Grace News November 24, 2020

Announcements

Announcements

Grace member Roberta Myers is collecting caps for the Earth Savers Club at Central York High School. Their mission is to help the environment! The club is collecting plastic caps with the end goal of making benches and/or other useful products for the schools and community organizations in their area.
If you would like to help—drop off your clean/label free caps to the church office!

Thank you for helping to protect our planet!  

Christain Formation

Update on Sunday ZOOM Fun for Kids

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 mekelly10@gmail.com to receive the link.

News from Central America from our missionary the Rev. Stephen Deal

Dear Friends in Christ,

Here in Central America, our ELCA companions are going through one of the most difficult 2-week periods that I can remember during my missionary service here in the region.

First, it was Hurricane Eta that quickly developed into a Category 4 hurricane and left a trail of death and destruction in Nicaragua, Honduras & Guatemala during the first week of November. In case the media coverage of Hurricane Eta has been limited in your area, I’m including this link to a CNN news story with dramatic images from a few of the affected areas.

Barely two weeks later, the same three countries are bracing for the impact of Hurricane Iota which, like Eta, strengthened quickly into a Category 5 hurricane last weekend as it moved west into the Caribbean Sea. 

Just before Iota made landfall last night along the coast of Nicaragua, it weakened slightly back to a Category 4 hurricane.  As it moved inland this morning, it weakened further to a Category 1 hurricane and will probably be downgraded to a tropical storm later today.

Even without hurricane-force winds, Iota will continue to dump record rainfall levels in some of the same areas that were barely beginning to recover from the catastrophic flooding caused by Eta.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters here in Central America.

Catastrophic material losses are unavoidable at this point.  We just pray that everyone will be safe and that no additional lives will be lost. 

Once the worst of Iota passes and the full scope of the damages from both hurricanes are clear, please consider sending congregational/individual offerings to Lutheran Disaster Response to help support the hurricane relief response plan that we are developing with our companion churches and ecumenical partners in Central America.

Thank you in advance for your concern, your prayers and financial support.

With peace,

Stephen Deal

Our Grace Family

Congratulation to Keith & Ruth Ober on the birth of their son Scott Edward Ober, born on November 10, 2020.

Scott is the grandson of Sherri Ober

November 29, 2020 (1stSunday of Advent, Year A)
“And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”– Mark 13:37
Advent calls us to pay attention and to look for signs of Christ in the world. As we enter a new season of the church year, we continue to give thanks and show gratitude. Pay attention. Look around. Opportunities to be a blessing to others abound!

Congregational Renewal: R3

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 the ministries of Grace into the future. 

Guiding Principles are statements which DESCRIBE US AT OUR BEST – not necessarily the way we see ourselves now.  In other words, they describe us as we aspire to be the IDEAL US. We want you, as a leader or active participant at Grace, to help us identify a few Guiding Principles we believe God is calling us to live out WHEN WE ARE AT OUR BEST.

So, we ask that you participate in a simple exercise that imagines our congregation from the outside in (what GOD wants the NEIGHBORS to think about us at our best) and inside out (what GOD wants US to BE at our best).  Together, these two looks can help us think about the values at the center of our congregation and form them into written principles to guide our decisions, our actions, our programs and our life together.

Please use the contact form below to submit your answers to the following (submit all answers on the same form). Please use one submission form for each member of your household.

  1. imagine that YOU ARE GOD and you are listening to two people FROM THE NEIGHBORHOOD talk about our congregation. The ministry of the church is vibrant and has a strong relationship with and significant impact on the neighborhood. Remember this is what God wants us to be when we are at our best. What words does God want to hear the neighbors say about our congregation as they say, “I love Grace Lutheran Church. Those people there are so _________ .”  Enter 5 words or phrases that complete the statement, describing us at our best from the perspective of our neighbors.
  2. imagine that YOU ARE GOD and you are listening to two people FROM THE CONGREGATION talk about our congregation.  The ministry of the church is vibrant and people are glad to be there, growing as disciples and finding involvement meaningful. What words does God want to hear the members say about our congregation as they say, “I love Grace Church. This congregation is so __________.” Enter 5 words that complete the statement, describing us at our best from the perspective of our members.

Guiding Principles – Relevant Scripture Passages

Passages are from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson

Matthew 28: 16-20

Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshipped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge. “God authorized me to commission you. Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the three-fold name: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practices of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

Although some of the disciples were reluctant to worship Jesus, he commissioned them all to train everyone they meet in “The Way” – that is, what we call the Christian life, loving God and loving our neighbors. They were to baptize them into God’s way, instruct them in Jesus’ commandments and remember always that Jesus is with them and us – they/we are not alone.

Luke 4: 14-21

Jesus returned to Galilee powerful in the spirit. News that he was back spread through the countryside. He taught in their meeting places to everyone’s acclaim and pleasure. He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written, God’s Spirit is on me, he has chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, To announce, “This is God’s year to act.” He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”

Jesus tells us he is the fulfillment of the promise given by Isaiah hundreds of years earlier. As the body of Christ, the church is to continue to announce and fulfill the good news as Jesus began it.

John 20: 19-23

Later on that day the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side. The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting, “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.” Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

After his resurrection Jesus brings peace to those in fear. Just as he sent the disciples and asked them to receive the Holy Spirit he sends us, the church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to forgive others.  But what about those whom we fail to forgive?

Acts 1: 6-11

When they were together for the last time, they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?” He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared – in white robes! They said, “You Galileans! – why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly – and mysteriously – as he left.”

We shouldn’t worry ourselves about when things will happen. Jesus gave his disciples – and therefore the church – the Holy Spirit to be his witnesses – witnesses through living the Christian life and telling the good news as outlined in the Luke passage. We should not stand around gazing – we have work to do for which we have the Holy Spirit and Jesus’ commandments to act.

II Corinthians 5: 16-21

Because of this decision (that Christ died for EVERYONE) we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. How? You say. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.

Paul asserts that we are all equal in Christ regardless of status or appearance. We could add regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, education, etc., etc. God made us right with God by offering up a sinless Jesus so we are to make things right between each other – to settle our differences. This is an essential part of the life Christ wants us to lead.