Hallelujah! Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise God in the heights.
Church office is closed Christmas Eve
December 26th – No Fellowship Hour
Three Wednesdays this Advent, we celebrated waiting and preparing for Christ’s birth with Evensong Compline services. The Scripture readings, chants, hymns, and prayers soothed and uplifted us.
Having our house full of family at Thanksgiving filled us with joy, which continued to warm our hearts as we gathered sheets, blankets, pillows, games, puzzles, and stray Legos to launder and/or put in to their appropriate places to wait for their next use. The contents of our linen closet felt very appreciated after the long lull in overnight hospitality. For us, Advent’s balm of quiet beauty and reflection on our own and humanity’s need for help coincides with the post-Thanksgiving restoration of order and waiting until the next guests arrive.
In 2022 we hope for the flourishing of kindness and good sense in all people as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
We also hope for good days for friends living with cancer or other illnesses.
Advent asks us to consider our messy lives and promises us hope, forgiveness, and love in the birth of our Messiah, Jesus Christ.. We pray that we all will receive these gifts in abundance in 2022.
Merry Christmas to all! Pr. Howard and Sarah Abts
Members of Grace,
As we embark on the Christmas holiday, I wanted to share a quick update from the Call Committee.
After posting the Mission Site Profile for Grace in June, we have had only one candidate sent to us to evaluate from the Synod. This occurred back in October and the Call Committee quickly convened via Zoom to discuss the candidate. After thoughtful discussion, unanimously we decided to pass on this candidate as we all felt they weren’t the one for Grace.
Last month, I requested an update from the Synod and the response was they had not had any candidates recently interested. There are many factors that are currently playing into the lack of candidates being sent our way. One of these factors is there are quite a few openings for pastors around the country at this time with too few pastors looking for a new call. Another factor that has played into lack of attention to Grace is the amount of compensation we can offer. Our size of the congregation had initially garnered attention from out of town pastors looking for a call, however, then have chosen to look elsewhere.
While we understand this is our second Christmas without a full time pastor, the process for calling a new pastor is really only twelve months old and our opening live for six months. In speaking with church council last week, previous call times for Grace reached a few years before a pastor was called. We ask the congregation to please stay patient and pray the Holy Spirit finds the right pastor for us. It will happen, we just have to keep the faith and weather the current storm(s) – it is not time to panic. I will update again if new information comes to light or by the end of February. Feel free to approach any of the Call Committee members either in church or via other means if anyone has any other questions or concerns.
Have a Merry and Blessed Christmas,
A Blue Christmas Service was held on Tuesday December 21. We welcomed 24 people in person and at least 27 more online. Thank you to the Prayer Team for putting the service and the bulletin together. Thank you to Dave O’Brien for the meditation and readings. Thank you to Gretchen for decorating the chapel. Thank you to Pam, Jeanne, Ann and Gretchen for the cookies. And thank you to Jon and Cathy for the music. It was a beautiful, peaceful service.
Sometimes we Christians get so focused on the life and promise of Jesus the Christ that we overlook what God had done before him. Mary remembered. Mary remembered all the love and mercy that God had shown to her ancestors, the children of Israel, and this love of God was a constant throughout their history. The birth of Jesus was not something new, but the culmination of God’s grace shown to Abraham and his descendants, going back to the beginning of time.
God Pause, Luther Seminary
January Fellowship Hour
Thank you to all who help!
January 2 – Mary Schneider and Cindy Wood
January 9 – Gretchen Hiatt and Nancy Lockard
Council Highlights from meeting December 14,2021
- Approved change to membership roles with passing of Janet Kiefer.
- Discussion regarding support of our Synodical Authorized Ministry Candidate (SAM) – David O’Brien. More information will be coming in the future regarding specifics – job description, time commitment, etc. Motion made to support David O’Brien in this process.
- Congregational meeting for January date identified. Service and breakfast /brunch being served discussed. Mary Schneider to discuss with members of her committee. Date will be Sunday January 30th.
- Discussed Children’s Rights Collaborative (CRC) on their mission and request to use Grace’s facilities. Reviewed rental information and need to have legal rental agreement written and then approved at future Council meeting.
- Reviewed church insurance policy in relation to request by Council member. Request concerned coverage of volunteers, staff, and others within the congregation. A determination following review of written policy that there is adequate coverage at present. Will be reviewed at time for policy renewal in 2022.
