Give thanks to the Lord, for the Lord is good,
                                           for God’s mercy endures forever.

~Psalm 107:1


Pastor’s Thoughts:

Walk into a coffee shop, and you are likely to hear people asking for such things as a “Double shot, half caf, skinny, grande mocha latte with whipped cream—and a dash of cinnamon.”

Take a look at someone’s phone, and you will see customized music playlists (mine included).

Look at someone’s computer screen and you may see a picture of their family, their pet, or their latest vacation displayed as a screen saver.

Listen as you walk through just about any public place, and sooner or later, you will hear a cell phone ring—and you just may be treated to someone’s “extra special” ringtone, everything from the Ohio State fight song to the Hallelujah Chorus (Really—I heard this not long ago).

I recently read about two men who are creating a website business that they hope will enable people to “design and purchase any product they could possibly want.” I am not exactly sure what that means, but wow!

By now you may be wondering: Where is this all coming from and where is it going? Well, all of the latest news about recent studies concerning people’s thoughts on    being “spiritual versus religious” and the reports on the decline of mainline denominations have caused me to think about our world and the Church’s place in it as well as in peoples’ lives.

As I thought about these things, it occurred to me that everything is so customizable these days. Is it any wonder that people want and perhaps even expect faith to be the same? Why should I not expect to build my own faith/religion/spirituality to suit my  individual tastes? Why should I have to listen to the tenets of any particular organized religion or the particular theology of a given denomination, which just wants to tell me what I should do without taking into account every unique facet of who I am? What shouldn’t I take what I like from Christianity, from Hinduism, from Buddhism, from   Judaism, and from the New Age movement and make something for myself that feels good to me? And why can’t I practice this spirituality I have made all by myself?

A person could try this, I guess, but to do so would be to something valuable that the Church has to offer, beyond doctrine and theology. It would be to lose community and commonality, which can help us to understand the things of faith (of religion) and can support us through all of life. Being a part of a community of faith can help us try to make sense out of our lives in the context of God’s Good News. A religious community can inspire, nurture, and sustain a person’s spirituality.

Spirituality and religion are not mutually exclusive. Spirituality should not merely be equated with the individual and religion with the corporate. We can and should have a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, which will in part be shaped by the traits, likes, and dislikes that make each of unique. However, in order to know what this relationship means for our relationship with the rest of the world, we must be a part of a community of believers—people like us who struggle with the same things we do, who seek to understand God’s Word and promises as we do, and who can support, correct, and encourage us along the way. Martin Luther called this “mutual conversation and consolation,” and believed that it is a vital expression of grace within the Church.

What can the Church do? We cannot wring our hands and cry “All is lost!” We can remind people that we value their individuality, as the diversity of God’s people gives a wonderful texture to the world and to the Church. We can help people see that there is a rich tradition of spirituality within Christianity. This is something that the Church has not been particularly good at or intentional about, and that is a shame. There are many wonderful spiritual practices that can enhance both our personal and corporate relationship with God, and we must do more to bring them to the foreground.

We must also, however, be careful to claim the ideas and beliefs which make us unique as Christians (and as Lutherans), staying true to the foundational principles which make us who we are. We must find ways to do both: To access the spiritual practices which will help people draw closer to God in personal ways, while at the same time seeking ways to help show what a treasure the things we as Christians confess to be true are.  We must find ways to stress that while we are not the “one size fits all” group we are often accused of being, we are a group of people who cling to some very specific and very wonderful promises, which are ultimately more freeing than they are constricting.

No religion, no denomination, and no congregation should be expected to cater to all of the particular tastes of all people, nor should they try to do so. The Church and congregations face a great challenge, to be sure, but there is really nothing new about that. The Church has always faced a struggle when it tries to find its voice in the midst of all the other voices of the culture that clamor for people’s attention. But with God’s grace and guidance, we will find the way to be the beacon of light we are called to be, while remaining faithful to the teachings of the Light of the World.

In Christ,

Pastor Brenda


Keep Good Friday, March 29, open if you are interested in the Toledo Art Museum experience. More to follow next week……………………..


