Welcome to Grace Notes! You can find an archive of my preaching and writing here. I welcome your comments and questions, as I always enjoy conversations about faith.
Grace notes are actually tiny notations in classical music that indicate a quick note decorating the melody. Grace notes always lead to the main thing. In my spiritual walk, the main thing is the grace of God in Jesus. This grace is God’s unequivocal gift of acceptance and love for you and me. That’s what fuels me, and that’s what I write about.
I look forward to sharing with you and hearing from you in this blog – and I hope you find the words and ideas here to truly be Grace Notes, filled with God’s grace. – PJ
Pastor Julie is a student of yoga and a lover of singing, a low maintenance housekeeper and a potluck foodie, a wife and proud mother of two young adults, and a passionate voice for connecting faith, daily life, and scripture. Born and raised in Columbus, she studied religion and music at Oberlin College and Conservatory, and received her MDiv from Yale Divinity School. Pastor Julie served four parishes in Connecticut before returning to her Ohio roots to become Epiphany’s senior pastor. 

Put on Your Faith Glasses

John 9

A few years ago, both my husband and my son got glasses. Since it was a new thing for both of them, they had to learn to keep track of this new essential. In the rush of getting out the door, they were forever running back into the house yelling, “Where are my glasses???” They only seemed to notice they weren’t wearing them when they got behind the wheel to start the car. 

I don’t know about you, but I cannot identify with this phenomenon.


Apostles of Living Water

John 4
“Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city.”

Getting water was women’s work. Early in the morning, the women would rise and meet at the well with their jars. As they collected water for the needs of their household, the sound of their laughter and conversation filled the square. They told jokes and folk stories and caught up on the news around town. They talked of their difficulties and supported each other.


The Bible in a Nutshell

John 3
It’s the bible in a nutshell:  John 3:16, For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him, may not perish but may have eternal life. You see it on banners at sports events, on bumper stickers, greeting cards and refrigerator magnets. It’s even on my stole today, made by member Karen A! This verse from the Gospel of John has become almost ubiquitous.


DIY Faith

Matthew 4:1-11
Deborah was a bright young woman, 20 years old. We were part of a Christian dinner and discussion group at college. One night we were talking about the growth of the church in third world countries. We commented on how people in poorer countries who live hand to mouth seem to exercise their faith much more than we did in our comfortable middle class American lives. We spoke of how we only seem to need God in a crisis, and how in good times we often forget about God.


Society of Modern Tax Collectors and Pharisees

Luke 18:9-14
In her memoir Breathing Space, Pastor Heidi Neumark tells of giving out ashes on the street outside her church in the South Bronx on Ash Wednesday. It was long before ashes-to-go were a thing – it was almost a necessity. You see, that neighborhood was one of the most hard-scrabble and forgotten places in NYC.
Pastor Heidi knew the people of the neighborhood. She often


The Joy in Finding

Luke 15
My mother-in-law, Mary, is a great finder of lost things. One time when my son Joel was 18 months old, she came to visit for three weeks, and before the time was out, she located the play walkie talkie from the ride on truck- in the bushes the stuffed animal joey that went with the mama kangaroo – behind a bureau and my favorite: 6 drink coasters, in the pedals of the pump organ.
All these things had been lost for months;


Jesus’ Unexpected Family Values

Luke 14:25-33
In my early ministry, my colleague and I co-led premarital classes each year.  Our classes always began with a skit about some common marital challenge.  I wrote one called, The Holiday Question, which featured a couple who had recently married and did not choose to attend the family holiday celebrations.
Every year, this skit was controversial.


Six Days a Week

Luke 13:10-17 
In my first church, I started a Taize service along with a couple of musicians.  We took over the prayer chapel, and covered the altar with candles of various sizes.  Each Monday evening we joined with a dozen other parishioners to sing contemplative songs and petitions written by the ecumenical community in Taize, France.  It was moving and prayerful, and though the number of participants was not great, it was an oasis of peace for those who attended.


Mary Moment

Luke 10:38-42 

Have you ever had a Mary Moment? I have. 
It happened one Sunday morning as I pulled up to church. It had been a challenging Sunday to make it there – The church was an hour commute from my home, and I had to get the kids out of the house and off to church with my husband before leaving. I was teaching adult education before worship, so I had to be there an hour early. I’d left dishes in the sink, and I was pretty sure the bed would still be unmade when I got home.