GCPC Weekly News | September 10, 2020

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GCPC Alive and Well This Week!
Circle 4 Zoom on 9/3/20
Bible Study 9/2/20
Senior High Welcome Back Party
Middle School Welcome Back Party
YTL at Grace Covenant
YTL at Grace Covenant
Worship Preview | Sunday, September 13, 2020
Dialogue Sermon: "As the World Turns" by Marcia Mount Shoop, Samantha Gonzalez-Block and Richard Coble
Scripture: Romans 14:1-12

Live Stream Worship Service @ 10:45 AM Sunday

2020 Pandemic Palooza Weekend!

DRIVE THROUGH DROP OFF EXTRAVAGANZA! | Saturday, September 12 | 11-11:30 AM
Feel the gift of seeing your GCPC family in person as you drive through and drop off items that can help some of our Covenant Partners get off to a strong start this Fall.
  • Bring items to GCPC for YTL, La Milpa, Bountiful Cities and YWCA
  • Members of the Serve Council and our Garden Steering Team will be there to get the items and deliver them to YTL, La Milpa, and the YWCA.
  • GCPC staff will be so excited to see you and give you a distanced hug!
  • Decorate your car to make the extravaganza even more festive!
  • And there will be a treat for you to take home, too.
  • Wear a mask and stay in your car so we help keep the Asheville community COVID safe.

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE! | Saturday, September 12 | 7:00 PM
Enjoy the love, laughter, and creativity of GCPC from the comfort of your own home!
  • Tune in to Zoom at 7:00pm ready to have fun with your church family.
  • Skits, music, conversation, entertainment, and more fun than most people can squeeze into an hour on Zoom!
  • Fun for all ages!

SUNDAY LIVE STREAM WORSHIP ON YOUTUBE! | Sunday, September 13 | 10:45 AM
  • Be sure to join us live on YouTube so we can all celebrate the sacrament of Communion together in worship.
  • The live service will have opportunities for everyone to share and connect!
  • Hear about all the exciting opportunities to grow and connect for the Fall.
  • Dialogue sermon, special music, and congregational engagement.
  • “Me & White Supremacy” All-Comers Reflective Zoom 7pm. Come and explore with others who are participating in the latest phase of the GCPC’s work to dismantle white supremacy culture within ourselves and in our community.

2020 Pandemic Palooza Week of Special Deliveries:
  • The Deacons will pay a COVID safe visit to their congregational groups to drop off a bag of GCPC blessing on your doorstep and give you a wave and a distance hug! If you have not heard from your Deacon by 9/20, please reach out to Richard.
  • The Children’s and Family Ministries Committee will drop off “God Out of the Box” boxes for children PreK-3rd grade.
  • 4th and 5th graders will receive a special invitation.
  • Adults will get information about the Fall formation opportunities.
  • Sunday, September 20 will kick off all of our Fall formation opportunities for all ages!
GCPC Congregational Challenge

Let's sing "Glory to God" as a congregation for Palooza!
Deadline to have your voice to be included in the September 13 premier is Friday, September 11th at noon.

There are two video links below. One is a short tutorial, the other is a link to a recording of Glory to God.  There is also a link to written instructions at the end of this article.  We will gladly add your voice to our project throughout the fall but would love to have you singing with us in worship on September 13. Send your completed video to jjones@gcpcusa.org and feel free to reach out to Jeff if you have any questions.

Quilt Square Project
Hi GCPC Family,
Worship Council initiated a quilt square project so that when we come back together as a church family we will have a tangible reminder of the ways we found Grace during 2020. We would like to collect them by the end of this month so that our head quilt consultant (Lynne Noble) can forge ahead on designing a banner/final project using our squares. My family still has to do ours, but I have it out, with an idea, and the colors I want to use. Let's get those mailed to the church or dropped off in the mailbox. Better yet, you can drop off completed quilt squares to the church when you come through for the drive through drop off extravaganza on Saturday from 11-11:30!  If anyone still needs a square, please email me at Margaret@weavervillerealty.net or text me 828-506-2742 and we will see to it that you receive one! It's not too late to reflect your visual representation of how your family found grace in a pandemic.
~ Margaret Belk Tierney
Fall Communion 2020
Dear GCPC Family,

Sharing Communion, the bread of life and the cup of salvation, even fed to us by our own hands, in our own homes, is to share our spiritual lives together.
On Easter we celebrated Communion together online because of the COVID19 pandemic. Jeff played music and we went to different pantries and refrigerators and took out what we had. Crackers. Bread. Juice. Water. All of it consecrated
 with our sacred intentions. We lived into a whole new way of understanding
“This Eucharistic Life.”

