May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Behind the scenes at Grace…..
- The church was hopping this last Wednesday evening with a wonderful Thanksgiving Eve service!
- SOS – can you take some boxes to recycling? We have recently become overwhelmed with empty cardboard boxes. They are located in the Copy Room next to the Office.
- Check out the carts in the back of the big church!
- Don’t forget to take a look at the Community Bulletin Boards – there are all sorts of interesting events and opportunities.
- Have you checked out the table by the coatroom across form the office? There are some interesting Care Notes free for the taking.
- Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace carrying out God’s mission.
Our local outreach program for Advent continues. This Sunday the Outreach Committee and the Worship and Music Committee are asking members to bring either a can of fruit and/or a toothbrush and place them in one of the grocery carts at the back of the sanctuary. Food items will go to Aldersgate’s food pantry and personal need items will go to Grace’s personal needs ministry.
Advent Study – Monday mornings at 11:00 a.m. Come join us!
On Mondays during Advent, join Grace members for an Advent study. The study covers the Psalm that is a part of each week’s readings and relates real life stories of how ELCA World Hunger helps people throughout the world. A short discussion follows. The study begins at 11 a.m. in Fellowship Hall and refreshments are served. You do not have to attend all of the meetings, come as you are able!
The Christmas tree in the sanctuary will be
decorated on Saturday, December 3
at 11 a.m. Come join in the fun!
Our building is busy so plan ahead!
Grace’s building is busy almost every day and that means that all Grace groups and committees need to plan ahead for your meetings. It is important that you plan your dates/times/room at least two weeks in advance and make sure your meetings are placed on the church calendar. That allows us to make sure there are no conflicts.
The Lord has provided Grace with our marvelous building that we should share with the community. We are the location for meetings that include multiple AA groups, Safe Haven, Block Watch, Save Lake Erie, The Model A club and every Grace group and committee (just to name a few). In addition, last Spring, The Children’s Rights Collaborative began using our classrooms, youth rooms, and Brenner Hall, when available, for their meetings up to five nights a week. We also rent rooms for non-profit meetings and parties.
To make sure you have reserved your group’s room, forms are available in the office. Or call Rick Sharp at the Facilities Use Ministry at (419) 283-3530.
And remember to thank God for the gifts we have been provided.
Thanksgiving Eve Service
Thank you to all who helped to make the Thanksgiving Eve Service happen. We welcomed several other churches to join us. What a joy to hear the combined choirs! And to share fellowship after the service.
December 4th – Sue Wagner – Janet Moore
December 11th – David, Beth and Barb Charvat
December 18th – Christmas Cookie Fellowship – Please let Sue Wagner know if you can bring in 1-2 dozen Christmas Cookies. 419-475-8972
December 25th – No Fellowship Hour
January 1st – No Fellowship Hour
Meditation on Matthew 3:1-12
By Vicar Dave
When I was a kid, during Advent our local newspaper always had a spot where they would tell us how many shopping days until Christmas. It always had a nice little picture of Santa Claus or Rudolph on it. Then the Christmas Wish Book would arrive, and we’d spend hours looking at all the toys and marking the ones we wanted to ask for when we saw Santa at the department store. But all the ads in the newspaper and the toys pictured in the wish book and even the visit with Santa weren’t the big event that we were all looking forward to. That was Christmas morning. This other stuff was meant to get the kids all excited in advance of the big holiday (and to get the parents spending more money). But the sense of anticipation is really what Advent is all about.
Today’s Gospel reading is all about anticipation. Anticipation regarding the coming of Jesus Christ. We don’t hear from Jesus in the reading. We only hear from the narrator and from John the Baptist. John’s job was not to bring attention to himself, but to get people ready for the coming of Jesus. On Palm Sunday, we’ve started the service with John’s words from today’s Gospel put into a song. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” But it’s equally appropriate for Advent as it is for Palm Sunday. Maybe even more so.
So how do we get ready for Jesus’ birth? Is it by lighting Advent candles every week? Is it by planning a big family get together, complete with presents and a feast? Those things are nice, but John is telling us that we should be making ready for Jesus with prayer and repentance. He also says we should “bear fruit worthy of repentance”. To bear fruit is to produce actions that show our true nature. We wouldn’t expect a crab apple tree to all of a sudden start producing bananas or peaches. Trees just aren’t capable of changing their nature, but we are. The Pharisees and Sadducees who came to be baptized by John in the River Jordan, had apparently paid lip service to the idea of repentance, but the ways they lived their lives told a different story. They continued to live in sin but refused to see their own guilt. They were really good at pointing out the faults in other people’s behaviors, often the same faults that they were guilty of. They also thought that by following strict rules about religious ceremony, they would please God. So perhaps they thought that being baptized by John was just another ceremony.
What John was trying to do was to get the peoples’ hearts ready to be a home for Jesus by repentance and to get them to transform their lives. The Jewish religious leaders thought that they were just fine for God, just the way they were. In their minds, no change was necessary. I think that’s why John referred to them as a brood of vipers. They’d put on a show of repentance, but nothing really changed.
Our words, behaviors, and actions should be outward signs of fruits of genuine repentance in our hearts. As we stay in close fellowship with Jesus Christ, abiding in Him, we will continue to produce an abundant harvest of fruit worthy of repentance. This fruit will be a natural outgrowth of the fundamental condition of our regenerated heart
As you grow older ,you will discover that you have two hands – one for helping yourself and the other for helping others. ( Maya Angelou )
A smile is a curve that sets everything straight ( Phyllis Diller)
I love the season of Advent. I enjoy the scripture readings, the blue paraments on the altar, pulpit, and lectern, the Advent wreath, the hymns … All of these things help me to look ahead expectantly to the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas. As I watch, wait, and prepare, I am drawn closer to the mystery of the Incarnation and to the presence of Jesus in my life and in the world.
