On the renovation, we are awaiting completion of some final caulking and sealing of the exterior and interior of the addition, and some new signage at our entrance and exits that has been requested by the City Inspectors. Our final bills should be paid over the next few weeks, and our loan amount will be finalized. I am pleased to say that the project remains within our budgeted limits, although numerous change orders did increase the price from that of the original contract. We will share a full financial report as soon as possible…meanwhile, thank you so much for your generous support of our regular annual budget and our capital campaign, part 2 “Growing in Grace: Continuing the Challenge.
This past week was very busy – our landscapers arrived to prepare for a major replanting of our campus following the renovation and construction of the past year. All of our major beds have been cleaned out and cleared of the numerous invasive species that have been planted here over the years.
Part of our learning over this past year through consulting with the Lancaster Conservancy has been about the harm invasive plant species inflict on our wildlife. Beginning with wild fields and forests, invasive species migrate from cultivated gardens to wild areas in various ways, as their seeds hitch rides in bird bellies, on vehicles, and through the water runoff. They often run unchecked in the wild, crowding out the native species preferred by the bugs and birds, accelerating a cycle of habitat change and decline.
For more information on invasive plants visit the Lancaster Conservancy.
The beds have been replanted with a group of volunteers from Grace helped by community volunteers as well – thank you everyone – the real beauty will begin next spring as the perennials begin to take off and bloom!
We are still going strong but it isn’t easy keeping 20 children learning, on task, completing assignments, in their chairs, with their masks on for 5 1\2 hours, 5 days a week.
It is really quite amazing how challenging but rewarding this whole experience is. We are so very thankful for Andrea Carty, our head teacher, who is always there, keeping our “Grace Dove Pod” boat afloat and on course.
Andrea’s daughter, Victoria is there every day until 1 pm keeping the energetic 1st graders as focused as they are able. Meanwhile we have volunteers coming and going, food and donations arriving, handwashing and safety protocols continuing and a 25 minute recess at the rolling hill park across Queen St.- we have been very blessed by the continual good weather.
Thank you to Carl Hartman for his donation of cupcakes, Robert Durand for his donation of brownies and Jade Mumma who saw how hard all the teachers were working and brought us donuts as a thank you.
The Learning Pod has the following needs:
· Fidget objects for those who have a very hard time sitting still and to keep their fingers from pressing options on the computer while they should be listening. These objects should keep their hands busy but not make noise.
· We really need more monetary donations to support our two paid staff. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church has accepted the challenge of sponsoring a student for $300/month. This is such a wonderful support and we pray more churches, organizations and individuals might take on that same challenge.
In His Peace,
Grace ESL Program Update
In the first weeks of March, as more information was being learned and given out regarding COVID-19, the staff of Grace’s ESL program talked with their students about the symptoms known at that time, demonstrated handwashing while the group sang Happy Birthday twice, and gave advice on contacting health care providers. Suspending classes mid-month was sad for staff and students alike.
After several weeks had passed, and it was apparent that classes could not be resumed in-person for an indeterminate amount of time, the staff met virtually to discuss how best to move forward. The decision was made to continue the twice weekly classes using the Zoom meeting platform. Students were individually contacted by staff members to explain what would be happening.
Calls went out for used tablets or iPad, to match students who needed them with devices that would support Zoom. In addition, other tablets were purchased and distributed to students. We are incredibly grateful that the Penn Medicine grant helped to make these purchases possible.
The staff is continuing to learn how to maximize the use of the Zoom gatherings. Much of each class is spent in breakout rooms, affording the opportunity for small group instruction. Through the spring and summer an average of eight to ten were present at each class session. Currently, average attendance is somewhat smaller, but greater individualized instruction has been possible.
These numbers do not include the many children, who are there to see what is happening and to encourage their parents as they work to improve their fluency in English. This fall has also seen the distribution of ESL textbooks to the students. In this difficult time for our country and the world, connections and learning are continuing!
Update on Sunday ZOOM Fun for kids
Lindsay led our class this week through the process of Lectio Divina “Holy Reading”
In Western Christianity Lectio Divina is a traditional monastic practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s word.
She practices this type of reading/praying at the Catholic school she attends.
We read through Exodus 4:1-9, three times, picked out which words spoke to each of us and continued through the 8 step process. It resulted in great reflections, questions and prayers.
Next week Mark and Brooke Harman will lead class. I thank God for these budding theological and faithful humans.
Here is Lindsay’s Lectio Divina sequence for you to try:
· Pray to open your hearts
· Read a passage from the bible 3 times through.
· Write down what stood out to you?
· Reflect on what it means to you.
· What question would you like to ask?
· How does this passage relate or add to your life?
· Write, draw or say a prayer inspired by this lesson.
· Rest in God’s presence.
Join us at 9:30 am for our zoom Sunday School – best for kids 1-6th grades. Look for the Weekend Updates and Links for Worship and Sunday School email from Pastor!
Youth ZOOM on Sunday mornings!
