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Updates from the Road

November 27, 2022 Newsletter


Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,

give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


Operation Christmas Child

Once again OCC was a success at Grace Lutheran Church. With everyone’s help, we were able to send 125 boxes on to Emmanuel Baptist Church where they were packed up to continue their journey. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible. A special thank you to our youth group for helping each year as we pack the boxes. Their assistance has been greatly appreciated.

Please keep Operation Christmas Child in your prayers. Pray for each step in the journey of a shoebox. Pray for children and their families to experience and grow in God’s love as they respond to the Gospel presented at shoebox events around the world. Every gift-filled shoebox sent through this project is a powerful tool for evangelism and discipleship.

Again, thank you for your continued support for this opportunity to spread joy and open hearts to the Gospel.

Linda Mason for the Christian Education Committee.


Pastor’s Thoughts:

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. –Colossians 2:6-7

My Top Ten Reasons to Be Thankful:

  1. My gifts and abilities
  2. I am a beloved child of God—who has been abundantly blessed
  3. My sense of call and vocation
  4. I am beloved child of God—who has been abundantly blessed
  5. Our congregational family
  6. I am a beloved child of God—who has been abundantly blessed
  7. My home
  8. I am a beloved child of God—who has been abundantly blessed
  9. My family and friends
  10. I am a beloved child of God—who has been abundantly blessed

My Top Ten Reasons to Be a Steward Who Gives Generously:

  1. I have been taught, both in my biological family and Church family, to be a steward
  2. I am a beloved child of God—who has been abundantly blessed
  3. Scripture commands it
  4. I am a beloved child of God—who has been abundantly blessed
  5. I give because it brings joy to my heart
  6. I am a beloved child of God—who has been abundantly blessed
  7. Giving reflects my trust in God
  8. I am a beloved child of God—who has been abundantly blessed
  9. Giving reflects my love for God and God’s world
  10. I am a beloved child of God—who has been abundantly blessed

Thanksgiving and stewardship are intrinsically related. My thankfulness for all the various ways that God has blessed me finds its expression in the ways that I give in God’s name; not just of my money, but also of my time and talents.

In order for thanksgiving and stewardship to be a significant part of our lives, however, giving thanks and sharing our blessings must be a part of each and every day. After all, doesn’t God bless us every time we share the Supper, every time we hear the Word, every time we share in fellowship in Christ’s name, every time we are sustained by God’s love?

What is on your lists? How does God bless you? How might you find new and creative ways to give thanks and give of yourself each day?

In Christ,

Pastor Brenda


Advent Study

Please join other Grace members on Monday, November 28, at 11 a.m. in Fellowship Hall for an Advent Study. A story will be read and a short discussion follows.  Snacks will be served. We hope to see you there!  The Advent Study will continue on Mondays during Advent.


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.


Lois Helm Webb

Lois is a life-long member of Grace Lutheran Church. She met her husband Richard at church. She remembers Grace Church being a second home for her family. She was the Sunday School piano teacher for 10 years when her children were young as well as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader. Some of her activities at Grace have been delivering sermon tapes and assisting with Personal Needs. Lois is a member of Ruth Circle.

Lois’ favorite hymns are Beautiful Savior and What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

Lois has three children – Karen, Karl & Kent; 5 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren. She enjoys  reading, knitting and crocheting. Lois currently lives at Luther Haus in Temperance MI where she participates in many activities that are offered.

Lois will celebrate her 100th birthday on December 23.



Started filling

the blessing

box today…

more to come…


During Advent, Grace will be collecting items for Aldersgate United Methodist Church’s Food Pantry and for Grace’s Personal Needs Program. On Sunday, November 27 we are asking for donations of a box of pasta and/or a box of kleenex. Grocery carts will be located at the back of the Sanctuary for the donations. Let’s see how full we can fill the carts!



Remember on Saturday, December 3, at 11 a.m. the Chrismon tree will be decorated in the Sanctuary. Please join others in this joyous occasion!


Healthy People! Healthy Parish!


It is definitely dark in the morning and earlier in the evening. If you are coming or leaving any buildings like the mall or grocery store and even church in the dark, it is always a good practice to observe your surroundings. If it does not feel right stay in the building or in your car. Ask for someone to accompany you in or out of a building or church. Make it a practice to have your car key handy as most have a panic alarm that can be heard for quite a distance and alerts others. Having your cell phone handy so you can call 911 if needed is also a good idea. Try to consolidate bags so that you have a hand free to use the alarm and to open a door .

  • Remember to put packages in trunk or out of sight when parked anywhere. Do this before you get to a crowded area if at all possible.
  • Put your computer bag in the trunk or out of sight.
  • Lock your car whether at church, shopping and even in your own driveway and garage.
  • Make sure loose change and keys are not visible in your car.
  • If you took the “Cane Fu” course last year, remember to have your cane handy!


Behind the scenes at Grace…by Gretchen

  1. BRRR… the cold weather is definitely here, and we can hear the squirrels running across the roof – sounds like they have army boots on!
  2. We have lights! Yes, the parking lot lights in the back have been fixed and it is now a lot brighter when you leave after dark!
  3. Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace carrying out God’s mission!


Walking or Running in the Dark!



