Grace Lutheran Church & Preschool

Newsletter - March 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,

Having just begun the season of Lent it’s probably a good time for a newsletter article about that very season. It has been my tradition, after all. Where I to ask, “What is Lent all about?” I am guessing I would get a variety of answers, but the most common would probably be, “It’s the time when we give something up for the duration of Lent” or “The time when we are supposed to repent, or return, to God.” Neither answer would be incorrect, but it is much more layered than that.

The 40 days coincided with the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert after His baptism which ended with His temptation by Satan. Historically, starting in the 4th century Lent was a season of preparation for those who were to be baptized on Easter Sunday, the day when most were baptized centuries ago. Those preparing for baptism were called Catechumens and they wore sackcloth and ashes as a sign of penitence. Our nature as sinners would have been deeply imprinted on the Catechumens during the 40 days until the morning of Easter when our sin is washed away in the waters of baptism. Theoretically this would have been a euphoric event that would lead to a life of piety, or Christ centered living, in thanks for the gift of Grace. 

Over the centuries it lost the connection with baptism and evolved in various religious traditions that resulted in many different Lenten practices. The most common practice now is to deny oneself of something we enjoy. Whatever the tradition, Lent has always been about recognizing our inclination toward self and independence, otherwise known as sin, in order to lead us back to greater awareness of God and our need of His grace so that we may become better witnesses to that grace. In some traditions, like the Catholic Church, it is almost a mandate to participate in some Lenten practice. As Lutherans we always have the freedom to participate or not. Either way won’t change God’s love for us. So, why bother?

Why not? Are we not afflicted by sin? Does sin have a negative affect on us and our relationship with God? How much time throughout the year do we spend building or maintaining our relationship with God? The answers? Yes. Yes. Probably not as much as we could. The first two answers are obvious. The third is not as black and white. The reality is we need to spend a great deal of our time functioning in the earthly kingdom just to survive. Work, paying bills, running errands, and socializing and our daily routines consume most of our waking hours. Then there is the down time recharging our mental and emotional batteries after the all of those things. When we are overwhelmed by busyness the things that we give up are typically the spiritual practices that are ironically the most life giving. As an example, after a busy week Sunday comes and going to worship seems like the easiest thing to skip in order to get some down time. Has that ever happened to you?

Sleeping in on a Sunday or skipping worship to relax are not necessarily a bad thing. That is not what I’m saying. I am just trying to make the point that because we are people of the earthly kingdom way more than we are people of the Kingdom of God we make choices that are more powerfully influenced by the worldly stuff. A Lenten discipline is the ‘break’ we need from the worldly life for an extended period of time that returns us to the life giving grace of God. Too often Lent is perceived as a time of absence when it really is a return to the abundance of grace. Perspective matters.

If you have never taken on a Lenten practice perhaps now is the time. Do you find yourself overwhelmed by the hamster wheel of life? How about some quite time with our Heavenly Father? Intentional daily prayer may just be what you need. Do you feel distant or detached from God? Try daily devotional time or a service project like volunteering for a non-profit. Spend 30 minutes listening to Christian music. Here’s a radical idea, spend 30 minutes in silence meditating. God speaks to us when we are listening far more powerfully than when we are talking or busy with life. Are you feeling shortchanged by the scarcity of life? Spend ten minutes a day writing down the things you are thankful for. You might find that you are far more blessed than you realize.

These are just a few suggestions. There are endless possibilities beyond giving up sweets or soda for 40 days. A good Lenten practice simply needs to be something that focuses your mind, body, and soul on God daily as opposed to whenever you have time or when it’s convenient to your busy schedule. You don’t have to, but why wouldn’t you want to? Lent is an invitation to spend a little less time in the earthly kingdom and a little more time in God’s Kingdom. For me that is something we can all benefit from.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Steve     

Tree Dedication Honors "Mr. Dave"

On February 22, 2023 the preschool dedicated a tree in the preschool yard in honor of Dave Brown in recognition of more than 30 years of service on the Preschool Board.

Thank you to "Mr. Dave" for your work, dedication, presence and prayers for our preschool! The children now and forever refer to the tree as "Mr. Dave's Tree."

From the Congregation Council

February 2023 Council Report

·      There was a discussion of worship services for Holy Week.  There will be no worship service on Maundy Thursday, but two services on Good Friday.  There will be a single service on Easter at 9:30 am.  

·      There will be a brunch held after worship on Easter.  There will be more information later regarding sign-ups for food, set-up and clean-up.

·      Information was shared regarding the repair of the gas leaks outside the choir room and the bathroom hallway door.  The cost of the testing and repair was $8364.00.  It was paid out of the Facilities Renewal Fund.

·      The Audit Committee will meet in Room 6 on Sunday, February 26 at 10:45 am to audit 2022 financials.  

·      Church Council and Pre-School Board will be installed during the worship service on February 26.

·      The cypress trees on the west side of the parking lot have been trimmed by Jesse’s Tree Service for $1200.

·      New plants have been donated for the sanctuary by Wendy Snyder. 

·      The sprinklers between the Youth Room and the Fellowship Hall have been repaired by Tony Lopez, the Pre-School gardener, for $60.

In His Service

Brenda Noriega, Council President

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

March Scripture Readings

March 5, 2023

2nd Sunday in Lent

Genesis 12:1-4a 

Psalm 121

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

John 3:1-17

Click here for readings

March 12, 2023

3rd Sunday in Lent

Exodus 17:1-7 

Psalm 95

Romans 5:1-11

John 4:5-42

Click here for readings

March 19, 2023

4th Sunday in Lent

1 Samuel 16:1-13 

Psalm 23

Ephesians 5:8-14

John 9:1-41

Click here for readings

March 26, 2023

5th Sunday in Lent

Ezekiel 37:1-14 

Psalm 130

Romans 8:6-11

John 11:1-45

Click here for readings

Birthdays and Anniversaries

March Birthdays

Chase Entrikin | March 1

Steven Turner | March 1

Randy Noriega | March 3

Lisa Entrikin | March 6

Sandra Streeter | March 6

Charlene Bergerson | March 7

Denise Thomas | March 8

Blake Yarber | March 9

Shannon Yarber | March 9

Heather Bergerson | March 9

Pastor Ed McGee | March 11

Tony Encabo | March 24

Ken Linden | March 26

Carol Davisson | March 28

Ashley Hernandez | March 28

Donald Jacobs | March 29

Steve Adzovich | March 31

March Anniversaries

Michael & Patty Van Raalte

March 18

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.

March 2023 Calendar

Online calendar here

Thrivent Members - Don't Forget Your Choice Dollar Allocation and Community Action Funds! Deadline March 31

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: Keith McHugh, Jeffrey Morgan, Tina Pike, Nancy Klotzche, Larry Weidner, Linda Schober, Barry Gustaferro, 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, Karen Putnam, Arlen Heyne, Gil and Yolanda Erro, Linda Dalton, Charlene Lisberg and Debbie, Rick Turner, Nolan, Herb Westerfield, Noa Buhler, Rose Marie Quesada, 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: Kenny Rogers and family, Lorrie Turner and family, 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

Organist | Lily Lee

Custodian | Laureen Alvarez

Parish Administrator | Samantha Henderson

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