Message of Grace
February 2020 | Vol 13 Issue 2
Articles are due the 15th of the
month preceding publication.
Welcome to Grace Lutheran's eNewsletter!
Click on the links at the right to view or print the calendar and volunteer schedule , plus you can go directly to our website, Facebook and sites in the ELCA family. If you have anything you would like put in the newsletter, send an email to me at
 Quick Links
A Word from Pastor Andy
Pastor Andy
Pastor Andy Tyrrell
1st Communion class February 23rd

Details below.
How to Pray
“...for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
-Matthew 6:8

As a pastor I often hear that people struggle with prayer and how to do it properly. Jesus noticed that people 2,000 years ago had this same problem. When Jesus decided to teach people how to pray he told them to start with the words “Our Father”. When we pray it is important to remember this teaching. Jesus wanted us to understand that we have a parental relationship with God.

Remember when you first moved away from home? You probably did all sorts of things to try and stay in touch with your parents. You made phone calls, wrote letters or even emails. When we pray it’s helpful to view it like a phone call home to our parents. Essentially, I feel that's what prayer is, a call home. You call home to your parents because you want to keep in contact with them. Ideally, a person would like to be home in the same room with their parents but that can't happen so we call home. By calling home we are able to learn more about our parents and our parents are able to learn more about us. We can share experiences and gain advice through these valuable phone calls until we can return home. I think that's what we should seek to do when we pray: make phone calls to God until we can return home to be with Him.

The next time that you are feeling distraught, joyful, depressed or happy make a phone call home to God. God is no different than our parents in the sense that the more we make these "phone calls" the closer we feel to Him. Just know that God loves us and wants to hear from us.

In Christ,
Pastor Andy
First Communion Class February 23rd

Grace will be holding a first communion class on February 23 immediately following the 9:30am service (10:30am). The class will last about an hour. 

At Grace there is no age requirement for children to receive communion. We leave it up to the parents to decide when their child is ready. We encourage, but it is not required, that kids be able to read so that they may be able to understand the materials. We ask that a parent, grandparent or other adult attend the class with their child.

We will have a service where the kids can receive their first communion on March 1st at 9:30am.

If you would like them to participate in the class please contact the church office by Friday February 14th. It is important that you reserve a spot to ensure that there are enough materials. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call the church or email me at  
Lent Begins with Ash Wednesday Service

The Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday which is on February 26 this year. The service of imposition of ashes will be at 7:00pm. This is the time of reflection and penitence leading up to Easter Sunday. As Pastor Andy imposes the ashes, he reminds us “For dust you are and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19.

Stewardship – Focusing on What Matters Most
“[Jesus] said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” – Luke 12:22-23

Does it seem like life is running you ragged? Do you have more to do than there are hours in the day? Do you have more stuff than you know what do with and the debts to go along with it? Consider making a deliberate effort to simplify your life and focus on what is important.

Jesus tells us: “I came that [my followers] may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The life Jesus wants for us is not abundant because of an excess of stuff, time commitments, and constant striving for more money, fame, and worldly accomplishments/accolades. The life Jesus calls us to is abundant because of our focus on loving God and loving others—a life filled with love and meaning and purpose through Jesus.

Start by identifying what matters most in your life. Gradually remove anything that either takes away from, or is an obstacle to, those things that matter. By doing this, you will free up space, resources and ultimately your life, to focus on what is truly important.

Clear out the clutter by sorting material possessions and donating what’s not needed. Making space in your schedules (it’s OK to say no sometimes!), and spending time with God is just as important as getting rid of stuff.

Consider intentional consumption. Too often, we click to buy that online purchase or stop into that coffee shop without thinking. Online shopping and drinking coffee aren’t the problems—it’s when we go on automatic pilot and consume mindlessly that we consistently make unhelpful decisions. Try to make deliberate decisions on purchases and research from where our goods come.

Focus on spending quality time with family, friends and fellow Christians. All of us know that spending time with loved ones is incredibly important, but very often, we don’t do this as much as we would like. Removing everything that doesn’t matter means that we have more time and space to spend uninterrupted time with our loved ones.

We are called to live a life focused on loving God and loving others. We can’t do any of this alone. God will lead and guide us as we simplify our lives. Jesus wants us to live an abundant life filled with what’s most important.

