Grace Lutheran Church & Preschool

Newsletter - November 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

Greetings Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

It is November and of course that means we will celebrate Thanksgiving at the end of the month, probably eat too much, watch some football and enjoy time with family and friends around the dinner table. And there will probably be a prayer of thanks for God’s blessings prior to the holiday feast. At least that is how things will go down at my home on the 24th

For many years of my adult life that was one of the few occasions when I took time to thank God in prayer. More often than not my prayer life consisted of a series of requests when in crises or when I really wanted something in my life to change. To say my prayer life was fulfilling would be a gross misstatement. And, the lack of solid and consistent prayer and very little in the way of recognizing the abundance of God had a major impact on the quality of my life.

I recently penned back-to-back newsletter articles about prayer this summer. In those articles I wrote about the way I view prayer and my thoughts about how to pray. I did mention we can use the model for prayer that Jesus taught us as a good starting point, and the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer includes thanksgiving as well as praise. This month, in honor of our National holiday, I thought I spend more time focused on giving thanks.

Not growing up in a church family or being part of the church truly left me in the dark when it came to understanding who God is and the riches of His grace. Once I became part of the body of Christ in my late 20’s my understanding of God, my theology, really started to take shape and it has been evolving ever since. It took a few years to really appreciate the ever-present blessings of God and come to the realization that God is the source of everything in our world and in my life. These are things that Luther taught in the Large and Small Catechism. 

Coming to that realization really impacted my prayer life which in turn had a significant impact on perspectives and attitudes. If you have ever heard me pray you may have noticed that I almost always begin my prayers with praise and thanksgiving, even when I am praying in a very difficult or heartbreaking situation. That is very intentional and reflects my understanding of the reality of life on this side of heaven and the reality of the riches of the Kingdom of God. I have spoken often about the intersection of those two worlds.

For many years prior to my first wife Tracy’s death, I kind of believed that life was either all good or all bad, somewhat good or somewhat bad, basically singular in feeling or emotion. Reflecting back, I realize that not the case at all. Everyday life is a mix of things that are great, not so great, good, not so good, just okay, and down-right miserable in varying percentages. Even in the worst moments of my life, in my deepest grief, there were still incredible blessings and things I was thankful for even if I had a really hard time admitting that. I see it much more clearly when I reflect back on those times.

God was ever present during that time loving me, sustaining me, and surrounding me with a large group of people who showed me what it means to be loved and cared for. I am so grateful for those things as much as I felt surrounded by the darkness of my grief. That time in my life was a time of extreme sorrow, but also abundant blessings. And it also taught me that I am blessed by God 24 hours a day, 7 days a week regardless of what is going on with me or the people I really care about.

Prior to coming to this realization my attitude and perspective ebbed and flowed like tide. Some days I was pretty happy, other days I was pretty bitter or angry, Sadly, there were many more days of the latter. I lacked a realistic perspective of gratitude and understanding of God. This certainly does not mean that I am immune to the challenges of life, or that there are less challenges in my life. In fact, there are probably more challenges to daily life now than ever. But, I have never been happier! God did not change. His blessings have always been infinite and ever present. I changed. And that is reflected in my prayer life, always giving thanks and counting my blessings during my intentional prayer time and throughout each day as I experience the wonder and abundance of our amazing God. It is all around us and we really do have a choice as to how we see life and our world. So, don’t just give thanks when you celebrate on the 24th. Give thanks every day, throughout the day and I promise it will change your life.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Steve 

Trunk or Treat - Thank You!

To the People of Grace,

Wow! I sent out a call for help for our Halloween carnival and boy did you all jump right in to help!

Thanks to everyone of you who were able to donate your time and talents, from making cupcakes, decorating your trunks, working games, helping set up/decorate/clean up, and selling tickets. A special thank you to June Evinger for securing a gift card from Thrivent to help with treats, prizes and decorations.

After two years it was nice and heartwarming to see so many people, out having a family fun afternoon - I do believe this was the most cars we have ever had for Trunk or Treat.


