GCPC Weekly News | April 2, 2020
Photo by  Sam Loyd  on  Unsplash
Dear Grace Covenant Community, 

What a Lenten journey we are having together!  We could never have imagined all the ways wilderness would manifest for the whole world in just a few short weeks. 

While the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic will persist for many weeks ahead, Lent culminates in just a week on Maundy Thursday. 

Let us all come together in every way we can these next several days
 to mark four important touchstones of our faith tradition.    

Palm/Passion Sunday:  This coming Sunday (4/5) our service will be live-streamed again as we celebrate Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem and end our service with the somber realization of Christ's passion that lies ahead. 

Maundy Thursday:  Get ready for an engaging, interactive retelling of Jesus' last night with his disciples. We'll be gathering at 6:00pm on Zoom. (Join here: https://zoom.us/j/196093192 ) You can bring dinner and share a meal with GCPC virtually, or just join us however it works for you. If you are new to Zoom and you want to practice signing on with a GCPC Staff member, let a Staff member know. 
Good Friday:  Join us as we embrace the traditional service of Tenebrae (a service of darkness) in a new way. Together we will conclude Holy Week and prepare ourselves for the joy of Easter morning. You can join us for this live-streamed service through our website or by clicking here

Easter Sunday:  We all need a strong dose of resurrection and redemption these days so get your technology ready to be with us at  10:45am Sunday, 4/12 for a joyful Easter Service of Worship with the Sacrament of Communion ! Our service will be live-streamed here .
And we need your help preparing our virtual sanctuary to burst with 
the energy, new life, and zest that Easter deserves. 

Please help us share the good news that Christ is risen by making a  brief video  of you and/or your family shouting "He is Risen" together or take a  picture  of you holding a sign that says "He is Risen" or send us an image that shouts "He is Risen" for you. Staff will put this together for the whole congregation to enjoy on Easter Sunday. Please send your videos and pictures to Richard .

Our Holy Week journey will be unique this year in many ways. I trust God will offer us healing opportunities every step of the way. May our weariness and our wariness give way to a profoundly deepened sense of God's unending, unfailing, miraculous love! 

Peace and love,
GCPC Alive and Well This Week!
GCPC Kids Storytime
Men of GCPC
20s/30s Zoom Trivia Night
Choir Chat
"Zoom of the Week - Zoom Tunes"
Staff Meeting Zoom
New Member Zoom
Garden Steering Zoom
Letters From Our Youth
The GCPC Youth continue to gather virtually, and this past week they collectively wrote some special letters to thank and encourage members of our community who are especially on our hearts. Click to read the full letter.

Affirmation of Faith from our GCPC Youth
During this difficult season of social distancing, thank you to our GCPC Youth for reminding us of Christ's blessings all around us. This was used as our Affirmation of Faith during worship on Sunday, March 29th. We are sharing it with you all here. God bless you.  

Edited by:
Cat Kessler & Luke Johnson
Worship Preview | Sunday, April 5, 2020
Palm Sunday

Live Stream Worship Service @ 10:45 AM Sunday

Homily:  " Jesus Rides into a Pandemic" by Richard Coble
Scripture:   Isaiah 50:4-9a; Matthew 21:1-11

Upcoming Zoom Meetings This Week

  • Youth Committee Meeting | TONIGHT, April 2 | 6-7 PM | Zoom link

  • Zoom Storytime with GCPC KIDS | Fridays | 10:00 AM | Zoom link

  • Zoom Education & Formation | This Sunday, April 5 | 8:30 AM | Zoom link

  • Virtual Youth Group | Sunday, April 5 | 5:00-6:30 PM | Zoom link

  • Choir Chat | Wednesdays | 7:30 PM | Zoom link
Recurring Weekly Zooms:

(Zoom password is: 789 )
GCPC's Got Talent!

In this time of social distancing- and now with a stay home/stay safe order in place- the staff invites you to share your hidden talents with your church family. There's a lot of talent out there -- we are sure of that! 

Perhaps you play an instrument and want to share a song. Maybe your child or your family wants to sing a hymn, perhaps your child has written a song or created a beautiful work of art while staying at home. A family dance routine, a poem, a soliloquy, a magic trick, pet tricks or sharing a secret recipe. . . the possibilities are endless. 

If you and/or your family would like to participate and share your talents then please create a short video using your phone or IPad so we can kick off our very first "GCPC's Got Talent." Please limit your video presentation to 3-4 minutes. Upload your video in an email to Jeff at jjones@gcpcusa.org  and we will post them for our church family to enjoy.  We look forward to seeing and hearing all the amazing ways that you will share your gifts during this time!
Spiritual/Pastoral Support

