Advent Reflections

For our Advent services at City Chapel, Pastor Anna Radcliffe and Director of Liturgical Arts Garrett Stier responded to traditional liturgies through poem and song


Who am I here?

Her fingers cup together, draw closely to her mouth as she sups

The water cascades down her arm and through the slits in her hands.

He draws water near her at the well. Speaking softly he whispers

About living water. Her head hangs low as he speaks, his eyes

On the top her head.

He reaches one hand toward hers and gently strokes her palm.

As he walks away, her gaze follows him.

She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear,

Grabs her things and walks away.

Where did she go?

-Anna Radcliffe

Come Righteousness, let Justice flow

Fall down, in a stream of Living Water

-Garrett Stier


I watch her draw a finger to her lips - a soft whisper

Draws over the valley, sweeps through the trees, and settles

Over me - heavy as a cloak, it loosens the tight in my chest.

“My glory feels like justice,” you say to me.

And now, I am toes sunk in the sand, the waves crashing against my chest,

Arms wide toward the Mother herself. If this is what it means to put on

God’s splendor I could do it for forever.

“My glory feels like justice,” you say to me.

And now, the peace that follows God’s justice is nestled at the foot of a tree - and there’s a line.

People waiting to dip low to the ground, marked by the soil, and cleansed in the stream -

a stream of endless water.

“My glory feels like justice,” you say to me.

And now, we are walking.

You and me,

And us. The dirt is padded down, others have Been here before.

We reach the doors, your fingers are at your lips.

I open my eyes, to see the sun before me again.

-Anna Radcliffe

O come, come Righteousness

O come, come Peace

O come, come Righteousness

Come, Christ the Lord

-Garrett Stier

Kait Collins

Kait is a poet based in Grand Rapids. She was commissioned by City Chapel to write poetry based on the Beatitudes.

And how do you apportion your affections,

when you have seen the trees as they stood still,

the hills as they unfold in the measure of grace?

Empty yourself. Honor the invitation into

this great depth of joy, wisdom as witness

to the sacred and to the ordinary

of human existence―the smell of salt

on the sea, the arch of sun on your back.

Tenderness as an opening―a ripe peach

split at its center, a lesson in becoming

new and awake, as when goldenrod dress

the fields with warm fragility, renewed

with provision each autumn. Buoyed

by the light, an austerity for winter’s darkness

and scarcity takes hold of our collective grip,

and we are reminded again of this divine center

of things into which we must return, an offering

of love into wholeness toward all of the living.

Andre Henry


In September 2018, City Chapel welcomed Andre Henry as a guest speaker to our “Addressing Injustice Through Creativity” Arts Workshop. Andre is a writer, musician, and speaker with a passion for racial reconciliation. He was able to contribute to our ongoing discussion on the arts, helping those who attended the workshop to become more aware of the role that creativity can play in bringing about justice.

Mae Stier

Mae is a photographer, poet, and activist who lives near the shores of Lake Michigan in Northern Michigan. She was commissioned by City Chapel to share her imagination on the importance of water, how it cleanses and brings us into a closer understanding of who we are. Below is one of the poems. See more of Mae’s work HERE

Begin Anew

I have felt the waves

rolling in my bones,

days of chaos despite the calm

of You. Smooth glass reflecting blue skies––

the opposite of my haze.

But you will kick up wild

again, trade your silence

for yelling or laughter,

simply by a shift of the wind,

a dip in temperature.

The days begin anew and everything

can change––for you,

for me.

Jacob Townley

Jacob is a visual artist from Grand Rapids, currently focusing on collage and painting. As a City Chapel artist in residence, Jacob has been an important voice in navigating the relationship between church and artist. His artistic experience is wide and his commitment to the church is deep, and City Chapel is grateful for his guidance and has been encouraged by Jacob’s willingness to contribute to our worshipping community.