22 FEB 2017
This Week at Grace

Giving Lent a Chance
"Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing." - Joel 2:12-13
As a season, I think Lent sometimes gets a bad rap. It's not full of presents, lights and carols like Christmas. It's not full of flowers, eggs and Alleluia choruses like Easter. It is solemn, introspective, and probably to Lent's great detriment, it calls for spiritual discipline. Let's be honest; whether you are two or ninety-two, no one gets excited about anything with the word discipline in it. Don't give up on Lent too fast, though, because it has a depth that isn't always obvious.  
In the early church, the forty days leading up to Easter  (the season we call Lent) was set aside so that Christians could prepare themselves for the high holy day of Easter. To prepare, Christians would work to mend broken relationships, give up vices that kept them from fully embracing God and commit to greater depths of faith. Whether they gave up an old habit or took on a new practice, the first Christians used Lent as a time to explore what it means to "return to the Lord, your God" and to experience God who is "gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."  
We do Lent a great disservice when we approach this season as a time of forced fasting from chocolate or sodas. If these changes in your diet help you distance yourself from a vice that impacts the temple of your body, please consider fasting from them, but if they are just something "to do" for Lent you may be missing an opportunity.
This Lent I am looking for ways to strengthen my connection to community and to God. As I prepare for the holy celebration of Easter, I will be praying daily about ways that my habits keep me from being truly part of the community around me. To do this I will be signing up for a weekly Lent reflection that pushes me to think outside of my usual perspective.
One great option from Candler Creation Keepers is being headed up by our own Emily Carroll, ministry intern. This weekly email provides a scripture, devotion, action and advocacy around reducing our carbon footprint. If you are interested, details can be found in the right column of this email.
I am also going to be looking for new opportunities outside of Sunday to work, serve and pray alongside the people of Grace UMC. Being new here, I am looking for ways to join in ministry. If you find yourself in this place too, we will be highlighting ministries during worship on Sundays in Lent and providing connecting points to the great ways this congregation is engaging our community while learning more about God.
However you choose to shape your Lent, I hope you will prayerfully consider engaging in a new and challenging discipline that can help you grow in your faith and experience the grace and mercy of God.
  Peace and Light,
Pastor Stacey

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The Vision at Grace
To feed our surrounding community, spiritually and physically, while reaching outward with God's love and intentionally welcoming all in the name of Christ.

Calendar

 
THIS 
  Sunday, February 26
Young Adult Brunch, immediately following worship, Ponce City Market

Tuesday, February 28
Needles and Prayers, 7pm

Wednesday, March 1
Ash Wednesday (Lent begins.) 
Worship, Sanctuary, 7pm

Sunday, March 5
Young Adult Brunch, immediately following worship, Ponce City Market

Sunday, March 12
Young Adult Brunch, immediately following worship, Ponce City Market

Tuesday, March 14
Needles and Prayers, 7pm

Sunday, March 19
Young Adult Brunch, immediately following worship, Ponce City Market

Church Council Meeting, 12:30pm, Training Room  


Ministry Spotlight

ASH WEDNESDAY WORSHIP
Join us as we give Lent a chance, looking to experience it anew, afresh - beginning with our Ash Wednesday Worship Service, March 1st, 7pm in the Sanctuary.

LENTEN CARBON FAST
Looking for a meaningful way to engage spiritually, intellectually and physically during Lent this year? Consider focusing on God's creation during Lent and walk on a spiritual journey connecting Jesus' footprints in the desert to our carbon footprints on earth.

The fast details will be distributed via weekly emails. Each weekly email will highlight one aspect of environmental sustainability to focus on and will include scripture readings, a devotional, suggestions for practical and personal action steps to take to reduce your environmental impact. You may also choose to participate in an optional community event at Candler School of Theology that furthers attention to the weekly focus.

To participate in this fast, email candlerkeepers at gmail.com


Congregational Care

PRAYER REQUESTS
Please remember in your prayers all who are experiencing health issues/recovering from them:
  • Marilyn Altman
  • Nayda Bailey
  • Johnny Chappell
  • Jane Gable
  • Betty Nash
  • Shawn Stephens


COMMUNITY INFORMATION FORM

Please help us update our community records so that they are as accurate as possible.

Download a word or pdf version of the form, complete and return to the office: (via email) office at graceonponce dot org or (snail mail) via the below mailing address. (Pastor Stacey also has hard copies if you'd like to complete it on  Sunday.)

DEADLINE: Sunday, March 5th


Sharing Our Gifts
Give to Grace. Safe, secure, one-time or recurring, tax-deductible giving is available by visiting www.graceonponce.org/donate or by scanning the below QR code.

Your gifts make a difference in the lives of our church and community.

And remember that Grace's financial documents are open and available. Simply email our financial assistant, Nora Harris (nharris@graceonponce.org) with any questions you may have.

Thank you for your faithful support of the work that God is doing through Grace Church!



GRACE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
458 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
404-876-2678

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