Ms. Christy

Preschool Director

From the Congregation Council

2022 Budget Update and Appeal

As we approach the end of the calendar year and prepare for 2023, we find ourselves for the first time in many years falling short of our financial goals for 2022. As of the end of September, we are around $10,000 short on our balance sheet. The reason is pretty simple: our envelope offerings have not met the expectations of our budget. While we did have an unexpected expense of around $10,000 for the air conditioning unit at the Preschool, that was not the culprit, because we used the facility renewal fund to cover the cost of replacement. Our overall expenses this year are tracking well within the range of what we expected when we did our budget for 2022.

Please read the rest here.

October 2022 Council Report

•The church’s third quarter benevolence of $1000 will be going to Lutheran Disaster Relief, to aid in the recovery following Hurricane Ian.

•The Annual Congregational meeting will be held on Sunday, January 22, 2023.

•There are a variety of upcoming holiday events that the people of Grace may participate in:  Pre-School's Trunk or Treat, ACTION Oktoberfest Scholarship event, AFP Thanksgiving meals (donation of mashed potatoes and gravy), ACTION Thanksgiving worship and Pie Fest, Good Gifts and Reverse Advent Calendar (more info to come on this).

•The council voted to offer Laureen Alvarez the position as church custodian.  She has been filling in temporarily since Amber’s resignation.

In His Service

Brenda Noriega, Council President

November Scripture Readings

November 6, 2022

All Saints Sunday 

Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18

Psalm 149

Ephesians 1:11-23

Luke 20:27-38

Click here for readings

November 13, 2022

23rd Sunday after Pentecost

Malachi 4:1-2a

Psalm 98

2 Thessalonians 3:6-13

Luke 21:5-19

Click here for readings

November 20, 2022

Christ the King

Jeremiah 23:1-6

Psalm 46

Colossians 1:11-20

Luke 23:33-43

Click here for readings

November 27, 2022

First Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 2:1-5

Psalm 122

Romans 13:11-14

Matthew 24:36-44

Click here for readings

Make a Reverse Advent Calendar This Year

Traditionally, advent calendars offer a chocolate or other small treat through Christmas Eve. This year, starting on December 1 (or the First Sunday in Advent on November 27), consider adding a Reverse Advent Calendar to your Christmas tradition. 

Instead of receiving a gift, those taking part in a reverse calendar DONATE an item each day – and at the end of Advent, the calendar will result in a collection of 24 goods that can be dropped off at a local food pantry (such as the ACTION Food Pantry or any area food bank). Children can participate, from finding and decorating a Reverse Advent Box, to finding items to add, to helping to take the box to the food bank. You can use the list of suggested items (above right), or choose an organization and find out what they most need. 

November Birthdays

Tim Said | November 4

Keith McHugh | November 4

Brian Jacobs | November 8

Carol Thompson | November 9

Francie Yarber | November 11

Jeffrey Saltonstall | November 11

Kenny Colwell | November 15

Kevin Colwell | November 20

Jaxon Turner | November 22

Cindy Skolaski | November 27 

Marie Dabbs | November 29

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.

Welcome to Organist Lily Lee!

Lily Lee received her Master’s degree in Education from University of Redlands. She holds a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Music. She received her Bachelor’s degree from California State University Fullerton in Piano Pedagogy, where she studied with world-renowned pedagogue, Dr. Martha Baker-Jordan. There she also studied with international Steinway pianist Eduardo Delgado. She was the recipient of David Berfield Memorial Award for her demonstrated excellence in the field of piano pedagogy. Currently she teaches full-time as an elementary music enrichment teacher for Fontana Unified School District.

Besides teaching, she has worked extensively as a professional church organist/pianist/accompanist across various denominations. She calls Calvary Chapel Chino Hills her home church and you could find her there, as one of the joyful greeters at the Wednesday services. She’s very grateful to be here as Grace Lutheran Church’s newest organist!

November 2022 Calendar

Online calendar here

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: Cesar Cantu, Yolanda Weidner, Candy Turner, Cheryl Miller, Joan Pelleren, Shelly Ruiz, Elizabeth Ordonez, Carolyn Wengel, Patty VanRaalte, Elva Maldonado, Amber Brown, 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, Dakota Garske, Fern Hastings, Robert Boomsma, Robert Larsen, Trina Clay, Walter Hoke, 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 Maryann Kenyon, 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), 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

Preschool Director | Christy Arreguin

Organist | Lily Lee

Custodian | Laureen Alvarez

Parish Administrator | Samantha Henderson

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