GCPC Weekly News | May 20, 2021
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For more information about GCPC worship, building status and current COVID safety, please see the latest GraceNote.
GCPC Alive and Well This Week!
Staff "Ketchup" Meeting 5/18
Men of GCPC 5/20
Chancel Choir 5/19
Worship Preview | Sunday, May 23, 2021
Pentecost
Graduation Sunday
Sermon: "Faith-Full" by Samantha Gonzalez-Block
Scripture: Acts 2:1-21

Live Stream Worship Service @ 10:45 AM Sunday
Celebrate Samantha's Ministry!

Drive Through Celebration to bless Samantha and her family as they move to her new call to ministry
Saturday, May 22 | 3:00-4:00 PM | GCPC parking lot

Please bring a written blessing for (or memory of) Samantha to include in her Blessing Basket!

We are still in COVID, so this opportunity to share gratitude and best wishes will honor the protocols we continue to follow to keep our community safe. 
Please stay in your cars and follow the directions of staff who are present. 
We invite everyone to wear a mask to protect the unvaccinated in our community. 

If you would like to contribute to a love offering for Samantha and her family, go to GCPC's giving website (https://onrealm.org/gcpcusa/give/now), click the dropdown list under Fund and select Samantha Gonzalez-Block Love Offering. Checks can be made out to GCPC with "Samantha" in the memo line and mailed to the church office at 789 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804.
Pentecost
PC(USA) Special Offerings
April 5 - May 23, 2021
A gift to the Pentecost Offering helps the church encourage, develop, and support its young people, and also address the needs of at-risk children. 40% of the Pentecost offering can be retained by individual congregations wanting to make an impact in the lives of young people within their own community. The remaining 60% is used to support children-at-risk, youth, and young adults through ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

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.
Recurring Weekly Zooms:

  • Sundays "Pre-K - 3rd Grade Sunday Morning Adventure" @ 10:15 am (email Anna Louise for zoom info)
  • Sundays "4th and 5th Grade Connect Class" @ 5:00 pm (email Anna Louise for zoom info)
  • Sundays "Youth Group" @ 5:00 pm - (email Cat Kessler for zoom info)
  • Wednesdays “Zoom Bible Study@ 3:00 pm (May 26 will be the last one)
  • Wednesdays "Choir Chat" @ 7:30 pm
  • Every other Thursday "Men of GCPC" @ 8:30 am (June 10, etc.)
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 (5/16-5/22): Nancy Gaskin email: nancy.gaskin@gmail.com
Next week (5/23-5/29): Jeff Curtis email: jandscurtis@msn.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
Ryan Lockett (nephew of Denise Lockett)
Jennifer Martin (Yvonne Smith's daughter)
Bertilda Arteta (Marta Alcala-Williams' mother)
Sheldon Smith (Beth Robrecht’s brother-in-law)
Alyse Pryzant Pribish (Ashley Cooper's mom)
Carol Lisi (Robin Gaiser’s friend)
Healing for Davion Chambers
John Maddrell (Martha Seddon’s step-father)
William Johnson (Marty Johnson’s dad)
Bob Higgins
Florence and Steve Riedesel
Roslyn Carney
Susan Smialowicz
Laura Ross
Bill Williamson
Queen Mother Maggie Belle Gladden
John Mount Shoop
Elizabeth Fisher
Doris Prak
Susie Wheelis
Dan Blake
Betsy Rhodes
Don Moe
Ida Edge
Erin Tolar
Liz Rupp
Martha Branden

Our sympathy and support are extended to the family of Ted Bussey, who passed away on Thursday, May 13 in Colorado. Please keep his family in your prayers.
Formation/Education
Adult Formation
Earth Team Mtg. | TONIGHT, Thursday, May 20 7:00 PM | Zoom
All are welcome!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 918 5954 1587 | Passcode: 789
The Racial Justice Book Series returns! | Sundays | May 30, June 27 & July 25 | 9:00 AM | via Zoom
The Racial Justice Book Series will return this summer with three books by Black female authors about the systems, consequences, and remedies of the deep entrenchment of white supremacy culture in our country and church.

We will meet on zoom during the Sunday school hour the last Sunday of each month. The first book is a great and lengthy one, so go ahead and get started!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 972 3906 6867
Passcode: 789

Wednesdays “Zoom Bible Study” @ 3:00pm
(Last one before summer will be May 26)
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: *Third 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 Grade Connect Class | Sundays | 5:00 PM
Please see Connect class email for details.
If you would like to be on the list, please email Anna Louise.
Graduation Sunday & Youth Group End-of-Year Celebration | Sunday, May 23 | 3:30-4:30 PM for Middle School & 5:00-6:00 PM for Senior High | Weaver Park (200 Murdock Ave)
We're gathering face-to-face (with masks, of course!) at the picnic shelter at Weaver Park to celebrate our high school graduates and everyone who has made youth group great this year!
All youth are invited to say farewell to Sam in person — she is so excited to see each of you! — and there will be surprises for everyone and special gifts for our graduates.