Anniversary Committee:

Grace Lutheran Church will celebrate our125th Anniversary on Sunday, 7 September 2025. We still need people to be a part of our 125th Anniversary  Committee. This will be a general committee that will do some beginning planning. Other sub committees will then we formed. Please speak to Mary Schneider or Pastor Brenda if you would like to be a part of this.




Please join us – Sunday Fellowship Time

In Fellowship Hall

March 10 Gretchen Hiatt and Nancy Lockard 

March 17th – Brenda Holderman and Gail Livingood

Photo by Bob

Operation Christmas Child 2024 Collection

Month of March

Please help us with this SO VERY worthwhile effort

by donating bars of soap (Ivory is preferred) during the month of March.

Your donated items can be placed in the container marked Operation Christmas Child in the Grace Giving Room. 

Thank you to all for your continued support for this world-wide evangelistic ministry.

Grace Lutheran Operation Christmas Child Ministry

Coming Soon!!!! Starting Tuesday April 2, 2024


Join us on Tuesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. for coffee and conversation.

Just a time to get together and enjoy each other’s company.

10:30 a.m. in Fellowship Hall

Coffee provided


Police were called to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.                                                                

To the guy who invented zero: Thanks for nothing!   

I’m taking part in a stair climbing competition. Guess I better step up my game.                                                                      

Did you know tall people sleep longer in bed?                                                                                       

Did you hear the joke about the peanut butter?  I’m not telling you.  You might spread it.                                                                

Cleaning mirrors is a job I could really see myself doing.                                                                     

Need an ark?  I Noah guy.                                                                

~~ from Pun Intended 

Truth suffers, but never dies.

~St. Teresa of Avila   

Gravity explains the motions of the planets,

but it cannot explain who sets

the planets in motion. 

~Sir Isaac Newton      

Meditation for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

By Vicar Dave

What’s in the news? I sometimes like to search the internet for “good news”. It’s not hard to find some examples of people doing amazing things from time to time. It’s even easier to find examples of tragedy and some terrible things happening. Both here in Toledo or anywhere in the world.

When we see the “good news”, it’s easy to see God at work in it. Things like the dog that was rescued from the ice, which I wrote about recently. But what about the “bad news”? Can we find God working or residing in some of the things we hear about that are unpleasant? We’ve all heard about the various wars raging across the world and the thousands of people being killed in them each day. I’m certainly not going to propose that people dying that way is good news. But I do believe that God is with those people, helping them and walking with them as they make their last journey. I also believe that God is with the family who yearns for their son or daughter, father or mother, brother, or sister to be returned to them unharmed. Even or maybe especially when that doesn’t happen.

It’s also hard to see God working during things like the recent pandemic that we all suffered through. I’m certain God was with each and everyone of us as we worried about who might be next. The randomness of it was particularly difficult for some of us. But that may have been the perfect time to turn to God with our fears and our insecurities, give them over to Him and trust His love for all of us.

As we journey through Lent, let’s look for God in the unlikely places. He may be hard to see, but we’ll find Him if we look with our hearts.



We will again be holding a bake sale on Election Day March 19th. We are looking to all bakers for donations of baked goods, fruit, fudge etc. The money goes to help us with our ongoing fundraisers to purchase the Christ In Our Homes magazine and various other outreach projects.  Donations can be brought to church to the Brenner Hall kitchen on March 17th or the morning of March 18th marked for the Bake Sale. The sale will be held on March 19th from the beginning of Elections until closing or until we run out of items. Thank you so much for your continued support of our efforts.

JoAnne Vernon


Behind the scenes at Grace ….by Gretchen

  1. Spring is springing – the one lonesome hyacinth has poked its top up next to the office!!
  2. We heard the sound of buzz saws last week as PenLine was up and trimming the fir trees on the west side of the church. This was needed to keep the branches out of the electrical wires. They are a little bald on one side though!
  3. David O’Brien gave a great Kid’s Sermon and prayer on Sunday, and we are sure the kids are not going to forget this one! Ask one of the kids!
  4. We are getting close to having more room for Rummage Sale treasure’s! After the voting machine have been moved out of the storage room next to Brenner Hall more can be brought in!
  5. Remember: Grace is not the building but the people carrying out God’s mission!


