Fr. David Brower (pictured far left) was among volunteers from the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan for the mission trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation) in South Dakota. The mission trip began on July 9 and completed on July 15. The purpose of the mission trip was to improve the quality of life by sharing resources and providing services.
Fr. David and Dr. Clara Brower hosted their Annual Garden Party on June 23. As advertised, it was an event not to be missed!
The Brower family lives in a historic schoolhouse converted into a home. Guests brought appetizers, main entrees, beverages, and desserts to share. There was even a supply of bug spray on hand to combat any pesky nuisances by the tree line.
Ladies wore their best hats.
Speaking of best, all of the food was served on the finest China available. To accommodate the 80 plus guests, family members washed dishes and silverware as people finished their meals.
If you missed it, take a look at the beauty of their lovely garden.
St. Andrew’s in Grand Rapids hosted the Diocese Restructuring Committee meeting on June 11. The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan is undergoing a restructuring process, which is being directed by the Restructuring Committee. The committee is comprised of members of the Standing Committee, Diocesan Council, and the original Restructuring Task Force. Holy Trinity was represented by Diocese Convention delegates Debbie Murphy and Genia LaNore, along with parishioners Kevin Murphy, Allen Gradnigo, and Evan LaNore. All in attendance were invited to receive the committee’s recommendations and to offer feedback.
Deacon Brad hosted an open house at his residence in celebration of living there just shy of a year. He provided hamburgers, hot dogs with fixin’s, and soft drinks. Guests helped out by grillin’ the meat, and drinks were kept cold, iced in a kiddy swimming pool.
Everyone wore casual attire and brought their own beverages and lawn chairs as desired. As you can see by the photo, lawn chairs formed a single, back pew for the backyard Eucharist presided over by Fr. David.
In the past, some members of our Holy Trinity congregation participated in a knitting and crocheting project during Lent. We made prayer shawls to be distributed to those who could use an extra handmade “hug.”
This year, we chose a different project. We all have family and friends affected by cancer, so we chose to make hats for cancer patients, who often lose their hair during treatment. Many ladies participated, and we blessed one hundred and twenty hats! The hats will be given to cancer support programs so they can be offered to patients. We pray for comfort and healing for all people affected by cancer.
It’s unusual to turn on the news and not hear something about the plight of refugees. For as much information that is broadcast, there’s just as much confusion about who are refugees and how we can help or even if we should help. Gabriel Akoi is a refugee from Liberia. He’s been in the U.S. for over 10 years and has attended Holy Trinity Episcopal Church the last several years. Currently, he works at Bethany Christian Services helping other refugees arriving to the U.S., many of them children who came here alone, without family members for support. He and others from Holy Trinity’s Outreach Committee invited Rev. Kris Van Engen from World Renew to talk to our parishioners about refugees and answer our questions.
People come into the U.S. to live permanently through four different avenues: family members, employers, diversity requirements, or as a refugee. The number of refugees in the world has reached its highest peak – over 30 million in 2016 according to the United Nations. Less than 1 percent of refugees are permanently displaced to another country. An even smaller number find their way to the U.S., and that’s after being vetted by multiple international and U.S. agencies and a more than two-year process. As Gabriel said, these people don’t want to leave their home. He didn’t want to leave his home in Liberia. Resettlement in the U.S. is a life-saving opportunity, not a choice.
What can be done to help these families and children when they are displaced to the U.S.? There are organizations in place right here in Grand Rapids to help them resettle. If you’d like to know how you can help, please talk to Gabriel or any member of the Outreach Committee and they will connect you and your resources with the needs of our new neighbors, whether it’s transportation, help with job placement, furniture and other household goods, or mentoring of refugee children.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” ~James 1:27
The Sunday School children planned an Outreach Project for Mother’s Day. They collected small unopened, unused bottles of perfume, lotion, nail polish, hair products, deodorant, personal products, and more. Their goal was to build 12 goodie bags for the women that reside at a domestic crisis shelter. Most often, these women arrive at the shelter without anything but the clothes on their backs.
The Rev. David Brower will be serving us as our interim rector during our search for a rector. David began his life’s journey running through the plains and forests of the Belgium Congo. His exposure to the exquisite cultural heritage of the Mbunn people amidst a pristine creation unspoiled by Western exploitation left him with an insatiable desire to explore the infinite wonders of the natural world and experience the rich diversity of human cultures.
His upbringing as a Baptist missionary kid blessed him with an abiding love for the stories of the Bible and a deep commitment to serve humanity. An added blessing of his missionary heritage was romancing another missionary kid (his wife Clara) when they were students at the Grand Rapids Bible College (now Cornerstone University). Together, they traversed the sometimes rocky, often joyful and always challenging path that led them out of the Baptist fold into the inclusive embrace of the Episcopal Church.
David began his professional career as a high school social science teacher. Later, after several vocational twists and turns, he began a three year period as a graduate student in anthropology at Michigan State University. Finally, the call to ordained ministry, which he first heard as a child, caught up with him, and he began his seminary formation at the Episcopal Divinity School (at the time in Cambridge, Massachusetts) in his mid thirties in 1976.
For many years, David has served urban and suburban churches in the Detroit area in the Diocese of Michigan and was prominently active in many phases of Diocesan life. More recently, he served a cluster of three churches in Ohio and then a Church near Buffalo, New York before retiring to a home near his birth place in Zeeland, Michigan. He thoroughly loves his involvement in Interim Ministry in which he has served six churches in the Diocese since his return to Michigan.
Each week, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church invited its neighbors to join us each week for Lenten soup suppers. We met on Tuesday evenings through the Lenten season. These gatherings allowed us to share a simple soup supper from 6:00-6:30 pm. Participants were asked to bring their own place setting, a beverage, and fruit, cheese, or bread to share. After supper, we discussed the Five Marks of Love curriculum from 6:30-8:00 pm. Participants did not need to study ahead of time or commit to every week.