Message of Grace
July 2018 | Vol 11 Issue 7
Articles are due the 15th of the
month preceding publication.
Welcome to Grace Lutheran's eNewsletter!
Hope you enjoy your 4th of July festivities!
Click on the links at the right to view or print the calendar and volunteer schedule , plus you can go directly to our website, Facebook and sites in the ELCA family. If you have anything you would like put in the newsletter, send an email to me at
 Quick Links
Access the Mobile Directory by clicking on the button at left, enter the access code (if it's the first time) and you're in! We sent you the access code by separate email in February or you can get it at church. Please don't share outside of Grace.
A Word from Pastor Andy
Pastor Andy
Happy Anniversary, Pastor Andy! Seven years have gone by so fast, we had to look it up and couldn't believe it's been that long. We are grateful that God has blessed us with you and your family and that you have served so faithfully. We love you, Pastor!
A Life Well Lived
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Proverbs 16:9

I don't have to tell you that this past month has been full of rain. Many homes and fields have dealt with their fair share of flooding. This excess flooding has lead to a greater concern of what the water might do to our fields and homes. As I think about this excess flooding, I remember it was just a few short years ago that we were praying for rain. The days were hot and the fields and wells were dry. All of this makes me think about the importance of balance. Yes, balance in our weather, but most importantly balance in our lives. All of us are called to certain roles and pursuits. We are called to our jobs, our families and even our church. Understanding how all these pieces balance each other can often feel like a puzzle that is difficult to solve. We constantly wonder, “How do all these roles we experience fit together?”

It may sound overly simplistic, but I think we can respond by asking, “What do you want me to do today God?” Too often we begin our days thinking about all the things that WE need to do, instead of focusing on the things that God's wants us to do. When we focus on the things we think we should do we often feel like a failure when we don't complete them. We see our lives being about us and the things we want to do. But when we think about what God wants us to do we see Him as being in control. If we accomplish something great, the glory ultimately goes to God. At the same time if we fail to meet a worldly standard, we don't get hung up on it. We live not by our own expectations, but by God's expectations, living life as God brings it to us. When I think about Jesus, I remember he lived each day as it came, addressing the things that God placed in front of him. My prayer for you is that you would do the same. Living not the life you think you need to live, but the life God has placed in front of you, trusting that God's will is being done.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Andy
Message from our NEW Music Director, Danielle Cairoli
I am so excited to be the new choir director, and to work together with you to sing God's praises!  

As you know, I will be starting the position in August, but I'm already working with Kristin and Pastor Andy for a hopefully smooth transition.

I will be playing for the services on August 12 and 19. I would like to plan a Meet and Greet after the 9:30 service on August 12 so I have the opportunity to meet as many current and prospective choir members as possible before we start our rehearsals in September. Hope to see you there!

I would also like to put together a small committee of choir members (2-3 people) to help with the hymn selections for our services. I want to make sure the congregation feels comfortable singing the hymns even when the choir isn't leading the music. My plan is for this committee to meet quarterly, for up to an hour. Meetings will be held in August, October, January, and April. If you are interested in being part of this committee, please let me know within the next couple of weeks. Thank you!

Our first rehearsal will be on Monday, September 10 at 7:00pm. I have a lot of ideas, questions for you, and want to hear your ideas, so we can chat more at the Meet and Greet.

Lastly, I am looking for secondary pianists/accompanists to help cover services. I am attaching the recruiting flier and I will be placing some on the Ministry table in the Narthex. Please feel free to pass this along to anyone who might be interested. Thank you!

I hope you are all enjoying the summer! Please let me know if you have any questions... I'm looking forward to meeting you soon!

Electronic Giving Now Available
Grace Lutheran Church has implemented a new ACH contribution feature to our stewardship program. This program will allow members to make their weekly or monthly contributions electronically without the need to write checks. This program is administered by our own local bank and is safe, secure and confidential. You can fill out a form available here , on the website or at the welcome desk in the Narthex and return it to the church office or place in a collection plate.

This new program is completely voluntary and has been instituted as a result of many comments from our recent focus discussions with our members. This will allow you to make regular donations automatically even when you miss a Sunday worship session due to vacation or other reasons. If you have any questions, please contact the church office or Jon Petersen, 815-790-5934.

Download and print the form here. Fill it out and return with a voided check to the church office. Please note that if you wish to donate to the building fund or other specific causes you will need to write a check or use cash as before.
Many volunteers care for our church gardens!
This month we highlight volunteers who care for two of the church gardens with hostas and ferns. 

