Grace News December 24, 2018

Upcoming Sunday School

Let’s Talk – Conversations on Controversial Topics Lead by the High School Sunday School

Please join the Sr. High Sunday School on Sunday, January 6, 2019, in the Fellowship Hall for the last installment of Controversial Topics. Our high school students will be leading a discussion on LGBTQ* equality. We hope you will join us! 

Faith and Politics

For three weeks in January we will welcome Lee Barrett who will be teaching a class on  Faith and Politics. Lee is the Mary B. and Henry P. Stager Professor of Theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary where he has taught since September 1993. Prior to this, Lee taught theology at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia. He holds B.A., M.A., M.Div., and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University.We hope you will join us at 9:00 a.m. beginning Sunday January 13.

Volunteer Opportunities

We will be studying America’s Original Sin; Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis. There is a study guide available in the church office for anyone that is willing to teach. We also need small group leaders to lead our Congregation Wide Book Discussion on Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour; The Dramatic Story of a Palestinian Christian Working for Peace in Israel. A discussion guide is also available in the church office for those willing to lead a group. We will also need someone to lead a group during the Sunday School Hour. Further information on the exact dates will be determined by the date of the Congregational Meeting in May. Small group meeting times and locations are determined by the small group leader. If you are planning on meeting at Grace please let me know so I can check the church calendar for space availability. Please let Angie Smith ( know as soon as possible if you are interested in teaching and or leading a small group.

Many thanks to the children of Grace for sharing the Good News with us on Christmas Eve, they worked very hard to make this year’s play a very special part of our celebration!

Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019 – Sunday Fellowship following the late service. Chili will be served!  Sign up in the Narthex!

Thank you

Our friends at the Community Meal would like to thank the members of our congregation who donated hats, scarves, and gloves. These items and your love and care will be sure to help keep them warm this winter! The Community Meal Team is always looking for volunteers to cook, serve, help with clean up, or to just come and share time with our weekly guests.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Karen Scheffey at or call the church office at 717-397-2748

Special thanks to our Lectors for faithfully participating in Sunday and Special Services.  If you are interested in joining this important ministry, please contact Barb Steinmetz at

Stewardship Snippet

Dec. 30, 2018 (1st Sunday after Christmas, Year C) Colossians 3:12, 14 – As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. We all know that stewardship is about how we live so that we love God thoroughly and our neighbor as ourselves. This remarkable passage gives us a vivid image to help us get there. Wake each day and clothe ourselves in Christian character and love.

Our Grace Family

The Longenecker Family

Dear Friends at Grace,
Merry Christmas! This year, instead of a white Christmas, we will enjoy a red one. Harmattan season has brought clouds of red dust that settle thickly on everything. We can see, touch, smell, and even taste it. But it has also brought cooler temperatures, and we’ve been enjoying our chilly mornings in the low 80s.
We’ve now been in Burkina over six months and feel much more at home. Joseph has taken to seeing how many bananas he can buy for 500 CFA (86 cents), and his record is 11 decently large bananas at a total of 24 cents a pound. In October, we moved into the house that will be our home for the foreseeable future, and we were glad to finally unpack and settle in. Very generously, the family who lived here before us moved into the guest house four months before their departure date so we could move straight here.
The drill rig has been running for the past two months, and Joseph has found and fixed several problems in the design. He also has a hole 30 feet deep, which puts him in the water table and stops further progress until he can put casing down to hold the hole open. He will continue to experiment with this machine until it has reached the limit of its capabilities then build an improved model. Erin continues to write for HOPE International part-time and is also writing monthly e-newsletters for Open Door Development, our local project (let us know if you’d like to receive them!).
Will loves bouncing in his jumper. He jumps so joyously that he bottoms out the spring on one end and goes airborne on the other. Lucie, seeing his joy, grabs him and, with a giant push, sends him swinging off in a wide arc across the living room, as William chortles with glee. Daddy and Mommy look up at the ceiling, where a rather small eye hook is holding this contraption. Lucie loves to narrate her life, whether it’s something she has just done, has heard us talking about doing, or believes she will be doing shortly.
We are grateful for your support, whether it be through prayer, emails, and letters of encouragement, or giving. Wishing you a joyous celebration of our Savior’s birth!
Joseph, Erin, Lucie, and William Longenecker

Thomas Busteed

The Candidacy Committee of the Lower Susquehanna Synod has Endorsed Thomas D. Busteed for internship. Beginning in January 2019, he will serve as Vicar at St. Matthais Evangelical Lutheran Church in Carlisle Springs, PA.
A small country church nestled in the picturesque hills of the Cumberland Valley, St. Matthais has served the local farming community and greater metropolitan Harrisburg area since 1829. Thomas will be responsible for preaching, leading worship, and pastoral care. He will also be assisting the congregation through the Reconciling in Christ process, a designation of LGBTQ+ welcome and affirming. He will be supervised by the Rev. Anne-Rose Reeves, pastor at St. Paul’s in Enola. Thomas is preceded by Vicar Greg Hartman, candidate in the Delaware-Maryland Synod, and the Rev. Sarah Heintzelman. The vicar year/internship is the final step in the ELCA ordination process before approval for rostered leadership. Approval indicates the church’s confidence in the candidate’s readiness and call to serve the church as Minister of Word and Sacrament.

A special thank you

Michael Ober, passed away at Hospice on December 10, 2018, His wife Sherry and family, wish to extend a grateful thank you to Pastor Verkouw for his many visits and guidance, as well as to the staff and church members of Grace, for their prayers, thoughts and support during this time of loss and grief. 

Prayer List

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