Message of Grace
June 2018 | Vol 11 Issue 6
Articles are due the 15th of the
month preceding publication.
Welcome to Grace Lutheran's eNewsletter!
It may be summer, but we have a LOT going on in June.
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 Read last month's newsletter
Be sure to check out our updated website. Thanks, Sandy Yoder for all your work!
 Quick Links
Access the new Mobile Directory . Just click 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
The Way to Pray
"One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.'"  Luke 11:1

“Lord, teach us how to pray.” This is a request that prompted Jesus to teach the Lord's Prayer. The disciples struggled to find the right words to pray, and often so do we. Sometimes we wonder if we are using the right words or praying for the right things. We put pressure on ourselves to pray correctly, so much so, that it may keep us from doing it at all. But the Bible is abundantly clear that there is no right way to pray as long as we pray from our hearts.

During the month of June we are doing a sermon series on the Book of Psalms. This wonderful book is in fact a series of prayers. When we read through the book of Psalms we quickly learn that there is no one right way to pray. The author of the Psalms at times prays with joy and at times with sadness. He prays at times with gratitude and with anger, knowing that ultimately God loves him and he can trust his heart with Him. The Psalms not only serve as an inspiration for us, but also a resource. Over the years I've known many people who have not only read the Psalms, but prayed the Psalms. We can do the same. As we use the words of the Lord's Prayer we can, and should, use the words of the Psalms to connect with God. Most importantly, we should know that there is no right way to pray, as long as we pray from the heart.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Andy
New Members Received May 20th
The new members pictured are, from the left, Mark and Kristina Wiese (daughter Kara), Bryan and Anne Johnson (children Theodore and Gene), Jaclyn Wenzel (son Jack), Kathy Zank, Penny Dolan, Julie Ford, Jon and Alyssa Niemic (son Bryce). Not pictured: Dean Challed
Kristin will be leaving us in September
Last fall Kristin Lundine Miller stepped in to fill the void left by Celia Villacres as pianist and choir director. She hasn't been with us for long, but she's won our hearts and admiration. However, travelling from Crystal Lake several times a week, sometimes in bad weather, along with a very busy schedule, has been difficult. She has found that she needs to 'lighten the load' and take a position with a church closer to home. She will continue to play for worship through August. We'll miss you, Kristin, and wish you God's blessing!
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.
Upcoming Events, How You Can Participate
Congregational Meeting June 24th, 10:30
The annual June meeting of the Grace Lutheran Congregation will be after 2nd service on Sunday, June 24th. The main agenda item will be to elect several new Council members. Please plan to attend!
Volunteer Gardeners are at it again!
Did you know the church gardens are cared for by church volunteers? The ministry is the Adopt A Garden program . There are 12 individual gardens on the church property each cared for by a volunteer or volunteer family. The volunteers care for their gardens by weeding, mulching, planting, watering and overall care of their individual garden. Each volunteer has the freedom to be creative. This fellowship is a great option for those needing flexibility in their volunteer hours since the volunteers garden on their own schedule. During the growing season we will be highlighting our volunteers in the newsletter. This month we are highlighting two gardens with beautiful spring bulbs.
The first photo is the North garden under the trees as you enter the upper North parking lot. Ray Yoder and daughter Jennifer care for this garden. Ray and Sandy moved to the area 3 years ago from Madison, WI. They share their home with daughter Jen and Sandy’s mother Barbara Parks. Sandy most recently shared one of her many gifts by coordinating much of the content of the newly launched n church web site. Both Ray and Jennifer are members of the People of Praise choir.

