June 2020 Grace Notes
Grace and Peace to you all!

I pray this finds you and your family and friends safe and well! As I write this, we begin week 10 of the pandemic (and prior to the church council meeting). In these changing times, it is up to each of us to determine if, and how, we will adjust as people of God. To think about what once was, and decide how we will respond to keep ourselves well, and consider what we will do to keep others well. I try my best to remember that we, as Christians, are called to love one another. Grace Church works to ensure we provide a place where all are welcome, but this pandemic has taken a toll on many of us since the church building has remain closed. Even though the building is closed, we are still the church!

Confessions of this preaching woman – I miss you all! I am a people person and I miss the conversations and worshiping together in person. But I also want the best for each of you and I pray for you and your families each day. The church council and I have been in conversation throughout this pandemic and I have been impressed with the level of care and concern they have when making decisions about worship and the church. They do not take this lightly. We are aware there are all sorts of feelings about how and when to return to the church building and we hear you and empathize with you. Many of us have many of the same feelings. We want to be together! We have also heard from many of you that you will not return to the church building for some time due to health concerns. We understand and support that as well. Above all, I want you to know that wherever you stand on this, we hear you, we love you, and you are an important part of this community of faith!

This hardship is changing who we are, and I believe it is our call and responsibility to respond to these times. Grace has done it’s best to rise to that challenge to make sure we are all welcome. There are two immediate ways that are evolving to make sure all are welcome – that is through access. It may be difficult to feel a part of the church if you are unable to attend. That has been addressed in two different ways so far. First, as you may know, we provide worship online. The familiarity of seeing the sanctuary can provide comfort to many. For others, the songs, music, and message may give them a sense of community and hope. Thank you to all who have made this possible thus far – Mary Ann Bichler (organist/pianist), Sandy and David Rabe (congregational singers), Michael Finney (pulpit supply/video recording), and Dan Petzke (video recording/editing).

There are those in our congregation, however, that do not have the equipment or internet capability to stay connected – this may be a temporary thing or one who is home bound. Thanks to the generosity of Paul and Lynn Green, we have made a second change that can help bridge that gap. The Greens have donated 3 kindle fires (handheld computer) that do not need internet access that can be delivered to those who would like to watch worship (either current or previous). In addition, Grace has been granted financial support from the conference to purchase an additional kindle that will be available soon. We are currently in the trial stages but will soon be opening the borrowing to anyone in the area who might like that, but priority will be given to those who are home bound and those who do not have internet. Watch for availability coming soon.

As we move forward together into this new and ever-changing world, I look forward to hearing from you about what no longer works, what you appreciate, and new ideas about how we can better serve one another.    
     
Whether we are gathered in body or in spirit, we are the church! Stay safe and well.

Blessings,
Pastor Beth
Hello Friends,

Your Grace Church Council would like to share with you that after much deliberation, we have agreed on a tentative date to return to in-person worship. We will be opening the doors of Grace on Sunday, June 21st for a 9 am worship service.

While we of course can’t wait to see you, please don’t feel obligated to return to worship if you are uncomfortable. Pastor Beth will still be offering online services.

Council is working on a plan for how we will worship, which will of course include measures like social distancing, having hand sanitizer available, not passing the peace, etc. Please be assured that we will do whatever we can to make our members and friends feel as comfortable as possible. We are also asking that you be considerate of others, so if you aren’t feeling well, please stay home. 

Thank you for your patience with us as we have been navigating through these incredible times we are living in. It is never easy for a small group to make decisions for a much larger one, so if you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please reach out to your council members: Tahna Jensen, Wendy Opitz, Larry Ter Maat, John Fenger, Michael Finney, and Paul Green. 

We are all The Church together and each voice matters. 

Peace & Good Health,
Grace Church Council
There are a number of ways we are working to stay connected –
If you have access to email and internet:

  • Now is a good time to share your E-mail address with the church (or make sure it’s updated) to receive the most up-to-date information by contacting the church office by phone (452-6795) or E-mail (graceucckohler@gmail.com).

  • Worship bulletins are also posted on our website as well as sent via email each week.


Virtual Gathering Opportunities:
beginning June 7th 9am worship on Facebook
Join us for virtual Coffee Hour on Thursdays at 9:30am
This is an interactive opportunity to check in with one another.
All are welcome, so feel free to share.
Meeting ID: 541 996 199 Password: 064281
or
Call in on the phone: (929)205-6099 use Meeting ID: 541 996 199

 If you do not have email or internet:
  • Worship bulletins have been mailed to those in our church family that do not have online access to worship. If you are or know of someone who would appreciate being added to that list, please contact that church office to be added to the mailing list.

