GCPC Weekly News | November 19, 2020

Click  " View entire message" at bottom of email
to see the FULL newsletter
GCPC Alive and Well This Week!
Youth Group 11/15
PART Mtg. 11/12
Finance Council Mtg. 11/17
Staff Mtg. 11/17
Deacon Mtg. 11/15
Adult Ed 11/15
Worship Preview | Sunday, November 22, 2020
Sermon: "As the World . . . " by Samantha Gonzalez-Block
Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46

Live Stream Worship Service @ 10:45 AM Sunday

Keeping the Faith
2021 Stewardship Campaign

Nothing is small about COVID 19, or racism or poverty or homelessness, or the state of our economy, our country, the world. But on the first Sunday of GCPC worship via You Tube, way back in March, a very small thing became a big thing. In a good and unexpected way.

Gordon and I sat huddled together in my office in front of the computer screen that Sunday.  We were skeptical, curious. I fiddled with the connection, unsure we would ever get to watch this new process unfold. It did. Music, messages, connection, tears, yearning and gratitude. 

Prayers of the People, as usual, rotated among staff and church members, followed by The Lord’s Prayer. For the first time, I could hear my husband’s voice (we have been married for over 50 years and Presbyterians for nearly all those years) reciting this ancient prayer in our quiet, cozy space. He is soft spoken, so when we participate in corporate worship, he blends in. It hit me how beautiful, how sacred it was to say these calming words together. A small thing, but not really.

Missing choral singing in church is no small thing. We are a musical church. “She who sings, prays twice,” is a favorite saying so true for me. I hear that you miss the singing, too. Zoom to the rescue with choir “gathering” every Wednesday night at rehearsal time. You have heard musical results during Sunday services.

But something else has emerged from choir Zoom. We choristers are getting to know each other in deep, personal ways. Jeff works us hard during regular rehearsals at church (and we all benefit from his efforts), but there is not time enough for truly hearing each other’s stories. Now there is. Small thing, but not really.

When we could not worship in person, I wondered about ever having Communion again. I mourned that loss. Then along came our first opportunity. How would THIS go? We received instructions to prepare our own elements, anything we had on hand. When the time came to do so during that first online service with Communion, I scurried into the kitchen, poured POM juice into a white ceramic creamer, then I placed two gingersnaps on a small round green pottery plate. On a tray, I set down two juice glasses and added the juice and cookies. 

As I carried the home-made elements from the kitchen to my office, a sense of holiness washed over me, an assurance that God was in our midst despite all, that I was carrying bread and wine, remembering Jesus Christ. Another small thing, but not really. 

So many small things have given me pause: a table full of prepared purple GCPC bags that Gordon, as a Deacon, would hand-deliver; my own urge to write to new members and graduating seniors; the brave sharing by the youngest participant in our Me and White Supremacy group; a young family’s hands in a bowl with water and pebbles during the Confession of Faith; the delight of former members connecting again over the miles, and new attendees announcing themselves during worship. Again, small things, but not really.

Stewardship season is now. Gordon and I have renewed our last year’s pledge, easily done on REALM or via mail or by contacting Natalie Weaver at nweaver@gcpcusa.org. We want to keep GCPC going. We need our church. So many do. 

We can make our goal in dollars and number of pledges! Your participation in making this happen is no small thing!

~ Submitted by Robin Gaiser, Stew Crew All-Star

Click the video to watch the sixth 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.
If Pledging in Realm, be sure to check the total pledge at the end of the sentence before saving your pledge for accuracy. 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 and you plan to give in monthly increments, you would enter this:
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!
Presbyterian Women’s Christmas Event | Monday, December 7 | 7:00 - 8:00 PM | via Zoom
Join in with ALL women on December 7 from 7 – 8 pm at the Presbyterian Women’s Christmas Event, via zoom.
We will meet and greet, listen to seasonal music and hear an update on the:

  • Guatemalan Microloan Project
  • Presbyterian Women
  • Presbytery of Western North Carolina

If you want to know a bit more about this project before we meet, please go to:
These women have been working so hard, and the pandemic is clearly affecting their ability to survive and thrive. You will have the opportunity to contribute through Realm, or by sending a check to the church office and help our sisters stay on their feet during this period. This is an excellent way to observe Advent.
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 Sherrie, 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 (11/15 - 11/21): Jeff Curtis email: jandscurtis@msn.com
Next week (11/22 - 11/28): Cathy Froehlich email: oremont2@gmail.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)
Kalynn, Taylor and Laura Kathryn Smith and Anne Marie Riether (Bryant Smith's children and their mother)
Sally Mason (Liz Rupp's friend)
Jean Luc Mastyn (Bill McNeff's son-in-law)
Axel Striebeck (Rick and Lynne Noble’s German ’son’)
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
Penny Ponder
Amanda Pressley
All those participating in the “Me & White Supremacy” study
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. 
PART decided to look deeply at the white supremacy norm of being punitive.

