Grace Episcopal Church
Second Sunday in Advent   
December 8th, 2019
10:30 am

Mary Lou Smith
Carol Most 
Regular Office Hours Tuesday-Friday
Advent Quiet Day
On Saturday, December 7, from 9:30am to 2:30pm, Carol Poston will lead a quiet day based on the writings of Anglican theologian Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), the first woman to lecture on theology at Oxford and the author of two major works on mysticism and worship, as well as other writings. As some of you already know, Carol is the editor of
The Making of a Mystic: New and Selected Letters of Evelyn Underhill (University of Illinois Press, 2010).
No advance reading is required, but art materials, rosaries and other prayer aids will be available; and if you are in the habit of journaling, you may wish to bring your journal with you since there will be ample time for personal reflection. There is no charge, but freewill offerings are welcome to help cover the cost of lunch, which is provided. For this reason, we do request advance registration. Please call the church office at 815-777-2590. Although Friday,  was the stated deadline for registration, interested parishioners may still sign up Sunday, December 1, before church as they enter the narthex or during the coffee hour.
Canapes and Conversation--Friday, December 13 
This month, C&C will be held at Galena Center for the Arts, part of the model trains that will be exhibited by Phil and Terri Jackman Thursdays -  Sundays until December 15.  
The Long est Night Service -- Friday, December 20
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 as we approach 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 20, 6pm .
Shining the Light Stewardship Campaign 

As of  Sunday, December 3, 53 pledges were submitted. The total amount pledged is $153,968.  
    Many, many thanks to those who have made this commitment to Grace ministries in 2020. If you have not done so, there is still time. You may drop it off or mail it to the church office. Extra pledge packets are available in the Narthex. Pledging is not required to be a member of Grace. It is encouraged as a practice of faith and as a way of helping the church's leaders plan for the next year's ministry expenses. 
Rector's Rambings 

"I have come to appreciate Advent so much more without the light/dark binary. Rather, I see darkness as the generative space in which light is conceived and from which it is born. Both holy, both life-giving."

This morning, these words by Episcopal priest and biblical scholar, Wil Gafney, were shared on social media. It immediately made me consider the truth that darkness is not always scary and best avoided. Without darkness, we could not see the beauty of stars and moon in the night sky. Without darkness, we would not need candles. Without darkness, we could not sleep-at least not so soundly.
      But even more, I think of the spring bulbs planted in the fall that will rest in the dark earth before bringing the beauty of blossoms to our summer gardens. I think of dough rising beneath a warm towel to leaven the bread and bakery goods that we share with delight. I think of worries or puzzlements that we take to bed with us that simmer through the night and become clear with the morning sun. And, of course, I think of the darkness of the womb that feeds and protects the infant until it is ready to be born. All of these things are nurtured in darkness-and in their own time.
     That, to me, is the gift of Advent. In the weeks that lead up to and through the darkest and longest night of the year, we wait, sometimes with anticipation, sometimes with impatience for that waiting to be over and the Christmas celebrations to begin. But sometimes, we may also find peace and rest in that waiting. I recall the winter days when I was a child, coming home from school or junior choir practice when it was already growing dark. I remember going into our warm house that sometimes smelled of simmering soup or freshly baked cookies. It was a cozy feeling, one of comfort and safety.
     Some of us may find Advent a time to ponder, as Mary did, God's presence and acting in our lives. Where God is in both our joys and blessings and in our sorrows and disappointments. On Frid ay, December 20, we can do this together. At 6 pm, there will be a Longest Night Service in our chapel. Yes, it is a time and place for those who have experienced loss and do not feel ready for the celebrations. It is also a time and place for those who wish for some quiet reflection in the company of others. It will be peaceful time-one of beauty, darkness and candlelighting, prayers, soft music, and blessing. Do come. Bring a friend who might need some gentle moments while waiting for light to return.
See you in church,
Preparation for Sunday  
From the dream of the future world where God's reign is actively and visibly manifest, the Lectionary now moves to the promise of the Messiah, and the harmony and justice he will bring. Both dreams are essentially one - that God's Reign will take root among us bringing in a world in which the weak and vulnerable are cared for, in which justice prevails and in which all people live in harmony in spite of (or maybe even because of) their differences. Perhaps the word that best sums up the Messianic dream of this week, and which John proclaimed, is the word "shalom" - well-being, peace, salvation, harmony, goodness, justice are all implied in this word.

Isaiah 11:1-10: Isaiah proclaims the coming of the "shoot from the stump of Jesse" who, through God's Spirit resting on him, will bring peace, justice, righteousness and equity to the earth.
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19: A prayer for the King to rule wisely and justly, protecting the weak and vulnerable and refreshing the world and the godly who live in it.
Romans 15:4-13: Paul's prayer that God may empower the Church to live in harmony, since Christ came for both Jew and Gentile, and together they form one voice of praise to God.
Matthew 3:1-12: John the Baptist preaches in the wilderness, baptising those who repent, speaking out against the corrupt religious leaders, and challenging people to prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah.

n so many ways we attempt to create shalom for ourselves. Unfortunately, though, our attempts are often the exact opposite of what God shows us is the real route to shalom. We think we can find security by preemptive attacks on our enemies, and then we find ourselves more at risk. We think we can find peace by excluding those who challenge and disagree with us, only to find our safe community growing smaller and smaller, until we only have ourselves to agree with (and even that fails sometimes!). We think we can find joy and abundance by amassing money and stuff, only to discover scarcity growing around us, and our planet dying, and the reality of losing it all robs us of any joy we might have known. We think we can find love by turning inward and making our own needs, potential and purpose more important than relationships, or the service of others - even those closest to us - only to find that our self-absorption leaves us alone and empty. We think we can find God by ignoring the realities of our world and escaping to an other-worldly faith, while waiting for a heavenly bliss after death, only to discover that our souls remain dissatisfied and God feels distant and unattainable. If we are to know shalom, we need to change how we do things. We must allow ourselves to be driven to the risky acts of listening, dialogue, hospitality, service, justice and compassion. Then, as we give ourselves to create shalom not just for ourselves but for others, we discover that shalom finds us, and God's reign is truly within us.
Thumbnails and commentary from
Ministry News
Worship Ministries--Altar Guild

Pointsettia Sign-up Time!
There is a sign-up sheet in the Narthex for Christmas Poinsettias. There is also a new Flower sign-up sheet for 2020. Please call Ann Berry if you have any questions.

