Exciting News!

We Have A New Priest!

by Kevin Murphy, Senior Warden


I had hoped to be able to announce the following news in church this past Sunday, but it wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that I received permission to tell you that Holy Trinity has called a new priest!  But first, a little background:

As you’re all painfully aware, Holy Trinity has seen a lot of clergy turnover recently.  Fr. Peter left suddenly and surprisingly last summer, after serving only two years.  We hired Fr. Don as Interim Rector, but his term was cut short due to his tax situation… not to mention open-heart surgery!  Meanwhile, Holy Trinity’s membership and financial support have declined during this pandemic.  And potentially making our finances worse, in recent months I was hearing from Canon Val Ambrose that the diocese might decide to move its office from our property, to a smaller space, as many of their staff had grown accustomed to working from home during the last year and a half.

Finding a new “permanent” priest when you can offer full-time pay is difficult enough.  But our current financial situation will require us to find a priest willing to accept part-time compensation, and that would likely make a search considerably more difficult.  So when Fr. Don left suddenly, we thought we were in a tough spot.

If the pandemic has had a silver lining, it’s that it has forced us to think creatively and try new approaches to solving problems.  Knowing our situation, and also knowing that Two Churches – Kentwood had a full-time priest (Fr. Mike Wernick) but was struggling to balance its budget, Val Ambrose approached Fr. Mike and asked him if he’d be interested in shepherding Two Churches and Holy Trinity.  He was interested.  So for the last couple of months Genia and I have worked through some of the details of how this arrangement might work, with Fr. Mike and the lay leadership of Two Churches.  An agreement has been reached between Holy Trinity and Fr. Mike, which has been approved by Two Churches and our diocesan leadership.  Here’s an outline of how this will work:

  • Mike Wernick will be our Priest-in-Charge for a 3-year term (renewable) beginning on Sept 1.  But he will be on vacation for the first 3 weeks (more on that later).
  • Fr. Mike will work half-time at Holy Trinity, and half-time at Two Churches, and will officiate weekly Sunday worship services at both locations.
  • Fr. Mike will reside in our Rectory which is currently being vacated by the Diocesan staff.  During that 3-week “vacation”, he and his partner Joel will be moving in.
  • Two Churches and Holy Trinity will split Fr. Mike’s cost 50/50.  The rental value of the rectory we are providing will count toward our 50% share.  The net cost to us will be similar to what Fr. Don was costing us… which was affordable.

Speaking on behalf of the Vestry, we are elated with this turn of events.  God always seems to provide for our congregation, and this is a win/win/win for Holy Trinity and Two Churches (we get a wonderful spiritual leader and help with our tight budgets), and for Fr. Mike (who gets greater responsibility and a pay raise, plus a nicer place to live).

Fr. Mike’s first Sunday with us will be on September 26.  Until that time, we have clergy scheduled every Sunday.  Fr. David Ottsen (hasn’t he been fantastic?) will be here the next three Sundays, and Val Ambrose will officiate on September 19.

One major decision remains: service times.  Both churches cannot continue to worship at 10:00.  One will need to worship earlier (probably 9:00), and the other later (probably 11:00).  We should have that figured out by this coming Sunday.

And thank you for your patience as we have worked to get our clergy situation figured out.

Kevin Murphy

Chemo Hats

Over 200 chemo hats were blessed by Fr. Don on Sunday, June 13 during the regular Holy Communion service at Holy Trinity.

The hats made to be worn by those going through chemotherapy during the period when one’s hair is depleted, were made by loving and devoted members of the Holy Trinity community.

The hats will be distributed to cancer centers and rehabilitation centers throughout the area.  Some hats will remain at Holy Trinity in case their is a need.

Shown in the picture is Fr. Don and and a few of the members who made the hats.

Covid Guidelines

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church operates within the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan. Therefore, we will follow the Coronavirus guidance as established by the four Episcopal Dioceses of Michigan.

On July 1, 2021 we will begin Phase Three of the Re-entry guidance as published last year.  This guidance is re-printed below.

Masks are encouraged indoors and are not required outdoors. Masks are especially encouraged for those who have not yet received their vaccination, when interacting with those who cannot yet be vaccinated (children, immunocompromised, etc.), and when distributing communion. Events and in-person gatherings are permitted. We advise making every provision to avoid crowding.  In-person meetings are permitted. We advise considering how you might enable your high-risk members to join your gathering digitally.  Regular office operations are permitted. We advise considering how you might maintain flexibility for staff members that are high-risk or have children unable to attend school or access childcare. Communal spaces must continue to be cleaned on a regular basis. We advise maintaining a visitor log (including phone numbers and email addresses) for all who enter the building in the event that they may have come in contact with someone with the disease and reporting is required. To the extent possible, the log should be managed by a greeter or an office staff-person or volunteer or follow some other no-touch method.  Worship Guidelines

Worship gatherings of all sizes are permitted with the following guidelines:

  • We advise considering maintaining an online/hybrid worship option for those that are high-risk and needing to maintain stay-home precautions. 

  • Physical distancing is not required. We advise avoiding crowding in the sanctuary and building to the extent possible. Consider offering multiple services to help people spread out.

