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Life With Grace | February 9

Updated: Feb 16

A worship book sits open on an alter; a colorful stained glass behind it.
Join us this weekend for worship and help us welcome visiting composer Gerald Cohen!

Dear Friends,

This Sunday at 9:15 for Christianity and Culture, then at the 10:30 Eucharist, and finally at 5 pm for Music Makes Community, we’ll welcome Gerald Cohen, composer, cantor at Shaarei Tikvah Synagogue in Scarsdale NY, and professor of cantorial studies at Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College.  It is my great joy to introduce Gerald to you.

 I have known Gerald since we sang together in the Yale Concert Choir, now four decades ago. He was an undergraduate and I was a divinity student. In 1980 the choir traveled to Germany where German families welcomed us into their homes. Because many in our number were Jewish, the home stays had a poignant, even momentous quality about them. Some of those visits proved profoundly moving as Jewish students -- some, like Gerald, children or grandchildren of Holocaust victims or survivors -- told of serious, searching conversations with their German hosts, conversations no doubt mediated by the love of music shared by hosts and guests alike. Friendships among the singers were also shaped by that intensely inter-cultural, inter-religious tour, among them my friendship with Gerald. In a few years’ time, we found ourselves singing together once again, this time in a New York City choir. On car rides home from rehearsals we often turned to questions of faith --  Jewish faith, Christian faith, inter-faith, and occasionally a little Buddhism! Gerald has taught me more about Judaism than years of schooling could do, not least by inviting me to worship in his synagogue, but especially through his example of deep devotion to his faith and consonant deep care for humanity.


We began to plan Gerald’s visit well before the war in Gaza began. When someone asked me how he understands his work in light of the current crisis, I put the question to him. He answered to this effect: ‘I write music out of a commitment to humanity, to human dignity everywhere.’ For Gerald, clearly, this commitment is enjoined by the Hebrew prophets --“seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God” Micah 6:8 -- and it is realized in his music which so often takes up themes of faith, hope, and reconciliation. Consider, for example, his opera “Sarah and Hagar” about the origins of the Jewish and Arab peoples and another, “Steal a Pencil for Me,” about a Jewish couple (friends of his) who fell in love in a concentration camp, or again, a piece inspired by Abraham Joshua Heschel who marched for civil rights at Selma with Martin Luther King, Jr. and reported “I felt my legs were praying.” It is no surprise that Gerald often takes inspiration from biblical or liturgical texts. A setting of the 23rd Psalm, written for the funeral of a young friend, shimmers with hope in the face of loss. We’ll hear that setting, “Adonai Roi,” in the 10:30 am service on Sunday along with a sung blessing, “Y’varech’cha” (“May the Lord bless you and guard you, May the Lord cause the light of his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, May the Lord lift up his face to you and grant you peace.”) written at the birth of his child, with a melody that cannot fail to bless us as we hear its repeated prayer for peace, “shalom, shalom.”


At 9:15 (Christianity and Culture) Gerald will join Fr. Tuck for a discussion of “Music in Interfaith Conversation.” Later in the day, at 5 pm, Martha Burford will host Gerald in a session of  Music Makes Community as he teaches niggunim (or nigunim, Jewish songs without words), a song form associated with the Jewish mystical tradition. On Monday at 7, in the Grace Episcopal sanctuary, Gerald’s compositions will be featured in a concert, “Beloved of my being: The Music of composer Gerald Cohen,” by the Chamber Music Society of Lexington (founded and directed by Martha Burford and Mark Gallagher) and featuring Origin, a choral group under the direction of Kyle Nielson at Southern Virginia University. Finally, on Tuesday at 4 in the Hillel House he will give a public talk illustrated by recordings of several of his works, “Music as Witness: a composer commemorates the Holocaust.”  I am profoundly grateful for the support, talent, and endless energy of Martha Burford, Mark Gallagher, and the Chamber Music Society of Lexington for initiating, facilitating, and promoting Gerald’s visit, for Fr. Tuck’s encouragement and generosity, and for Lisa Tracy’s expertise in writing a truly stellar press release for the News Gazette. The visit is supported, in addition, by the Washington and Lee University Provost’s Office, the Music and Religion Departments, and by Hillel, the Jewish Student organization at W&L.

