I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
  and glorify your name forevermore. 

~Psalm 86:12



Next week’s service

Ragtime Rick

10:30 a.m.

Followed by potluck breakfast in Brenner Hall


Pastor’s Thoughts:

      Today, 17 July, is the 27th anniversary of my ordination. As I think about this, I am struck by how many holy and precious moments I have been blessed to be a part of: from worship with the people of God, to the joy of baptisms and weddings, to the sorrow and hope of deaths and funerals. I have seen faces light up when something a person heard about the love of God strikes a chord … and I have walked with people who have struggled with faith and with doubt.

One of the greatest blessings of my life has been to be trusted with proclaiming the story of God’s presence in our lives, and helping to make the connection between that great Story and our stories. God’s Story is intertwined with every chapter of ours, and all of our stories are intertwined. How we live into that reality, how we recognize and value the diversity of our stories, and how we share God’s Story and our stories of faith with others is the mission of the Church. I thank God for all the people I have known who use the gifts God has given them to be about this work; from people here at Grace, to the people of the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour on Alexis Road, to the people of Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to the people of Faith and Our Savior Lutheran Churches in Calamus, Iowa, and back to the people of Holy Trinity here in Toledo. All of these people have shaped who I am, both as a pastor and as a child of God .. and I am profoundly grateful.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.

In Christ,

Pastor Brenda



Sunday Fellowship Time

July 23 – Grace Petersen and Debbie Downs


Stewardship at Grace

Bob Haaf

Your offerings at Grace support not only local ministries, but also those that are made possible through the Northwestern Ohio Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Last year:

Lutheran Disaster Response was at work in 26 states and territories and in 46 countries around the world;

ELCA World Hunger awarded 436 grants to partners in 67 countries and in 57 ELCA Synods;

131 long-term ELCA missionaries were at work in 45 different countries;

33 new ELCA congregations were begun in the United States and the Caribbean—70% of which are in ethnically diverse communities;

ELCA Fund for Leaders provided nearly $43.5 million in scholarship assistance to 375 ELCA seminary students.

Thank you.


The Blessing Box is the white box on church property near the exit to Monroe Street. It has been used by various people who are hungry or thirsty as they go by Grace or who make a special trip to the box. The church office has received calls from people thanking Grace for the Blessing Box. Some calls were from people who had the occasion to use it once, other calls were from people who use it when they have no food. This box was and is a true blessing to them. 

Food items needed for the box include cans of pasta (Chef Boyardee or similar), beef stew, or chili with flip tops; canned meat with flip tops or beef sticks; granola bars or any type of snack bar; individually wrapped packs of crackers or snacks.  We have also found that people are taking t-shirts, socks, and caps and thinking ahead to the colder weather, sweatshirts, hats and gloves are needed. Gently used items are gratefully accepted. Two other items that are stocked in the Blessing Box are plastic ware (forks and spoons) and individual packs of Kleenex and these are taken as well. 

If you are able to donate items for the Blessing Box, please put them in the bins that are in the Giving Room across from Room 3. Questions about the Blessing Box can be directed to Mary Schneider. 


Adventures with Jana!

Hello everyone! Today’s post is about my trip to Iowa.

The beginning of the week was pretty relaxed. On Monday we had a meeting where we discussed ideas for VBS adults. This is something new that this congregation is planning to do. It’s kind of similar to VBS for kids, but some games and crafts might be different. We are all looking forward to it and cannot wait to make it happen.

In the evening we went to the fireworks because this was week of 4th July. We brought chairs with us, found a great place to sit and enjoyed the view. It was nice to see so many people together. Weather was okay, we were lucky because it wasn’t raining that evening. Music played in the background so the atmosphere was amazing. Truly a nice experience for me.

After that I packed my suitcase, prepared everything I need and went to pastor Brenda house. There I was greeted by two beautiful, cuddly dogs who immediately wanted to play. I played with them a little bit, while Brenda and her spouse Gail packed all our bags in the car.


We headed to Iowa. It was a long car ride but very interesting. On the way to Iowa we passed through Wisconsin and Illinois and I was able to see and learn more about those states. The landscape was beautiful and reminds me a lot of Vojvodina in Serbia. Lots of nature, forests, corn and wheat fields I saw and that is something that Vojvodina is also known for.  Pretty funny was that traffic jam in Chicago is quite similar to traffic jam in Belgrade so I’m used to crowded streets and sometimes slower traffic, but I had time to observe more things and take pictures of them. One of the best moments was when I saw the Mississippi river. We stopped in the park next to the river and took a break. I made some nice photos.


Gail’s dad lives in Iowa, on a big, beautiful farm, so after we arrived, we went to see him. There were also other family members, so we talked a lot about Serbia, the  people who live there, what we do there. Everyone said something about themselves, it was good. I drove a four-wheeler and I was catching lightning bugs with kids. We also had chance to see other farms in the neighborhood because Gail’s dad took us on a mini tractor ride. He equipped the trailer with soft seats and put a little table too. He did a great job. He showed us pictures of the farm as it looked in the past. It was nice to listen to him how he talks about his life in the past, experiences and life on the farm.

In Iowa, I tried American pancakes and fried pickles. They were delicious. While we were there we visited some amazing places, like Dunning’s Spring Park, Phelps Park, Decorah Fish Hatchery, Backbone State Park etc. We went hiking too. Nature is perfect there and everything is clean, without garbage and it is nicely arranged. I love being out in nature, walking and just admire it. I felt really relaxed and I charged my batteries definitely.



