Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth;
sing praises to the Lord.
One service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday May 21
Potluck and Congregational Meeting following
As many of you know, I recently spent ten days in Tanzania with a delegation from the Northwestern Ohio Synod, who traveled to be present for the consecration of Bishop Christian Ndossa of the Dodoma Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. Ron Hiatt was also part of this delegation. Our synod has a companionship relationship with the Diocese, and Grace has a companionship relationship with Iringa Road Lutheran Church. Ron and I were guests of Iringa Road and stayed in their parish house.
It will take me some time to process this experience; from the welcome of the people, to the joy that they have as followers of Jesus, to the needs the Church has. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of this experience with you.
The Lutheran Church in Tanzania is the second largest group of Christians in the entire world with 7 million members, second only to Ethiopia. In the US, the Christian Church as a whole is shrinking, as is the ELCA. Some have already asked me what the Tanzania “secret” is for church growth. What can we do? How can we grow as the Tanzania Lutheran Church is?
I have been thinking a lot about those question. Certainly, the Tanzanian context does not translate directly to our American context, but there are still things we can learn. First, the Church and the faith have a central point in the lives of the people. That is, worship is a priority. Giving is a priority. Study is a priority. Fellowship with other believers is a priority. And in all these things, there is a sense of great joy. That joy seems to come from being grounded in and infused with a sense of being a disciple of Jesus. Everything else in life seems to flow from this. Being so firmly grounded, how can it be surprising that the Church is growing? Why wouldn’t others want to be a part of something that gives such hope, joy, and purpose to life?
That may seem simple, but to me it seems like the place we need to begin as followers of Jesus in this place. How can we place Jesus solidly in the center of our lives; as individuals and as a family of believers called Grace Lutheran Church?
I will be pondering these thoughts for a while, and I hope you will journey with me as I do … stay tuned.
Sunday Fellowship Time
May 21 – Potluck following the 10:30 service and annual meeting
Thank you, John Orozco for the roses for Moms last Sunday!
Operation Christmas Child
In the month of May we are asking for donations of coloring books and story books. They can be dropped off in the Giving Grace Room or to the office during the week.
Highlights from May Council meeting. Grace is now a Community Garden, and we will begin small this summer with herbs and other veggies planted in our Courtyard. We are asking for members of Grace to donate their planters for this project.
Grace is working with social workers from the Jewish Federation to start a food outreach program. This will start in the summer. We will pack a healthy meal to be picked up for free. Anyone interested in helping pack and distribute meals, please let Mary Schneider know.
We have raised the money needed to install our security cameras. Plans are to install in early June.
We need volunteers interested in learning how to livestream our services. If we have enough volunteers, we can split Sundays among them. There will be an instructional meeting at a date to be determined. Anyone interested in learning this, please let Cathy in the office know.
Congregational meeting will be held May 21 after church, with a potluck to be enjoyed by all. New Council members will be elected at the meeting. Please plan on attending.
Meditation on Acts 1:6-14
By Vicar Dave
When reading Acts today, I found it amazing that Jesus’ disciples still don’t get it. They’ve been through everything with Him. From the start of His ministry, through the questioning of the Jewish officials, even His death and resurrection. They listened to all His preaching, telling them what the kingdom of God will be like, and yet they still hold onto the notion that He’s some sort of military leader that will make Israel great again. I suppose that it’s common for us, being only human, to continue to want things our way. It’s kind of great, in my opinion, that even up to His last moments on Earth, Jesus continues to teach His disciples. I also like how Jesus, just as He’s about to leave, gives them some final instructions and something to anticipate. I’m talking about the coming of the Holy Spirit to them all and how the Spirit the power to be Jesus’ witnesses to all the world.
Then the disciples stare in amazement as their friend, who they saw die a horrible death then rise from the dead, being raised into the heavens, as though He were riding on a cloud. But who were the two other men who spoke with them at that time? The ones who told them that He would come back in the same way that He left. Some commentators like to say that they are angels, but that makes a certain amount of sense. The fact of there being two of them might relate back to Mosaic Law where at least two witnesses are required for legal proceedings (Deut. 19:15). Perhaps these are the same two that announced the resurrection to the women at the tomb.
After Jesus’ ascension into heaven, the disciples return to Jerusalem, praying together and waiting for the promised Holy Spirit to come to them. I think it’s important to point out that the promise of the Holy Spirit is not just to the male disciples, but also to “certain women”. I believe that the Holy Spirit is still coming to us to this day. The Spirit speaks to me when I hear the birds in the morning, or when I hear a baby’s voice. I like to think that the Holy Spirit is directing my actions when I’m dealing with the guys on my case load, their victims and their families. The actions I take with them reaches well beyond them and affects the entire community, so I sure hope I’m getting some help from the Spirit. It’s really like that with any job. How we treat others can go beyond them in positive and negative ways. Something as simple as a smile may change someone’s mood and help them to make the day better for the other people they meet.
