St. John's - Grace Episcopal Church
An inclusive community walking a journey in faith.

Mission and Outreach

Mission Statement

                   Our mission is to go out into the community and partner with our neighbors to work for justice for all. 
              We believe everyone is welcome at Jesus' table.  


Friends of Night People 
At St. John's-Grace, we believe our mission is to share the love and understanding of Jesus' teachings to those outside our doors.  We actively support Friends of  Night People through weekly food collections, a bi-weekly "noisy" monetary collection and monthly volunteer groups that work in their food pantry.

Voice Buffalo
In partnership with community stakeholders, VOICE-Buffalo focuses on bringing local issues that urgently affect Erie County to the forefront of public discourse. By rallying local leaders, congregations, and businesses, together we can make a difference in holding policy makers and power players accountable for making better decisions that are not only in their own best interests, but in the best interest of the community as a whole.​ We are an active participant in the Voice Buffalo organization.  

Under the Voice-Buffalo organization model, individual parish core teams can seek to bring change to issues of their particular concern, as well as participate in actions that the entire organization is pursuing. In the past, a core team at St. John's-Grace successfully negotiated significant improvements to the River Walk, which led to the emergence of a task force that generated extensive community education about the issues of urban sprawl. Currently, within Voice there is a team working to help the West Side refugee populations, and one to improve access to handicap assistance, in addition to the organization-wide efforts relating to restorative justice.

If you have a particular concern for which you would like to encourage action, tell the membership at a Voice-Buffalo general meeting. You may attract a team that will join you to make a difference to our whole community.

The Spiritual Cafe 
Our Spiritual Cafe occurs on the 3rd Saturday of each month at 4:00 pm.  We celebrate the art of spirit and the spirit of art.  You can enjoy music, art, poetry, dance, storytelling in a coffee house format.  Each is performed in the spirit of compassion, reconciliation, peace, joy and social and economic justice.

Jericho Road  - Collections
Providing opportunities for the under-served and marginalized to be healthy, educated and whole, in order to demonstrate the unconditional love of Jesus. We participate in an annual coat collection for the Jericho Road organization.

Vive La Casa
Vive La Casa Opens Its Doors to the World’s Refugees. It is the largest shelter for international refugees on the US-Canadian border and has housed, fed, and provided legal and medical support for nearly 20 years. Vive is a program of the Jericho Road organization. Each summer we take a group of 20 or so refugees from Vive to a Buffalo Bison's baseball game.  It is an event that helps get the refugees out into the community for a fun event. Many parishioners participate in this event and each year the stories get better and better and we are moved beyond words by our experience of getting to know the folks from Vive. 

Partnership with St. Philips EC and St. Marks & All Saints EC
We are working in various capacities with our neighboring churches.  We share a worship service together, we share a meal, we engage in ministry in our community to build lasting relationships with each other as we do God's work together.

Ashes-to-Go - Taking Worship to the Streets!
“Remember you are a beloved child of the living God”. “Remember from dust you came and to dust you shall return”.

On Ash Wednesday we come together to begin the solemn season of Lent.  The previous Palm Sunday branches are burned and mixed with oil. On the Holy Day of Ash Wednesday the ashes are traced/smudged on each person’s forehead by one of the priesthood of all believers who prays a blessing and a solemn reminder.

Ashes to Go offers a service for commuters and for people outside church walls. SJG has a team who visits the Utica St. Metro Station to offer prayers and a blessing to the workers and students who commute and pass through this busy hub. What team members especially remember are the moments of personal encounters that continue to happen, and the connections formed between strangers that make their experience meaningful, worthwhile, and memorable.

Many ask for ashes and/or a blessing and stand humbly bowing their heads with hands folded prayerfully as people pass by. Each person says “Thank you” and/or “God bless you”. “I am grateful you are here”.  One man watched from afar and then approached our team saying, “Please give me ashes. I am Muslim. " We have a connection through Abraham ".  Then he asked to give us a blessing. He asked to pray for us. So there we were, amid the passersby, with our arms around each other in a circle, our heads bowed, as he prayed.

We come away from our experiences knowing we are blessed by each person we meet. And we realize such sacred encounters happen rarely inside a building.    But such sacred encounters occur often at the crossroads of life. 

Memorial Day Service
Since 2006, Memorial Day has been commemorated at Saint John’s-Grace Episcopal Church by a special, interdenominational service, remembering and contemplating the ultimate sacrifice made by our service men and women. We invite leaders from other churches to be leaders at this service, and we invite the whole community to attend. Part of the service includes the decorating of a wreath and carrying it, in procession, to the memorial monument on Bidwell Parkway, just across the street from the church. Hymns, music, prayers, readings, and a homily lend to this solemn occasion through which we try to fittingly honor those who served and to commend ourselves to make their sacrifices a pledge to seek peace and justice. Over the years we have had participation from Baptists, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Unity, Friends, Unitarian-Universalist, and others.  

Good Friday Service
Many Episcopal Churches have had a practice of offering a three hour Good Friday service from noon to three to contemplate the seven last words of Jesus from the cross. At St. John’s-Grace we have invited local priests, ministers, and church leaders from other congregations to present homilies or meditations on the seven last words. Seven such preachers address, in homilies, sermons or meditations, the seven phrases recorded as spoken by Jesus from the cross. We bid the whole community to participate in this service. People may come and go during the three hours as their schedules may allow. Some are able to be there for the three hours and many do so. The service consists of hymns, prayers, readings, meditations on the last words, and silence. Over the years we have had participation from Baptists, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Unity, Friends, Unitarian-Universalist, and others.