We'll meet in two groups so that we have plenty of space for social distancing:

  • Middle Schooler will gather at 3:30-4:30 PM.
  • Senior Highs will gather at 5-6 PM.

 Please wear masks and plan to remain socially distanced. For safety, we ask that parents not leave your cars/linger between pick up and drop off times. We are excited to see you there!


Be sure to tune into the GCPC YouTube channel on Sunday morning as we honor our graduating seniors during worship!
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.
Community Working Together
from the Creating Sanctuary Team...
2021 has been a wild ride for El Refugio, as the organization supports detainees of Stewart Detention Center and their families.
 
As we have prayed, many detainees are being released.
 
El Refugio reports, “So many people are being released that we have exceeded our 2021 budget for plane and bus tickets! Paz Amigos, our partner organization, has depleted its funds as well. We have almost depleted our funds for commissary support.
 
“We are also raising money for rent and bills assistance for families impacted by detention and for our new mental health program.”
 
We hope you can support this vital organization as they assist families whose lives have been inexorably disrupted and damaged by indiscriminate ICE arrests.
 
For more information regarding El Refugio’s grave financial needs at this time, see this site: https://www.mightycause.com/story/J2p11f  
 
You may make donations directly via the link or send a check to:
El Refugio, ATTN: Patti Ghezzi, P.O. Box 3996, Decatur, GA 30031.
PCUSA Immigration Webinar Series

The PC(USA) Migration Roundtable is presenting a new series of webinars to address various issues related to forced displacement and U.S. policy. As the PC(USA) statement from 1999 reminds us, love of neighbor requires Christians to seek justice for refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants. What does justice look like in US policy to address root causes? What does justice look like in the reception of asylum seekers and resettled refugees?
Central American Migration: Root Causes & US Policy | Tuesday, May 25 | 5:00 PM
The first workshop in this webinar series will look at the circumstances that drive people from Central America to seek safety in the U.S. Lisa Haugaard, Co-Director of the Latin American Working Group, and Rev. Santiago Flores, Reformed Calvinist Church of El Salvador (IRCES), will provide a helpful framework to understand these push factors. Considerable attention will be given to U.S. foreign policy, U.S. immigration policy, and the impact these policies have on individuals in Central America. Presenters will also offer opportunities for you to take action. Amanda Craft of the Office of Immigration Issues will moderate the webinar.

Click here to register in advance for this webinar, or join us on Facebook/PCUSA Washington page.
The Keep It Moving Coalition (KIM-C) is hosting a conversation to explore how white folks can show up at Black-centered events, both as volunteers and attendees, in supportive and respectful ways. 
The Keep It Moving Coalition is a multiracial group that hosts caucusing opportunities for continued racial equity learning for those who have participated in Building Bridges or Racial Equity Institute (REI).

Join us on Wednesday May 26 from 6:30 - 8:00 PM, for a panel discussion guided by Black leaders, followed by breakout conversations. This event is open to people who participate in KIM-C caucuses and anyone else in the community interested in this conversation. We will look at the upcoming GRINDFest celebration of Juneteenth as an example to explore this topic.

Some of the questions we will be exploring are:
  • What awareness and preparation is necessary for white folks when showing up to Black-centered events?
  • What are some of the problematic ways white people show up at Black-centered events? What are supportive and respectful ways to show up?
  • How do white folks participate from a place of appreciation and support rather than appropriating or fetishizing?

Panelists scheduled to participate: Danae Aicher, Bruce Waller, J Hackett (and possibly others)

Invitation for White Folks to Financially Contribute
When Black and brown folks give their time and energy to support the education of white folks, that is mental and emotional labor. Please consider making a contribution to compensate panelists and non-white participants for their contribution to this event. Even if you can’t attend, your contribution is welcomed. To contribute, go to:

paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/173226 (this link will take you to Bountiful Cities Paypal Charity Giving Fund - all proceeds collected through May 26th will go to compensate panelists and non-white participants of this event)

The event will include an optional half hour, from 8 to 8:30, for additional conversations and processing.

Register in advance for this meeting
Sistas Caring 4 Sistas -
Juneteenth Tabling Event Request
SistasCaring4Sistas is a community-based doula program founded by women of color for women of color who could benefit from this evidence-based form of birth support.

