The Lord will watch over your going out and your coming in,

from this time forth forevermore.

~Psalm 121:8



Bless the world: Be God’s Grace!


October Blood Drive!! 

It was a marvelous day! We had a great team of people from the Red Cross! A Big Thank You to Karlene for greeting people, checking that they were feeling good while eating their snack, visiting with them, and then sending them out with a BIG Thank You and a treat bag!!

We were able to collect 15 units which x 3 will help 45 people! Thanks again to all who donated!

If you donated, you will receive an email in 2-3 weeks with where your blood went. Please let Gretchen know and we will add to the “Blood On The Move” board. With Blood Drives being cancelled in Florida due to the hurricane it will be interesting to see if any go to Florida .

Our next Blood Drive is scheduled for January 11 from 1:00 – 6:00 pm. The schedule is already posted on the Red Cross website under Grace Church. You may sign up on the website or call Gretchen and she will schedule.



Fellowship Time

Thank you to all who help

October 16th – Contemporary Team


Operation Christmas Child

October – Coloring books,

small notebooks,

 pads of paper and small books.

You can drop off donations

in the Giving Grace room

or the church office.


A little about Janelle Rife

In the past I had been a consistent inconsistent member of Grace. My parents were long time members of Grace. After college in 1986 I moved to Denver and I lived there for 11 years. My son Sean was born there in December 1996. We moved back to Toledo in 1997 so Sean could be close to his Grandparents and his Aunt and Uncle.

Sean had multiple ear infections when he was young and he became very sensitive to loud noises. Every time I brought him to church he would be the screaming baby in the back. So we ended up doing our own home schooled Sunday school. We returned to Grace when Sean was in the fifth grade where he took his first communion and then went on to the confirmation classes and was confirmed in 2011.

For a while I did a little church searching. I ended up at University Church where I ended up doing some gardening in the community garden and made some friends with some chickens. I would always play some music while I was gardening and the chickens would always come over and help sample my veggies. I am not sure gardening is high on my talents. This is where I met two very special people – Cindy and Adrian Matthews. My garden mentors. If I had a garden question they knew the answer. A very special friendship developed which I am very thankful for.

In 2015 and 2018 my parents passed away. This brought me back to Grace.  Pastor Al did both their funerals. My Dad passed away in April of 2015. Every spring he would plant impatiens. After the funeral Pastor Al brought a flat of impatiens for Sean and I to plant, which we did. We could not find my Dad’s    gardening tools so we used a pasta spoon to plant the flowers. The flowers blossomed and grew. A special remembrance of my Dad. I felt a very warm and special love from Grace.

After my Mom passed away in 2018 Sean and I started coming to the Contemporary service. Which I found warm and uplifting. I am a flute player and I play in the Maumee Community Band. A few years ago I joined the Contemporary Band playing my flute. I was welcomed into the band. A very great group of talented musicians and singers.

I am a registered Vascular Tech at St. Anne’s hospital. This is my serious side. I also have a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Toledo. I was in plays and productions at UT. I was on stage and behind the scenes. I had to take a class where I got to run around up in the cat walks which I thought was fun but had to be careful up there. I also enjoy creative writing and painting. My creative side has to come out every so often.

My son Sean has recently joined the church council. I am very proud of all his foot steps and accomplishments. He recently got a job at St. Vincent De Paul. He loves old stuff. He is always bringing something unique home from the 1930s clock to an old 1960s organ. Life is a journey and Grace is a part of our lives and I am thankful for that.

I enjoy being part of the music ministry playing in the Contemporary Band. It is awesome, we laugh, joke, pray and play music together. Thank you guys!!!

“Jesus wept.” John 11:35. When I was in confirmation class we were told not to use that verse for a memory verse. Through the years I have always thought about that verse and what it meant to me. I have to admit that I had to look up where it was in the Bible. I then found out it actually appears three times in the   Bible. What does this mean to me? Jesus felt the suffering and compassion for everyone. He had real human feelings and he loves us all. He died for us so we can live. That is real.

I just want to say thank you to all members of Grace for being there for Sean and me. Grace feels like a home church.

Peace Always – In all ways – Janelle Rife


Healthy People!  Healthy Parish!

October and Bones !

What do we think of for Halloween? Yes of course candy! We also think of costumes and one important costume is a Skeleton!

It is not only important for Halloween but also because it is National Osteoporosis Month!!

Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis – eek what is the difference?

  • Osteoporosis affects the bone structure!
  • Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage and the joints!

More the come on those bones!!!


Meditation by Vicar Dave

(This will now appear in the weekly newsletter instead of separately)

Just prior to our reading in Genesis today, Jacob had been working for his Uncle  Laban. You may recall that he worked for Laban for 20 years, the first fourteen of which were to obtain permission to marry Rachel and the remaining years were for wages in livestock. Jacob has now left Laban’s home and has started out to rejoin his father, Isaac. He is concerned, however, about how his brother Esau would react to his return. He prayed that God would save him from the hand of his brother, and he sent his entire company, his livestock, his servants, his wives and his children, ahead of him hoping to placate his brother. This is why Jacob is left alone on the evening in question.

Then we come to this unusual passage where God attacks Jacob and wrestles with him until daybreak. Why would God do this? And why did it take all night, as though the two were equal in strength? Is this another example of God setting aside his   divine power and assuming the form and strength of a human, just as Jesus does? I imagine that entire books could be written in an attempt to answer these questions, so I’m not going to address them all here.

