THE CHURCH BUILDING CLOSURE IS EXTENDED THROUGH THE END OF MAY FOR
ALL BUT EMERGENCY PURPOSES
In the meantime, mail is being picked up and bills are being paid. You may mail your pledge payments to the church however it is convenient
for you to do so.
|PENTECOST SUNDAY -- MAY 31
It is our practice at Grace to hear the caco
phany of voices in different language during the Pentecost service. And, even though we won't be together in the church building, we can still do this through the magic of technology.
If you wish to participate,
please e-mail your name and language to Nancy and to Gloria so that we will know whose voices to unmute during that time.
The reading will be from Acts 2: 7-13. The lector will read the verses that precede and follow.
| Our Vestry is beginning the task of preparing Grace to reenter our church building in phases. Though we are awaiting the full diocesan guidelines, we have been given a checklist that will need to be completed by each church and submitted to Bishop Lee prior to reentry. The phases are based upon those established by the Governor of Illinois except that our churches will not enter the building before June 1. And only then when the plan is in place.
We will, at that time, enter Phase 3. Preferably five but no more than ten people will be permitted in the building at one time including any who are involved in leading worship . Masks must be worn and distancing and sanitizing must be in place. Those who feel ill are urged to stay home. One of the decisions we will make is whether to stream worship from the church and how and if parishioners will be allowed to worship in person.
There is no idea at this point when Phase 4 will begin as it depends on the rate of infection and availability of testing. The number of people allowed in the building will increase to 50 but only if the distancing requirements will permit that many. In any case, worshiping in person will have many restrictions to reduce or eliminate touching one another and common objects. At that point, some other meetings will likely be able to resume so long as all safety measures are in place.
As mentioned last week, our bishop's task force has developed these guidelines for the phases. Yet, since circumstances such as age of members, space configurations, and ministries differs from church to church, we must create our own plan that complies with the guidelines in the best way for Grace.
The task force has framed the guidelines within a model used for trauma situations. There are five essential elements that are shown in the diagram below:
Safety is, of course, the primary concern and will underlie the decisions that are made as to when and how reentry will take place. Although there are many practical tasks involved, this is also an emotional and spiritual matter. So promoting calm through our prayer and rich traditions of worship as well as formation opportunities is of key importance. Efficacy comes of our confidence and ability to contribute to reentering, building resilience and persistence. We will all be called upon to be creative in carrying out our mission and ministry even as we go through continuing change--and possible back steps. We are a caring and connected congregation and that is ever more needed in these times when there are those who are experiencing trauma and needing care. Finally, we are people of hope. We must encourage one another when there is uncertainty, when things don't seem to be moving along to our liking and when we realize that our world is changing. Things will be different, and we must look for the hopeful signs of love and service being offered and hope that the changes in the world will move toward addressing the great injustices that this pandemic has made clear and urgent.
I can't help but think of how many people are performing duties and caring for others in ways they never expected. In fact, doing things they never signed up for. That is also true now of those of us in the church. No doubt there will be things we long for that we cannot have right now. There will be things we don't care for. There will be mistakes and the need for adjustment. I hope we can all join together and help one another to see the possibilities and the joy of our faith community. That we can deepen our love of God and neighbor and one another. That our compassion for those who are suffering will help to reduce any disappointment or anxiety that we may be feeling. And, of course, that we are gentle with ourselves.
Your participation in Part 1 of our COVID-19 Survey was very helpful. A summary of the responses may be found here:
If you have not yet answered the five questions, it is not too late. Simply click this link
Please do so even if you have not participated in any of the online services.
See you on Zoom on Sunday! Stay safe and well.
Part 2 of the survey is now available here:
. Once again, your thoughts are most valuable as we enter into our planning for reentry. Thank you.