Worship Council has recommended and Session has approved that we celebrate Communion together regularly this fall. Here is the schedule:
  • Sunday September 13 - GCPC Palooza
  • Sunday October 4 - World Communion
  • Sunday November 1 -  All Saints
  • Thursday December 24 - Christmas Eve

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about community, and its importance. We all have. This pandemic has affected how we spend time together. There are rules. No big gatherings. Stay six feet apart. Wear a mask. Beginning in early March, our scheduled in-person social events slid off the calendar—reunions, excursions, church, parties, ceremonies, and volunteer activities. We’ve added technology as a way to connect. We miss the ease of togetherness that happened “before.”
The last large in-person communal event I attended this year was a rousing Carolina vs. State basketball game held at the end of February in the Dean Dome. The energy surged through the crowd, as the ball flew by with the power of an engine between the players just feet in front of us. I felt dizzy when we left by all the excitement, by the collective vivacity. I didn’t know that would be the last event like that I could attend in 2020.

Perhaps we won’t be able to meet as a congregation again this year or well into the next. Because we are created in God’s loving image, we still seek to connect as God longs for connection with us. We are scattered across the miles, yet we are one in Christ. In a post written “before” (October 21, 2019) entitled “Diversity and Communion,” Father Richard Rohr writes, “God is clearly more comfortable with diversity than we are, and God’s final goal and objective are much simpler. God and the entire cosmos are about two things: differentiation (people and things becoming themselves) and communion (living in supportive coexistence). Physicists and biologists seem to know this better than theologians and clergy.”

Join me, GCPC siblings, in the intimate and sacred act of sharing Communion once more. May it fill us with divine energy, collective vivacity, and may we go out from it bound even more strongly by God’s love.

~ Margaret Belk Tierney, Worship Council Chair
Grace Covenant's Session invites you to join in a 2020 study of Lalya Saad’s, 
Me and White Supremacy.

This 28-day study supports a deep and honest examination into the ways in which we, as a white-dominant congregation, consciously and unconsciously uphold white supremacy through action and inaction.
There are still 6 spots available for Reflection Groups on Sunday nights at 7pm from Oct. 4- Nov. 22.

Click here to register and read about all the ways
to get involved.
"Me & White Supremacy" Study | All-comers Reflective Zoom Meeting | Sunday, September 13 | 7:00 PM
All are welcome to join in the first of three Reflective Zoom meetings on the "Me and White Supremacy" study. Password is: 789.
Equal Exchange - No Contact Bulk Sales

For a limited time while supplies last, we are accepting bulk orders of the in-stock products and will arrange for no contact pick up/payment. You can find the current list of available products here or by going directly to http://bit.ly/EqualExchangeGCPC. If interested in purchasing, please email Natalie with the types and quantities of each from the inventory sheet that you'd like. She will respond with the total due, available pick up dates/times, and payment options. 

These orders will require a minimum of 1 case of coffee (6 bags) OR 1 case of chocolate bars (12 bars) per order. Pending availability, you can mix and match your favorites of each and add on additional items once the minimum has been reached.  
How to Access New Church Directory!
As you may have heard, our online Directory is now integrated with our new database software, Realm. Staff has finished updating profiles for the new Directory. Below you will find instructions for how to access the Directory both on a desktop and on the mobile app.

  1. Log in to Realm on your desktop. (Please email Anna Louise if you need to reset your password.)
  2. Click on Directory at the bottom of the left hand menu.
  3. Search for a person and click on their name to access more info.

Mobile App:
  1. On the bottom menu, click on More (with the 3 dots)
  2. Choose the first option, Groups
  3. Choose Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church
  4. Click on the top bar that indicates 2,000+ participants
  5. Search for a person and click their name to access more info.