  1. Run or walk on sidewalks. If you have to use the road avoid busy roads and ones without shoulders and run or walk facing the traffic so you can see cars.
  2. Choose a well lighted route. Not only so you can see traffic but also hazards like uneven sidewalks or branches or slippery leaves. An encounter with a black striped 4-legged animal is unlikely but you will definitely not smell bad if you can avoid them in the dark.
  3. Be visible. Wear yellow, white or orange clothing. Reflective stripes on a jacket or shoes does not hurt either. A headlamp or flashlight can help to see and be seen . 
  4. Have an ID with you. Have your driver’s license or wear an ID tag on your shoe.
  5. Vary your routes and times. Potential attackers can study routines and hide in the dark or isolated area. The key is to change and be unpredictable.
  6. Run or walk with a buddy. If you walk alone let someone know your route and approximately how long you will be gone.
  7. Carry a cell phone.
  8. If you are walking watch for runners and bikers before you stop or turn around. If you are running watch for the bikers.
  9. Avoid wearing headphones when running or walking in the darkness. It cuts off your sense of hearing and you can’t hear cars, bicyclists, dogs and any other possible threats. If you have to have music turn it very low and only use one earbud.
  10. Follow your instincts. If you feel like you are in an unsafe situation walk or run to safe location. Call 911 if you notice anything suspicious.


What are you interested in?

Gretchen is working on programs, presentations, interesting  books/leaflets, etc.  for 2023. Please help her by completing an Interest Survey! We have had several surveys this last year and yes, they can be difficult to fill out but this one is important (per Gretchen!)

There are a number of programs like Active Shooter update, CPR and Fire Safety that will be offered as it is important that we are current on these.

Think about what  you are interested in learning about, need help with, or want a refresher on as you complete the survey. If there is something you feel is missing, please add.

This is for you!

The survey will be in the back of the church and the chapel on Sunday 12/4 and Sunday 12/11. They will also be in Fellowship Hall.  Please complete and put in the box on the desk outside the office by Monday 12/12.

Then be ready to see what is happening for 2023!


Some Reflections of Thanksgiving!

What we are talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets! I mean why else would they call it Thanksgiving? ( Emma Bombeck )

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States and also those in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise your beneficent Father who dwelleth in heaven. (Abraham Lincoln 1803)  President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to move the date up a week to extend the Christmas shopping season in 1939! After a public uproar Congress moved it back to the fourth Thursday in 1941.


Meditation on Matthew 24:36-44

By Vicar Dave

Not so long ago I had a particularly strenuous day. It’s not that I did anything out of the ordinary. Driving around, making contact with the guys on my case load & doing paperwork. I had just done a lot of it that particular day and it had worn me out. I went home and had dinner with Joyce and then thought I’d relax and watch a hockey game. Next thing I know, I’m waking up just after the winning goal is scored. That’s one of the things about hockey. You can go for long periods of time without any scoring and then boom!  I missed it because I wasn’t alert and ready when it happened.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is telling us to be alert and ready for when He comes back to us. The early Christians, or followers of the Way as some of them were called, thought that Jesus would come back in their lifetimes. Obviously, it’s taking a bit more time than that. As Jesus Himself said, “no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” knows when we will see Jesus again. He seems to indicate that the time will come in an instant and that many will be caught off guard. Therefore, we must be alert and “ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour”.

So how can we be ready when Jesus comes? One thing we can do is to try to be aware of what is happening around us and our relationship to it. We need to be morally aware of our actions and the consequences for them. In my Old Testament class at Luther Seminary this week, we read a story about a king who gave in to his desires of the moment and didn’t think about the consequences of his  actions. When all was said and done, one of his loyal servants was dead, he caused a family to become broken and one of his children died. I’m talking of course about David and his rape of Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah. At the moment of his lust for Bathsheba, David was not morally awake, and bad things happened as a result.

While our Gospel today is talking about Jesus’ second coming, we are starting the season of Advent, as we await the celebration of His first coming. Advent is a  season of waiting and watching. It’s about anticipating Jesus. We know when we will celebrate His birth. We don’t know when He’ll be back, however. But Advent can help to remind us that Jesus is indeed coming! Hallelujah!

Today, we lit our first candle in the Advent Wreath. This candle is purple, and it is often called the hope candle. Hope that comes from all that God has done for us in the past and for all God will do for us in the future. It is also called the prophecy candle, as it invites us to celebrate the words of Isaiah, which are words of hope.

As we travel through this Advent season, may we keep hope alive in our hearts as we joyfully await the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!




This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

~Psalm 118:24

November 20, 2022 Newsletter


Your kingdom come. Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

~Matthew 6:10



Pastor’s Thoughts:

Deficit. No one likes to read this word or think about its implications; not in our personal lives, not with regard to our national economy, and not as related to a congregation’s financial status.

And yet, consider it we must. Grace Lutheran Church finds itself with a deficit of $50,000 as we approach the end of 2022. We can speculate about why this is, and the answers would likely be “the pandemic,” “lower attendance,” “pastoral transition,” and “the economy.” Truthfully, the answer is some combination of these things.

To our minds, “deficit” often translates directly to “scarcity.” We begin to think that we don’t have enough, and we might never have enough … and anxiety and worry can become our predominant emotions. How will we move forward as the people of God at Grace if we don’t have enough money to support our mission?

In the midst of anxiety and worry, we can forget that the blessings of God are as present as they have always been. Changes and crises never diminish God’s love, grace, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. However, these things can both cause our fear to increase and create a tendency in us to cling tightly to the material resources we have.

