To you, O Lord,
                                                       I lift up my soul.

                                                                                    ~Psalm 25:1


Pastor’s thoughts:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son; that whoever believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life. –John 3:16

As I write this, the world is headed toward Valentine’s Day. Many people are doing their best to ensure that those they love and care about—spouses, children, parents, friends, “significant others”—know they are loved and appreciated. Flowers will be purchased and delivered. Candy will be carried to loved ones. Cards will be made or purchased and sent by mail or delivered in person. Special dinners will be prepared or loved ones will be taken out for a special meal. On 14 February, we celebrate human love … in all its various forms.

All of this has called to my mind some words from a song that I recall from high school: “What is love, anyway? Does anybody love anybody anyway?”

What is love? What words come to mind as we consider this human emotion? Love can feel good—it can also feel bad. It can be easy—it can be hard. It can cause great joy—it can bring great sorrow. It can sustain us—it can wound us. It can make us laugh—it can make us cry. It can swell our hearts with pleasant emotion or make our hearts feel like they are being squeezed. Human love is complicated. Throughout human history, people have written countless words in an attempt to make some sense of it all.

What about the love of God? What words would we use to describe it? I believe I might choose words such as “fierce,” “deep,” “endless,” “demanding,” “boundless,” and “eternal.” However, in many ways, God’s love is beyond description. Words can only begin to describe what love means in relation to our God.

This year, as it did a few years ago, Ash Wednesday falls on 14 February. There has been a lot of discussion and commenting that the first day of Lent—when we have our heads marked with ashes and are reminded of our mortality—falls on a day when “love is in the air.” Some find this incongruous, but I find it amazing!

What better day to begin a season of reflection about God’s love? What better day to be reminded that God loves us; in the moment of our birth, in the moment of our death … and in all the moments in between. God loves us—each and every one of us! What a wonderful gift.  Let us take the time this Lent to explore the implications of this wonderful truth, as we look forward to God’s greatest display of love, the resurrection of our Lord.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Brenda


Lent at Grace

Leading up to Holy Week the following services will be held at Grace during Lent:

Wednesdays, February 21 and 28; March 6, 13, and 20
11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Mid-week Lenten Services
11 a.m. services will be followed by a simple meal.

7 p.m. services will be preceded by a potluck at 6

The 11 a.m. services will have the theme of “Lament”.

The 7 p.m. services the Holden Evening Service will be sung and

the meditations will consist of dialogues between Jesus and Satan.

These services will prepare participants for the events in

Jesus’ life that occur during Holy Week.


Another part of the Mission Trip Sunday Story                     

Janet Moore and Gretchen Hiatt have recently mentioned the Sunday School Mission Sunday for Grace’s Sunday School children.  I would like to add to that.  The children’s offering is contributed to the Personal Needs Ministry by request from Christian Ed. I do speak to the children about the Personal Needs Ministry here at Grace and those who are served.  I have recently named a certain week, Mission Trip Sunday, (and plan to continue that once a month), and asked those interested to bring items for Personal Needs Ministry and we made our Mission Trip to the Personal Needs collection box in the Grace Giving Room as we dismissed to class.  I believe I have seen some cheerful, maybe joyful giving.    Miss Connie


The Readings for Sunday February 18, 2024

Genesis 9:8-17

Psalm 25:1-10

1 Peter 3:18-22

Mark 1:9-15

Meditation on Mark 1:9-15

By Vicar Dave

How often do we receive news that is so good, we have a hard time believing it? When the Apollo 11 crew announced that they had landed on the moon, some    people were skeptical that it had really happened. Even today I see some stories about how the moon landing was a fake. There will always be skeptics among us  for just about everything we hear, good or bad.

Sometimes a healthy dose of skepticism can be a good thing. My Dad got a call one time from someone claiming to be his grandson and saying he was in jail and   needed some money wired to him so he could make bail. Dad asked the caller if his name was Jeff and the caller said “yes, I’m your grandson, Jeff!” To which my dad replied, “I don’t have a grandson named Jeff” and then he hung up. In that case, my Dad’s skepticism served him well.

In today’s reading, we’re given good news that we don’t need to be skeptical about. It comes from the most reliable of sources, Jesus! Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God has come near! Near, but not yet fully present. We can catch glimpses of the kingdom in the miracles we see around us every day. Things like the smile of a small child as they play, or of an elderly person as they watch that child playing. When I go to a Toledo Symphony concert and hear the beautiful music they play, I can sometimes feel a swell of emotion in me that can feel like a glimpse of the   kingdom.

The best image of the kingdom of God that I can imagine was given to us in last weeks reading about the transfiguration. In that reading, Jesus became a luminescent being and His disciples were overwhelmed with joy.

As we begin our Lenten journey, let’s remember that Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news. Let’s also look for the glimpses of the kingdom all around us.