  • If you would like to be placed on the list to view worship on one of our tablets, please contact the church office (452-6795). Don't worry, if you are not familiar with how to use a tablet (handheld computer), we will provide complete instructions on how to use it.

  • The next best thing to being together, is hearing another’s voice. In an effort to keep us connected, we are asking those who are able to participate in a phone tree. If you are already checking in with others via phone, please let pastor Beth know so we don’t double up. If you are interested in making a few calls, please let her know and she will connect you. Thank you in advance.

Have you missed viewing worship because you don't have a way to watch online?

We can help!

Contact the church office for more details!

Thank you to everyone who makes Grace what it is!

Thank you to those who continue to support the church through sponsorships. Thank you to the Rolloff's for sponsoring Bridgeway and the bulletins for the month of June.

Thank you to Shelley Heinemann, Bev Kramer, and Marge & Henry Horneck for providing altar flowers for the month of June.

Thank you to Mary Ann Bichler, Sandy and David Rabe, Michael Finney and Dan Petzke for stepping in to help our faith community experience worship while the church building has been closed due to COVID-19.

Thank you Lynn & Paul Green for donating 3 tablets so that we can offer those who are home bound and those without internet access a way to continue to worship with us at Grace.

Thank you to Mike & Lisa Rolloff for cleaning the back rooms of the basement from water with the recent overabundance of rain.

Thank you to all who continue to support Grace through your offerings!


There are a number of things that just ‘happen’ here at Grace. For those who give of their time and talent to make things happen – whether anonymously or whether I may have accidentally not included, please know that we are thankful for your generosity! Please let Pastor Beth know if there are any errors or omissions. 
We gratefully receive your offerings that are mailed to the church. In addition, we have set up several online giving options. You can contribute to the financial health of the church by making a donation through PayPal or Facebook . Thank you for your continued financial support of the ministries of Grace Church during this time.
Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

June brings the flowers blooming and the beauty of nature into full swing. Its a time of being outdoors and a time to shed the winter gear for shorts, t-shirts, and swimsuits. Its a great time. When I was young, it was a time to go spend some of the summer with my grandmother. She lived in a small town and we were free to roam about the neighborhood and town. There were a lot of great adventures there. Anytime I smell fresh cut grass or vegetable plants my mind wanders back to that time. 

This summer is like others with us turning our minds towards summer vacations, cookouts, and time at the lake. Its unlike others with us having the concerns of how to do all those things we enjoy during this time of a pandemic. We hear one thing, then receive conflicting information. We become divided on so many issues related to it and also disagree on how to best move forward. It can be overwhelming and frustrating.

So how do we move from immobilized to active again?

How do we overcome the fears of a virus that we now have to live with? 

As we begin to move forward over the coming months, our fears, anger, frustration, and more will be some of our greatest obstacles. However, as Romans 8:26-27 tells us, we have support. We have a guide, and we have an advocate to get us through it. An exercise, I do in my yoga classes is a focused meditation at the end. Part of that exercise is getting the body completely relaxed, the mind settled, and taking a moment to listen to that “little voice” that is so hard to hear over the chatter of our mind. But when we can get ourselves settled, we can hear words of encouragement, and peace. 

Over the coming months, when you feel those negative feelings begin to creep up, try this. Go somewhere you have some privacy. Sit or lie down. Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. The air going in and the air going out. Make your breaths slow and easy, filling up the chest and the stomach. Then slowly let it all out. Sense the calmness that begins to come over your body and mind. Then perhaps once again, you can begin to hear that voice of peace. 

The external struggles in life do not define us. Who we are inside is what matters. 

Submitted by Michael Finney
Since we've not been able to meet for in person worship for some time, I'd like to express my gratitude for your continued support to the work and ministries at Grace church.

At the end of June, year to date giving statements will be mailed to ensure that your giving records are accurate and as an opportunity to catch up on pledges that may have fallen behind since we've not been able to worship together for some time.

Below is a summary of where we are at financially through April 2020.

YEAR TO DATE INCOME THRU APRIL $42,273.42
YEAR TO DATE EXPENSE THRU APRIL $47,371.76
YEAR TO DATE LOSS THRU APRIL $(5,098.34)

