I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Longtime Grace members Janet & Joe Keifer are celebrating their 62nd wedding anniversary today, June 6th.
Congratulations from your loving family and your Grace family!!
Now that we are starting to be open for more and more in person meetings here at Grace, we will need to know so that your meetings can be put on the church calendar to avoid conflicts. It also lets us know who is in the building and when, for safety reasons. Regular meetings from pre-Covid are no longer on the calendar. Please call or email the office or Rick Sharp.
Submitted by Grace Peterson
I’ve been looking forward to having the hummingbirds come back from their winter home. Periodically, I’ll go to the website, journey north.org, to find out how far they’ve come. According to one sighting on there, at least one bird has reached northern Ohio!
Now it’s time to mix the sugar syrup to put in the hummingbird feeder. The ants love that sweet sap too, so I have a baffle filled with water just above the feeder. Theoretically, that is supposed to keep ants from clogging up the feeding spouts on the feeder, as long as the water doesn’t run dry.
The House finches have returned. Mr. and Mrs. Finch always come together, and they like the black oil sunflower seeds. The male finch has a rosy red head and chest, but Mrs. Finch looks a little like a sparrow with a brownish coat. The difference is that she has a white stripe on her wing that the sparrows do not have.
I have a long barrow cylinder for feeding finches. After putting small seeds in that, the Goldfinches have returned! There seem to be more males than females. Now Ms. Finch has to decide. She has a rather pale, drab coat, somewhat greenish-yellow in color. The male goldfinches are a beautiful yellow color, with black wing tips and little black caps on their heads.
If you have been vaccinated,
masks are now optional
here at Grace.
What Got Left Out of the Sermon – an occasional piece
Don’t say you weren’t warned! Pr. Howard cautioned us on Sunday, May 30, that there was too much substance in the texts for the day to treat at once, and that more would be coming in the Newsletter. If you’ve had enough already, of course, you can skip this. God is kind.
Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” -John 3.5-8
This is a piece of the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus read last Sunday morning. In it, Jesus says that you can figure out people’s birth identity by the way they live. People living in anxious self-concern, fearful, angry, physically and verbally and emotionally violent, are born of the flesh. People living in joyful gratitude to God, delighting in others, loving toward those who harm them, eager to serve those who are suffering, are born of the spirit.
Happily, being born of the flesh is not a life sentence with no possibility of parole. It doesn’t have to be permanent. From our baptismal liturgy: “We are born children of a fallen humanity; by water and the Holy Spirit we are reborn children of God …”
Of all the characteristics Jesus could mention to identify those who are born of the Spirit, he only names two: you can’t explain where they’re coming from, and you can’t predict where they’re going.
In the book our Congregation Council has been reading together, the otherwise very fine book, A Field Guide for the Missional Congregation, one of the two authors (I’m pretty sure they alternated chapters.) apparently doesn’t like having to search for different ways to describe good leaders. Wise, in particular circumstances? Thoughtful, in others? Perceptive? Knowledgeable? Gentle? Patient? Courageous? Organized? Playful? He just repeats one description: “healthy, Spirit-led.” In Chapter 6, he discusses “the building of a healthy, Spirit-led team of elected lay leaders.” “…healthy, Spirit-led leaders … are able to help create and sustain a healthy ministry climate.” “Healthy, Spirit-ked leadership helps to create a permission-giving climate …” “… healthy, Spirit-led leadership is able to be responsive …” “Healthy, Spirit-led leaders are self-aware …” “Healthy, Spirit-led leaders practice the art of self-differentiation.” “… healthy, Spirit-led leadership is able to respond calmly …” “Healthy, Spirit-led leaders try to …” “Healthy, Spirit-led leaders are aware of …” Do you feel like screaming yet?
He seems to me to be saying, “We know what people are like when they’re led by the Spirit.”
Jesus says, “No, you don’t.”
I think that may be one reason we’re a little nervous about the Holy Spirit’s breaking into the church. We can’t predict how people filled with the Spirit, reborn of the Spirit, are gong to speak and act. They are very, very difficult for us to control.
What do you think?
Summer Worship at Grace
Worship continues throughout the summer at Grace! And we have two special worship opportunities planned for the summer. On July 18, Grace will have an Outdoor Unity Service at 10:30 a.m. with our Praise Team and with a lunch to follow. And then on August 1, Ragtime Rick and friends will play at 9:30 a.m. with a breakfast to follow. There will be more to come on these two special events.
Lastly, during the month of August our Praise Team will take a much deserved break. The 11:30 service will resume in September.
If you would have any questions or comments regarding worship at Grace, please contact a member of the Worship and Music Committee. Committee members are Pastor Abts, Fritz Gooch, Bob Haaf, Peter Kramp, Cindy Matthews, Dave Petitjean, Debby Reeb, Mary Schneider, and Cindy Wood.
See you at church this summer!
Behind the scenes at Grace….
- The Geraniums have moved out of the Sanctuary! Thanks to Connie Thomas they now grace the flower bed in the front and office area of the church!
- The pouring rain is really making the yard and the trees look very green! Hopefully, this will relieve some of the stress from the dryness. The Robins are out canvassing the yard for a tasty meal.
- Building new connections?? Vacation Bible School is coming, and we will be building and constructing! Kids, grandkids and neighbors are invited! Watch for more information in the newsletter.
- Oh my – the rain on Friday has caused small swimming pools in the parking lot. The baby bunny and squirrels are drenched but are out eating and don’t seem any worse for the wear.
