Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
My heart is heavy.
World events have left me feeling confused, fearful, anxious, and angry as I see the reports of so many innocent people suffering in Israel and Gaza. I understand the history of the conflict and the geopolitical issues and religious implications. However, I don’t know what the answers are. I don’t know how an old struggle over land, freedom, and ideology can be solved.
Situations closer to home weigh on me, as well. As you may know, our church building is often a place of rest and outside shelter for those who have no place to stay. Often, these people make use of the Blessing Box and take their rest up against our building. We have a couple “regulars” who do this. It hurts my heart that there is not more we can do, even as I am grateful for what we can and do offer. I understand the social and financial realities of homelessness. I wish I had answers for how to alleviate this issue on a widespread basis.
What can we do, as the people of faith called Grace Lutheran Church? Certainly, we can pray for those affected by these things. We can also be in conversation—deep, meaningful, respectful conversation—about these and other issues that tear at the fabric of our community and world. We can talk together about what the scripture teaches us about living in community and what our response as Christians might be to problems and tragedies in our world.
We won’t always agree. We won’t always generate workable solutions. But we cannot ignore the times and the problems which we face. The thoughts, prayers, and considerations of people of faith are always valuable as we seek to work together so that all the basic needs of God’s people may be met … and so that justice and peace may be at the forefront of who we are.
Operation Christmas Child
In the month of October we are asking for donations of small notebooks and pads of paper. They can be dropped off in the Giving Grace Room or to the office during the week.
Please join us – Sunday Fellowship Time
In Fellowship Hall between services
October 22 – Nancy Omey and Karlene Jaquillard
On Sunday, October 29th it is time for Fall Food and Fellowship. Our theme for the day is Apples, Pumpkins, and Halloween. Some suggestions are cakes, cookies, breads, cupcakes, or spooky treats. Lets have a huge Fall smorgasbord! If you would be able to bring something that day, please let Sue Wagner know by contacting her at 419.475.8972 or e-mail at Suegrade@aol.com. Thanks! Sue
Grace’s First Confirmation
From the Record of Ministerial Acts, handwritten in 1900 by Gustavus Schmogrow, the first pastor of Grace English Evangelical Church: Mrs. Alice Restemeier, a convert from the Roman Catholic Church, “was confirmed” on December 16, 1900—at the Pastor’s home in the presence of Council members.
The Readings for Sunday October 22, 2023
Psalm 96:1-9 [10-13]
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Calling All Bakers!
Ruth Circle will be sponsoring an Election Day Bake Sale on November 7, 2023. We are asking for donations of baked goods to be brought to the church, marked “For Bake Sale”, on Sunday November 5th or Monday morning November 6th. Proceeds from the sale go to purchase “Christ in Our Home” magazine, Lutheran Social Services, Leading Families Home, and Northwest Ohio WELCA whose services include housing for domestic violence victims. Thank you ahead of time for your support.
Meditation on Matthew 22:15-22
By Vicar Dave
“Whose head is this, and whose title?”
The Pharisees and the Herodians approach Jesus and ask him a loaded question regarding an issue that is sensitive, even today. Is it lawful to pay taxes? If He says “yes”, the Herodians, who are loyal to Rome, are good with that, but the crowds around Him will become upset and those who support Jesus may slip away. (it’s not just Americans who get upset about taxes.) At least, that’s one of the results that the Pharisees are after. If Jesus says “no”, the crowds will be happy, but the Herodians will go back to their Roman friends and tell them that Jesus is inciting sedition by encouraging the people to not pay their taxes. The Pharisees figure whatever way Jesus answers, they’ve got him!
Jesus, however, aware of their treachery, asks for a coin and then gives them a loaded question of His own for them to answer. If you ask me, Jesus let them off easy. After all, the coin they brought into the temple had on it a graven image, something prohibited by Jewish law, which the Pharisees should be well aware of. Additionally, the inscription on the coin declares the divinity of Caesar. This is certainly blasphemy and potentially raises the stakes of this confrontation to idolatry. Jesus could have called the Pharisees on this and really embarrassed them, but He didn’t. In my theology class, we are discussing the importance of being made in the image of God (imago Dei). One of the things I thought of is that by putting your image on something, you’re claiming it as your own. By carrying and displaying this coin, especially in the temple, are the Pharisees saying that they belong to Caesar? Confronted with the question of their loyalty and the coin bearing the image of the earthly emperor, it’s easy to picture Jesus flipping that coin in his hand a few times, and then tossing it casually aside. In my imagination I see his eyes rising to meet those of his opponents, confronting each of them with an unspoken question hanging in the air: “And you, my friend: Whose image do you bear?”
