I will listen to what the Lord God is saying;
  for you speak peace to your faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to you.                                       

                                                                                           ~Psalm 85:8


Pastor’s Thoughts:

Show me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths. –Psalm 25:4

      Grace Lutheran is a busy place! We host various community groups, provide space for the Children’s Rights Collaborative, and have our own events, groups, and meetings. It is rare to find an evening when they aren’t people in our church home!

Last week was no exception. For the first time, some of us gathered Monday through Thursday in the evening for Adult VBS. We had between 12 and 16 people each evening, and we enjoyed a meal together, a lesson, music, games, and a craft (there were googly eyes and glue sticks in abundance!).

I wish I could express fully how much joy these evenings brought me. The fellowship … the learning … the singing … the laughter  … It was such an extraordinary way to spend time with part of our Grace family. It reminded me that as serious as it is to be a Christian and to learn about our faith, learning about Jesus and his love for us can also be fun—no matter what age we are. Coming together for events such as this not only helps us learn but also builds us up as the Body of Christ when we see that we have common experiences and when we hear new perspectives on faith and life.

How do you best learn about Jesus? In worship? Through reading the Word regularly? Through conversation about others about God? In nature? Through service? Any way we can learn more about who Jesus was, how he changed the world, and how his love changes us is a blessing!

I am grateful for all of the inquisitive and enthusiastic minds in this place. I look forward to exploring more ways we can learn about our faith and our lives together.

In Christ,

Pastor Brenda



Sunday Fellowship Time

August 13th – Wendy McCall and Deb Fallon


Meditation on Matthew 14:22-33

By Vicar Dave

All of us have what we might call our comfort zone. Situations and things that we are comfortable with and can handle rather frequently. For some of us, that comfort zone might include things like baking, others might enjoy working with their hands. I know some folks that are perfectly comfortable on a stage in front of an audience, singing, dancing and acting. I also know others for whom the thought of performing for others send s a chill down their spine.

I remember being a teenager and going with a friend to another church where they had something they referred to as an “Altar Call”. Congregants were going up to the altar, throwing up their arms, and allowing the Holy Spirit to overcome them. Some of them appeared to be speaking in tongues while others just fell to the ground, overcome. Having been raised in a church not very dissimilar from this one, this was something that I wasn’t used to. It was clearly outside of my comfort zone.

I would like to take a minute to think about last month and the music we had for  worship. You may recall that we combined the 9:30 service with the 11:30 service during the month of July. During that time, our Praise Band was kind enough to wake up early and provide our worship music. On the last Sunday of July, we were also fortunate enough to have Rag Time Rick and his band provide music for our worship time. I thought it was interesting that Pastor Brenda encouraged the congregation to go ahead a clap along, if the spirit moved them, as this was something wasn’t normally done in our worship space. It was outside the congregation’s normal comfort zone.

Sometimes we are called by God to step outside of our comfort zones and serve him in ways that we’re not used to. Sometimes we can do this as a group, as many of us have started doing with the burrito blessings project we started recently. (By the way, it’s usually easier to do new things when you have others doing them with you.) Sometimes, we are called as individuals to step outside of the comfort of the familiar. It could be something as simple as ministering to someone who’s hurting and in need of hearing about God’s love.

Peter stepped outside his comfort zone in today’s Gospel. When he did that, things went OK at first. He was on his way to meeting Jesus out on the waters. Then his discomfort got the best of him, but Jesus was there to catch him before he was totally sunk. May we all learn to trust Jesus enough so that when we are called to step outside of our comfort zone for Him, we will be willing to do it. And may we also trust Him enough to realize that if we start to sink, our Lord and Savior will be there to rescue use, just like He did for Peter.


Operation Christmas Child

In the month of August we are asking for donations of Crayons. They can be dropped off in the Giving Grace Room or to the office during the week.

Jana – “ON THE MOVE!” by Ron Hiatt

It has been a busy weekend for Jana.  On the move indeed.  Over land, on the  water, and in the air…….

Last weekend, Jana attended a picnic where Gretchen’s cousin Linette, were invited to bring her guests, distant cousins of her and Gretchen, from Germany and Austria.  It would be our only chance to visit them, and we were not sure how everyone would interact together. Corina, Stefan, and their 4-year-old son, Carlo fell in love with Jana, and Jana likewise fell in love with them.  Especially the very long curly haired 4-year-old Carlo. Jana has a natural gift for children.


Carlo, Izzy, Stefan, Jana, Corina                             

Carlo with Curls


Before the evening was done, Corina and Stefan had invited Jana to attend the Jeep Fest in Monroe Michigan with them on Friday afternoon.  So, Linette and I took our guests to the Monroe Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Superstore to attend the Jeep rally.  Over 100 Jeeps of all sizes, shapes, and sizes were there, most with at least one yellow rubber duck somewhere on board. 


We even got invited to ride with some Jeep owners over the Obstacle Course, with hills, turns, ruts, bumps, logs, and even mud.  What a rush that was.