Alex Brown

Worship Services | Last Sunday After the Epiphany | Sunday, February 11

Holy Eucharist | 8 a.m.

In-Person & Zoom

Last Sunday after Epiphany 8am
Download PDF • 260KB

Christianity and Culture | 9:15 a.m.

In Person | Parish Hall

“Music in Interfaith Conversation,” will feature discussion between Fr. Tuck and visiting composer and interfaith leader, Gerald Cohen. Cohen holds a BA in music from Yale University and a DMA in composition from Columbia University. He is cantor at Shaarei Tikvah, Scarsdale, N.Y., and is on the faculties of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Hebrew Union College in New York, N.Y. Cohen’s interfaith stance is central to his thought and work in a time of worldwide crisis and trauma. Cohen will participate in the 10:30 a.m. service; lead a session at 5 p.m. at Grace on Niggunim (Jewish mystical song); deliver a public lecture at W&L; and be the featured composer of the Chamber Music Society of Lexington’s concert Monday, Feb. 12 at Grace Episcopal. 

Upcoming Christianity and Cultu

Feb. 18th & 25th: & May 12th 


On February 18 Cecile West-Settle and Heidi Schweizer will offer the first of three sessions on the Camino de Santiago or as it is known in English the Way of St. James. Since the 8th century pilgrims have crossed from France into Spain, descending the Pyrenees, then turning west and traveling 500 miles to reach Santiago de Compostela, the site of St. James’ alleged tomb.


In the first session we will examine the nature of pilgrimage and focus on the scripture,

ecclesiastical tradition, and folklore contributing to the multiple identities associated with the St. James of the Camino. In the second, we will discuss how to prepare for walking the Way (itinerary the necessary equipment, etc.). In the third session several “pilgrims” of our community will share their personal experiences of walking The Way of St. James.

Holy Eucharist | 10:30 a.m.

In-Person and Youtube

Last Sunday after Epiphany 1030
Download PDF • 425KB

Women’s Bible Study | 4 p.m.

Welles Room | A study of the Gospel of Luke.

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

In-Person & Zoom

RenewalWorks Spiritual Life Inventory

The survey will be live through February 18.  As of January 25, 71 people had completed the inventory. It would be amazing if we could get to 120! 

Upcoming Music Events

Composer, Cantor, and Interfaith leader Gerald Cohen will be Washington and Lee ’62 Scholar in Residence and guest musician and music leader at Grace Episcopal Church February 10–12.

On Saturday, February 10, Cohen will rehearse at Grace with The Chamber Music Society of Lexington in preparation for the concert “Beloved of my being: The music of composer Gerald Cohen.” The program is of Cohen’s instrumental and choral compositions.

On Sunday, February 11, Cohen will engage with the Rev. Tuck Bowerfind in conversation for Christianity and Culture. Cohen will be guest cantor and pianist at the 10:30 a.m. liturgy, and the choir will sing his composition “Adonai.” 

On Sunday, February 11 at 5 p.m. Cohen will lead a Niggunim Song session at Grace. Niggunim are mystical songs, often with repetitive sounds such as “Lai-lai-lai,” “Bim-bom-bim.” This will be a lively, educational, and participatory community singing event. 

Monday February 12, 7 p.m. The Chamber Music Society of Lexington presents at Grace: “Beloved of my being: The music of composer Gerald Cohen”. A program of compositions, instrumental and choral, all by Cohen.

On Tuesday February 13, 4 p.m. Cohen will give a Public Lecture at Hillel “Music as witness: A composer commemorates the Holocaust,” discussing and playing music from three compositions that he has written related to the Holocaust. Cohen will also reflect on his own personal connection to the Holocaust, through his parents—both refugees from Europe— and his close relationships with many survivors.

In addition, Cohen will participate in two W&L classes, one in Modern Judaism with and one in Music composition.

These collaborations between W&L, Hillel, The Chamber Music Society of Lexington, Grace Episcopal Church, and Origin Choral Group are exciting!

