Welcome Message from The Rev. Dr. Walter V. Hillebrand, Rector
September 1, 2014
Dear Grace Church Parish family,
The Lord be with you.
I am humbled and thankful to be called to this important office, Rector of Grace Episcopal Church of Massapequa.
Thank you to the Wardens and Vestry for their trust. Aissa, Emmanuel, Amalia, and I feel blessed to be part of the Grace family. Know that I truly believe that God has led us together.
To understand the full extent and impact of the Vestry’s decision and election one must look at some historical facts. Grace Church was founded in 1844. Over the previous 170 years, visions of eleven rectors touched, inspired, guided, and led the church to what we know it to be today. Grace went through highs and lows as every other church. And looking at the church today, we inherited a precious gift handed on to us from generation to generation. Grace was founded, sustained, nourished and kept alive under the watch of our God and the labor of faithful ministers, ordained and lay.
Together with the Vestry and Wardens, I have been put in charge of this precious gift, to make a long term commitment, to take care of it, and to nourish it so that generations to come will also be able to enjoy this sparkling jewel called Grace. The challenge I would like to put on our generation’s shoulders is that when the time comes to hand the church onto the next generation, Grace Church will be flourishing even more than when we received it.
I understand that this is an ambitious objective. I am even more aware that people can not do such great things by themselves. Great things are inspired and led by the Holy Spirit and executed in team work and in communion. Therefore, I ask God the Almighty to bless Grace Church in providing wisdom and guidance on our journey together.
I also ask you for help. I need you, the church, to walk with me! We are “One Body” and “One faith community.”
God led us together for a reason: to walk and work side by side on our journey of ministry in the name of Jesus Christ. No one must be left behind or left out. All of us are called by God to be His “hands and feet” on this earth. The Book of Common Prayer describes it as the ”Duty of all Christians… to follow Christ; to come together week by week for corporate worship; and to work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God” p. 855. If we follow this guideline, focusing on doing God’s Will, the Lord will provide for our church and its ministries.
As we sojourn and minister together, I ask you to pray for me as I will pray for you. May our actions of love become a visible path, a light in the darkness, an example of a faithful church, A Church For All People.
The Rev. Dr. Walter V. Hillebrand
Rector - Priest- humble servant of God