Grace Covenant Weekly News | December 20, 2018
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University students hold a vigil in response to the shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation.

“As long as there is life, there is hope.”
~ Rabbi Yohanan, Jerusalem Talmud

Sunday Preview

Sunday, December 23, 2018
Fourth Sunday of Advent

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

Sermon: "Something Is Stirring" by Samantha Gonzalez-Block
Scriptures: Micah 5:2-5a; Luke 1:39-45
Monday, December 24 | Christmas Eve Services

  • 5 PM | A Night Like No Other – Service for all ages
Calling all angels, shepherds, and wise people:
This service is truly a treat with carols, stories of the first Christmas, and all the children of Grace Covenant taking part. Kids, arrive a little early to pick out your costume. Hope to see you there!

  • 9 PM | Candlelight Communion Service
The 9:00 PM service will include familiar carols, scripture and Holy Communion as we gather to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord. 
Advent Ministry Partner: Youth Transformed for Life (YTL)
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.
Congregational Meeting
A congregational meeting has been called for Sunday, January 6 immediately following worship for the purpose of electing a new slate of Elders and Deacons.

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 12/20/18, here's where we are on our pledging:

219 Pledges Received, 95% of 230 Goal
  • Only 11 More Pledges Needed!
$936 ,856.00 Pledged, 92% of Goal
  • Only $83,144 Left to Raise!

This includes 39 new pledges from families that did not pledge in 2018. 131 families 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     
2018 Giving Cut Off Date

Please note that the office will be closed for the holidays  Monday, 2/24 - Wednesday, 12/26  and  Monday, 12/31 - Tuesday, 1/1 . If you would like to make a year-end gift to be included on your 2018 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:
  • Put gifts in the plate on Sunday 12/23 or 12/30
  • Visit the church office when it reopens Thursday, 12/27, from 9am - 4pm
  • Give online here up to 11:59pm on 12/31
  • GIVE+ Mobile App: Download the app on your smartphone to set up one- time or recurring donations
  • GIVE+ Text: Send a text message to 828-266-0126 with the amount you would like to contribute
  • Mail gifts to the church office at 789 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804 *must be postmarked 12/31/18 or before* 

We wish you a safe and Happy Holidays! 
Wrap up your holiday shopping at  and AmazonSmile
donates to Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church.
Creating Sanctuary Team (CST)
Sometimes great things happen when you least expect them…

El Refugio is a Georgia non-profit organization which has provided a wonderful support for Stewart Detention Center detainees and their families. Up until now, families wanting to visit their detained husbands/fathers have had to spend nights crowded into a 1,000-square-foot bungalow in Lumpkin, Georgia, a few miles from the detention center. Many weekends, there is not enough space for all families who want to visit.

According to Rodney Ho’s AJC Radio and TV Talk blog, Samantha Bee’s TBS show “Full Frontal” has renovated and is donating a 3,100-square-foot five-bedroom home in Lumpkin to El Refugio. The new home will start serving families of detainees in late January.

What a Christmas blessing!
~ Contributed by Jim Stokely
Power and Race Team (PART)
Racial Justice Book Club | Thursday, January 10 | 12:15 PM | Jerusalem 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 January , we are reading the novel The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
PART Meeting | Thursday, January 10 | 7:00 PM | Fellowship Hall
We will be exploring Native American history and the realities of colonizing North America. Meeting is open to all.

  • Friday, Dec. 21 | 7:30 PM | Asheville Community Theater (Buy tickets)
  • Sunday, Dec. 23 | 7:30 PM | YMI Cultural Center (Buy tickets)

BLACK NATIVITY: LIBERATION HOLIDAY is an artistic production in celebration of black heritage, contributions, creativity, and community, featuring music, dance, and poetry woven into a dramatic story. Guided by the creative team of director Daniele Martin, music director Jonathan Santos, and choreographer Michael Hayes.
Featuring live music by Santos Soul and the Soulution Band, with contributions from local artists such as the Urban Arts Institute (UAI) dancers, Olympia Garrett, JaNesha Renee, Kia Rice, Kasia Maatafale and DJ Twan. Coordinated by  Southside Rising  in association with  Asheville Creative Arts , proceeds from this show will be used to support ongoing and developing opportunities for artists, performers and culture bearers of color in Asheville.
Earth Team
Great Stocking Stuffers!
Stainless Steel Straws make great stocking stuffers and save the planet at the same time! The Earth Team will be selling these straws this Sunday in the narthex. Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day - enough to fill 125 school buses daily! $2 each or three for $5. We’ll also have ‘straw-cleaning’ brushes for $1. 

Also, we still have some homemade bat houses for sale for $20 each.  Contact Betsy Richards or Bryant Smith if you would like a bat house. All proceeds go to support the solar pan els project that the Session just voted to pursue.
This Sunday's Education Hour (for all ages)

December 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 - Religious Wounds and Healing
Facilitators: Richard Coble and guests

Digging In - Singing Faith: Exploring the Bible through Hymns
Facilitator: Jeff Jones
Winter Women's Memoir Series | Last Monday of the month | 6 PM | Jerusalem Room
Join us for a series of book talks focusing on memoirs written by people of faith. Open to all women of the church. One copy of each book can be found in the church library. Please pre-read the book to ensure lively discussion.  *Childcare provided.
  • January 28 - Pure: inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free by Linda Kay Klein
Facilitator: Amber White
  • February 25 - Becoming by Michelle Obama
Facilitator: Caroline Wyrosdick-Webb
  • March 25 - Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage and Fighting Back by Jackie Speier
Facilitator: Mary Lou Nash
Bible Study | Wednesdays | 11:00 AM | Garden Rm
No Bible Study for the rest of December. Bible Study will resume on January 9.
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).
VRQ—BBQ Cook Team | Next cook date: NEW YEAR'S DAY - Tuesday, January 1st | 4:45 or 5:45 PM
Come help us serve a meal to the veterans! Come at 4:45 to help cook or 5:45 to help serve. This mission service has a long history. We would love for you to be a part of the service & camaraderie. Questions? Contact Bill Neeriemer, .
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 THIS SUNDAY, December 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) | Wednesday, January 2 | 12 PM | Garden Room
This support group introduces techniques for daily living with such issues, led by Paul Rogers, a retired physician in our congregation. We meet the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of every month. Contact Richard with questions. *New participants welcome at any time.
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:  Melissa Shook email:
Youth News
There will be no youth group on December 23 or 30th.
See you back on Sunday, January 6th!
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 .
LAST CALL! Confirmation 2019 | Begins January 6th | 9:15-10:15 | Jerusalem Room
8th - 12th graders, Confirmation 2019 is beginning and we are excited to take this leap of faith together! If you have not registered, but still want to take the class, please register by no later than THIS SUNDAY. Contact  Samantha  with questions. Register for the Confirmation class by clicking here.
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)
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
Larry Stern and family
Grace Covenant Community Out and About...

Enneagram learning opportunities
with Carol Hovis!

Save the Date: 
Enneagram Retreat | Saturday, January 12 | 10 AM - 4 PM | GCPC
Flyer with details to come 
January Series  of Calvin College | January 3-23 (each weekday) | 12:30-1:30 PM | First Presbyterian Church, Room 112
First Presbyterian Church will broadcast o ne of the nation’s leading lecture and cultural arts series, fifteen lectures shown through live feed from Calvin College with topics ranging from millennials and faith, restorative justice, confident pluralism, radical generosity, and so much more by top experts in their fields. Bring a sack lunch, we’ll supply beverages. Attend one or all. Click HERE for more information.
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