[Adapted from: Becca Ehrlich, “A focus on what matters most”, a three-part series from Living Lutheran Magazine, December 2019, January 2020, February 2020 issues] 

Stewardship: “Everything we do after we say I Believe.”

~Ray Yoder
Thank you!

The bowling night was a success. A number of families came and it was a lot of fun. Thanks to Shannon Monte for organizing and to all who participated!


My family and I want to thank everyone who helped, in any way, with the lunch after Sonny's funeral. You all did such a wonderful job, and we appreciated it so much. I wish you could have heard the comments said to us, especially from people never having been to our church before. They were just so impressed with our church in general and really impressed with the lunch! These things are always nice to hear. Thank you again.

Love to all from Ann Katzenberg, Jeff, Jane, and all our family members
Thanks to all of the Grace Lutheran members who participated in the Annual January Congregational Meeting on January 26th. The budget for 2020 was passed as presented. If you didn't receive a copy of the budget or the annual report, call the church office at 815-678-3082.

The following members were chosen to be members of the Nominating Committee who are charged with putting together a roster of candidates to replace church council members who are retiring or have already served for two 2-year terms. (Elections for those positions will take place at the June Congregational Meeting.)

New Nominating Committee members are:
  • Thorey Ellis
  • Michelle Jones
  • Katie Jenkins
  • Carolyn Bolman
  • Anne Johnson
  • Jeff Stark

Thanks to the new Nominating Committee for taking on this responsibility. If you are approached to serve on the Council, please prayerfully consider how you can be used of God at Grace.
Upcoming Events, How You Can Participate
Discover Your Spiritual Gifts
Grace is launching a new program to help each member (confirmands - adult) discover their passions and spiritual gifts. You are invited to participate in this new program called Discovery that will help you find a ministry that is consistent with your passion, style, and gifts. This will lead to motivated participants that engage in fulfilling ministry that builds God’s kingdom and transforms lives.
Everyone has received at least one gift from God. 

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10 NIV).

You are invited to attend a onetime Discovery session. The session times are listed below. Sign up sheets will be posted in the narthex or you can call the church office (815-678-3082) to add your name to a list. Sessions last approximately 90 minutes. 

Session Date & Time:

Sunday, February 9, 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, February 23, 10:30 a.m.

For more information call Lynette Rodriguez (847) 309-1657.
Bible Study and Small Group Opportunities
Women's Friendship & Faith Monthly Bible Study - Meeting 1st Tuesday of the month

What: Join us as we study 1 Corinthians using Max Lucado’s Life Lessons Series. We will focus on the Church as the body of Christ, we will learn how we honor God within our relationships, and we will be reminded that love is the greatest of all gifts.

Who : Any woman who would like to study the Bible, grow in faith, and share fellowship. 

When : First Tuesday of the month at 7pm at the church
Where : Grace Lutheran Church Library
Cost: $7 for the book.

Please contact the church office or Thorey Ellis at (815)276-2456 for more information.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." -1 Corinthians 13:4

Small Group - "Christianity 101"
Making Sense of Christianity, The Bible, and The Cross
This small group study is held Sunday after the second service and is open to all who want to learn more about our Christian faith in a comfortable small group setting. The Making Sense Series gives people a framework to discuss questions such as: How is the Bible true? How does Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection make a difference in our lives today? How do we understand the cross of Christ? What is the Word of God? 

This discussion is appropriate for all people from the new members who are just starting their faith walk or are new to the Lutheran Church, to those that have been church members for a while but would like to have a broader discussion on the topics. Each session in the Making Sense series features a chapter to read and a video presentation by Lutheran author and theologian David Lose, and is facilitated as a casual discussion group.

The series is broken into four main topics:
  • Making Sense of Christianity
  • Making Sense of Scripture
  • Making Sense of The Cross
  • Making Sense of Martin Luther

Every week we take time to discuss our questions, concerns and beliefs from our own lives. Alternative beliefs are always welcome and we hope to be able to clearly and accurately share the Lutheran doctrine in our discussions. New group members are always welcome.
If you are interested in joining this small group or would like more information, contact Jon Petersen at 815-790-5934 or
Outreach Cafe February 23rd
Where can you enjoy a great breakfast with family and friends AND partner with the missions of your church all at once? Why, at the Outreach Cafe!

