an extra note added as an embellishment; not essential to the harmony or melody.
In music, grace notes are an addition, the signature of the artist, a flourish of notes that add something to the original foundation that define a song. They are not essential yet most musicians and lovers of music would agree that they can take the musical offering to a higher plane or into a whole new stratosphere; offer embellishments that grant power and new life to a well know piece and fill our ears and our souls with new places to explore.
Grace notes appear not only in music but in people. Joe’s sermon series has made me think about the grace I see and feel here at First Church and I’d like to share a few examples:
UMW: We have a strong commitment as a church to a healthy and growing Wonder Years and youth program here at First Church. Our UMW group has made a commitment to support both of these programs; to add their grace notes for our kids and their families. They have been offering financial support for many years that allow us to invest in additional staffing and increased opportunities for programming that we would not have without this support. Their support comes from the hard work they and their allies do to put on a monthly Thrift Shop and an annual Bazaar. These efforts have blessed and continue to bless our children, youth, our church family, women and children in our community and around the world. THANK YOU to all our United Methodist Women!
Inclusive Ministry: Most churches engage in “outreach” to marginalized people and communities. Our Inclusive Ministry program offers an incredible outreach to adults challenged with mental illness living in local group home settings. Under Vick Ono and Greg Lawson’s leadership this team of volunteers raise the bar beyond the ordinary. Delicious, thoughtful meals are prepared, drivers safely and lovingly bring guests to our Social Hall where the true music begins: songs, laughter, love. Thank you, Vicki and Greg and the Inclusive Ministry whole team who make this monthly experience exquisite!
Hope Van Ministry and Faithworks: There is a lot of discussion about how to effectively deal with the issue of homelessness. We have 2 ministries that are operating beyond the “discussion” stage actively addressing the needs of people in need. Both ministries work collaboratively with other churches and community members and their “music” truly soars. Faithworks offers housing, structure, and resources to families with children and veterans who are experiencing homelessness and they have achieved a phenomenal success rate helping people secure jobs and homes of their own. Our Hope Van Ministry works alongside the Shasta Community Health Center Hope Van and provides a hot meal for homeless individuals while they are getting social and medical services.
These are just a few of our ministries offering grace notes within our congregation and in our community. May each of them continue to flourish and embellish the lives of the people they serve…and may each of us look for places we might offer our own grace notes to others!