in a sacrament first referred to as “giving thanks” – eucharist. We thank each and every of our member of our congregation for the gifts they share, and we make intentional time and space to celebrate the work that God is doing through us, and the many ways in which God blesses us individually and collectively.