Grace Episcopal Church
Worship with Us:
5:30 on Thursday
8am, 10am and 6pm on Sunday
315 Wayne St.
Sandusky, OH 44870
Fax: (419) 625-6924
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
Easter Message 2014.
The tomb is empty, and nobody knows where the body is. Mary Magdalene tells the others about the mysterious disappearance, but they give up and go home. Mary stays behind, weeping, and then fails to recognize the risen one before her. As the days pass, each resurrected encounter begins in surprise or anonymity – the disciples fishing all night without catching, Jesus cooking breakfast on the beach, the two on their way to Emmaus. Nobody recognizes him at first sight.
Clearly the risen body is not identical to the Jesus who was crucified. People mistake him for a stranger. He enters locked rooms. He walks along the path to Emmaus for a long time without being recognized. Crucifixion, death, and resurrection result in a transformed body – with evident scars, but changed nonetheless. When he reminds others of God’s banquet, meant for the whole world – when human beings are fed and watered, delivered from prison, gathered from exile across the earth, and healed and reconciled into a community of peace – his companions discover that he has once again been in their midst.
What does that resurrection reality mean for the Body of Christ of which we are part? How does the risen Body of Christ – what we often call the church – differ from the crucified one? That Body seems to be most lively when it lives closer to the reality of Good Friday and the Easter mystery. In the West, that Body has suffered a lot of dying in recent decades. It is diminished, some would say battered, increasingly punctured by apathy and taunted by cultured despisers. That body bears little resemblance to royal images of recent memory – though, like Jesus, it is being mocked. The body remembers and grieves, like the body of Israel crying in the desert, “why did you bring us out here to die?” or the crucified body who cries, “My God, why have you forsaken me,” or “why have you abandoned us?” In other contexts the Body of Christ is quite literally dying and spilling its lifeblood – in Pakistan and Sudan, in Iraq and Egypt – and in those ancient words of Tertullian, the blood of martyrs is becoming the seed of the church.
The Body of Christ is rising today where it is growing less self-centered and inwardly focused, and living with its heart turned toward the cosmic and eternal, its attention focused intently on loving God and neighbor. This Body is rising to stand in solidarity with criminals sentenced to death, with widows and orphans, with the people of the land who slave over furrows and lettuce fields to feed the world. This Body can be found passing through walls and boundaries that have long been misused to keep the righteous “safe” and “pure.” The Body is recognized when the hungry are fed – on the lakeshore with broiled fish, on the road to Emmaus, on street corners and city parks, in food pantries and open kitchens, in feeding neighbor nations and former enemies, and as the Body gathers once again to remember its identity and origin – Christ is risen for the sake of all creation.
Where and how will we look for the Body of Christ, risen and rising? Will we share the life of that body as an Easter people, transformed by resurrection and sent to transform the world in turn?
Christ is risen, Alleluia! Alleluia, Christ is risen indeed!
For decades, Episcopal Churches around the United States have been identified by a sign, which shows the Episcopal Shield and the words, "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You."
Although the Episcopal Church across the United States and locally in the Diocese of Ohio has been challenged and changed in some ways over the years, those words . . .
The Episcopal Church Welcomes You
. . .are truer than ever before.
You will find us to be old and young, male and female, gay and straight, single, married, divorced, and widowed, white and black, CEO and unemployed, rich and poor. In fact we are like everybody. We work in our communities, we try to further God's kingdom on earth, we study and we ask questions as we move deeper into the mystery of God. We support one another in good times and bad, and we try to see Christ in everyone we meet.
We are known for our engaging and beautiful worship services. For those who have grown up Catholic, the service, known as the Mass or Eucharist, will be very familiar. For those of reformed tradition or no religious tradition at all, we think you may find a spiritual home in a church that respects its tradition and maintains its sense of awe and wonder at the power and mystery of God. The Episcopal Church welcomes everyone at the communion table, because we believe everyone is invited into a relationship with the living God.
There are no prerequisites in the Episcopal Church...
Everyone is welcome. No Exceptions.
I Am An Episcopalian
As Episcopalians, we are followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and we believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Episcopal Church has members in the United States, as well as in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Haiti, Honduras, Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela, and the Virgin Islands.
We strive to love our neighbors as ourselves and respect the dignity of every person.
The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and traces its heritage to the beginnings of Christianity.
Our liturgy retains ancient structure and traditions and is celebrated in many languages.
Both men and women, including those who are married, are eligible for ordination as deacons, priests and bishops.
We believe in amendment of life, the forgiveness of sin, and life everlasting.
Lay people exercise a vital role in the governance and ministry of our church.
Holy Communion may be received by all baptized Christians, not only members of the Episcopal Church.
We uphold the Bible and worship with the Book of Common Prayer.
We affirm that committed relationships are lifelong and monogamous. Episcopalians also recognize that there is grace after divorce and do not deny the sacraments to those who have been divorced.
We affirm that issues such as birth control are matters of personal informed conscience.
We celebrate our unity in Christ while honoring our differences, always putting the work of love before uniformity of opinion.
All are welcome to find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church.
Rev. April 2013