Message of Grace
May 2018 | Vol 11 Issue 5
Articles are due the 15th of the
month preceding publication.
Welcome to Grace Lutheran's eNewsletter!
 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 dreamstar_00@msn.com. Read last month's newsletter
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We've added a button to access the new Mobile Directory . Just click on it, 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
vintage_birthday_card.jpg
Where are you going?
“Your Word is a lamp on my feet and a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

The month of May gets us thinking about endings and beginnings. Many people are looking forward to the summer to travel. Others are saying goodbye to their school as they graduate to new opportunities. Whenever something ends, we make plans. Having a plan gives a sense of hope and optimism of what the future might hold. But plans also bring a bit of anxiety, because ultimately we don't know if they will work out.

Right around the time you receive this newsletter, I will be turning 33 years old. There is something about a birthday that causes us to reflect. It's weird right? I mean it's just a number, but a birthday makes us look backwards and forwards. When I think about when I turned 13 or 23 I could have never predicted where I was going to wind up 10 years in the future. I am thankful to say it's been better than I could have imagined. In terms of what my life will look like when I'm 43? I honestly have no clue. Of course I could guess. But that's all it would be, a guess.

The above verse reminds us that God's light in our lives is not a spotlight, but a lamp. And in the darkness a lamp only shows us the next step . Jesus does not want us to look too far in the future, because He has a purpose for us today . When it comes to the future, plan on only one thing: Jesus being there.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. ”-Hebrews 13:8

In Christ,
Pastor Andy

Bits and Pieces from the Church Mouse 
I am so excited May is here because of all of the flowers that are in bloom, trees budding and birds singing. It is beautiful and it has been awhile since we have seen and heard these signs of Spring. Isn’t it great!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms . Whether you are a mom, adoptive mom, stepmom, expecting mom, or grandma we wish you a great Mother’s Day. Where would we be without you? You have done so much for us: fed us, clothed us, and made our cuts and scrapes go away. You are/were always there taking care of us. I am going to have to make a phone call to my mom on this special day to say “I love you, mom.” 

The ELCA Craft and Vendor Fair was held on April 21, 2018. It turned out to be a success and there were many crafters, vendors, raffle tickets were being sold, and you could purchase lunch. Of course, there were some crumbs that I was able to scarf down. YUMMM. You will be hearing more information coming your way after their meeting.

The Easter Breakfast was a success. Thank you to everyone who set up, cooked, cleaned up, and to those who ate breakfast. (Wow, I helped clean up by eating all of the crumbs!!) The proceeds will be going the Richmond-Spring Grove Food Pantry, Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry (Genoa City) and to PADS. 

On Memorial Day we give thanks and honor to those who have served in the armed forces. We appreciate all of their sacrifices they have made for us. Keep them and their families in your prayers.  

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!
Happy spring and enjoy the summer!

Upcoming Events, How You Can Participate
Women of the ELCA Retreat September 22nd
Sandy Messick and Rita Popenhagen attended the 2018 Spring Retreat for the Women of the ELCA on Saturday, April 28. Over 90 women from Northern Illinois gathered at the beautiful facilities of the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center in Oregon, Illinois for a day of fellowship, prayer and biblical studies of some of the lesser known women of the Bible. Hosted by President Kim Choin (of nearby Wonder Lake), there were also updates from Rocky Boy Reservation and LOMC's Grandparenting Program. Music was shared and the day closed with a worship service led by Pastor Diane Dardon, the Director of Pastoral Care and Religious Diversity at DePaul University, Chicago.

The next Northern Illinois Synod Convention will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Harvard on Saturday, September 22. As most of the Synod gatherings are further away, we hope to have a good turnout at this close-to-home venue. Any women of Grace are welcome to attend, as we are all members of WELCA. Contact Sandy Messick if you are interested. 815 354 6521
Habitat for Humanity News
The house in Cary for homeowner-to-be Carol is still in the works! In March, we had helped with painting. Kevin McGuire & I went again on Saturday, April 7th and helped with some finishing details – lots and lots of caulking! Even a small home seems big when filling in every nail hole and sealing baseboard. It was encouraging to see the progress over the past several weeks. The kitchen counter and cabinets are now in; laminate flooring throughout, as well as bathroom and laundry nook ceramic. Ceiling lighting has been installed, and appliances were set in place. Exterior work (siding) was also happening on this day as there had been weather delays. 

Carol was once again working alongside us. She is a friendly, enthusiastic hard worker with a quick sense of humor which made the work less of “a chore”. 

The completion date is somewhat of a moving target – late April to mid-May at this point. 

I want to sincerely thank those who’ve reached out to join the list of potential volunteers! 

