Your kingdom come. Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Deficit. No one likes to read this word or think about its implications; not in our personal lives, not with regard to our national economy, and not as related to a congregation’s financial status.
And yet, consider it we must. Grace Lutheran Church finds itself with a deficit of $50,000 as we approach the end of 2022. We can speculate about why this is, and the answers would likely be “the pandemic,” “lower attendance,” “pastoral transition,” and “the economy.” Truthfully, the answer is some combination of these things.
To our minds, “deficit” often translates directly to “scarcity.” We begin to think that we don’t have enough, and we might never have enough … and anxiety and worry can become our predominant emotions. How will we move forward as the people of God at Grace if we don’t have enough money to support our mission?
In the midst of anxiety and worry, we can forget that the blessings of God are as present as they have always been. Changes and crises never diminish God’s love, grace, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. However, these things can both cause our fear to increase and create a tendency in us to cling tightly to the material resources we have.
We are still here as the family of faith called Grace Lutheran Church, and we still have ministry to do in the name of Jesus. The reality is, that ministry requires things such as a staff and a building to facilitate what we are about together. These things require a commitment to support the work financially. The ministry we are about together relies on our trust and our commitment in order to continue to share that Good News with others in our church building and beyond, so they might also have the same hope which sustains us.
What if we could see this time as an opportunity to challenge ourselves to grow as disciples? What would happen if we shifted our focus from thoughts of scarcity to that of abundance, and see the sharing of our resources to support the mission of Grace Lutheran Church as a way to show our gratitude to God? Whose faith might be deepened? What lives might be changed?
We are, as we always have been, blessed by God. How do we cling to this truth and boldly act with trust, challenging ourselves to continue to Bless the World: Be God’s Grace? There is tremendous potential here for us to be about great things in the name of Jesus! I ask that all of us consider how we can personally contribute to a solid financial end to this year, so that we can begin 2023 strong and ready to reach out and tell the world the Good News of God in Jesus Christ—just as we always have.
I have been a member of Grace Lutheran Church for about 20 years. I had been a member of Reformation Lutheran Church from 3rd grade until I came here to Grace.
When Jean Baranski moved in a couple of doors down from me, and she was a Grace member, and needed a way to church, I thought I would change churches.
I am a widow of 33 years. I have 2 children, Jenifer and Edward, 5 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.
I worked for 32 years for the Toledo Board of Education in food service (Cafeteria Lady). I retired at age 72. I was an active grandma, following my grandkids in their sports activities.
I was a member of Masonic affiliations and enjoyed bowling on different leagues.
In retirement I volunteered at The Toledo Museum of Art, Lutheran Social Services, and Feed Your Neighbor at Augsburg Lutheran Church.
I like to play Bunco, am part of the Red Hats, and enjoy luncheons with school friends, and water aerobics. I have helped with funeral luncheons here at Grace and have been on Altar Guild. I belong to Ruth Circle.
My favorite Bible verses are 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – Love is patient, Love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
I am so blessed to have church friends and enjoy seeing them on Sundays.
A Big THANK YOU to all who help keep Grace moving!
Blessings to all – Jan Dustman
Thank you, Jan, for all you do!
A joint Thanksgiving Eve service will be hosted by Grace on November 23 at 7 p.m. Memorial Lutheran, Hope United Methodist, and Aldersgate United Methodist will join Grace in this service of Thanksgiving. A combined choir composed of members of each church will provide music at the service. Canned food for Feed Your Neighbor will be collected that evening and the offering collected will be split between Feed Your Neighbor and the Aldersgate Food Pantry to buy eggs for their clients.
After the service, Grace will host a fellowship hour. If you are able to provide a dessert for fellowship please contact Mary Schneider at 419.262.0730.
Meditation on Luke 23:33-43
By Vicar Dave
Throughout his ministry, Jesus was being challenged. Often those challenges contain one small word. The devil used it at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and the Roman soldiers use it again in today’s readings. If. “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread (Luke 4:3). “If you are the Son of God, … throw yourself down from here.” (Luke 4:9) And today, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” (Luke 23:37) It’s amazing how one little word, when used as part of a challenge, can be so powerful. In all these cases, Jesus is being challenged to prove himself and who he is. The people issuing this challenge, however, miss the point that Jesus doesn’t need to prove anything to them or anyone else. Jesus came into the world to save us, not to prove that he’s more powerful than anyone who’s here. He saves us by sacrificing himself for us. Additionally, Jesus isn’t into flashy displays of power. He leads us as King by setting an example for us to follow. An example of humility and sacrifice. With Jesus as our King, we don’t need to build big, flashy temples, like Herod did in last week’s Gospel.
Some kings, or rulers if you prefer, like to lord their power over their subjects. They like to force everyone they rule into submission to their will. They live opulent lifestyles, while their subjects suffer. Not so with Jesus as our King. He put our needs ahead of His own and wants us to do the same for our fellow humans. Service to His subjects is His primary focus, not exercising power over them.
