GCPC Weekly News | April 9, 2020
Photo by  Daniel von Appen  on  Unsplash
Holy Week at GCPC
(Password for all zoom meetings is: 789)
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 .
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 .
GCPC Alive and Well This Week!
Circle 4 Zoom Mtg.
Deacon Zoom Mtg.
Nursery Staff Zoom Mtg.
Session Zoom Mtg.
Worship Preview | Sunday, April 12, 2020

Live Stream Worship Service @ 10:45 AM Sunday

Homily:  " Resurrection Rescue " by Marcia Mount Shoop
Scripture:   Psalm 118:1-2, 14-2; John 20: 1-18

Called Congregational Meeting

Dear Grace Covenant Community, 

The Session has called a congregational meeting for immediately after our virtual worship service on April 19, 2020. 

The purpose of this meeting is to receive a report from the Finance Council recommending that GCPC refinance our HVAC loan. The Finance Council is making this recommendation in an effort to cultivate financial sustainability as we absorb the impacts of COVID 19 in our community.
A congregational vote and presbytery approval is required for this refinance because a 20 year loan term on equipment loans requires that our building and property be encumbered. Churches, including GCPC, have traditionally avoided encumbering building and property in loans. However, given that we will not soon know the long term ramifications of this global pandemic on all the economies of the world, including GCPC's economy, the Finance Council and the Session have voted unanimously to create some breathing room in our budget with this loan refinance. 

The meeting will be on the same streamed platform as worship. Voting instructions will be given next week in advance of the meeting. There will be three ways to vote, assuring that all members are able to vote. There will also be a three day voting period given the fact that we are not able to have this meeting face to face. 

We look forward to taking this important step of sustainability together. 

Introducing New Members this Sunday....
Karen Punta has been attending GCPC for over a year and is joining by reaffirmation of faith. She is a frequent participant in Wednesday Bible studies and adult education. She and her spouse Mona Blevins live in Asheville and Karen enjoys travel, reading, being outdoors, volunteering, spending time with friends. Welcome Karen! 
Robert "Skip" Stansell is retired after a long career working with the PC(USA) in church camps, most recently as president of the Thornwell Home for Children. Skip and is married to the Rev. Margie Stansell and has an adult daughter, Neely Stansell Simpson. Welcome Skip! 
Angi and Rob Everett are transferring their memberships, Angi from the Jubilee Community and Rob from St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Mystic, CT. They have two daughters, Mimi Lee (13) and Willa (11). Angi works as a counselor and life coach and enjoys hiking, live music, and studying techniques of empowerment and intention. Rob is the corporate head of produce marketing for Earth Fare and is a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox and the Grateful Dead. Welcome Angi, Rob, Mimi Lee and Willa!
We wish to welcome the Rev. Alexandra Lusak to the Grace Covenant community! As an honorably retired teaching elder, Alexandra's membership will be with the Presbytery of WNC, but we are so glad that she is also worshipping and participating at GCPC. Alexandra is a graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary and has been working as a pastor for 25 years. She has two adult sons Jonathan and Kristofor Simon.
Welcome Alexandra!
Recurring Weekly Zooms:

  • NO Virtual Youth Group this Sunday, April 12

(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 (4/5 - 4/11):  Louise Root  email:   lcr@rootandroot.com
Next week (4/12 - 4/18):  Mike McCauley  email:  mikemccauley28@gmail.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)
Susana Muñoz (Marta Alcala-Williams’ sister)
Jay and Elizabeth McKell
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

Our sympathy and support are extended to Leslie Huntley, Ed Gerber and family following the death of her father, Richard Huntley. Please keep her family in your prayers.
"Zoom Education & Formation" | This Sunday, April 12 | 8:30 AM
All are invited! We will be discussing the chapters 5 & 6 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)
Racial Justice Book Series
With the extended stay at home order, we are hoping to get a book in for both April and May, with discussions happening over zoom. 

1) First, in extending our exploration of the subject matter of our last book,  An Indigenous People's History of the United States,  as well as our Sunday school class in the fall on "The Church and Native Americans," we will be reading the novel  There There  by Tommy Orange . That meeting will take place on  Thursday, April 30 at 7pm.

Tommy Orange’s wondrous and shattering novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize .

“Powerful. . . .  There There  has so much jangling energy and brings so much news from a distinct corner of American life that it’s a revelation.” — The New York Times 
2) In May, we will read  How to be an Antiracist  by Ibram X. Kendi . Since we are trying to cover two books, we will push back this book date to Thursday May 21 at 7:00 pm , also by zoom. 

Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.

Note: These meetings of the Racial Justice Book Series will not take the place of the usual PART meeting. 
Enneagram Sessions for GCPC Parents
Carol Hovis will facilitate 3 enneagram zoom gatherings for GCPC parents, Wednesdays, April 15th, 22nd & 29th, 6:30-8:30pm using Carol's zoom link which she will send each week to interested parents. Email Carol if you would like to participate. You can participate once or every week. 

(All Zoom conferences require password: 789 )
C ommunity Working Together
Working Wheels - Neighbors Helping Neighbors
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that our personal actions directly affect the lives of those around us. We practice self-isolation and take safety precautions to protect our entire community, both the folks we know and the ones we don’t. Still, we are left wondering, “What else can I do to help others?”

car donation  to Working Wheels or a  financial donation  to the parts and repair fund can help create the security and hope that a local family desperately needs right now. A reliable car can still help our neighbors in need get to their essential work at a grocery store or care facility, where they, in turn, serve the good of the community. 

