Fourth Sunday of Advent:  
Lessons & Carols , 10:30am
Christmas Eve: Blessing of the Creche and Candlelight Festal Christ Mass
5:00 pm

Grace Episcopal Church  
The Rector will be on holiday with her family from December 25-January 5. In her absence Rev. Linda Packard will preside at worship and be available for pastoral emergencies. 
Coming Right Up! 
**Ne w** The Longest Night Service-
Not all people are feeling  joyful during this holiday season. They may be experiencing loss or loneliness, pain, confusion, or fear. As the Full Cold Moon rises on this Winter Solstice, this service of prayer, reflection and lighting of candles acknowledges such feelings. It offers a safe space where warmth and light might bring hope and peace. Diane Luther and the Rector will preside. Friday, December 21, 6pm.
Advent Series: Journeying the Way of Love:  
The final session with the Rector will take place on Sunday mornings at 8:45 am. With an excerpts from the Gospel of Luke, we will reflect on how we can live our Presiding Bishop's "Way of Love" practices as individuals, as families and friends, as a community, and out in the world. 
       Dec. 23: The Birth of Jesus: Journeying with the World
Worship Schedule  
December 21:  Longest Night Service, 6 pm 
December 23:  Advent Lessons and Carols, 10:30 am 
December 24:  Christmas Eve Festival of the Nativity, 5 pm.   
Presiding Bishop's Christmas Message
In the Third Chapter of John's Gospel, Jesus says at one point, "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that all who believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
For years, I've often thought that that passage only referred to Jesus giving his life as a sacrifice on the cross. And to be sure, that is part of what it means. But some years ago I was reading a commentary by Raymond Brown, on the Gospel of John, and Professor Brown said that that passage not only speaks of Jesus willingly giving his life on the cross, but it actually speaks of Christmas, of God giving his very self, his very son to the world, not for anything God could get out of it, but for the good and the welfare and the well-being of the world. Of us...
The complete message transcript and video:   here 
Rector's Ramblings 
I am taking a deep breath this morning. I shouldn't be, perhaps.  There is much to be done--although Christmas gifts for the family have been shipped, the house here shows little holiday cheer. Aside from the creche on the mantel, a small green thing on the front door, and some of the candles in windows, the rest of the usual decorations remains in the box in the upstairs closet. There is no smell of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting from the kitchen, signaling the baking of cookies or, at least, some hot cider or wassail.
      No, I can only look out the window at the neighbors' displays. And yet, I am taking a breath this morning. The way the calendar worked this year, we begin a trifecta later today--the Longest Night Service this evening, Lessons and Carols on Sunday, then Christmas Eve on Monday. So, the next breath I get will probably not be until Christmas Day. And that will be in the car on the way to the Moline airport, or in the waiting area there or at O'Hare where I layover for the flight to Vail.
      Christmas will be in full swing by the time I get picked up at the  Eagle-Vail airport for the short drive to my son's home. That will not be until about 4 pm. The family is always nice enough to have dinner late, so that I can join them. But there will have been a gift opening early on, since the boys will be eager! And then, another gift opening before or after dinner. The house will be full--my daughter-in-laws family from Mississippi, my Chicago son, and me. No doubt the next days will be filled--a least one hockey game or tournament. Skiing or skating on the pond. And before I know it, time to come back home.
        So, for now, I shall try to turn my thoughts from those things left undone and enjoy a few moments of quiet-time--remembering those other Christmases and anticipating the one that is almost here. Recalling how though each of these years is different as life moves along and children grow, one thing is always the same: God's wondrous gift of the Incarnation in the form of an infant. The eternal promise of love given to the world. 
       May God's blessings touch you and hold you. I hope for love and joy for each of you throughout the season. 

See you in church,

Preparation for Sunday  
Isaiah 9:2-7: God offers a sign of God's grace and protection to the King and people of Judah - in the darkness light shines, and the birth of a child is the sign of new life and of God's righteous kingdom to be established.
Psalm 96: A song of praise for God's greatness and glory, anticipating God's coming as righteous judge.
Titus 2:11-14: Through Christ God's grace has appeared and God has enabled us to live lives of goodness.
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20): Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem for the Emperor's census, and while there Mary gives birth to her son. Shepherds are told by angels about the birth and find the place where the holy family is to be found, telling the story of what they have been told about the child.