For any questions or suggestions, please contact Rose McGuire at springgrove.rose@gmail.com or 815.245.0566
Home-owner-to-be Carol at work in her new home in Cary.
Carol's kitchen is almost finished!
Let's play ball!
Support Grace Softball Team!
Grace's co-ed softball team is off to a good start, even if they didn't win! Our first game was April 23rd in the McHenry Christian Fellowship Softball League.
If you would like to join:
  • Must be 16 years old to play. Players 55 years and older must have a doctors note (league rules).
  • Games are Monday evenings starting at either 6:30pm, 7:30pm or 8:30pm
  • For more information or to sign up contact gracelutheransoftball@gmail.com
Players and fans at the first game of the season, April 23rd.
Outreach Cafe May 27th
Our next Outreach Café will be on Sunday, May 27th  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, tinap59@hotmail.com
PADS Update - Your gifts do make a difference
I would like to share a note Ron Erdmann and I received from Gina Zinck, site manager for PADS at St. Joseph's Catholic church where we supply meals and a place to sleep the first Thursday of each month October through April. (St. Joe's hosts the PADS clients every week but other churches furnish the meals, supervision and laundry service on the other weeks.) Ron invited Gina and me to speak at their Rotary Club meeting Wednesday May 2nd.

" I thank you once again for inviting us to share information and our experience with the PADS program. It is good to raise awareness and ignite the innate compassion that most of us have in our hearts for those less fortunate. 

Last night was the final PADS evening of this season. We passed out tents, sleeping bags, tarps, gift cards and more. It is hard to see people have zero options for adequate shelter. I’m still processing all that I heard and witnessed in the last 24 hours. 

We are inspired to do more. As you know, the problems and obstacles surrounding homelessness are many and complicated. It will take divine intelligence and intervention to make sustainable changes."

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 the items Gina mentioned. Thank you for your continued support. Watch the newsletter and bulletins for information about summer events and supplies you can help us with.

Curt Bjorklund, chbjorklund@hotmail.com or call 815-529-7746
RINGS Dinner Theater a Success
Then Annual RINGS Dinner Theater on April 23rd was a great success. They raised about $2000 to be used for 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.
Stewardship of the Earth
Reuse, Recycle, Rethink
A man asked Jesus, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”. . . “One thing you lack,” Jesus said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:17, 21.

It is not that Jesus is against possessions, they were just not important to him. He also understood that possessions can come between us and our relationship with God.

There is no doubt we live in a culture that emphasizes possessions. Possessions often become status symbols. We are inundated with ads for everything from soft drinks to automobiles. Advertisers have gotten very good at telling us how our lives will be that much better if we purchased whatever they are trying to sell. Comedian George Carlin had a comedy routine about possessions. He called a house just a big box for our stuff. And when we filled that house, we bought a bigger one so we had more room for more stuff.

Not only can our possessions affect our relationship with God, they also have an impact the earth. First, there are the resources needed to produce, package and transport those items. Some of those resources are not renewable. Second, the vast majority of everything we currently own will eventually become trash. In 2015, the United States generated about 254 million tons of trash. While about 30% of it is recycled, most of the rest end up in landfills. Some becomes litter that pollutes the land and waterways. It was recently reported that an “island” of garbage twice the size of Texas is floating in the Pacific between California and Hawaii.

As Christian stewards, we need to be aware of the impact our lifestyles can have on God’s earth. Here are some ways to reduce that impact:
 
Reuse : Make use of reusable items whenever possible. Regular dishes and silverware that are washed after use have a much lower impact on the earth than purchasing paper plates and plastic ware that are thrown away after one use. The same is true for reusable grocery bags and water bottles. Donate clothing and other items you no longer use to places such as Goodwill. Not only are you extending the life of those items, you are also helping those that are less fortunate.
 
Recycle : Although we already recycle about 30% of our waste, it is estimated that we could recycle about twice that. Make every effort to recycle. If you are out for a walk and see litter on the roadside, pick it up and recycle what you can. If you do use plastic grocery bags, many grocery stores have bins for recycling them. It is important to take electronics and batteries to collection stations as these items contain toxic heavy metals that can leach out if put in landfills.
 
Rethink : This is the toughest area because it requires us to change our purchasing habits. Can a purchase be delayed? Is that car or electronic device still doing its job so you can wait a few more months before purchasing a new one? Is that item something you need, or something you want? A large percentage of a store’s sales are “impulse purchases”. Stores use flashy displays in aisles to catch your attention and get you to purchase items you did not come to the store for. Consider this to combat impulse buys. If you left the store and went to your car without that item, would it be important enough to you to go back into the store just to purchase it? If not, don’t buy it.
 
God made us stewards of the earth. What are you doing to care for it?

