Easter 2017 Message

It’s taken me some years to realize it, but Jesus didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. He wasn’t on vacation. He wasn’t just hanging out in town. Jesus was in Jerusalem on purpose. He arrived in Jerusalem about the time of the Passover when pilgrims were in the city. When people’s hopes and expectations for the dawn of freedom that Moses had promised in the first Passover might suddenly be realized for them in their time.

Jesus arranged his entrance into Jerusalem to send a message. He entered the city, having come in on one side of the city, the scholars tell us, at just about the same time that Pontius Pilate made his entrance on the exact opposite side of the city. Pilate, coming forth on a warhorse. Pilate, with soldiers around him. Pilate, with the insignias of Rome’s Empire. Pilate, representing the Caesars who claimed to be son of god. Pilate, who had conquered through Rome the people of Jerusalem. Pilate, representing the Empire that had taken away their freedom. Pilate, who represented the Empire that would maintain the colonial status of the Jewish people by brute force and violence.

Jesus entered the city on the other side, not on a warhorse, but on a donkey, recalling the words of Zechariah:

Behold your King comes to you
Triumphant and victorious is He
Humble and riding on a donkey

Jesus entered the city at the same time as Pilate to show them, and to show us, that God has another way. That violence is not the way. That hatred is not the way. That brute force and brutality are not the way.

Jesus came to show us there is another way. The way of unselfish, sacrificial love. That’s why he entered Jerusalem. That’s why he went to the cross. It was the power of that love poured out from the throne of God, that even after the horror of the crucifixion would raise him from death to life.

God came among us in the person of Jesus to start a movement. A movement to change the face of the earth. A movement to change us who dwell upon the earth. A movement to change the creation from the nightmare that is often made of it into the dream that God intends for it.

He didn’t just happen to be in Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday. He went to Jerusalem for a reason. To send a message. That not even the titanic powers of death can stop the love of God. On that Easter morning, he rose from the dead, and proclaimed love wins.

So you have a blessed Easter. Go forth to be people of the Resurrection. Follow in the way of Jesus. Don’t be ashamed to love. Don’t be ashamed to follow Jesus.

Have a blessed Easter. And bless the world. Amen.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

A Full and Equal Order

At the beginning of episode 14, A Full and Equal Order, season 2 of Priest Pulse, Fr. Benjamin Gildas prayed for my discernment of ordination to priesthood and highlighted Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Wyoming, Michigan (not to be mistaken with the state of Wyoming). I feel humbled that his prayer and words served as the foreword to the podcast’s two segments dedicated to the diaconate.

During the first segment, Fr. Ben interviewed The Ven. Dr. Pamela Nesbit, Archdeacon of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, who spoke passionately about the distinct role of deacons. “[Deacons] don’t think of [themselves] as servants [but] as leaders of the diakonia.” The Ven. Dr. Pamela Nesbit

In the next segment, Fr. Colin Chapman interviewed The Rev. Geoffrey Smith, COO of the Foreign and Domestic Missionary Society (DFMS). The DFMS is the corporate and legal entity of the national Episcopal Church (Canon I.3). During his interview, The Rev. Smith encouraged people who feel called to Holy Orders to discuss their calling with others and to explore their calling fully.

Just before concluding the episode, Fr. Ben surprised me by uplifting me once again with another round of encouraging words. After listening to the episode, I felt led to reach out to both deacons to thank them for their leadership, service, passion, and commitment to the diaconate.

Regardless of where my discernment process leads (to priesthood, to the diaconate, or to continued service in the laity), I “go with God and [without being] God. It will work out.” The Rev. Margaret Neill, former Rector at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church [deceased]

Click here: full podcast

2017 Bishop’s Workshops at St. Luke’s

On Saturday, March 4, 2017, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church hosted the 2017 Bishop’s Workshops in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Bishop Whayne Hougland opened the workshops in prayer (shown in photo). Then attendees had the opportunity to attend up to three workshops. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church was represented by Allen Gradnigo, who attended Adaptive Leadership in Reformation Times, What You Can Do to Help Your Church with Good Communications Practices, and Thinking Theologically in Today’s Culture. The two additional workshops offered were Nuts and Bolts of Church Finance and Discerning Our Own Racism. Read more here: 3.5.2017 Bishop’s Workshops.

The Pantry

Grand Rapids, MI
 
With 15 volunteers, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church assembled at The Pantry to repackage food, stock shelves, and help our neighbors in South Kent County shop for food and personal care items. Although this ministry began as part of the John Knox Presbyterian Church in 1985, it grew into a separate 501(c)(3) in 2014. When asked, The Pantry manager, Yoli Fuentes, said The Pantry typically serves between 20 to 60 of our neighbors on any given day. If you’re interested in a way to directly help our community, click here to volunteer: email Yoli.