We are still here as the family of faith called Grace Lutheran Church, and we still have ministry to do in the name of Jesus. The reality is, that ministry requires things such as a staff and a building to facilitate what we are about together. These things require a commitment to support the work financially. The ministry we are about together relies on our trust and our commitment in order to continue to share that Good News with others in our church building and beyond, so they might also have the same hope which sustains us.

What if we could see this time as an opportunity to challenge ourselves to grow as disciples? What would happen if we shifted our focus from thoughts of scarcity to that of abundance, and see the sharing of our resources to support the mission of Grace Lutheran Church as a way to show our gratitude to God? Whose faith might be deepened? What lives might be changed?

We are, as we always have been, blessed by God. How do we cling to this truth and boldly act with trust, challenging ourselves to continue to Bless the World: Be God’s Grace? There is tremendous potential here for us to be about great things in the name of Jesus! I ask that all of us consider how we can personally contribute to a solid financial end to this year, so that we can begin 2023 strong and ready to reach out and tell the world the Good News of God in Jesus Christ—just as we always have.

In Christ,

Pastor Brenda


Jan Dustman

I have been a member of Grace Lutheran Church for about 20 years. I had been a member of Reformation Lutheran Church from 3rd grade until I came here to Grace.

When Jean Baranski moved in a couple of doors down from me, and she was a Grace member, and needed a way to church, I thought I would change churches.

I am a widow of 33 years. I have 2 children, Jenifer and Edward, 5 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.

I worked for 32 years for the Toledo Board of Education in food service (Cafeteria Lady). I retired at age 72. I was an active grandma, following my grandkids in their sports activities.

I was a member of Masonic affiliations and enjoyed bowling on different leagues.

In retirement I volunteered at The Toledo Museum of Art, Lutheran Social Services, and Feed Your Neighbor at Augsburg Lutheran Church.

I like to play Bunco, am part of the Red Hats, and enjoy luncheons with school friends, and water aerobics. I have helped with funeral luncheons here at Grace and have been on Altar Guild. I belong to Ruth Circle.

My favorite Bible verses are 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – Love is patient, Love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I am so blessed to have church friends and enjoy seeing them on Sundays.

A Big THANK YOU to all who help keep Grace moving!

Blessings to all – Jan Dustman

Thank you, Jan, for all you do!


A joint Thanksgiving Eve service will be hosted by Grace on November 23 at 7 p.m.  Memorial Lutheran, Hope United Methodist, and Aldersgate United Methodist will join Grace in this service of Thanksgiving.  A combined choir composed of members of each church will provide music at the service. Canned food for Feed Your Neighbor will be collected that evening and the offering collected will be split between Feed Your Neighbor and the Aldersgate Food Pantry to buy eggs for their clients.

After the service, Grace will host a fellowship hour.  If you are able to provide a dessert for fellowship please contact Mary Schneider at 419.262.0730.


Meditation on Luke 23:33-43

By Vicar Dave

Throughout his ministry, Jesus was being challenged. Often those challenges  contain one small word. The devil used it at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and the Roman soldiers use it again in today’s readings. If. “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread (Luke 4:3). “If you are the Son of God, … throw yourself down from here.” (Luke 4:9) And today, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” (Luke 23:37) It’s amazing how one little word, when used as part of a challenge, can be so powerful. In all these cases, Jesus is being challenged to prove himself and who he is. The people issuing this challenge, however, miss the point that Jesus doesn’t need to prove anything to them or anyone else. Jesus came into the world to save us, not to prove that he’s more powerful than anyone who’s here. He saves us by sacrificing himself for us. Additionally,  Jesus isn’t into flashy displays of power. He leads us as King by   setting an example for us to follow. An example of humility and sacrifice. With  Jesus as our King, we don’t need to build big, flashy temples, like Herod did in last week’s Gospel.

Some kings, or rulers if you prefer, like to lord their power over their subjects. They like to force everyone they rule into submission to their will. They live opulent lifestyles, while their subjects suffer. Not so with Jesus as our King. He put our needs ahead of His own and wants us to do the same for our fellow humans. Service to His subjects is His primary focus, not exercising power over them.

So, what does it mean to us that Jesus Christ is King? Lots of folks have been   trying to answer that question for a very long time. I can tell you about some of the things it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that He will lead us into a glorious victory over our earthly enemies. If He had wanted to do that,  He could have freed the Jews from Roman rule more than  2,000 years ago. Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world, so we shouldn’t look for it in earthly terms. His kingdom comes when we begin to follow His example of service to others. Jesus shows that He is our king by loving us and forgiving our sins. That forgiveness is a power that only a king would have. A sort of a royal pardon. Jesus, as king, came down to us to extend this pardon as a gift of His grace. Unlike the kings of this world who would never stoop to the same level as their subjects.

Today we celebrate that Christ is King. We celebrate him as the crucified, risen, ascended and glorified Lord. We give thanks for all that Jesus has done for us and the difference that He makes in our lives. The image we are presented with in today’s Gospel doesn’t seem to be very kingly, at least not to people who see with the eyes of this world. But here Jesus is giving us the ultimate example of humility and service. He shows us these things that are necessary in His kingdom. Though He suffers and dies on the cross, his ultimate victory over death is won, not for Him, but for us! This is the best example of a leader or king, one who isn’t  concerned about titles or power, but is concerned about His people and about the good of all.