So, what does it mean to us that Jesus Christ is King? Lots of folks have been trying to answer that question for a very long time. I can tell you about some of the things it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that He will lead us into a glorious victory over our earthly enemies. If He had wanted to do that, He could have freed the Jews from Roman rule more than 2,000 years ago. Jesus said that His kingdom is not of this world, so we shouldn’t look for it in earthly terms. His kingdom comes when we begin to follow His example of service to others. Jesus shows that He is our king by loving us and forgiving our sins. That forgiveness is a power that only a king would have. A sort of a royal pardon. Jesus, as king, came down to us to extend this pardon as a gift of His grace. Unlike the kings of this world who would never stoop to the same level as their subjects.
Today we celebrate that Christ is King. We celebrate him as the crucified, risen, ascended and glorified Lord. We give thanks for all that Jesus has done for us and the difference that He makes in our lives. The image we are presented with in today’s Gospel doesn’t seem to be very kingly, at least not to people who see with the eyes of this world. But here Jesus is giving us the ultimate example of humility and service. He shows us these things that are necessary in His kingdom. Though He suffers and dies on the cross, his ultimate victory over death is won, not for Him, but for us! This is the best example of a leader or king, one who isn’t concerned about titles or power, but is concerned about His people and about the good of all.
As we go out into the world today, may we all follow Jesus’ example of humility and service by caring for the needs of others and loving them as we would ourselves.
In the eight (nearly nine!) years I’ve been attending Grace, I’ve grown to know and love most who attend. It’s been a great pleasure. I felt welcomed the very first Sunday I came, and I hope that I’ve added to welcoming others.
My favorite Bible verses are Romans 3:22-24 – For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. I love this passage because it reminds me that ALL are equal. Gay, straight, fat, skinny, rich, poor, Chinese, Australian, me and you! Because we are equal, we share so much in common. These days, it’s so easy to forget.
When I’m not here for a meeting (which, like many of you, is very common!,) I enjoy reading, I love nonfiction, historical fiction and English literature. I was an English major at UT, leaving without a degree. I’ve always lived in Toledo, mainly in South Toledo. Currently, I live in Old Orchard. My parents are both deceased along with my sister, Barb, who died of leukemia in 2018. Many of you met Barb when she attended Sunday services several times. I also have a younger brother, Randy, but we aren’t close.
I have a mental health diagnosis of Chronic Depression and Severe Anxiety, which is handled through medication. I’m an advocate for those with mental health issues, belonging to a couple of organizations that offer peer support. Studies have found that peer support is a great way to help those who have mental issues.
I enjoy board games and puzzles. I love jigsaw puzzles and do several each week on my phone. I love word games, especially crossword puzzles (the harder, the better!) I would totally be on board for a game night!
I love the feeling that I get when I walk into Grace these days! I feel an excitement that wasn’t here. Fresh ideas and new things are happening, and an openness to try things that, for whatever reason, had been pushed aside in the past. Great things are happening here and it’s fantastic!
I’m open to hearing your ideas about Grace, so come find me and we can talk about them. Good things come from great conversation!
Thank you, Fritz, for all you do!
Advent is a special season in the Church’s calendar and at Grace special events are planned to commemorate this special season. We will continue to light the Advent wreath each Sunday and place figures in the manger. We will put up the Chrismon Tree in the sanctuary. And we will continue to learn.
Learning opportunities during Advent include the Sunday (8:15 a.m.) and Wednesday (6 p.m.) studies by Pastor Brenda and an Advent Study at 11 a.m. on the Mondays of Advent. Pastor Brenda’s study will help members rediscover the significance of Christmas. Our Monday Advent study will take us through the Psalms in relationship to the ELCA’s World Hunger Program. The Monday study will include a snack with fellowship. Please consider making learning and reflection an important part of your Advent journey
The Chrismon Tree will be put up in the sanctuary and decorated on Saturday, December 3, at 11 a.m. Please join other Grace members in helping to brighten the sanctuary for the Christmas season. Brenda Holderman will be spearheading this event.
Behind the scenes at Grace…..by Gretchen
- Wow! What a crazy election day! Per Rick Sharp and others, we have never seen the parking lot and Brenner Hall that busy! There were lines out the church past the dumpster! The mole tunnels next to the fence and entrance way to the expressway were definitely smashed due to cars having to park back there.
- November is Correct Recycling Month! Thanks to Grace Peterson for taking the paper trash over to Kroger for recycling and for Connie Thomas and others for taking boxes.
- Brenner Hall was busy with Christmas Child boxes being packed and ready to send. This is a yearly project as we collect different items each month. Check out the Community Bulletin Boards for what is being collected each month and there is a donation bin located in the Graceful Giving Room (across from Classroom 3). Thanks to Linda Mason and her crew of volunteers!