Annual Dessert Auction

Wyoming, MI
This year’s dessert auction raised a record $1,590 to help send our #episcopalyouth to Episcopal Youth Camp! Thank you so much to everyone who donated desserts and everyone who bid so generously! #wyomingmi

Holy Trinity is forming a Rector search committee

Wyoming, MI
 
The Rev. Canon William Spaid has blessed the Vestry to begin the formal search process for a new Rector at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Before the Vestry initiates the process of completing our parish profile, we seek your active involvement and input. Specifically, we are recruiting parish members to participate in the Search Committee.
 
Do you want to help steer the course Holy Trinity takes over the next decade, then we need you to volunteer to serve. If you have an interest in serving on the Search Committee, please see any Vestry member or click here: Allen Gradnigo.
 
If you feel overwhelmed with other obligations and still want to ensure your voice is heard, we want to hear your input. We want to know what characteristics you would like to see in our new Rector. So, please reach out to your Vestry members, and let us know your thoughts.

Madison Gradnigo receives First Holy Communion

Wyoming, MI

Before receiving Holy Eucharist, we Christians are required to examine our lives, repent of our sins, and be in love and charity with all people. As the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement, the Episcopal Church believes that Jesus Christ commanded all Christians to observe Holy Eucharist.

Holy Eucharist is the sacrament designed to help us remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and to do this continually until He returns.

During Sunday service on February 19, we were blessed to witness Madison Gradnigo receive her First Holy Communion (Holy Eucharist). The Rev. Canon Bill Spaid presented Madison with the Body of Christ, and Beth Smith presented her with the Blood of Christ. Madison was joined by her parents, Allen and Jennifer Gradnigo, and her uncle and aunt, Andy and Kelee White.

Bread baked by members of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and blessed by clergy serves as the outward and visible sign of the Body of Christ. Blessed wine serves as the outward and visible sign of the Blood of Christ.

As a community of believers, Episcopalians believe we receive forgiveness of our sins, a strengthening of our union with Jesus Christ and with one another, and a glimpse of what the banquet will be like in Heaven each time we receive Holy Eucharist. However, there is always room for more at God’s table, and WE INVITE YOU to join us at our earthly banquet table each Sunday morning.

See you at 10 am!

The Rev. Canon William J. Spaid, Canon to the Ordinary

Wyoming, Michigan
Join us this Sunday at 10 am and celebrate the Holy Eucharist with The Rev. Canon William J. Spaid, Canon to the Ordinary. As Canon to the Ordinary, he serves as the Bishop’s chief pastoral assistant and Transition Officer for the diocese. He takes great pleasure in working with congregational leaders, both clergy and laity, in times of transition and change.
After the Holy Eucharist, he will join us for Coffee Hour to answer questions regarding our time of transition, our search for a new priest, and the steps required to get us to that point.
As an added bonus, your Vestry will supply the snacks!
Come one and all.

Mid Winter Pizza Blast

Wyoming, Michigan

After the 2017 Mid Winter Bowling Blast hosted by Spectrum Lanes, everyone headed to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church for the 2017 Mid Winter Pizza Blast. After 3 games and nearly 4 hours of bowling, everyone had worked up an enormous appetite and unquenchable thirst.

However, the main purpose of this event annual gathering is to continue our support for the Family Network of Wyoming. With our cause in mind and in addition to the 100 pounds of food donations we received, we were blessed to receive discounts from Jet’s Pizza. Along with proceeds from the 50/50 drawings during bowling, the discounts we received from Jet’s Pizza allowed us to raise an additional $125.00 for the Family Network of Wyoming.

Mid Winter Bowling Blast

Wyoming, Michigan

Kevin Wells and his committee organized and successfully executed Holy Trinity’s 2017 Mid Winter Bowling Blast on Saturday, February 11. This annual event is designed to be a recreational option for supporting the Family Network of Wyoming, and support them, we did. During our Bowling Blast and later during our Pizza Blast, we were able to collectively gather 100 pounds of food donations.
We had a total of 18 Episcopal youth, 30 adults, and another handful of spectators join us for bowling at Spectrum Lanes. In addition to equalizing activities such as bowling between the legs and bowling with our non-dominant hand, we had some 50/50 drawings to spice up the fun.
Our champions this year called themselves “The Pin Killers” and were comprised of Brady Atwell, Lily Bloye, Rob Atwell, and Ron Newman.