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Life With Grace | August 25

A serene river flows next to a stony bank
Join us this evening at Boxerwood for Music in the Garden and for Marc Nikkel Day this Sunday!

Marc Nikkel Day 2023. Why do we need to celebrate?

Because there are two Hope House youth connected to Grace who have just arrived in the U.S. for college on scholarship, and one on his way to the African Leadership Academy in South Africa. Because there are youth at Hope House–some sponsored by Grace–and many in refugee camps in Kenya and South Sudan, just as capable, yearning for opportunities to learn and to serve.

Education and spiritual formation for Sudanese youth was Marc’s dream, and is his legacy. Education and spiritual formation is why Grace was founded, and is its legacy.

Grace’s long association with the life and legacy of Marc Nikkel really is an outward sign of an inner grace that has been recognized in our lives at this parish for many decades. Grace Episcopal Church has been “graced” with the presence of Marc Nikkel himself on these grounds, but also with South Sudanese adults whom Marc Nikkel supported and encouraged as youth. I was incredibly moved to meet a man when I was in South Sudan who heard me speak of Marc Nikkel and came to me with tears streaming down his face to tell me what it felt like to hear his name spoken in the Cathedral in Wau. That man, the Rev. James Baak, came to Grace not long after that to share his story. How far away are we from South Sudan? Not far at all.

This Sunday you have the chance to hear from three individuals who represent enormous depth in our long diocesan relationship with South Sudan: The Rev. Richard Jones, the Rev. Susan Bentley, and the Rev. James Hubbard. Perhaps you have met all three; perhaps these names are new to you. In either case, you will gain enormously from sharing the Christianity and Culture hour at 9:15 Sunday, August 27, as they speak of their work–mostly right here in the U.S.--in the footsteps of Marc Nikkel: supporting the education and spiritual growth of South Sudanese on the ground, in the diaspora, and in partnership with the wider church. I would not have made it to South Sudan without these fine servants. Countless South Sudanese children, and adults--both lay and clergy–would not be where they are today without these three. And we have a chance to hear from them and be inspired to gain “strength and courage to love and serve” through their words this Sunday. Don’t miss it.

And please say a prayer for the youth we know so well from across the world as they embark upon their new journeys. They have an advantage: the spirit of Marc Nikkel is within them through the hands of Grace.

~Susan Virginia Mead

AV Team: Call for Volunteers

Please consider joining the team and help with streaming on Sunday morning. Zoom help is needed at 8:00am and YouTube streaming at 10:30am. Training is available! Email Lisa for more info.

Worship Services | Proper 16 | Sunday, August 27

Holy Eucharist | 8 a.m.

In-Person & Zoom

Feast of Marc Nikkel Sudanese Liturgy at 8
Download PDF • 222KB

Parish Hall & Zoom | Marc Nikkel Day

Holy Eucharist | 10:30 a.m.

In-Person & YouTube

Feast of Marc Nikkel Sudanese Liturgy at 1030
Download PDF • 1.90MB

The Rev. Dr. Marc Nikkel...

was a priest of the Diocese of South West Virginia. who dedicated his life and ministry to the people of Sudan. Fr. Marc Nikkel, served the people, especially the children of the southern Sudan throughout very troubled times of the 1980s and 1990s that continue today. His priorities were the teaching of priests the care of young refugees assuring that they had an education. Ordained in our Diocese of Southwestern Virginia by Bishop Heath Light in 1985, Marc Nikkel had a special connection to Grace Church. Led by the late Alta Fowler, outreach and support for Fr. Marc’s mission in the Sudan was supported financially and with contributions of clothing and books to be used in the study centers he founded in the refugee camps. He is remembered as a teacher, evangelist, and peacemaker. Remaining at his post in S. Sudan until forced to leave at gunpoint in 1987; he continued to work for the Gospel in the refugee camp at Kakuma; St. Paul’s College near Nairobi; and as an advocate in the UK and the US. Trusted by all sides, he served as secretary to intertribal peace negotiations. He died of cancer in 2000, active to the last. At his death, Marc Nikkel Primary School was established in the village of Maar, now in South Sudan. This school became the focus of our support and ministry.

The political situation in the area has left South Sudan isolated and its people starving. Since communication with the Marc Nikkel School is not possible at this time, the Sudan Mission Group is partnering with the Diocese of Tonj, South Sudan. The Rt. Rev. Peter Yuol Gur, Bishop of Tonj has formed Hope House in Kitale, Kenya, a group home to educate and care for 45 youths from his diocese whose families cannot provide for them. The students are refugees in Kenya, but they can attend boarding schools nearby. Hope House is their only home when they are not in school. Sponsors provide tuition, clothing, books, travel to and from the schools and other costs of their care. Below you can read the biography of one of the students, William Marial, from Hope House. The Sudan Mission Group (a subgroup of the Outreach Committee) coordinates the support for Grace Church in two priority areas: 1. Educational Assistance for South Sudanese Includes tuition and board, medical care, transportation, books and contingencies arising from COVID and political situations, 2. Educational Assistance for Sudanese Diaspora in the Roanoke Area A number of young Sudanese came to the Roanoke Valley in the early days of the conflict. They have lived among and been supported by members of our Diocese. Today we provide educational grants for those seeking higher education and training. The members of the SMG invite you to contribute to support these students, here and abroad, who have faced the most unimaginable hardships life has to offer. They are all dedicated to education, their faith and to improving the plight of their people.

