Message of Grace
February 2018 | Vol 11 Issue 2
Articles are due the 15th of the
month preceding publication.
Welcome to Grace Lutheran's eNewsletter!
Thanks for the 'winter wonderland' photo, Dave! Can you believe it was raining the night before? 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
A Word from Pastor Andy
Pastor Andy
You can now access the Grace Mobile Directory from your smart phone, tablet or computer! Click here and enter the Access Code. (We'll send the code by separate email or you can get it at church.)
How to pray
"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
- Matthew 6:8  

As a pastor I often hear that people struggle with prayer and how to do it properly. Jesus noticed that people 2,000 years ago had this same problem. When Jesus decided to teach people how to pray he told them to start with the words “Our Father”. When we pray it is important to remember this teaching. Jesus wanted us to understand that we have parental relationship with God. Remember when you first moved away from home? You probably did all sorts of things to try and stay in touch with your parents. You made phone calls, wrote letters or even emails.

When we pray it’s helpful to view it like a phone call home to our parents. Essentially, I feel that's what prayer is, a call home. You call home to your parents because you want to keep in contact with them. Ideally, a person would like to be home in the same room with their parents but that can't happen so we call home. By calling home we are able to learn more about our parents and our parents are able to learn more about us. We can share experiences and gain advice through these valuable phone calls until we can return home. I think that's what we should seek to do when we pray— make phone calls to God until we can return to home with Him.

The next time that you are feeling distraught, joyful, depressed or happy make a phone call home to God. God is no different than our parents in the sense that the more we make these "phone calls" the closer we feel to Him. Just know that God loves us and wants to hear from us.

In Christ,
Pastor Andy
2017 Grace Lutheran Picture Directory is Complete!
The 2017 Grace Lutheran Directory is finished! Thank you to all of the members who participated. If you had your picture taken by Life Touch or if you submitted a photo you should also receive a copy of the directory. If you have not received your final directory yet, please stop by the office.
All members are able to access the Mobile Directory through this link: 

You need a special access code to get into the directory, which will be sent to you in a separate email or you can get it at church. (Since the newsletter is published online and copies are put on the table at church, we didn't want to include the code here. Please do not share the code.)

If you need to make changes to your contact information, contact Thorey Ellis.

Editor's note: I love this mobile directory. I got to it from my phone very easily and if you click on an email address, it will open a new email message or if you click on the phone number, it will call them! Click on the address and a map comes up!
Annual January Congregational Meeting Notes
Sunday, January 28th was the annual Congregational meeting for the purpose of reviewing the proposed budget for 2018/2019. After hearing reports from Treasurer Jon Petersen, President Gary Bitler and Pastor Andy, the members attending voted to accept the proposed budget. We also received an extensive written report from nearly every ministry of the church. Thanks to Sandy Yoder for pursuing the ministry organizers and putting it together! Also, Pastor shared his vision for our congregation, including being purposeful in making everyone in the congregation feel 'needed and known'. We'll hear more in the coming weeks.

Bits and Pieces from the Church Mouse 
Hello Friends…I hope you are doing well. Happy Valentine’s Day to you also. Speaking of love.. there are all kinds of love in the world. Did you know that God’s love for us is always there for us no matter where we are and no matter what we are doing. Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus our Lord. We know how much God loves us because He sent His Son to save us.

The January Congregational Meeting was held on January 28th. The primary purpose of this meeting was to adopt the 2018 budget. Sandy Yoder also put together a great report from almost every ministry of the church. Lots of great information. I'm going to read it when I have a question about what goes on here. (I managed to pick up a few snacks too under the coffee table. Love Tina Peterson's scones!)

The Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday which is on February 14, 2018. This is the time of reflection and penitence leading up to Easter Sunday. As Pastor Andy imposes the ashes, he reminds us “For dust you are and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19.