May we all pray and wait for the Holy Spirit to come into our lives, with power and instruction as to how to take the Gospel out into the world. The Spirit’s coming into our hearts may not take the shape we expect. We may also not be asked to do what we thought we would. But I pray that we’ll all be able to listen and accept the gift of the Holy Spirit and then share it with those around us.
Livestreaming of Grace’s Services
The livestreaming of Grace’s services is an important ministry of Grace. Help is needed to continue this ministry. It is not hard and you will be trained. Please, if you can help with this, contact the church office or Mary Schneider at 419.262.0730. If we can get several people to do this, then it will not be the responsibility of any one person to do it. Thank you for considering how you can help in this important ministry.
Last Sunday at fellowship time,
this picture was out with a challenge to everyone to
Some of the captions we received:
- “Who knew elephants could be tamed?”
- “Watching the herd!”
- “Now that’s a great Halloween costume!”
- “Forget the horns – watch out for the tusks!”
- “Can someone tell me how I get this person off of me?”
- “Love those legs!”
- “Whatever it takes to spread the Gospel!”
- “Which way to the Kentucky Derby?”
- “Evangelism: A new level!”
- “Mama Tembo”
Grace’s Blessing Box (the white wooden box near the exit) is a big success! The items placed in the box are disappearing and Cathy, Grace’s office manager, says that she sees several people making thoughtful selections. Items placed in the Blessing Box include socks, water, breakfast bars, individually wrapped peanut butter/crackers, pudding cups, fruit/applesauce cups, flip-top cans of pasta (ravioli, beefaroni, etc.), flip-top canned meat or tuna in foil packets, and small flip-top cans of beans. Plastic forks and spoons are also included in the box. If you are able to supply any items for our Blessing Box, please place the items in the Food for Toledo boxes in the Giving Room. Thank you.
This one’s by the Kids
I know God loves everybody, but I think I know he never met my sister.
Arnold, age 7
Thank you for my baby brother; but what I prayed for was a puppy.
Rachel, age 6
I know they’re called pews, but I don’t think they smell funny.
Gabby, age 8
After hearing about the Last Supper, little Andy said, “Jesus broke the bread? Wow, it must have been really stale!”
Sometimes I’m a good boy, and I would like a new bike.
Alex, age 10
I didn’t think orange looked good with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday. That was special!
Sean, age 9
I went to a wedding and they kissed right in church. Do you think that is okay?
Neil, age 8
I don’t understand why people from different religions can’t get along. The priests, rabbis, and ministers in Daddy’s jokes seem to have a lot of fun together.
Colby, age 10
Behind the scenes at Grace …by Gretchen
- Oh, what a field of dandelions in the front yard – not sure about the dandy part as there are clouds of seeds flying when the wind blows! We have a lot of sneezing, sniffling and hoarse voices around the church with the all the trees, flowers and those dandy lions making allergies worse.
- The sunrises have been beautiful with the sun shining through the crab apple and dogwood.
- Our critter patrol (Orkin ) has made his rounds through the building, so we are free of critters we hope.
- Hangers! Yes, we have them – plenty of them. We have all sorts and types. Some are going to be recycled but many cannot be, nor will any organization accept. We will have a “Hanger Table – Free for the Taking” in Fellowship Hall on Sunday the 28th. So, if you are in need, please grab some!
- People have been taking items from the Blessing Box in the parking lot. The box has food items, some personal need items and has had some socks. The box provides a resource 24 hours a day to people in need. We are in need of bottles of water, cans/packages of tuna fish, snack /granola bars. Fruit cups – think food items that can be eaten that do not require a lot of preparation and/or a stove. Items can be left in the Graceful Giving Room across from Classroom 3.
- The Council Membership Photo Board is in the process of being updated -check out the new members!
- Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace Carrying out God’s mission.
Healthy People! Healthy Parish!
Droplets and more droplets and even more droplets and a rushing waterfall of droplets!
We don’t have the yellow brick road but a road of droplets!!
Yikes, do we have another roof leak or did the toilet overflow or the sink – oh no!
Nope – thank goodness. It is all the droplets of blood that will be flowing on June 23 at the Interfaith Blood Drive!!
Please think about donating or having a family member, friend or neighbor donate in your honor!
The Blood Drive is on Saturday from 8:30 – 2:30. There are open appointment times!
It is an easy way to give back to the Community!
Thunder ,Lightening – OH MY!