When we, as a congregation, are able to return to our church building, there will be many changes. One of them will be face masks. We will be required to wear them for the foreseeable future. By now many of us have obtained or made a face covering. Is there any interest in creating a distinctive Grace face mask? Here are a couple o
1. Use a standard model and add a Grace logo (Menards is selling them in box of 50 quantities);
2. Sew simple masks with a Grace logo;
3. Sew simple masks with distinctive fabric.
If you have an idea or a preference, click
|A NOTE FROM YOUR TREASURER
"Well, this was unexpected."
I've heard that phrase - or something like it - from many over the last few weeks. As Treasurer, I am pleased that we are experiencing continued financial support during this time of upheaval - thanks to you for your faithfulness. Our income is lower than predicted (pre-pandemic) but our expenses are also lower. We continue to pay staff and we are meeting our regular obligations. I encourage you to continue your support by mailing donations to the church address - please note on your check if it is a pledge or non-pledge donation or for if it is for some other use. If you have a concern or question please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On May 4th we were approved for an SBA Payroll Protection Program forgivable loan of $17,704. This program is part of the federal economic response designed to help small businesses and non-profits maintain jobs during the pandemic. The loan represents 2.5 times our 2019 average monthly payroll. These funds will be used for 8-weeks payroll cost and utilities with the unused balance being paid back. The funds used for eligible payroll & utility costs will be forgiven. --Richard Luther
For your personal reading and devotion this Sunday.
: Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to his disciples. Then he is taken up into heaven, with the assurance of the angels that he will return.
: A psalm celebrating God's reign and majesty
: Pau's prayer for the Ephesians that they may know the power of Christ who is over all and fills all.
: Jesus reminds the disciples of how he has fulfilled the Scriptures, then he promises the Holy Spirit, blesses them and is taken up to heaven.
If the Ascension has led us to faith in a disembodied, removed God who is watching us "from a distance", we have missed its message. Whatever the disciples actually saw happen that day, the facts of the experience are far less important than the meaning. The Ascension certainly does not mean that heaven is "up", hell is "down" and God is looking down on us from some far removed place. Rather, the Ascension offers us a number of crucial truths that, in this world of injustice and inequality, we desperately need to reclaim. First the fact that Jesus did not die, but was seen to "return" to the Godhead physically is a continuation of the story of incarnation. God does not despise the human body - rather God embraces it, inhabits it and glorifies it, making human flesh part of the Godhead! This means that the needs of the body - for food, clean water, sanitation, shelter, and loving, intimate touch - are all part of the Gospel and are included in God's gift of salvation. Secondly, the Ascension declares as clearly and loudly as can be that Jesus, and not Caesar (nor any other Empire, government, system or social hierarchy) is Lord over all. This means that our ultimate allegiance must be to Christ first, and that our lives are called to be a reflection of Christ's reign in the midst of the other forces and 'lords' that influence and control our world. Finally, the Ascension always comes with the promise of the Holy Spirit's power which tells us that God is not absent and removed from us, but continues to be completely immersed in the world and in the lives of human beings. The gift of the Spirit also assures us of God's resources and God's inspiration and God's guidance to strengthen and enable us as we seek to live as faithful followers of Christ. It may be tempting to make this celebration about Christian triumphalism, but that would be to deny the meaning of Christ's earthly life. Rather, the Ascension is the necessary next step in that life, ensuring that God remains involved with human beings, that God's presence continues to be available to us, and that we know that everything that makes us human - including our physicality - has been embraced and welcomed into God. It's less about "Christianity" defeating all, and more about Christ drawing all things into the life of God.