Our doulas are part of a larger social justice movement, working in partnership with MAHEC and Mothering Asheville, that is committed to eliminating health disparities for mothers and infants.

Here in Western North Carolina and across the country, mothers and babies from communities of color are more likely to experience pregnancy- and birth-related complications. Having doula support before, during, and after your baby’s birth can help ensure you and your baby get off to a healthy start.

Request:
They are in need of t-shirt and water bottle donations that they can get their logo imprinted on for gift bags for this event as well as big ticket maternal raffling items such as bassinets, car seats, strollers, Pregnancy support pillows, massage coupons, Boppy Pillows, etc. that can be difficult to obtain due to financial barriers or lack of support.

Please reach out to Cindy cindy.mcmillan@mahec.net if you want to donate.

GCPC Covenant Partner, BeLoved Asheville

City of Asheville to launch Information and Truth-Telling Speaker Series
The Information and Truth-Telling Speaker Series is the first phase of the City of Asheville’s process to deliver community reparations for Black Asheville. The series will include local and national speakers who share information about past policies, present trends and disparities, and future initiatives. The community will have opportunities to participate. Please join us over 3 separate events highlighting the past, present, and future. 
See more details on the City's Engagement HUB on dates and how to participate. 
YWCA Social Justice Virtual Hangout Hour | Fridays | 12:00-1:00 PM
As part of the YWCA’s commitment to eliminating racism, we have launched a weekly virtual Social Justice Hangout Hour hosted by Tre Williams, YWCA Racial Justice Advocate + RJC Member. These Friday gatherings, from noon to 1 pm, serve as a space to discuss relevant topics, raise awareness around racial equity and justice, engage with community members, meet local leaders in the freedom struggle, and just vibe. 

Click the button below to attend on Fridays between noon and 1 pm or join via Facebook.
A Summer Virtual Sunday School on the Climate Crisis | Sundays | July 11, 18, 25 and August 1 | 4:00 - 5:15 PM | via Zoom

This program is taught by the southern Indiana group Presbyterian Climate Advocates, made up of the Rev. Dr. Trisha Tull and Carol Dunn of Scottsburg (Indiana) Presbyterian Church, Beth Snyder of Jeffersonville (Indiana) First Prez, and Kristina Lindborg, an Indiana Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteer.

We encourage several members of the same congregation to register together. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. A brief Zoom tutorial will be available for anyone expressing the need.

To register and receive your Zoom invitation, please go to our website: https://www.presbyclimateadvocates.org/upcoming-classes/ 
Coming to the Table 2021 Virtual National Gathering | June 24 @ 7:00 pm - June 27 @ 6:00 pm EDT | Early Bird registration ends tomorrow!
Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, will be our keynote speaker on opening night. Yeye Luisah Teish, teacher, dancer, storyteller, high priestess, and author, will be our featured speaker on Friday. An announcement about the featured speaker on the final day of the Gathering will be announced soon. This will be a different type of National Gathering since we’ll gather “virtually” rather than in person. The schedule will take into account our multiple time zones so West Coast participants won’t need to get up too early, and East Coast participants won’t need to stay up too late. One big advantage will be the cost. Without expenses for travel, accommodations or meals, the only expense will be the cost of registration.
"Seeing The Racial Water" With Dr. Robin DiAngelo | Saturday, May 22 | 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Dr. DiAngelo takes participants through topics including white socialization, systemic racism and the specific ways racism manifests for white progressives. This will be a combination of lecture, structured reflection, and small group discussion designed to provide a comprehensive system analysis and identify personal complicity. It is an excellent and powerful foundational training that presents an undeniable perspective on the systemic nature of Racism and the need for a systemic remedy.

FACING THE TOXIC TRENDS OF WHITENESS | May 21- 24th
A 4-Day Communal Anti-racist intensive for white people with Carlin Quinn, featuring a half-day workshop with Dr. Robin DiAngelo
This 4-day intensive will provide participants with a deeper understanding of white supremacy and the toxic trends of whiteness it produces. We will unearth and investigate our own whiteness, and examine how it expresses itself in our relationships, communities, organizations and culture.

FOUNDATIONS IN SOMATIC ABOLITIONISM
with Resmaa Menakem, Co- Facilitated by Carlin Quinn
Somatic Abolitionism is an embodied anti-racist practice and process of culture building. This event offers a foundational base for developing the skills to cultivate somatic abolitionism personally and communally.. This course is available to the general public, and to organizations entering a year of learning with Resmaa Menakem.
 