~Ray Yoder
Stewardship: “Everything we do after we say I Believe.”
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 May 14t h. 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 - Opportunity to Serve
We meet Thursdays at 6:30pm. The final session for this set is May 10th. New sessions begin in August.

Divorce Care is looking for co-leaders. You do not have to be divorced to become a co-leader. Qualifications: a good listener; discrete; willing to pray for others and trust God is with us and God will heal us. Other leadership opportunities to consider: Starting a new ministry: Divorce Care for Kids DC4Kids is divorce recovery of children of divorce and would coincide with the current DC ministry; Grief Share Grief recovery support group. We have all lost someone we love. Single-Parenting: The solutions for single-parenting ministry in our church. Being a single parent is rough enough on your own, support is always appreciated. http//www.dc4k.org ; http/www.griefshare.org ; http//www.singleparenting.org

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
May is just around the corner along with warmer weather. Briefly, at our meeting in April, we finalized details involving our Craft/Vendor/Bake Sale. We sure were ready. Past experience played an important part in our success. Of course, the weather was on our side for a change. At this time, all of the bills for expenses have not been received so an accurate net total is still forthcoming. We did well owing to lots of help setting up, manning stations, cleanup and outside help. Again, thanks to all for their help and support. Our homemade baked items sold completely out. Thanks to all the bakers who donated.

The last WELCA meeting before summer vacation will be held on Monday, May 14th at 1:00pm at Grace.  Our hostesses are Carol Heuer and Lynn Jambor and Carol will be also be giving devotions. Would love to have you come and share your ideas and comments with us.

WELCA will be on summer hiatus for the months of June, July and August and will resume our meetings on September 10th at 1:00pm in Fellowship Hall. Further information will be available in the weekly church bulletin and email messages.

Contact Sandy Messick for more information or if you need a ride. 815 354 6521
Hoping you all have a safe and enjoyable summer. 

Thanks from WELCA
Many thanks to all who helped in any way with our Craft / Vendor Fair and Bake Sale and to those who came and supported it. Your most generous donations of baked goods supported the bake sale way beyond our expectations and we thank you again and again. We also thank those who helped move furniture and then put it back when the day ended. And to those who came in and offered to help where needed, thank you. It was a very successful event but only because of those of you who helped and those of you who came and enjoyed it. Thanks so much!
Remember –
The homeless in McHenry County do not take a summer break. The only break they have is the weather is warmer and shelter is a little easier to find. Curt Bjorklund who handles PADS for our church is still collecting clothing for men and women during these warmer days. Gift cards for $5.00 or more at McDonalds or Burger King are always welcome. These places offer food, shelter and a place to relax and get out of the elements. Curt and Grace Lutheran will be resuming the PADS program in October. During the summer they are basically on their own but several churches still provide some meals and help with bug spray, toiletries, etc.

- donated clothing should be marked PADS and placed on the floor in Luther Hall by the freezers.
- continue to support our Building Fund Campaign
- continue to save your pop can tabs. Put them in a baggie and when full, bring to church.
- continue to save your Richter MarketPlace receipts with the stamp placed on the back. We receive money on the total amount of sales and give equally to the Richmond and Twin Lakes food pantries. A container is provided in the receptacle on the floor in the hallway to the office.
- children and adults will be out and about on the roads, etc. Please be alert for them and also for those in the crosswalks. You must stop and let pedestrians completely cross before you continue.
- school buses will be out during the summer months. Please use caution on the roads.
- if you would like to volunteer please let one of the ushers know of your willingness.
- Debbie Billig, who is in charge of our gardens, is looking for volunteers to fill areas that have become vacant. 
- the popular Outreach Café will continue on the fourth Sunday of each month during the summer months in the Fellowship Hall from 8:30am to 9:30am. 

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

Help Wanted -
- Jan Heynis is always looking for volunteers for the Altar Committee. Contact Jan if you can serve.
- Can you help with our Coffee Service? Sign-up sheets are on the revolving board.

Thanks –
- to all who volunteer for Coffee Service each Sunday. If no coffee or sweets are being provided, it is due to no volunteer has signed up. This service is strictly volunteer and the free will offering helps purchase supplies needed.
Volunteers are never alone; a helper is always on hand. We are always looking for volunteers and bakers who provide our sweets. A sign-up sheet is available on the table where coffee is served. 
- The end of May we will be honoring our current armed forces personnel, Veterans of past conflicts and wars, etc. We will always remember their duties and sacrifices at this time and, hopefully, each and every day. Give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy today, tomorrow and always. Support our Veterans and their organizations.

FLY THE FLAG - AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL - GOD BLESS AMERICA
March Giving: $17,566; Average Attendance per Sunday: 136