- Um! Um! Good! The youth pancake breakfast was wonderful. The pumpkin pancakes were a 5 star in yum factor! The free will offering will be used to purchase Christmas gifts for an outreach project. Thanks to all who came and enjoyed!
- Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission.
Healthy People! Healthy Parish!
Good Food! Safe House!
The holidays are here and so is all the scrumptious food. We have people talking, kids talking, cell phones ringing or pinging, the doorbell ringing and all sorts of crazy distractions going on while we are trying to cook. All of these can lead to us not being aware of safety in the kitchen.
Kitchen fires like any other kind of fire can be deadly and many can be prevented.
Tips to prevent:
- Wear appropriate kitchen clothing – yes there is appropriate clothing for the kitchen! Long loose sleeves, baggy sweaters, scarves and dangling stuff can all come into close contact with burners and/or ovens. Think close fitting clothes and sleeves rolled up tight.
- Smoke points – this is the point at which an oil can ignite and cause a fire. All oils, butters, fats and greases have different smoke points.
- Add oils slowly so it does not spatter. Not only can the spattering lead to a fire but the spatters can cause skin burns.
- Clean your stovetop regularly – especially if it has grease or oil on it. Not only can they cause a fire the more it sits on the stove the harder it is to clean.
- STAY IN THE KITCHEN WHILE COOKING! It only takes seconds for a grease fire, so you want to prevent, stop, and put out quickly! If you must leave the kitchen, take a potholder or oven mitt with you to remind you that there is something cooking on the stove!
- Yikes I have a grease fire – what do I do? Our instinct is to put water on it but that will not work on a grease fire and can actually make it worse! If it is in a metal pot or pan put the metal lid on it and that will suffocate the flame! Don’t be afraid to use a fire extinguisher.
***All kitchens should have a kitchen fire extinguisher or dry chemical fire extinguisher in the kitchen that is easily accessible near the stove. Pull the safety tab, point the nozzle and spray on fire until it is out.
Fire extinguishers make wonderful gifts!
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body recognizes cells called Beta Cells in the pancreas as foreign and attacks them. Beta cells make insulin. Without Beta cells we need to replace the insulin.
Type 1 can occur at any age but is most often diagnosed in childhood, teenagers and young adults.
Insulin is typically given by injection or an insulin pump.
It is important that glucose levels are checked. Missing an insulin dose can be dangerous and can lead to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.
If Type 1 diabetes is not managed well with insulin it can lead to stroke, neuropathy, and poor wound healing. These are just a few of the complications that can occur.
It is important with diabetes to not only monitor blood sugars but to eat healthy and exercise!
Did you know?
A bunch of turkeys (real turkeys not people!) are called a “Rafter of turkeys”?
A group of moles (of which Grace has a congregation of!) is called “A labour of moles”.
The Worship and Music Committee and the Outreach Committee are joining forces to sponsor our Advent project. For Advent we are focusing on local projects, Food for Toledo and Grace’s Personal Needs Program. We are asking members to bring if they are able the items listed on the Sundays in Advent. Those will then be used at Aldersgate United Methodist Church’s Food Pantry and Grace’s Personal Needs Program. Grocery carts will be placed at the back of the sanctuary for donations.
On November 27 donations of a box of pasta and/or a box of Kleenex are requested.
On December 4 we are asking for a can of fruit and/or a toothbrush.
On December 11 a can of vegetables and/or toothpaste.
On December 18 a can of soup and/or hand soap. Let’s see how many items we can collect in the grocery carts.
Pancake breakfast was a huge success!
Thank you to everyone who supported the youth group’s pancake breakfast! It was a big success thanks to you. Your generosity will allow us to be the hands and feet of God while we help fill some Christmas wishes.
After the pancake breakfast, the youth and friends helped Connie Thomas and Linda Mason fill over 100 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. The youth group also spent time folding the boxes on Friday night.
We are thankful for the many opportunities to serve.
Thanks to Kim Kondalski, we now have a relationship with Schramm’s Flowers (419.535.0065), who will be providing altar flowers for those who wish to order from them. If you would like to do so, please call the shop and mention Grace. The cost is $45 for flowers which will be delivered to church by noon on Friday.
You are welcome to purchase flowers from other places if you like. Just be sure to have them at church by Friday at noon.
The flower chart for 2023 will be posted soon, so that you can sign up for the days you wish to donate flowers for the altar.
Speaking of altar flowers, did you know …
Fresh flowers are the preferred kind for the altar, as they reflect the beauty of God’s living, beautiful Creation. We typically do not place potted plants on or around the altar, with the exceptions of poinsettias at Christmas and lilies and other bulb plants such as daffodils and hyacinths at Easter.
Bulb plants at Easter are especially appropriate, as the new life that springs from a seemingly lifeless bulb is a wonderful image for resurrection and new life!
Traditionally, there are no flowers placed on the altar in Lent, as is a more somber and restrained time in the Church year.
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!