As we go out into the world today, may we all follow Jesus’ example of humility and service by caring for the needs of others and loving them as we would    ourselves.


Fritz Gooch:

Hi, friends!

In the eight (nearly nine!) years I’ve been attending Grace, I’ve grown to know and love most who attend. It’s been a great pleasure. I felt welcomed the very first Sunday I came, and I hope that I’ve added to welcoming others.

My favorite Bible verses are Romans 3:22-24 – For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. I love this passage because it reminds me that ALL are equal. Gay, straight, fat, skinny, rich, poor, Chinese, Australian, me and you!  Because we are equal, we share so much in common. These days, it’s so easy to forget.

When I’m not here for a meeting (which, like many of you, is very common!,) I enjoy reading, I love nonfiction, historical fiction and English literature. I was an English major at UT, leaving without a degree. I’ve always lived in Toledo, mainly in South Toledo. Currently, I live in Old Orchard. My parents are both  deceased along with my sister, Barb, who died of leukemia in 2018. Many of you met Barb when she attended Sunday services several times. I also have a younger brother, Randy, but we aren’t close.

I have a mental health diagnosis of Chronic Depression and Severe Anxiety, which is handled through medication. I’m an advocate for those with mental health issues, belonging to a couple of organizations that offer peer support.  Studies have found that peer support is a great way to help those who have mental issues.

I enjoy board games and puzzles. I love jigsaw puzzles and do several each week on my phone. I love word games, especially crossword puzzles (the harder, the better!) I would totally be on board for a game night!

I love the feeling that I get when I walk into Grace these days! I feel an excitement that wasn’t here. Fresh ideas and new things are happening, and an openness to try things that, for whatever reason, had been pushed aside in the past. Great things are happening here and it’s fantastic!

I’m open to hearing your ideas about Grace, so come find me and we can talk about them. Good things come from great conversation!

Thank you, Fritz, for all you do!



Advent is a special season in the Church’s calendar and at Grace special events are planned to commemorate this special season. We will continue to light the Advent wreath each Sunday and place figures in the manger.  We will put up the Chrismon Tree in the sanctuary.  And we will continue to learn.

Learning opportunities during Advent include the Sunday (8:15 a.m.) and   Wednesday (6 p.m.) studies by Pastor Brenda and an Advent Study at 11 a.m. on the Mondays of Advent.  Pastor Brenda’s study will help members rediscover the significance of Christmas.  Our Monday Advent study will take us through the Psalms in relationship to the ELCA’s World Hunger Program. The Monday study will include a snack with fellowship.  Please consider making learning and  reflection an important part of your Advent journey

The Chrismon Tree will be put up in the sanctuary and decorated on Saturday, December 3, at 11 a.m.  Please join other Grace members in helping to brighten the sanctuary for the Christmas season.  Brenda Holderman will be spearheading this event.


Behind the scenes at Grace… Gretchen

  1. Wow! What a crazy election day! Per Rick Sharp and others, we have never seen the parking lot and Brenner Hall that busy! There were lines out the church past the dumpster! The mole tunnels next to the fence and entrance way to the expressway were definitely smashed due to cars having to park back there.
  2. November is Correct Recycling Month! Thanks to Grace Peterson for taking the paper trash over to Kroger for recycling and for Connie Thomas and others for taking boxes.
  3. Brenner Hall was busy with Christmas Child boxes being packed and ready to send. This is a yearly project as we collect different items each month. Check out the Community Bulletin Boards for what is being collected each month and there is a donation bin located in the Graceful Giving Room (across from Classroom 3). Thanks to Linda Mason and her crew of volunteers!
  4. Um! Um! Good! The youth pancake breakfast was wonderful. The pumpkin pancakes were a 5 star in yum factor! The free will offering will be used to purchase Christmas gifts for an outreach project. Thanks to all who came and enjoyed!
  5. Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission.


Healthy People! Healthy Parish!

Good Food! Safe House!

The holidays are here and so is all the scrumptious food. We have people talking, kids talking, cell phones ringing or pinging, the doorbell ringing and all sorts of crazy distractions going on while we are trying to cook. All of these can lead to us not being aware of safety in the kitchen.

Kitchen fires like any other kind of fire can be deadly and many can be prevented.

Tips to prevent:

  1. Wear appropriate kitchen clothing – yes there is appropriate clothing for the kitchen! Long loose sleeves, baggy sweaters, scarves and dangling stuff can all come into close contact with burners and/or ovens. Think close fitting clothes and sleeves rolled up tight.
  2. Smoke points – this is the point at which an oil can ignite and cause a fire. All oils, butters, fats and greases have different smoke points.
  3. Add oils slowly so it does not spatter. Not only can the spattering lead to a fire but the spatters can cause skin burns.
  4. Clean your stovetop regularly – especially if it has grease or oil on it. Not only can they cause a fire the more it sits on the stove the harder it is to clean.
  5. STAY IN THE KITCHEN WHILE COOKING! It only takes seconds for a grease fire, so you want to prevent, stop, and put out quickly! If you must leave the kitchen, take a potholder or oven mitt with you to remind you that there is something cooking on the stove!
  6. Yikes I have a grease fire – what do I do? Our instinct is to put water on it but that will not work on a grease fire and can actually make it worse! If it is in a metal pot or pan put the metal lid on it and that will suffocate the flame! Don’t be afraid to use a fire extinguisher.

