Grace News December 9, 2020

DECEMBER 13, 2020 AT 9:30 A.M. VIA ZOOM.

From Pastor Verkouw

Dear Members of Grace,

I’m writing to provide some information and explanation of our 2021 budget.  I apologize that I was unable to complete these notes for last week’s Grace News.  Part of the reason for that is that we have run very short of volunteers this year for our Finance Team (hint, hint).  That means that we are looking for help!  If you like numbers and love your church, your church needs you!  We still have very capable officers in Jane Sheckard, our volunteer treasurer, and Marjorie Worley, our volunteer assistant treasurer, who take care of all of the main responsibilities of managing our accounts and paying our bills.  But their job is simply to follow the budget and policies of our congregation – we need smart folks to help with policies, important decisions, and, in this season, the budget!  Please get in touch with our President, Dr. Tom Andersen if you are willing to consider learning more about what it means to serve on the Finance Team (

The major principle guiding our 2021 budget is – let’s not change anything from last year!  We are in the middle of a pandemic.  We don’t know when that will change, but when it does we want to be prepared, and in the meantime we want to serve the Lord in as many ways as we are able.

Grace’s budget is organized around our Four Boards.  First listed is the Board of Ministries.  Your generosity allowed us to support the larger church and other partnering ministries outside the congregation as we budgeted and we propose doing so next year at the same levels.  This Board also oversees our Education Ministry and while we did not spend as much on supplies this year, we hope to ramp up those ministries again in 2021 in our newly renovated facility!

Next is the Board of Trustees, who oversee our property expenses and admin. budget.  Though we spent less this year on utilities and supplies because the use of our building diminished drastically, no major changes are proposed for 2021, so that we are prepared to open again as soon as it is safe to do so.  One change,  however, should be noted and it is a big one – our new mortgage will cost us $7,800 monthly – $93,600 for the year.  That expense was not broken out on the budget you received, but you will see it clarified this Sunday.  See more on the renovation below.

Our Worship and Congregational Care Boards account for only about $15,000 of  expenses in the budget – that’s because most of this work and ministry happens through YOU – the volunteers who offer your time in choir or a role in worship, or in relationship to our shut-ins, or in our outreach to the community.  No changes are proposed in these budget areas.

Staff Salaries and Benefits account for the largest section of our expenses.  We are blessed with a capable and committed staff at Grace, and, thanks to your generous support this year, and to a helpful grant from the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program, we have been able to continue to pay our full staff through this year.  Because of uncertainties in the economy and because so many others will not receive raises or cost of living increases, our staff budget remains the same in 2021 with some small anticipated increases for health benefits.

On the income side of the budget, we note an additional $6,000 in the rental income column, which is a donation from Community Action Partnership who manages our “Thrive to Five” childcare and learning center.  This is a tremendous help and pledge toward Grace’s utility and repair costs associated with the education building.

Now, on to an update on the renovation project!  First, the project has one remaining item to be completed before we can “close it out.”  That involves repairing/replacing some of the brown metal panels on the exterior of the new addition that were damaged at installation.  A new contractor had to be found to do this work, which is still pending.  With this exception, the project is otherwise completed.  We began monthly payments on our $1.4M loan this past week. 

As mentioned above, our monthly mortgage payment is included in our 2021 General Fund budget.  By approving this budget we give our treasurer authorization to pay this bill, like all our other bills.  The funding of these payments, however, comes from a different source – our Capital Campaign.  So, while we show a deficit in our General Fund budget, that deficit will be covered from your gifts to the Capital Campaign, past, present and future! Since those gifts were made in the past and will continue into the future, they are not counted as part of our 2021 General Fund income. 

An updated summary chart shows the status of our efforts here:

    Loan from Mission Investment Fund $ 1,400,000

    Total Pledges and Gifts from all campaigns, to date      + 1,014,919

                  Subtotal – Resources for the project            2,414,919

(Very Closely) Estimated Final Project Cost             -2,248,804  

     2021 Mortgage Payments                       -93,600

Balance in Capital Campaign Fund plus Pledges thru May 2021                    $72,515

One final note…included in the “very closely estimated final project cost” are several items that, out of caution, we have not yet authorized.  They include audio/visual upgrades and new equipment for the nave, and some furniture for the chapel hall.  We are currently considering a revised A/V project in the nave, because we are hearing from you that projecting video OUT, rather than bringing video IN, will be a priority, even when the pandemic subsides.

Pastor Verkouw 


A message from our Financial Secretary …

Do you need to catch up on your pledge?  Want to make an end of year donation? The Financial Secretary is asking that all end of year donations be in the office by Sunday Dec. 27 in order to be credited for 2020. 

Donation received after Sunday Dec. 27 will be credited in 2021.                                     Thank you, Judy Resch

COOKIE EVENT – Due to the recent sharp rise in COVID cases in Lancaster, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Cookie Drive-Thru on December 12.

Thank you for your understanding and past support.  

Poinsettia orders are due Tuesday, Dec. 22nd  Plants are $10.00 each.

Although there will be no in-person services on Christmas Eve we would like to offer poinsettias this year. Please fill out the enclosed form and return it to the church office. The list of gifts in honor and memory of loved ones will be published in the December 29, 2020 Grace News.

Please call the church office at 717-397-2748 to arrange pick up the week of December 28, 2020.

Christmas gifts needed for our community dinner guests    

Items needed – Socks, hats, gloves, and scarves for men, women, and children
Collection Dates – Now through Jan. 1, 2021
Collection sites –  Grace Church, Good Shepherd, and theParish Resource Center – 2160 Lincoln Highway East (9 am –5 pm Monday – Friday)
Coordinator for Distribution – Parish Resource Center / Kate Good     

Christian Formation

Update on Sunday ZOOM Fun for kids 

Happy Advent! Happy church new year!

Sunday Fun update: This week we learned about the prophet Jonah who really didn’t want to do what God wanted him to do.  Are we willing to forgive those and preach to those we really don’t like?  Ariel showed us how to make cool whale bookmarks and Evan’s whale ended up looking angry.  We noticed how the book of Jonah is quite a small book near the end of the Old Testament. Very fun!

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 to receive the link.

December 13, 2020 (Third Sunday of Advent, Year B)
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.”– John 1:6-7
Like John, we are sent as witnesses to testify to the Christ at work in the world. In addition to preparing our own hearts and minds in Advent, faithful stewards know that the Spirit gives us the power to share the good news of God among us.