|Lenten Meditation Booklet
It's that time of year for our
Please email your
finished assignments to Carmen
by Sunday, February 9th:
email@example.com . Thank you!
Grace Movie Night -- This Sunday Night
6 p.m. Sunday February 9th,
The first Sunday of February, Groundhog Day, dictated the movie. However, that day also being Super Bowl Sunday dictated that Movie Night will be postponed one week to tonight, February 9th.
We often pre-screen old movies to see how well they have aged. To our surprise, we enjoyed this iconic 1993 Harold Ramis comedy (starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell) much more than the first time around. It seems the wisdom that comes with aging in the company of good companions, and the spiritual insight that comes with God's grace, enhances one's enjoyment of a movie about having additional opportunities to get things right.
All are welcome, including guests, and guests of guests. Feel free to bring a beverage, snack or popcorn to munch during the movie. A discussion will follow.
Lou Hoover (Deb Pausz), Nellie Taft (Cathie Elsbree), Alice Roosevelt Longworth (Emily Painter) and Abigail Adams (Roberta Grenz) will be visiting Prairie Ridge of Galena on Saturday, February 8th at 2:00pm. Tickets are $12. Reservations are suggested. Call 815-777-2469.
|A cartoon caught my eye this morning. It's one of those that might make a good t-shirt message or bumper sticker, although, I suppose there are too many words to fit on the latter. In fact, there are enough words that people might just skim on by. I slowed down to think, "What does that mean?" "What's the difference--is there a difference?"
The cartoon shows Jesus speaking to a group of people who each have a Bible under their arm. He says to them,
The difference between me and you is... (and I perked up my ears) ...you use scripture to determine what love means and I use love to determine what scripture means.
I think this is brilliant. The cartoon was created by a person who has degrees in theology and religion and served a church as a pastor for 20 years before leaving ministry. He also has a website and an online presence for people who "seek spiritual independence" and "a safe alternative to church."
I do not know his story of why he left ministry or why he chooses to do what he does. Perhaps it is deeply personal; perhaps it is to address and serve those who have been alienated from the church. Or a bit of both.
The question I have, at least in relation to this particular cartoon is, what is it about the Jesus quote that is inconsistent with the Christian faith? We all know there are various ways of interpreting and understanding the words of scripture. Some read small snippets or specific verses as answers to life's problems, treating the Bible like an instruction manual. Some read it in a similar fashion and then discard all of it because they cannot reconcile discrepancies or because read stories that portray God as angry or violent. Still others demythologize it by analyzing it so closely that there is no space left for the Holy Spirit--for God to continue to speak to humanity in each time and place and circumstance.
I think the example of this cartoon is brilliant because it uses one of the two Great Commandments and looks at it through two opposite lenses. One lens pages through the various and diverse writings and categorizes "love" and "not love"--picking and choosing what is right and what is wrong. And probably judging others by who they are and what they do. There is room for contempt here. The other, Jesus' way, is to start with love. Love
is. We are commanded to love God and neighbor, and if that is the starting place, how does it change how we relate to one another?
Not that this is easy, mind you. I will be the first to confess how very hard it can be. I am guilty. It is so much easier to set aside or ignore or be snarky to those we find obnoxious or impossible or strange. I hope the cartoonist knows that there are some of us out here who remain with the church strive to stay on the side of Jesus!
See you in church,
From Bishop Lee:
Dear People of God in the Diocese of Chicago:
With thanksgiving, I am writing to tell you that we have reached a settlement with the Diocese of Quincy in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in our efforts to recover some of the property, assets and records that were part of the former Episcopal Diocese of Quincy.
The congregations of St. James, Griggsville; St. James, Lewistown; the Episcopal Church of St. George, Macomb; and All Saints, Rock Island will directly benefit from the settlement. In addition, other funds recovered in the settlement will be held in the Bishop's Funds for the benefit of the entire Peoria Deanery and will administered by the bishop's office with the assistance of the Congregations Commission.
to read the entire letter, please go here.
Bishop Search Update
Search and Nomination Committee
would like to offer our deepest gratitude to all who have offered themselves as candidates for the
Thirteenth Bishop of Chicago
. We are thrilled with the quality of the applicant pool, and so thankful for the gifts that God has given these priests and for their willingness to share them with the Diocese of Chicago. All of us have had our hope in the Body of Christ renewed by reading about the deeply prayerful and effective ministry being offered around the country. We are also grateful to all who shared our profile or encouraged a candidate to apply.
While we will not be sharing information on the names of candidates at this time, nor the number of applications received, we will continue to be as clear as possible about our process. At this point, the Search and Nomination Committee has been in contact with everyone who submitted their materials to thank them and to inform them of the next step for their application. We have begun several rounds of discernment as a committee which will lead us towards a slate that will be presented to the Standing Committee in late April or early May.
We ask that you continue to pray for the candidates, their families, their current and future ministries, and the Search and Nomination Committee. We ask that you continue to pray also that the Holy Spirit will be among us in our discussion and lead us as we discern God's call in our life as the Episcopal Church in northern and west central Illinois
Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12)
: The people complain because God does not seem to notice when they fast and pray, but Isaiah speaks God's word that challenges them on their injustice and exploitation - that they have the appearance of penitence without a true change of heart.
Psalm 112:1-9, (10)
: Those who live righteously are compassionate, just and generous, and they have confidence that God will care for them.
1 Corinthians 2:1-12, (13-16):
God's wisdom is Christ crucified, which cannot be understood without opening our spirits to God's Spirit. But, for we who have received God's Spirit, we are able to know and receive the wonderful blessing God offers us in Christ.