***All kitchens should have a kitchen fire extinguisher or dry chemical fire extinguisher in the kitchen that is easily accessible near the stove. Pull the safety tab, point the nozzle and spray on fire until it is out.


Fire extinguishers make wonderful gifts!


Type one!

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body recognizes cells called Beta Cells in the pancreas as foreign and attacks them. Beta cells make insulin. Without Beta cells we need to replace the insulin.

Type 1 can occur at any age but is most often diagnosed in childhood, teenagers and young adults.

Insulin is typically given by injection or an insulin pump.

It is important that glucose levels are checked. Missing an insulin dose can be dangerous and can lead to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.

If Type 1 diabetes is not managed well with insulin it can lead to stroke, neuropathy, and poor wound healing. These are just a few of the complications that can occur.

It is important with diabetes to not only monitor blood sugars but to eat healthy and exercise!


Did you know?

A bunch of turkeys (real turkeys not people!) are called a “Rafter of turkeys”?

A group of moles (of which Grace has a congregation of!) is called “A labour of moles”.


The Worship and Music Committee and the Outreach Committee are joining forces to sponsor our Advent project. For Advent we are focusing on local projects, Food for Toledo and Grace’s Personal Needs Program. We are asking members to bring if they are able the items listed on the Sundays in Advent. Those will then be used at Aldersgate United Methodist Church’s Food Pantry and Grace’s Personal Needs Program. Grocery carts will be placed at the back of the sanctuary for donations.

On November 27 donations of a box of pasta and/or a box of Kleenex  are requested.

On December 4 we are asking for a can of fruit and/or a toothbrush.

On December 11 a can of vegetables and/or toothpaste.

On December 18 a can of soup and/or hand soap.  Let’s see how many items we can collect in the grocery carts.


Pancake breakfast was a huge success!

Thank you to everyone who supported the youth group’s pancake breakfast! It was a big success thanks to you. Your generosity will allow us to be the hands and feet of God while we help fill some Christmas wishes.

After the pancake breakfast, the youth and friends helped Connie Thomas and Linda Mason fill over 100 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. The youth group also spent time folding the boxes on Friday night.

We are thankful for the many opportunities to serve.


Thanks to Kim Kondalski, we now have a relationship with Schramm’s Flowers (419.535.0065), who will be providing altar flowers for those who wish to order from them. If you would like to do so, please call the shop and mention Grace.  The cost is $45 for flowers which will be delivered to church by noon on Friday.

You are welcome to purchase flowers from other  places if you like. Just be sure to have them at church by Friday at noon.

The flower chart for 2023 will be posted soon, so that you can sign up for the days you wish to donate   flowers for the altar.

Speaking of altar flowers, did you know …

Fresh flowers are the preferred kind for the altar, as they reflect the beauty of God’s living, beautiful Creation. We typically do not place potted plants on or around the altar, with the exceptions of poinsettias at Christmas and lilies and other bulb plants such as daffodils and hyacinths at Easter.

Bulb plants at Easter are especially appropriate, as the new life that springs from a seemingly lifeless bulb is a wonderful image for resurrection and new life!

Traditionally, there are no flowers placed on the altar in Lent, as is a more somber and restrained time in the Church year.



This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

~Psalm 118:24

November 13, 2022 Newsletter


For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,

so that everyone who believes in him may not perish

but have eternal life.

~John 3:16



Pastor’s Thoughts: 

As I write this,  some  have already voted on the 8 November midterm elections. Some will head to the polls on election day to cast their vote.

As people discuss the candidates and the relevant issues, the question seems to be: “Who is to blame?”

Who is to blame for the economic turmoil in the United States and by extension, around the world? There are many thoughts and opinions about this: this group spent too much, this group earned too much, this policy caused that resource to go up in price, poor pandemic planning and a tough recovery.

Who is to blame for violence and war in our community and the world? Who is to blame for the rise in addiction in society? Who is to blame for the cost of healthcare? Who is to blame for homelessness? Who is to blame for the seemingly endless growth of an attitude of entitlement? On these topics, too, there are many thoughts and opinions.

A lot of energy is spent assessing situations (with varying degrees of attempts to understand the whole picture) and at assigning blame to the perceived wrongdoers.  Everyone has an opinion, and seems more than willing to share it. “Who is to blame?” seems to dominate our personal, local, national, and global conversations of late.

What if we spent all that energy witnessing to Jesus Christ and the power of God shown through him? What if we talked continually about the grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, and love of God? What if our response to troubling and puzzling situations was not immediately to seek to assign blame and call for retribution, but rather to converse about justice, mercy, hope, promise, love, and a new way of living—a way of living that might just get at the root causes of some of our world’s problems and offer some real answers and solutions?

What if we could learn to look at the world first through a “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul … and love your neighbors as yourself” lens, rather than through the distortion of a “Who is to blame?” lens? What might the world look then?

Just wondering …

In Christ,

Pastor Brenda


Thanksgiving Eve Service

On Wednesday, November 23, Grace will be hosting a joint Thanksgiving Eve Service at 7 p.m.  Memorial Lutheran, Hope United Methodist, and Aldersgate United Methodist will be joining Grace for this service.  A joint choir will provide music that evening.  Please plan on attending this special service.

