Grace Lutheran Church & Preschool

Newsletter - August, 2023

17880 E. Covina Blvd. | Covina, CA 91722
Church Office (626) 332-4536 | Preschool (626) 967-5855

GLC and More Online










Join us for a blended, in-person service Sundays at 9:30 a.m. 

We are streaming Sunday Worship on our Facebook page. If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, or have had contact recently with anyone with COVID-19, we ask that you worship safely with us online.

Livestreamed services are available on our YouTube page.

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From Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

Who is a "Real American?"

(originally published in

My husband and I live in Skokie, Ill., a diverse community. Our neighbors to the west are an octogenarian Taiwanese Evangelical couple who regularly order meals from Kosher to Go. Our neighbors to the east are a Ukrainian and Russian multigenerational family. Our grocery stores have both kosher and halal departments. As I drive past the elementary school on my way to work, I see moms and dads in jeans along with women in saris or hijabs and men in thobes or yarmulkes. More than 90 languages are spoken in the homes of our school district. We pay our taxes, mow our (tiny) lawns, worship, raise our children and pretty much get along in our little village of Skokie.

Late one afternoon a few years ago I was finishing up yard work. I had been weeding and trimming all day. I was tired and grass-stained. Just one more pile of leaves needed to be swept up. I noticed a woman walking toward me so I hurried to get the sidewalk cleared. She stopped and told me that she had seen me working all day and thought I might be too tired to prepare supper. She had made a meal for me and my husband. It was during Ramadan—the month when Muslims fast from food and water during the day and engage in prayer and acts of charity. This was her act of charity and generosity. She smiled and walked away. I was stunned.

There has been an alarming rise in hate speech and violence against religious and ethnic minorities in this country. At the same time, we’ve seen an increased polarization among us, even in our dear church. There is a movement to define what it means to be a “real American.” Some would define this as white, Christian and native born. When Lutheran immigrants first came to this country in the 18th and 19th centuries, they weren’t considered real Americans. They didn’t speak English or fit in with the Deist, Calvinist religious majority. They were “other” and therefore suspect. German Lutheran immigrants weren’t considered white when they settled here. Neither were Irish, Italians or Poles. Catholics and Jews were considered an alien threat.

It’s ironic that the Puritans fled religious persecution and that the First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free expression thereof,” yet an element in our country wants to legislate that the United States is a Christian nation where Christianity should be privileged and only Christians should hold office. This is Christian Nationalism, which is neither Christian nor patriotic. There is no doubt that the Founders were Christian and that a majority of Americans identify as Christian. That is different from declaring Christianity as the established religion of the United States. And, dear church, let’s be clear, a Christian Nationalist does not define Lutherans as “Christian.”

God knows I love my country. This beautiful, fragile, yet surprisingly resilient experiment in democracy and nationhood that’s not predicated on shared ethnicity is unique among nations. My grandfather, father and uncles all served during World War I and World War II. I had the honor of placing a wreath on behalf of the ELCA at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. I won’t have my patriotism questioned. Christian Nationalism is a perversion of the gospel and a threat to our democracy. It’s precisely because I love my country that I warn against it.

Who is a “real American”? I say that my Muslim neighbor walking freely down the street in a hijab to offer a meal to her Christian neighbor during Ramadan is a real American. Motivated by her Muslim faith she acted as neighbor to me. She is not less American because she is Muslim. Because she is an American, she can be her authentic self and participate in building our community and country. What binds us together is not ethnicity but shared participation in our civic life springing out of our cultural heritages and working for the common good.

July Council Report

• The special benevolence for the second quarter in the amount of $1000 was designated to go to LSS (Lutheran Social Services) Regional office in San Bernardino.

• The council is looking into moving part of our CCCU Money Market funds to a higher return fund. (Better interest)

• Our Pre-School is still doing well despite the fact that they are down two teachers.  Summertime enrollment is usually lower so they are handling the shortage well.

• Bernie Nord is stepping down as the treasurer of the AFP, but will continue as a volunteer.

• The Gas Company has advised that pipes coming off the main meter (underground) be checked and replaced.  Bids are being taken.

