They will sing of the ways of the Lord,
                                           that great is the glory of the Lord.

                                                                         ~Psalm 138:5



Bless the World: be God’s Grace!

Even as I begin to think about the Gospel for next Sunday, my mind is still pondering the Canaanite woman in yesterday’s Gospel from Matthew 15.

How many of us know people (or are people) who have felt unwelcome…. un-saveable … unworthy … in a place of worship or a community of faith? How many people stay away from congregations and worship because they feel someone will cry “Sinner!” or tell them all the ways they violate the Law and all the ways they need to repent?

We all know that even as a family of faith, there are and will be things we disagree about; from politics, to economics, to civil rights, even to the faith itself. We are human beings with varied histories and diverse experiences, and these things shape who we are and how we approach the world. It does not make any of us better than another—or more “right”—it just makes us different.

The truth is, we are all sinners. We are all people just kneeling at Jesus’ feet crying, “Lord, help me,”  as we try to navigate our way through life. But for some people— for whatever reason or on account of whatever persons have made them feel unwelcome or excluded—it can take so much courage and boldness to come into what can often feel like a club of insiders … when in reality, we all need the love, forgiveness, and grace of Jesus. 

People seek out congregations and a relationship with God for many reasons. Some are unsure of what they believe. Some have never had the opportunity to explore what they believe. Some are hungry and need food to fill their bellies. Some are hungry and need a word of mercy to fill their spirits. Some have other needs and don’t know where to turn. People need the love and grace of God, and they need a place where they can receive those gifts no matter where they come from and no matter who they are. We are called to be the ones who welcome everyone to God’s house and to God’s Table.

Follow your faith like the Canaanite woman. Be bold in crying out to God and be bold about inviting those who need God’s grace just as much as you do. Be the reason someone wants to hear the Word, rather than the reason someone fears it.

In Christ,

Pastor Brenda



Sunday Fellowship Time

August 27th – Cindy Wood and Brenda Holderman



Operation Christmas Child

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


Happenings at Grace

Photos by Bob Haaf


Meditation on Matthew 16:13-20

By Vicar Dave

When I was a kid, we’d sometimes tease someone with the refrain; “I’ve got a secret, I won’t tell…”.  The secret that Jesus wanted kept in today’s Gospel, however, isn’t something to joke about. There’s lots of places in the Gospel where Jesus instructs someone who has figured out that He’s the long-awaited Messiah, that they are not to tell anyone. I’ve never quite figured out why He wouldn’t want people to know who He is, but I have a few ideas that might work.

One of the possible reasons that I’ve come up with is that His humility wouldn’t allow Him to proclaim Himself God. Jesus entire mission here on Earth involved humility. He first humbled Himself to take on human form and live as one of us. He humbled Himself in service to others, helping the poor and the sick. He taught that it is better to be humble and then elevated than to try to assume too important a position and to then be told to assume a lower place. In the ultimate act of humility, he gave Himself over to be executed for our sake.

Another potential reason could have been that it was not yet time for His identity to be revealed. Jesus knew He still had plenty of work to do and plenty of people to reach out to. Jesus still had much to teach the disciples and the other people in His community. One of the biggest things the people had yet to learn was the true nature and mission of the Messiah. He also needed to teach them about how to live together, with and for one another, and how to love God by loving each other.

A third potential reason for not revealing Himself as the Messiah may have been the affect that the knowledge that the Messiah was living amongst the people might have on them. Many of the people at that time were of the opinion that the Messiah would be some sort of military figure that would lead them to victory of the Roman government. Knowing that the Messiah was living with them, but not knowing what the Messiah’s true mission was, may have caused the people to take up arms against their Roman oppressors. This open rebellion would have caused many to lose their lives. This is not what Jesus would have wanted for His people. Especially since a recurring theme in His teaching was to love ones enemy, not to hate or to try to kill them.

I don’t know if some or any of these reasons would be correct. Maybe there’s something I haven’t thought of. But it’s something I ponder and pray about. Perhaps I’ll never know the answer, and that’s OK. The important thing, to me, is that I know that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and that He came to us, as one of us, and sacrificed Himself on the Cross for all of our sins. For all of us!


Words Not to Speak

The Rev Kurt Meyers

Toledo Conference Call

           Peter Marty is an ELCA pastor serving an Iowa congregation and in a recent editorial, he discouraged the use of these words common in church life.

VISITOR. This term blankets all those who show up at the church door who are not recognized by anyone. Regard them as guests in the house of the Lord. They are not merely attending a high school play or football game as detached  observers. They seek something deeper than that. Guests.

ATTENDING CHURCH is common terminology, but it reduces us to the “count” taken at most churches and it reduces us to detached individuals. A more accurate term is belonging. When we belong, we are part of a community where we  worship.


Behind the scenes at Grace Gretchen

  1. The “spots” will soon be gone! The Rug Cleaners will be in this week to vanish the spots!
  2. We have seen 2 beautiful red tail hawks in the back corner of the parking lot by the expressway! Perhaps our mole population might see a decrease!
  3. Check out the Church Council pictures and notice Bob Haaf’s picture thanks to an ongoing fun exchange between Bob and Jana.
  4. Sue Wagner gave a great Children’s Sermon on Sunday on pencils, erasers and forgiving mistakes! It was wonderful and she did a great job in tying it in with the starting of school!
  5. Jana has been with us for 2 months and is now on to a new adventure in Fremont! She will continue to send us updates on what she is doing! Thanks to Sue Wagner and Janet Moore for the great cake and send off for Jana!
  6. Burrito Blessings 419 is this coming Saturday! Volunteers are needed to cook and to build the burritos!
  7. The Parish Nurse will be out of the office from Friday 8/25 – Wednesday 91/3. Please call the office if you need something from the HELP closet.
  8. Welcome back Debby!!!
  9. Remember: Grace us not the building but the people of Grace doing God’s mission!


Healthy People! Healthy Parish!

September is just around the corner! And so are Flu Vaccines!



The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommend that people 6 months and  older get the flu shot!

It may not completely prevent the flu but you may not experience as severe effects.

September and October are the recommended months to receive the vaccine per the CDC.

So Shu the flu and get your shot!


Friends are the sunshine of life!

(John Hay)

Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.

(Helen Keller )


Volunteering and the Brain !

Did you know that research has shown that volunteering has been linked to better scores for cognitive functioning (memory, planning, focusing and prioritizing tasks,)

Volunteers are often the center of communities and important in the success of many organizations and events.

Volunteering gives meaning and purpose to life. It also helps with making friends and  preventing loneliness.  All of which is important for our mental health.

There are all sorts of opportunities for volunteering from making phone calls to working for Habitat for Humanity building house.

There are all sorts of activities at Grace that are volunteer positions as help us carry out God’s mission.

A big opportunity is Burrito Blessings 419 – coming up this Saturday!

Burrito Blessings

Volunteers needed:

8:00 a.m. – cook

10:00 a.m. – assemble burritos

11:00 a.m. – distribute

Come join the fun!


This past Saturday, Grace’s presence was well received by onlookers and participants in downtown Toledo for the Pride parade.



Today- Sunday, August 27         

Next Sunday, September 3                 

and the next Sunday September 10…                 

RALLY DAY               

Looking forward to the kickoff of a new year of

Sunday School 2023-2024. 

See you there!!   

~ Miss Connie


This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

~Psalm 118:24