Grace News April 20, 2021

Fountain Flowers

Opportunities to share plants and flowers for the fountain will be available April 25th and continue through May 16th. Please call the church office @ 397-2748 with questions or to sign up

Green Tips

When it’s dry enough, ‘top dress’ beds

Top dress garden beds with compost or well-seasoned manure in preparation for planting. Resist the urge to dig the bed; established beds have a complex soil ecosystem which is best left undisturbed. Nutrients added from the top will work their way down into the soil. Read more here

We are still collecting caps for the Earth Savers Club at Central York High School. 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!

LSS Synod Assembly 2021

I’m sure there is a wide range of understanding in our congregation of what it means that we belong to a larger body of Lutherans…so this week, I’m offering a primer!  Here in PA, Grace Church is a member congregation of the Lower Susquehanna Synod – a geographically defined jurisdiction of our national church body – the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  Grace Church’s annual budget includes a large gift ($31K this year) to our synod, a portion of which (determined by synod bylaws) goes “up” to the national body.   

The national budget of almost $90M breaks down to approximately $30M of Global Mission Funding, $30M of Domestic (USA) Mission Funding, and $30M to “run the church” including seminaries, the offices of Presiding Bishop, Secretary and Treasurer and various projects.  Our Synod budget of $2.5M breaks down to approx. $784K to support the ELCA, and another $350K to support other synod-wide ministries including seminaries, campus ministries, and camps. The other $1.4M pays for our bishop, synod staff, synod office rent, and numerous other ministries of the synod including synod committees, counseling services, projects, grants, and…some costs related to the annual assembly.

The assembly of our synod, held annually, usually includes time for festive worship, ordination of new pastors and deacons, installation of other leaders, workshops and other enrichment activities, as well as the business meeting of the synod to approve the budget and consider memorials and resolutions on “matters of the day” – think of things like human sexuality, economic justice, elder care, the demographics of church decline – you name it! 

Lutherans are actively engaged in thinking about and responding to the world around us and our calling to love our neighbor.  Last year, the assembly was cancelled due to the pandemic.  This year, it is virtual, on ZOOM, making it perhaps a few degrees less exciting or interesting, but even more important, as we have to catch up on our official obligations as an incorporated, legal entity with operating bylaws to follow.

While I will be there with my pastoral and diaconal colleagues from around the ministerium, each congregation is represented by a male and female voting member in addition to their rostered staff.  Angela Rabbe is our female voting member this year, but we are still looking for a male!  Here are two testimonies from recent synod voting members to encourage you to consider serving the Lord and the church by serving as a voting member for YOUR church!

From John Saeger:

Synod assemblies have helped me to realize that my congregation is not an isolated island but rather part of a vibrant regional and national church organization which both serves and is served by our congregation.  Of particular value to me have been seeing and hearing how my benevolence dollars are being used to serve the needy and other congregations throughout the region, nation and the world.  Also experiencing worship in a community of enthusiastic worshippers, having a voice in who will lead our Synod Council, and conversations with representatives from other congregations regarding each other’s practices and solutions to common problems.

And from Susan Mull (currently working through her final Lutheran Seminary requirements!):

I’ve been to many synod assemblies, but most recently in 2019. I think it’s really interesting when issues are being debated because people go to a microphone set up in the aisle and then they speak and offer what expertise they can share. For ex., there was necessary conversation about why deacons who are rostered in the Word and Service track, and pastors who are rostered in the Word and Sacrament track, are paid at different rates.

The question was raised, “Is it because many deacons are women, and if so, doesn’t that smack of blatant sexism?” This got pretty heated.

It’s awkward for all of us when questions are raised that make us uncomfortable, but sometimes the discomfort makes us stop and re-evaluate how we treat each other. The synod has ongoing conversations about many “isms,” sexism, and racism, for ex. The synod assembly is not just some sterile, bureaucratic event, the Holy Spirit is at work. 

