Grace Covenant Weekly News | December 13, 2018
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"Oh I am grateful to have been loved, and to be loved now, and to be able to love
 because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold, that’s ego. Love liberates." 
~ Maya Angelou

Sunday Preview

Sunday, December 16, 2018
Third Sunday of Advent

Worship Services @ 8:15 & 10:45 AM
Education Hour (for all ages) at 9:15 AM

Sermon: "With All Your Heart" by Marcia Mount Shoop
Scriptures: Zephaniah 3:14-20; Luke 3:7-18
Longest Night Service | Sunday, DECEMBER 16 | 7 PM | Sanctuary
The holiday season can be complicated. Commercials and carols tell us we should feel joyful and go to lots of parties. But if you are grieving, family time is stressful, or you are struggling with illness, finances, or big life decisions, the holidays can be a time of loneliness and sadness. God abides with us in our grieving and our isolation, and so does your community of faith. 

The Longest Night service is a time to be together around the Lord's Table with space for lament, for grief, and for a collective yearning for God to come closer to the world's struggles. Scripture, sacrament, song, silence, and prayer will help us welcome God's merciful and mysterious presence with us. 
Advent Ministry Partner: Youth Transformed for Life 
The Serve Council is excited to share that Youth Transformed for Life will be this year's Advent Ministry Partner. YTL supports disenfranchised communities as they strive to succeed in an inequitable system. We hope you will designate your gift on Christmas Eve to support the Teens advocacy program and after school program at YTL that meets at GCPC during the week. You can learn more about this organization HERE.

Intergenerational 3 Kings' Day
Square Dance |
5-7 PM | GCPC Atrium
“Blessed are you… when you let down your hair and kick up your heels alongside friends of all ages.” – Jesus (according to Heather Ferguson)
Well, maybe. I’m sure the early church had something equivalent to an intergenerational Square Dance. There is almost no better way to get to know folks while having so much fun and a perfect way to start the new year. So mark your calendars, dig out your hat, and maybe ask Santa for a pair of boots.
Memorial Garden Committee Request
We have a few 1 1/4" pavers that need cutting before they can be installed in the Memorial Garden to replace some lost and broken ones. If you have a brick or wet saw and are willing to help with the cutting part of this little project, please call the church office or email Denise Snodgrass
Stewardship Corner
"How Can We Keep From Sharing?" Update
As of 12/13/18, here's where we are on our pledging:

212 Pledges Received, 92% of 230 Goal
  • Only 18 More Pledges Needed!
$ 895,248.00 Pledged, 88% of Goal
  • Only $124,752 Left to Raise!

This includes 34 new pledges from families that did not pledge in 2018. 61% of pledge renewals have increased their pledge from last year. 

If you haven't already, please complete you 2019 pledge card, handwritten or online , and return to the Finance Office as soon as possible. If you have questions about your gifts or pledge, please contact Natalie Weaver, Stewardship & Financial Administrator, at 828-254-3274, ext. 202 or     
In September, Heath Rada invited us to ponder how we use our resources for non-essential expenditures for one month. Beyond housing and other fixed costs of living, he suggested that we consider the percentage of income spent for entertainment, travel, dining out, etc, and to think about that amount in light of our pledging. It was helpful to me to see those numbers and, in particular, to sit with how easily I make decisions to see yet another movie, buy another book, order a second glass of wine. It informed my pledging.

As we entered Advent, I found myself thinking about this again (thanks, Heath!?) with each purchase, travel plan, decoration purchased and priorities arrived at. What are my choices saying about what I most value? For me, when a recurring thought keeps surfacing, I know Spirit is troubling the waters yet again (both prayed for and resisted!). I don’t know where all of this is leading, but a poem this season is guiding my contemplation of these matters.

You hollow us out, God,
so that we may carry you,
and you endlessly fill us
only to be emptied again.

Make smooth our inward spaces
and sturdy,
that we may hold you
with less resistance
and bear you
with deeper grace.
        Jan L. Richardson, Night Visions

In this season of Advent, am I willing to lean more fully into what it means to bear the Savior with deeper grace? How would that growing commitment impact my worship, work for justice and giving? What stops me?

Hollow me out, God, and guide my willingness to respond.

Nancy Gaskin
Stewardship Committee
Prepaying 2019 Pledges

Yes, you can prepay your 2019 pledge in 2018!  Just be sure to note "2019 pledge" in the memo line or somewhere on the gift to ensure it is applied to the correct funds. If nothing is noted on the gift, it will automatically be applied to the current year general fund. Prepaid 2019 Pledge payments will show on your 2018 year-end statement.

