Grace Covenant Weekly News | November 29, 2018
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Picture reprinted with permission: Michael Whitman, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

“Justice is what love looks like in public.” 
~ Cornel West

Sunday Preview

Sunday, December 2, 2018
First Sunday of Advent

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

Sermon: "The Days Are Surely Coming" by Richard Coble
Scriptures: Jeremiah 33:14-16; Luke 21:25-36
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
2nd Wednesday Fellowship Dinner and Biltmore Preview Concert | Wednesday, December 12 | 6:00 PM | Fellowship Hall & Sanctuary
Please bring your favorite holiday side dish (meats and beverages will be provided) for our “2nd Wednesday Dinner” followed at 7:00 pm by a festive evening of seasonal carols sung by members of our Chancel Choir as they put the final touches on their Biltmore Candlelight concert. RSVP to Sherrie by Monday, Dec. 10th.
Advent Ministry partner: Youth Transformed for Life 
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 Even to support the Teens advocacy program and after school program at YTL. You can learn more about this organization HERE.
Did you go to Adult Sunday school this fall?
We want to hear from you!
Please fill out this feedback survey for the
Adult Education Committee.
Stewardship Corner
"How Can We Keep From Sharing?" Update
As of 11/29/18, here's where we are on our pledging:

205 Pledges Received, 89% of 230 Goal
  • Only 25 More Pledges Needed!
$ 883,588.00 Pledged, 87% of Goal
  • Only $136,412 Left to Raise!

This includes 30 new pledges from families that did not pledge in 2018. 62% of pledge renewals 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     
THE GOAL: Love God AND Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

We talk a lot about “goals” in the Stewardship Committee. We track dollar amounts and number of pledges received, hoping and praying that the figures set as goals can be met. We shout, we cheer, we celebrate the progress made week by week. Always, however, the real bottom line is THE GOAL from Luke 10:27: Love God AND Love your neighbor as yourself. Everything GCPC does is oriented around this three-part commandment.
When I read in a previous newsletter about the Pew Research Center for Religion and Public Life’s survey on why people go to church, I wasn’t surprised by the top “very important reason”. The most frequent response “To become closer to God (81%)” speaks to the “Love God” part of the commandment and that is good.

The next three most frequent reasons listed are: “So children will have a moral foundation (69 %)”, “To make me a better person (68%)”, and “For comfort in times of trouble/sorrow (66%). But I wonder, where is “Love your neighbor as yourself” in this list? 

I think the second and third parts of the commandment “Love your neighbor as yourself” are essential to GCPC's ministry and part of why we are growing in numbers and ministries. We see the church as a source of comfort and a source of challenge. Because Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves, people here are stepping out into the world, opening our eyes to injustices, and challenging ourselves to constructively engage those injustices. We are not content to stay within these walls. We seek out ways to interact with the larger world and share God’s abundant love and transformative power. We are here because GCPC is a supportive community of God- AND neighbor-lovers, a very special place. Thanks be to God!
Lynne Meacham
Co-Chair, Stewardship Committee
Creating Sanctuary Team (CST)
“Extending the Table” | Sunday, December 2 | after church | Narthex
The Creating Sanctuary Team (CST) invites you to extend the Communion table on the first Sunday of each month by writing our congressional delegation about how we are called as Christians to respond to specific topics relating to immigration. This Sunday, we will also have Mariposa's Sewing Table . Come by and see what Mariposa is making and bring material/cloth that you have to give for her to make more! 
Creating Sanctuary Team Meeting | Sunday, December 9 | 11:45 AM | Garden Room
Souper Wednesdays at Pisgah Legal
After a recent Souper Wednesday, a PLS staffer tearfully approached a GCPC volunteer with a handful of cash and said, “I just love our immigrant families. They expect nothing and are so grateful that they insist on giving money so that others can be helped, too. This happens constantly in small amounts, but this family today gave me $200 This gratitude from people with so little humbles me.”
Many thanks to our November Souper Wednesday team - Nancy Gaskin, Cathy Froehlich, Glenda Burgin, Jan Brunk, and Lynne Noble - who provided another delicious lunch of soup, fruit, bread, and treats for the staff of Pisgah Legal Services earlier this month. 
To join the December team, contact Nancy Gaskin at  or Glenda Burgin at . We need folks to help make December 12 a Wonderful Wednesday at PLS. 
Power and Race Team (PART)
Racial Justice Book Club | Thursday, December 13 | 6:00 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 December , we are reading the novel Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward.
PART Meeting | Thursday, December 13 | 7:00 PM | Jerusalem Rm
The Color of Asheville directory highlights local, black-owned businesses.
Earth Team
Earth Team Meeting | Wed., December 5 | 5:30 PM | Garden Room
This Sunday's Education Hour (for all ages)

Advent Term | December 2-23 | 9:15 AM | Fellowship Hall
Calm & Bright (Intergenerational class)
For the four Sundays of Advent, you are invited to 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. Come join Heather Ferguson, Lynn Bledsoe and an intergenerational music team as we 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.
Bible Study | Wednesdays | 11:00 AM | Garden Rm
Join the pastoral staff to read and study our sermon texts for Sunday. No preparation needed; just come ready to open scripture and discuss! * In December, Bible Study will meet on December 5 and 12 and then take a break for the holidays. Bible Study will resume on January 9.
VRQ—BBQ Cook Team | Next cook date: Tuesday, December 4 | 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 .
Pritchard Park Breakfast Ministry | Sunday, December 16 | Sign up in the narthex this Sunday!
The Pritchard Park breakfast is an outreach ministry shared by other area churches. Our congregation supplies breakfast in downtown Asheville to feed the hungry on the third Sunday of every other month. Food donations and volunteers are needed. Look for Cathy Byers and the sign up table in the narthex on Sundays, Dec. 2nd and 9th for ways in which you can help!
Ministry Partner Newsletters...