  • We advise continuing the use of no-touch alternatives for the passing of the peace.

  • We advise continuing the use of no-touch alternatives for the offering.

  • We advise setting aside special space within your worship area to be designated for people of vulnerable populations.

Eucharist is permitted in one kind using bread or wafers only. Clergy must wash their hands with soap and water before services and use hand sanitizer visibly before distributing communion. If a clergy person or parishioner feels sick or has any symptoms, they should remain at home.

Food may be prepared and served with the following guidelines:

  • Congregations must make every provision to ensure adequate space to avoid crowding.

  • A designated person must distribute any food or drink. Self-serve buffets are not permitted.

Good News Garden News

 The Good News Garden brought forth over 3 gallons of spinach.  Plus two-gallons of arugula, and
four-gallons of kale on May 24, 2021.  Also harvested was over 48 heads of various types of lettuce!

More spinach, lettuce, and peppers were planted for the next round of harvesting (in 2 weeks or so).
The Green Apply Pantry is astonished at our produce!  
They are certainly grateful that we are bringing in so much produce so early in the season.
May 24th. was a busy day in garden.

Won’t you join us? We’re having fun growing for God’s children……..and adults……and families.







Our Church Records

Our Church Records

In the next two-weeks, the Holy Trinity office will be sending out a “profile” page for each person in our records.  In many (most) cases, our records are incomplete and we need your help.

When you receive the profile page, please do not drop-it in the trash.  Please complete the dates left blank on your form and send it back to us.

If you want to save the postage, you are welcome to scan it (do not take a picture) and send it via email, bring it with you next Sunday or drop it off on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

The information we are requesting is not typically considered overtly
private, however, I assure you it will be kept in confidence.

No information concerning our membership is ever released to any
group, organization or company outside the Episcopal Church without
your permission.

Thank you for your help with this!


Lawn Schedule

Holy Trinity has a beautiful and large lawn both in front of our building and around and in back of the homes near our parking-lot.   

Our proud army of mowers win the battle week after week against growing grass, but are always looking for help.  Please contact Troy for more information.

The schedule of the mowing marvels is published below.

The Commons

The extensive land located behind the Diocesan House.

An interested group of the Holy Trinity community met with leaders Debbie Murphy and Rich Dykstra recently to discuss how we might use our land resource for ministry to and with our community.

Rich and Debbie would like to thank those who attended and shared their thoughts.

The focus of the meeting was to discern two questions:

*How is God’s ministry at Holy Trinity Episcopal church to be seen by the larger community?

* How can we utilize our Commons toward that purpose?

Some ideas: Nutritional Education Foundation, Collaborate with other local churches, Children Center, Dormitory, Art Center, Transitional Housing LGBTQ / young adults homeless.

There were some concerns about the Stations of the Cross and Labyrinth.

Action Goals:

  1. Each person at the meeting will invite others to join the next meeting.
  2. People host smaller discussion groups (zoom or phone call)
  3. Continue to discern with God’s guidance.

New Master Parish Calendar

We have a new web calendar! Please take a look by clicking here.

Our new calendar will allow us to highlight special dates with graphics, use colors to indicate what events are for whom and publish everything that is happening our building.

Of course, this will be even more useful when things are allowed to take place in our building. The calendar will become our parish “Master” calendar. If the event is not on the calendar it may not be happening.

An Eagle Scout Project by our very own: Magnus Smith

Magnus Smith in Eagle Scout Uniform

Hi everyone!

This is Magnus, and I am working toward my Eagle Scout rank in Boy Scouts. One of the requirements that I need to complete is to plan and carry out a service project, and I have chosen to do so at Holy Trinity. I will be refurbishing the playground equipment and constructing a gaga pit for kids to play in (for more information about gaga ball, please visit this website: https://www.gagacenter.com/nyc/about/what-is-gaga/). In order to get started, I need to raise $800, which will go into everything from lumber and screws to food for the volunteers. For more information regarding my project, please see my Eagle Scout proposal, attached below. All donations should be made out to Holy Trinity, and the subject should read “for Magnus’s Eagle Project”. Thank you for your support, and I can’t wait to get started on my project!

Thank you,

Magnus Smith

Click here for My Proposal



Curious about the Episcopal Church?

How is the Episcopal Church different from other Protestant churches?

Can you take communion if you’ve never been baptized?

What do you “have to” believe to be an Episcopalian?

If you’ve been away from the church for awhile, if you’re hoping to connect with a church community on a deeper level, if you feel that Jesus is asking you to walk with him, maybe the Inquirers class is right for you.

It’s a series of classes to prepare you for one of three types of re-dedication to Jesus:

Confirmation, the sacrament where you vow to do your best to follow the teachings and path of Jesus Christ;

Reaffirmation, for those who have fallen away from the church and wish to make a new public commitment to Christ; and

Reception, for those baptized or long-practicing in other denominations who wish to make a new committment to Christ as part of our Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.

Father Pete is offering the Inquirers class series on four Sundays: May 5, May 19, June 2, and June 16. Email him or give him a call if you’d like to know more or are ready to sign up!