Be sure to join us February 23rd, 8:30-9:30. All funds raised will be donated to PADS, Habitat for Humanity, Richmond Food Pantry our Kenya mission, our Haiti Mission and, new in 2020, our mission church in Kenya, Africa. Thanks to Thrivent Financial for their support to purchase food and supplies.

In case you missed the report last month:
Our team is pleased to report that our monthly cafe raised $4817.00 in 2019 and we were able to contribute $1204.25 each to Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County, the Haiti mission, PADS, and our local food pantry. Every penny of the money you give for your breakfast goes to the mission, because the food and supplies for the cafe is donated by our team and some of our congregation members, with occasional assistance from Thrivent Financial. Grace Lutheran has added a mission to support a small church in Kenya, so this mission will be added as a beneficiary of the Cafe in 2020.  

Thank you so much for your generous support this year (you know who you are!), and a very special thanks to our team members Carol Heuer, Carol Steadman, Julie Ford, Jim Nor, Dave Ritzert, Matt Horton, Chris and Curt Bjorklund, Pat Dahme. If you would like to join our team either on a regular or semi-regular basis, we would welcome assistance with clean up of the second coffee service on cafe Sundays, which is the fourth Sunday of every month. Please contact Dean and Tina Peterson at 815-678-4335.

Outreach Café Contact: Tina Peterson,
Women of the ELCA - WELCA
The ladies of WELCA are in the planning stages of several upcoming events:
  • Vendors from our congregation and the community are being sought for this spring’s Craft & Vendor Fair on April 18th (contact Lois Randall or Chris Hammerstrom if you would like to participate),
  • Bakers are being asked to bring baked goods and candies for the February 9th Bake Sale on either Saturday Feb. 8 between 9:30 & 10 during set-up or Sunday morning … AND
  • We are asking all ladies and girls of Grace for donations of new and gently used prom dresses, shoes, jewelry and purses to be donated to My Sister’s Dress to benefit Home of the Sparrow. That beautiful dress hanging in the closet can be a blessing to a girl who otherwise might not be able to go to her school’s prom. The mission of My Sister’s Dress is to make prom affordable for all. At their Annual Dress Sale, all dresses will cost only $25. All jew-elry, shoes and accessories will only cost $5. We will place a spe-cial coat rack in the hallway to accommodate donated items. Donations will be accepted until March 1 for the Dress Sale on March 7, from 9:00 a.m.—12:00 noon at Sage YMCA, 701 Manor Rd., Crystal Lake.We are all God’s children, and some of our sisters need a new or gently used dress. Check with your daughters, granddaughters, nieces and neighbors, too!

Our next meeting will be Monday, February 10 at 1:00 in the afternoon in Luther Hall. All ladies of Grace are welcome. If you are unable to attend or just don’t do meetings, but would like to be on our emailing list for updates and other WELCA news, please sign up at the welcome center in the narthex or see Lynn Jambor or Rita Popenhagen.

Also new this year, WELCA will be supplementing the Fellowship group’s coffee service each Sunday morning. Anyone wishing to help with this service is invited to sign up and an experienced “Coffee Server” will show you the ropes.

Any questions or if you need a ride to a meeting, please call, text or email Rita.
(815) 678-4413—
Quick notes, reminders, who to contact
Electronic Giving is Easy Download and print the form here. Fill it out and return with a voided check to the church office. Forms are also available in the Narthex at church. Please note that if you wish to donate to the building fund or other specific causes you will need to write a check or use cash as before.

People of Praise Rehearsals Mondays 7:00 - 8:30pm
Rehearsals began on January 6th. You're always welcome!

Director, Danielle Cairoli
Sunday School at 9:30 for children age 4 through 5th grade. Call the church office for more information. 815-678-3082.
P.A.D.S. Homeless ministry is in transition. We hope to reorganize in January. Contact Curt Bjorklund at or call 815-529-7746.
DivorceCare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. Don’t go through separation or divorce alone. You are welcome to join at any time.

WHEN: New Session begins February 6th through May 21st
Time: 6:30-8:30pm

Sign-up will be available soon. Click here for more information.
Contact: Linda Davis 815-347-5982
ALPHA is our confirmation class open to 6th, 7th and 8th graders and is led by Pastor Andy. We meet Wednesday nights beginning with a meal at 5:30 and then enjoy a time of learning and fellowship. Register your children in the church office or contact Pastor Andy. The registration fee is $25.
December Giving: $23,180 Average Attendance per Sunday: 160