- Two members have agreed to join Congregation Council – Kathleen Hunter and Jon Darnell. Discussed that members were never officially installed due to Covid, etc. Will be completed first part of 2022. Date TBD.
- Personnel Committee to be meeting in near future.
Next Church Council Meeting is Tuesday January 11: 630 PM in Room 3. The meeting is open to all members of Grace.
Past Meeting Minutes kept in notebook in Library.
Behind the scenes at Grace ……by Gretchen
- What a way to start Wednesday – the church was in the dark! We don’t know what caused it, but the power was out for about 3 hours in the morning, but the church continued to carry on – AA had their meeting with candle and cell phone light. Cathy and Gretchen used candlelight to do some non – electric required work. Gretchen was practicing being Florence Nightingale with her candle – an ode to the founder of nursing! We put some of the old candle stubs to work that morning.
- Bulletins are being prepared for Christmas Eve services and Sunday the 26th.
- Don’t forget if you have an event or are hosting coffee hour, that the tables in Fellowship need a wipe down – we have encountered some sticky ones lately.
- Cookie Fellowship was this last Sunday!! We had a great introduction to the event by Sue Wagner! The cookies were scrumptious! Thanks to all who baked!
- Piglets turn in day was this last Sunday but if your pig did not quite make it back to the pen under the Christmas tree there is still time to bring it in!
- Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace!!
Grace Anatomy: Episode # 6
Graceful Giving Room
What is it?
Graceful Giving Room is the location for all our outreach collections. Personal Needs, Food Pantry, Christmas Child, Fellowship Fair, etc. all have a collection bin on the shelving unit.
The door may be closed but is not locked.
The extra railings for the chancel in the big church are kept in here as well as tables for flowers.
The memorial box / offering box is in this room.
There is also a bathroom.
This room can be used as a safe place during a tornado warning as it has no windows.
Where is it?
In the main hallway next to the Sacristy. There is a sign outside the door .
YOGA – A type you don’t have to lie on the floor trying to position your self as a “Downward Dog” or try to do “Salutations to the Sun” ?????
Have you heard of Hasya Yoga? Most of us do a little bit each day – I hope!
Yoga is a very old practice that seeks to improve our spiritual, emotional, mental and physical wellbeing – typically using different body positions and deep breathing.
You can now find various forms of yoga. At last count there are 10 types and Hasya Yoga is one of the newest ones.
Hasya Yoga is also known as laughter yoga!
Laughter can be spontaneous (a good joke) or there is self-induced or simulated laughter.
Any form of laughter triggers the body to release endorphins or feel -good hormones which has numerous health benefits.
Some good things that come from laughing!
- Improves mental health and clarity. When you laugh you exhale and inhale longer which gets more oxygen into your body and eventually to the brain. More oxygen in the body makes the brain more active and more focused to improve mental clearness.
- Boosts the immune system. A round of laughing increases the flow of lymphatic fluid thorough the body -especially a good belly laugh. It increases the release of cells that fight viruses, bacteria and other bad stuff.
- Lowers blood pressure. Laughter is a form of aerobic exercise – it works the abdominal muscles (especially the previously mentioned good old belly laugh) and helps the heart in pumping.
- Helps with stress and depression. A good laugh releases endorphins which are the feel – good hormones.
- Increases lung capacity. When we laugh our lungs receive a great amount of oxygen. The increased air helps to expand the tiny lung sacs called alveoli which increases our lung capacity. Laughing also helps us to get rid of stale air as we are getting more fresh air.
- Boosts moods. The feel-good endorphins are released and helps your mood.
- Helps burn calories . Research has found that 15 minutes of laughter can burn up to 40 calories. Hmm that is an awful lot of laughing to burn off all of Sunday’s Christmas cookies …. Research also says that 100 laughs is equivalent to calories burned during 10 minutes of rowing a boat – ??????
- Increases social bonding. Laughter yoga brings people together and builds stronger relationships with loved ones.
Soo practice your Hasya Yoga !!!
Did anyone see Gretchen’s snowman at Glass City Metropark?
The snowmen will be displayed there until Mid January.
Please donate on January 12th. The need is so great. There are hospitals that if they have not already are looking at cancelling elective surgeries. If you have any questions, please contact Gretchen 419-944-5166.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
Merry Christmas – from the Grace Office Staff
Cathy, Chris and Gretchen