*If you do not have a Realm log in, our staff can provide a PDF version of the family directory. Please keep in mind, the Realm database will be the most accurate and updated version.
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 (8/30 - 9/5): Ann Brown email: hbcove@aol.com
Next week (9/6 - 9/12): Amber White email: amberleigh164@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 Mary Craig)
Ryan Lockett (nephew of Denise Lockett)
Eveline Damiano (Daughter of Lisette deGroot)
Jennifer Martin (Yvonne Smith's daughter)
John Hamel (Tim Hamel’s dad)
Marjorie Tague (Karen Punta’s friend)
Randy Randolph (Janet Schifflin’s friend and son-in-law of former GCPC members Pat and Evie Adams) 
Travis Heck (Brian Cook's brother)
Hettie Lou Garland
Bob Higgins
Cory Hartbarger
Florence and Steve Riedesel
Roslyn Carney
Susan Smialowicz
Laura Ross
Bill Williamson
Leslie Sharpe
Queen Mother Maggie Belle Gladden
Marilyn Schmidt
All those participating in the “Me & White Supremacy” study
PART (Power & Race Team) Meeting | TONIGHT, September 10 | 6:00 PM | Zoom
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 meeting tonight at 6pm. Everyone is welcome. We will continue our work on eliminating white supremacy norms in ourselves and in the community. As a team we will develop new norms that foster healthy relationships and no longer harm people of color.

~ Liz Huesemann, PART member
September Enneagram Sessions for GCPC Parents

September enneagram Zoom gatherings for GCPC parents: 
 Wednesdays: September 16th, 23rd & 30th, 6:30-8:30PM 

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.
Fall Adult Education
(begins on September 20)

Drawdown: Engaging our Faith to Reverse the Climate Crisis | Sundays | 9:15-10:15 AM | September 20-October 25
“We are squarely in the middle of the greatest transition in history.”
“Distress signals are flashing throughout nature and society, from drought, sea level rise, and unrelenting increases in temperatures to expanded refugee crises, conflict, and dislocation.”
“There are reasons to see this planetary crisis as an opportunity to create a just and livable world.”

These quotes come from the workbook DRAWDOWN: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.  It offers 100 solutions to understand the “substantive ways we can REVERSE global warming.”  
Drawing on the Drawdown text, as well as Scripture and our own spiritual experiences with creation, we will examine several concrete solutions to the climate crisis. During our six weeks together, we hope to foster interactive discussions with one another while also inviting community leaders and activists to share their wisdom and practical advice. Come to learn, to recharge your commitment to our good earth, and to fellowship with fellow earth lovers in our community. 
Facilitators: Susan Presson and John Curry
Youth Group Kick Off! | Sunday, Sept. 20 | 5:00 – 6:30 PM | Zoom
Mark your calendars for our first official Youth Group gathering of the fall as we embark on a year of New Horizons! We'll get to know one another, play games, laugh and see what God may have in store for us in the months ahead.

**NOTE: This fall, Sunday School will be incorporated into Youth Group time, so attendance will be important for our faith formation.**
Introducing GCPC's 2020-21 Presbytery Youth Council Delegates!
Congratulations to Annie Cole, Anna-Olivia Ungert, Frances Barnett, Mary Elizabeth Shoop, Samantha Kinton and William Hamel who will be serving in this leadership role with youth from across the Presbytery of WNC. Look out for PYC-led programming in the year ahead!
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

VOTE 2020
The election of 2020 is probably the most important election in our lifetimes. Here are some updates:

You can now request an absentee ballot completely online. Go to this link from the NC Board of Elections to fill out the request. Once completed, you will get a confirmation email.

You can now track your absentee ballot online to make sure it was received and has been counted. Go to the Voter Lookup Tool, type in your name and select the county where you reside and click on SEARCH. In the search results, click on your name to see all your voter information. Click on Absentee Request to find out where you stand.

Vote 411 now has links to the candidates on your ballot. Once you enter your address, you can access background information and responses to questions about issues from the candidates who replied. The League of Women Voters National puts together this website with the support of local chapters.

~ Submitted with support by CST and PART
Update on The Children’s Center at Gracelyn

2020 has been an “interesting” year for us all, particularly The Children’s Center, the childcare center which occupies space on the first floor of the Education Building. First opened in 1970, the Center has been one of the largest and longest running outreach programs of GCPC. And it has continued to be during this pandemic! We are a 5 Star Center (highest rating) with an excellent reputation and have a diverse economic range of families which includes children on vouchers.