Hands & Feet of Asheville
Haywood Street Clothing Bin
The staff of Haywood Street Congregation wants to share how delighted they are to receive so many donations from Grace Covenant. The SERVE Council wants to thank all the donors and all the volunteers who transport the donations to Haywood Street on a weekly basis. Our November delivery volunteers noted that many of the clothes are being placed in the bin unbagged. Please place your donations in garbage bags before you place them in the clothing donation box. It makes a big difference to our volunteers!
Haywood Street Congregation -
Ways to engage this holiday season:
  • Wednesday, December 5th, 12:30pm: GCPC pastors will be leading communion at the Haywood Street worship service. All are welcome to come worship! Arrive at 12pm for lunch.
  • Saturday, December 22 | Christmas feast meal prep | All day between 9am-3pm
  • Worship every Wednesday at 12:30 pm and Sunday at 3:15 pm.
  • Regular Wed/Sun meal and worship schedule remains without changes throughout the holiday season. Check "About/Visit" on website for full details,
Sisters at the Sea Retreat 2019 - | February 21-24, 2019 | Folly Beach, SC | $170 (early bird rate)
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.
GCPC 20s/30s Gathering:  “Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness  Discussion"  Thursday, Nov. 29 | 7:00-8:30pm |  The Hop  (640 Merrimon Ave)
If you are in your twenties or thirties, you are invited to meet at the Hop to enjoy some ice cream (on us) and discuss racism and racial equality, using a portion of Austin Channing Brown's book  "Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness."  RSVP to Samantha .
SOS ~ Save Our Sanity | Monday, December 3 | 7:00 PM | Amy Fowler's home
A social, prayer, support group for mothers! Come with a snack, drinks will be provided; leave the kids at home. To be added to the list, email  Anna Louise . For questions about the upcoming meeting, email Amy Fowler at .
Support Group for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI Group) | Wednesday, December 5 | 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 1 st  and 3 rd Wednesdays of every month.  New participants are welcome at any time. Contact  Richard  with questions.
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:  Marcy Onieal email:
Youth News
Youth Group: "Richmond, Here We Come" Preparations | This Sunday, December 2 |
5 - 7 PM | GCPC
This weekend, we will be getting prepared for our winter mission education trip to Richmond, Virginia. If you are signed up to go on the trip, you must attend this youth group. If you are unable to go on the mission trip, but would still like to come learn more about Richmond, we would love for you to attend thisSunday. At least one parent should be at our trip info session at 6:30pm. Excited to hit the road soon! 
Confirmation 2019 Sign up & Preliminary Meeting for Parents & Youth | Sunday, December 9 | 4 - 5 PM | Jerusalem Room
8th - 12th graders, you are invited to take part in this exciting step on your faith journey: Confirmation! GCPC's Confirmation class is offered every other year and will run from January - May 2019. It is a meaningful time for youth to explore their faith, ask questions, receive tools, and learn more about what it means to be members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Questions? Contact Samantha
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)
Francis Miller (Nancy Miller's son)
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)
Hettie Lou Garland
Dot Holladay
Teresa Stern
Betty Smith
Margaret Rada
Bob Higgins
Jim Froehlich and family (death of Jim's brother)
Grace Covenant Community Out and About...
Enneagram learning opportunities
with Carol Hovis!

*The Friday, November 30, 10am enneagram gathering will meet at Grace Episcopal Church, 871 Merrimon Ave, AVL, due to GCPC plumbing needs.  
Feel free to join our weekly enneagram gatherings on different topics pertaining to all 9 types. We meet Monday evenings, 6-8pm and Friday mornings, 10am-12noon in the A-Frame Room through December 14th, facilitated by Carol Hovis. For more information, including cost and content, email Carol, All are welcome. Click HERE to see flyer.
Asheville Gay Men's Chorus presents " Appalachian Spirit - Music for the Holidays " | Saturday, December 15 @ 7:30 PM and Sunday, December 16 @ 4:00 PM | GCPC Sanctuary
The Asheville Gay Men’s Chorus claims our role as the transforming and transcending choral voice for our LGBTQ and affirming community. The Asheville Gay Men’s Chorus entertains, advocates and connect community through choral excellence.

VIP Tickets - $30 and General Admission - $25. Children under 12 years old - $10.

*For tickets and more information, please visit .
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance - California Wildfires
PDA is working with Santa Barbara Presbytery, Sacramento Presbytery and the Presbytery of the Pacific to respond to the recent wildfires in California. PDA has deployed National Response Team members to the Presbytery of the Pacific to be embedded into the American Red Cross shelters in Pacific Palisades and San Fernando Valley, at the ARC’s request, as Disaster Spiritual Care Providers. Grants are being disbursed and more deployments are forthcoming.  Click here for ways to give.
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church | 828.254.3274
789 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804