Grace News September 8, 2020

Please Join Us For Our Seventh Annual “God’s work. Our hands” / Rally Day Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020

For “God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday” in 2020 there will be a new and different way to connect with our neighbors:   Grace-filled bags!  
On Sunday, September 13th, we will deliver about 200 striking blue bags with Grace’s logo to our neighbors’ homes.  A beautiful card has been designed that tells about our ministries and offers an invitation to join our online worship services and, when it is possible, to come to worship in-person. 
Small gifts of food, water, hand sanitizer, and something handmade by Grace’s knitters will also be in the bags.  Grace’s chimes will ring out, as the bags are being distributed.
If you would like to deliver bags to a block in our neighborhood that day, please contact the church office (717-397-2748) to sign up by this Thursday, September 10th. 
We will gather at 2:00 PM on Sunday, September 13th (rain date 9/20) to distribute the bags.  Individuals and family groups are invited and encouraged to help.
Please come and be a visible presence of Grace/grace in our neighborhood! 
Don’t forget your mask!

On September 27, we are planning to open Grace Church for the first time since the COVID-19 shut-down was ordered! 

A beautiful morning is planned, inviting you all to come to church anytime between 8am-noon.  You will be welcomed with a booklet that will guide your tour through the renovations and new addition. 

There will be stations to pause for prayer and scripture, a video on our new system, a chance to take the elevator and tour the balcony, to hear the organ. 
Finish up by visiting Pastor Verkouw at the altar and receive the sacrament of Holy Communion if you wish. 
The usual health and safety precautions to which we are accustomed now will be necessary, in order that everyone will feel safe coming back into church – safe distancing, masks, and plenty of hand sanitizer on hand! 
Our staff and Return to Worship Team look forward to welcoming you – stay tuned!


New Church Keys—Ready for Pick Up!

If you called and requested a new  key—please stop by the office
M-TH from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to pick it (them) up. Keys are in labeled envelopes on Vicki’s desk. If you haven’t requested on—call the church office and we will put your name on the list for the next round.

Annual Fall Clean Up!

The Property Team would like to invite you to the annual Fall Clean Up Day (date TBA)!

Due to the construction this year’s clean up is desperately needed. That means we need lots of volunteers to help in a socially distanced and fully masked sort of way / the new “normal”. Jobs for every ability and a sneak preview of our new spaces! Many hands make light work! Once the date is announced we will ask you to call the church office at 717-397-2748 to volunteer. Volunteers are welcome to come all day, half day, or a few hours, but please come! We hope to see you there!

It’s time to order Liturgical Calendars! 

If you would like a Sunday & Seasons 2021Calendar of Word and Season, please call the church office at 717-397-2748 to place your order. The cost this year will be $5.00.  Orders must be placed by Monday, September 21, 2020.

Devotional Materials have arrived in the office. 

The Fall quarter of Christ in Our Home and Portals of Prayer are now available. If you would like to pick them up—stop by the office M-TH from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you would like them mailed—please call Vicki and she will send them out to you.


Lutheran World Relief Ingathering

Currently set for October 3-4. We will let you know at a later date if it needs to be postponed.

We have decided to do only Personal Care and Fabric Kits this year. 

Here is what is needed for Personal Care Kits and the instructions for packaging:

  • One light-weight bath size towel (between 20” x 40” and 52” x 27”), dark color
  • Two or three bath-size bars of soap equaling 8 to 9 oz, any brand, in original wrapping*
  • One adult-size toothbrush in its original wrapping
  • One sturdy comb, remove packaging
  • One metal nail clippers (attached file optional), remove packaging

Fold the towel in half width-wise. Place the rest of the items in the towel, fold and roll so nothing falls out, and secure with yarn, ribbon, string or rubber bands. Personal Care kits may be brought to the church office and money can be donated to buy items in bulk. Checks payable to Grace Lutheran Church with Lutheran World Relief  / Personal Care Kits on the memo line.

