December 2018
Grace United Church of Christ
visit our website at graceucckohler.org
920.452.6795 • graceucckohler@gmail.com
500 School Street • Kohler, Wisconsin 53044
Rev Beth Petzke, Pastor
Cell: 920-371-8018 • rev.beth.petzke@gmail.com

Grace and Peace to you all,

So much to be grateful for as we move through Thanksgiving to the Advent and Christmas seasons. German theologian Meister Eckhart once said that, “if the only prayer you say (to God) is thank you, it will be enough.” As we turn our hearts from the thankfulness of the Thanksgiving holiday to the coming of Christ into the world, let us remember who we are and what it is we celebrate.

Several years ago I came across an interesting alternative to the typical Christmas that society tells us we need – excessive shopping, expensive gifts, overeating, spending more than we have, and forgetting what it is we celebrate in the first place. The concept behind it is to remember what it is we are truly celebrating – the birth of Christ – and how we can re-focus ourselves during Advent and Christmas. The concept, “The Advent Conspiracy” reminds us especially now, to worship more fully, spend less, give more, and love all ( www.adventconspiracy.org). An alternative guide of how we think about Christmas by:

“Worshipping more fully – because Christmas begins and ends with Jesus.”
“Spend less – freeing myself to feel less stress, and freeing up resources for things that matter to Jesus.”
“Give more – giving relationally to offer one another presence, rather than merely presents.”
“Love more – Love the forgotten, the poor, marginalized, and sick in the ways Jesus asked us to.”

May you find ways to celebrate advent and Christmas in ways that are meaningful to you and pleasing in God’s sight, and find hope, peace, joy, and love throughout the season and the new year.

Christmas Blessings,
Pastor Beth
The 2019 calendars are open for to sign up to help with the work of the church through time, talent and treasure
Please remember that if you are admitted to the hospital and would like a visit from Pastor Beth, please contact her directly. Her contact information is in a number of places including the weekly bulletin, Grace Notes , and the answering machine at church. Between HIPPA and the busyness of the staff, oftentimes the calls are overlooked.
Thank you to Bev Kramer for sponsoring the Bridgeway, the bulletins and Grace Notes for the month of December.

Thank you to Janet Carter and Judy Leonhardt for recovering the chairs in the conference room.

Thanks to Chuck Ebert for his faithful service as the president of the church council during this interim time. With all the changes happening in his life, Chuck felt it was best for him to step down from serving as president, but will remain on the church council. At the end of his term, we will honor all those council members who will be going off council and celebrate all the faithful ways they have served God and the congregation.

Thank you to Judy Leonhardt for all of the time and energy she has gifted to Grace Church by taking leadership of the stained glass window project. Thank you Judy for seeing the project through. The difference is amazing!

Thank you to Marge Horneck and the property committee for taking care of the building needs so that our building is safe and accessible to all.
Dear Members of Grace UCC,
Thank you for your contribution to the United Church Men & Women Scholarship Fund. Your support will assist a deserving student or graduate as they pursue a career as a minister of Christ.
-Dwight Sattler
Treasurer United Church Men & Women Scholarship Committee
To all who helped with the Fall Cleanup – Chili & Chores. Attached are a few photos of those we could catch helping make is such a success, but there were many more that gave of their time. Thank you! 
Continued thanks to Jim Limberg & David Rabe for A/V, and Allie Finney for helping advance screens during worship. 

Thanks to David Rabe for fixing the phone and internet following the office move. 

Thank you to all who supported the Sunday School children's Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign. This year with your help we received $38.79 for UNICEF!
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. 
Winter is on its way......
We are currently looking for a resource to do snow removal starting Jan. 2019 at Church and the parsonage property. If you can help with any suggestion for this job, please leave a message or call at the Church. Or contact any Church Council member or Property Committee member. Thank you. 

Women's Bible Study is taking a break for December. We look forward to starting January 2019 off faithfully and spirit filled! Join us the 2nd & 3rd Mondays at 8:15am.