Here are the dangerous, destructive and harmful characteristics of this norm:

One chance to get it right, Punishment is central, Keeping score, Belittling, Scapegoating, Name-calling, Revenge, Demonization, Bad people, Vengeance, Shaming, Blaming, Fear, No grace, Apathy, Judgement, Caste, Constricts from joy, Not free to be yourself, Cancel culture, Enforced conformity, Creates chronic disease, Loss of relationship, Objectification, Dehumanization (Humanity is chipped away), Collective PTSD, Cruelty, No experience of gratitude, Separated from God, and Void of God.

Concrete actions which reinforce this norm:
Capital punishment, Mass incarceration, Incarceration and loss of civil rights, Immigrant detention, Voter suppression, Homelessness, Criminalizing poverty, Selective police enforcement, Regressive tax system, Medical care rationed and racialized, Harm not distributed equally, Exploitation of creation, and Addiction.

The institutions where PART sees this norm seeping through it's structures:
Justice System, Welfare System, Educational System, Religion and churches, Health Care System, and Citizenship status.

As one member of PART said, "Punitive culture is like an addiction. It grabs you whether you want it or not. It is demonic, and is violent in ways of living that seeps into us."
PART asks you to sit with this painful and pain filled reality of the world. We then ask you to re-imagine a world which values reparative relationships, which has the healing power to transform the world.

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

~ submitted by Liz Huesemann, PART Member
Me & White Supremacy Initiative at GCPC

Dear Beloved Friends,
Thank you for participating in the Me and White Supremacy initiative. This is love work that seeks the truth and helps us become good ancestors. Our work, however, is not finished. As Layla Saad says, "I want to speak to the good ancestor who lies within you, the person inside you who came to this book with questions about dismantling white supremacy and who leaves this book knowing that you are part of a problem and that you are simultaneously also a part of the answer. There is great power and responsibility in that knowledge. But knowledge without action is meaningless.’’
Here are actions you can prayerfully consider in addition to the list on pages 195-196 and 208-209 in the book.

  • Become a convener for the winter series of Me and White Supremacy reflection groups, starting in February/March, or consider joining a group for a second time.
  • Attend the Power and Race Team (PART) meetings where we deeply look at where we see white supremacy in ourselves and in our community. We who attend PART gatherings encourage our GCPC siblings in faith to listen genuinely to the narratives of BIPOC and stop the harm we are causing. PART meets the second Thursday of the month at 6pm.
  • Volunteer with our GCPC Partner Agencies, where we work directly with impacted people through authentic, mutual relationships. These agencies include YTL (Youth Transformed for Life), Residence Council of the Housing Authority, Bountiful Cities, La Milpa and Hood Huggers. See past newsletters for information on each agency. If you are interested in volunteering call Anna Louise in the church office who will give you information about the Serve Council contact for that agency.
  • Join a working group of the Serve Council. Serve Council walks alongside our ministry partners and is charged with the work of dispensing GCPC funds in an equitable fashion. Serve seeks to contribute to the long-term work of dismantling white supremacy by striving to share power and resources. The working groups are: Vision and Justice, Events and Engagement, and Sharing Cycle. Please contact Melissa Hicks, Chair, if interested.
  • Give financial resources to GCPC Reparations Fund and Stimulus Check Fund. All funding decisions are made by people in communities most impacted by systemic racism. Also pledging to GCPC helps healing ministries of all kinds to continue.
  • Seeking God’s will in community by attending and participating in worship, educational opportunities, and through prayer.
  • Reading the recommended books for the Racial Justice Book Series, and participate in holy discussion.
  • Attend a zoom discussion with Tema Okun, scholar and anti-racism facilitator, in early winter (more details to come).

Prayerfully take time to consider what commitments you will continue to make to the work of disrupting and dismantling white supremacy culture. As Layla Saad states, "It is about the intention to help create change met with the consistent commitment to keep learning, keep showing up, and keep doing what is necessary so that BIPOC can live with dignity and equality.”

During a Pandemic, a presidential election with much at stake, and a time of racial tensions due to many injustices against BIPOC all over our country, we thank you and honor you for your love, truth-telling, and commitment to make this a better world. 

If we can answer questions or be in conversation with you about this sacred work, this spiritual practice, please contact us.

Justice and Peace,

Kate Shem             Liz Huesemann

Marcia Mount Shoop, Pastor/Head of Staff
Sunday Morning Film Series on Voting & Immigration Rights| Sundays | Nov. 1-22 | 9:00 - 10:15 AM
With the help of Brave New Films, a group dedicated to championing social justice issues through media and education, we will be examining voting and immigration rights through the lens of faith this November. Through zoom, we will be watching the films Suppressed 2020: The Fight to Vote and Immigrant Prisons, along with holding discussions about what we are called to do as a faith community in the face of wide-scale voter suppression and immigrant detention. Together we will grieve these wrongs, pray for God’s will, and implement the social change we seek. These sessions are co-sponsored by our Creating Sanctuary and Power and Race Teams. 
Facilitators: Kathy Meacham, Alexandra Lusak, and Richard Coble 

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 899 2435 0020
Passcode: 789
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
GCPC 20s/30s Gathering: "Cider & Psalms: A Pandemic Friendsgiving" | TONIGHT - Thursday, November 19 | 6:00 PM | Morgan Shuler's Backyard
If you are in your twenties or thirties (or nearly these ages), let's celebrate community with a fun and meaningful outdoor gathering near a warm fire. Hot cider, Hot chocolate and tea will be provided.