In His Service, 

Brenda Noriega

Council President

August Scripture Readings

Sunday, August 6, 2023

10th Sunday after Pentecost

Isaiah 55:1-5

Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21

Romans 9:1-5

Matthew 14:13-21

Click here for readings

Sunday, August 13, 2023

11th Sunday after Pentecost

1 Kings 19:9-18

Psalm 85:8-13

Romans 10:5-15

Matthew 14:22-33

Click here for readings

Sunday, August 20, 2023

12th Sunday after Pentecost

Isaiah 56:1, 6-8

Psalm 67

Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

Matthew 15:[10-20] 21-28

Click here for readings

Sunday, August 27, 2023

13th Sunday after Pentecost

Isaiah 51:1-6

Psalm 138

Romans 12:1-8

Matthew 16:13-20

Click here for readings

Birthdays and Anniversaries

August Birthdays

Cindy Said | August 3

Wendy Bryner | August 3

Jacob Wood | August 11

Jerry Wood | August 11

Cheryl Miller | August 13

Addison Turner | August 17

Candace Canchola | August 17

Nancy Adzovich | August 18

Hannah Millikan | August 22

Steve Otte | August 26

Mandy McCabe | August 27

August Anniversaries

Candyce & Brian Jacobs 

August 8

Mike & Amber Brown

August 17

Let us know

  • If we don’t have your birthday or anniversary listed
  • If you have a special announcement
  • If someone in your family is sick or in the hospital
  • If you move or change your telephone number
  • If you feel the church can assist you in any way 
  • If you would like a paper copy of the newsletter mailed to you

August, 2023 Calendar

Please see the online calendar here for the latest updates

Make or update a prayer request here

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry – Psalm 34:15 

Please pray for those with medical needs, including: Candyce Jacobs, Sue Henderson, Jim Oravetz, Gwen Jenkins, Deneise Hadley, Alma Pasos, Alaric, Marie O'Malley, Judith Tury, Cindy Skolaski, Keith McHugh, Elena Navarette, Tina Pike, Nancy Klotzche, Larry Weidner, Linda Schober, Barry Gustaferro, Debbie Gonzales, Yolanda Weidner, Candy Turner, Cheryl Miller, Joan Pelleren, Shelly Ruiz, Elizabeth Ordonez, Patty VanRaalte, Elva Maldonado, Cathy Plante, Felix Noriega, Holly Masters, Gen Alley, Ray, Audrey Fuller, Arlen Heyne, Gil and Yolanda Erro, Linda Dalton, Charlene Lisberg and Debbie, Rick Turner, Herb Westerfield, Noa Buhler, Rose Marie Quesada, Deanna Kellogg, Jaxon Turner, Art James, Robert Larsen, Trina Clay, Connie Brown, the Davidson Family, Jamie Wilcots, Joan and Lee Juneau, Kari Watson, Mike Spangler, Pam Elparin, Ed McGee, Sarah Encabo, and victims of COVID-19.

Please pray for others in need of prayer, including: the family of Shawna Wakeley, the family of Christian Noriega,Pastor Steve Otte and family, Christopher Oravetz, Jeffrey Saltonstall, Timothy Morgan, the family and friends of Marie Dabbs, Rocio Orozco, and our Grace neighbors.

Please pray for the men and women currently serving in the military, who are bravely protecting us and our country, including: Andrew Ranabarger (Marine Corps), and Christian Van Allen (Navy), and Phillip Beserra (Air Force).

Please pray for all victims of natural disasters.

Please pray for those who are being faced with grief, and all who know violence and hate.

Please pray for our Grace Lutheran Church Congregation and partners in ministry.

Please pray for the teachers and children of our preschool and infant care program, and for the teachers and students of Ben Lomond Elementary School, our school districts, and all schools, that they and their families will be safe.

Please pray for hospital staff, all medical personnel and first responders, those in essential services, and the leaders of our world, state, country, and local governments.

Please pray for the ACTION Food Pantry, the clients that they serve, and all those in need.

Your Church Council

President | Brenda Noriega 

Vice President | Johna Stienstra 

Secretary | Diana Alley 

Treasurer | Robert Ordonez


Cindy Skolaski | Nancy Adzovich | Judy McGee | Sarah Encabo

Your Church Staff

Pastor | The Rev. Steve Otte

Director of Worship & Music | Jeffrey Saltonstall

Preschool Director | Christy Arreguin

Custodian | Laureen Alvarez

Parish Administrator | Samantha Henderson

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