Our Lenten Journey

We hope you will join the Diocesan Becoming Beloved Community Guiding Team as we talk about the mission and ministry of Becoming Beloved Community. What does that look like for individuals, for a church and for our communities? We will learn about this important ministry through history, education and resources, action and worship.

Safe Church, Safe Communities Training

It is a requirement that anyone who makes home visits must complete the Safe Church, Safe Communities training. A reminder that training will be provided on-site on Sunday, February 11th following the 10:30 a.m. service. This training requirement is for Vestry members, parishioners who make home visits in support of ACTS requests and for Eucharistic Ministers who take communion to those unable to attend church. ACTS team members who send cards, make telephone calls or drop off meals are not required to complete the training but are encouraged to do so if possible. 

Please confirm your plans to join us on February 11th. The training takes about two and one-half hours. A light snack will be provided.  

Call or email either Lisa or James with questions or concerns. Note that this training is also available on line if that format works better for you.

Confirmation and Reception

If you would like to try to understand the Episcopal Church better and consider Confirmation or Reception when the Bishop comes later this year, please meet with Tuck and Samson from noon to 1 p.m. on Sundays of Lent - February 18, 25, March 3, 10, 17, and 24.   We will provide a light lunch and try to answer your questions about the Episcopal Church, the scriptures, the creeds, the sacraments, and the historic episcopate.  Attendance at all six meetings is aspirational but not required.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

Mark your Calendar - 5:30–7 p.m. on February 13th: Pancakes, Sausage, Cheese Grits, and Fried Apples all prepared and served by the Men's Breakfast Fellowship with a Valentine's Eve Theme.

Dinner Groups

If you did not sign up for a dining group or are new to Grace Church and would like to be a part of a dinning group, (lunch, dine in or dine out) do let Ruth know and we’ll find you a group. Give Ruth a call at 910-409-9325 or send Ruth Smith an email. This is a fun way to get to know other Grace members. If you are in a group that eats in homes, you will be responsible for one meal, planning the date, creating the main course, and assigning other items to those in your group. If you dine out, you are responsible for setting the date and planing where to eat making reservations for the group.

Christ Episcopal Church Community Lunches

Christ Episcopal Church in Buena Vista serves community soup lunches on the first and third Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. All you have to do is come and eat. You don't have to do the dishes or pay anything. We encourage you to consider supporting our sister church. Your presence can make a big difference. Please show your support by joining them on one of these Saturdays. It will mean much to our church and theirs as we reflect Christ's love.

Christ Church is located at 2246 Walnut Ave, Buena Vista.

Wednesday Nights in Lent

Anne Sauder will serve supper at 6 p.m. on the five Wednesday nights of Lent - February 21, 28, March 6, 13, 20. Starting about 6:30 p.m. we will exercise our rights as citizens of the Kingdom and Caucus for our favorite candidates for the Golden Halo. Please register for Lent Madness and vote daily during Lent.

Update on the Trex Challenge

Grace Episcopal Church is enrolled in the Trex Challenge to collect 1,000 lbs. of plastic film for recycling over a one-year period. If we meet this goal, we will receive a free Trex bench.

The Creation Care Committee, with the help of the Lexington Garden Club, is pleased to announce that we have collected a total of 199 lbs. of plastic film over the past 3 months toward our goal. This is the equivalent @ 10,000 plastic bags that did not end up in our roads, fields, waters, or landfill. Thank you so much for your efforts in this challenge.

While this is very commendable, we will need to average 267 lbs. each quarter over the next 3 quarters to reach the 1,000 lb. target. This means we need to increase our collections by 34% to meet the goal. Please keep up your collection efforts, and for those yet to participate, we need your help. 

Please note that the plastic film collected is not only plastic bags but includes other plastic films that stretch; bread bags, bubble wrap, drycleaning bags, plastic shipping envelopes, Ziploc food storage bags, shrink wrap, salt bags, wood pellet bags, produce bags, etc... everything just must be clean before going into recycling. There is a blue collection bin for plastic film under the bridge between the Church and Parish Hall for your deposit of plastic films. Thanks again for your participation in this challenge.

Prayers for Peace in the Holy Land

A Note from Tuck:

I am writing to ask for your prayers for a de-escalation of violence between Israeli and Palestinian people and for return to the challenging work of building a sustainable and lasting peace.