The unique voice of Luke's Gospel can shape the way we approach our celebration this year. Two things stand out when we bring Luke's perspective to bear on the readings for Christmas Eve. Firstly, Luke is most concerned among the Gospel writers with the Christ's inclusion of outsiders. This inclusivity is a strong theme in the Scriptures for Christmas Eve. Isaiah's promise of liberation is for all the people, and the sign is the birth of a humble child. Psalm 96 invites all of creation to celebrate God and participate in God's salvation. Titus also recognises that God's grace brings salvation to all. Finally, in Luke's Gospel, it is the humble family, and the outcast shepherds who are at the centre of God's work, not the powerful people mentioned at the start of the chapter. Secondly, Luke's proclamation of the Reign of God includes spiritual, physical and social dimensions. Justice is a strong emphasis in Luke, and in the story of Jesus' birth, the writer adopts the language that was usually used for Caesar and applies it to Jesus in a subversive way. For this Gospel, it is not the baby that is the focus, so much as the Reign of God which was established in the world through the Christ. What this means for us as we meditate on Luke's birth narrative is that we are called to celebrate a radically new order that comes into our world in Christ, and that expands to include all people and all creation. Our celebration, then, is not just a recognition of Christ's coming, but also an embrace of this new way of being - the Reign of God - which was established through the coming of Christ.

The thumbnails and reflections excerpted from
Finance Update
Many thanks to all who submitted their financial pledges for 2019 to contribute to the ministries of Grace Church. To date, 52 pledges have been received for a total of $142,314.
      If you have not yet pledged but wish to do so, there are extra pledge forms and information in the Narthex. Or, you may contact the Rector or the Treasurer, Richard Luther.
      Please remember that commitments, regardless of the amount, are important to our community of faith. Such an intentional commitment is both a practical and a spiritual matter. It is practical because it allows the church to plan for carrying out its ministries with an understanding of the resources that are available. It is a spiritual practice because it is a way of giving back a portion of God's goodness through the church and its ministries, a way of learning to live generously. It is hoped that all who participate in Grace Church will pledge in accordance with their ability to do so.
Automatic Bill Pay for Pledge
If you have this set up to send to the church, this is a reminder to change the mailing address to:  
107 S. Prospect St.   Thank you.   
Outreach Update
EPISCOPAL RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT (ERD)--just one of many agencies supported by Grace Church Outreach

This Sunday we have the opportunity to give to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) and have our gifts matched.  For over 75 years through ERD we have been able to be partners in healing a hurting world.  Please let our treasurer know that you would like your gift to go to ERD by noting such in the memo area.  ERD is currently helping out in over 40 countries and supporting almost 3 million people annually.  Learn more at

Carmen Ferguson, Grace Church Outreach Ministries
Worship Ministries Update

The 2019 Flower Chart is on the bulletin board.  Please choose a date to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or a loved one.  
Parish Life
 Lillie Anderson, home from college for the holidays, is our St. Lucie serving saffron buns to her Grace family (including Joe Terry) at yet another special Grace coffee hour!

Vestry Liaisons

V estry Liaisons' primary purpose is to assure two-way communications between the various ministries and the  Vestry,  to represent the ministries for resources or  policy issues, and to  support  their  events  an d activities.

Worship:                               Rector                        
Building and Grounds:        
Pete Stryker (Sr. Warden 2017-2019)   
Worship Committee:            Pam Malik
(class of 2019)             
and Spirituality:
  Greg Serwich (Jr. Warden 2018-2019)   
Fellowship & Hospitality:     Anita Sands (class of 2021)                 
Pastoral Care/ LEMs:           Bonnielynn Kreiser (class of 2020)  
Outreach:                             Tony Packard (class of 2021)
                                             Deb Pausz (class of 2019)               
Communications:                 Larry Poston (class of 2020)
Governance:                        Wardens & Rector 

Officers:                Pete Stryker, Senior Warden             
                     Greg Serwich, Junior Warden
                     R ichard Luther, Treasurer                    
                     Elizabeth Ludescher, Clerk      
Rect or :                          The Rev. Dr. Gloria Hopewell           