The second photo is the South front garden as you enter the church and is cared for by Deborah Billig. Deborah and husband Dave and sons Sam, Seth and Nate have been members of Grace for 14 years however not consecutively. Deborah worked for Abbott for 31 years and that career moved the family back and forth between Ohio and Illinois. The last move back to Illinois was in 2011. Youngest son Nate was baptized at Grace as a newborn and recently completed his confirmation this past Spring. Oldest son Sam is now a Junior at Milliken studying Biology and Seth is graduating HS on June 1 and will be headed to the University of Illinois this fall for Engineering. Dave is a veterinarian at Lakeland Animal Hospital in McHenry as well as Helping Paws Shelter in Woodstock.
Are you interested in adopting one of the gardens ? We have one available! The garden on the Northeast entrance is available. Contact Deborah if you would like to adopt this beautiful garden.
Linda Ketelson started the adopt-a-garden program and coordinated the volunteers for several years. As many know, she and husband Bob retired to Arizona last fall. Deborah has taken over the coordination of the program and can be reached at or 815-271-5342
Yoder Garden
Yoder Garden
Billig Garden
Billig Garden
Attention Amazon Shoppers!
If you ever shop on Amazon, you can support Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County at no additional cost to you! Just opt to use AmazonSmile . It’s a simple, automatic way for you to support a charitable organization every time you shop with no cost to you. Go to and on your first visit you will have the opportunity to select a charitable organization to receive donations from your eligible purchases (0.5%). Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County is one of the options! You can use your existing account (Prime, if you have, etc.) and your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.  

For any questions or suggestions, please contact Rose McGuire at or 815.245.0566
Let's play ball!
Support Grace Softball Team!
Our next game:
Monday, June 04, 2018 Township 3
   6:30 pm   S1   Fellowship of Faith Lutheran   at Grace Lutheran

For more information:
Outreach Cafe June 24th
Our next Outreach Café will be on Sunday, June 24th  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,
Northern Illinois Synod Assembly Jun 14-16
The annual Synod Assembly of the Northern Illinois Synod will be held June 15-16 at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. Each year Pastor and two members of the congregation join members of all the churches in the synod, currently nearly 150, for worship, education and business sessions, which include the election of the Synod Council and members of many committees, similar to a congregation but on a broader scale. This year, Pastor will be joined by Jeff and Sarah Stark. Thanks for your dedication, Jeff and Sarah! Learn more here.
PADS - Help for the homeless this summer
We've already had some very warm, 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.

Through your support of the monthly Outreach Cafe, the Easter Breakfast and cash donations, we were able to furnish some of the funds to purchase much needed mattresses, pillows and other supplies. Watch the newsletter and bulletins for information about summer events and other supplies you can help us with.

Thank you for your continued support.