These Days, a quarterly devotional , is offering  free devotions for the month of April and two free coloring pages
Deacon of the Week
I n this time of physical distancing, the deacons of Grace Covenant continue to be available to talk and pray with you by phone or online and to coordinate care. If you have difficulty reaching your assigned deacon or if you do not know who your assigned deacon is, please feel free to reach out to our deacon of the week.
This week (3/29 - 4/4):  Jeane Smith  email:   jeane.smith22@gmail.com
Next week (4/5 - 4/11):  Louise Root  email:  lcr@rootandroot.com
Prayer List
[We are happy to pray for anyone who is in need. Concerns will stay on this list for a month unless we hear otherwise. Please keep us updated.] 
Iglesia Jerusalem congregation
Pat Cocke (Les Stradley’s friend) 
Marcia Zuzel (friend of Kim Hottle and Melissa Shook)
Suzy Carter (David Carter's wife and Yvonne Smith's friend)
Eveline Damiano (Lisette de Groot's daughter)
Joseph Tierney (Paul Tierney's father)
Melissa Matherly Bowers (friend of Rick and Lynne Noble) 
Family of Maria Mason (Serge and Carol Kavalhuna's friend)
Howard and Julia Clark (Elaine Blake's parents)
Glen & Tom Kilbourne (parents of Janet Martin)
John Waskey (Anna Hamel's uncle)
Jonathan Hettrick (Friend of Mary Craig)
Mona Johnson (Angie Everett’s mother)
Carrie Gaiser Casey (Robin and Gordon Gaiser's daughter)
Don Pressley (Amanda Pressley’s brother)
Mike Arim (Friend of Ken and Ednamae Fisher)
Bud Darnell (Jerry Bleckley’s cousin)
The Moore Family (friends of Jim and Martha Branden)
Anne Z. (friend of Jim and Martha Branden)
Laurie Allen (Amber Cook’s cousin)
Sarah Harvey and Gaelyn Evangreen (Penny Harvey’s daughter & daughter-in-law)
Hettie Lou Garland
Betty Smith
Margaret Rada
Bob Higgins
Cory Hartbarger
Florence Riedesel
Elizabeth Fisher
Doris Prak
Roslyn Carney
Dean Presson
Bill McNeff
Daniel Breen
Susan Smialowicz
Susie Wheelis
"Zoom Education & Formation" | This Sunday, April 5 | 8:30 AM
All are invited! We will be discussing the chapters 3 & 4 of Barbara Brown Taylor's book, An Altar in the World . You are encouraged to purchase the book, but Richard can also send you a pdf of the chapters if you contact him directly at rcoble@gcpcusa.org .

The zoom link to the meeting is: https://zoom.us/j/594813305
(Password is: 789)

(All Zoom conferences will require this password to participate: 789 )
What a good time to read existentialist literature - together - with a stimulating discussion in narrative form -- of faith, ethics, & meaning!
Come and discuss this timely book,  The Plague  by Albert Camus, over Zoom. We will meet for three sessions. It's actually not as depressing as you might think to revisit this important text in these unprecedented times. 

Join Kathy Meacham and Nathan McMahan for this interesting opportunity. Kathy is a long time GCPC members and retired professor of Philosophy at Mars Hill University. Nathan, is a former student of Kathy's. Several years ago Nathan also briefly served as a youth advisor at GCPC. 

Contact Kathy Meacham if you are interested: KRMeacham@gmail.com
C ommunity Working Together
Food Connection continues its food rescue and delivery work!
A Video Message From 
PLS Chief Operations Officer, Jackie Kiger
Pisgah Legal is committed to serving people with urgent needs around housing, safety, healthcare and income. Jackie Kiger shares information on how PLS is providing vital services while protecting the health of clients, staff and volunteers.
News from API/12 Baskets Cafe
Thanks to your support, API and our 12 Baskets Café is able to continue sharing food with our neighbors during this time of great need. It’s been a conundrum, but we are ready for the challenge. In order to do our part in flattening the curve of this pandemic, we have closed our gathering space and instead are distributing large containers of the delicious restaurant rescued food outside our doors. Multiple servings for multiple people are being made available for folks to take home and share for several days. This decreases the number of times folks need to be out to access food. And while our mission has never been to only hand out food to those who are physically hungry, in times like these each person is called to do what they can. This we can do, and we can do it well.

As of now, our alternative social space at 610 Haywood Rd will remain closed through the month of April. During these weeks we will continue to rescue food from places like Mission Hospital, Brooks-Howell, and Givens Estates to ensure our neighbors have access to the food they need. We’ve never been a Café that only caters to the economically challenged but one that hosts people from all walks of life. All are welcome.
WNC Workers Center Needs Support
Please consider supporting one of our Ministry Partners, WNC Workers Center, with a Rapid Response Fund for Workers. Many immigrant workers won’t be able to access the stimulus bill funds. A rapid response fund has been set up to support immigrant workers whose hours have been reduced or have lost their jobs and can’t get unemployment benefits. Information can be found here:  https://wncworkerscenter.org/rapid-response-fund-for-immigrant-workers-in-wnc/
Immigrant detainees at Stewart Detention Center need your help NOW!

Last week, hundreds of detained immigrants from the Carolinas and Georgia went on a hunger strike for several days at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA, as they sought protection from the coronavirus contagion. The detainees asked for (1) increased measures to reduce contamination, (2) release from detention, or (3) deportation so that they will not die at Stewart.

Despite extremely crowded and unsanitary conditions at Stewart, ICE has continued to bring more immigrants to the center daily. 

