Grace Lutheran Church & Preschool

Newsletter - June 2022

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 Grace Family,

As I write this article for the June newsletter I am filled with a variety of emotions in the wake of the mass shooting, the murder, of a classroom of children. I am broken hearted. I am confused and frustrated. I am angry. And I feel helpless. And that doesn’t really begin to describe all that I am feeling as it has been less than 24 hours since I first learned of this horrible, unimaginable tragedy and I am still trying to process something that will never make sense. I imagine you are, or did when you first heard about it, feeling similarly. 

I really dread writing about it. I do. I would rather not be writing about another instance of senseless gun violence that has become all too common in our country. I do not have any insight theologically, existentially, psychologically, politically or societally that you have not already heard. I also do not have an answer to how we can, as a society, stop this from happening again. But I am outraged and as your Pastor feeling somewhat obligated to say something because these tragedies often raise questions that involve God.

Now, God does not me to defend Him, not do I have the wisdom to understand God, as I have said a number of times. But, there are a few things I believe to be true that bear mentioning. God did not cause this to happen just as God is not the cause of any tragedy, natural or unnatural. From the most basic theological perspective sin is the cause. Sadly, in the past I have heard that God brought tragedy into our world as a punishment for sin. This happened when hurricane Katrina devasted the New Orleans area. I heard it when there was a mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas several years ago. I heard it when the AIDS virus first reared its ugly head and killed thousands. 

It is unlikely that anyone would say the shooting in Texas happened because God was punishing specific people, but it would not surprise me if there is some wacko pastor out there saying God is punishing our country for some form of immorality. One of the many reasons I do not agree with this argument is because it misrepresents how God understands sin or sinful acts. God does not have a ranking system for sin. We are all corrupted by sin and each act of sin, no matter how ‘great’ or ‘small’ is an offense to God. The unkind thought is just as bad as the mass murder of children. That is hard to type, and hard to believe, but it is true. This is one of the many things that makes God’s grace so amazing. 

I also believe that God is not responsible by omission. In other words, God did not make a choice to allow or prevent this tragedy, or any other tragedy, as a matter of His will. I have heard it said after a tragic event that it happened because it was God’s will. Death and pain are not the will of God. God’s will for us was peace and perfect tranquility and He gave us the option to live that life and Adam and Eve chose a different option. A cruel simile would be, ‘We (humans in general) made our bed, now we get to lay in it.’ It is much more complicate than that. There have been countless books written about this subject and this is simple newsletter article, so the simplistic viewpoint will have to do.

I also believe that God’ heart is even more broken than yours, mine, or the totality of humanity over this horror. God’s love for each of us is infinite and anytime something like this happens God is heartbroken. I cannot begin to imagine how God feels watching over an over the unspeakably horrible things we humans do to each other since the dawn of time. And yet he never gives up on us. That is immeasurable grace. Here is another difficult truth. God’s heart breaks for the perpetrator of this heinous act because he was also one of His children. That is radical grace. Can’t say that like that one. Just being honest.

So, what can we do? I wish I knew. What we cannot do is what seemingly we as a society and we as a government have been doing in response to these kinds of tragedies, and that is nothing but lip service. We send out thoughts and prayers to the victim’s families and the communities where they happen, and we mourn for a couple days then we move on until the next mass shooting. Has there been any legislation passed to address this kind of gun violence? Has there been enough discussion about what leads 16-23 year old males to resort to mass murder as an option in life and the mental health issues in our country? How about holding social media outlets more accountable instead of accepting they are protecting people’s privacy when so many of these young men post obvious evidence that they are about to snap and nobody is warned? Can we sit idly by and wait for the next tragedy? 

I for one feel helpless. The problem seems overwhelming. It is. We will never bring an end to senseless violence completely. That will happen at the Second Coming. But, we have changed the course of history before when enough people say, “ENOUGH!” Is now such a time? I pray that it is. 

I realize this is probably not going to be one of your favorite newsletter articles you have read from me. It is uncomfortable and lacking the typical positivity I usually write about. But, discomfort is what often leads to change and as your Pastor I am not just charged with sharing the good news and the happy things in life. God has always chosen people who live in a broken world to be truth tellers and a light in the darkness because darkness is also part of our reality. And He chose us to identify the dark places in our world and to do something. We are the light. How will you shine yours?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Steve 

Ben Lomond Update

Greetings from Ben Lomond PTA!