Year-end contribution statements for tax purposes will be issued in mid-January once the year is closed. If you have questions about your current pledge balance before then, please contact Natalie Weaver, Stewardship & Financial Administrator, at  or 828-254-3274, ext. 202. She is in the office Tuesday - Thursday and happy to help!
Power and Race Team (PART)
Racial Justice Book Club | Thursday, December 13 | 6:00 PM | Garden Room
The Racial Justice Book Club is reading a list of 12 books examining institutional and interpersonal racism and racial equity. All are welcome, whether you have read closely or are just interested in learning more about the subject. A copy of the book can be found in the church library . For December , we are reading the novel Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward.
PART Meeting | Thursday, December 13 | 7:00 PM | Fellowship Hall
We will have snacks and great conversation as we look to the year ahead for PART. Come and help set the priorities for how we continue to dismantle white supremacy in our community and in ourselves.
Recently, during a discussion about racial disparities in our community, a church friend posed the question, “What can we do?” The Power and Race Team is heading into its third year at GCPC. Many of us have learned a lot - about the systemic racism in our city and beyond, about our own patterns of behavior instilled within us while living in our country’s white supremacy culture, about God’s call to prayerfully examine and dismantle both.
As a parent and teacher in Asheville City Schools, I see a lot of need for both education for and action from our greater community. There is a four-part book club for ACS parents to discuss White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America by Margaret A. Hagerman. Please consider signing up at the Asheville City Schools Foundation website. There is also a Community School Movement at Asheville Middle School. In collaboration with the United Way, Bruce Waller, the AMS resource coordinator, shares many ways to get involved in a recent interview.

I am grateful for the work GCPC is doing to help dismantle racism and for the ways GCPC helps me examine my own role in these systems. I hope to live into that gratitude with action. There is a lot we can do. 
~ Amy Wiesner
Earth Team
Great Stocking Stuffers!
The Earth Team will be following up on the success of the showing of the Straws movie selling reusable stainless steel straws in the Narthex after worship on Sunday. $2 each or three for $5. Proceeds go to support the solar panels project that the Session just voted to pursue.
This Sunday's Education Hour (for all ages)

Advent Term | December 16, 23 | 9:15 AM | Fellowship Hall
Calm & Bright (Intergenerational class)
Join Grace Covenant folks (1st grade through adults) for an experience sure to stir your spirit through sacred music, lively exploration and mutual blessing. This year marks the 200-year anniversary of the beloved hymn, Silent Night. Heather Ferguson, Lynn Bledsoe and an intergenerational music team help us celebrate this Advent season the GCPC way!
CHILDREN'S EDUCATION @ 9:15 AM [Contact Heather ]

Toddlers (ages 2-3) | “God Loves Me” | 9:15 – 10:15 AM | Toddler Room (downstairs, Children’s Center)
Preschool/Kindergarten (ages 4-5) | Godly Play | 9:15 –10:15 AM | Preschool Sunday School Room (downstairs, Children’s Center)
*Nursery care is available throughout Sunday morning beginning at 8:10 am.
Adult Education | Winter Term: January 6–March 3 | Sundays @ 9:15 AM

Pressure Points - Painting the Stars: Science, Religion, and an Evolving Faith
Facilitators: Denise Snodgrass and Tim Hamel

The Improv - Intra-faith Injury and Dialogue
Facilitators: Richard Coble and guests

