GCPC Weekly News | December 3, 2020

Click  " View entire message" at bottom of email
to see the FULL newsletter
GCPC Alive and Well This Week!
Staff Mtg. 12/1
Worship Preview | Sunday, December 6, 2020
Second Sunday of Advent | What are you waiting FOR?
The Rev. Dr. Byron Wade, General Presbyter of the Western North Carolina Presbytery, preaching
Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-11

Live Stream Worship Service @ 10:45 AM Sunday

Keeping the Faith
2021 Stewardship Campaign

Click the video to watch the seventh installment of the
Stew Crew All-Stars stewardship videos.
  • 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.
Sherrie Meehan, our Operations Administrator, has retired. The church is collecting a love offering to bless her retirement. To contribute to the love offering for Sherrie, you can give online here, through your Realm log in, or mail a check to 789 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804 with "Sherrie" in the memo line.  

Thank you Sherrie, for your dedicated years of service to GCPC and beyond! We will miss you!
GCPC Advent & Christmas 2020
Presbyterian Women’s Christmas Event | Monday, December 7 | 7:00 - 8:00 PM | via Zoom
Be on the lookout tomorrow for your Zoom Invite to the Presbyterian Women’s Christmas Event. ALL women are invited to share in the festivities on December 7 from 7 – 8. We hope to see everyone there. 

We will enjoy music for the season, table talk, and a presentation about the current status of the Guatemala Microloan Project.
Sunday, December 13 | "GCPC Cozy Christmas" | 4:30 - 6:00 PM | via Zoom
INTERGENERATIONAL EVENT!! Pour yourself some milk and grab some Christmas cookies and join us around the virtual GCPC fire. Join us as we share Christmas memories and holiday cheer! 
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 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 | Longest Night Service: 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.
Advent Devotional
Beginning with the first Sunday in Advent, this daily devotional follows the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B) through Epiphany. Each day offers something new: commentary, poetry, visual art, coloring pages, journaling and Sabbath prompts. As you walk through these prompts and readings day by day, may you dream alongside prophets and angels, Mary and the Magi. Together, may we seek and sow God’s dreams for our world.

GCPC has purchased this devotional for your use. To sign up, please fill out the form at this LINK.
GCPC Daily Staff Devotionals
Staff will continue their daily online devotionals. You can find them on social media or have them sent directly to your inbox.

Contact Anna Louise to have the devotional sent to your email.
Presbyterians Today’s Advent & Christmas devotional, “Let Us Light Candles: Matthew 25 and the work of Advent.” This extended online devotional brings to you the inspiring words in Howard Thurman’s poem “I Will Light Candles This Christmas.” 
Dear GCPC Community,
We are encouraging all members of GCPC to add their voice to our worship. Will you consider the "Glory to God" Challenge?  This is fun for all ages and it's easy to do too! The instructions, video link and uploading instructions are provided below. Please let me know if you have any questions or need assistance.  I would love to add your voice to this project.

Keeping the song alive,
Click below to get the video you will use to rehearse and record with:

Once you've made your recording click the Google link below to upload your recording of Glory to God and you're done!

Thanks for being a part of our Glory to God Challenge!
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 (11/29 - 12/5): Beth Robrecht email: bethrobrecht50@gmail.com
Next week (12/6 - 12/12): Martha Ensign Johnson
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)
Axel Striebeck (Rick and Lynne Noble’s German ’son’)
Family of Anne Marie Riether (Mother of Bryant Smith's children)
Hettie Lou Garland
Bob Higgins
Cory Hartbarger
Florence and Steve Riedesel
Roslyn Carney
Susan Smialowicz
Laura Ross
Bill Williamson
Queen Mother Maggie Belle Gladden
Bob Walther
Amanda Pressley
Mary Berg
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.
In the first class, Kelley will present five interesting and not well known poems about Christmas for reading and discussing.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 878 8627 9637
Passcode: 789
Enneagram Sessions for GCPC Parents

Next Wednesday enneagram Zoom gathering, 6:30-8:30pm, for GCPC parents is WednesdayDecember, 9th.  

Facilitated by Carol Hovis, all parents are welcome. If you don't know your enneagram type, contact Carol. Email Carol if you would like to participate. 
PART (Power & Race Team)
Tema Okun is an author and facilitator who has been helping organizations, communities, and individuals dismantle white supremacy culture for several decades. You can find more about her work here and a full list of her "Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture" here. PART has been engaging for some time with these characteristics and exploring how they show up at GCPC and in each of us. 
As I stated in the last newsletter, PART decided to look more deeply at the white supremacy norm of being punitive instead of reparative. Where do these punitive ways of solving problems show up in the world? And where do they show up in the church? Christianity has often been weaponized to shame people around their bodies, their beliefs, and their identities.

So we now ask you: What would a reparative model of being with each other look and feel like? PART generated some ideas:

  • Hearing people's stories and feeling their pain
  • Mutual liberation where fundamental self-awareness and sense of justice of oneself and others is required
  • Humility
  • Vulnerability
  • Mutual relationships where people work together and each benefit from the relationship
  • Sharing power
  • Prioritizing accountability and support in relationships
  • Life-giving
  • Trauma informed support
  • Practicing self-love and love of others
  • Grace-filled
  • Faithful
  • Compassionate
  • Kind

What other ideas and dreams do you have?