Somatic Abolitionism is an emergent process, and a form of maturation into a more integrated human experience. It is an embodied anti-racist practice of cultural building. It is a way of being in the world. It is a return to the age-old wisdom of human bodies respecting, honoring, and resonating with other human bodies. 
 
GCPC Still Growing
GCPC Community Garden News
This week gardeners are harvesting greens. On Saturday a team of 7 harvested 50 lbs of collards, kale, and Swiss chard for pickup by YTL. A second team of 8 worked with our new garden manager (Welcome Allison Kiehl!) on Wednesday to harvest 33 lbs of collards and to prepare beds for planting tomatoes and other summer plants. Wednesday’s collards were delivered to the YWCA where they’ll be cooked for and eaten by children enrolled in their Early Learning and Empowerment Child Care programs.

Stewardship & Sustainability GIVE HERE
Summertime Stewardship 
Are you looking forward to time outside and away from screens, but concerned about staying on top of your pledged giving? Don't worry, there are ways to give easily remotely, even automatically!
 
MAIL gifts to the office at 789 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804 (the office remains closed but we are checking the mail)
 
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 or through your Realm Connect smartphone app
 
TEXT "giveGCPC" to 73256 on your mobile device, then follow the prompts
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.

If you have any questions, please contact Natalie in our Finance office at nweaver@gcpcusa.org or by leaving a message for Natalie Weaver at 828-254-3274.
IRA Charitable Rollover

Did you know that if you're 70 ½ or older, you can make a tax-free contribution from your IRA? The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (PATH) allows you to make a charitable gift directly from your IRA without counting the donation as income. You can use your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) to pay your church pledge or donate to a charity… all without having to pay income tax on those dollars!
 
IMPORTANT: The donation must come directly from the IRA to the charity to avoid being considered taxable income. Contact your investment fund manager to request a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) made payable to Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, mailed to the office at 789 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804.. Be sure to remind them to list your name as the donor in the memo line so we can apply it to any pledges you may have.
Of Interest....
Stated Clerk condemns recent violence gripping the Holy Land -
J. Herbert Nelson calls on U.S. government to take active role in defusing situation
‘If bigotry is your game, Jesus is not the name’ -
The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, once spent a sabbatical comparing the writings of Frederick Douglass to those who supported enslaving African Americans
The Most. Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, told about 1,700 people who tuned in for opening worship Monday at the Festival of Homiletics something of what he learned during a sabbatical spent learning to play the violin and studying both supporters and opponents of enslaving African Americans during the 19th century — especially from Frederick Douglass, who was himself formerly enslaved.

“What I have said respecting and against religion, I mean strictly to apply to the slaveholding religion of this land, and with no possible reference to Christianity proper,” Douglass wrote in an appendix to his autobiography. “For, between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference — so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked.”

"Good Medicine" podcast with PC(USA) Co-moderators
Decolonizing our memory -
Do we want to be healed?
“I’m inviting the Church to finally go into the wilderness, as Jesus did, and decolonize their memories,” said Ruby Nell Sales, during the May broadcast of “Good Medicine,” hosted by the Rev. Gregory Bentley and Ruling Elder Elona Street-Stewart, Co-Moderators of the 224th General Assembly (2020).
(Ruby Sales)

Sales is a human rights activist, public theologian, and social critic, whose work appears in many journals, online sites, and books. Sales joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s as a teenager at Tuskegee University and went to work as a student freedom fighter in Lowndes County, Alabama. She attended and received degrees from Tuskegee Institute, Manhattanville College, Princeton University and Episcopal Divinity School.  She is also the founder and director of the SpiritHouse Project.

The discussion’s focus was Decolonizing Our Memory. “Jesus went into the wilderness and began to expunge himself of all the marks of the Roman empire and to begin a journey of reconciliation and reparation,” said Sales. “I am asking the Church to do some deep soul cleaning and prepare to make amends.”

STAY CONNECTED
HOW TO CONTACT STAFF DURING BUILDING CLOSURE:

Our staff are all still working remotely as the office remains closed due to the pandemic. To leave a voicemail for a staff member to return your call, follow these steps:

  1. Call the office at 828-254-3274.
  2. Listen through the office closure notice, which will then take you to a staff directory.
  3. Enter the first 3 letters of either the staff member's first or last name on your phone keypad (i.e. to reach Natalie Weaver, you'd enter 628 for NAT or 932 for WEA).
  4. You'll be directed to the staff member's individual voicemail, where you can leave a message to be returned as soon as possible.
  5. If you just want to leave a message for the general voicemail box, press 0.   

You can also reach our staff by email- please see our website for each staff member's individual email address. 
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church | 828.254.3274 
789 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804