Thumbprints and commentaries from:
Formation and Spirituality Ministries
EfM (Education for Ministry)
As we reach the end of the academic year, we will look forward to Grace participants in EfM completing their four years of study and graduating. Here, is the fourth of a series of reflections on EfM from the students:
Education for Ministry (EfM) - but what is "ministry"? For me, the essential for ministry is following Jesus' command "to love our neighbor as yourself." EfM provides a base to enhance the practice of love that goes far beyond only education. Two years that focus on a deep dive into the Bible - both Old & New Testaments - followed by a year exploring the historic context of Christianity - as well as other traditions - from before Jesus' birth through the current time. Armed with this preparation, the fourth year reveals how to put this knowledge into action in how we view God and our relationship with God's creation. As they say in the infomercials - "But wait, that's not all!" Each year we practice ways to expand our ability to meet daily life head on through reflecting our faith in the context of what we believe, our culture and our traditions. We do all of this within a small group setting that helps us build relationships. Support and resources are included at no extra charge. The reward is found in your ministry through reflecting God's love. --Richard Luther
Wednesday Morning Study Group
The Wednesday morning study group has been active and well attended, especially during the Coronavirus shutdown.
The group currently is studying the Gospel of Matthew.
All are welcome to join us one hour weekly, beginning at 10:30 a.m. If interested in receiving the Zoom invitations, send a message to Greg Serwich at email@example.com.
Worship and Ministry in the Midst of COVID-19!
Easter Season Worship
Sunday services will begin at our usual 10:30 time on Zoom. They will also be recorded and uploaded as quickly as possible for those unable to participate on Zoom. The uploads will appear on the church's Facebook page, @FullyGrace and on the Grace website.
Wednesday morning services and
Bible Study are also on Zoom each week. If you would like to add your name to any of these participant lists, please e-mail the church office.
Watch for e-mail invitations to arrive in your inbox the day before each service. It will include the information you will need to sign on or phone in. It's a good idea to sign in a bit before the appointed time. Make sure you have your audio and video enabled. For those who do not have access to the internet, joining by telephone is also possible.
What to expect:
When you enter before the service begins, you will be able to see and hear one another. You will also be able to hear background noises such as dogs barking. At the appointed time, the host will mute everyone except for the officiant and designated readers.
The entire liturgy will appear on the screen. At the conclusion of the service, you will be unmuted, we will share the peace, and visit for a little while.
Here is a link of Zoom tips put together by Greg Serwich. He has been successfully assisting those who have had difficulties with the technology. Check this out in advance. If you have problems, give Greg a call. Zoom Tips
Ministry of Care
Here at Grace, The Ministry of Care has organized regular phone and e-mail contact with our most vulnerable members. If you are in need of assistance,or pick-up and delivery of prescriptions or emergency supplies, please contact Bonnielynn Kreiser. Also contact her if you are able to help out. And, of course, your clergy are available by phone, text, and e-mail to provide pastoral care,
United Thank Offering--This is the time of year that we normally bring our blue boxes to church for dedication and sending off to participate in good work around the world that comes from the contributions. Since we cannot do that this year...
Tip Jar for Jesus!
Feeling blessed? Do you have a home? food? entertainments? health? family? Jesus just keeps giving blessings, so keep "tipping" him. Count your blessings until we can meet in person to collect your full and overflowing little blue box!
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)
Ministry of Care/LEMs: Nancy Cook (class of 2023)
Tony Packard (class of 2021)
Communications: Eric Kallback(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
May 24, 2020
ROTA: December 2019-May 31,2020
ID: 869 7109 8598
At the end of worship and exchanging the peace, we will experiment with a Zoom conversation time where you will spend about 15 miniutes in a break-out room with a few others parishioners.
So, please plan to stay to see how this works!
For quick reference, find Sunday's readings by clicking here:
Ministers of the
Rev. Dr. Gloria Hopewell
|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:
Morning Prayer online
Outreach Meeting online
Morning Prayer* online --7:30am
Bible Study** online--10:30am
Covid-19 Response Committee mtg online
To be receive an invitation with the link to online events, please contact Gloria at
or **Greg Serwich at firstname.lastname@example.org
Compline or Evening Prayer TBD
All are welcome!
For current and
check out the goog
calendar on the website
Link to most current directory here:
Reminder 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.**
|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.
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 p
osted on the Grace Church website as well as in the next week's e-Blast.
Paper copies are available upon re
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