- Thursday night our first group of trainees met to learn about live streaming our services! We heard good things about how great the picture looks and the ease in learning how to do!!!
- Can you smile? Do you automatically say hello to everyone on Sunday? Do you know everyone at Grace (although I think Barb Charvat holds the record for this!)? How about challenging Barb’s record? Ushering is a great way to show visitors and members we truly are a welcoming place!
- Let Mary Schneider know if you are willing to help with ushering. On the job training provided!
- Food is still a great need in our community! We had a case of Baby Formula that was given to us. Sylvania Family Services provides baby food to their clients, so it was taken out to them. Kids will be getting out of school soon and the home need for food will increase again. So, if you can when shopping remembers some extra food.
- We were also blessed by a large drop off of items from Olivet for Personal Needs!
- Don’t forget the Grace Get Together – Monday June 7th form 11:00-12:00.
Remember: Grace is not the building but the people!!
For This I am Grateful: When I lose my grip on life, God doesn’t lose his grip on me!
Why not go out on a limb? That is where the fruit is (Mark Twain )
All things are possible to him who believes (Mark9:23)
Effective June 2, we are unleashing and unmasking! With the continued decrease in cases and increased number of people vaccinated we will be “unleashing “the pews in the Sanctuary and Chapel.
If you have been fully vaccinated (received all required vaccines) you do not need to wear a mask inside or outside on the church campus. If you have not been vaccinated and /or feel more comfortable wearing a mask, please continue to wear.
We will continue to watch the statistics and pray that the number of cases continues to decrease and that everyone has been vaccinated. Please be aware that should we go in the opposite direction we may have to return to physical distancing and masking.
Thanks to all who have so graciously followed the guidelines!!
What do Lightning and June have in common?
June is National Lightning Month!
The first official day of summer is June 20th but thunderstorms do not wait for that date. Thunderstorms can form quickly, and lightning can be deadly.
Lightning enters by 3 different ways: direct strike, through wires or plumbing that extend outside a structure and through the ground.
Lightning makes every single thunderstorm a potential killer, whether the storm produces one single bolt or ten thousand bolts!
Most people are not struck during the worst part of the storm but before or after it reaches its greatest intensity. Why? Lightning can strike as far as 25 miles from its parent thunderstorm, much farther out then then rain! WOW!
If you can hear thunder, YOU ARE WITHIN STRIKING DISTANCE!!!! Find safe shelter immediately (Trees do not work as a shelter as lightning frequently strikes trees).
Remember WHEN THUNDER ROARS, GO INDOORS!
Stay there for 30 minutes after the last clap or rumble.
Do not wait for the rain to start and do not leave the shelter just because the rain has ended!
Other Lightning Safety:
- Do not use landline or corded phones – cell or cordless phones are OK
- Don’t touch electrical equipment like computers, TV’s or cords. Remote controls are OK
- Avoid plumbing. On this rare occasion do not wash your hands – wait for storm to pass. Do not take shower, bath, wash dishes, do laundry.
- Stay away from exterior windows and doors that might be metal or have metal parts.
- Stay off balconies, porches, out of open garage doors and carports.
- Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls as they may have metal bars/fence used for support that can act as conductors
- Protect you pets! Dog houses are not safe shelters! Dogs that are chained to trees or are on metal runners are particularly vulnerable to being struck!
- Protect your property: Lightning generates electric surges that can damage electronic equipment some distance from the actual strike. Surge protectors are a great investment. Do not try to unplug equipment during the storm as if there is a strike close it may travel through the cord.
Lightning Safety at Grace:
- Go inside with first sound of thunder and stay inside till 30 minutes after the last rumble or clap.
- Do not touch metal outside door frames or metal windows. Do not hang out under the overhang by the office or Fellowship Hall – come indoors!
- Do not wash dishes, wash your hands (please – do after storm is over)
- Do not work on computer or use landline phones.
- Do not touch light switches or anything that has an electrical connection like the organ.
If possible, follow “weather channel” on a cell phone for updates in case there is a change to severe weather alerts.
BE PREPARED as a thunderstorm can quickly become severe and even result in a tornado!
Watch for Severe Weather Protocol again in the Newsletter!
June 8 is also National Best Friend Day!
In this past year our family and our friends have become even more important to us. We have connected in many different ways – some that we never thought we would use – who thought we would have drive by Birthday Parties!
Friends are important in many ways including a sounding board for ideas, putting up with us on our low, even crabby days as well times of great events, eat things with us that we aren’t supposed to have, offer a tissue and great shoulder to cry on, for guys a person to talk with or perhaps have a spirit drink with – they understand us, provide support and do their best not to judge what ever crazy ideas we have.
On this day and all days give thanks to God for friends and truly relish their friendship.
CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM DAY on June 7.
Yahoo for all chocolate lovers!!!! If you are going to enjoy, make it dark chocolate and not the whole quart – please! A little chocolate or hot fudge topping would also make it really good!
You are correct if you say Blood! The Interfaith Blood Drive is on for Saturday June 26 from 8:30 – 2:30 and Sunday June 27 from 8:30 – 2:00. Blood is always, and even more so now, a need. It is a great way to give back to the Community and each unit of blood can benefit as many as 3 people. You may sign up on the Red Cross website for a time – there are quite a few times available. If you have any questions, contact Gretchen Hiatt 419-944-5166.
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!