Message of Grace
March 2018 | Vol 11 Issue 3
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
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 last month or you can it at the church. Please don't share outside of Grace.
 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 sent the code by separate email or you can get it at church.)
What's the Deal with Lent?
" Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1  

Throughout the year we get very used to a church rhythm. Each year we surround our Christians festivals and holidays with a variety of activities. Christmas brings about the reminder that Christ's light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it. During Easter the promise of spring reminds us of Christ's resurrection. But Lent? There is often a lot of uncertainty over what to do with Lent.

Perhaps one of the reasons there is so much uncertainty is that Lent has to do with sacrifice. Some of us choose to give up something during Lent. Others merely seek to make spiritual sacrifices as we focus on the reasons Jesus needed to be crucified.

But Lent is not all about sacrifice. There is another opportunity. Lent gives us a chance to turn our focus away from the things of this world and back towards Christ. Lent is that time where we can remind ourselves who we really are, and that we are not defined by jobs, our friends or even our families. Our true identity is a claimed and loved child of God. During this season I invite you to find ways to draw nearer to our Father who claims us all as His children.

In Christ,
Pastor Andy
Holy Week Schedule Mar 26-Apr 1
Maundy Thursday – March 29 – 7:00 PM
Ecumenical Good Friday service –12:00 noon – March 30 - here at Grace
Good Friday Service – March 30 – 7:00 PM
Easter Sunday - April 1st - 8:00 and 10:30 AM

Bits and Pieces from the Church Mouse 
Happy Spring to all of my friends. The first day of Spring is Tuesday, March 20, 2018. That makes me very happy. While running around outside I saw other signs of Spring such as many birds singing. In some places I have noticed the grass is turning green. Pretty soon the trees will be budding, and the daffodils will be popping out. God makes our earth a beautiful place.

We welcome you to the Lenten Services on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm. Pastor Andy is doing a Bible study on The Ten Commandments. Won’t you come and join us.

Don't forget to set your clocks AHEAD on March 10th before you go to bed or you'll be late! I hate losing that hour of sleep but really like the extra daylight in the afternoon.

Easter is coming up fast…it is on Sunday, April 1st . If you would like to assist with the Easter Breakfast , please contact Chris Bjorklund at 815-529-0789 or there is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex of the list of duties. It is very good breakfast with a variety of tasty dishes and desserts! Hop on in as they start serving about 7:00 am. 

The 5th Annual Stuff the Bus has already started. Grace Lutheran Church and Daycare will be collecting food and paper products to be distributed to our local food pantries on Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018. Grab a bag or two and fill it up!! Boy, this is a dream come true for me. Wait a minute…it will be all nonperishable foods so I can’t get into it – drat!
See you next month and keep on thinking Spring.
Updates on Current projects
Capital Campaign
As reported at the January meeting, thanks to substantial donations by Gary Rabine and member Brad Wagner of Rabine Paving their bid was a remarkable $75,000 to resurface the parking lot and replace the cement pads at both entrances. With the total funds raised so far of $96,715 we were able to replace the outdoor lighting and still have enough to complete the parking lot and cement work! Thanks to all for your generosity.

The committee can be reached by phone or email: Ron Erdmann: 815-861-9925, or Sandy Yoder: 815-581-3202, .

RINGS Fund Raiser at Crandall's
Due to the healthy appetites and generosity of the congregations in our RINGS youth group, nearly $3000 was raised to help fund their trip to Houston this summer. To learn more about the 2018 Youth Gathering, go to the website .

Habitat for Humanity
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! 

Check out the new Habitat ReStore location in Woodstock located next to the Jewel-Osco grocery store at the intersection of Country Club and IL-47.