Probably the best part of the vacation was visiting the National Czech and Slovak museum and library. Many Czech people live in the city called Cider Rapids so they build and Czech village there. In the museum you can see and hear how Czechs and Slovaks came to the USA, what they did then, how they lived. Pastor Brenda and Gail learned more words in Slovak. It was interesting for them to learn more about other culture. The exhibitions are nicely arranged and everything is as authentic as is should be. It was nice to see that people appreciate their roots and their traditions. We also went to the restaurant and I had good Czech beer (real refreshment for hot day).


On the way home we passed through Indiana, so I can boast that I visited quite a few states in a short period of time. Almost forgot to mention, I tried corndog too. Lovely lady at the gas station gave it to me for free, when she heard where I was from. It has unusual but okay taste.

Although, this was a short trip, I really enjoyed it. It was entertaining experience for me. I met great people, tried new food, saw beautiful places etc. I will remember this for the rest of my life. We should certainly appreciate what God has given us and not take it for granted.

Thank you for reading my blog and again sorry for the delay. Hope to see you next  time. Have a blessed rest of the week!


Staying cool at Grace requires a lot of cold cash.

Last week’s newsletter announced that we finally got the Air Conditioning running in our Sanctuary. Like an onion one problem was fixed only to reveal a second problem the following Sunday. As the problems were separate this required two different service calls and a lot of labor by the service technicians. Unfortunately these repairs were not cheap. When all was said and done the cost was over $4,500 to fix the A/C which is substantial part of our maintenance budget for the year. Your continued financial contributions are needed to support not only the ministries of Grace but to ensure that we can all worship in comfort. 

Fun Fact – Although the AC was out for two weeks, true to her word, despite wearing all her Pastoral Vestments Pastor Brenda during the services never said a word about it being “too warm” in church.    


Behind the scenes at Grace…..

  1. What a wild week with VBS – although our number of kids was small it was a great time, and the kids got a lot of TLC. Thanks to all the teachers and support staff
  2. They are here!! The Security Cameras are being installed this week. We will receive training on them and then we will have them up and running.
  3. The smoky haze is bad for our health, but it does provide beautiful sunrises and sunsets!
  4. Please remember our dumpsters cannot handle cardboard. Please take to recycler.
  5. Heads up – refrigerator and freezer checks coming next week – no labels , expired or smells or looks yucky -all will hit the garbage.
  6. Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace carrying out God’s mission.


Meditation on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.

By Vicar Dave

Have you ever told someone a joke that they just didn’t get? Then you explain it to them and they’re like “Oh, okay, now I get it”. That’s not exactly the reaction you were hoping for, was it? It can be somewhat of a let down when they say “that’s very funny”. I imagine Jesus felt a bit of that exasperation when He has to explain His parables to His disciples all the time, although His parables are hardly jokes. They were stories about how we should live our lives and that attempted to describe the indescribable. The kingdom of heaven.

Todays Gospel, like last week, involves a parable about agriculture, something most people of Jesus’ time had at least some familiarity with. Both parables talk about the planting of seed as an allegory for the word of God and the resultant plants as the people of God. This week, a farmer carefully plants all of his seeds in his field in the hopes of a good harvest, but someone comes along and sabotages everything by planting weeds in with the wheat. Rather than risking harm coming to the wheat by pulling up the weeds, the farmer decides that he’ll sort the whole thing out at harvest. A risky proposition to be sure because if the weeds get into the flour produced from the wheat, they will spoil the flour.

Looking back at this story with modern eyes, it seems kinda obvious to us what Jesus is talking about. The wheat seeds being the word of God and the weed seeds being that of the devil. The wheat plants being the people of God and the weeds being the evil that exists in this world and threatens to despoil the people. But we have the benefit of more than two thousand years of this story being told and retold and then interpreted for us. The people of Jesus’ time, including the disciples, were hearing it for the first time.

The farmer in the parable seems to believe that the weeds themselves won’t threaten the wheat–the two are capable of growing together. The weeds do not threaten the wheat but instead the threat comes from how we react to the weeds. The danger is not being in the presence of sin but trying to root out all the sin we see. But that means that the real challenge presented to the church by Matthew 13 is finding the strength to resist the temptation to take matters into our own hands and start yanking up every sinful thing we see every time we see it and throwing it away. That’s tantamount to us, as the church, meeting out judgement and punishment, when the church should be about helping the sinner to see the errors of his ways and helping him or her to repent. It’s not our job to judge and punish someone else. That’s a matter for God to handle in His own good time. It can be really hard to give up on controlling things that way and it probably sounds counterintuitive for someone like me, who’s in law enforcement. But I’m talking about the church, and not the civil authorities. As the servants don’t fully understand the farmer’s thoughts about the weeds, we don’t know God’s thoughts regarding the sinners amongst us. To me, this is another example of how we should let go, and let God.


If you want to be the best at something ,be the best in love.

(Regina Brett)

Alone we can do so little . Together we can do so much.

(Helen Keller)


Healthy People! Healthy Parish!

It’s time! Pencils, notebooks, backpacks and all that kind of stuff has appeared already in the stores. SO, we all know what is just around the bend! FALL and then school. Sorry folks but it is looming on the horizon.

And something else is looming!



THE FLU !!!!! 

The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention ) has just issued their adopted guidelines for the 2023-2024 season . I know everyone is jumping for joy and yelling yahoo ?

The recommended timing for receiving the flu vaccination is still September and October . The CDC has recommended annual vaccination for everyone 6 months and older since 2010!

The best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications  is by getting the yearly flu vaccine. Even when the flu vaccine does not prevent illness ,it has been shown in research studies to reduce how severe the symptoms are in people who get vaccinated but get sick .

If you have had a reaction to the vaccine or have an egg allergy, please talk with your doctor about.

SO, SHU THE FLU AND GET YOUR reminder on the calendar to get your VACCINE !!!



This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

~Psalm 118:24