Carol Jean& Ron Steadman care for the garden on the west end of the church, alongside the gate separating the north and south entrances (Photo1). Their garden wasn't much a few years back when they adopted it, but they have filled it with lovely hostas of several varieties in recent years. Jean and Ron have been long standing members of Grace and have served in many roles within the Church, including being ushers and greeters at first service. Every month Carol Jean brings in her delicious egg casserole for Outreach Café and they can always be counted on to help with whatever event is taking place. They lived in Woodstock for many years and currently reside in Twin Lakes.

Gary Bitler cares for the growing fern garden just to the right of the south entrance (photo 2). Gary and wife Sue have been married for 37 years and have two adult children. Gary retired from a 38 year career in law enforcement. They have been members of Grace since the early 1990's. Gary currently serves as President of the Church Council and Sue is a member of WELCA. 

Our church gardens are all cared for by volunteers who adopt individual gardens. This is a great volunteer opportunity for anyone interested in gardening and needing the flexibility of volunteering on your own schedule. If you are interested in this ministry, Deborah Billig @ or 815-271-5342. 
Steadman Garden
Bitler Garden
Upcoming Events, How You Can Participate
Let's play ball!
Support the Grace Softball Team!
Only a few games left in the season! Come on out to our next game:
Monday, July 2, 2018 Township 2
   7:30 pm   S2  Grace Lutheran at St. Peter's

For more information:
Outreach Cafe July 22nd
Our next Outreach Café will be on Sunday, July 22nd  from 8:30-9:30. All funds raised will be donated to PADS, Habitat for Humanity, Richmond Food Pantry and our Haiti Mission. Thanks to Thrivent Financial for their support to purchase food and supplies. To help out or donate food, see Tina Peterson. Live Generously!

Outreach Café Contact: Tina Peterson,
Do You Own a Hawaiian Shirt?
Some of our members wore their Hawaiian shirts during the month of May. It was so much fun that we have decided to repeat this during the remainder of the summer. Please join us as we show our Aloha spirit by wearing your finest Hawaiian shirts during the months of July and August. 
PADS - Help for the homeless this summer
We're experiencing some very HOT, muggy weather and the mosquitoes are out in force. Many of our homeless pitch tents during the summer. If you've ever spent time outside in the summer, you know how miserable those mosquitoes can be - but you probably have repellent on hand or can choose to go inside. They often don't have a place to go to get away from the heat and mosquitoes. You can help by donating insect repellent and mosquito netting. If you can, please leave it on the left hand freezer in Luther Hall and Curt will get it to them.

Thanks to Ron Erdman and the Rotary Club for a generous donation!

Thank you for your continued support.

Curt Bjorklund, or call 815-529-7746
Vacation Bible School Aug 6-10 - Join Us!
Vacation Bible School (VBS) will be held from 9:00 am to 11:00 am each day from August 6 through August 10. The theme this year is “Shipwrecked: How Jesus anchors us through life’s storms.”

VBS is open to kids from age 4 to those entering 5th grade. The cost is $10 per child.

The deadline for registration is July 30, 2018.

To register,  complete the Registration Form  and return it to the church office. Contact the church office (815-678-3082) or email Pastor Andy ( ) for more information.
Women of the ELCA, Northern Illinois Synod, Convention September 22nd
Join us on September 22nd for the Convention of the Northern Illinois Synod Women's organization (WELCA). It will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Harvard, IL (just a short distance for us). If you've ever wondered about the role of women in the Synod, this event is an opportunity for you to learn about and worship with other Lutheran women.

Any women of Grace are welcome to attend, as we are all members of WELCA. For more information, contact Sandy Messick. 815 354 6521 or
Stewardship of the Earth
Stewardship of Time
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

Time. There never seems to be enough. With all our modern conveniences and technological advances, we should have more leisure time than any period in history. In reality, the opposite is true. For many it’s run, run, run, go, go, go, leaving people stressed and tired. 

Time is ingrained in our lives. It is the subject of songs, like Jim Croce’s “If I Could Save Time in a Bottle” and Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time”, to name a couple. We use phrases like “not enough hours in the day”, “where has the time gone”, and “don’t have all day”. We have summer time, life time, meal time and bed time. There is on time, over time, full time and flex time. If you are old enough you might remember Hammer time and Howdy-Doody time.

We live in a performance-oriented society, where a premium is placed on activities that produce a result. This means that unless there is a visible accomplishment, time is often viewed as wasted. Time has become a scarce resource, often becoming more valuable than money.

As the verses from Ecclesiastes say, there is a time for everything. Not only do we take time to build and plant, we also need down time to laugh, weep, dance and just be silent. Just as important is God’s time. Time for worship and reading the Bible. Time for volunteering. Time for contacting a friend or neighbor and letting them know you care.

Eighty-six thousand four hundred. God has blessed us with 86,400 seconds a day. It does not matter your age, gender, race or economic status, we all get the same amount of time each and every day. You can’t save it up or gift it to someone else. When the day passes, it is gone.

