“Do you believe we can do more for our city as one body of Christ, more than we will ever do as two bodies of Christ one, long mile apart?”
That was the divine question that was revealed and entrusted to the remnants of First UMC, an historically white congregation and Grace UMC, an historically black congregation, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the failed levees.
On October 21, 2007, the combined congregations of 60 merged to form a new body-First Grace.
In faith we decided to let go and let God. We believed that God would honor our embrace of the Gospel message to show “no partiality,” and open up in our hearts and in our practices a way to create a space where the city can worship– adonde la ciudad adora.
Every week we are renewed, redeemed and restored by the blessing of diversity and the burden of difference. Boldly, we move forward in faith believing that the love of God revealed in Christ Jesus is the most powerful change agent, and the most healing balm the world has ever known. The divine gift of music is a unifying, spiritual medium for us.
We keep our eyes on the prize prophetically embracing a justice of loving acceptance as our task and prophetic community as our reward.
We are a people committed to living with each other, not just near each other, and we strive to create a worship space and a community where the least among us are equal among us.
In our eleven years of proclaiming, “I AM First Grace,” we have kept children at the center of most everything we do-in worship, choirs, Sunday Schools and service. We have opened Hagar’s House a residence for women and children, and opened Project Ishmael, a legal clinic for immigrant children. Numerous other servant and spiritual formation ministries for all abound.
As we say at First Grace, “WOW.” Thank you God for the opportunity to be a peculiar people (1 Peter 2.9); otherwise known as First Grace.