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We love Grace-Calvary because...

Dolly Ritchie

My love for Grace-Calvary is twofold! In 1978, as a young single woman, I moved to Habersham County recruited by a major corporation. It was instilled in me to “find a church” as a means of getting to know people in the community. I entered Grace-Calvary on a cold January morning. The church building was unlike any other I’ve attended. Historic and filled with rich storytelling. The Priest preached from the high pulpit with his flowing white hair and deep tone of voice that crescendo with the sermon’s intent. After the service, he greeted the parishioners in a long black cape on the front porch. Hmmm, what have I got myself into – a bit dramatic for this “cradle to grave” Episcopalian raised in south Florida. All ended well, I found a husband in a short time and that same Priest drove to Florida to help with our wedding ceremony! As my career blossomed and with a husband that retire early, we moved from Habersham County in 1995. My church experiences roller coaster with each of my career moves. Grace-Calvary was always in the back of my mind wherever I landed. Whenever my husband and I returned to the north Georgia area for a visit, I was always back at the Sunday service renewing old friendships. In 2014, my husband and I were planning to return to the southeast from the Pacific Northwest when he was diagnosed with a terminal disease. I refer to 2015 as my vagabond year as I contemplated where I was going to settle as a single woman again. I traveled the South Georgia and North Florida coastline, but I just wasn’t feeling it in my heart. I ventured up to middle Georgia and again experienced that empty feeling. I called a realtor friend and ask her to search in the north Georgia area. Lo and behold when I crossed the Habersham County line I was home again. The biggest draw for me was Grace-Calvary and the many friends my husband and I had made over the years. Plus it is a beautiful area to live in, surrounded by national forests, walking trails, lakes, and small businesses. Even though a lot of growth happened over the twenty years I was gone, there is nothing better than the feeling of belonging amongst my Grace-Calvary family! Grace-Calvary brings me joy in the good times and resilience in the tough times! It is a vibrant congregation who truly lives the spirit of being in communion with one another. God willing, I am here to stay till the end of life! Dolly Ritchie, Senior Warden 2023-2024

Kathyrn Ballard

We started attending Grace-Calvary when our kids were little. The first thing we noticed was how welcoming the community was of our whole family. Our lively, curious, sometimes messy or noisy children were considered an integral part of the service and were never hushed or looked at askance when they raised their hands to answer rhetorical questions in the sermon. Our rector even encouraged the congregation to say the Lord's Prayer slowly so that younger members could participate. We are so grateful to have found this welcoming, kind, encouraging church family and we would love to welcome you and your family to come visit!

Phoebe Warren

Since coming to Grace-Calvary in 2021, I have changed and grown in a number of ways. I have made new friends through the church itself, diocesan retreats such as DYC and Happening, and at Camp Mikell. These friendships stand apart from any others I have made because we hold similar spiritual values. If it were not for Grace-Calvary, I would not have had the opportunity to attend Camp Mikell. In addition to gaining new friends, my spiritual life has deepened over the past three years. I can attribute this to the confirmation process and attendance at diocesan retreats such as Happening at Camp Mikell. Happening is a spiritual growth weekend for high school students in which students are shown the all-inclusive, unconditional love of Jesus. I attended Happening 76 in 2022 as a candidate and have since returned to work on the team for two more weekends. Finally, Grace-Calvary has given me an entrée to new leadership opportunities. In the spring and summer of 2022, I had the honor of participating in Bishop Rob Wright’s Steps2Lead program, which is reserved for a limited number of high school students. This series of leadership convocations sought to assist participants in focusing their personal leadership skills. This school year, 2023-2024, I serve as vice chair for the Diocesan Commission on Youth Ministry. This select group of high schoolers meet monthly to plan and execute year-round, youth-led events for the diocese. In this capacity, I assist the chair with planning, overseeing our committees, and facilitating their communications.

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