Prayerfully consider how you can spend some of your valuable time being God’s hands here on earth. Don’t you think it’s about time?

Submitted by Ray Yoder

Stewardship: “Everything we do after we say I Believe.”

Bits and Pieces from the Church Mouse 
I’ll be taking a break for a few months – even mice have families to take care of and need to take some things off their plate sometimes. But I plan to be back in the fall!
Enjoy the summer!

Bible Study Opportunities
Women's Friendship & Faith Monthly Bible Study
Won't you join us for a once-monthly Bible Study, open to all women who want to grow in faith and share fellowship with other amazing women.
When: Second Monday of the month at 7pm at the church. Cost: $6 for the book. We are using Max Lucado’s Life Lessons Series to study the Book of Acts. Our next session is July 9th. We will read about how the earliest Christians were transformed by their faith. We will also look at our own lives and see how knowing Christ can transform us.

Please contact the church office or Thorey Ellis at (815)276-2456 to sign up so we have enough materials.

Divorce Care Resumes in August
We meet Thursdays at 6:30pm. New sessions begin in August.

Pray on these opportunities to be "a light" in someone else's lives.
Contact: Linda Davis 815-347-5982

Divorce Care Recovery Support Groups -  More information
Women of the ELCA - WELCA
The May meeting had to be cancelled due to weather conditions and paving of our parking area. The next available meeting was held on Monday, June 11 th in Luther Hall.

Our main topic was to finalize loose ends from our Craft/Vendor/Bake Sale. After all expenses our net profit was a little over $2,000.00. Thank you cards were sent all who helped or contributed in some way making the fair a success. Lois Randall gave a report on the fair pointing out some comments from vendors, our guests and WELCA. These comments will be discussed in the future.

It has been voted that since all women of the church are WELCA members, birthday cards will be sent to them starting in September.

Joan Rzonca has a new title and is now our Communications Director. Simply said, messages for the congregation or the community will appear in the newsletter, the Sunday bulletin or on the projection video. Please submit information to Joan.

The committee working on our table for the Ministry Fair will meet on Sunday, August 12 th after the 9:30am service to discuss and finalize the plans.

A reminder about the WELCA Convention on September 22th at Trinity Church in Harvard. For further information contact Sandy Messick.

The next regular meeting for the new season will be held on Monday, September 10 th at 1:00pm in Luther Hall. Sandy Messick will be contacting the Richmond Rescue Squad to give a presentation regarding emergency readiness in various situations. Remember to bring your own soup, salad, sandwich or fruit to the regular meeting which we will partake of after our meeting adjourns and socializing begins.

WELCA women have made their monthly hostess selection for the new season.

Contact Sandy Messick for more information. 815 354 6521
Remember –
still collecting slightly used men and women’s size large clothing for homeless in McHenry County. Also $5.00 gift cards for McDonalds or Burger King help feed and shelter the homeless for a time. See Curt Bjorklund for further information
- Curt is also in charge of PADS at Grace and is always looking for donations of food to serve at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church the first Thursday of September through April.
-- remember safety traffic – school buses, crossroads, young and older on bikes, summer traffic, etc. Patience is needed.
- help the food pantry – canned goods and paper goods most welcome. Collection boxes available at church.
- save your MarketPlace (Sentry) receipts and drop in container in hallway going to the office. We used to have more receipts donated and are renewing our request for these receipts. Please have the sticker placed on the back so we get credit.
- continue saving the pull tabs from cans. Put into a baggie and leave on counter in Narthex .
- Debbie Billig is looking for help to take over some of the garden areas available. No special time required. Contact Debbie if interested. 

Thanks –
- to all who made the new parking lot and entrances possible! They are beautiful. Praise the Lord.
- thanks to all who offer their time, talents and equipment to keep our church running smoothly. Special thanks to all the volunteers young and older who answer the call “to help” when needed.
- thanks to the editor of our newsletter, Chris Bjorklund, who edits all the news and puts it together in a great format. She deserves a lot of credit for doing a great job.
- thanks to Phil and Katrina who put the news from WELCA on the video screen.
- special thanks to our Pastor Andy for bringing so many new families into our church.
- to all who make our church so friendly and welcoming.

Dates to Remember in July –
- Wednesday July 4th – Independence Day
- Thursday, July 5th - Pastor's 7th anniversary at Grace
- Sunday, July 22nd – Outreach Café Breakfast
- Sunday, July 29th - Benefit concert for Dave Nelson family

Never forget our armed forces personnel and our vets. Without them, we would not have the freedoms we enjoy today. We give you our THANKS

May Giving: $18,731; Average Attendance per Sunday: 143