Please bring a fold-up chair (if you have one), as well as any food to munch on. Also, we invite you to bring a piece of scripture, poem, or a song that brings you hope or fills you with gratitude these days. 

Dogs are welcome! Masks are required and please do not attend if you are feeling unwell. We look forward to connecting with one another and giving thanks for the gift of community! 

Questions? Contact Samantha. (In case of rain, this event will be virtual)
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, November 22 |
5:00-6:30 PM on Zoom
Join us for an evening of fun games, group bonding, trivia and taking a look at one of the Bible's most beloved and flawed leaders. (It's a juicy story!) With only THREE youth group gatherings left this semester, we would love to see you this week!

Email Cat Kessler for Zoom info.
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.

Community Working Together
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.
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

What does Healing the Radical Imagination mean? Register for free to participate in CreativeMornings Asheville to listen to our awesome Executive Director, Sekou Coleman on Friday the 20th at 9am.

Listen to his talk to see one of the many reasons why donating to our fundraiser www.artedelaabundancia.org is essential for maintaining our programming for Black and Brown Youth in Asheville.

What does it look like to take teens from different communities and cultures, surround them with caring relationships, support them in developing a healthy racial identity and a lens to understand issues that confront their communities? How can art be used as a tool in the process? What other outcomes are experienced and why is any of this important? Find out while exploring the connection that art, hope and belonging have to cultivating creativity and imagination within marginalized youth during Sekou's talk on Friday morning!

Asheville Poverty Initiative

GCPC Covenant Partner, CoThinkk

One of GCPC’s more unique Covenant Partners, that you may never have heard of, is CoThinkk. Many would classify it as a “Giving Circle” nonprofit. But it’s so much more. Read on.

CoThinkk is dedicated to social change philanthropy by bringing together community leaders who care about the economic and social well-being of communities of color in Asheville and Western North Carolina. CoThinkk started in 2014 with the intention to implement investment strategies that address education, economic mobility/opportunity, and leadership development towards impacting some of the most critical social issues facing African American and Latinx communities in Western North Carolina.

One new member of CoThinkk states: “I grew up in Asheville, went to Asheville High School, was aware of institutional racism and had a few Black and Brown friends. But when I came back to Asheville from college and got involved with CoThinkk, I came to realize that Asheville was not like I had always thought of it. I absorbed information about redlining and about where investments go. And I have gained a much deeper understanding of my own white privilege.”

Another member says: “I moved here from North Boston and found Asheville much more homogenous than I had imagined and recent events have shattered my heart and I don’t recognize my country anymore. In CoThinkk I have found a way to move things forward. I am so impressed with the people, the mission, the values, and the friendliness. Being in this CoThinkk community is what really counts with my heart." 
CoThinkk leaders are doing "systems change work." That work focuses on shifting mental models and positive disruption. In this 2020 moment where narratives are being interrupted, inequitable policies and practices are being revealed, and communities are willing to be bold, the CoThinkk community is deeply committed to building a robust community network of leaders. These leaders work together to interrupt systems and institutional structures to facilitate positive change. To Learn more about CoThinkk on the website: https://cothinkk.org/
Grace Covenant is proud to be in partnership with this superb community organization. CoThinkk is a powerful example of a social change philanthropic model. They are addressing complex challenges by amplifying the time, talent and treasure of African American and Latinx community leaders and allies to shift narratives, deepen equity and drive systemic change.

TAKE NOTE that CoThinkk is putting on its fifth annual (virtual) event, “INTERRUPTING THE NOW: REIMAGINING THE FUTURE”, celebrating our community's leaders of color, lifting up our grantees game-changing work on November 14th from 6-8pm. Read more below

Join this celebration and you will feel the incredible spirit of our dynamic Covenant Partner! 

~ submitted by John Huie

CoThinkk VIRTUAL Awards
video clip

GCPC Still Growing
GCPC Community Garden News

Many thanks to Jim McDowell for his generous donation!

GCPC community gardeners have much to be thankful for as our garden work slows. Jim McDowell, an experienced gardener from Marion, Virginia, discovered our garden when driving by on Merrimon. Jim, who is moving to the Asheville area early next month, contacted us and offered to provide some garden equipment. He delivered a Troy-Bilt “Big Red” Horse tiller and garden cart to GCPC on Friday, November 13. Jim was met by Buzz Durham, Cliff Schlegelmilch, and a small team of gardeners. 

Gardeners Beth Kissling, Shirley Lowe, and Betsy Wilson harvested 31 pounds of collards and kale and 77 pounds of cabbage. These were taken to Western Carolina Rescue Mission along with 30 pounds of potatoes. 

Stewardship & Sustainability GIVE HERE
Give Money to GCPC just by shopping!

You can make an impact while you shop for Black Friday deals. Simply shop at smile.amazon.com/ch/56-0588479 
and AmazonSmile will donate to Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, at no cost to you.
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
GCPC Out and About Online
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church | 828.254.3274 
789 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804