Prayers and Material Support Needed for SDoL Children

Due to COVID-19, The School District of Lancaster (SDoL) has started the 20-21 school year online. As a result, there are many families that need a safe space with reliable WiFi for their children to participate in learning. A few churches (e.g., Bright Side, The Worship Center, Assembly of God) and community groups (e.g., Boys and Girls Club, Lancaster Rec., North Museum) are launching daytime programs to serve families.  Unfortunately, the need for support far exceeds the available programs. In addition, many of these programs charge fees that some families simply cannot afford.
In response to this pressing need, we hope to open our new educational space temporarily to twenty SDoL students (Grace children and Ross students), supported by a certified teacher, paid aides and volunteers. The program, which we are tentatively calling the “Dove Program,” will offer breakfast and lunch, WiFi access, and supportive educational community for involved families. We are in the process of applying for grant funding through SDoL and are in need of support from our church community.  
If you belong to a service club or you are associated with another organization that may wish to support our Doves, please contact Stacie Molnar-Main ( and she will follow-up with you. If you would like to donate to the Dove program as an individual/family, we are in need of supplies and monetary donations.
Please see the list below or contact Vicki Mumma to learn how you can help. Donations should be dropped off at the church office M-TH from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or you may arrange for them to be picked up from your home by calling Vicki at 717-397-2748.  Opportunities to sponsor-an-SDoL-child will be announced in the future.   
If you plan to purchase a bolded item, please contact the church office prior to purchase to avoid duplication.

  • Teacher/Volunteer Face Shields (pack of ten)
  • Extension cord/surge protector (6 needed)
  • Ear phones with mic (6 needed)
  • Infrared no-touch thermometer (one needed) with batteries
  • Electric pencil sharpener for narrow and wide pencils (one needed)
  • Paper towels (many needed)
  • Disinfecting wipes (many needed)
  • Tissues boxes (12-24 needed)
  • Fidgets
  • Clear plastic sleeves/sheet protectors w/ 3 holes
  • Scotch Re-useable mounting putty 
  • Wide rule notebook paper
  • Water color paper
    Painting paper
  • Crayola colored markers, 10 pack (24 needed)
  • 1 inch Three-ring Binder (24 needed)

ESL Update

I want to share another way that our ESL program reaches out into the community. 
One of our ESL families has several children who attend school in the School District of Lancaster. All district students were to pick up their Ipads before school started on Monday. The children of one of our adult students did pick them up but was not able to access the program needed for the children to begin their school work. These boys speak some English, but their first language is Swahili.
When Barbara and I met with our student we learned that her boys did have their Ipads, but didn’t know how to access the programs. During class Barbara made a quick call to Wheatland Middle School and was told the boys should bring their Ipads to the school that afternoon to get set up. They did and they were set up. On Thursday during class I heard them working on them. Their mother is overjoyed with the help our teachers provided! 
In thanking the school for their help I was told the Grace crew  “made the principal’s day!”  That we could get these students online quickly helped them get started in their work. The District is focused on getting the ESL students set up with the services they need, including ESL teacher support. 
This whole Pandemic has touched all of us in some way, but it is especially hard on the student’s education.  It is gratifying to know that we can play a small role in helping our students and families. Thanks ESL friends for all you do. I love being part of this!  
Mary Gentzler

Christian Formation

Fall Small Groups

Dear Friends, 

I was hoping that by now we would be able to meet in person for our small groups this fall. I miss our lively discussions and our snacks! However, for our safety and out of love for one another our fall small groups will be meeting virtually. 