The Readings for Sunday March 10, 2024

Numbers 21:4-9

Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22

Ephesians 2:1-10

John 3:14-21

Healthy People! Healthy Parish!

New CDC Guidelines for Covid!

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) issued new guidelines for isolation this last week. The need to isolate for 10 days is no longer in effect. If you test positive for Covid they are recommending that you stay home if you have temperature and have illness symptoms as before but can go out when you have not had a temperature for 24 hours without taking any medications that reduce fever and have no other symptoms. They do suggest wearing a mask for 5 days after being fever and other symptom free and distancing.


March is Poison Control Month!

Medications, if taken inappropriately can be a poison!

Some tips for taking medications safely!

  1. Taking too much medication. Overdoses are the number 1 cause of medication deaths and the most common medication error.
  2. Confusing one medication with another. Prescription medications frequently have names that are easy to mix up. Zantac for heartburn and Zyrtec for allergies for example. Read the bottles closely and store apart.
  3. Medication interactions. Make sure your medication list is up to date and make sure that all your doctors have a copy so that they all  know what you are taking.
  4. Food and drug interactions. Check the drug information sheet and the bottle for information. For example, anticoagulants like Coumadin will not be effective when a person eats foods high in Vitamin K.
  5. Mixing alcohol with medications.
  6. Taking a brand name drug and a generic version of the same drug. Check the labels!
  7. Taking prescription medications over the counter (OTC) or alternative medications (like CBD) without knowing how they interact.
  8. Taking expired medications. Some medications can lose their strength while others may become stronger.
  9. Storing medications in a cool, dry place and not on a window ledge. Keeping medications where sunlight hits them can weaken their strength.


Order your Easter Flowers!

This Sunday, March 10 is the deadline to order your Easter flowers. They are $12 each for Daffodils, Tulips or Lilies. Forms can be found at the back of the Nave or in the lobby.



More on Medications! 

Over the Counter! (No this is not what fell off the kitchen counter!)

Over the Counter or sometimes abbreviated as O.T.C. are medications that can be obtained without a prescription. They can be bought pretty much anywhere. These include aspirin and other pain relivers, antacids, laxatives, allergy and cold medicines .

Many of the OTC medications treat multiple symptoms. Antihistamines, an active  ingredient in many OTC medications, is used to treat allergy and cold symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy watery eyes.

It is important to read the “Drug Fact” label on the bottle to make sure you are taking the correct one for the symptoms. If you are not sure ask the pharmacist. Most of these medications are meant to treat minor symptoms and if the symptoms don’t  improve it is time to call your doctor.

Another important part of taking an OTC medication is to measure it correctly. Many liquids come with a plastic measuring cup – make sure to use it. A spoon comes in many sizes and shapes which means they hold different amounts of liquids.

OTC medications that you take on a regular basis like antihistamines, laxatives,  antacids, etc. need to be on your list of medications that you take. Make sure your doctor knows what OTC medications are taking.

****This is important for 2 reasons:

  1. Some OTC medications may interact with prescription medications making them not as effective or having a serious reaction.
  2. Your doctor needs to know that you may be having some medical issues that are important to investigate into.

Multivitamins, herbs and other dietary supplements!

They come in similar packaging, and many are shaped like pills, they are not considered OTC. The Food and Drug Administration categorizes these products as food, so they do not have to follow the same strict rules. Mixing these products with prescription medications can be dangerous, so check with your doctor to see if they are OK to take them.


Talent and Treats: Friday, 12 April at 7:00 p.m.

What is your hidden talent? Can you sing? Juggle? Tell jokes? Play the guitar? Here is your chance to show them off! On Friday, 12 April, we will gather for Talent and Treats, which is a fundraiser for the youth and their trip to the ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans this summer. Admission is $10 and will include desserts and the show!

There will be a sign-up sheet in the back of the nave (big church) beginning on 3 March for those wishing to share their talents. We envision the “acts” being about 3-5 minutes in length. You can also speak to Pastor to sign up or to ask questions about the event.


Lent at Grace

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

Wednesdays,  March 13, and 20
11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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

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

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

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

the meditations will consist of dialogues between Jesus and Satan.

These services will prepare participants for the events in

Jesus’ life that occur during Holy Week.


This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

~Psalm 118:24