Grace will be hosting a fellowship hour after the service.  If you are able to provide a dessert for this, please contact Mary Schneider at 419.262.0730 or at


Poinsettia Sale 2022

This year’s poinsettia sale begins November 13 and will continue through December 11. You can find forms at the back of the church or by the office. The deadline for orders is December 11. The sale is sponsored by the Christian Education Committee and proceeds go to VBS 2023.

Pancake Breakfast – November 13th between services!

The youth group is having a Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, November 13th between services (10:30-11:30ish). There will be a free will donation for the youth group. We will be adopting people from Sunshine Communities and this will help with that. There will be a pancake  bar, where you can choose your own toppings.

We hope people will come spend some time together, eat yummy pancakes and enjoy some fellowship time.

Thank you,

The Youth Committee


An Invitation From The Christian Education Committee

You are invited to our Annual Operation Christmas Child packing party, November 13, 2022 after the 2nd service in Brenner Hall. We will be packing boxes with items to be given to a child who may never have received a gift before. Our goal is to fill 125 boxes this year. We need volunteers to help fill the boxes. Bring a lunch or snacks and come join us for the fun and fellowship. We will provide beverages and snacks. Come for a short time or plan to stay the whole afternoon. We look forward to seeing you.




My JAM family collected items for our Personal needs ministry. They wanted to help me for when I was on vacation.

Sue Melchert


November is Diabetes Awareness  Month!

So, really what is diabetes ?

It is a condition that affects how the body turns food into energy. Our body breaks down most of the food we eat into sugar (glucose) and releases it into the blood stream. When our blood sugar goes up it signals the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is like a key to let blood sugar into the cells of the body for use as energy .

With diabetes, the body does doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. When there is not enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in the blood stream. Over time this can cause serious problems that can cause heart disease, affect eyes, and kidney disease.

There are 3 main types of diabetes

  • Type 1
  • Type 2
  • Gestational

More to Come on these!

Although it is not recognized as a specific type of Diabetes there is a health condition that is related .

It is called Prediabetes.

People with prediabetes have blood sugar levels higher than normal but not high enough to be called A Type 2 Diabetic. Prediabetes increases your risk for Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and stoke.

Per the CDC there about 96 million adults have prediabetes. More then 8 in 10 people have prediabetes but don’t know they have until they develop significant health problems!

People can have prediabetes without knowing it for years without any symptoms. That is one reason to have your yearly checkup and screening with your family MD.

Some risk factors for prediabetes.

  • Being overweight
  • Being age 45 or older
  • Having a parent, brother or sister with Type 2 diabetes
  • Being physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Having gestational diabetes when pregnant

What can you do?

  • Lose weight if you are overweight – even small amounts like 10 pounds can help
  • Get active and move – walk, swim, ride a bike
  • Better food choices – fruits, vegetables, lean like fish, poultry and legumes, use whole grains and less processed carbohydrates . Decrease fried, processed foods.

Type 1 next week!


David L. Petitjean

            Written by David L. Petitjean

How long have you been at Grace?

SHORT ANSWER:  Since Spring, 2005.

DETAILED ANSWER:  I came to Grace in the late Spring of 2005 as the “temporary bass player” for the Contemporary Group that played at the Wednesday evening Contemporary Service.  Tim, the young man that had been playing bass for the group had begun taking classes at The Ohio State University (“OSU”).  Ann, the then Director of the Contemporary Group, thought he was only taking classes at OSU for the Summer.  Tim showed up for one the services and told me that he was not coming back, he was planning to transfer to OSU to complete his college career (he did).

In 2005, I was then a member of Salem Lutheran and Temple Shomer Emunim (my wife, Jane is Jewish).  I also had begun as the bass player for the Contemporary Group at Most Blessed Sacrament.  The Music Director at the Temple was also the Music Director at Most Blessed Sacrament, he was hoping someone from Most Blessed Sacrament who could play bass would step forward (no one did).

When the Contemporary Service moved to Sundays, I was only able to attend the second half of the Service, due to my commitments at Salem.  Another person, John, stepped forward to become the bass player for the group.  When he left, I returned to being the bass player (poor Pastor Al thought I would have to learn to play the bass, until Dale told him that I used to be the bass player).  For a time Jane, my wife, and Mark Bramson, another member of Temple, played with the group.

I still use the word “temporary” because life always subject to change,  In fact the Greek Philosopher, Heraclitus, wrote the only constant in life is change.  My time with Salem came to end, and my time with the Contemporary Group at Most Blessed   Sacrament came to end (our Music Director retired and the new Director advised him to tell us that he was not interested in contemporary music).  Two of the members of Grace’s group, Mark, and Jon, have left us, and they can never be replaced.  Jane also no longer plays flute with us (the loss of Mark is too much when she comes to Grace).  Eventually my time at Grace will come to end.

In reality we all are “temporarily” here. We should work hard and enjoy our time together at Grace.  We should also realize that the future of Grace will be for those who come after us, we are merely caretakers of Grace.  Jesus has told us this throughout the Gospels.  God will remain, we will return to her/him (spiritual beings really don’t have a sex).

Tell a little about yourself and family.

SHORT ANSWER:  Jane and I have six children between us. We met our freshman year of college in 1973-1974.  Jane left school after a year.  We took a twenty-four (24) year break and came back together in 1998.