Ben Lomond students and staff have survived another year of teaching during a pandemic. While this year was in person, it did not come without its share of challenges. We are all ready for summer vacation which starts on June 3rd. Yahoo!

I wanted to thank everyone at Grace for adopting us. 

The pandemic has made it tricky for us to host volunteers on campus, but you stepped up to support us in other ways. The fact that several of you joined Ben Lomond PTA as a “supporter” meant so much to me personally. 

I was approached a year ago by some board members who asked if I would consider being president. Nobody would do it and if they didn’t have a president, the unit would fold and that would have been terrible for Ben Lomond. 

 I agreed to the two year position and with the help of my board, we have turned our PTA around! We have a full slate of officers for next year and many other interested volunteers! 

Last night was the District PTA award ceremony where Ben Lomond came home with several awards including “Outstanding PTA Unit” and “Excellence in Community Engagement”.

We ended our year with 475 members and this is over 100% of our student population. You filled in for students who didn’t have a family member join! Thank you!!

Our school also appreciates the benevolence gift that was given to our school by the church. We were able to bring live assemblies back to Ben Lomond this spring and that gift helped us to do that! 

Thank you so much for your prayers and support for Ben Lomond School and students. We appreciate you!


Wendy Snyder

Report of the Grace-Covina Church Council

May, 2022

·      The Council voted to purchase four benches for the patio to replace the benches that were removed, and to provide seating on the patio for fellowship.  The funds will come from the Facilities Renewal Fund and donations.

·      The Action Food Pantry will be participating in the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on May 14.  The AFP will be receiving the items collected from the La Puente Post Office.  

·      The Birthdays and Anniversaries list will be available for updating soon.  Information for a new directory and contact list is being compiled is a more user-friendly format.

·      Jeff Saltonstall will holding an inservice training for those people interested in learning to operate the worship computer and projector on May 23.

Brenda Noriega

Council President

June Scripture Readings

June 5, 2022

Day of Pentecost

Acts 2:1-2

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Romans 8:14-17

John 14:8-17 [25-27]

Click here for readings

June 12, 2022

Holy Trinity Sunday

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Psalm 8

Romans 5:1-5

John 16:12-15

Click here for readings

June 19, 2022

2nd Sunday after Pentecost

Isaiah 65:1-9

Psalm 22:19-28

Galatians 3:23-29

Luke 8:26-39

Click here for readings

June 26. 2022

3rd Sunday after Pentecost

1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21

Psalm 16

Galatians 5:1, 13-25

Luke 9:51-62

Click here for readings

June Birthdays

Lexi Jacobs | June 1 

Robert Ordonez | June 1

Charlie Dabbs | June 3

Jenny Brown | June 5

June Evinger | June 6

Vicki Jacobs | June 8

Charlene Snyder | June 10

Connie Brown | June 18

Aiden Biggs | June 22

Charlene Lisberg | June 29

Scott Jacobs | June 29 

June Anniversaries

Mike & Mandy McCabe

June 2

Suzanne & Bud Banks

June 10

Charlie & Marie Dabbs 

June 20

Brandon & Anna Loyd 

June 23

Steve & Nancy Adzovich 

June 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
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: Gen Alley, Ray, Audrey Fuller, Alice Noriega, Don Lockman, Robert Ordonez, Sr., Karen Putnam, Arlen Heyne, Renae Gormick, Gil and Yolanda Erro, Linda Dalton, Charlene Lisberg and Debbie, Rick Turner, Kurt and Debbie VonRice, Bud Peterson, Nolan, Herb Westerfield, Patrick Putnam, Noa Buhler, John, Sharon Kost, Rose Marie Quesada, Cindy Skolaski, Deanna Kellogg, Shannon Troop, Jaxon Turner, Art James, Beverly Smith, Dakota Garske, Fern Hastings, Robert Boomsma, Robert Larsen, Trina Clay, Walter Hoke, Cody Umpleby, Connie Brown, the Davidson Family, Jamie Wilcots, Joan and Lee Juneau, Kari Watson, Ken Gillingham, 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 Mike Saltonstall, the family of Rick Blair, Cerah Nolan and  family, the family of Donna Nesheim, the family and friends of Marie Dabbs, Tricia Henderson, 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), Nathaniel Morgan (Army), 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 | Dave Brown | Nancy Adzovich | Judy McGee
Your Church Staff
Pastor | The Rev. Steve Otte
Director of Worship & Music | Jeffrey Saltonstall
Custodian | Amber Brown
Parish Administrator | Samantha Henderson
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