The Center closed March 19th due to the pandemic but was able to pay our teachers for 3 weeks with full benefits. Our wonderful Director, Jeannie Aiken, helped all teachers apply for and receive unemployment benefits. The Center applied for and received a government PPP grant of ~$75,000 which must be applied to payroll.

The pandemic has been extremely hard on ALL parents and by May, we were hearing from parents with Essential Jobs asking when we could reopen. Cautiously, thoughtfully, with the blessing of the Session and following all guidelines from the CDC and the NC Department of Health and Human Services, the Center had a soft opening on May 18 with a reduced number of children. You would not believe how much soap, sanitizer, paper towels and time we use fulfilling the requirements. Temperatures are taken 3times/day and highly touched areas (light switches, door knobs, etc.) are sanitized 3times/day also.

With all the efforts and the cooperation of parents who answer the same COVID questions everyday as they drop off their child, we have been able to operate with no cases of COVID. We are financially sound, which all childcare centers in Asheville and across the state are not able to say. We are very grateful that while we were closed, GCPC suspended our rent. We are thankful that we have a strong relationship with the church. Please keep the Center in your prayers to remain healthy as we work to maintain support for working parents.

~ The Board of the Children’s Center at Gracelyn
Represented by church board members Connie Jones, Lynne Noble, Cathy Froehlich
Covenant Partner FAITH 4 JUSTICE ASHEVILLE Has a Lot Going On These Days

The aim of Faith 4 Justice is “Ministering with faith communities to dismantle white supremacy in their institutions, while centering the voices and strategies of Black and Brown bodied leaders in the Asheville region and beyond.” Its motto: “Provoking justice.”

Faith 4 Justice is where area clergy and faith leaders doing anti-racism work come together for support, prayer, reflection and mobilization on current issues. Members meet monthly for individual and group reflection and calls to action to share with their congregations. Work Groups strategize and advocate as needs arise for Black and Brown bodied people adversely affected by policies on law enforcement, incarceration, immigration, and more. (Learn more about Faith 4 Justice HERE. Get the latest Facebook posts HERE.)

The Missioner of Faith 4 Justice—the Reverend Tami Forte Logan--is a familiar face around GCPC. Rev. Tami has directed racial equity training for many of us, helping us to see and acknowledge white supremacy culture and structural racism. In addition to leading Faith 4 Justice, Rev. Tami has served as pastor of Pharr Chapel AME Zion church, a position she reluctantly but prayerfully resigned from last month in order to fully focus on Faith 4 Justice work including racial equity training with white-dominant congregations. (Learn more about Rev. Tami’s personal faith and beliefs in Chris Highland’s 2019 article HERE.)

It used to be that Faith 4 Justice would take a break in the summer months. Not in 2020! Faith leaders needed a place to process all that was happening in their congregations from the Covid-19 to public cries for racial justice and policing reform. Also, Rev. Tami has been “zooming” frequently with the various Black-led groups seeking equity in Asheville. One of her greatest joys is having connected with young Black and Brown people taking the lead in organizing vigils, memorials, and collectively re-imagining a new Asheville. This has energized Rev. Tami and given her hope for the future. She sees opportunities for our churches to be engaged with these young people and Faith 4 Justice has become a link and resource for this new ministry.

Rev. Tami very much appreciates GCPC’s ongoing support for Faith 4 Justice. As they say, “Freedom is not free!” Faith 4 Justice is constantly evolving as our region grapples with a racial reckoning.  So, please keep this important work in your prayers.

~ contributed by Lynne Meacham
Asheville GreenWorks "Hard 2 Recycle East" | Saturday, September 12 | 10 AM - 2 PM | 2319 US Highway 70, Swannanoa
Please wear a face covering, and maintain a 6 foot distance between yourself and others. If you are in the high-risk category, please stay home and limit your exposure to others.

Please note that volunteers will not unload vehicles at this event and are instructed to follow safety protocol. Participants will be expected to unload their own items, with staff on site to supervise and assist as needed. We will be accepting only the following items:
Electronics, appliances (no refrigerators), batteries
TVs - $10 fee
Scrap metal
Styrofoam - block/ packaging and food grade only
Laptop and desktop computers, phones, and their peripheries

Click here for more information.
YMCA September Updates
We are so grateful that our summer meal sites are able to continue providing meals for kids 18 and under through partnership with Asheville City Schools through December 31st (for now). You can find the schedule on Asheville City School's website for the sites below. We have also included Buncombe County School's schedule. Please share with families you work with. If you have any questions please reach out to Veronica at vodette@ymcawnc.org.

