Grace News December 1, 2020

OFFICIAL NOTICE OF THE CONGREGATIONAL MEETING DECEMBER 13, 2020 AT 9:30 A.M. VIA ZOOM.
AN INVITATION WILL BE SENT CLOSER TO THE DATE OF THE MEETING.

Annoucements

The annual Cookie Walk at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 10 Delp Road, Lancaster, has been transformed this year into a Cookie Drive-Thru. On Saturday, December 12, from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon (or until cookies are sold out), enter from Delp Road and drive to the main entrance of the church to purchase a pre-packed container of homemade holiday cookies from the safety of your vehicle. Each large container is $15. Masks are required. Proceeds benefit the orphans of Busoka Lutheran Church, St. Peter’s companion congregation in Tanzania.

R3: Praying in the Pandemic

I keep praying during this pandemic, but the coronavirus just keeps hammering away at my faith. As a Christian, I know that God is present in all the suffering and chaos. Yet I feel discouraged when I see the coronavirus winning. I know that we are going to have a vaccine soon that will free us from our collective pain. But at the end of the day, I still wonder if my prayers are doing any good, and I feel ashamed when I feel empty inside. 

When I need to see the light these days, I turn to Mother Teresa of Calcutta. About 13 years ago, I was introduced to Mother Teresa through a book titled Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta;”. I learned that Mother Teresa – an Albanian-Indian nun now canonized by the Roman Catholic Church — was once a teacher in a parochial school. At middle age, she received a “call within a call” and became extraordinary.  

She founded the Missionaries of Charity order, established homes for orphaned children and dying people in India and throughout the world, and was responsible for bringing joy and renewed faith to thousands of suffering people. She even received a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts.   

Yet she struggled in secret. My personal struggle is recovering fully from the bout of coronavirus I had in early fall. Mother Teresa’s struggle was depression. She found that she could no longer hear the voices of Jesus and Mary that once implored her to help the “poorest of the poor”. She could not feel a closeness to God. Although

she prayed unceasingly, she still felt empty. This was devastating to her. Despite her darkness, Mother Teresa kept on “smiling” (her word for loving all people and seeing Jesus in them). She handed out a “calling card” that read this way:

The fruit of silence is prayer.

The fruit of prayer is faith.

The fruit of faith is love.

The fruit of love is service.

The fruit of service is peace.   

Mother Teresa kept “smiling” because she never stopped praying. She did not let her faith waver in the darkness.  In time she came to see that her depression was actually identification with the poor — taking on their suffering so completely that she herself suffered. She realized that by clinging to her faith in the midst of the darkness, she could be a light to all others who live in darkness.

As I endure this awful pandemic, I am going to keep praying. As Mother Teresa wrote, “Love to pray. Feel the need to pray often during the day. Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of Himself. Ask and seek and your heart will grow big enough to receive Him and keep Him as your own.”  

Barbara Andersen
For the Grace R3 Team.

Christian Formation

Update on Sunday ZOOM Fun for kids 

Happy Advent! Happy church new year!

This week in Sunday school we shared our creative advent wreath creations. 
We lit our first candle and learned about Zechariah, Elizabeth and angel Gabriel telling them they were going to have a son, John the Baptist. 
This is the way the nativity story starts in the book of Luke. That busy angel will next fly over to Mary to change her world and ours. May we all have soft hearts like a child and pause to spend some time with God during this season of searching and waiting.  
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 mekelly10@gmail.com to receive the link.

From the Program Director

I give thanks for all the people who came forward to help the refugee family in need. We ended up with more than the thankful family felt they needed so the donations also helped 2 other families. 

What a wonderful show of generosity. I am forming a list of people to call for future family emergencies that God sends our way. If you would like to be on that team just give a jingle.  

A big thank you to all the people who contributed to the wonderful worship smorgasbord on Sunday. Our first Facebook Live adventure with David and Pastor was very special. 

Carl Hartman’s beautiful chanting, the choir singing, inspiring sermon by Pastor and prayers put forth by the Smith family in this week’s worship video. Thank you also to all who viewed and participated in these offerings-including the confirmation kids and youth showing up for class/discussion with Meghan and Keith, the elementary kids with Patti and me and the 9 adults with Pastor in Sunday Fellowship class. 

Also a big thank you to the Return to Worship team who spends hours through this season discerning how we should best respond to worship in COVID time.  God is showing us new ways to grow and be together.  May we continue to value this time and these blessings. 

In Advent Joy,

Kath

Our Grace Family

Congratulations to Cyndi Mahler and Deb Edwards married at Grace on Saturday November 28, 2020.

Lou Loiseau offers  a hearty “thank you” to Grace members for their cards and phone calls of well wishes as he recovers from a total reverse shoulder replacement.