Grace Lutheran Church & Preschool

Newsletter - February 2023

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

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We've now returned to the Sanctuary for Worship! 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.

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From Pastor Steve

Dear Siblings in Christ,

It is February. What comes to mind when you think about the second month of the year? There’s the Valentine’s holiday, a big day for romance, florists and chocolate sales. For those of you in the public sector President’s Day is a welcome three day weekend. February is also Black History month. And this year the season of Lent starts with Ash Wednesday on the 22nd. For the shortest month on the calendar there sure is a lot going on. 

Those are all things that are worthy of celebration or things to look forward to. February also has a number of significant dates that make this month a mix of celebration and lingering grief for me. My son was born in February and I have been blessed with an amazing son for what will be 26 years. But, it is the first week of the month that brings to memory two of the most difficult days of the year. The 8th marks the 9th anniversary of my first wife, Tracy’s death and the 5th marks the 4th anniversary of my Mother’s death. The 5th also happens to be Tracy’s birthday. 

Those of you who have experienced the death of a family member know what those anniversary dates are like. They loom large and serve as reminders of the most difficult days of your life. And over the course of the first couple years of those anniversary dates the feelings of grief were very much a gut punch. The feelings of grief have not gone away, they never will, but they do become more normalized as the years pass and thus less debilitating. At least they did for me. 

Why am I sharing these most personal of memories and feelings? That is a good question. Well, I suppose it is because February is the month we celebrate love on the 14th. Yes, I know, it is a holiday that traditionally celebrates romantic love, but that seems to be a bit limited for me. Shouldn’t there be a day we celebrate all expressions of love? Couldn’t that be true for Valentine’s Day? At least for the sake of this article I think it can and should. After all love is the most powerful force in the world. Some have said love is what makes the world go round. I tend to agree with that.

One of the things I have experienced with grief is that in time as the deep, deep sadness wanes gratitude for love, even love that has been lost, grows and grows. Love and grief are inseparable, so that does make some sense to me. Grief would not be so painful if love were not so meaningful. My Mother told me that years ago. She was very smart, one of the many things I loved about her. I miss my Mother and Tracy each and every day, but I would never chose to love less to avoid grief. 

Love is a gift from God. I believe that is what makes it the most powerful force in the world and the greatest gift God has ever given us. Love is also limitless. God has given us the capacity to fully love without limit. Imagine if we only had so much love to give and we had to divide amongst a spouse, children, parents, siblings, family and friends. I cannot imagine that when I consider how many people that I love and who love me. Talk about counting one’s blessings! 

As eternally grateful I am for the relationships I have and have had, I am most grateful for the love of God. Human love is imperfect and is somewhat conditional. God’s love is perfect and unconditional. It is truly selfless and demands nothing in return. God knows my every thought, everything I’ve ever done, my failures and imperfections and none of it matters or changes God’s love for me. That is something I celebrate and rejoice in every day of my life. I will remember those I loved on the on the 5th, the 8th, the one I love now on the 14th, and my son on the 23rd and thank God for making it possible. 

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Steve 

From the Congregation Council

January 2023 Council Report

·      So far, Grace has collected $270 for ELCA’s Good Gifts.  The order will be placed at the beginning of February.  There is still an opportunity to donate through the end of the month.

·      Johna Stienstra will be revising and updating the brochure in the pews.

·      The Annual Congregational Meeting will be held on January 22, 2023.  The proposed budget for both the church and Pre-School will be presented, as well as elections for council members.

·      Home Communion is given monthly by Pastor and Vicki Jacobs to Grace’s permanent and temporary homebound members.  

·      The 2022 Audit will take place on February 26, 2023 following worship services.  The Audit Committee consists of three auditors, with one new one every year and one dropping off each year.  The committee this year is: Norma Snow, Vicki Jacobs and Mary Encabo.

·      We will welcome Christina Costley to share her experiences in Turkey working with refugees on Sunday, January 15.

In His Service

Brenda Noriega, Council President

The 2022 annual report for Grace-Covina can be found here.

February Scripture Readings

February 5, 2023

5th Sunday after Epiphany

Isaiah 58:1-9a [9b-12]

Psalm 112:1-9 [10]

1 Corinthians 2:1-12 [13-16]

Matthew 5:13-20

Click here for readings

February 12, 2023

6th Sunday after Epiphany

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Psalm 119:1-8

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Matthew 5:21-37

Click here for readings

February 19, 2023

Transfiguration of Our Lord

Exodus 24:12-18

Psalm 2

2 Peter 1:16-21

Matthew 17:1-9

Click here for readings

February 26, 2023

1st Sunday in Lent

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7

Psalm 32

Romans 5:12-19

Matthew 4:1-11

Click here for readings

Birthdays and Anniversaries

February Birthdays

Anna Loyd | February 4

Mary Ann Koval | February 5

Monica Fredrick | February 8

Heather Adzovich | February 10

Carol Orrell | February 21

Melinda Fisher | February 28

Mateo Varela | February 28

February Anniversaries

Marty & Mary Spradley

February 7

Ed & Judy McGee

February 26 

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

The ACTION Food Pantry buys their eggs in bulk - this costs less, but to distribute this important protein source to their clients they need egg cartons. Please leave your paper or plastic cartons in the Narthex for collection.

February 2023 Calendar

Online calendar here

Thrivent Members - Don't Forget Your Choice Dollar Allocation and Community Action Funds!

Thrivent Members can participate in two separate Thrivent-funded programs - Choice Dollar Allocation and Community Action Team Funds.

Thrivent Choice

Thrivent Choice charitable grant program engages Thrivent members and Thrivent Member Networks in providing grants that support charitable activities. The Thrivent Choice program encourages Thrivent benefit members to recommend where Thrivent Financial distributes an amount of its charitable grand funds. Members make this recommendation by directing Choice Dollars to enrolled nonprofit organizations, including churches and their programs (such as the Grace Facilities Renewal Fund).

Eligible Thrivent Members can direct between from $25 to $5000 Choice Dollars each year to enrolled nonprofit organizations, including churches. You have until March 31, 2023 to direct your 2022 Choice Dollars.

Thrivent Community Action Teams

How do Thrivent action teams work? Simply gather a team of neighbors or friends for a fundraiser, educational event or service activity. Your team provides the passion that brings your project to life, and Thrivent will help with resources including up to $250 in seed money! Each Thrivent member can apply to help out a each year for two $250.00 cards. That’s $500.00 per member per year!

Contact your Thrivent Agent or go to My Thrivent Login for more information, to direct Choice Dollars, or to start an Action Team!

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: Larry Weidner, Linda Schober, Barry Gustaferro, Lauren Bohnen, Deneice Hadley, Richard Howard, Roger Melendrez, 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, Don Lockman, Robert Ordonez, Sr., Karen Putnam, Arlen Heyne, Gil and Yolanda Erro, Linda Dalton, Charlene Lisberg and Debbie, Rick Turner, Nolan, Herb Westerfield, Noa Buhler, Rose Marie Quesada, Cindy Skolaski, Deanna Kellogg, Jaxon Turner, Art James, Robert Boomsma, Robert Larsen, Trina Clay, Walter Hoke, 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 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

Organist | Lily Lee

Custodian | Laureen Alvarez

Parish Administrator | Samantha Henderson

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