Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing;

O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.

~Psalm 30:12


Ruth Circle will be holding a Bake Sale on Election Day May 3rd during polling hours. We are in need of homemade baked goods of any type. They can be brought to church on Sunday May 1st or Monday May 2nd and placed in Brenner Hall kitchen marked for the Bake Sale. Profits for all sales go to purchase “Christ in Our Homes” magazine, area WELCA donations and local outreach projects. Everyone is welcome to come to the Bake Sale even if you are not voting at Grace.

Thank you so much.

JoAnne Vernon Ruth Circle Leader


Fellowship Time

Hope to see you between services on Sunday in

Fellowship Hall!

Sunday May 1 – Special Fellowship hour in honor of Pastor Howard


Upcoming Worship Opportunities at Grace

Midweek Worship led by David O’Brien      Wednesdays at 7:00 pm

Combined Traditional/Contemporary  May 29 (Memorial Day Weekend) 10:30 am

Outdoor Contemporary Service July 10, 10:30 am

Ragtime Rick Worship Service August 7, 10:00 am

A daddy was listening to his child say her prayers. ” Dear Harold…” “Wait a minute honey, how come you called God Harold?” The little girl looked up and said, “That’s what we call him in church. You know the prayer we say Our Father who art in heaven, Harold be Thy name?”

And then there was this particular four-year-old who prayed, “And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.”

And finally the realist: “Dear God, please take care of my mommy and my daddy and my sister and my brother and my doggy and me. Oh yes, please take care of yourself God. If anything happens to You we’re going to be in a big mess.”


Behind the scenes at Grace ……

  1. WOW – 2 firsts in one week! David O’Brien presided as Synodical Authorized Minster over the first Wednesday evening service this last Wednesday. Thank you, David! The second first was the worship service at Oak Leaf, led by   Pastor Abts and accompanied by JoAnne Vernon and Bob Haaf. Thank you!
  2. The daffodils really make it look like Spring has arrived even with the cool temperature.
  3. Our menagerie is back – 2 huge rabbits and the great Red Tail Hawk have been gracing Grace’s parking lot.


Taking one for the Team (Both of them)

A little over 2 ½ years ago we said good-bye to Pastor Al Swartz. This past Sunday the Congregation met to vote to ask Reverend Brenda Peconge to serve as our next “Called” Pastor. This week we say goodbye to Reverend Howard Abts who has been our interim Pastor for those 2 ½ years.

The term interim is benign enough, meaning temporary or acting. However, in sports whenever there is an interim head coach it means things are likely to be struggling and the owners are looking for a new coach to make the team a  champion. The interim is asked to keep the team playing until the next new savior can be hired to lead the team to the championship.

Each spring the baseball season starts anew. In baseball often a player is asked to “take one for the team.” On defense it may mean a pitcher or even a utility player stays on the mound despite giving up numerous hits and runs to allow the rest of the pitchers on the team to be rested and ready for the next game.

On offense taking one for the team may mean deliberately sticking your body in a position to increase the odds of getting hit by the pitch. The goal is to get on base in order to give the next batter a chance to hit a game winning home run. When that happens, the player who “takes one for the team” receives no reward other than a nasty bruise. The next batter receives all the glory for winning the game.

When it comes to Interim Pastors, they are asked to take one for both teams.

One team is the congregation in which they serve as interim. The other team, is their professional team consisting of all the Rostered Ministers of the ELCA who may be looking to be called to a congregation.

Over the past 30 months the Grace family has dealt with a number of issues that have challenged us to look deep inside of us and ask ourselves who we are as a Congregation. On top of that we had to do it all while being stressed in a world where even coming together to worship and pray had to be suspended and then reimagined in order to protect the health of the community.

Pastoral transitions are always times of angst on the congregation. I can say I did not always agree with what Pastor Howard was asking us to do. I did understand and agree that dealing with these hard issues was vital for getting the Congregation ready for our next pastor. During his time with us am I am sure Pastor Howard may have had periods we he wondered if “team congregation” would   ever turn things around or whether he should simply get on his bike and ride.

It will be some time before we know if Pastor Brenda may be our GOAT Pastor (greatest of all times). In closing I want to thank Pastor Howard on behalf of the Grace Congregation and behalf of the Pastors who will follow him for leading us through this period.