I’m most interested in why God would attack Jacob, the child of the covenant. I think that God was attempting to show Jacob that all of his planning, all of his offerings of peace to his brother, will be for naught unless he relies on his relationship with God and trusts in Him. That’s true for us also. We can make all the plans we want, and then something completely unexpected can throw them into chaos. I think that’s where the importance of prayer comes into play. I’ve had times in my life where I’ve really wanted something, and tried and tried to make it happen, but it didn’t. I’ve even prayed for things that never came to pass. I’ve prayed for a long time now that I’d win the lottery, but I never do. Of course, it might help if I purchased a ticket one in a while. (Just kidding) But it does bring up a good point. Often, we use prayer as a cop out for doing the work necessary to make things happen. For example, I could pray that I get an A on my mid-term exam. That doesn’t excuse me from studying and attempting to learn the material. Jacob prayed for safety from his Esau, but he took steps to ensure that safety.

I was really struck by something that Ron Hiatt said to Collin Moore in a recent children’s sermon. He likened prayer to a conversation between a child and their parent. Sometimes, a child will go to his parents and ask for things that they feel they need. Of course, parents are expected to set boundaries and sometimes they may say “no”. It may be that what the child is asking for is dangerous, like the BB gun that Ralphie wanted in A Christmas Story. Or it may be something that the child is just not ready for, like a six-year-old asking for a new car. Or maybe it’s something that just doesn’t fit into the parents plans. I remember my son asking me to put a swimming pool in our back yard. There were several reasons that I didn’t get one, but I think the biggest reason was that we just didn’t want something like that to take up all the space in our backyard.

So, we know that prayer isn’t like sitting on Santa’s lap and asking for things. We know that God sometimes answers our prayers with a “no”, for whatever reason, which we may or may not be able to understand. Prayer is not transactional, like a vending machine. I put in my good works and God gives me what I want in return. So why is prayer important? Here are some of the benefits of prayer.

Prayer can set the tone for the day, or perhaps even change it. Starting your day in prayer can help you get your mind in the right place. It helps you to remember to be thankful for the gifts of this life. It can also help you focus on the positives of the day in front of you, rather than letting the negatives get you down.

Prayer can help you to make better decisions. When you’re in the process about praying about a decision, it can help you to think more clearly about what you want to accomplish and the consequences of each act along the way. Praying for guidance, instead of things, is always a good.

Praying daily will help you keep your focus on your relationship with God. Lots of folks will pray only when they want something, or just on Sundays. God wants to be part of your life every day, not just Sunday. Now that my children are older, I miss being a part of their daily lives, but I’m always so happy when I hear from them. I’m sure that God feels the same way.

Opening your heart to God in prayer will allow God to come in and change your heart. I know that I used to think about things differently before I became serious about my relationship with God. Now I feel as though I’m a better, more loving person as a result.

I can’t guarantee that God will give you everything you want if you ask Him in prayer. But I’m confident that talking things out with God will help you in ways you can’t even imagine!



Behind the scenes at Grace … Gretchen

  1. The trees seem to be changing color and becoming more beautiful every day!
  2. We noticed that gravel has been being dumped in the lot where Ansted Florist was – not sure what is happening over there???
  3. The Parish Nurse will be out of the office from 10/12 -10/28 . If you need any equipment from the H.E.L.P. closet, please contact the office. There will be someone to assist you.
  4. We have 54 blankets collected so far that will be taken to TENT CITY on the weekend of October 21 -23. If you bring any clean blankets, please put in the library on top of the bins labeled “Tent City “.
  5. Please remember to turn the lights off when you are finished in meeting rooms and the bathrooms! We have had a lot of lights left on overnight in the last couple of months and this does drive up our electric bill.
  6. Remember : Grace is not the building but the people of Grace carrying out God’s Mission!


Pastor’s Thoughts:

As I write this, our community is still talking about the shootings which took place at the Whitmer High School v. Central Catholic High School football game this past   Friday evening. Even in a city that has become more “accustomed” to gun violence, this hits very close to home in many ways. I was struck hard, because as many of you know, until December 2021 I was the pastor of the The Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, which is directly across the street from Whitmer. Children from that congregation attend the school, and some members work as teachers in the Washington Local School system.

Violence confuses us. It terrifies us. It angers us. It can divide and polarize us, as we shift people into “us” and “them” and “good” and “bad” categories, and as we lift up our differing ideas about freedom, rights, and safety. We can become so focused on the specific act of violence in front of us in a given moment that it seems we sometimes forget to consider the possible  factors which led to the act in the first place. And … soon enough, the conversation about the act, its genesis, and its implications fades as we move on to the next thing which occupies our mind and our time.

What are we, as the followers of Jesus, to do? Wring our hands and decry the erosion of values and the rise of indifference and hate? Lament our loss of safety and comfort and point fingers at those we blame for the violence we see and hear? Express the desire that someone, somewhere, will do something to stop it?

We certainly know that it will take more than the actions of one person or even one group to stop the violence, hate, and injustice that runs through our community, our country, and our world. We, as Christians, know that these things grow out of human sin; the part of us that pits us against one another over ideas, concepts, feelings,   actions, behaviors, and ideologies. We know, deep within ourselves, that our own hardness of heart has led us to such a place … and it is overwhelming. Where to begin?

We know there is no easy solution. To me, however, it seems it all begins with communication: between us and God in the form of prayers that open us to learn, to understand, and to wrestle with the deep issues we face as a community and our own role in that, and between us and those around us, as we intentionally wrestle with the issues which exist. That may sound simplistic, but it requires honesty and vulnerability in ways which may stretch us. It will require open ears, hearts, and minds, as we listen to what God is telling us about justice, love, and community, and to what we are telling each other about what we value deeply. It requires us to set aside ourselves for these moments, in order to truly be present in a way that might foster a new perspective.

Something must change. Perhaps that must begin with each one of us.

In Christ,

Pastor Brenda



This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

~Psalm 118:24