Suspension of In-Person Worship
Dear Members and Friends of Grace Church,
It saddens me to announce the decision of our Return-to-Worship Team last night to suspend worship services inside the church until further notice. I understand that this will disappoint the 60 or so persons who have come to our brief services in the nave over the past two months, but the rapidly accelerating pandemic conditions make it much more difficult to achieve the level of public safety that we believe to be necessary to be inside together. Suspending worship again is especially frustrating and sad during the beloved season of Advent and Feast of Christmas! There is no point in pretending that’s not so, but there is also no point in pretending, as many public leaders continue to do for political reasons, that we are not in a rather dire circumstance.
Our healthcare system is only able to care for people with serious cases of COVID-19 if they are not being overwhelmed with too many cases to care for. We must all do our part as individuals to maintain those practices that are vital to “flatten the curve” again: keeping physical distance, wearing masks, washing hands. As a church, our traditional activities involve gathering crowds inside for singing, greeting, discussing, breaking bread and socializing. It becomes more difficult to adapt our inside activities safely when there are increasing odds that more than one or two of us may be spreading the virus. As much as we hate to give up the traditions of the holidays, it is vital and life-saving for us modify our life in this way until it becomes safer again.
I promise that I, our staff and our team of committed volunteer leaders are doing all that we can to ensure as beautiful, inspiring and joyful a Christmas as we are able. I welcome your feedback and prayers. May God bless us with the gifts we need for this time!
FROM OUR R3 – REFORM, RENEW, REVISION TEAM: WE NEED YOUR HELP!
As part of our effort to Reform, Renew and ReVision (R3) ministry at Grace, the R3 team and Congregation Council want to identify a few Guiding Principles to shape our ministries into the future. Guiding Principles are statements which DESCRIBE US AT OUR BEST – the way GOD wants US and OUR NEIGHBORS TO SEE US – not necessarily the way WE SEE OURSELVES now. These Guiding Principles can then be used to guide our decisions, our actions, our programs and our life together.
YOU can help us develop our Guiding Principles. In next week’s Grace News we will be asking you and your family to participate. There will be some helps to get you thinking about what GOD would like us to be. Then we’ll ask you to jot down a few words or phrases that describe what GOD WANTS US TO BE.
You may return your responses by mail or by emailing them to the church office at email@example.com.
We’ll gather all your responses, share them with you and draft some Guiding Principles. We’ll share those with you, too, and ask for your reaction. Then we’ll revise the Principles based on your comments. Only then will they be presented for adoption.
Robert Durand, R3 Team Chair
Update on Sunday ZOOM Fun for kids
What question would you ask God if you could?
That question is from our Family Prayerful November calendar this week.
The answers we shared in class were the following:
· Why not come and show yourself if you are real?
· Will we actually ever see you?
· When are you coming?
· Why can’t you make everyone get along?
· What are we supposed to learn before we go to heaven?
· When will the election end?
Wow! What question would you ask?
We then moved on to the story of David and Goliath led by our teacher Cameron Smith and assisted by her brother Sebastian. We read the story from the bible, found out some cool facts and made a slingshot or created an inspired drawing and, of course, sang and danced to some fun songs.
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 youth ZOOMS! Confirmation at 9:00 a.m. / High School at 9:45 a.m. If you would like to participate – please contact Meghan at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link.
Christmas Play Information
Dear Families of Grace,
This year for obvious reasons we will be creating a different kind of Christmas play for Christmas Eve. We will be taking photos representing the different parts of the Nativity story and make a beautiful and holy representation (tableau) to share virtually and on screen to go along with the reading from Luke. The big group scenes will be shot at Long’s Park in a rustic way outside with good air circulation. My imagination thinks that we also could have a mini-advent craft time as well – make a celebration of it together.
This is the first step of the journey – gathering all the sheep (participants). We hope everyone can join in. Parents we will need you to join in by taking some candid shots to share and helping with costumes. I also want to have children volunteer to read. We are thinking that a Saturday or Sunday afternoon might be the best time to gather – it might be a bit warmer but I’m not sure how many of you have sports then. Open to feedback and expressions of interest. Who will be our Mary and Joseph, Emperor Augustus, Angel Gabriel, donkey, inn keeper(s), Shepherds, angels? Mrs. Hartman and I will make the final decision but it would be good to hear the children’s thoughts. We pray that this holy adventure is a blessing for all.
In peace and hope, Kathryn Verkouw and Patti Hartman
November 22, 2020 (Reign of Christ, Proper 29, Year A)
“And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’”– Matthew 25:40 When our thankfulness translates into action and service to “the least of these,” we may never fully realize the ripple effects. How might you show gratitude to God in tangible ways that lift up your neighbor in need?
Our Grace Family
Dear Members of Grace,
We give thanks for the life and witness of Phyllis Bezner, who died on Tuesday November 10, 2020. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to her family and friends. Please keep Phyllis’s family in your prayers.