The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit will hold an open enrollment for students in its Sunday School program on Sunday, September 8 at 10 a.m. On that day, Gathering Sunday, the Reverend Jerry Racioppi will bless students’ backpacks and include a special prayer for the start of a new semester. A potluck brunch follows the worship service. All are welcome.
Holy Spirit offers two Sunday School classes that take place during the 10 a.m. service. The elementary program introduces children to well-loved Bible stories and helps them apply those stories to themselves. The middle school class focuses on making kind and ethical decisions in the children’s own lives. Both classes are designed to support the parents’ efforts to teach their children the importance of kindness, acceptance, and helping others. Children are in Sunday School for about 40 minutes, beginning at 10 a.m., and then join the rest of the congregation for Holy Communion and a post-service “Coffee Hour.” There is no charge for Sunday School.
“The Episcopal Church believes that God loves you – no exceptions,” says the Reverend Jerry Racioppi. He explains the cornerstones of the Episcopal Church are like a three-legged stool: scripture, tradition, and reason. “There’s never one ‘right’ answer. We need to balance what is written in the Bible and what we know today living in the 21st century,” says Father Racioppi. “That’s one of the things I love most about the Episcopal Church – and one of the things we try and teach the children. We want to give them the tools to figure out what is ‘right’ for them and for the world around them.” Father Racioppi has office hours on Wednesdays and Fridays if people would like to further understand what the Episcopal Church is about.
“Our congregation is made up of people from many different faith backgrounds and people who are in very different places in their faith journey,” says Father Racioppi, who was raised Roman Catholic in Verona. He was drawn to the Episcopal Church because, “I was familiar with the ‘scripture’ and the ‘traditions’ – Baptism, Confirmation, our service begins with readings from the Bible and end with Holy Communion. I liked adding ‘reason’ into that mix.” He adds some people have joined because the Episcopal Church because is a “middle ground” for spouses or partners of different faiths. Others have joined because they are drawn to the work Holy Spirit is doing with its Food Pantry, which is open the fourth Saturday of every month.
The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit is located at 36 Gould Street, across from the H.B. Whitehorne track. They offer two Holy Communion services on Sundays. The 8 a.m. is a small, quiet service held in the original chapel built 90 years ago. The 10 a.m., with music, takes place in the main sanctuary. Visitors may enter through the front door of the red door next to the parking lot.