Merry Christmas GCPC!
GCPC Weekly News | December 24, 2020

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 GCPC 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!



  • Thursday, December 24 | 8:45 PM - Music and 9:00 PM - Service| "Candlelight and Communion Service" | GCPC's Youtube Channel

The 9:00 PM service will include Holy Communion as we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord. During tonight's service you will be invited to go and get your Communion elements. Remember that the sacrament of Communion is about God instilling the ordinary with sacred purpose. What you use as elements is not what matters the most. What matters most is our hearts open to God and one another. You can use bread, crackers, even a Christmas cookie. You can use water, apple cider, or any other beverage close by! 

You will also be asked to light a candle when we sing silent night. You can have that ready to go as well! 

Please tune in at 8:45pm to hear some beautiful Christmas music!
Friday, December 25 | "Christmas Morning Prayer and Reflection" with Marcia and Jeff | 10 - 10:30 AM | via Zoom

Join Zoom Meeting

The church office will be closed on Friday, December 25, Monday, December 28, Thursday, December 31 and Friday, January 1.
GCPC Alive and Well This Week!
20s/30s Gathering
Staff Meeting 12/22
Buzz and Pat Durham in front of their house for the last time before they move on to Washington state. Buzz and Pat made indelible contributions to GCPC and Asheville in general. We will miss their good spirits and energy! We wish you all joys and contentment in your new adventure.

In case you missed the special Christmas concert, "A Very Covid Christmas" is still available for your viewing pleasure on our Youtube channel. Watch and enjoy!!

Click here to watch highlights from GCPC's Christmas celebrations!
Devotion: Fourth Week of Advent 

For the Advent season, we've asked our senior high Youth Committee members to share a weekly devotion. This week, Mary Elizabeth Shoop shares a psalm 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.

Psalm 62: 5-10

For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.

Questions for Reflection:
  • How can it be hard to wait and trust in God?
  • How has God given you hope or a sense of stability during this season of Advent?
Worship Preview | Sunday, December 27, 2020
First Sunday of Christmas
Lectio Divina: by Richard Coble, Samantha Gonzalez-Block and Amy Kim Kyremes-Parks
Scripture: Luke 2:22-40

Live Stream Worship Service @ 10:45 AM Sunday


Keeping the Faith
2021 Stewardship Campaign
2021 PLEDGE CAMPAIGN PROGRESS
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!  
WAYS TO PLEDGE FOR 2021:
  • 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! 
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 (12/20 - 12/26): Mary Berg email: marhber@hotmail.com
Next week (12/27 - 1/2): Earl Fowler email: earljfowler@aol.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)
Sally Mason (Liz Rupp's friend)
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
Audrey and Keith (friends of Rhonda Callison)
Tony Sellers (husband of Doris Sellers, AC Reynolds HS principal)
Family of Paul Hyder (Anna Jarvis’s Uncle who passed away)
Jean Ross (Taryn Duncan’s mother)
Hariton Stefanidis (Father of Sophia Ungert) 
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
Mary Berg
Joe Brumit
Bre and Omar Bolivar
Woody Catoe

Our sympathy and support are extended to Sophia Ungert and family following the death of her father, Hariton Stefanidis, on December 23. Please keep the family in your prayers.

Our sympathy and support are extended to the family of Lowell "Newt" Baker who passed away on December 15. His burial will take place in his home state of Ohio. Please keep his family in your prayers.

Our sympathy and support are extended to Libby Kyles and family on the death of her Uncle Edward, who died on December 23. Please keep the family in your prayers.
Formation/Education
Wednesday Bible Study will resume on January 6th at 3:00 pm on Zoom.
*UPDATE: Sunday Evening Bible Study & Prayer Group will resume on January 10th.
Advent Adult Education: Our Advent class on creative writing and poetry has wrapped up after looking at many striking explorations into the season. Everyone can check out our poetry, including several original compositions from GCPC members at this LINK.

Winter Adult Education will begin on January 10th.
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 will NOT meet this Sunday, December 27th.
We look forward to seeing you again on Sunday, January 3rd!
4th & 5th Graders CONNECT Class will NOT meet this Sunday, December 27 or Sunday, January 3rd.


We look forward to seeing you again on Sunday, January 10th.
There will be NO YOUTH GROUP on Sunday, December 20th, Sunday, December 27th, or Sunday, January 3rd.
 We look forward to seeing you again on Sunday, January 10th!
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 TOMORROW, Friday, December 25th. Please do this ASAP so we can get all of the surprises and supplies ready in time.
SIGN UP FOR CONFIRMATION (Fall 2021):
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.
SIGN UP FOR SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES!

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
Special Housing and Tenant Rights Clinic | Tuesday, December 29 | 2:30 - 5:00 PM | Online
Legal Aid of North Carolina hosts a free Special Housing Clinic put on by Attorney Isaac Sturgill to talk through Tenant Rights as well as discuss new developments in housing. This is also to discuss the end of the CDC Eviction Moratorium.

We’ll also discuss the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic is having on evictions, such as the delay of pending court cases, the enforcement of evictions that have already been granted, how to contact Legal Aid for Assistance, available emergency rent assistance, and what to expect from the court process.

To register or learn more about other virtual clinics held by Legal Aid of NC, click here.
Ibram X Kendi: “This is the Calling of my Life”
In a year of police violence against Black people, a global pandemic, and a growing movement for racial justice, Ibram X. Kendi and BU’s Center for Antiracist Research will help lead the way forward.

SAVE THE DATE!
40th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration
ONLINE CELEBRATION: JANUARY 15–22, 2021
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville & Buncombe County, Inc. is currently planning for our annual MLK, Jr. Celebration events. The format for the 2021 Celebration will be different this year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

As we commemorate forty years of service and celebrations, we will move most of our programming to online platforms utilizing YouTube and Zoom.

The 2021 programming will be expanded to a week-long list of events, and the speaker for the Prayer Breakfast will be Dr. Oralene Simmons, President, MLK Association. She will be sharing some of the forty-year struggles of not only the Association, but the 400 years of struggles of the Black race in the United States.


Stewardship & Sustainability GIVE HERE
Looking for a way to help bring joy this season? Shop AmazonSmile Charity Lists at smile.amazon.com/gp/ch/list/56-0588479 to donate items to Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church.
PAPERLESS 2020 CONTRIBUTION STATEMENTS

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