I have reached out to the current student director of Hillel House, the Chaplain at VMI, and the director of Student Services at W&L to express our support of Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish and Muslim students.

I encourage you to reach out to your Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish and Muslim friends in recognition that this crisis creates the conditions for increased anti-semitic and anti-muslim behavior, as well the strong likelihood that they or someone close to them has been impacted by this crisis.

Finally, please read the following statement by the Episcopal Church and the accompanying statement by Churches for Middle East Peace.

Pray for peace.

Boys Home of Virginia Wish List

Please help us support the Boys Home of Virginia by supplying any of items on their wishlist. There is a basket on the stair landing to the Parish Office for the Boys Home donations. Please drop off at church. Thank you!

A Plea for Haiti

Our neighbors in Haiti are struggling through a period of political violence and chaos. With the government disabled, many Haitians rely on church schools to educate their children. Grace, as part of the Virginia Haiti Collaborative, supports one such school in Haiti, St. Marc’s in Cerca-la-Source. Every month the Collaborative sends $5000 to Haiti to pay the salaries of the 30-some teachers at St. Marc’s who teach the 350 students in grades K-12. That $5000/month pays the full salaries of 30 adults and provides education for 350 students. The Collaborative is the school’s only source of funding.

This season, we are also raising money so that the students can have computers at school. They will need some degree of computer literacy to take their graduation exams and to serve them as they seek jobs after graduation. If you can help provide schooling for these children, please put Virginia Haiti Collaborative on the memo line and send your check to Trinity Episcopal Church, 214 W. Beverley St, Staunton, VA 24401. Trinity provides bookkeeping for the collaborative. For more information, please contact Anne Hansen or Tuck.

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.

African American Heritage Celebrations
Bond of Faith Flyer
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Bond of Faith Press Release
Download PDF • 134KB

Heritage Day Flyer1 (1)
Download PDF • 371KB

Prayer List

Prayer for the election of the next Presiding Bishop: Almighty God, source of all wisdom and understanding: Look graciously on your church, and so guide the hearts and minds of those who will choose our next presiding bishop, that we may receive a faithful pastor who will care for all of your people, equip us for our ministries, and proclaim your word to us and to the world, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Please pray for the wider Church and intercessions requested by our Congregants: Pray for the Presiding Bishop Curry who is recovering from Jan. 18 surgery. The Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, and our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mark Bourlakas.   Pray for the people of Grace, Radford and their Curate-in-Charge, The Rev. William Yagel. Pray for Brendon, Michael Murphy, Timmy, Rick Alexander, Bradley Fairchild and Karen Junkin, John & Gloria June Perry, Glen Jones, Patricia Brown Boyer, Dolly Shumate, Carolyn Glenn, Jack Hershbell, Laura Stearns, Worth & Katie Burnes & Family, Amelia Dull, Stephen deMaria, Polly Lawrence, Betty Cadden, Jeff Mason, Joe Irby, Kent Wilson, Don Ellis, Diana Kenney, Patrick Bowes, Ann Nay, Paula Cooper, Penny & Ned Henneman, Barbara Bova, Daniel Diener, Shelby, Clay Sadler, Lynn Butler, Sharon Humphreys, Eloise Adams, Nancy Mastin, Elizabeth Klein (daughter of Deb & Bill Klein), Patrick Keeley, Cullen Bahr (friend of Drusie Milford), Mary Etta Randolph, Steve Robbins, Amaree Cluff, Jeff Patnaude, and those we name aloud or in our hearts. Pray for those who have died, Don Taebel and The Rev. Butch Eanes. Pray for the people of Israel, Gaza, Sudan, Haiti, Ukraine, and pray for cessation of violence, and for reconciliation, and peace.

In Thanksgiving for February Birthdays

2/9   Benjamin Huger

2/10  Glenn Szarzynski

2/12  Rowan Moles

2/19  Rose Hein

2/21  Steve Riethmiller

2/23  Beverly Tucker, Graham Hess

2/24  Holt Merchant

2/25  Jeanne Passmore

2/27  Joseph Henson

2/28  Caitie Carrington, Erin Carrington


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.


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