The world does not love Advent. The world does not like to wait, watch, and prepare. The world pushes and pushes and then pushes some more –right to 25 December. The world loves Christmas—and in the world, the season begins on 1 November and ends abruptly on 26 December, when the season is just beginning in the Church.
This is nothing new. We all know that we keep time differently in the Church. Some questions to consider: How can we be more mindful of Christmas by embracing Advent and its days and message to the fullest? How can we watch, wait, and prepare in ways far more meaningful than shopping, baking, and over-indulging? How can we make Christmas matter more … by waiting expectantly and with anticipation through the four weeks leading up to it? How can we avoid the letdown—physical, emotional, and spiritual—that so often follows the Christmas Day celebration? How can we have the meaning of Christmas last beyond Christmas Day? How can Advent help us to have the message of Christmas sustain us long after the food is eaten, the gifts unwrapped, and the decorations packed away?
I think there are some simple and yet very meaningful steps we can take. The first is to spend time with the scripture. Advent lifts up wonderful passages from the Bible. Don’t just listen to them on Sunday or Wednesday. Read and re-read them during the week. Read an Advent devotional: you can pick one up at church. Consider joining us on Monday mornings at 11:00 a.m. for an Advent study, or for class on Wednesday evening or Sunday morning. How do words of scripture and words of personal reflection and faith call us to prepare for the birth of our Messiah and the Good News he brings? What do they teach us about God and God’s love for all the world? Why do they still matter, to us and to the world?
Pay careful attention to the hymns in worship. What message do they bring? How does the message help prepare our hearts to receive our King?
And spend some time thinking about giving. I know that there is joy in giving gifts to those people we care about; I, too, enjoy finding a gift that I believe has meaning and will bring enjoyment. But … Must we try to outdo last year in terms of gifts? Is there anyone is our lives who might value the gift of some of our time more than anything else? Those who love us will still love us even if we do not lavish them with material things.
And what about those who have no one to give them gifts? Each year, as a part of my personal reflection and gratitude in this season, I add up the amount of money I have spent on gifts for family and friends. I then take 10% of that total and give that amount away, to any one of a number of worthy causes or institutions. This might not be feasible for everyone, but perhaps we could all be a bit more mindful of our resources with regard to those who have less abundance than we do in this season.
God has been so amazingly generous to us: through his Son, through the Church, and the through the gift of our relationships with others. How can we respond in intentional and grateful ways, both in our congregation and beyond? How can the joy we feel in this season sustain us and others throughout the year?
God’s blessings to you in this Advent and always.
One of the recipients of this year’s Coaches Communities Awards of Excellence is
John B. Orozco
Faith-Based Coaches Award of Excellence
John B. Orozco, a United Soccer Coaches member since 1998 and a volunteer for many years at the annual convention, is the Boys Varsity Soccer Coach and Assistant Athletic Director at Toledo Christian School in Ohio. He serves as President of the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association and is known statewide for leading his team with the utmost class and respect honoring the faith of his school’s Christian foundation. His philosophy to pursue his faith first leads his athletes to do the same. His program emphasizes devotionals, daily prayer, and a leadership development program rooted in Christ. Most notably, Orozco is recognized by opposing coaches as leading young men whose strong character is demonstrated through the way they play, the way they speak to one another, and the respect shown to opponents through victory or loss. His lasting impact goes beyond the game, instilling faith driven character in young men that that will serve them and the community.
Healthy People! Healthy Parish!
Start the New Year Off Right !
For right now we are not talking exercise, changing to a plant-based diet, getting 8 hours of sleep, drinking 8 glasses of water or even laying off the salt ….
Start a New Year and ongoing resolution of being a Red Cross Blood Donor!!
It is a great way to give back to the Community, does not cost you a cent and takes slightly more then 2 hours! And you even get treats!
Please consider being a donor – and donors are not limited to Grace members. They can be a grandchild, niece/nephew, neighbor, friend, a person you work or volunteer with.
Our next drive is Wednesday January 11th 2023 form 1:00 – 6:00 pm. The schedule is open on the Red Cross web site, or you can call Gretchen 419.944.5166 and she will get you scheduled.
We also are in need of a couple of volunteers to help with welcoming, registering and keeping the snack table full and checking on people. A sign-up sheet will be on the Community Bulletin Boards this next week .
You guessed it! National Handwashing Day! Yes, there is actually a day set aside to stress the importance of handwashing – November 5!
We are already experiencing an increase in the flu and colds and other respiratory illnesses .
Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick!
Just some reminders !
Wash hands when:
- Before, during and after preparing foods – even if just a sandwich or getting into the cookie jar.
- Before and after eating food.
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before or after treating a cut or a wound.
- After using the toilet!!!
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. This includes after throwing the dirty tissue in the garbage.
- After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste (litterbox or back yard bagging)
- After handling pet food or treats
- After hauling out garbage, including the garbage can.
These are just some common times – you may think of more. IF IN DOUBT WASH YOUR HANDS!
Remember singing 2 courses of “Happy Birthday” is the minimum time for the actual washing of your hands to decrease germs!
They can work in a pinch but do not get rid of all germs.
If your hands are really greasy or dirty, they will not be effective.
They will not remove harmful chemicals like pesticides.
Also, check your Hand Sanitizers as many of them have a Best Use Date. If in doubt pitch and start fresh. To be effective they must contain at least 60% alcohol – check the label.
The Edu Board is Out !
Check it out for interesting and fun stuff !
Do you know what makes gingersnaps crunchy ?
Is Black Tea or Green Tea better for you and which has more caffeine ?
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!