Jesus’ final answer to the question of taxes remains perplexing to us today. What are we to do with our money? Whatever we render unto Caesar, or to the retirement fund, or to the offering basket at church, we can never afford to forget this: we belong entirely to God. We may divide our budget, but we must never divide our allegiance. The coin of our realm bears the image of dead presidents, but each of us bears another. Our Emperor said: “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.” We must never forget to render unto God the things that are God’s.
Save the Date – Saturday, December 2
On Saturday, December 2, at 9:30 a.m., please join Grace members in decorating the church for Advent. The altars will be changed, Advent candles will be set out, manger scenes will be set up, the Chrismon tree will be decorated in the Nave, and a Christmas tree will be placed in the Chapel. An outdoor Nativity set will be placed in front of the church as well. A light lunch will be served in Fellowship Hall. Please join members of Grace in readying the church for the season of Advent and in fellowship.
Behind the scenes at Grace….by Gretchen
- Cathy has taken a count, and all our “regulars” chipmunks are present and accounted for so last weeks hawks meal was a stranger to our family, but still unfortunate.
- It is getting colder and with the current status of companies in the city the need for food is even greater. Please think about buying “extras” nonperishable food items for the Monday Food Collection and the Blessing Box. Personal Needs is also filling greater needs.
- Our new custodian started this last Monday. Steve McGee is his name – see picture!
- Please still use the form outside the office to report burned out light bulbs etc.
- DO you need assistance with something – yardwork, washing windows, moving something – check out the form outside the office and please check the Community Bulletin Boards to see if you can help someone!!
- DID YOU SEE in last Sunday’s Blade the great article on Burrito Blessings! WOW!
- Speaking of Burrito Blessings, our next construction date and passing out date is Saturday October 28th! Come join the construction crew and see how to build the best burritos ever! Plus, help reach out into the Community!
- Tent City is this coming weekend – we will do an actual count of the blankets but from the height of the stuff in Gretchen’s office we think we have exceeded the 47 from last year. Please note we will continue to collect. We often have someone who needs a blanket and we will give them out so we have an ongoing collection.
- Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace doing God’s Mission!
Healthy People! Healthy Parish!
October is Fire Prevention Month!
Are you practicing good Fire Prevention?
If a fire occurs how much time, do the experts say you may have to safely escape???
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking . Never leave unattended. The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.
- Avoid jackets, shirts, etc. that hang down and could catch on fire when you are cooking.
- If a pan of food catches fire – slide a lid on it and turn off burner. To extinguish an oven fire, keep the door closed and turn off the oven.
- Don’t cook if you are drowsy. Some medications and alcohol can impair judgement when cooking.
- Do you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen or next to your outside grill? Is it up to date? Do you know how to use it?
- If you don’t feel comfortable – get out and call 911!
If you smoke!
Smoking is a leading cause of fire deaths so smoke outside away from the building and have a safe way to dispose of cigarettes butts and matches .
Rest of the house
- Make sure electrical cords are in good condition – not cracked or frayed.
- Don’t overload extension cords or wall switches.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms outside bedrooms and on every level of your home and include the garage if attached to your house.
- Test the alarms monthly or at least every six months with the time changes.
- Have an escape plan – how do you get out – there should be 2 ways out of your home. Do doors and windows open so you can get out easily.
- Do you have a outside meeting place?
- Does everyone know what number to call for the Fire Department??
- Do you have a working flashlight next to your bed?
- Is there a phone next to your bed or do you have your cell phone close so you can call if needed?
More Fire next week!
Hot food, fellowship a focus for new Burrito Blessings ministry
Toledo Blade – Sarah Readdean
At the end of September, Tina Sprouse and a small group took a TARTA bus from Vistula to Westgate and walked the remaining distance to Grace Lutheran Church. “It’s a little far … but it’s worth it,” she said.
Many others pulled up in cars, electric wheelchairs, or by foot, and were greeted by smiling volunteers’ faces and handed an assortment of foods.
Anyone who stops by the church — located at 4441 Monroe St., east of Secor Road — on the last Saturday of each month is handed a homemade burrito, as well as some produce, snacks, and water.
Burrito Blessings 419 launched in July and organizers said three months into the ministry that it’s doing well and growing.