Our next meeting is December 10th at 6pm. All are welcome.

~ submitted by Liz Huesemann, PART Member
Sunday Evening Bible Study & Prayer Group | Sundays | 5:00 PM via Zoom
Our new Bible Study and Prayer Group will be focusing on how selected passages from the Gospel of John speak to our spiritual lives and needs today. With a contentious election looming, the pandemic entering a new phase, and the cold weather approaching, the coming months will be difficult. Our hope is that this group is a time of support, contemplation, and fellowship, where we can feel the movement of the Spirit and ready ourselves for another week. So please, join us as you can. Contact Richard with questions.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 834 6929 0018
Passcode: 789

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 | Sundays | 5:00-5:45pm | Zoom
Each week, families will receive an email with a unique login for class. If you would like to be on the list, please email Anna Louise.
Youth Group | Sunday, December 6 | 5:00-6:30 PM | on Zoom

Join us for our last youth-only gathering of the year! We'll celebrate the end of the semester in Christmas style. We'll be playing games, having fun and diving into the Advent season. Wear festive attire—ugly sweaters, reindeer antlers & Santa hats are all welcome! We can't wait to see you there! Email Cat Kessler for zoom information.
Devotion: First Week of Advent 

For the Advent season, we've asked our senior high Youth Committee members to share a weekly devotion. This week, Samantha Kinton shares a meaningful quote 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.

"If you only carry one thing throughout your entire life, let it be hope. Let it be hope that better things are always ahead. Let it be hope that you can get through even the toughest times. Let it be hope that you are stronger than any challenge that comes your way. Let it be hope that you are exactly where you are meant to be right now, and that you are on the path to where you are meant to be… Because during these times, hope will be the very thing that carries you through."

- Nikki Banas, Walk the Earth

Questions for Reflection:
  • What inspires hope for you during this time of Advent?
  • How has Christ provided you hope during the pandemic?
  • Where have you seen the love of Christ in the past week?
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
Join a team to feed the residents of Red Roof Inn!
The GCPC community is putting together two teams of volunteers to provide meals for the folks who are homeless and staying at RRI during the pandemic and now during the cold weather. Volunteers will serve a main course, bread, fruit, and dessert once each month on alternate months. Team A will handle January, March, and May, while Team B will cover February, April, and June.
Share Christmas love with those detained at Stewart Detention Center
Approximately 800 Latinx immigrants are currently imprisoned at the for-profit Stewart Detention Center near Lumpkin, GA. As these men exist In cruel and desperate circumstances, we can share Cards of Hope and Joy and other support during the holidays.

El Refugio of Decatur, GA, sponsors opportunities to support detainees, many of whom have been arrested and incarcerated in unjust ICE raids, as well as their families.

Learn more about this important, family-friendly activity sponsored on behalf of these unfairly imprisoned individuals. Click here to learn more about this project to write holiday cards and to support the services of El Refugio. 

~ submitted by Tish Anderson, Creating Sanctuary Team (CST) member
Buncombe Community Remembrance Project
Hands and Feet of Asheville -
Updates from a fall without volunteers
"What a very strange time it has been for all of us since we sent our volunteers home to shelter in place in mid-March. And while we are not able to host volunteers for the 2020-2021 program year, we are already in the recruitment and interview stage for our 2021-2022 program year! In the meantime, we want to keep you up to date on how we are using this reflective time.

  • hosting volunteers for the 2020-2021 program year

What we ARE DOING:
  • participating in the virtual 2020-2021 YAV year
  • engaging in professional development and reflection around issues of white supremacy and how to create more just and equal structures
  • working on renewed recruitment and fundraising plans
  • engaging in program-wide development to re-envision problematic elements of our nation-wide program
  • re-creating the national and international interview and placement process
  • reviewing new teaching materials to use in our education curriculum
  • ...and so much more!

All to say, we are working hard during this year without volunteers physically present, to renew, refresh and enliven our program so that at
the other side of this pandemic, we have a more just program.

Want to be a part of this work? Don't ever hesitate to reach out! Community is more important now than ever." https://www.handsandfeetavl.org/
Online resource explains racism to white audiences
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Theology Professor Shannon Craigo-Snell recently joined a group of academics in religious studies, history, and ethics to develop Breakdown Whiteness, an online resource designed to explain structural racism to white audiences.

The site, breakdownwhiteness.org, serves as a clearinghouse of existing resources designed to dismantle white supremacy in America. Resources are categorized by age and subject. The site also includes a glossary of terms and actions that can be taken to stop the policies and practices, which enable systemic and structural racism.

Breakdown Whiteness was instigated by the Rev. Nikia Smith Robert, founder of Reverend Daughter Ministries, which provides communities, organizations, and faith leaders with serviceable models of faith and justice through radical preaching, scholarship, and activism. In June 2020, Robert took to Twitter to express her fatigue with explaining anti-Black racism to white people and her hope for a resource to share instead. She asked white scholars, as a practice of allyship and solidarity, to create a resource for other white people, so she could point them to that resource.

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