Please take action TODAY to urge ICE to release these detainees.

Call 404-893-1210.

A suggested message : I urge ICE to release detained immigrants at risk of coronavirus in Stewart Detention Center, as you are doing in New Jersey. It is impossible for the detainees to practice social distancing and they are being required to ration basic hygiene supplies. They must be released. 
Montreat News
In accordance with  North Carolina Governor Cooper’s executive order , all Montreat Conference Center recreation facilities will remain closed to the public until April 29, 2020. This includes, but is not limited to: all Montreat Trails, Robert Lake Park and park pavilion, Welch Field, Moore Center Field, Dowd Green, and the Patricia Cornwell Tennis Center. Please note that there are NO public restrooms open in Montreat at this time.

Click here to access their Events calendar.
Asheville City Schools Foundation

Here are several ways to show up for our schools and our community in the coming weeks:

  • Reach out to teachers and ask how you can support them during online learning.

  • Contribute to the Asheville City Schools Foundation's Emergency Assistance Fund for ACS social workers to support struggling families. Donate here or contact acsf@acsf.org

  • Join the ACSF list of volunteers willing to shop for, purchase, and deliver groceries for ACS families during the weekend. Send your contact info to rebecca@acsf.org.

  • Donate non-perishable food and/or hygiene items in bags or boxes on M, W, F at Isaac Dickson Elementary 1:15-3:30 (*most needed hygiene items are toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and feminine products)

Bountiful Cities
Bountiful Cities  would love the support of the Grace Covenant Community to help purchase tools. We are considered essential business because this is food security work. We don't know what the future holds, and we would like to support our local retailers like  ACE hardware  and  Villagers  by purchasing tools and distributing them.
More than ever growing food=food security, but there are barriers for low wealth communities. Some people have little or no access to tools, seeds and know-how. Bountiful Cities has been supporting low wealth communities in growing food for the last 20 years with our tool library, seed library, and free workshops. Now, in this time of social distancing sharing tools does not seem like the best idea. We want to continue our support by providing "tool kits" with things like gloves, shovels, pruners, pitchforks and rakes. These kits could be used to start new gardens or maintain on-going gardens, but would limit the need to share with the greater community.

Please email  cathy@bountifulcities.org  if you would like to contribute tools or donate towards the purchase of tools. 
GCPC Diaspora
Dispatches from GCPC scattered around the globe
What I am Learning from my Dog!

We walk twice every day for a total of an hour. He has no understanding of what is going on in the world. He knows I am under more stress so he wants to snuggle more.

He is just who he is; fearless, curious, happy. This morning we met the most beautiful male deer and his mate. All 4 of us just stopped still and stared into each other's eyes. For those minutes we were one, bound in creation. My little Oreo never moved a muscle. Then a twig snapped somewhere and they ran off. It was awesome. 

Oreo takes me into his world and thank God for that!

~ Susie Churchfield
Long-time GCPC member
Member of Worship Council and the Chancel Choir
GCPC Still Growing

During the stay at home/stay safe order in Buncombe County tending the Community Garden will go into a one person at a time process . Please do not show up at the Garden to work unless a Garden Steering Team member has instructed you to do so.
Stewardship & Sustainability GIVE HERE
It is providential that we built our 2020 budget on pledged dollars at GCPC. And we are grateful that so many of you give online. In this unprecedented and difficult time, your gifts are enabling the church to continue our important work in our community. If you have not signed up for online giving, you can do that here . As the COVID19 situation sets in in the USA, your gifts will help sustain all of our ministries and the mini-economies that we support without interruption. Thank you for your generosity and your faithfulness! 
Remote Giving & Paperless Statements

Did you know that you can make donations and receive statements online? Here are a few different ways to stay up-to-date on your pledge remotely:
  • MAIL gifts to the office at 789 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
  • BANK BILL PAY mails checks remotely, one-time or on a recurring schedule - contact your bank to set this up
  • ONLINE at www.gcpcusa.org/ways-to-give - just click GIVE HERE
  • SMARTPHONE with the Give+ Mobile App or by texting 828-266-0126 the amount you’d like to contribute
To sign up for  paperless statements  or if you have any questions, please contact Natalie in our Finance Office at 828-254-3274, ext 202 or  nweaver@gcpcusa.org
GCPC Out and About Online
April-May  2020
Enneagram Gatherings 
Due to our current reality of physical distancing,  Monday evening & Friday morning gatherings will occur electronically using Zoom.  Newcomers are welcome! You can participate once or every week.
    Mondays, 6-8pm 
Fridays, 10am-12noon
Contact Carol for more information:    cmhovis@gmail.com
Awakening the Dreamer Symposium -
Online Version
This free 2-hour, self-guided online version of Awakening the Dreamer is available 24/7 to take when you feel so inspired. During this course you’ll explore what role you can play in bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet. 

This online course is similar to the in-person Symposium, except that it is missing the interactive exercises, which are a valuable part of the in-person event.

Access the online course through this link:  https://landing.pachamama.org/awakening-the-dreamer-2-hour-online-course
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church | 828.254.3274 
789 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804