To support this ministry, please make your check payable to Grace Episcopal Church and write Sudan on the memo line or give online. Under "Fund," select "Sudan" from the drop down menu. Thank you for support!

William Marial bio 2023
Download PDF • 48KB
William Marial, a student at Hope House

Lisa will be out of the office Thursday 8/31-Tues 9/5.

Morning Prayer | Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.

In-Person & Zoom

First Sunday Lunch

September 3. Hot dogs & Hamburgers will be served. Ice cream for dessert (if you would like to donate a pie to share, please let Samson know). Susan Lawrence would love 2 volunteers for Saturday evening and 2 volunteers for Sunday morning. Please let Samson know if you can help.

Community Labyrinth Walk

September 3, 5 pm with chants from the Taizé tradition at Grace Episcopal. Meet in the Parish Hall for a brief presentation before the walk.

Grant Writer Wanted

The Virginia Haiti Collaborative is looking for a grant writer to help with procuring computers for St. Marc’s School, Cerca-La-Source, Haiti. Please contact Virgina Cooke if you have any ideas or can help.

Wanted - Sunday School Teachers

Grace is looking for youth, college students and adults willing to help provide Sunday School for a few children each Sunday from about 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. We are willing to pay a stipend. Please contact Tuck to find out more.

Adopt a Rat

The Adopt a Rat program is our opportunity to provide the Rats at VMI a little relief from the stress of the Rat Line. The combination of the community at Grace and the ability to go home with a family for some peace and a home cooked meal makes the trials of barracks a little more bearable. Typically adopting a Rat involves meeting them at church and taking them home after the service. During the time in your home, the Rats are likely to spend a lot of time sleeping, calling home, eating, and sleeping some more. As the year progresses you will get to know the Rats and in a lot of cases, develop a relationship with them that will continue beyond their time at VMI. Below are some guidelines from VMI on cadet conduct and family responsibilities. We’ll provide additional information during the year on weekends the Rats won’t be joining us, when their exams start, and anything else that might affect your Sunday with them.

1. A host family is considered a family of at least two people who are bona fide members of your church or religious organization.

2. There are restrictions for NCAA athletes and what they can receive from their host family. Please contact Lenny Brown, Deputy Athletics Director, at 540-464-7035 or brownhl@vmi.edufor more information.

3. While the practice of adopting Rats is operated entirely by local congregations, without any control by VMI, we want to remind you of our ongoing attention to safety and student conduct. Unfortunately, there have been incidents of cadet misconduct while at the homes of host families that could easily have been prevented. Please recognize that local churches and their families are responsible for relationships regarding these students and their conduct while visiting.

4. Host families are encouraged to welcome two Rats as opposed to just one so they can be mutually supporting. Host families should ensure appropriate supervision during visitations, to include any contact with minor children in the home. Should a family host two Rats, regardless of their gender, you should caution the family to be mindful that Rats are not allowed to date during their entire first year (defined as a romantic interest that goes beyond friendship).

5. Cadets are expected to follow all laws while off Post, including being 21 to consume alcohol.

If you would like to be a host family, please give Lisa a call in the parish office 540-463-4981

Paws to Connect Update

After our summer pause, we are ready to bring joy, relaxation, and wellbeing to students, staff, community members, our dogs, and ourselves through the second year of Paws to Connect.

We want to continue building our community of dog owners and lovers who want to participate and support Paws to Connect. If you would like to join us or know someone who would, email Dennis Cross. Martha Burford shared this article about benefits of a program like ours.

Our fall term gatherings will be Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Grace Courtyard. Please add the dates to your calendar. The dates reflect W&L’s fall undergraduate calendar. September 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27; October 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 31; November 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 28, 29; December 5, 6, 12 , 13.

We will also be in the courtyard for the “Get Downtown” event on September 5, 4:45 p.m. This is a chance to introduce our church to new college students who will be in town for the next four years. Join us to greet the new students!

If anyone knows the best person we can contact at VMI to explore how we can serve VMI students. Please let Dennis know the contact or feel free to make the contact if you have the relationship.

We look forward to the year ahead. We are successful because of your and our dogs involvement and interest. Roca says hi and wishes to send his love to his human and canine friends.

Upcoming Music Events
Upcoming Christianity and Culture

On August 27, Fr. James will lead Christianity and Culture. It will honor Marc Nikkel and the people of Sudan and will reflect on the work of the American Friends of the Episcopal Church in Sudan. Below is a link to Fr. James’ diary/reflections he emailed to colleagues and friends during his trip. They are insightful and will give you a daily update on his trip.

Download PDF • 1.94MB
Education for Ministry

Education for Ministry (EfM) continues to attract parishioners who want to engage in focused discussion about the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, church history or to explore theological philosophy. If you are interested in joining the class this September or who want more information about the program contact James Keane.