I heard with my big mouse ears the High School Youth Group will be hosting a chicken dinner fundraiser at Crandalls Restaurant in Hebron on Monday, February 19 th from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This fundraiser is for their mission trip to Houston this summer where they hope to help people affected by the hurricane last fall. You can purchase tickets from someone in the Youth Group in the Narthex before church or after church. I am planning on going so I can scarf up some crumbs. I can’t wait. Yummmm !!!
Upcoming Events, How You Can Participate
2017-2018 Capital Campaign Update - What's Next?
As of December 31st $95,995 has been given for the capital improvements. After reviewing all of the bids for repaving the parking lot and replacing the concrete pads at the entrances, Council has signed a contract with Rabine Paving – the same company that repaved the lower parking lot 2 years ago.

Thanks to substantial donations by Gary Rabine and Brad Wagner of Rabine Paving their bid was a remarkable $75,000; $35,000 below the original estimate of $110,000 for both projects! With the incredible generosity of Gary Rabine and Brad Wagner, and the amazing support of the congregation, we now have the funds needed to complete both Phase 2 and 3. Grace will be on the top of the list when the paving season begins this spring

Several concerns have been raised by members of the congregation about the last phase of this project, carpeting the sanctuary. At this time, the Capital Improvements Team is reviewing the issues and will research more options to address the concerns raised.

The committee can be reached by phone or email: Ron Erdmann: 815-861-9925, or Sandy Yoder: 815-581-3202, .
Outreach Cafe February 25th
Our next Outreach Café will be on Sunday, February 25th  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,,
Easter Breakfast April 1st - Help Wanted
Join us for Easter Brunch
Believe it or not, Easter is 8 weeks from this Sunday! It's not too early to think about arranging your plans so you can join us for worship and our annual breakfast buffet. Bring your family and friends. We also will need LOTS of help to prepare, cook, serve and clean up. All proceeds from the free-will offering benefit the local food pantries and PADS homeless ministry. Many hands make light work - even an hour of your time will be a big help! Watch for more information in a few weeks. Live Generously!
Contact: Chris Bjorklund at or
call 815-529-0789
Habitat for Humanity - New Opportunities
Habitat is restarting a PR Committee which will meet the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 5:30 pm at their offices in McHenry (5141 w. Bull Valley Road, Suite B in McHenry – phone: 815-759-9002). If you’re interested in joining, you can reach out directly to Holly Zissman, Director of Development at or 815-759-9002. If you’re curious but not completely sure if this is for you but would like to check it out, contact me and you could come as a guest and decide if it’s for you! 

(Check out the pink bunny cage at the Woodstock Restore. Nancy Kepple and Tina Trybula thought it was adorable and had to share.)

Some exciting news on the horizon is a Women Build planned for May 5th – 12th . I don’t have a lot of detail yet, but I’m sure the PR committee would appreciate any and all help for this project. Ladies - this may also be a fantastic opportunity to get your feet wet if you’ve been considering volunteering at a construction site! 

A new Habitat ReStore location in Woodstock is in the final stages and opening on Sat, Feb. 3rd. It is located next to the Jewel-Osco grocery store at the intersection of Country Club and IL-47. T he actual address is 111 S. Eastwood Dr., Woodstock IL 60098. The store contains donated furniture, cabinets, lighting, hardware, electrical and plumbing items, tools and more. Business Hours for shopping are: Wed through Sat from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. For donations and pick-ups only, Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  

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

If you, too, would be willing to get on the list of potential volunteers to contact when there’s a date / opportunity for us to help out, please contact me with your name / email / phone info. Feel free to call or email even if you just have questions, too! As always, I promise a “No Guilt” zone – if you join the list and can’t commit to a certain date / project, that’s OK! 

For any questions or suggestions, please contact Rose McGuire at or 815.245.0566
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 February 12th. 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.