Parish Ad ministrator:     Fräni Beadle  
O rganist/Pianist:            Robin French, Nancy Cook        
Choir Director:               Pat Terry    
This Sunday 
In This Issue
Coming Right Up!
Vestry Liaisons
Taking Note of This Sunday
Next Sunday's Readings
Grace's Prayer List
Meetings this Week
Choir Schedule
Coffee Hour Reminders
Ministry of Care
Boring Details
December 23, 2018
Sunday Morning  
Lessons & Carols 
For quick reference, find Sunday's readings by clicking here:
The Lectionary

Ministers of the
Larry Poston
Carmen Ferguson Henry Anderson
Deb Pausz
Diane Luther
Pete Stryker
Rev. Linda Packard
Molly Beadle
Vestry Coordinator:
Tony Packard
Maren Coates
Altar Guild:
Charlotte Stryker & Pat Golden
Very Rev. Gloria Hopewell,D.Min.

Next Sunday's
Christmas 1
December 30, 2018
Eucharistic readings
for your own study:  
Isaiah 61:10--62:3
Psalm 147
Galatians 3:23-25
John 1:1-18 
Grace's Prayer List
For a current prayer list, click on the following link:
Grace Prayer List


The Request For Prayers notebook is in the Narthex/ Entrance area of the Church. Please feel free to request prayers for yourself or others at any time by filling out a form or contacting the office by either phone or email. May we first and always be "a people of prayer."
Meetings this Week 
Wednesday Events  
7:30 am
Midweek Morning Prayer
The following groups will break for the holidays and resume the week of January 7th
8:10 am
Community Breakfast at Victory Café   
Cursillo Reunion  
St. Francis Room
10:30 am
Morning Bible Study Parish House
All are welcome!
Grace's Choir Practice
Wednesdays at 7pm
Saturdays at 10am
Looking Ahead 
For current and upcoming events, download a copy of the calendar with this link:    
December  OR check out the goog le
calendar on the new website
Sunday Social Hour Hosts
** If you put out trash, please put in a secure trash can. Thanks to all for your cooperation. **
12/23 - Holiday Treats 
12/30 - Available
1/6 - Available
1/13 - Jackman
1/20 - Cordero
1/27 - Banas 
R eminder for hosts:
Napkins and plates are provided. Use what you need from our pantry to the right of the coffee maker.  Remember: Keep it simple. We usually have about 20-25 attending.

  **Coffee schedule sign up is on the bulletin board in the Parish House.**
Formation Schedule  
You can now get information on Formation Ministries directly from the new Grace website at the following links: Children and Youth Adults
Spiritual Practices

Ministry of Care 
If you are in need of assistance while ill or recovering: meals, transportation, visits, please contact the
Ministry of Care
o Carol Poston
o Charlotte Kennedy
who can assist you and connect you with parishioners who have trained and commited to this ministry that includes Parish Visitors, Meals, Rides, as well as the ongoing Servants through Prayer, LEMs, and the Greeting Card ministry.

Ministry of Care Leadership Team: Facilitators :  Carol Poston, Charlotte Kennedy
Clergy Advisors: Gloria Hopewell, Linda Packard

Sermons and e-Blasts 
News and prayer requests: 
Sunday Bulletin -- Wed. end of day.
e-Blast: Thursday noon. 

Anniversaries and Birthdays
Have your celebrations been missed in our bulletins?   Send to Frani.
Thank y ou!  

News and Photos

 f or e-Blast!
People want to know
what's going on at Grace!  T here are places here for your event, program, or
interes   ting tidbit.   Comments on this e-Blast may be sent here.
Audio files of sermons are posted on the Grace Church website as well as in the next week's e-Blast. They also may be found on the church's FB page. 
Paper copies are available upon request. 
Grace Galena Sermon Advent 2 2018 
Grace Galena Sermon Advent 2 2018
Grace Galena Sermon Advent 3C 2018
Grace Galena Sermon Advent 3C 2018
   The Rev Dr. Gloria Hopewell, Rector
Cell Phone:  773-988-3497

Grace Episcopal Church Office:
107 S. Prospect Street
Galena, IL 61036