Don’t forget that we will be having a severe weather drill coming soon to Grace!
Remember to check out safe places to go to. Grace is a big building but has many places to go that can be safe during severe weather.
The information about safe locations has been posted on the Community Boards.
What can you do to prevent insect bites and the illnesses they may cause!
- Don’t apply perfume or used scented soaps if you are going to be outside. Even the scent left on clothes by dryer sheets or laundry detergent can become a magnet .
- Stay away from stagnant water – yes, the parks are great places to walk but if there is sitting water it would be best to avoid. Mosquitoes love to congregate and multiply around standing water sites. Change birdbath water on a frequent basis.
- Heavily wooded areas, especially those with tall grass, are great places for congregations of ticks to hang out on.
- Bright colors make it easy to see you, but they also can make you an easy target for insects like bees and hornets. It is not a bad thing, but have you ever worn red and been buzzed by a Hummingbird? It goes to show how birds as well as insects like color!
- Check DEET concentrations on your insect repellent. Higher concentrations protect for a longer time. Choose a concentration based on how long you will be out in an insect environment. DO NOT use repellents with DEET on children younger than 6 and avoid getting in your mouth or eyes.
- Dress appropriately if going to be in a wooded area or grassy area. Pants and long sleeves are the best way to limit insects ability to use you as target practice. Tuck pants legs into socks so they cannot sneak in. Once you come inside take a shower and do a “tick check” – ears, belly button, in hair, under arms, around the waist, back of the knees and legs. To kill ticks on clothing you can put them in the drier on high heat for 10 minutes.
- Feeling the cool green grass on your feet is wonderful until you get stung by a bee! So, shoes or something that covers the bottom of your foot is needed.
- Treat your bites. If bitten and the area becomes red or raised try: 1)applying an ice pack for 10 -15 minutes 3-4 times a day and 2) taking Benadryl for itching can provide relief from the local insect bite reaction. If it does not become better call your MD and have it looked at.
- Know the signs of having a potentially dangerous anaphylactic (rapidly progressing allergic) reaction to a bite. This type of reaction most commonly occurs with stings by bees, wasps or hornets. Hives, swelling (face, eyes, tongue and lips), throat tightness, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or feeling faint or lightheaded are all signs of potentially dangerous anaphylaxis. Call 911 ASAP!
- Don’t forget your pets! They can also get bitten and stung from insects. Diseases are also transmitted to pets. Do a “tick check” on them when coming in from the outside.
More on ticks (not clocks) next week!
Iringa Road Lutheran Church is “ MOVING UP ”
Growth in the Dodoma Diocese is coming from Lutherans moving into Dodoma, and from many who are being introduced to Jesus for the first time, who are also moving into Dodoma. Many of the parishes in the Dodoma Diocese are already constructing larger church buildings or have plans to do so, to accommodate this growth.
It has been 5 years since Grace Church has had any direct contact with our companions at Iringa Road.
Some of this was because of Covid, and some was because of interim pastors here at Grace.
As members of the Northwestern Ohio Synod Global Mission Board, Pastor Brenda and I had the privilege to be invited to join the delegation from our Synod to attend the installation of Reverend Christian Ndossa as Bishop of the Dodoma Diocese. In addition to being a part of the companionship between Diocese and Synod, we also had the goal to visit our church to parish companions at Iringa Road. As always, the people at Iringa Road took very good care of us, even opening the Guest House for us to stay in. Our housekeeper, Atu, lives in the former parsonage next door, and was responsible for keeping our rooms clean and in order, and for providing meals and snacks for us when we didn’t have other commitments.
As we explored the grounds around the church, we noticed several locations where building bricks are being stock piled. Upon inquiry we learned that the parish is embarking on a huge expansion project that will more than double the capacity of the worship area, and provide offices, meeting rooms, work areas and expand Sunday School classroom space. As there is little room left to build “out”, they have decided to “build up”. The plan is to take off the existing roof and add an entire second floor to the church building. They showed us drawings of the renovated and expanded church will look like. It will be like a brand-new church building, looking nothing like the current structure.
It is part of the culture in Tanzania, to resist the temptation to borrow money for projects like this. And a project like this can take anywhere from a couple of years to as much as 5 or more years to complete as construction progresses as the funds to complete the phases become available through offerings. Iringa Road has been receiving offerings for the project and will soon start the actual removal of the existing roof and begin the “build up”. What an exciting time this will be. It is our intention to remain in contact with them during construction, and to offer prayers of thanksgiving and support that the added space will allow IRLC to expand its service to the Kingdom. Please add IRLC to your prayers.
God is Good, all the time. And all the time, God is Good! Bwana Asifiwe (Praise God).
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!