GCPC Weekly News | December 17, 2020

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The church office will be closed on Friday, December 25 and
Monday, December 28.
We will also be closed on Thursday, December 31 and Friday, January 1.
GCPC Alive and Well This Week!
Circle 3 Meeting
GCPC Cozy Christmas
GCPC Cozy Christmas
GCPC Cozy Christmas
Guatemala Mtg. with Iglesia Jerusalen
Guatemala Mtg. with Iglesia Jerusalen
Worship Preview | Sunday, December 20, 2020
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Sermon: "WHAT are you waiting for?" by Marcia Mount Shoop
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

Live Stream Worship Service @ 10:45 AM Sunday

Keeping the Faith
2021 Stewardship Campaign
If you are self-entering your pledge in Realm, be sure to check the total pledge at the end of the pledge statement for accuracy before saving your pledge. The first field after "I pledge" will be used to calculate the total pledge based on the frequency you select in the "to be given" field. If you don't plan to give a regular set amount, you can always select "as can" and enter the annual total in the first field.

For example, if you want your total pledge to be $12,000 given in monthly installments of $1,000, you would enter it like this:
If you haven't renewed your pledge or pledged before, 
please do so today to help us fund the 2021 budget!  
  • Sign into your Realm account online or on the Realm Connect mobile app and enter a pledge under the Giving tab. Detailed instructions with photos are here.

  • Email Natalie Weaver your total pledge amount and planned giving frequency (i.e. weekly, monthly) to have her enter it on your behalf.

  • Contact the Finance Office at 828-254-3274, ext. 202 or nweaver@gcpcusa.org to request a printed pledge card be mailed to your home address.

Click here to watch a video example of how to pledge in Realm.
A Note From the Finance Office | Pledging vs. Giving:
During the stewardship season, we're often asked about the difference of pledging versus giving. It may seem like these are the same thing, but they play very different roles in the financial planning of our church. 

Pledging means that you let the church know your intended giving for the next year's general fund. This helps our Finance Council set a funded, responsible budget for Session to review and approve. Whether you choose to prepay your next year's pledge, give incrementally through the year, or pay in a lump sum at the end of the year, fulfilling your pledge means you are supporting the budget of GCPC, which includes business operations, SERVE grants, support for teams and councils, congregational care, property repairs and maintenance, personnel, and much more. 

Giving unpledged gifts are still appreciated and are used to support the ministry and mission at GCPC, but are not able to be considered as a part of our planning and budgeting process. These are "icing on the cake" and a nice surprise, but not a part of our budget because they're unknown. Our goal is to be able to fund our budget with pledged gifts, creating a more transparent and sustainable financial structure.

A few other reminders: 
  • Your gift is not considered a pledge unless you've let us know you'd like it to be. Pledges do not auto renew, you have to let us know annually your intentions.

  • Online giving does not auto renew in most cases, so if you're currently eGiving, be sure to reach out before year-end to set up your 2021 gifts.

  • Not sure if you've renewed your pledge yet or want to for the first time? You can do so by emailing your 2021 pledge to nweaver@gcpcusa.org.
2020 Year End Giving Cut Off
Please note that the office will be closed for the holiday on Thursday, 12/31. If you would like to make a year-end gift to be included on your 2020 contribution statement for tax purposes, be sure to plan ahead with your gift. Here are the ways to make your year-end gift before the 12/31 cut off date:
  • Give online here up to 11:59pm on 12/31
  • Log into your Realm account on your smartphone or computer, slect Giving, then click + Give
  • Text "giveGCPC" and "amount" to 73256, then follow the prompts (i.e. giveGCPC 100)
  • Mail gifts to the church office at 789 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804 *must be postmarked 12/31/20 or before* 

We wish you safe and happy holidays! 
GCPC Advent & Christmas 2020
Devotion: Third Week of Advent 

For the Advent season, we've asked our senior high Youth Committee members to share a weekly devotion. This week, Annie Cole shares an excerpt from a poem and some questions for reflection. Take a moment this week to read and reflect on where the light of Christ is showing up in your life.

an excerpt from "God Will Provide"

When your dark night feels eternal,
and it seems the sun refuses to rise,
know there’s already a dawn waiting for you –
for God will provide.

When hope seems all but lost
and tears feel permanent in your eyes,
wait patiently for your redeemer –
for God will provide

When the wind of the world extinguishes your lantern,
and you feel you’ve lost your only guide,
a fire will be lit within you –
for God will provide.

