Grace News September 22,2020

Our staff and Return to Worship Team look forward to welcoming you!

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! 

Outreach!

LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF INGATHERING IS ON it is set for October 3-4!

We have decided to do only Personal Care and Fabric Kits this year and not ask members to search stores for school supplies to make School Kits. A very generous member of Grace has donated money to buy the fabric and thread that is needed. Next year we will make more of these kits. Thank you!
You can be on the lookout for the items needed to make the Personal Care Kits and make them at home as you are able. 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.
Kits can be dropped off at the Church Office.
LWR WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT BARS OF SOAP THAT ARE PACKED SEPARATELY. WE WILL ONLY COLLECT SOAP TO PUT INTO THE KITS.
Last year our Personal Care Kits went to Iraq and Honduras; the School kits to Rwanda; and the fleece blankets went to Georgia (the country). Lutheran World Relief is no longer taking fleece blankets. We have given what we made locally and have a few more to make; but we will be continuing the Linus Project blankets for local children.
I asked Thrivent Financial for a Project Action Team $250 Visa card to purchase Personal Care Kit items in bulk. I also used some of the money donated for LWR Ingathering for soap and toothbrushes. If you wish to donate to this fund, please do so by check and put “LWR Ingathering” in the memo line. We ordered enough bulk items to make 72 kits. –Barbara Slotter

Fall Small Groups

You’re Invited On a Book Journey! 

Join our small group A Tapestry of Pages, which begins Tuesday September 29 at 2PM. 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 Angie (graceelcaapd@gmail.com) know ASAP so she can send you the ZOOM invite and the discussion questions. You are 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. 

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 group begins on Monday October 5 at 6:30PM. 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 joining this group please let Angie (graceelcaapd@gmail.com) know so she can send you the Zoom invite.

From R3

In our synod sponsored R3 workshop this past Saturday, the Gratitude concept was introduced, which really spoke to me. 

It is so easy for me to see the frustrations of our ongoing renovation, the difficulties of launching new projects, and the daily reminders of COVID19 life.  How so much of what we hold dear has changed.  How things are not progressing as planned. How in order for things to get better, it first goes through that confusing ugly stage (our church gardens bare waiting for plants, all of the daycare and church supplies and furniture that has to be sorted through in this transition, etc.).  But so much good is happening and we need to truly look at the good and celebrate!  

Over the next few weeks we will focus on the many good things that are happening around Grace. 

Feel free to add to the list! 

How can you help? 

  • Send me little and big celebrations to share and inspire. 
  • Join one of the small group classes that we are offering to better discuss and celebrate with others.
  • Read the newsletter and check out our website and facebook page.       

In hope and prayer, Kath

What brings us to the notion of praying? 

There is an expectation to pray when in church.  But what brings us to pray of our own volition? Is it fear, grief, confusion, gratitude, love or thankfulness, for example?  Amazingly, all of these are a welcome message to our Lord.  What is important is our intention ~ to reach out to him.  Connection and intent is the desired response, regardless of the prayer content.  We are God’s children (regardless of our age) and God loves us, just as we love our children, regardless!

As parents we generally teach our children to do one of two simple prayers at a young age; a night time prayer and a meal prayer.  But how do children react to such responsibility if they are the only ones doing the praying?  Our Lord set the example in the Gospel of Luke when “one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, and as John taught his disciples.'” (Luke 11:1 NRSV).  So we were given the “Lords Prayer” and it should be indelible in everyone’s vocabulary.
Prayers, it seems, need only flow from the heart as natural expression.  The book of Psalms is a book of poetic prayer.  Prayers needn’t be sophisticated or elegant.  They just need to reveal the state of our heart.  God probably knows what is on your mind before we say it.  So just say what is in your heart because it just between you and God even if others witness the expression.  God is the one that can answer, while others may reflect in their emotion too!
My daily prayers (business prayers) follow a line of petition ~ “Lord you know the sins of my heart for which I am sorry.  I am sorry Lord and pray for Your forgiveness.  But more Lord, I pray for your voice in my ears and your light in my mind daily to lead me, and guide me in service to you.”  I frequently petition for the Lord’s healing hand upon others; friends and acquaintances known and unknown, suffering and or in illness. And also then, folks that find themselves imprisoned in life circumstances not necessarily of their own doing.

Occasionally I couch my prayer in a bit of poetry, as in this piece written in petition for my family and especially my late wife Christine….
Love is perhaps the most precious element of life
The gift of love is perhaps our most powerful medicine
The sharing of love is perhaps our central purpose
The receiving of love is perhaps our greatest reward
Life without love is not life at all.

I wrote the following expression for my wife Christine at the time of her funeral:

Bless our Lord God Almighty for the gift of Christine Mummert, and all that she has brought into our lives.  Our Lord brings Love and Redemption to us all.  As our witness or light, we are expected to reflect this love for one another and to neighbors from every reach of life.  Christine’s life was a living example of this purpose, addressed, and fulfilled.  May we likewise utilize our days to thank God through our actionable expression of His love so shared.

Robert Durand, R3 member

September 27, 2020 (17th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 20)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4
When we consider the interests of others something beautiful happens: Our own interests seem less important, our wants fewer, and relationships flourish. Only by aligning our wills and lives with Christ may we grow into the fullness of life God desires and intends for us.

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