Grace News November 19, 2019

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!

Official Notice of the Annual Budget Meeting Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in Fellowship Hall.

Mark your calendar – Ecumenical Thanksgiving Eve Service

Where:  Lancaster Theological Seminary
When:  Wed., Nov. 27th @ 7PM
Speaker:  Rev. Dr. Catherine Williams, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship; Director of Chapel Worship at Lancaster Theological Seminary  
Light Refreshments following the service

Mark your calendar for the Annual Advent Fair on Sunday December 1

“The Advent Fair is a special family event, when we gather to celebrate a time of waiting for the coming of Christ.  Often, members of Grace have invited their extended families to this celebration.  We eat a meal together and make special ornaments or gifts to share with our families. This year, the Advent Fair will be held on Sunday, December 1st, following the 10:30 service. 
The schedule is: 
12:15:  Lunch time.  Each family is asked to bring a salad or dessert to share with others.  If your family is larger than four, please bring a salad and a dessert.  Sandwiches and drinks will be provided.
1:00-3:00: Craft time. Samples of the crafts are provided at the registration table. On the day of the event, craft stations will be set up in Fellowship Hall. We request that participants pre-register so we can plan to have enough crafting material for everyone. The deadline for registration will be Sunday November 24, 2019.  Registration forms are available in the Narthex of the church and can be left in the envelope provided.

Practice for the Christmas Play has begun!

“I Wonder!”          
Play practice has begun.  I f your child is interested in participating—please come to the music room (third floor  of the Ed. Building) at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. The practice schedule is as follows: Nov. 24th, Dec. 1st, Dec. 8th,Dec. 15th
A special rehearsal will be held in the Nave on Saturday, Dec. 21st, 10 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
Dress rehearsal/First performance Sunday, Dec. 22nd, 9:00 a.m. in the Nave
Christmas Eve Big performance! Report at 6:15 pm. to the 3rd floor music room

Wreath-makers Invited to Help on Saturday, November 30

On Saturday, Nov. 30 we will make our usual two wreaths – a large one for the nave and a small one for the chapel.  If you like the fragrance of fresh evergreens and enjoy preparing for the Advent and Christmas seasons, join us at 9:00 am.  It takes about 2 to 3 hours. Anyone can do this easy and fun activity with no previous experience.  (Questions? Murray Foreman 717-391-0979.)

Greens Wanted for Church Advent Wreaths

If you can provide some greens for our wreath-making project, please leave them just outside the chapel entrance (by the former playground) by Friday, Nov. 29 or by 9:00 Sat. morning..  Cut them no more than a couple of days prior so they will last until Christmas.  Any pine, spruce, cedar, or fir is good, and holly (with berries) is great. Cuttings should be two or more feet in length.  (Questions? Murray Foreman 717-391-0979.)           

Decorating the Nave—Sunday December 22nd

Join the worship Team in decorating the Nave for the Christmas Season on Sunday, December 22nd following the late service.  A light lunch will be served. All are welcome.

Stewardship Snippets

November 24, 2019 (Time after Pentecost—Lectionary 34, Proper 29, Year C)
Psalm 46:10 –“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”
The last Sunday of the church year, today is an appropriate time to incorporate the spiritual practice of contemplation—being still in God’s presence and simply making every breath a song of praise and gratitude.

Our Grace Family

Dear Congregation, Thank you for your thoughts and prayers as well as your lovely cards, they were all so beautiful.  I am very blessed to have such a good community. Love, Lindsay


As many of you know, Grace is now working closely with the Lower Susquehanna Synod on an intensive congregational renewal initiative called R3 (Reform, Renew, Revision). We have appointed a team to lead this effort chaired by Robert Durand, are working with a Synod-appointed coach and are partnering with another Lutheran congregation (Zion, Leola) pursuing the R3 process.  We will keep you posted as we move through this process and encourage your participation.  
It is clear from what we have learned that true renewal requires the prayers of many members of the congregation.  Each of us could use help in strengthening our prayer habits.  Furthermore, the R3 team believes that all in the congregation can experience more joy if we have an increasing awareness of God’s presence in our lives. 
Therefore, we encourage all members of Grace to get in the habit of family and/or individual prayers before meals, at bedtime and upon rising.  Include both children and adults in these prayers.  God can become more real to each of us if we take time to pray.
We also encourage all groups at Grace to begin and end their meetings and activities with prayer.  Prayer helps us to better know and experience God.  Prayers may be prepared or extemporaneous.  Prayers may offer thanks for God’s gifts in our lives, or ask God to guide us to follow God’s way or ask God to be with those in need.
The leader of the group should encourage each person in their group or activity to occasionally offer prayer, but no one should be made to feel uncomfortable.  While this may be a new experience for the group and some may be reluctant to participate, the comfort level will grow as the group gains experience with offering simple prayers.  In addition to opening and closing prayers, group leaders might consider pausing in their discussion when faced with decisions or thorny issues to pray for wisdom to discern God’s will.  There is no right way or wrong way to pray, so long as we are sincere.  Avoid asking the Pastor to pray before and after a meeting.  We don’t learn to swim by watching someone else, nor do we learn to fully experience God’s presence when someone else prays.
Paul said we should “pray without ceasing.”  Did he mean we should be on our knees, hands folded, eyes closed 24 hours a day?  Probably not.  More likely he meant we should be continuously aware of God’s presence in our lives – ready to thank God for the beauty around us, ready to ask God’s help for someone who needs it, ready to be more sensitive to the needs of others.  We should not ask God to bless our work, but rather ask God’s help to do God’s work.
There are many prayers in the front of the hymnal which are a valuable resource for our prayer life.  These may be used to guide our prayer, or for inspiration if needed.  From time to time we will publish simple prayers and guidance to prayer sources which may be helpful to you.  Pray without ceasing!
Robert Durand, Team Leader – R3 Pastor Verkouw

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