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     First Grace is an unusual and interesting, progressive part of the Body of Christ. If you think that the church is a building, you will be surprised by First Grace as you will not find us in a typical one.  

     If you are looking for a "quiet/sedate" congregation, you may not care for us.  We take the teachings of Jesus seriously.  We don't spend a lot of time debating what we should do next; we just get on with it.

     We do not believe persons with HIV should be shunned by society or the Church  

     We believe that God expects us to love each other, and we were among the first congregations in Akron to fully recognize and welcome LGBTQ+ folks into the life and work of our community.  

     We consider the equal rights of women to continue to be unfulfilled by our male-dominated systems and culture, and we strive to recognize their equality and to support their full human and legal rights.

     We believe that voting rights for all persons are sacred rights, and we strive to support and to protect those rights.

     We do not hide from the uncertainties which our brothers and sisters in Third World Countries must face.  Through our fair-trade store, The Market Path, which is located in Copley, we provide a market for their hand-crafted items to be sold enabling artisans to make a fair wage and support their families.

     Most importantly, we do not think or pretend that we are perfect people. We know that we are struggling to continue the ministry of our Christ in this 21st Century. We invite you to join with us in the struggle. First Grace is a safe place for all people to worship regardless of race, creed, age, cultural background, or sexual orientation.  

Bob Dreese

     Our worship services are sincere, inspiring, informative, and challenging but not formal.  We are more interested in your presence than we are in how you present yourself.   One Sunday in the absence of grape juice, we used tea in our communion service for this group of believers truly embraces God's grace.

     Rev. Dreese (Bob) is very creative in his use of visuals to facilitate his sermons, utilizing slides which are as varied as photos of classical art, comic strips, and Venn diagrams.  He does not ask us to leave our brains at the door but encourages us to question, to investigate, and always to keep thinking for ourselves.

     We rejoice in familiar and not so familiar hymns, and the worship service is always infused with music of various genres and eras. We do not pass an offering plate, we are open and affirming, and we believe the communion table belongs to Christ, not to us.

     We do not own a church property and are, therefore, freed to turn our energies to social outreach within the local community.  We work in support of the Bayard Rustin LGBTQ+ Resource Center and the Akron AIDS Collaborative.  We support the Fair Trade Movement by operating The Market Path, a non-profit fair trade store located on South Massillon Road in Copley.  We invite you to join us for everyone is welcome to commune here without barriers.  

A Congregant

Kristine Dewar

September 2020

As the world fights to figure everything out, I'll be

     holding doors for strangers, 

     letting people cut in front of me in traffic,   

     saying "good morning,"

     keeping babies entertained in grocery lines,

     stopping to talk to someone who is lonely,

     tipping generously,

     waving to police,

     sharing food,

     giving children a thumbs-up,

     being patient with sales clerks,

     smiling at passersby,

     and buying a stranger a cup of coffee.

WHY?  Because I will mot stand to live in a world where love is invisible.  Join me in showing kindness, understanding, and judging less.  Be kind to a stranger, give grace to friends who are having a bad day, be forgiving with yourself.  If you can't find kindness, BE kindness.


"Don't worry about the future--worry quenches the work of grace within you."
                                                                     Bishop Francis Fenelon. 17th Century

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