One of the beautiful things that happens is that churches are invited to create a short video that shows how they serve their community. For ex., we could do a video that shows our amazing “pod” school that helped so many during this covid year. These videos give other churches ideas for what kind of outreach they may want to try in their town.

The bookstore is wonderful at the synod assembly because booksellers come from a fabulous bookstore in Dallastown. I always see people I probably met more than twenty years ago. The speakers are often engaging, and sometimes their jokes are even good! The singing is not always good. You can knit while you listen to commentary. My favorite treasure that I have from one of my synod assembly experiences is an eco-theology book.

We need to hear each other in this work. Church work is hard, and exhausting, and oh, so worthwhile. We grow our faith better when we nurture each other. This assembly helps us do that.

MALES OF GRACE!  WHO WILL GO FOR US?? 

Please contact me if you are interested or have questions.

Peace, Pastor Verkouw

Christian Formation

Kids and Youth Zoom Updates!

Update on Sunday ZOOM Fun for kids! 

Join us at 9:30 am ~ for kids 1-6th grades. 

This past Sunday we studied Naomi and Ruth along with fellow characters in the bible story, Orpah and Boaz. My, wouldn’t the world be a beautiful place if all people were as selfless, loving, hard working and obedient as Ruth was to Naomi. If you would like to read the whole version of the loving words that Ruth said to Naomi go to Ruth 1:16.

We welcome all elementary children, near or far.  Join us!  

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

Confirmation at 9:00 a.m. / High School at 9:45 a.m.

Youth Group Outing!

Based on your suggestions, we are planning a Youth Group event at Village Greens Miniature Golf Course on 4/25 from 1PM-3PM. Masking and other social distancing guidelines will apply. The rain date is 5/2 at the same time.

We plan to complete the Gold Course which should take about an hour and a half. There is also a snack shop if you’d like to grab a snack when we’re finished. We look forward to seeing many of you there!

Please RSVP by email to Meghan (mekelly10@gmail.com) if you plan to attend so we know to look for you.

Weekly Rest

I’ll confess that I had no idea what we should read for this week and I’m still not convinced that I picked the best reading for us. It’s been a long week for our nation and in light of that, I think we could all use a reminder of God’s unfailing love toward all of creation.

Our reading for this week is an excerpt from one of the longer writings of Julian of Norwich. In Showings she recalls a vision she had of Jesus (think along the lines of St. John’s Revelation). The text is filled with theological statements about Jesus’ relationship to the Trinity and to creation.

The paragraph that I picked for us this week is in a section where she is speaking about human sin: For we shall truly see in heaven without end that we have sinned grievously in this life; and notwithstanding this, we shall truly see that we were never hurt in his love, nor were we ever less value in his sight. And by the experience of this falling we shall have a great and marvelous knowledge of love in God without end; for enduring and marvelous is that love which cannot and will not be broken because of offenses.  

There aren’t any questions for this week, because sometimes we just need to rest in God’s love. If you need a place to vent about this week’s tragedies send me an email (graceelcaapd@gmail.com) and we can set up a time. As you seek God and rest in God this week, may you be constantly reminded that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39. Amen. 

[Text: Julian of Norwich, Showings (Long Text)  in “Light from Light,” ed Louis Dupre and James A. Wiseman, OSB, 2001

Pax et bonum, Angie. 

Contemplating Logos

“Listen, O my son, to the precepts of thy master, and incline the ear of thy heart, and cheerfully receive and faithfully execute the admonitions of thy loving Father, that by the toil of obedience thou mayest return to Him from whom by the sloth of disobedience thou hast gone away.”
(Prologue to The Rule of St. Benedict, Trans. Rev. Boniface Verheyen OSB, 1949)

This week’s reading is John 4:27-30

Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 25, 2021

“Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”   1 John 3:18

Care of God’s good creation is love in truth and action. Ponder how you might better exhibit this love through your care of our planet and all that God has created. What one small step might you take this week?