For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his.
Grace was born in 2012 from two historic Berkshire congregations in Great Barrington and Lee, established 1762 and 1856 respectively, that left and sold their buildings without leaving their missions (Lee Food Pantry and Gideon’s Garden at Taft Farms). We have pooled our resources, reduced our overhead, and are financially sound. We worship in the banquet hall of a brewery, rent office and chapel space in Great Barrington, and are hosted by Taft Farms for special services.
We at Grace Church have been challenged to learn to tell the story of our Christian faith without being able to point at the walls of a church building as evidence that such a narrative exists. We are learning about the beauty and joy of being created by Love, of being forgiven and redeemed by Love in Christ, and of being a part of the working out of Love’s future by the Spirit. This narrative of faith is carried in our hearts out into the world.
Still we love our liturgical heritage and work very hard to create a holy worship service without the visible support of a sanctuary space. Since 2008 we have had the courage and guidance to experiment with how we “do” church and the temerity to set aside the immediate goal of getting back into a church building. In 2020, the pandemic closure of worship services has flexed our liturgical imaginations even further as we pivoted to “Virtual Worship” on Zoom. The technological learning curve has been steep but the abundance of gifts and our capacity for adaptation has not only provided us with a new way of being together for worship and meetings, but we now have a way to include some of our home-bound parishioners in worship and meetings after the restrictions for social gatherings are no longer in place.
While we have challenges ahead transitioning back to in-person worship and integrating new technology, we are always looking for the new thing that God is doing among us and in our communities. We are like a stripped down version of church that reminds us of the essentials we are to carry with us in this world: that we are loved unconditionally by our God and that our one, true mandate is to go forth and love one another. Like the limbs of the Tree of Life that became our logo, we seek to spread the Good News of the Gospel through our commitment to service and love of God.
Because we have fewer younger members in an increasingly secular part of the country, we want to find new ways to help young and unchurched people meet their spiritual needs for joy, comfort, and God’s loving presence in their lives. Becoming a church without a steeple and a community that literally plants seeds has been a great gift to our own spiritual lives. Could you embrace this mission with us?