Submitted by Dan Montgomery
Please remember that if you admitted to the hospital and would like a visit from Pastor Beth, please contact her directly (cell 920-371-8018). Between HIPPA and the busyness of the hospital staff, oftentimes the hospital doesn’t call, therefore Pastor Beth would appreciate a direct call from you or your family to ensure timely visitation and pastoral care. 
If you have prayer concerns that you would like added to the prayer chain, click on the 'prayer chain' button below or contact Pastor Beth directly. Once you open the link below it will give you details and should answer any questions you may have. All prayer requests will be kept confidential unless marked as a "shared" choice. Feel free to share -- all are welcome to join in prayer.
Please reach out at any time
rev.beth.petzke@gmail.com or 920-371-8018.
This time of year is often full of celebration for many of our young people. Graduations from high school, college, technical schools, and other programs. This year's milestones will be celebrated differently, but we still have much to celebrate. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. We, the church, will be celebrating those connected with our congregation and their accomplishments, so please send Pastor Beth or the church office the following information for those graduating:
  • Name
  • School/Institution graduating from
  • Degree or diploma earned
  • What's next for the graduate? Please share future plans.
  • A current picture (if possible) that we can share in worship.

Please have all information to the church office by Tuesday, June 16 th to be included during worship on June 21 st .
The celebration of the Rite of Confirmation of our young people would typically be happening at the end of May, but that too has changed. These four young people are an important part of this congregation and celebrating as a community of faith is important. Therefore, the council has made the difficult decision to postpone their Faith Statement Sunday and Confirmation Sunday until Sept. 20th & 27th. 
June 1
Robert & Tina Horth

June 7
Joe & Cynthia Limberg

June 12
Ben & Laura Waterman
Brian & Tiffany Ter Maat

June 16
David & Sandy Rabe

June 25
Debbie & Brian Sawyer

June 27
Phil & Karen Milbrath

June 28
Jim & Laura Tesmer

June 30
Steve & Angie Peskie

We do have copies of the Upper Room Devotionals available at church. if you would like a copy, please contact the church office to arrange a pick up or to have one sent to your home.
June 2 Chris Widder

June 3 Tom Teaters

June 4
Phylis Preder & Sharon Hoppert

June 5
Claire Brotz, Judy Leonhardt,
& Maureen Faucher

June 6 Sarah Hapeman

June 7
Deb Ter Maat & Josh Finney

June 8 Matthew Leonhard

June 9 Sara Gordon

June 12 Phyllis Gumm

June 13 Tiffany Ter Maat

June 14 Janice Nigh

June 16
Jim Limberg, Tahna Jensen,
& Susie Wandschneider

June 17 Peggy Mathes

June 19 Orville Valenstein

June 20
Courtnie Ludwigson,
Jack Lorenz, & John Leonhard

June 21
Elaine Hitchcock, Steve Peskie,
& Truman McNitt

June 25
Carol Garnett & Neil Jensen

June 27
Laura Waterman

June 28
Patti Linck & Sandy Rabe

June 29
Kaye Kammerer
Grace is now registered with Amazon Smile. To choose Grace as the charitable organization to benefit from your Amazon purchases go to smile.amazon.com. Here are the step by step. Sign in to  smile.amazon.com  on your desktop or mobile phone browser.
1.     From your desktop, go to Your Account from the navigation at the top of any page, and then select the option to Change your Charity. Or, from your mobile browser, select Change your Charity from the options at the bottom of the page.
2.     Select a Grace United Church of Christ as your organization to support.
Shop with SCRIP!
Kwik Trip cards are available in the church office. With scrip, you’re paying face value and you’re getting face value. Make your giving go farther! Contact the church office for more details.
Texas Roadhouse offers a Sunday bulletin program to support local churches. On Sundays between 11am and 9:30pm, guests that come into the Sheboygan Texas Roadhouse location can have 10% of their total food purchases back to the church! Simply present a current copy of your church’s bulletin to your server. If you go out for lunch or dinner on Sundays, consider patronizing Texas Roadhouse.  
Sponsorship is another way to support the ministries and outreach of the church. Through sponsorship of Grace Notes, worship bulletins, altar flowers, or Bridgeway meals you help the church fulfill its mission. Donations made to sponsorship can be sent to the church office or placed in the offering plate with a notation of what you're sponsoring. Each sponsorship is $40. Thank you for your generosity! We couldn't do it without you!

Sponsorship continues to be an essential way to help support the ministries of the church, especially now. Sponsoring Grace Notes and worship bulletins makes it possible to print and mail these resources to our church family who do not have access to our information online helping to ensure that friends and members of Grace church continue to receive information regarding worship, spiritual care, and ongoing opportunities for fellowship and connection is more important than ever. Providing altar flowers is a great way to acknowledge birthdays, anniversaries, or just because you'd like to brighten our worship space and share for all to enjoy and celebrate with you. Supporting Bridgeway House continues to be a way that we as a church show care and concern for those in need. Thank you for your continued support of these opportunities.
(920)452-6795 graceucckohler@gmail.com
Rev Beth Petzke, pastor rev.beth.petzke@gmail.com
(920)371-8018