— Justin Farley

Questions for Reflection:
  • How has God provided for you in unexpected ways this year?
  • How can we continue to remind ourselves of God's promise to provide for us, even in challenging times?
Friday, December 18 | “A Very Covid Christmas Concert” | GCPC's Youtube Channel | 7:00 PM
“There’s no place like home for the holidays” has never been truer than during this year of the pandemic! Join us for this soon-to-be Christmas classic as Jeff, George, and members of our GCPC choir and GCPC family share their seasonal favorites just in time for the holidays!

Clear your calendars and gather around your computer screen on Friday, December 18th when this seasonal spectacular will be released on Youtube! You can watch it starting at 7pm and enjoy it over and over again anytime you wish throughout the season.
Saturday, December 19 | GCPC Christmas Drive Through Extravaganza! | 3:00 - 4:00 PM 
Drive through to drop off donations for some of our ministry partners and pick up your Christmas Candle, Communion Elements and glow sticks!

Sunday, December 20 | The Longest Night: A Service of Consolation | 5:00 PM | via Zoom
The Longest Night service is a time to be together for lament, for grief, and for a collective yearning for God to come closer to the world's struggles. Come and connect with your church family for a service of worship on Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 869 8465 0517
Passcode: 789
 Christmas Eve Services

Service for all ages. Calling all angels, shepherds, and wise people: This service is truly a treat with carols, the story of the first Christmas, and the children and families of Grace Covenant taking part!

GCPC Families, join us for our Christmas Eve Interactive Service!

We would love for any GCPC families to join us through this 
Zoom Link at 4:30 pm to help us lead this worship service.

What does "leading" mean? We need you to use your imagination and come up with a costume of one of the characters you like from the Nativity. You can choose a person (angel, shepherd, magi), a barnyard animal (sheep, goats, cow), or whatever else you imagine would help us retell the story of the birth of Jesus. During this Zoom worship we will ask you to show up on the screen and sometimes say things or make sounds. It will be SOOOOO much fun! 

If you are looking for ideas for creating costumes, please reach out to Amy Kim (amykim@gcpcusa.org). This will be a great opportunity for us to share in telling and celebrating the story of Christmas.

Other friends and family can tune in at 5:00 pm on Youtube 
for the live service!

The 9:00 PM service will include Holy Communion as we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord.
Friday, December 25 | "Christmas Morning Prayer and Reflection" with Marcia and Jeff | 10 - 10:30 AM | via Zoom

Join Zoom Meeting

Recurring Weekly Zooms:

If you are a part of a group, Team, or Circle at GCPC and you want to have a Zoom meeting, let staff know. We will help you get set up on our GCPC Zoom account for group gatherings and meetings. You can schedule your meeting on the calendar with Anna Louise, and any staff member can help you get set up for your meeting if you have questions. 
Spiritual/Pastoral Support
Deacon of the Week
In 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 (12/13 - 12/19): Ann Brown email: hbcove@aol.com
Next week (12/20 - 12/26): Mary Berg email: marhber@hotmail.com
Prayer List

Prayer requests will stay on the GCPC Prayer List for one month. Please let any staff member know if you (or your loved one) would like to remain on the list for longer.
Iglesia Jerusalem congregation
Marcia Zuzel (friend of Kim Hottle and Melissa Shook)
Jonathan Hettrick and family (friends of Sherrie Meehan)
Ryan Lockett (nephew of Denise Lockett)
Jennifer Martin (Yvonne Smith's daughter)
Marjorie Tague (Karen Punta's friend)
Pauline Stransky (Mark Stransky’s mother)
Sally Mason (Liz Rupp's friend)
Family of Anne Marie Riether (Mother of Bryant Smith's children)
Esther Kees & family (Ben Kees’ grandmother)
Truly and Eric Mount (Marcia Mount Shoop’s parents)
Phoebe Rauscher (Friend of the Bleckley and Merrill families)
Anthony DiGiantomasso (Karen Rohl’s nephew)
Bertilda Arteta (Marta Alcala-Williams' mother)
Cade Griffith (Kelley Griffith’s grandson), along with Cade’s parents, Gareth and Kelly, and siblings, Bryce and Maddock
Hettie Lou Garland
Bob Higgins
Florence and Steve Riedesel
Roslyn Carney
Susan Smialowicz
Laura Ross
Bill Williamson
Queen Mother Maggie Belle Gladden
Bob and Eleanor Walther
Amanda Pressley
Mary Berg
Joe Brumit