Curt Bjorklund, or call 815-529-7746
Fishing with Family Event June 24 - Join Us!
When:  June 24th 3:00-6:00 pm
Where:  Spring Grove Fish Hatchery
2314 Hatchery Road, Spring Grove, IL
Parking fee of $5.00 per car
Bring your fishing pole, bait, and picnic cooler
RINGS - Youth Gathering in Houston 6/27 - 7/1
Several of our youth will attend the ELCA Youth Gathering this summer in Houston. About 30,000 youth and chaperones attend these triennial events. Through days spent in interactive learning, worship, Bible study, service and fellowship, young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives. Learn more here . High school youth who are attending or interested in future events can sign up for the blog, newsletter and get other resources.
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
Loving Your Enemy
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.  Matthew 5:43-45
Loving and caring for your neighbor is an important aspect of stewardship. Yes, that’s correct. Stewardship is part of everything we say and do and every decision we make. God has entrusted much to us, and that includes one another. And if you think being a good steward of financial resources is tough, how much more difficult do you think it is to be a good steward of the one who is different from you, much less one whom you consider to be your enemy?
Jesus clearly cares about how we treat one another. The “Sermon on the Mount” is full of teachings about proper human relationships. He begins many by referring to traditional law, saying, “You have heard that it was said.” Following the letter and spirit of the law is tough enough, but Jesus ups the ante considerably by doing what he does so well: drawing the circle of inclusion ever wider. Most people pride themselves on being good, law-abiding citizens, but it’s not enough simply to avoid doing harm to one’s neighbor. Jesus calls us also to work actively on behalf of our neighbors, to seek their good, and even to pray for those who torment or would harm us. This is one tall order.
All one has to do is turn on the news or scroll through a Twitter feed to see horrific stories of the injustices we humans heap upon others. From Chicago to Aleppo and points everywhere in between, humankind’s inhumanity to humankind fills daily headlines. Hatred and dissent find expression and claim permission in“-isms” of race, class, gender, sexual identity, religion, and politics, often thinly veiled under the supposed mantle of Christianity. Jesus, however, commands us to love our neighbors—not seek to do harm to them. As one of my favorite bumper stickers quips: “When Jesus said, ‘Love your enemies,’ I think he probably meant don’t kill them.” Even so, almost every day it seems there’s a new story of hate and strife directed at one’s neighbor who is somehow different or “less than,” and therefore dismissed or outright loathed.
I’m not suggesting that the average citizen is going to run out and commit murder or even openly hate and scorn their neighbors. Most people are able to control the more base aspects of their inner beings. “Respectable” folk are at least able to hide hate and fear under masks of respectability or behind ready rationalizations and easy excuses. It’s the more subtle ways we hate our neighbors that Jesus tries to address in this passage. It’s the easy assumptions we make, the haste with which we dismiss, ignore, or brush away our neighbors’ plight, and the stereotypes and ignorance under which we operate.
To be a steward of one’s neighbor implies getting to know others, to seek understanding and common ground. It means praying for the welfare of those one does not know and bridging the gap by finding ways to enter into relationship and learn from each other. It means seeing the image of God and the face of Christ in everyone, and it means stepping way out of our secure personal space and cultural comfort zones. It means acknowledging and working to move beyond racism, sexism, ageism, and all of our other “isms” and schisms.
These are hard teachings, ones that convict us and drive us to our knees at the foot of the cross. Thankfully, the discipleship journey is one of lifelong learning and constant revision. After all, it is only by the grace and mercy of the Son of God that we are able to even begin to faithfully steward this amazing gift of relationship and love of neighbor.
Copyright (c) 2017, Rev. Sharron Blezard. Used with Permission.
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 June 11th. 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 women of WELCA are on break for the summer. Our May meeting had to be postponed 2 times due to weather conditions which also affected our new driveway. Our new date has been set for Monday, June 11th @ 1:00pm in the Fellowship Hall and will cover what our May meeting was scheduled to discuss bringing WELCA up-to-date before summer break. Our regular meeting for the fall will start on Monday, September 10th @ 1:00pm. You will be reminded of this meeting.
At this time, there are no summer events being planned. You will be advised via email, the church bulletin or on the TV screen in the sanctuary if and when events are in the making or coming up.

Contact Sandy Messick for more information. 815 354 6521
Remember –
-Summer is here but school buses are still bringing students to schools at various hours of the day. Please be aware of students entering and leaving buses.
- Uphold the law and stop when a school bus has stopped
- People are crossing in crosswalks and rely on your courtesy to stop whenever someone is in a crosswalk and wait until they are safely across the street or roadway to proceed. IT IS THE LAW.
- Please do not litter our roadways with cans or garbage. Use a plastic bag which you can carry in your car and dispose of it properly.
- Farmers are out on the roadways driving heavy machinery and need your patience as they cannot move fast. If not for our farmers, you would really have a reason to be impatient. Thank You.
- Sign Up your child/children for Vacation Bible School. Registration Forms are available. 
- If you do not have a computer, a current copy will be made available for you to take located on the WELCOME desk as you enter the Sanctuary. 

Congratulations to all our graduates from Grade School, High School and College. You make us PROUD.

Thanks –
- To all who donate their time to handle the coffee service between services and after our late service. Set up and clean up also goes hand-in-hand with this service. The Fellowship Committee relies on the ‘free will’ offerings to purchase supplies when needed.
-To all who give of their time, expertise and materials to keep the wheels of our church in motion. Thank You, Thank You.

Dates to Remember in June –
- Monday, June 11 th WELCA meeting (last meeting until September)
- Wednesday, June 13 th Flay Day – fly em high and many
- Sunday, June 17 th Father’ Day – your grilling day
- Wednesday, June 20 th – First day of summer 

This Memorial Weekend we honored our past and present veterans. Not only on this day, but every day we should honor our armed forces personnel and our veterans. We have more freedom in the USA which was fought for by these brave men and women. Our country is blest with the best. Thanks for all who are serving and have served. We give you our THANKS

April Giving: $13,386; Average Attendance per Sunday: 172