For any questions or suggestions, please contact Rose McGuire at or 815.245.0566
Upcoming Events, How You Can Participate
Stuff the Bus for Food Pantries
For several years the Grace Lutheran Daycare has sponsored a 'Stuff the Bus' food drive for local food pantries. Shopping bags are provided in the Narthex or bring your own filled with paper products and non-perishable food. On Palm Sunday, March 25th , we'll load up the vans and deliver the goods. If you can help with delivery after the 2nd service that day, please let Pastor Andy know or call the church office at 815-678-3082.
Join us for Easter Brunch
Join us for our 23rd Annual
Easter Breakfast April 1st
  • Made-to-order omelets
  • Baked ham
  • Pancakes
  • Cheesy potatoes
  • Cherry enchiladas
  • Biscuits and gravy
  • Fresh fruit
  • Sweets & treats
  • Beverages
4 weeks and counting from this Sunday! Make plans to join us for worship and our 23rd annual Easter breakfast buffet . Serving from 7:00am until just before 2nd service at 9:30. Can't get there early? After 2nd service we'll have a continental breakfast for you. Bring your family and friends. All proceeds from the free-will offering benefit the local food pantries and PADS homeless ministry. Thanks to Thrivent Financial for their support of this activity so more money can be donated to these great causes.
We also will need LOTS of help to prepare, cook, serve and clean up. Many hands make light work - even an hour of your time will be a big help! Sign up sheets are in the Narthex. Live Generously!
Contact: Chris Bjorklund at or
call 815-529-0789
Family Fun Night March 9th
Timber Ridge Waterpark in Lake Geneva
*   Friday, March 9 th
*   Anytime from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm
*   $15.00 per swimmer - $5.00 for
*   Children under 1 free
*   Payment and wristbands given at door - tell them you are with Grace Lutheran to receive group rate
*   NO food or beverages can be brought into park
*    Sign up by calling the Church office at 815-678-3082 by March 2 nd  (Call by Monday morning - there may still be room available.)
*   All children must be accompanied and supervised at all times by an adult –
Let's play ball!
Join the Grace Softball Team!
Grace is recruiting players for our co-ed softball team . We will be playing in the McHenry Christian Fellowship Softball League.
  • 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.
  • Season starts April 23rd or April 30th.
  • For more information or to sign up contact
Outreach Cafe March 25th
Our next Outreach Café will be on Sunday, March 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,,
What is Stewardship?
Everything we do after we say “I Believe”
The word stewardship comes from the Old English sty-ward , which literally means - the person who cared for the pigs. A steward ran the household for the benefit of the owner and those that depended on him. There are two important points. First, the steward was not the owner. Second, the steward was not a housekeeper, keeping the owner’s possessions clean and tidy, nor did he use the owner’s resources for his own benefit. He ran the household for the benefit of the owner.

In the same way, as Christian disciples, we believe that everything we have belongs to God. As stewards of God’s gifts, we are called to care for and use them for the benefit of God. Looking at it this way, Stewardship becomes a way of life. The Bible contains many examples of how we can grow in Stewardship.

Caring for the Earth : “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and take care of it” Genesis 2:15.
God created the earth and gave it to us. We care for the earth by actively looking for ways to live sustainably and reduce our impact on the earth. This includes things like reducing the amount we throw away by donating useful items, recycling, and avoiding purchases of disposable items like paper plates and cups. We can conserve energy by reducing gasoline usage and replacing incandescent light bulbs with more efficient models.

Loving God : “The greatest commandment is this,” Jesus answered. ”Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:29-30.
We love God by spending time with Him through regular worship, learning more about God and Jesus by reading the Bible, and talking with Him in prayer. Through all this we try to discern how He wants us to use all the gifts we have been given.
Loving others: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 23:39.
Help a neighbor, call or visit someone to let them know you care, support the many outreach ministries here at Grace Lutheran and in the community. All are great ways for us to use our gifts to care for those in need.

Spreading the Good News: Jesus said to them, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:18-19.
Most of us would not be comfortable knocking on doors to tell strangers about Jesus. But as a congregation, our ministries are helping us do just that. As Grace Lutheran, we support a church and a pastor, and as a group reach out to the surrounding community. In the same way, our congregation’s support of our local synod and the national ELCA, along with congregations across the country, allows them to create ministries that Grace by itself could not. These include help for struggling congregations, seminaries for training new pastors, starting new churches both here and abroad and running organizations like Lutheran World Relief. Our support of these ministries helps spread the Good News around the world.

As you can see, Stewardship is an integral part of our Christian life. It truly is “ Everything we do after we say I Believe” .