The Mission and Outreach Committee of the Gadsden Trust

We will convene on September 12 at 4:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall for its our third quarter meeting. The Committee will review third quarter grant requests that were submitted by the September 1, 2023, deadline and make awards. Third quarter grant requests can be sent to Gail Dickerson and must be received by September 1, 2023. The Gadsden Trust grant request application can be found here.

Blood Drive at Grace

Grace Episcopal is having a Blood Drive on Monday, August 28, 2023 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Jonathan Daniels Community Room. Please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit and enter: GECL to schedule an appointment. Streamline your donation experience and save up to 15 minutes by visiting to complete your pre-donation reading and health history questions on the day of your appointment. Donate Blood. Help Save Lives.

Grace Church Blood Drive
Download PDF • 77KB
Prayer List

Please pray for the wider Church and intercessions requested by our Congregants: The Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, and our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mark Bourlakas. Pray today for the members of the Commission on Ministry and their chair, The Rev. Susan E. Bentley. Pray for Presiding Bishop Curry who is to have surgery on September 8. Pray for Brendon (friend of the Brooke family), Michael Murphy, John Thomas, Timmy, Rick Alexander, Bradley Fairchild and Karen Junkin (friends of the Gibsons), Gloria June Perry (mother of Michael Perry), Glen Jones (friend of the Riethmillers), Patricia Brown Boyer (sister of Madison Brown), Dolly Shumate (friend of the Lewis’), Carolyn Glenn (friend of Judy Schram), Jack Hershbell, Laura Stearns, Worth & Katie Burnes (friends of the Smiths), Amelia Dull, Barb Ostrander (cousin of John Milford), Stephen deMaria, Annie Campbell, Polly Lawrence, Betty Cadden, Jeff Mason, Joe Irby, Kent Wilson, Ginny Dunaway Ferguson, Rosemary Phillips (sister of Paul Robblee), Joan Wade (sister-in-law of David Wade), Maria Scott. Don Ellis, Diana Kenney, Patrick Bowes (brother-in-law of Linda deMaria), Ann Nay, Paula Cooper, Lucy Moise, Penny & Ned Henneman, Steve Riethmiller, Heidi Schweizer, David Wade, Barbara Bova (friend of the Dickersons), Daniel Diener, Carrie Strickland (sister-in-law of Paul Strickland), and those we name aloud or in our hearts. Pray for those who have died, Mike Robblee (brother of Paul). Pray for the people of Hawaii, Sudan, Haiti, Ukraine.

In Thanksgiving for August and September Birthdays

8/27 Mary Webster

8/28 David Howison

8/30 Barton Dick

8/31 Pat Gibson

9/1 Trudie Kirkland, Mark Gallagher

9/2 Harrison Branner

9/3 Buster Lewis, Ella Sayre, Estella Crocker

9/4 Gail Dick

9/5 Ned Henneman

9/7 Susan Cross

9/8 Delea Bowerfind

9/9 Marlys Craun

9/10 Frederick Kurtz

9/11 Ham Smith, MaryEtta Randolph

9/16 Tucker Bowerfind

9/18 Judy Hotchkiss, Carolyn Kuper

9/19 Julia Littlefield, Peter Dyckman Fyfe, Nanalou Sauder, Frank Settle

9/20 Keith Gibson, Spencer Tucker

9/21 Chris Howison, Barbara Luton

9/22 Ann Nay, Elizabeth Oliver

9/24 Graham Centorino

9/25 Darlene Keane

9/26 Heidi Schweizer

9/28 Winifred Hart, Tim Harrison

9/30 Mo Littlefield. Lynda Bassett-deMaria


We're so glad you're here! If you or someone you know is new to Grace and would like more information about Parish life, follow the link below.


First Baptist Church Anniversary

Join us in celebrating the 156th Church Anniversary & 5th Anniversary of Pastor McKinley A. Williams

  • Sunday, September 10, 3:15 p.m. | Guests : The Reverend Ronald Baker, Pastor, Main Street Baptist Church

  • Sunday, September 17, 3:30 p.m. | Guests: The Reverend Dwight Steele, Pastor, Pilgrim Baptist Church

  • Sunday, September 24, 11:00 a.m. | Dedication of the Sanctuary Windows | Anniversary Fellowship Luncheon served immediately following the Worship Service for Everyone

Chill on the Hill

Habitat for Humanity Fund Raiser | Great Valley Farm Brewery and Winery | Sunday, October 1, 2023 12 – 3 pm | Food provided by: Lex Vegas Bistro and Old Lex Mercantile

Meal Ticket $20.00 | Music by Datz Us Ramblers

Hosting Ukrainian Families

A humanitarian outreach effort organized by citizens of Lexington, Buena Visa, and Rockbridge County, we aim to pave the way for sponsoring temporary re-settlement of families who qualify for entry according to the laws of the United States.

The mission of Hosting Ukrainian Families is based upon love, compassion, and humanitarian concerns for families seeking to live in peace. Accordingly, a call is issued to each person joining in this effort to set aside all political, culturally divisive viewpoints, and all differences which may hinder or defeat these goals. To donate, click the link below.

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