Grace News September 15, 2020

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!

God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday‘s New Look

Grace’s “God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday” looked and sounded differently this year. Unable to hold our annual cookout, about sixteen members took to the streets around the church on the afternoon of the 13th to deliver beautiful Grace-filled bags to our neighbors. Grace’s presence was not only seen, but also heard, as chiming rang out thanks to Donna Linton and Naomi Main. 
In many cases, there were opportunities to chat with our neighbors, who expressed their thanks for our gift bags. One grandmother remembered fondly attending last year’s cookout with her family. Some people shared that their children would be attending Grace’s new learning Pod. Many simply said thank you and “God Bless”.
In the evening, bags were given to the people who came to pick up supper. Bags will also go to CAP families soon.
Appreciation goes to all those, who participated on the 13th and made the day such a successful outreach. Thanks are also due to many behind the scenes: those who generously contributed to the contents of the bags, including Grace’s crafters & knitters; Grace’s staff for the striking card giving information about the church; those who packed the bags for distribution; and the team under the leadership of Barbara & Tom Andersen, who organized the event. 

Fall Small Groups

You’re Invited to Afghanistan!

Join our small group Gather: Afghanistan 2020 where we will explore the history, culture, and current events of Afghanistan.
This three week session begins the week of October 5. We will be using resources from Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Service to study the refugee situation in Afghanistan. Our time together “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 the days and times you would be able to meet via Zoom. I will do my best to accommodate everyone. 

You’re Invited On a Book Journey! 

Join our small group A Tapestry of Pages, which begins the week of September 28th. In 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. 

From R3

As I found myself battling through another hospitalization for pancreatitis, alone except for doctors and nurses working in this time of Covid19 restrictions, I encountered an unexpected source of comfort and faith. 

I had just been wheeled around on a gurney through the layers of floors and hallways and testing rooms of Lancaster General Hospital. I felt extremely nauseous from the gurney’s motion, the side effects from morphine and too many tests. I was just plain washed out and exhausted. 
My gurney and I were ushered into an isolated corridor, awaiting someone to come and take me back to my room. I felt a gentle hand on my back and a soft, but steady voice praying for me. That voice belonged to a worker named Raymond, who proceeded to tell me about his faith in Jesus Christ. He told me he had been shot three times while growing up in his former neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. Raymond spoke of the healing of Christ.  As he spoke, I felt some of my exhaustion and nausea subside. 
I thank this hospital worker, who I may never meet again, for his courage and confidence to pray for me and for his sharing his faith in our Lord. I wonder at his bravery of speaking to me in spite of the odds that I could have been a nonbeliever or a person of another faith. Now, I aspire to witness my prayers and faith to others in need, as did this stranger/earthly angel for me.
Joyce Loiseau, R3 Team Member

September 20, 2020 (16th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 19)
“Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and first will be last.” – Matthew 20:15-16
In this parable Jesus reminds us that it is God’s nature to be generous and that God has special concern for the poor and marginalized. We often assume that everyone gets what we deserve by the strength of our own will and bootstraps. God has other ideas and loves all people.