DETAILED ANSWER:  I was raised Catholic, by a Mother who had been a Methodist and chose to convert to Catholicism in college (her choice, not to get married, she converted before she met my Father).  I was taught to question everything about religion.  I was taught that God was spiritual and religion was man made.  Don’t question God.  Question what religion tells you about God, faith, how you should live, and the morals they teach you.  Most importantly, always remember that your beliefs are YOUR BELIEFS, NOT THE BELIEFS EVERYONE ELSE MUST BELIEVE.

I have been a searcher all of my life. One of my two majors in college was philosophy.  I learned a lot from studying philosophy, including that it is not the answers that become important, it is the next questions.

Jane is a fine arts major.  She was a single mom of three children.  Her road to graduation took many years to achieve.  I was there at the start and there at the end.  She has run her own businesses, been a representative for fashion companies, an Art Director, and is and remains an Artist.

Why do you enjoy the ministries you do here and elsewhere?

SHORT ANSWER:  I have always loved music.  It is one of the things that humans do which places us above animals.  It is best done with other people.   When you are  singing and playing, you must take yourself out of yourself.  You must listen and blend with others.  You become something better than yourself.  It is also a gift from God, which we can give back to God as a gift.

DETAILED ANSWER:  Music, joy, humor, and love are things that I always associate with services.  Service is where we honor  and show our love for God.  I also find that once a service becomes the doing of rote matters, singing the same hymns, saying the same prayers, having the same order for services, it become more of a duty, than an experience of joy and love from and to God.  Music and humor are also necessary so that the service doesn’t merely become dogma and ritual.  We must invest ourselves, including our emotions, for a service to be effective.

Beyond services, our mission, our lives in Grace, should always reflect the love, joy, and humor that God gives to us, wants back from us, and for us to share with each  other.  Humor is often the best way to address matters which are going to be troublesome, uncomfortable, thought-provoking, and most likely create an initial emotional   response.

We have to get past ourselves, to really listen to others, and put ourselves, our  opinions, beliefs, and personal pettiness aside to really communicate and understand others.  No one can live in our body and soul because we are the only ones who experience ourselves from the inside.  We must remember that is the same for every person we interact with in our lives.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

SHORT ANSWER:  I don’t have one favorite.  I have many favorites, depending on what is going on in my life or those around me in their lives.  I also found growing up, that those who constantly quoted “Bible verses” were not doing so to help others but to tell others what they were doing in the lives was wrong.  That still seems to be popular.

DETAILED ANSWER:  I have read English translations of the Torah, and the Talmud [what we Christians refer to as the Old Testament] as well as the New Testament many times over the years.  I can’t say that I have really read “the Bible,” as I do not read and understand Hebrew, Aramaic, and koine Greek, the languages in which it was written.

As a young person, I loved reciting the Nicene Creed.  It stated my beliefs in a nutshell.  I found it more useful than a Bible verse.  It was a reminder of what I believed, what I thought God wanted me to believe.

As I have gotten older, I find that I still prefer prayers to Bible verses.  Thanks to my  experience in Judasim, an actual prayer is said during services which is based upon a Bible Chapter, Deuteronomy Chapter 6.  It is called the V’ahafta.  It reads:

You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.

Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day.

Impress them upon your children.  Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up.

Bind them as a sign upon your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead; inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Thus shall you remember to observe all my mitzvot [commandments] and be holy to your God.

I am Adonai, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to your God: I am Adonai your God.

This prayer reminds me of what God has done for me, and what I need to remember as I live my life.  While Jesus has opened the gates of heaven to us, it is not a “get out of jail” card.  To the best of my knowledge, we only get one life.  We should live it according to the principles set out in this prayer, other prayers, and the Torah, the  Talmud, and the New Testament.

We still have to live our lives doing justice, loving one another, making sure the poor are fed, the sick receive the health care they need, people receive the education they need and/or want, that everyone has an opportunity to live a happy fulfilling life.  God gives us the knowledge and ability to provide all of these, and yet we don’t.

No one person, government, church, temple, mosque, can do all these things.  It takes all of us, making one choice at a time, to make sure these things happen.  If we all would think about and act accordingly, each little decision and act will create a ripple effect that will turn into a tidal wave of change to accomplish this.

Any thoughts you’d like the people her at Grace to know?

SHORT ANSWER:  We need to get over ourselves.  Change is going to happen, whether we want it not.  If we don’t change, the World will, and we most likely will   become irrelevant.  No one person here at Grace, or any other congregation, has all the correct answers, ideas, or way of doing things.   There is no one way to worship and love God.  Everyone is our family.  Let’s just love, help, and enjoy each other.

Finally keep laughing.  When you are laughing endorphins are  released, you feel happy, those laughing around and with you feel happy.  You look around and smile, and suddenly we are all doing something which binds us together, a moment shared forever, whether trivial or not.  We are all humans, all the same, enjoying a moment.  If God didn’t have a sense of humor and laugh, would any of us be here?

Or anything else you would like to say?

SHORT ANWER:  I believe I have said enough.

DETAILED ANSWER:  This is a question you should not ask me.

I would also ask if I could take your picture to go with it.

SHORT ANSWER:  I believe you took my picture on Sunday morning under false pretenses.  I did not know that you were needing it for an article about me.

DETAILED ANSWER:  This will need to include a full analysis of the right to privacy versus the right of publicity that I may falsely believe that I have (I suspect I don’t).  I would have to bill you for this legal analysis.  As such, I will not include in this answer.

Thank you, Dave, for all you do!! And you do keep us laughing!

God most certainly gave you a great sense of humor!



