God alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold, so that I shall never be shaken
Next Sunday, January 28, one service only at 10:30 followed by a Congregational meeting which will then be followed by a potluck in Brenner Hall.
As I write this, I have just come into the church from the cold. We are in the midst of some brutal temperatures, and Winter is reminding us of its power!
I notice that the cold clings to me, even after I have been inside for a few minutes. My coat remains cold, and I can smell the coldness on my clothes and skin. It just takes this kind of cold a while to dissipate.
It occurs to me that many things can cling to us in this way. Grief can cling to us like the cold. Grudges can cling. Emotions such as pain and anger can cling to our very selves—our bodies and our spirits. Just like the cold, these things can linger, and their effects may take more than a little while to dissipate … or they may just hang on.
Some things are just that powerful. They affect us in ways we could not have imagined, and they affect every fiber of our beings. Grief hurts. Anger eats at us. Sadness can settle into our bones.
But even in the midst of these things, the cross of Jesus—marked on us at our Baptisms—also clings to us. Even as we face all of the tough things that life can and does confront us with, we do so knowing that our God is fully present with us always and in every circumstance …. and that there is a way forward.
What clings to you? Remember that you are a beloved child of God, and may the joy of the promises of God in Christ cling to you always, even in the midst of all that life can bring.
The Readings for Sunday January 21, 2024
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
There was a great turnout for the Martin Luther King, Jr. day service at Glenwood Lutheran on 14 January despite the cold temperature. Members of Grace attended, Dave O’Brien sang in a joint choir, and Pastor Brenda served on the planning committee and as a worship leader.
The livestream is available to watch on Grace’s Facebook page.
Please join us – Sunday Fellowship Time
In Fellowship Hall
January 21 – Deb Damschroder and Linda Currie
The Congregational Meeting will be held on Sunday, 28 January. There will be one worship service that day, at 10:30 a.m. The meeting will follow immediately after in the “big church.” The meeting will be followed by a potluck. Please mark your calendars now to join us for this important meeting.
Meditation on Mark 1:14-20
By Vicar Dave
God tends to do things in his own time. Our Gospel today tells us that Jesus didn’t start His public ministry until after John was arrested. Why would He wait until then to start? One of the first answers that comes to mind is that it was always God’s plan that Jesus begins then. But why? As we’ve seen in other parts of the Gospel, observing the laws and customs of the Jewish people was important to Jesus and His family. His parents took Him to the temple for His dedication to the Lord, as required by the law. He went to John to be baptized “to fulfill all righteousness”.
According to the Jewish custom at the time, rabbis were not regarded as mature enough to begin their public ministry until age 30. So, perhaps, in order to comply with Jewish custom and the laws of Moses, Jesus’ ministry didn’t begin until He had reached the age of 30, which occurred about the same time that John the Baptist was arrested. So, that’s kind of the simple answer. It was about law and custom. But that’s not the only possible answer.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes, God seems to place the right people at just the right place to do His work? That was the case with John. I also think it was the case with Pharaoh’s daughter when she found Moses in the Nile. I like to think that it’s been the case with me as well, as I continue to study in preparation of becoming a minister of Word and Service.
In my mind, it was always God’s plan that Jesus was to begin His ministry at the precise time that He did. John’s ministry needed to end because his job as a herald of the Messiah was complete. It was time for him to exit the stage.
Prayer Breakfast 17 February:
Mark your calendar to join me at church on Saturday, 17 February 2024, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. for an opportunity to learn about the idea of rest and for some conversation about how to practice it.
Please sign up on the sheet in the back of the “big church” by 4 February. If we do not have at least six people, we will re-schedule for another time. Please bring something to share for a light breakfast—fruit, muffins, etc. Juice and coffee will be provided. Bring a friend, and start the New Year off by learning about how resting on God’s presence can be a part of every single day in more ways than you can imagine!
Our humor and disposition are not so much the reflection of the weather or the wrong side of the bed, as they are reflections of the state of our soul.
Pride is the child of ignorance, humility the offspring of knowledge.
What happens to us is not as important, but rather how we react to what happens.
A man without God is not like a cake without raisins; he is like a cake without the flour and milk; he lacks the essential ingredients.
There are three rules of dealing with all those who come to us:
(Connie’s word on her star was – you guessed it! KINDNESS.)
From: The Wisdom of Fulton Sheen
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall….but winter wasn’t much to speak of.
What do you call Batman after he’s been flattened by a steamroller? Flatman
How does an elephant get down a chimney? It offers to be one of Santa’s helpers and hides in the toy sack.
What did the elephants wear to the swimming pool? Trunks!
What happened when the pig pen broke? The pig had to start using a pencil.
What did the farmer say when he found a hole in one of his pumpkins? I think I will need a pumpkin patch.
What did the fish boat captain say to the card magician? Pick a cod, any cod.
~From Super Clean Jokes for Kids
Financial Focus – 2023 Current Fund Revenues and Expenses
Grace’s Current Fund revenues and expenses are shown below. The Current fund reflects the daily operations of Grace. For 2023 I am pleased to say we ended the year with a surplus $17,546 which is among the largest I have seen in the past 20 plus years. Never the less, the final tally does not reflect the entire year.
While Grace’s final results reflect a good year financially, the truth is we struggled financially for most of the year. Thanks be to God and the generous giving of those who responded to the deficit reduction campaign we averted a year end deficit and the prospects of some painful program cuts moving forward.
Our challenge for 2024 is for everyone to give generously throughout the year on a weekly or monthly basis so that we can adequately manage our expenses and Grace’s ability tend to the spiritual and physical needs of our neighbors.
More information will be coming in the following weeks. Please attend the January 28th Congregational Meeting at which time our financial plan for 2024 will be presented to the congregation for approval.