Matthew 5:13-20: It is very easy to allow our sense of call to be reduced to becoming the conscience, or the moral watch dogs, of our communities and neighbourhoods. It is easy to point fingers and judge, to identify evil and, like Pharisees, make our religion about separating ourselves from "others" who don't live up to our standards. This can be true for both conservatives and liberals, for both "evangelicals" and "social justice" Christians. But, such engagement with the world seldom brings any real change. It is when we are salt and light - those who live out in our own lives what we seek to see in the world - that we make a real difference. Salt and light people are those who bring flavour and colour, integrity and insight, healing and compassion into the world by the way they live, love and interact. Their influence is felt not through judgement or legalism, but through a life lived with a completely different quality, that touches others with grace and truth and compassion and calls out to the best in them, leaving them longing to live better lives themselves. This is what it means to let our good deeds be seen so that others will praise God, and it's the only thing that really brings change into the world. As Gandhi famously said: "Be the change you wish to see in the world".
Jesus calls his followers to be as salt and light in the world - allowing our good works to be seen in order that others may praise God. Further, Jesus calls his followers to true righteousness, beyond the external legalism of the Pharisees, but embodying the true spirit of the law.
Thumbprints and commentaries from:
|ERRATA: I am sorry to have linked the wrong document type last week for the budget summary below. Here it is again.
The Grace Church Annual Meeting was held on January 26, 2020. Two new vestry members were elected for three year terms: Nancy Cook and Eric Kallback. Outgoing members Bonnielynn Kreise
r and Larry Poston were acknowledged and thanked for their service.
||Final Blessing--Close of Annual Meeting
Treasurer Richard Luther presented the financial report for the end of year 2019, reporting a positive balance due to increased contributions and reduced expenses. The approved budget for 2020 was also presented. A significant increase in pledged income resulted in a balanced budget even though expenses in our personnel compensation increased. The budget summary may be viewed at this link.
Canapes & Conversation
Al & Cathie Elsbree will host Canapes & Conversation on Friday, February 21st, from 5-7pm, here at the Parish House. We're getting a schedule together for this coming year and are still looking for hosts and hostesses for March and December. Email Cathie at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested.
Black History Month
We have set Sunday February 23rd to celebrate Black History month, with a Soul Food coffee hour (there will be a sign-up sheet),
and we will be singing hymn #599 (Lift Every Voice) as the recessional. Please mark your calendar.
Wednesday Morning Study Group will meet on February 5th at 10:30am upstairs in the Parish Hall. The group has just begun a study of the book of Job, which will continue over the next several weeks. All are welcome to join the group.
Next Theological Thriller
The Next Theological Thriller Does God consign sinners to hell, or do we choose hell ourselves? That question is one of many raised by Charles Williams's dark theological thriller, Descent into Hell, arguably his most accomplished work of fiction.
Williams (18 86-1945), along with C. S. Lewis and J. R. Tolkien, was one of the Oxford group known as the Inklings. Like Lewis in particular, Williams' fiction skirts the boundaries of realism, in an amalgam of theology, myth, and a recognizable English landscape with human characters like ourselves. Our group read the first of his novels, War in Heaven, over a year ago, and with this one we will, if interest is sufficient, turn to the last as a Lenten "read."
Rather than schedule an event and hoping someone will come, I am asking this time that those of you who would like to participate signify your interest to me, either in person at church or coffee hour, or by e-mail (
). I will then survey your available dates and times, and check back with you once more before ordering copies. Please let me hear from you no later than Saturday, February 22.
estry Liaisons' primary purpose is to assure two-way communications between the various ministries and the
to represent the ministries for resources
policy issues, and to
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: (class of 2023)
Tony Packard (class of 2021)
Communications: (class of 2023)
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
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
ROTA: December 2019-May 31,2020
For quick reference, find Sunday's readings by clicking here:
Ministers of the
Ann Berry &
Sixth Sunday After Epiphany
February 16, 2020
|For a current prayer list, click on the following link:
Grace Prayer List
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."
Events This Week:
Community Breakfast at Victory Café
Morning Study Group
All are welcome!
For current and
check out the goog
calendar on the website
2/9- Ann Berry &
2/16- Len & Diane
2/23- Soul Food
eminder for hosts:
Napkins and plates
are provided. Use
what you need from
Remember: Keep it simple. We usually have about 35-40 attending.
**Coffee schedule sign up is on the bulletin board in the Parish House.**
|You can now get information on Formation Ministries directly from the new Grace website at the following links: Children and Youth Adults
If you are in need of assistance while ill or recovering: meals, transportation, visits, please contact the
Ministry of Care
Ministry of Care Leadership
Facilitators who can assist you and connect you with parishioners who have trained and committed to this ministry that includes Parish Visitors, Meals, Rides, as well as the ongoing Servants through Prayer, LEMs, and the Greeting Card ministry.
Bonnielynn Kreiser TBA
Clergy Advisors: Gloria Hopewell,
News and prayer requests:
Wed. end of day.
Anniversaries and Birthdays
Have yours been missed in our bulletins?
Send to Nancy.
News and Photos
want to know
what's going on at Grace! T
here are places
here for your
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
Older recent sermons
|Grace Galena Presentation/Candlemas Sermon
|Grace Galena 3rd Sunday after Epiphany Sermon
|Grace Galena 2nd after Epiphany Sermon
|Grace Church Galena Baptism of Christ
The Rev. Linda Packard 12 /29/19 Sermon