David Charvat – Council President


Is it okay for grown-ups to listen in on the Children’s Sermon? I did, last Sunday. I hope that’s allowed.

Grace Peterson explained something about the Holy Spirit: that the Holy Spirit is very much like the wind. (She didn’t get all tiresome with Hebrew and Greek, and say how in those languages, the very same word means “wind” AND “spirit” AND “breath.”  Probably only someone who likes to show off would talk about that.)  Grace pointed out that we cannot see the wind, but sometimes we can see what the wind has done. The Holy Spirit is like that. We cannot see the Holy Spirit, but sometimes we can see what the Holy Spirit has done.

A few weeks ago, Sarah and I, eager to get the garden going, spread out a bag of leaves where the beans will be planted, planning for them to stay put, so that they would help the soil hold moisture, and, as they broke down, they would nourish the plants we’ll be planting there soon. A couple of days later, the leaves were gone. I think the wind had been at work in our garden.

7 years ago, a woman who was a member of Grace Lutheran Church was looking forward to a joyful day: she was planning to get married to the love of her life, another woman. She asked whether their wedding could be held in our sanctuary. Grace Lutheran Church said “No.”

After the worship service last Sunday, the members of Grace Lutheran Church   voted to extend the call to be Grace’s next Pastor to Rev. Brenda Peconge. Pr. Brenda is married to the love of her life, another woman, Gail Livingood.

Just as I think I know what the wind did in our garden, I think I know what the Holy Spirit has been doing at Grace Lutheran Church. The Holy Spirit has been blowing us from closed-in-on-ourselves-ness to openness. The Holy Spirit has been blowing us from refusing to accepting. The Holy Spirit has been blowing us from rejecting people to welcoming people. The Holy Spirit has been blowing us from estrangement to reconciliation.

It is possible, of course, that I’m wrong about why the leaves disappeared. Do you think something else might have removed them?  Do you think squirrels carried them away? Or moles, maybe? I’m pretty sure it was the wind.

It is also possible that I’m wrong about what brought about the change at Grace Lutheran Church. Do you think something else could have caused such an opening of hearts, such an opening of minds?  I’m absolutely sure it was the Holy Spirit.

What do you think?


Let us be grateful for the people who make us happy.

They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

(Marcel Proust)

Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

 (Author Unknown)

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.  Speak kindly.

(Author Unknown)


Healthy People! Healthy Parish!


Veggies and Fruits and the Body

Fruits and veggies are full of vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants to name a few. Have you ever noticed that some fruits and vegetables  resemble or give us clues as to how they help the body?

Walnuts – look a like the brain with a left and right hemisphere (sides), upper cerebrum and lower cerebellum. Even the wrinkles look like the outside of the brain. Walnuts are high in omega 3s and help to develop neuron transmitters for brains to function.

Kidney Beans – look just like kidneys. Beans are full of fiber which help our entire body.

Celery, bok choy and rhubarb look like bones. Bones are said to contain about 23% sodium and these foods contain sodium.

Carrots – a carrot slice (cut like a penny) looks like an eyeball. Look hard and you can see the pupil and the iris. Carrots are loaded with beta carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to prevent night blindness and in maintenance of a healthy, clear cornea. Carrots also contain lutein, an antioxidant which helps to protect the retina and lower risk of macular degeneration.

Ripe Tomato – is red and has 4 chambers just like the heart. Tomatoes are loaded with Lycopene, another antioxidant which protects cells, helps prevent heart  disease. Potassium for lowering blood pressure. Niacin to lower high cholesterol. Vitamin B6 and folate keep blood vessel walls healthy.

Onions – look like cells. Onions help with waste management in the body. They also produce tears which wash the eyes. Garlic also helps with waste management.

We will never look at vegetables and fruits quite the same! See what other veggies and fruits resemble important functions of the body???


Coffee Time… 

Did you know that there is actually a good time to drink your morning coffee and get the most bang for your buck or cup? A study done At the University of Health Sciences in Maryland found that the biggest boost from coffee can be felt at least an hour after getting up. The study found that our body produces a naturally energizing hormone called cortisol that is at its peak during the hour after you wake up. Drinking coffee during this time increases cortisol production which can cause anxiety and agitation but increases tolerance for caffeine which wants you to crave coffee to feel a lift. The study suggested that between 9:30 – 11:30 to have your caffeine will give a better boost.



This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

~Psalm 118:24