For youth, grades 6-12, Meghan Kelly and Keith Miller will be leading a youth ZOOM at 9:30 a.m. If you would like to participate – please contact Meghan at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link.
November 1, 2020 (All Saints Sunday)
“I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” –Psalm 34:1
Today we begin our culture’s month of thanksgiving by giving thanks for the lives of the saints now at rest. This week spend time thanking God for those who have helped form your faith and encouraged your discipleship walk.
The Saints of Grace
Lydia E. Smith
February 23, 1918—October 23, 2019
Dennis J. Sapp
November 30, 1929—November 17, 2019
Suzanne R. Verkouw
November 20, 1938—January 11, 2020
Peter F. Verkouw
February 15, 1932—February 2, 2020
Barbara A. Krimmel
April 20, 1948—February 10, 2020
April 15, 1930-February 21, 2020
Jay W. Smoker
September 11, 1926—February 24, 2020
Horst George Hansalik
July 2, 1940—February 27, 2020
Emma Lillian Stumpf
October 14, 1919—February 27, 2020
Thomas E. Miller
November 12, 1941—March 8, 2020
Judith N. Sweigart
March 5, 1946- April 15, 2020
July 31, 1951—May 6, 2020
Linda Loraine Oatman
September 6, 1949—May 8, 2020
Muriel Lois Lepley
February 12, 1926—July 25, 2020
Jay Lloyd Simmons
April 28, 1930—July 30, 2020
Rosalind A. Martin
September 17, 1950—August 12, 2020
Myrna L. Pierson
April 6, 1936—September13, 2020
Ruth E. (Bonnie) Beecher
June 11, 1924—September 20, 2020
Our Grace Family
Dear Members and Friends of Grace,
I have received the sad news that our former pastor, the Rev. Walter Carlson, died at home yesterday after an illness and complications over the past few months. Although he resigned from Grace nearly 25 years ago, many of you still remember him, Allison, and their daughter Whitney with love and appreciation.
Pastor Carlson was first called to serve St. Paul Lutheran in Stoverstown, PA. He then served Grace Church as Senior Pastor from 1986 – 1996. While he had to resign from his call due to illness, he recovered and served as chaplain to the Lutheran Village at Sprenkle Drive in York, several interim pastorates, and then Trinity Lutheran, Colebrook before he retired.
We remember his strong focus on “liturgical renewal” – a movement that was thriving among Lutheran churches in the 1960’s – 90’s. Pastor Carlson patiently taught the history and theology, and slowly introduced worship practices at Grace that had been part of Christian worship from ancient times, but had been left behind by most Lutherans, along with other Protestants over the centuries. Liturgical renewal was a companion of ecumenical dialogue, as the variety of Christian denominations began to address the reasons for division among the churches and the possibilities of different levels of communion, if not re-unification. Liturgical renewal brought Lutherans, Anglicans and Roman Catholics (along with some other protestants) into a deeper recognition of things that we had in common. Pastor Carlson was a leader in this movement among pastors in central Pa.
Have you found yourself missing the sacrament of Holy Communion when you go to another church (or having been in quarantine for months on end?) We can thank Pastor Carlson for faithfully leading our congregation into weekly communion practice. In the conversations he led about the renewal of our congregation, he also envisioned a smaller chapel to accommodate weddings, funerals and an additional weekend service. The St. Peter Chapel emerged as a beautiful restoration of part of the church basement in 1991, and has served our congregation well in so many ways. And, for better or for worse, it was Pastor Carlson who invited me to consider a call from Grace Church as an Associate Pastor back in 1995.
When I came to the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 1985 I was uncertain about what it meant to be a pastor, and whether I should be one. It was one of my life’s very good fortunes that I was assigned to do my “field education” under Pastor Carlson’s supervision at St. Paul, Stoverstown. Walt and Allison’s example and encouragement were surely part of the Holy Spirit’s work in strengthening my own call to ministry, a gift they extended to many seminarians over the years.
Please join me in giving thanks for the life and witness of our sixth senior pastor, the Reverend Walter D. Carlson, for his service to the church and the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Keep Allison, Whitney and her three children in your prayers during this time of grief and loss. The Carlsons are members at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Lancaster, where Allison serves as Director of Music. At this time, funeral plans are not known. Condolences may be sent to Allison at 760 Barrholly Drive, Lancaster, PA 17603.
“Rest eternal grant Walt, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.”
From PV’s email to the congregation this past weekened
Dear Members and Friends of Grace Church,
Good evening…it has been a somber evening at the parsonage as we learned of a school massacre near Ivine’s home village in Africa. A number of children were killed and injured while attending school in Kumba, which had only recently re-opened due to the unrest in Cameroon.
Thankfully, Ivine’s children there are all safe – at her urging, her children had not returned to school right away. She is relieved but still very nervous at this resumption of violence after a time of relative quiet after the coronavirus crisis began.
Please keep Ivine and her family and the people of Cameroon in your prayers.