Message of Grace
January 2020 | Vol 13 Issue 1
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
Congregational Meeting Jan 26th
All members are invited to join us after 2nd service (about 10:30) on Sunday January 26th for the Congregational Meeting.

The main order of business is the 2021 budget plus reports from our ministries.
Are We to Be Heroes or Followers?
All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it.
-1 Corinthians 12:27

A week ago I was able to see the new Star Wars movie. After the movie it occurred to me how there is such a difference between what we see on the screen in the movies and what happens in our daily lives.

In the movies there are just a few heroes. There is usually some great conflict or battle that needs to be won. The fate of the world, or at least an important situation, relies entirely on their shoulders. They are equipped with incredible powers or skills that allow them to overcome great odds to accomplish their goals. In the end the hero earns the admiration or praise of thousands, if not millions, for what they have done.

I think one of the reasons we love movies is because we love heroes. Part of us since we were little kids dreamed of what it would be like to be a hero - to live like no one else and to be able to save the world. It doesn't take very long however to realize that we are not heroes. That we are flawed and despite our best efforts we have difficulty changing our lives, let alone the world

The truth is that God does not want us to be heroes. God wants us to gain our strength not from ourselves, but from Him. And God wants us to not see ourselves as the person that everything is riding on, but instead see ourselves as the piece of a bigger whole. The above verses remind us that we are part of a larger group, a community of Christians that has existed for thousands of years before we were born - that we are not the main character of our story. That we ultimately trust saving of the world to Jesus and we look to our guidance from Him. Knowing that you are part of God's story, my question is, what role will you play? How will you live out the person God is calling you to be?

In Christ,
Pastor Andy
Pick up your new church directory now

Updated directories are available for those who had a photo taken this fall or at the previous session.

Please see Thorey Ellis with questions.
Steward Your Best Year Ever
“Stewardship is not only a matter of faithful giving but of faithful living. In response to the Gospel, we submit our lives to the rule of God, to the lordship of Christ, and to the direction of the Holy Spirit, so that we may be the people God wants us to be and have the lives God wants us to have.” – Mark Allan Powell, author of Giving to God.

Yikes! It’s January 2, and the bathroom scale shows that, once again, I’ve gained a few pounds in the five-week blitz-feast of Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year. Clearly, I need to steward my health better in 2020.

Though it’s not the most common use of the word, steward is also a verb, an action word. We steward all that God has entrusted to us, making choices that, as Mark Allan Powell says, help us “be the people God wants us to be and have the lives God wants us to have.”

We steward our lives through our decisions and choices – the food we eat, the people we call friends, how we spend our money, the entertainment we select, the hobbies we enjoy, the many ways we spend our time, and so on. To steward faithfully, we have to live in prayerful awareness and make conscious, thoughtful decisions that will advance us in Godly directions.

As 2020 begins, prayerfully consider the most important areas of your life, such as your physical, mental and spiritual health, as well as your relationships and time, and ask God to help you steward them in ways that will help you be the person God wants you to be and have the life God wants you to have.

As for me, it will not only help me lose those extra holiday pounds, but also give me my best year ever.

[Copyright © 2019, Rev. Robert Blezard. Reprinted by permission.]

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

~Ray Yoder
Giving Tree Update - Another Big Success!
Thank you for your generosity again this year! We furnished gifts for over 120 kids this year. Special thanks to Deb Oelert for 'manning' the table every Sunday, checking tags out, checking gifts in and answering questions. Also, thanks to Dawn and Cory Weinfurtner (and Erynn and Owen) for delivering the Prison Ministry gifts and making sure they were all accounted for.

The Salvation Army post, also in Crystal Lake, provides gifts, food and gift cards for hundreds of local families in need. They host a 'Christmas Shop' where family members can pick out gifts for their children that they know will be appropriate and appreciated. Last year they distributed over 1000 gifts to more than 250 families.  More stories about Salvation Army's Angel Tree.

~Chris Bjorklund
Upcoming Events, How You Can Participate
Veterans' Clothing Drive - Thank you
Thank you to everyone who donated to our clothing and toiletries drive for homeless veterans.

To learn more about local Veteran's Services go to For more about the origins of Veterans Day and read real stories, go to
Bible Study and Small Group Opportunities
Women's Friendship & Faith Monthly Bible Study - Meeting the 1st Tuesday

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

New Small Group - "Christianity 101"
New to Christianity or Want to Learn More about Our Faith?
Jon Petersen is leading a new small group exploring the basics of the Christian faith at 10:30 (after 2nd service). The class runs about an hour. Even if you didn't sign up, you are invited to join us.
Outreach Cafe January 26th
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!

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.

Be sure to join us January 26th, 8:30-9:30. All funds raised will be donated to PADS, Habitat for Humanity, Richmond Food Pantry our Kenya mission and our Haiti Mission. Thanks to Thrivent Financial for their support to purchase food and supplies.

Outreach Café Contact: Tina Peterson,
Bits and Pieces from the Church Mouse
I am retiring after nearly 10 years of writing Bits & Pieces from the Church Mouse. I’m sad but moving on to a new phase of life. If any of my brothers or sisters or aunts or uncles or cousins would like to try their paws at carrying on, let Chris Bjorklund know. It’s been great! I’ll be around, especially if there is FOOD involved! God bless.
Women of the ELCA - WELCA
A new year has begun and with it, our new officers set out to continue the good work of our church’s women’s group. Remember, ALL ladies who are members of Grace’s congregation are also members of WELCA, so join us whenever you can. Our meetings are usually the second Monday of the month at 1:00 in the afternoon, here in Luther Hall.

Lynn Jambor takes over the duties of President; Sue Bitler—Vice-President; Nancy Kepple—Secretary; Kathy Zank—Treasurer; Rita Popenhagen—Communications, and Penny Dolan—Sunshine. A heart-felt thanks to retiring officers Sandy Messick, Ann Katzenberg and Joan Rzonca. Thank you for your years of devotion to our church family.

January 13’s meeting, held at the home of Karin Nelson, starts our planning for the Spring events:
  • February 9—”All Hearts Turn to God” Bake Sale with a Valentine’s Day theme
  • April 18—what has become an annual event, our Craft & Vendor Fair

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 - 8:00pm
Rehearsals begin again on January 6th.

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.
November Giving: $20,411 Average Attendance per Sunday: 153