Note 1 – Miscellaneous Income includes $29,000+ Deficit Reduction Giving and match
If you have a regularly scheduled meeting here at Grace, the calendar needs to be updated at the beginning of each year. Please turn in your schedule to be put on the official calendar to avoid conflicts.
Behind the scenes at Grace …..by Gretchen
- Brrr -everything outside is frozen! Our family menagerie is sitting outside the office door looking for their peanuts. We are surprised they have not learned how to knock on the glass!
- The moths are gone. We have had an ongoing flutter of little brown moths over the last couple of weeks. First we thought they came from the peanut stash, but we were not so sure. We found the source and so far, they are gone fingers crossed.
- We had a small hiccup with the convection oven not heating up as quick as possible so that was remedied but when the repairman came, he found a bunch of aluminum foil stuck along the edge. Foil can be used but it needs to be tightly secured around the pan and if looks like in flight it needs to be secured again.
- Remember if something needs attention like burned out light bulb or an empty soap dispenser to fill out the form by the office and give to office or put in mail slot on door so Mike can address.
- On the Community Board next to the big church is the Altar Flower Calendar for 2024 – there are openings!
- We cleaned out the Lost and Found box a couple of weeks ago. We have already added some new items. So, if you are missing your coffee mug check out the box in the coatroom across from the office.
- Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission!
Healthy People! Healthy Parish!
First of the Year!!!!
We had the first of the year Blood Drive last Thursday. 19 units of blood were donated! Each unit can help as many as 57 people ! And we so appreciate those people who donated!!
If you have seen the news there is a dire shortage of blood. Since Covid there has been a decrease in the number of people who can donate and people who just are not donating for whatever reason.
Many of us don’t think about receiving blood and having it available till it impacts us or our family.
Our next Blood Drive is Thursday April 18th 1-6 pm. Please consider donating! The appointment times are already on the Red Cross website.
You can donate if you are 17 years or older and weigh at least 110 pounds. In Ohio you may donate if you are 16 ,weigh at least 110 pounds and have the parent consent form completed.
If you would like to donate now at the Red Cross or another Blood Drive and would still like to donate at Grace, you need to have 56 days between donations. You can donate as many as 6 units a year.
If you need help scheduling or have questions, contact Gretchen 419.944.5166.
Cold, Colder and Coldest (and this is not Hide and Seek)!!
Although we could say we are hiding in our homes!
Just a reminder!
- Cover all exposed body parts when out.
– Mittens cover more than gloves!
– Wear a hat that covers the ears – yes it may mess up your hair, but it is a great excuse for a “bad hair day” and the ears are one of the body parts that are easily frostbitten!
– Cover your neck with a scarf!
– Wear layers
– If you get wet – take off wet clothes as soon as possible.
– Wear warm socks.
- Stay inside – limit outside exposure to the cold.
- Keep your gas tank full!
- Is your windshield wiper fluid the kind that also contains antifreeze or a substance that does not freeze.
- Have blankets and maybe even an extra jacket in the car.
- If you are traveling do you have water and snacks in case you are stuck.
- Do you have a working flashlight in the car – cell phones can run out.
- How about a snow shovel and sand or kitty litter?
Frost bite can happen in as little as 15 minutes when the wind-chill is 15 or below!
What are the signs of frostbite: numb, prickly, cold, blueish – white or grayish -white, and as it gets worse skin can look pale or waxy.
What should you do: Get out of the cold, remove any wet clothing, GENTLY REWARM – warm water not hot and DON’T RUB the area!
Seek medical attention if symptoms do not improve!
Hugs! Hugs! Hugs!
Sunday January 21 is National Hug Day! Yes, there really is a day of hugs!
It started back in 1986 when Kevin Zaborney in the United States felt that people were experiencing the post-holiday blues (and if you live in Toledo, we could add all of our cloudy days) and that we recognize a day to spread warmth and happiness!
There is really some scientific background for hugging, too. During a hug a hormone called oxytocin is released by the pituitary gland which lowers the heart rate and another hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is elevated with stress, can increase blood pressure and can be associated with heart disease.
The power of a hug on your health!
- You sleep better. A hug from someone before you go to bed can result in a decrease in cortisol the stress hormone. Oxytocin can have calming effects.
- Increases pleasure and well – being.
- It may help your heart by lowering your blood pressure.
- Better team performance – a study looked at the National Basketball Association (NBA) showed that teams who hugged performed better than teams with lower touch rates because the hugs and touching proved to the players that they could trust each other!
What’s a Good Hug?
Any hug is better than no hug but a 5 second and 10 second hug was linked with higher pleasure than a one second hug!
So, what if you are not a hugger – Go ahead and hug yourself – it sounds silly but wrapping your arms around yourself can have the same effects.
Another thing to do if you’re not a hugger pet an animal – a cat ,a dog – something with fur has been found to help release oxytocin.
**Always make sure that the person you want to hug is ok with it!
SO, for you huggers – Sunday is a day to celebrate!! Hug Away!
SOS! Help Wanted!
Are you a person who enjoys helping others, smiles a lot, knows how to open a juice container in less than 3 minutes, can make coffee if needed, knows the anatomy of Brenner Hall and where the bathrooms are and can walk with people 10-15 feet to a chair?
Gretchen is in need of a couple of people who meet the above job description and would be willing to train in juice box opening if needed to help with the 3 Blood Drives a year. The next drive is in April on the 18th and is from 1-6. All of the shift or a partial shift would be welcome. Gretchen will be there too, but a second person is great, and the donors appreciate all the attention!
If you are interested in helping or have questions, please let Gretchen know 419-944-5166!
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!