As many in the Island community are aware, Grace Episcopal Church has been undergoing significant renovations to our parish hall and kitchen as part of a long-range effort to restore our buildings and infrastructure. As a result, many of the community groups that call Grace Church “home” have had to be temporarily relocated to other temporary quarters.

We want to express our thanks to the Rev. Bill Clark and the people of the MV Universalist Society for providing meeting space for the noon AA meetings; the Rev. Ellen Tatreau and First Baptist Church for ‘loaning’ us their parish hall for not only our annual Christmas dinner, but also for our Friday night community suppers; and to Rabbi Caryn Broitman and the Hebrew Center for providing temporary space for Grace Community yoga.

It is a great blessing to live and work in a community where the various religious groups so willingly step up to help each other when it is needed, for which I along with the people of Grace Church am greatly thankful.

As a sidebar to this, for those who think that the larger community should remain “separate,” it is not difficult to read between the lines as to what all of the religious communities and houses of worship give to the wider Island community, including the various 12-step groups and other Island organizations for whom we readily and willingly supply meeting space; the hundreds who are provided with housing, food and utility assistance; the hours of counseling, referrals, and other things too numerous to mention.

Islanders in need who have no other place to turn, will always turn to us. Not only that, many refer these individuals to us directly. The donations that the faith communities receive for room use are never sufficient to cover the utilities, supplies and cleaning costs that are required to maintain our spaces in good order.

We do all of this as part of our ministries to the wider community through the generosity of our members, who are your neighbors. So I would ask that when we come to the various community funding agencies and town meetings for help with extraordinary expenses involved with maintaining our buildings that are used by the community, that you give some consideration to what we in turn have given and will always give back to this community which we all love and care for.


Robert Hensley
Vineyard Haven