Prayer Breakfast RE-SCHEDULED

The prayer breakfast originally scheduled for 17 February has been rescheduled to Saturday, 9 March 2024. A new sign-up sheet will be posted beginning 25 February. Please be sure to sign up by 3 March if you plan to attend!


“Kindness is just love with its work boots on”

(K.Mc Cullah, K.Smith)

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

 (Mark Twain)

“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.



Healthy People! Healthy Parish!


Friday February 16th!

It is a day to celebrate National Caregivers Day!  A  caregiver can be anyone who provides care to another and that is many of us! Be sure to give an extra “thank you” to those who provide care. It is often a challenging  job and a thank you and a smile can really make a difference!


Kindness and You!


What is a Random Act of Kindness?

Definition: A random act of kindness is a non-organized and spontaneous gesture of kindness towards someone who needs it (although they might not know it, too). The phrase “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” was written on a placemat in California by Anne Herbert in 1982. She eventually wrote a children’s book with the same title in 1993.

It should be celebrated all the time but is officially celebrated the week of   February 14-20.

It is really a celebration of all ways we can become a positive influence in each other’s lives. Even a small act of kindness can mean a great deal of kindness to someone.

  • Acts can be small or big!
  • A smile to the cashier along with a thank you!
  • Opening the door for someone.
  • Helping a person who is using the motorized cart at the grocery store put their groceries on checkout.
  • Paying for someone’s coffee behind you at McDonalds.
  • Saying I love you to your family member!
  • Waiting in line at the gas station and relaxing, not beeping your horn or yelling!
  • Take someone a homemade lunch.
  • Tell a stranger you like their smile or clothes!
  • Put your lawn furniture on the front lawn and talk to everyone that goes by! or wave to cars going by!
  • Put coins in the washing machine at the laundromat!

 Small things count!  A poll done during the pandemic showed how many people reached out to help others 50% volunteered time to help those less fortunate, 41% helped a stranger cross the street, 38% took out their neighbor’s garbage, and overall 72% (of the 2000 who were polled) said they found themselves caring about the health and well being of others!

Do you think we are still showing as much caring????

Kindness is actually good for us!

It boosts mood boosting chemicals (Dopamine and Serotonin) in our body. It helps us feel good!


Please join us – Sunday Fellowship Time

In Fellowship Hall

February 18 –  Cindy Wood and Nancy Omey

February 25 – Sue Wagner and Sue Melchert

March 3 – Grace Peterson and Mary Schneider


Behind the scenes at Grace… Gretchen

  • The Red Cross let 3 of our January Blood Donors know the final destination of their blood. All 3 are new destinations – Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill South Carolina and Novant Health Rowan Medical Center in Salisbury North Carolina. You ask why did it not stay in Toledo? Reason – whole blood has limited shelf life (like milk) so if there is a need it is sent.
  • Brenner Kitchen was hopping this last Saturday and Sunday as the Youth were prepping and filling their orders for Souper Super Bowl and with the new addition of Mac and Cheese to go!! To all who bought and all who worked. THANKS!
  • It is approaching like the eclipse and no you do not need to wear special glasses! It is the Youth Treasure Sale (i.e. Rummage Sale)!!! We have some room for items in the Library and the Theater Room – room for bigger items will be available after the election on March 19th.
  • There was an oops this last Sunday as the collection box for “Warm Your Heart” blanket collection for Tent City did not get out but will be this week! Blankets can be put in chest or cart or left outside Gretchen’s door.
  • Have you seen the tipsy robins? The fermented crab apples on the trees outside the chapel have provided unusual flight patterns and perching on branches. They have almost finished them so they should be regaining normal flight and perch status.
  • Gretchen is still in need of some volunteers to help with Blood Drives. Qualifications are cheerful, can smile, can open a juice box and bag of those gummy snacks in less than 5 minutes, enjoys people, can walk short distance and can smile! The drive lasts from 1-6 pm so any amount of time is welcomed. The Red Cross Staff and our donors always are happy to have someone refill snacks, talk with them, and thank them. If you have questions or would like to help let Gretchen know.
  • Remember: Grace is not the tipsy robins but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission!


Operation Christmas Child 2024 Collection

It’s that time of year to once again donate/collect items to fill boxes sent to children all over the world. We ask that you would help in this effort by donating TOOTHBRUSHES for both children and adults during the month   of FEBRUARY. 

Your donated toothbrushes can be placed in the container marked Operation Christmas Child in the Grace Giving Room. Thank you for your support for this very worthwhile effort.                  

Operation Christmas Child Ministry


Some of the best things working in the church office are the unexpected happenings during the week! Here are just a couple of them from this week!


A visit from Ruth and her dog!

Pastor answering all my questions by playing kazoo!



This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

~Psalm 118:24