Vestry News
At the   Diocesan Convention last week, Richard Luther received a certificate recognizing his completion of the Diocese of Chicago Church Treasurer Certification.  Congratulations, Richard! 
Outreach Ministries
Grace Church Outreach Committee voted in November to give a $1,000 donation on your behalf to Opening Doors in Dubuque. Homeless women, alone or with children, come to the organization in search of a new life. The program provides goal setting and life skill training that will enable these women to take care of themselves and achieve their full potential. Opening Doors says that they provide a hand up, not a hand out. They offer an opportunity for women to claim their own power and become self-sufficient. Since 2000, Opening Doors
has served over 3,400 women and children.
The knitted items and blankets created by the Yarn Ministries were blessed on December 3 and are being distributed to the UCG Food Pantry, Shelter Care in Rockford, and Maria House in Dubuque.

Heifer Project
As you learned through the bulletin inserts last week and the poster in the Parish House, since it's Advent, it must be Heifer time.
Renee Dowe's poster  in the Parish House shows happy children and adults from every continent with their new animals from Heifer International.  They receive instruction in the proper care of the animals and are expected to give the first off-spring of their animal to a needy friend or relative.  Donations of any amount  made in honor of friends or family make great Christmas gifts.  Grace Church has raised funds for Heifer International every Christmas since 2002.  This year we have two styles of honor cards with envelopes.  See Lynn Giles for details and to make a donation.
  Worship--UCG Christmas Concert   
The Grace Choir and Friends wowed the crowd at St. Michael's on Wednesday night! 
Formation Ministries
Mark your calendars for this
Epiphany Retreat on
Saturday, January 25, 2020 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m:
Led by the Rev. Judith Doran
Join us for honest and deep conversation about death, including confronting our own mortality. We will explore the medical, ethical, and theological aspects of what is meant by "sanctity of life," and how what we believe about death affects us and will affect those we love.

Further information will be forthcoming.
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:         Greg Serwich (Sr. Warden 2019-2021)   
Worship Committee:            Charlotte Stryker (class of 2022)        
Formation and Spirituality:   Elizabeth Ludescher (class of 2022) 
Fellowship & Hospitality:     Anita Sands (class of 2021)                 
Pastoral Care/LEMs:           Bonnielynn Kreiser (class of 2020)  
Outreach:                             Tony Packard (class of 2021)     
Communications:                 Larry Poston (class of 2020)
Governance:                  Wardens & Rector 
Officers:                 Greg Serwich, Senior Warden             
                      Lynn Giles, Junior Warden,
                      Richard Luther, Treasurer                    
                                      Diann Marsh, Clerk      
                                      The Rev. Dr. Gloria Hopewell, Rector 

Staff:                              Robin French, Director of Music
                                      Nancy Cook, Erben Organist
                                      Nancy Kenney, Parish Administrator
                      Chris Ludescher, Nursery Attendant      
This Sunday 
December 8, 2019
Sunday Morning 
Advent 1
For quick reference, find Sunday's readings by clicking here:
The Lectionary

Ministers of the
Rev.Gloria Hopewell

Terri Jackman
1st Chalicist:
Diane Luther
2nd Chalicist:
Greg Serwich
Richard Luther
Vestry Coordinator:
Anita Sands
Altar Guild:
Alice Maffit &
   Amy Hardwicke
Karen & Greg Serwich
Karen Serwich

Next Sunday's
Advent 3
December 15, 2019
Eucharistic readings
for your own study:
Isaiah 35:1-10
James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11
Psalm 146:4-9 OR
  Canticle 15
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 
Monday Events
Executive Committee
Wednesday Events  
7:30 am
Morning Prayer    
8:10 am
Community Breakfast at Victory CafĂ©  
9:30 am
Cursillo Group   
Morning Study Group  
UCG Christmas Concert
Thursday Events   
Knitting Ministry  
Friday Events
Centering Prayer 
Saturday Events
10 am
Choir Rehearsal  
All are welcome!
Looking Ahead 
For current and upcoming events, check out the goog le 
calendar on the website
Sunday Social Hour Hosts

12/8 -
Deb Kallback &
Cathie Elsbree 
12/15 -   
 Frani Beadle 

R eminder for hosts:
Napkins and plates are provided. Use what you need from our pantry Remember: Keep it simple. We usually have about 35-40 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.
   Thursday noon. 

Anniversaries and Birthdays
Have yours been missed in our bulletins?   Send to Nancy.   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
interesting 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. Paper copies are available upon re quest. 
Older recent sermons  
 Newest sermons:  
Grace Galena 2nd in Advent 2019 Sermon
Grace Galena 2nd in Advent 2019 Sermon
Grace Galena Reign of Christ 2019 Sermon 
Grace Galena Reign of Christ 2019 Sermon
Grace Galena Pentecost 28C 2019 Sermon  
Grace Galena 28th after Pentecost  
   The Rev Dr. Gloria Hopewell, Rector
Cell Phone:  773-988-3497

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