Digging In - Singing Faith: Exploring the Bible through Hymns
Facilitator: Jeff Jones
Bible Study | Wednesdays | 11:00 AM | Garden Rm
No Bible Study for the rest of December. Bible Study will resume on January 9.
Community Garden
For the past few years Grace Covenant Community Gardeners have partnered with the Conscious Alliance in Boulder, Colorado and the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota in their school and family gardening program. Pine Ridge Reservation is the largest food desert in the USA with only one full service grocery store on the 3,468.85 square mile, eighth-largest reservation in the United States, larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Gardening is a necessary way of life. 
Reclaiming Christmas - Alternative Gift Giving Guide
Click HERE to see the online giving guide. If you need gift cards to go with your donation, you can pick them up from Anna Louise during the week or check the SERVE mailbox on Sundays (in Administrative office).
GCPC at the Eblen Toy Store
Many thanks to all who volunteered for this wonderful ministry!
The 2019 Flower Chart is on the bulletin board next to the elevator. Please consider signing up to give flowers one Sunday. The cost is $45, payable to GCPC. Please send your dedication to Anna Louise
Sisters at the Sea Retreat 2019 - | February 21-24, 2019 | Folly Beach, SC | $170 (early bird rate ends on Dec. 23)
Are you a woman age 25ish-50ish who would like a weekend of connecting and rejuvenating? Mark your calendars for our 10th annual SOS (“save our sanity”/“sisters at the sea”/”women needing to replenish and rejuvenate”) retreat! This year’s leader will be our own Heather Ferguson. We will dig into some unique ways to tap into Celtic spirituality, a very earthy spirituality that is rooted in the natural elements. The beach will be a perfect place to explore "Fire, Earth, Wind and Water: Praying with the Elements of Creation."
Early Bird Rate:  $170 per person ($40 non-refundable deposit by Dec. 23rd)
Cost after Dec. 23rd: $190 per person
*Full and partial scholarships available upon request. Registration ends on February 3rd. Registration forms will be available on the wall near the Welcome Desk; or you can use the online form.
Support Group for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI Group)
will NOT meet on Wednesday, December 19th. We will resume on Wednesday, January 2nd.
Deacon of the Week
Each Sunday morning there will be a deacon available for everything from praying with you to giving you a tour of the building. This deacon will be wearing a purple sash and stationed in the narthex before 10:30 worship and in the front of the sanctuary after worship. He or she is also available during the week if you or someone you love needs assistance from our board of deacons.
This week:  John Mount Shoop email:
Youth News
There will be no youth group on December 16, 23, or 30th.
See you back on Sunday, January 6th!
Parent & Youth Confirmation Info Session | This Sunday, December 16 | 11:45am (after church) | Garden Room
8th - 12th graders, Confirmation 2019 is coming up (January – May) and it would be a joy to have you in the class! Our Confirmation theme is “Leap of Faith.” It will be an exciting time to explore your faith in community. Whether you have signed up or have more questions, this info session will tell you more about the class. Let's take this leap together!  Register for the Confirmation class by clicking here.
Looking for Youth Worship Leaders for 5pm Christmas Eve Service!
Christmas Eve is right around the corner and we need YOUth! Youth are invited to be "angel, magi and shepherd" leaders in this engaging service geared toward children of all ages! There are no speaking roles. If you can participate, please SIGN UP HERE  or contact  Samantha .
Senior Highs: Are you interested in Triennium this summer?
Triennium is a summer conference every three years for Senior High Presbyterians from around the country (July 16-20) at Purdue University. Transportation is free and partial financial assistance is available upon request.  See conference info & application here  and contact  Beth Gunn  or  Samantha  with specific questions. Applications due back by Jan 1st.
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
Sherry Harcke (Les Stradley's friend)
Pat Cocke (Les Stradley’s friend)
Glenn Russell (Robin Gaiser's brother)
Francis Miller (Nancy Miller's son)
Nancy and Richard Schaadt (Donna Robertson's sister and brother-in-law)
Shaketia Simpson and children (Habitat Partner family)
Louise Seitz (Janet Schifflin's friend)
Ana Garcia, (our Padrino Partner) her husband, Francisco, and their sons Jose and Adrian Garcia
Sondra Dorn (Jonathan Tetzlaff's partner)
Lynne Norris (Mary Lou Nash's friend)
Jeffrey Ferris (Mary Lou Nash's son)
Erik Jacobs (Kathy Jacob's son)
Jack Waskey (Anna Hamel's father)
June Collins (Carolyn Tingle’s mother)
Family of Joe Williford (Lindsey Williford's father)
Hettie Lou Garland
Dot Holladay
Betty Smith
Margaret Rada
Bob Higgins

Our sympathy and support are extended to Larry Stern and family following Teresa's death. Details of the service will be forthcoming. Please keep the family in your prayers.
Grace Covenant Community Out and About...

Enneagram learning opportunities
with Carol Hovis!

The last two enneagram gatherings of 2018 are Friday, Dec. 14th, 10am and Monday, Dec. 17th, 6pm. Contact Carol Hovis,  for more information. Stay tuned for Saturday enneagram retreat in January. 
Asheville Gay Men's Chorus presents " Appalachian Spirit - Music for the Holidays " | Saturday, December 15 @ 7:30 PM and Sunday, December 16 @ 4:00 PM | GCPC Sanctuary
The Asheville Gay Men’s Chorus claims our role as the transforming and transcending choral voice for our LGBTQ and affirming community. The Asheville Gay Men’s Chorus entertains, advocates and connect community through choral excellence.

VIP Tickets - $30 and General Admission - $25. Children under 12 years old - $10.

*For tickets and more information, please visit .
Tickets may also be purchased at the door!
Carolina Jews for Justice/West Event | Sunday, December 16 | 2 - 4 PM | Congregation Beth HaTephila ( 43 N. Liberty St. )
Carolina Jews for Justice/West (CJJ/W) invites you to join us as we come together to meet old and new friends. With Hanukkah here and the New Year approaching, we welcome you to share a drink and nosh as we look back on the year and reflect on how we can work together for social justice in the year ahead.
RSVP to by Friday, December 14 .
Presbytery of WNC Delegation to Malawi
Two Possible Dates:
May 17-31, 2019 or June 14-28, 2019
A typical trip is a two-week service opportunity as we work alongside our friends at Nkhoma Hospital, Ebenezer School, and the Nkhoma Synod. While we do engage in service projects, our main focus is forming and maintaining relationships with our partners in Malawi. The cost will be $3,000, excluding personal preparation expenses (passport, immunizations, medicines, etc.). Click HERE for more information and/or to apply. Deadline to apply: December 31, 2018.
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church | 828.254.3274
789 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804