GCPC member Queen Mother Maggie Bell Gladdon is now at Stonecreek Health and Rehabilitation following surgery after a fall. During this time when family members cannot visit their loved ones in care facilities, GCPC members are invited to surround this family with care by sending cards to: 
Queen Mother Maggie Belle Gladden
Stonecreek Health and Rehabilitation
455 Victoria Rd.
Asheville, NC 28801
Wednesday Bible Study will resume on January 6th at 3:00 pm on Zoom.
Sunday Evening Bible Study & Prayer Group will resume on January 3rd.
Adult Education Class - "Reimagining Advent and Christmas in Creative Writing and Verse" | Sundays | December 6, 13, & 20 | | 9:00 - 10:00 AM | via Zoom
How do we hold together the beauty and hope of this season with the anxiety and grief of this time? How do we ready ourselves for the coming of the Christ child in the winter of 2020? Kelley Griffith, clerk of session and retired English professor, along with Amy Kim and Richard will be facilitating a class on how poetry and other forms of other creative writing can aid us in exploring the beauty and complexity of the season. Come to learn, share, write, and create together.
We would love to have some of you share a poem that you find meaningful during this season. If you have something, please email it directly to Richard (rcoble@gcpcusa.org) so that I can share it on my screen during our class.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 878 8627 9637
Passcode: 789
20s/30s Gathering: Virtual Christmas Party: "Ugly Sweaters & Horrible Harmonies" | TONIGHT, Thursday, December 17 | 6:00 PM | via Zoom
If you are in your twenties or thirties (or nearly these ages), let's celebrate the holiday season together! Feel welcome to rock your ugliest sweater, X-mas hat or antlers. Bring a hot drink or some snacks close to the computer and get ready for a whole lot of fun!

We will "harmonize" unmuted on Zoom to our favorite Christmas carols, play some ridiculous games, and connect as a community of faith.

Masks required (just kidding) and pets are welcome (especially if they are dressed up). We look forward to seeing you there and sharing in the joy of the "most wonderful time of the year."


For questions or zoom link, contact Samantha.
Presbyterian Women’s Circles are Zoom meetings.
Please join us.

Circle 1: First Tuesday of each month, 10:00 a.m.

Circle 2:  First Tuesday of each month, 7:30 p.m.

Circle 3: Second Thursday of each month, 7:00 p.m.

Circle 4:  First Thursday of each month, 7:00 p.m.

Circle 5:  First Monday of each month, 11:00 a.m.
Children & Youth Formation
Pre-K - 3rd Grade Sunday Morning Adventure | 10:15 am | Zoom
You'll get an email every Friday with the Zoom link for our Sunday 10:15am check in. Email Anna Louise if you did not receive the link.
4th & 5th Graders CONNECT Class will meet this Sunday, December 20th at 7:00 pm for a Connect Christmas Party!
Email Anna Louise if you need the link.
There will be NO YOUTH GROUP on Sunday, December 20th or Sunday, December 27th. We look forward to seeing you again on Sunday, January 3rd!
MISSION: Asheville — Youth Winter Mission Weekend | January 15th-17th, 2021 (MLK Jr. Weekend)

The GCPC Youth Winter Mission Education Trip is an annual highlight! This Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, we’re embarking on a reimagined "pandemic-safe" mission adventure in our own awesome city.

We may not be traveling this year, but that won't keep us from enjoying favorite mission trip traditions like "One Bus Band," bonding in small groups, meaningful service work, hilarious games, yummy snacks and—of course—obnoxiously bright hats!

Through virtual gatherings and individual action challenges, we'll dive into issues such as food insecurity, homelessness and racial equity right here in Asheville. We will creatively explore how we are called to respond to these critical issues as people of faith.

Your mission—should you choose to accept it—begins Friday evening (January 15) and wraps up Sunday evening (January 17). Youth and Adults will be asked to keep this weekend free and more details are forthcoming. The cost is $10, and scholarships are available. Don't miss this exciting chance to grow closer and to grow in faith!