~Ray Yoder
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 March 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.

Divorce Care Sessions Continue
We meet Thursdays at 6:30pm. In March we will not meet on the 29th as it is Maundy Thursday. 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
It’s March (really) and spring is almost here! At our last meeting, in February, we finalized most of the details for our Craft/Vendor Bake Sale. Signs are posted in our local churches and area businesses, etc. advertising our Craft Fair on Saturday, April 21st at Grace Lutheran Church , Richmond, Illinois – 9:00am – 3:00pm. There is no cost to attend so you may come at any time between those hours. Road signs will be placed in busy intersections advertising our fair and ads will appear in local newspapers 2-3 weeks prior to the fair date. Also, a bake sale will be available for purchasing homemade cakes, pies, cookies, breads, etc. Donations of baked goods from our homemakers are most welcome. We expect to have almost 40 crafters at the fair. 
- discussion about the Northern Illinois Synod Spring Retreat for WELCA will be held on Saturday, April 28th in Oregon, Illinois. If you wish further details go to their website at NISYNOD.ORG/WOMEN or contact Sandy Messick at 1-815-354-6521.
- voted to donate the funds needed by Tina Petersen to purchase the necessary plastic containers for storage of her supplies needed for the monthly Café.
- voted to give the food pantry in Twin Lakes an equal share of the money received from Richter’s Market Place in Twin Lakes as many of our members shop at Richter’s and deposit their receipts in the container provided in the hallway to the office. In the past, all monies received was given to the Richmond Food Pantry.
- our guest speaker at our March meeting will be Pastor Andy. 
- after our meeting adjourned, we enjoyed socializing over ‘bring your own lunch’ of soup, salad, sandwich or fruit. Dessert and coffee is provided by our hostesses. 
- hostesses for our March meeting will be Chris Hammerstrom and Carol (cj) Steadman. We have had several new women at our meetings and hope we will see more attending. If you need a ride, please contact Sandy Messick at 815-354-6521. All are WELCOME to hear about WELCA and all that we do. 
Remember –
- continue to support PADS with new or slightly used clothing (socks, hats, gloves, scarf’s, underwear or gift cards to McDonalds or Burger King) that provides for the homeless and less fortunate in McHenry County. Curt Bjorklund is in charge of PADS. Drop off donations may be put in Luther Hall by the freezers with PADS clearly marked on the box or bag. Curt may be reached @ 1/815-675-2765 for further information or if you would like contribute to the monthly dinner (1st Thursday of the month). 
- continue to provide your Richter Market Place receipts into the container provided. The sticker ‘Funds for Friends’ must be placed on the back of your receipt in order to receive credit, which is 1 cent on every dollar spent. It all adds up so please save for this worthy cause.
- continue to support our Building Fund Campaign – we are getting there!

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?

Thanks –
- do you ever wonder how the coffee service and the Café Breakfasts seem to just happen? Well, without your support this would not be happening. Your free-will donations HELP to defray the cost of supplies needed. Someone has to take time to go and buy or donate the supplies (coffee, milk, cream, juice, cups, plates, napkins, etc.) and bring to church. The same is true with our Café Breakfasts only on a bigger scale. All the food is bought or donated and brought to the church and cooked if necessary. Some of the food and supplies must be picked up or purchased by Tina or Dean Peterson, who head the Café Breakfasts and some is funded by Thrivent Action Team money. Every penny of the free-will offerings is donated to our missions. None of the monies collected pay for time and expenses incurred by the volunteers. Volunteers are at the church on café Sundays at 6:00am preparing the breakfast you enjoy. Some are busy on Saturdays shopping or preparing the food. Just thought you needed a reminder. I know I did. If you wish to help or donate, please see Tina or Dean or Jan Heynis who heads our coffee service. 
- we at Grace are fortunate to have so many willing to give and work behind the scenes. THANK YOU.
- to our armed forces men and women who continue to serve our country. Many are veterans who served in past wars and conflicts – many with their lives. Many are away from home, family and loved ones. We are thankful for the freedoms we enjoy today and will continue to protect and stand up for the USA.
January Giving: $19,131; Average Attendance per Sunday: 130