"Greening Your Presbytery" Meeting | Monday, September 14 | 7:30 PM
If you would like to receive the link to the ZOOM call, email pec@presbyearthcare.org to be added to the list. 

You can also learn a lot about Presbytery Earth Care Teams by looking at the information on this webpage: https://presbyearthcare.org/presbytery-earth-care-program/

The Presbytery of WNC has a newly formed Earth Care Team and they will be hosting "A Talk in the Woods: Conversations about Our Place in Creation" on Thursday, September 10th, 7:00 p.m. Please register in advance at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMkcuytrTkvH9Ss7jW8g6G-3Jw3heeASJmj After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
If you have any questions, please write to EastEndValleyStreet@gmail.com.

*If you would like to volunteer, please meet in the parking lot at Stephens-Lee on Thursday September 10th at 4pm with a mask on. Volunteers will be practicing social distancing.
GCPC Still Growing
GCPC Community Garden News
This week teams 1 and 4 harvested green beans, okra, zucchini, eggplant, green peppers, and tomatoes for use by Southside Kitchen. Beds 3, 4, 5, 10 and the world garden were weeded.  Cliff has prepared signs to indicate when garden rows should not be harvested.

Stewardship & Sustainability GIVE HERE
Thank you for your generous giving! Your gifts are enabling the church to continue our important work in our community. If you have not signed up for online giving, you can do that here. You can also mail your checks to the church. Without you, the church could not continue its ministries in these difficult times. Thank you, again, for your generosity and your faithfulness! 
Remote Giving & Paperless Statements 

Here are a few different ways to stay up-to-date on your pledge 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

Please note, the church office is closed and staff is not there to receive payments left on-site or in the mailbox.

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
Realm eGiving Transition | Self Set Up How To
Did you know that you can now to manage your directory profile, register for events, view contribution records in real time, and manage online giving, all in one place? Our new software, Realm, is a one stop shop!

Interested in setting up online recurring giving for the first time? 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.
GCPC Out and About Online
Crossroads Antiracism Training | October 23-25, 2020 | Online or in Montreat!
What’s Essential: Discerning the Church’s Work Amid the Twin Pandemics of Structural Racism & COVID-19
Our goal is to provide participants with capacity-building tools and resources to work for antiracist transformation in their churches and institutions. Participants will finish this antiracism training with concrete action steps for their congregations and local communities.

This Crossroads antiracism training will specifically address the political challenges facing the church in light of how the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the acute structural inequities of the USA and their impact on communities of color, particularly Black, Indigenous, and Immigrant communities. Given the coronavirus pandemic and its disproportionate impact, our antiracism training will also address how the church is called to be a political actor. What and where is the Church being called to do and be?
"Holy Imagination + Race: How the Church Can Be a Healing Force in America’s Racial Divide" | Tuesday, September 15 | 2:00 PM
With this upcoming webinar from The Presbyterian Outlook and author Kerry Connelly, leadership and adult study groups can begin the important work of dismantling racism as a church and finding justice for our Black brothers and sisters in Christ. Participants do not need to have read Kerry’s book, Good White Racist? Confronting Your Role in Racial Injustice, to attend.

The free, 90-minute webinar on September 15 serves as an introduction to the book and a jumping-off point should groups or individuals seek to process these themes in a fall book study. If you are not able to attend the webinar live, those who register will receive a link to the recorded webinar for use at a later date.

Click here to learn more and to register.
OLLI's Inclusion Committee
Online Series on Racial Disparity
OLLI's Inclusion Committee has designed a virtual webinar series focusing on four major areas reflecting racial disparity in our community. The presentation of the series is an effort to raise awareness and to inspire personal engagement and advocacy.

  • Wednesday, September 16 | 4:00 PM | Jesse Pitts, Tsiana Tovar, and Buffy Fowler | Education Disparity: What is the Path to Achieving Educational Equity for Students of Color? 

This panel will feature professional educators and education advocates including Jesse Pitts, Counselor at Asheville Middle School, Tsiana Tovar, ESL teacher for Buncombe County Schools and Buffy Fowler, Operations Coordinator at Francine Delaney New School.
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church | 828.254.3274 
789 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804