REGISTER HERE for MISSION: Asheville by Friday, December 25th. Please do this ASAP so we can get all of the surprises and supplies ready in time.
Attention current 8th-11th graders! Because of the pandemic, we are moving Confirmation to Fall 2021, with some special programming in the late Spring and a request to participate in one of the summer conferences (info below).

Our theme for the year is "Faith Voyage." This will be a sacred and exciting time to explore your faith in community. And it is a whole lot of fun!

Register for the 2021 Confirmation class by clicking here. This class is for youth who have completed 8th-11th grade by summer 2021. More information about exact times/dates/etc. is forthcoming, but registration will help us plan accordingly and have materials ready.

Attending these conferences is a great way to build friendships with youth from around the country and explore how God is working in our lives.

Please note: Event organizers are planning for these conferences to take place in person but are continuing to monitor the pandemic. We will keep you informed of any changes to the location, format and/or dates of these events.
Middle School Massanetta Youth Conference (Week 3: July 8-11):
This is for youth who will have completed 6th, 7th, or 8th grade by this summer.

The theme for 2021 is "Rooted in Love." The daily schedule includes recreation, workshops, energizers, worship and many fun activities.

The discounted cost is $290 if you register HERE by January 31, 2021 (cost goes up $10 each month). Full and partial scholarships are available. It's going to be an adventure to remember!
Senior High Montreat Youth Conference (Week 5: July 25-31):
This is for youth who have completed 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th grade by this summer.

The theme for 2021 is "Called to Connect," and we will be renting a house in Montreat together for the week. The schedule includes morning energizers, music, keynote, small groups, recreation, evening worship, and many other fun activities.

The discounted cost is $490 if you register HERE by January 31, 2021 (cost goes up $10 each month). Full and partial scholarships are available. Don't miss out on the fun!
Community Working Together
An open letter to Grace Covenant:

Love and thanksgiving to the innumerable volunteers from our GCPC community who have made it possible to care for the residents of Red Roof Inn this fall and into the new year. Caring individuals have been providing nourishing and delicious dinners and will continue to do so each month through June 2021. Special thanks also go to Betsy Wilson and Beth Kissling. Even non-GCPC folks have joined our effort for the months ahead.

In addition, several generous knitters – aka Angels of Knitting Needles – have created warm scarves and hats for the residents. Special thanks to Cathy Byers, Lynne Noble, Cathy Froehlich, Sherrie McCleary-Small, Peggy Manz, and Jeane Smith for sharing their talents to wrap the Red Roof Inn folks in comforting love. These Red Roof Inn residents who are without homes have been at the RRI since moving from the Civic Center during the pandemic during late winter of 2020. 

The fabulous scarves and hats will be delivered on December 21st in gift bags. Our genuine, hearty thanks go out to each volunteer who has been and will be involved in this huge undertaking.   

~ Submitted by old Room in the Inn Team,
Tish Anderson & Beth Philipsen, Co-Coordinators
On Being with Krista Tippett | Bryan Stevenson: Love is the Motive
How to embrace what’s right and corrective, redemptive and restorative — and an insistence that each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve done — these are gifts Bryan Stevenson offers with his life. He’s brought the language of mercy and redemption into American culture in recent years, growing out of his work as a lawyer to people unfairly on death row, people who are mentally ill and incarcerated, and children tried as adults. Krista draws out his spirit and his moral imagination. Click HERE to read or listen.

Stewardship & Sustainability GIVE HERE

Year-end giving statements showing all 2020 contributions will be issued mid-January 2021 for tax purposes. Since the building remains closed, these statements will be e-mailed to your primary email address as listed in Realm. 

If you would prefer your statement be printed and mailed to you, please send a request to Natalie or leave a message on Natalie Weaver's voicemail at 828-254-3274. Unless requested otherwise, all year-end contribution statements will be e-mailed.
Thank you for your generous giving! Your gifts are enabling the church to continue our important work in our community. We appreciate your faithful support!

Remote Giving & Paperless Statements 

Here are a few different ways to stay up-to-date on your giving 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 https://onrealm.org/gcpcusa/give/now
  • TEXT "giveGCPC" and AMOUNT to 73256 (i.e. giveGCPC $100)
  • MOBILE through the Connect - Our Church Community app

Interested in setting up online recurring giving? Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to self-manage eGiving through Realm or return this signed authorization form to have our Finance Office set up on your behalf.

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
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church | 828.254.3274 
789 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804