May 2020 Grace Notes
Grace and Peace to you all!
 
How are you taking care of yourself these days? There are those among us serving in the health care industry, as chaplains, serving the general public, and so many others that keep us healthy, safe, fed, etc., and that is stressful. Many among of us are concerned for the health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones – that is stressful. Some of us are furloughed, laid off, or wages and hours are being cut – this is stressful. We certainly have every right to be stressed out, but it’s more important now than ever to remain calm and take care of ourselves and one another. 
 
When riding in a commercial airline, the flight attendants give detailed instructions that if the cabin loses pressure, you are to secure oxygen masks on yourself first, and then help those around you. If you are empty, you cannot be a help to others. You must first help yourself. That is true now as well. So I challenge each of us to think about what we are doing to take care of ourselves in these times of social distancing. What are you doing to fill yourself up (not from the refrigerator)? How are you taking time to take care of yourself? Even Jesus took time away to rest and pray. Let us follow his example.

While the safer at home order has been extended until near the end of May, we are doing our best to keep you, the members, friends, and staff of Grace safe. As we get closer to a date to reopen, the church council and I will discuss how and when in-person worship can responsibly gather for a congregation of our size. We miss being together, but  we will rely on data and advice from experts to determine when and how that happens. In the meantime, we will continue gathering online for worship and in small groups through the month of May. In the midst of it all, we're keeping the faith for as long as it takes, for we are the body of Christ.
Stay safe and strong.


Blessings,
Pastor Beth
There are a number of ways we are working to stay connected –

  • 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 or E-mail.

  • 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.

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 the church office to be added to the mailing list. Worship bulletins are also posted on our website as well as sent via email each week.

Worship and other postings are available on
our Facebook page or on our website.

Virtual Gathering Opportunities for 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.
Click Here to join us on Zoom Meeting ID: 541 996 199  Password:  064281
or
Call in on the phone:  (929)205-6099 use Meeting ID: 541 996 199

Thank you to everyone who makes Grace what it is!

Thank you to Henry & Marge Horneck for sponsoring Bridgeway, the bulletins, and Grace Notes for the month of May. As well as sponsoring altar flowers for May 24th all in honor of their wedding anniversary on May 25th.

Hello Friends,
We hope you've had the opportunity to join us for virtual worship via our new website or on Facebook Live. While these services seemingly go off without a hitch, there is a lot of work that goes into the planning and preparation. The Church Council would like to thank the following individuals for their hard work and dedication during this time:
To Pastor Beth for her tireless work, her creativity, and her continued outreach, we thank you.
To Michael Finney for his amazing technical support and Zoom knowledge, we thank you.
To Dan Petzke for recording worship and bringing Pastor Beth's ideas to life, we thank you.
To Mary Ann Bichler for being a faithful friend of Grace and playing the organ and piano for our online services, we thank you.
To our church secretary, Marsha- you continue to amaze us with doing what needs to be done to keep us going. We thank you.
To Michael Rolloff, our hardworking custodian, for keeping the church clean both inside and out and for preparing the lawn and green spaces, we thank you. 
To David Rabe for his help procuring the choir song files to be included in Easter worship, we thank you.
We apologize if we've missed anyone. As we always say at Grace, "Many hands make light work." Even while we can't be together in person, we are so blessed to have so many members, friends, and staff joining in to make things run smoothly while we are together in spirit. Thank you again, from the bottoms of our hearts.
-The Grace Church Council

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.
Matthew 28:20 ...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

We are in an interesting time now. If someone had predicted the events we now live in, I wouldn’t have believed them. But here we are. There must be many questions circling through your mind. When will this end? Will it end? It can be tough to grasp what has occurred and how we move forward from here. First we must understand that we live in an imperfect world. Things happen as a result that are beyond our control. Events will occur that simply happen and we must simply flow with them. That is no reflection on us, nor what we do. I saw a meme the other day that said, “I am wondering if the reason for all this is because I didn’t share that post with ten of my friends.” I had to laugh at the thought that someone considered that something that simple would cause such a great calamity. It didn’t and we shouldn’t consider that what is going on is a result of something we necessarily did or did not do. 

However, something I have noticed. As I have been out walking, and see people, they wave. Passing cars take a moment to greet me. People are meeting online, attending worship online, and looking for ways to interact like they haven’t before. I have heard from friends that I haven’t heard from in years. My family and I have spent time playing games and joking around. This forced slow down has allowed us all to connect again. It may not be in the traditional ways necessarily, but we are connecting again none the less. The other day I was teaching a yoga class online and there were people from all over the US, the UK, Serbia, and other countries. Practicing yoga together and sharing how they were coping with what was happening. What an amazing thing that in the midst of what we see as a dark moment, some light shines through.

During times like these, we wonder how God could allow something like this happen. It is one of the first obvious questions. I don’t believe God “allows” things like this to happen. I believe it is simply us living in that imperfect world. He is with us always though and even in this dark time, He shines a light of goodness through it. Would we have reconnected in ways we have, had this not occurred? I don’t know, but I know it is occurring now. 

What are some things we can do?

Begin by taking a few steps. Here are some things that might help.

Try to keep your routine as much as possible. Getting up and going to bed at the same time. Have meals at your regular time. Try to stay with your usual routine as possible.

Exercise. Go for a walk. Enjoy nature outside in your backyard. Keep the body moving. 

Get plenty of rest. 

BREATHE. When things become overwhelming (even when they are not), some slow deep breaths help. It relaxes the nervous system and takes us out of the “fight or flight” mode.

Look for the joys in the day no matter how small. This one is really important. 

We do not know how much longer this will go on. What we do know is that God will be with us every step of this journey and will make His presence known in many ways. While the world may be constantly changing on us in the coming days, weeks, and months, know that our constant is God and each other. Find comfort that those two things will see us through. 

Submitted by Michael Finney
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. 
Since we will not be gathering face-to-face for a bit, a link has been created to share in a virtual prayer chain. Once you open the link below it will give you details and should answer any questions you may have -- It's not the same as being physically together, but perhaps it will give us an opportunity to be together in spirit. All prayer requests will be kept confidential unless marked as a "shared" choice. Feel free to share -- all are welcome to join in prayer.
If you have a student who is graduating this spring, please let the office or Pastor Beth know the details including date, school, degree, so we can choose a date to recognize and celebrate with them in worship.
Please reach out at any time rev.beth.petzke@gmail.com or
920-371-8018.
Please note that the church building will remain locked following Governor Ever's mandate extending Safer at Home through the end of May for everyone's safety and well-being. Thank you for your understanding.
May 15th
Jerome & Peggy Mathes

May 22nd
Heidi & Kurt Becker

May 25th
Henry & Marge Horneck
May 4th
Andrea Rahm

May 5th
Pastor Beth

May 8th
Laura Tesmer

May 11th
Marcus Widder

May 13th
Gavin McNitt
Marlea Joa

May 14th
Jerome Mathes

May 20th
Jane Dulin

May 22nd
Mason Valenstein

May 26th
Gloria Valenstein

May 27th
Chuck Nelson

May 28th
Jim Price

May 29th
Anneke Teaters

May 31st
Sue Fenger
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.
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.  
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.
We do have copies of the May/June edition 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.
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!
Thank you to all that volunteered to serves as acolytes, ushers, and liturgists in the month of April. At this time, all in person worship is cancelled until further notice.
(920)452-6795 graceucckohler@gmail.com
Rev Beth Petzke, pastor rev.beth.petzke@gmail.com
(920)371-8018