If you walk by Grace Church on Westminster Street on a weekday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., you will see that the doors of the church are open and welcoming sign on the sidewalk says “OPEN.” The view from the street is the beautiful altar softly lit, and there may be music from our magnificent organ. Two docents who are parish volunteers are seated in the narthex to greet visitors and welcome them to Grace Church. This is the Grace Church Open Doors Ministry in action. We are the only downtown church in Providence that’s open during the week.
The ministry epitomizes Grace Church outreach to the community, open to all. People come into the church for many reasons: to pray briefly, to meditate in the quiet beauty, to view and admire the neo-Gothic architecture and our famous stained glass windows, and to inquire about the church and its services. A few say they have passed by many times, and now seeing the doors open on a weekday have come in to see the church.
Our visitors come from a wide geographic area — Providence and Rhode Island residents; visitors from across the United States who are in Providence for business, a convention or to visit family or students; and others, including visitors from Canada, Italy, Australia, Germany, Russia, Spain, Mexico, Korea, China and the Philippines.
The docents are happy to answer questions about the church as well as give information about Providence to help visitors. Individuals in need who have come to the church looking for help are referred to PICA and given a copy of the local Street Sheet publication. When the Rector is available, he makes time to meet with people looking for pastoral care and is always happy to get in touch with people if he’s not around at the time they visit.