“We realize that there is hunger in the city, but also this area,” said Brenda Peconge, pastor at Grace. “We also understand that hunger doesn’t know any religious boundaries.”
“We just think hungry people are hungry people, and both of our faiths have a mandate to help people,” Pastor Peconge added, sporting a bright orange Burrito Blessings T-shirt provided by the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo.
The interfaith ministry is organized and funded through a partnership between Grace Lutheran Church, Memorial Lutheran Church, and the Jewish Federation. The ministry will also accept food or financial donations from community members, local farmers, restaurants, or other businesses.
Stacy Willis, who is the food pantry and support services coordinator for the Jewish Federation, said the team landed on burritos as a good vegetarian option that can be served warm.
“A lot of the surrounding food missions are not hot, unless it’s like a community meal,” the organizer said. “We wanted to be able to provide something homemade and warm … just something that feels like home.”
Volunteers from each faith community — colloquially the Holy Rollers — meet at the church to pack rice, beans, salsa, and cheese into flour tortillas. On Sept. 30, they rolled up 200 burritos in just 30 minutes, and were set up outside the church ahead of the scheduled 11 a.m. start time.
“This is our third car already,” Ms. Willis exclaimed at 10:40 a.m. “We had two cars waiting.” “It’s the big sign,” she added, referring to a large red and yellow sign by the road advertising a “Bagged Lunch Giveaway.”
The ministry will be housed outside the church for as long as the weather permits, organizers said, because the service is more visible outside.
In order to get the word out to people facing food insecurity, the organizers left flyers at several places in the area including libraries, food pantries, laundromats, grocery stores, gas stations, and the SAME Café.
Ms. Willis left the church early, taking about 75 burritos and other goods into downtown. She had planned to stop at Cherry Street Mission, TARTA, Madonna Homes, and along Adams Street. She said she enjoys talking with people and will give them affirmations while passing out food; the pastors involved with the ministry are willing to pray with people upon request.
‘The best interactions’
Julia Syring, a Harbor therapist, stopped by while running errands. She wasn’t working that day but felt a tug to help a client in need.
“This particular client has no clothes other than what she’s wearing, no food, was evicted from her apartment because she was laid off from work,” she said. “I just don’t think we realize how fortunate most of us are to have a roof over our head, food, and clothes, which are just the basics.”
She took a bag of food through her car window and said she’ll see that the client receives it.
“There are certain situations where you do think about it after hours,” Ms. Syring said.
Talking to other volunteers, Ms. Willis commented that Ms. Syring is “a good soul.”
Ms. Sprouse lives in Madonna Homes, a low-income complex for the elderly and disabled, and said she will keep spreading the word about this opportunity to not only get food but to be seen by the volunteers.
“They’ve been so nice here, been trying to make sure I’m OK and get everything,” she said after chatting with the pastors. “When I came here, I feel comfortable. … It’s like family, friends, and it’s so nice that they remember my name.”
Asking people’s names and hearing their stories, Pastor Peconge said, is important in acknowledging their dignity and providing hospitality.
Mary Adelsberger, pastor at Memorial Lutheran Church, also emphasized the friendship that can come from communing together.
“The community is able, whether they’re hungry today or hungry always, to come be together and we can interact with them,” Pastor Adelsberger said. “You’re feeding them physically, but you’re feeding them emotionally and spiritually.”
Polly Tate, a member of Glenwood Lutheran Church, saw Burrito Blessings advertised in her church’s bulletin and swung by, curious to see if her church could do something similar.
“I thought this is something that maybe we could do also, so I thought, ‘OK I’ll come out and check it out,’” she shared from inside her car.
Jean Hall also stopped for burritos in September because she said she needs whatever she can get. She said she’ll keep coming back and will tell more people about the ministry.
After receiving food from the volunteers, she called out through her car window: “God bless you all.”
First Published October 15, 2023, 8:00am
We have hired a new custodian, Steve McGee. He comes with experience and is eager for the job. Please make him feel welcome.
Grace is hosting a Multifaith Council universal worship on March 4, 2024. All are welcome.
Thank you to the anonymous donor that made a donation allowing us to purchase another security camera for the front of the church.
We will be posting “No Weapons” signs at all the entrances in the near future.
We will need lots of volunteers to help plan our 125th Anniversary on September 7, 2025. If interested, please let Pastor or the office know.
We are forming a Fellowship Committee, which will plan fun things for the congregation to do together. Anyone interested in joining this committee, see Nancy Lockard.
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!