Touchless Car Donation Process--Donate your Vehicle Safely
Working Wheels follows CDC guidelines with safety and sanitizing procedures to protect the health of our donors, program participants, and staff. Our  touchless car donation process  can be completed online and by phone without any physical contact.  Visit us online  or call 828-633-6888 to begin the process. Thank you!
YMCA Community Health April Updates
We have added a new offering during this time of need. FREE meals for kids 18 and under at a variety of sites throughout Buncombe and McDowell counties. Please review the attached document titled "Free Meals for Kids" for locations and times. Kids not not have to be present to get the meals. Please share with all of your families!

We are still continuing our mobile markets, but as mentioned before, instead of client choice we are pre-packing food boxes for our neighbors to just come and pick up. We are discouraging drive-through pick-up, as this is putting our team more at risk. Folks can come up to the back of the truck to grab a bag.

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/
As we stay home and stay safe, we have extraordinary opportunities to educate ourselves about injustices that threaten our democracy and to prepare ourselves to take a stand for justice. Brave New Films invites you to watch  Suppressed: The Fight to Vote.
Although COVID-19 has heightened fears of many voters who are wary of voting in public settings, we can make it easier for all citizens to vote by demanding Universal Vote By Mail and Early Voting for the November election. Please sign the petition  here . After signing the petition, we hope you will watch the film (free on Vimeo) and register for your absentee ballot  here .
You can support Brave New Films with an online donation to its website -  www.bravenewfilms.org  - or by mail to 10510 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232. 
Pisgah Legal - ACTION ALERT!

Lend your voice to increase access to the stimulus payment for those who urgently need it.
Three million seniors and people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a Social Security program for people with very low incomes, will have to file taxes to receive financial help during the COVID-19 crisis. For people who typically do not file taxes, this step is burdensome and complicated- especially now that many free tax-prep services are suspended due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Learn more about this situation from our friends at  Community Legal Services of Philadelphia .
The IRS should make stimulus payments available directly to SSI recipients without requiring them to file taxes. Please contact your Congressional representative  and ask them to push the IRS to take these steps to get money in the hands of low-income people who urgently need help.
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.
GCPC Diaspora
Dispatches from GCPC scattered around the globe
On March 10th 2020, I boarded a plane for what I thought would be an eight month stint playing rugby in Hamilton, New Zealand. My heart was pounding with nerves, but also full with gratitude to God for giving me the chance to play the game I love. I told myself that God had a plan for me, that I need only trust in Jesus to achieve my goals. I was hungry, excited, and ready for whatever challenge stood ahead. 

One week later, it became apparent that the global pandemic truly was in fact, global. I had been forced into a pseudo self isolation but was still able to train with my coach, Isaac, as he had been in contact with me since I landed. I was mildly frustrated by the inconvenience, but understood the severity of the situation and was more than happy to do my part.

About eight days after I touched New Zealand soil, the American government began hinting that it’s borders would be closing. The New Zealand Visa office was frozen, and there was a chance that I could be caught in a very tricky situation. My family contacted the United States embassy in Auckland, who recommended that I leave for home before it was too late. My parents called me, and I could hear the pain in their voices when they said that in five days, I would be on a plane home.

I sat back and reflected. My journey was ending. I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I felt unsure. I had come so far and was so excited, yet now had to accept the fact that I was being called home. 

My departure from New Zealand was frantic. The next morning I awoke to a text from my parents saying that I was leaving in 24 hours. The embassy had hurriedly told them that I needed to leave the next day, as America was moving towards a full shutdown. I packed my bags, said my goodbyes, and boarded a flight filled with panicked tourists wondering if they would ever see home again. 

As the plane soared through the air, I realized that I felt no bitterness or anger about my predicament. Had I not just 10 days before been saying “God, I trust you. Guide my path.” Who am I to say that my needs, my minor inconveniences are greater than those of the whole world? Yes, we are all making sacrifices. Proms are cancelled, graduations abandoned. Pivotal times of our lives like senior years, championship seasons, and the beginnings of college are left hanging; unresolved and unfinished. Yet for once, all of humanity is united in a cause greater than ourselves. Who are we to be angry with God? What gives us the right to lash out and cry “why have you done this to me?” This pandemic is not about me. It is not about you. It is about our big, connected world, it’s about everyone, and all we need to do is stop, listen, and trust our divine Creator.

~ Sidney Shoop, GCPC Member
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! 
Emailing 1st Quarter Statements

Due to the office closure, the 1st Quarter contribution statements for gifts made January - March 2020 will be  emailed  if we have your address on file. Accounts without an email address will be mailed. If you're unsure if we've got your email address, need to update it, or would like to sign up for only paperless delivery going forward, please contact Natalie at  nweaver@gcpcusa.org .  

Statements will be available the week of April 20th- you should receive an email through our software from the sender  Grace Covenant Presbyterian church < notifications@onrealmmail.org > . Follow the link in the email to view your PDF statement. 
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
Green Money: Nature Makes Good Business Sense
An Environmental Economics Forum produced by the
Wilma Dykeman Legacy

This program has been rescheduled to
January 28-29, 2021.
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church | 828.254.3274 
789 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804