On the move, over land.

Then on Friday night, we enjoyed a meal and a sunset cruise with Pastor Merlin and Ann.  Jana even “captained” the sail boat for a time. The sunset was “awesome” as Jana likes to say.  No one could argue that…..


On the move, on the water.


On Saturday, we visited with Jim and Cathy Martin who have traveled many times to Serbia on behalf of our Synod Global Mission Board, to nurture our companionship with the Slovak Lutheran Church in Serbia.  We talked about people we both knew in Serbia.  While we were there, we attended the Defiance Hot Air Balloon Fest.  We arrived in time to see many balloons fly over a target area and drop a bean bag as close to the bull’s eye as they could.  As a treat, Jana was invited to “go up” in a balloon, which she accepted without hesitation! 


On the move, in the air…..


Jim’s business imports diesel engines from Japan, and custom modifies them to suit the needs of his customers.  We got a tour of his shop.  All kinds of electrical components, tools and equipment, presses, grinders, sanders, metal lathes, and stuff we had no idea what it did or what it was used for.  He also had a surprise for Jana.  Sitting in the shop garage was a 1994 Chrysler VIPER, that Jim only brings out for special occasions.  So, he took Jana for a ride……


on the move, over land – again… this time very fast! 

Where will Jana go next?  Stay tuned…..


Behind the scenes at Grace …..by Gretchen

  1. Our red-tailed hawk was seen this last week cruising the parking lot! No 4-legged creatures were seen at this time. Smart animals!
  2. Burrito Blessings 419 for August is fast approaching! Our next event is Saturday August 26th. The FREE Burritos along with a bag of sustainable food is handed out from 11:00 – 12:00. Volunteers are needed for the construction of the Burritos and distribution. Volunteers are welcome at 9:00 in Brenner Hall for Burrito Building Class 10, or you can perfect your construction skills at that time. Currently Memorial Lutheran, The Jewish Federation of Toledo and Grace are the primary construction and distribution crew, but others are welcome to join us.
  3. We continue to receive positive comments about our new ramp from those with mobility challenges and those unable to walk long distances.
  4. Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission!


Healthy People! Healthy Parish!



National Smile Week !


Is always the second week of August! It originated in the United Kingdom and was recognized in the United States in 2009. It is really aimed at good oral hygiene and dental care. Dental health is very, very important but what if it was switched to “smiling” as a way of being kind?

For many people a smile brightens what could be a really bad day – think of how you feel if someone smiles at you – much better than a frown. Actually, a smile is an upside- down frown!

Try to increase your “smilabilty” this week day by day! You might be surprised how it helps you feel as well as others.  A sideline it is that it is also healthy and good for the rest of your body.

“Today give a stranger one of your smiles.

It may be the only sunshine she sees all day!”

(Author Unknown)

Adventures with Jana…………..

Hello guys! How are you? I hope everyone is fine.

So, in this post you will be able to read what I have been doing for the past two weeks. 

The week started as always, with meetings and planning things for the rest of the week.

The sixth week was moving week. Now I live on a Christmas tree farm in the countryside and I am there until 20th of August. The farm belongs to a wonderful, loving couple, Ron and Gretchen. The house was built a long time ago, but it is quite large and nicely decorated. 

On Sunday, 30th of July, we had Rag Time Rick service. This was my first time attending a service like this one, because in my congregation we do not have services like this one. It was really amazing. Music was awesome, songs were nice and I think  everyone enjoyed it. 

After service, we went home and made dinner because we had guests from Austria. Gretchen’s cousin Corina lives there with her husband Stefan and four-year-old son Carlo.  We spent the whole afternoon together, chatting and laughing. We had great time and I am so happy that I made new friendships. Oh, almost forgot to mention, I finally found and bought the coffee I drink in Serbia, strong, black coffee (it tastes like home).


Week seven we had VBS for adults. I cannot tell you how enjoyable it was.  It was neat to see how adults were having fun and how entertaining it was for them to play and do interesting things like children do. Every day we had a meal, lecture, songs, games and crafts. One evening we had mac and cheese on the menu, so I tried four kinds of them. They were delicious. Each one was different and special in its own way. Because I was in charge of crafts, it was cool  figuring out what we would make for every day. Stories and lessons were amazing. Really instructive and people could relate to them. We had positive comments and I am looking forward to the fact that this will be held next year as well. 


On Wednesday we visited Toledo Zoo. I went with Pastor Brenda, Gail, Cindy, other Brenda, Izzy and Turner. According to Turner, cool skunk friend group. I saw various animals, even some that we do not have in the Serbian zoo. We had great time. They showed me the whole zoo and I am amazed by the large space that the animals have for themselves. It’s nice to see that they are free and not in cages. I spent a wonderful day with wonderful people. I love it.

I did a lot more during the week, but you can read more about it in Ron’s text, he  got ahead of me in writing. Text and pictures in his post are amazing, so I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Well, that would be it for this week. Have a blessed week and enjoy life!



This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

~Psalm 118:24