New Divorce Care Sessions Begin Feb 1st
We will start up a new Divorce Care series February 1st at 6:30pm. Watch for more information in the newsletter and bulletin. If anyone is interested in becoming a leader, please call the office. Contact: Linda Davis 815-347-5982

Divorce Care Recovery Support Groups -  More information
Women of the ELCA - WELCA
Are we ready to say good-bye to the long and cold winter and head into the warmer spring-like climate? Yes, we are. Glad our meetings were midday and the WELCA ladies were able to come to our meetings. Below, you will read about future plans.
- We would be remiss if we did not mention our last (January) WELCA meeting hosted by Rita Popenhagen at her lovely home still decorated in the Holiday tradition. We all enjoyed a wonderful luncheon provided by Rita along with yummy desserts. Thank you, Rita. 
- our big event for the spring will be our Craft/Vendor and Bake sale on Saturday, April 21st from 9:00am until 3:00pm. Guests may come at any time during these hours. There is no cost to you. A lunch can be purchased at a nominal cost. A bake sale will also be available with homemade items (cakes, pies, breads, cookies etc.) for purchase. A signup sheet for donations of baked goods to sell at our bake sale will be posted in the near future. There will be signup sheets for setting up and cleanup, working in the kitchen, etc. 
- please ‘save the date’ on your calendars for April 21st. We still have space for a few more vendors to sign up. We guarantee you will have much to choose from. 
- signs and posters will be placed and distributed around local areas. If you wish any further information, please contact Sandy Messick either at church or on her phone 1-815-354-6521.
- when we are informed of other committee’s events we will be able to plan and schedule our future events. There are times when the WELCA ladies will offer to help other committees with their events but only when asked.
- the newly elected officers are fitting into their new positions and doing a great job. 
- once again, we are looking for new members to join the WELCA group of women. We meet the second Monday of each month at 1:00pm at the church. Your comments and new ideas are most welcome. Why not come and see what we are all about?

Our next meeting will be held on Monday, February 12th at 1:00pm at the church. Our hostesses will be Ann Katzenberg and Joan Ehorn. Please bring your own soup, salad, sandwich or fruit. Our hostesses will provide coffee and dessert which we will have after our meeting has adjourned - then time for eating and socializing. If you need a ride, please let Sandy Messick know and a ride will be provided for you. 

- The Northern Illinois WELCA Convention will be held at Harvard Trinity Church on Saturday, 
September 22, 2018. Mark your calendars now. Carpooling will be available. Contact Carol Heuer for more information. 
Remember –
food, shelter and clothing are year-round needs – please HELP
- PADS is continually looking for slightly used or new men’s and women’s large size clothing for the homeless people in McHenry County. Bags may be put in Luther Hall by the freezers with PADS marked on the bag/bags.
- the food pantry is always collecting non-perishable food and staples. Boxes and bags may be placed on the floor in the hallway leading to the church office. Also, a coin jar for donations is on the WELCOME COUNTER in the Narthex. The money collected is given to our local food pantry to buy food and staples.
- continue to support the Building Fund Campaign. As soon as weather permits and the money is available, we will be finalizing details regarding the remainder of our roadway. Thanks to all for making this long-overdue project a reality. YEAH!! 
- keep your eyes open as children are already out and about on their bicycles and skateboards. Also, more people are out and about walking so pay attention.
- if no one has approached you and you have a special talent, can offer advice or deals on products, do repairs and can help in any way to keep our church home in good repair, please let Pastor know. Just like your home, our church home is beautiful and requires work, cleaning and repairs. It just doesn’t happen folks – many offer their time and talents. Can You?
- coffee service after the late service is looking for volunteers to take a weekly turn to help prepare, serve and cleanup. Your Free Will offerings buy the supplies needed to keep this service going. If you can only bring juice, coffee cake, donuts, or cookies, please let Jan Heynis or Pat Petersen know. If you enjoy your coffee and sweets, please put a donation in the ‘free will’ offering cup on the table. 
- the new church directories are in. If you have not picked up yours please contact the church office or Thorey 
Ellis at1-815-276-2456.

Thanks –
- to Dave Nelson and Dave Oelert for replacing the old lighting bulbs in the Narthex with all new LED lights. Another big savings over the years. WOW!
- to all who continue to give of their time and talents to make our church home a friendly and welcoming church. 
- to our Pastor Andy and the members who make this all possible. 
- to our military men and women who are serving at home and abroad to keep our country free. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms which we have and enjoy today.

December Giving: $23,199; Average Attendance per Sunday: 133