  • Our first group is Sunday School with Pastor Verkouw. It’s not too late to join the conversation! The group meets Sunday mornings at 11am. Check your email on Sundays for a note from PV.
  • Our second group Graceful Discipleship begins on Monday September 14. This will take the place of Our Mighty Small Summer. We will continue to offer a weekly video, daily readings, a weekly reflection and questions, prayer, and a musical selection. This study uses materials provided by the ELCA (Daily Faith Practices and Daily Discipleship). The readings follow the lectionary readings for the previous Sunday (the readings for the week of 9/14 are based on the lectionary readings for 9/13).  If you would like a hard copy of the readings, prayer, reflection and questions please contact Vicki at the church office ASAP (717-397-2748). We encourage those of you in our pen pal program and our weekly phone call outreach program to discuss the reading and at least one of the questions in your weekly chat!
    * There is currently no formal small group set up for this Bible study, if you would like to lead a virtual group please let me know ASAP. 
  • Our third group will be Gather: Afghanistan 2020. This is a three week session beginning the week of October 5. This group will be using resources from Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Service to study the refugee situation in Afghanistan. This study “equips families, congregations, and community groups with tools to learn about the history of conflict in Afghanistan, explore the culture through worship, food, and music, and learn more about LIRS’ work through the story of the Abdullah family.” The first week will look at the history of conflict in Afghanistan, the second week will focus on the culture of Afghanistan, and the third week will focus on advocacy. If you are interested in participating in this group please contact me ASAP with days and times you would be able to meet via Zoom. I will do my best to accommodate everyone. 
  • Our fourth group A Tapestry of Pages will begin the week of September 28th. This group will be reading culturally significant books, some fiction and some non-fiction. Our first book is I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown. In this book Brown discusses the challenges of being an African-American woman in the settings of church and religious non-profits. We’ll discuss racial diversity in our lives, what it means to belong, our hopes for the future, and how we can create real change!  If you are interested in joining this study please let me know your availability ASAP. You will be responsible for having your own copy of the book. They are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your local independent bookstore. For the first session please read chapters one and two. 

Please check the Grace News over the next few weeks for detailed information on all of our groups.
I can be reached at or call the church office at 717-397-2748. I’m looking forward to gathering with you again!
Angie Smith 

Our Grace Family

A few weeks ago Pastor Verkouw asked members and friends to check in and let us know how they were coping during this time of COVID.

Below is a wonderful, letter from the Smale / Supeck family.  Special thanks to Philip who gave permission to share his heartfelt letter.

Good Evening Pastor Stephen:
I pray this email finds you safe and serving well.
My family was just settling into regular attendance at Grace Lutheran as the Covid-19 pandemic slowed our daily routines.  Since that time we have been faithful in watching your weekly posts. Each week we take turns guessing from which location, or on what mode of transportation, you will be presenting the gospel.  From the roof to backyard tree, from the lakes to the mountains, from a kayak to a motorcycle, from the rocks to the streams, from the farm to the nave, we appreciate your ministry in these times.
Last week you asked us to check-in and let you know how we are doing.  Although the week is almost over, I wanted to ensure you received an update from the Supeck/Smale family.
I work as the Hospitality Ministry Director at The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Philadelphia.
We closed our doors to the public on Monday, March 16, 2020.  A week later I was asked to serve as the Warehouse and Distribution Center Manager for The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services Food Relief operations for the Greater Philadelphia Region and State of Delaware.  I am blessed to share that from March 27, 2020 until present we have packed and distributed more than 700,000 meals to those in need throughout Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, Philadelphia, and Delaware counties. This pandemic has opened many doors and allowed for many relationships to be built in the poorest neighborhoods of our region.  As most recent as Thursday night, we took our ministry to the streets and served 300 people a fresh hot meal along with an encouraging word.  Our team’s motto has been, “If we don’t go, then who will?” I’ve included a link to an article I submitted to The Salvation Army’s War Cry documenting one of my experiences. Megan, who serves as the Food and Beverage Manager at the Cartoon Network Hotel, was furloughed from April to July.  This gave her the opportunity to get some much needed rest while guiding our daughter Ella through the remainder of her sixth grade education.  She has now returned to work, faithfully serving those visiting Lancaster County for some rest and relaxation.
Ella, like us, is anxious about the start of the school year.  The results of minimal social interactions with children her own age began to appear in the spring and at her request, with a commitment to full time mask wearing, she will begin seventh grade on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.  She will start with five full days of in school learning.
Carol Smale (Mom Mom) who has lived with us for just over a year found herself able to retire during the shutdown.  Covid-19 resulted in the loss of life for many of those to whom she provided care. She felt it was time to step away from the senior living community that she served for more than fifteen years.  She continues to assist in providing care for Ella while visiting with family and friends in socially distanced safe spaces. We know God is good and His love endures forever!  Although we do not know what He has in store for our futures, we continue to serve, knowing that he will protect and provide.
That is all for now.  
We look forward to the day when we will be able to return to Grace Lutheran.  Until then, stay safe and serve well!
Respectfully submitted,
Philip J. Supeck