Advent Calendars and Advent Devotionals are available at the back of the sanctuary and chapel for members and visitors to take and enjoy during the Advent Season.  There should be enough for one per family. Devotionals will be mailed out to our shut-ins to enjoy as well.

Advent activities will be highlighted in next week’s announcements. Stay tuned.


Fellowship Time

Thank you to all who help!

November 20 – Grace Peterson and Debbie Downs



Behind the scenes at Grace…….by Gretchen

  1. We thought with all the activity back at church that our animal menagerie would decrease and even disappear, and the chances of adding any members was not going to happen. However, we were wrong. This last Sunday we saw a Blue Jay and Red Headed Woodpecker (this guy was new) battling it out over something they found in the gutter outside the office, and it was a true standoff! Then a smallish brown animal was seen on the other side of the fence by the expressway with a mouthful of grass. It was followed around to the side and it dove into a hole next to an old tree stump – so we can almost add a wood chuck to our list. Hopefully the woodchuck will stay on his side of the fence!
  2. The choir was wonderful on Sunday with Nancy Stepleton directing and Debby Reeb accompanying . It is so great to have them back !
  3. Kim Kondalski gave the Children’s’ Sermon on Sunday, and it was also wonderful and what a great way to incorporate leaves into an awesome sermon.
  4. The place is hopping this week with voting, bake sale, etc.
  5. Please do not forget if something needs attention that is not critical the Green Sheet outside the office be completed and either given to the office or put in the mail slot on the office door.
  6. This upcoming Sunday the youth are having a Pancake Breakfast between services! Come and enjoy some delicious pancakes. It is supposed to be cold so what is better to warm you up than a plate of pancakes! True comfort food! There is a freewill offering that will be used to support their outreach activities. Can you smell those pancakes?
  7. Even though Tent City is over for this year we are still collecting blankets and even hats, mittens and scarves throughout the year. We have given blankets, mittens and hats out during the cold months to those in need who stop by the church. So, this is an ongoing ministry. If you need to have items picked up give Gretchen a call.
  8. Another sign that fall is here is that Connie Thomas has cleaned out all the flower beds and pots. Not sure what she does but they were all gorgeous this year (in spite of the chipmunks digging holes !) and we received many comments about how beautiful they were. Thanks again to Connie for beautifying the church campus.
  9. Remember : Grace is not the building but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission.


Healthy People! Healthy Parish!

Time Change Reminder!

Did you replace the batteries and check that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working? Research has shown that you may only have 3 minutes to safely get out of a burning building, so it is important that your alarms are working correctly. Carbon Monoxide is a “silent killer” and as it gets colder it becomes even more important to check those alarms.



Meditation on Luke 21:5-19

By Vicar Dave

In today’s Gospel, we’re with Jesus during the last days before His crucifixion. Jesus has made it to Jerusalem. He’s had His triumphant entrance on Palm Sunday and now He has come to the temple, Israel’s primary place of worship.

The temple that the disciples are admiring in today’s Gospel is the third temple in Jerusalem. Herod tore down the second temple so that he could build something even more grand. At the opening of the Gospel, it’s not even done yet and the disciples are marveling over it. I’ve always felt that Herod built this temple more to glorify himself than to give glory to God.

Let’s look back at the first temple for a moment. God allowed the Babylonians to destroy this temple because the people of Israel had strayed from their covenant with Him. Now Jesus is predicting that the same type of fate awaits this new temple. Jesus sees right through what Herod is doing. In building this temple, Herod is being what we might call a megalomaniac today. Some folks seem to have this great need to have these larger than life edifices to proclaim their own greatness. Sometimes it can come in the form a statue, or perhaps some kind of monument. It can even be a building. That’s what Herod is doing here.

Obviously, Jesus’ prediction that the temple will be destroyed is not the news that the religious establishment wanted to hear. I’m pretty sure that the common people weren’t too happy about it either. Jesus never shies away from telling it like it is. In this case, He knows that the temple is not about God, and that the people here, like in the day of the exile, had also gotten away from their conventual relationship to God. Then Jesus starts talking about wars and natural disasters. He also talks about his followers being arrested and tried for the crime of being one of His. But as with most troubles, this can be looked at as an opportunity. A chance to declare Jesus’ words of wisdom. Even so, it’s a scary story, to be sure. But Jesus tells us that we shouldn’t be scared, because it’s not the end yet.

So how are we to endure these hard times? It’s not by our own strength that we’ll get by, but rather by trusting that God will take care of us, no matter what the circumstances. This is part of the gift of grace that comes with being a follower of Jesus. No matter what trials we face, no matter what disasters overtake us, we have the power to endure to the very end if we accept God’s gift to us. That gift of unshakeable faith will see us through whatever may come, whenever it happens.


Caroling Event: 18 December

If you enjoy Christmas carols and good fellowship, join us on 18 December for a caroling event!

We are scheduled to carol for the residents of Oak Leaf Village at 2:30 p.m. We plan to meet at church at 2:00 p.m. to carpool to the facility. After we sing there, we will divide into a couple groups and head to carol to some of our homebound members. Following that, we will head back to church for a light meal.

There will be a sign-up sheet on the table in the back of the nave. You can sign up to sing, to drive (if you are willing), and to bring food for dinner. Hot chicken for sandwiches and buns will be provided!

Please sign up by 11 December, so we know how to plan for driving and dinner.



This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

~Psalm 118:24

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