Our annual budget meeting is planned for Dec 9 following 10am worship. Copies of the 2019 budget are available in the narthex. Our church treasurer, Dan Montgomery will be on hand to answer questions at the Dec 9th meeting.

Did you know that 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. So if you go out for lunch or dinner on Sundays, consider patronizing Texas Roadhouse.
Our joy at Christmas is a response to God's promise of new life through the birth of Jesus. It is a joy we are called to share widely, through our witness and gifts, both to loved ones and to distant neighbors.
"It wasn’t easy picking up the telephone to share with you my present situation. In fact, it was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life although it reminded me that grace still happens. Sometimes we as clergy persons lose sight of God’s grace when the negative stuff comes into our lives."
"…thanks so much for sharing your time and ministry with me. Your most gracious gift is appreciated more than words can say as I continue to live in the 'meantime.'"
These eloquent words are from a pastor who is the recipient of the caring and concern of those who contribute to the Christmas Fund Offering.

You have the opportunity to be a part of this ministry that cares for the active and retired clergy and lay employees of the United Church of Christ through your participation in this year's Christmas Fund Offering.

Your gift to the Christmas Fund will not only assist pastors like the one above, but also provide for the Supplementation of Small Annuities, Supplementation of Health Premiums, Emergency Grants, and Christmas “Thank You” Gift Checks next December to lower-income retirees.

Your gifts are needed more than ever to help the growing number of retirees whose low-income annuities make it difficult to meet increasing living costs. This is your opportunity to participate in God's promise of renewal by enabling this ministry of compassion and care.

On December 23rd, we will dedicate those offerings in worship. Special offering envelopes for the Christmas Fund are available in the back of the sanctuary. Please give generously!
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that, today, is practiced as a graceful form of exercise. It involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing. This gentle form of exercise can help maintain strength, flexibility, and balance, and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life. Tai Chi is often described as "meditation in motion."

We will meet weekly in the sanctuary. All are welcome no matter if you've practiced Tai Chi or not. You are invited to wear comfortable, loose clothing. The time is free but donations are welcome. Michael Finney will lead classes on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. All are welcome. Bring a friend!
November 27 at 9am
Get in the spirit and join in the fun!
The songs of our faith are such an important part of worship. Hymns of comfort and assurance of God's presence, hymns of joy and celebration of all that it is to be the community of God. Throughout all seasons of life, the songs of our faith are present offering melody and sentiment when words are not enough. Please call, email or drop a note to Pastor Beth of the church office. What is your favorite hymn?
Your Council has held a few extra meetings to prepare for our 2019 Budget Proposal meeting of the congregation on Sunday, December 9 after the 10am service. Copies of the proposed budget are available in the narthex. Please bring your copy with you to our Dec 9 budget meeting.

The Stewardship Committee met and provided for us inspirational materials to think about our financial giving. God loves a cheerful giver and it was a delight to witness members presenting their pledged giving for the upcoming year. 

We continue to look for renters for the parsonage property (4 bedroom, 1-1/2 bath) just next to the church proper. Historically rent is provided to Grace UCC of $1,200 monthly and goes a long way to help us with the work of the church. Please know the house is vacant and we would really like to change that scenario very soon! 

Notice was given at the end of October by Jeff Schultz that he will be looking forward to retiring from his position as Custodian for Grace Church effective December 31, 2018. Jeff has, as did his father before him, been a faithful steward of Grace in the most essential manner from getting after the cobwebs to vacuuming and care of the walkways and lawn. We wish Jeff every happiness in his plans for a bit of travel with his lovely wife – retirement well deserved. 

As we look to fill the vacancy, please consider perhaps yourself or someone you know that has a flexible schedule that might be interested in the inside and outside custodial needs of Grace – or one or the other! Jeff estimates the time commitment averages to 8 hours a week. It is a paid position and we would appreciate your prayerful consideration and or recommendation of the right candidate. I would be pleased to discuss this in more detail with you or any interested party.

It has been an eventful fall but I encourage you to turn out for our Thanksgiving Eve service. Special music is planned and communion will be served. We practice open communion and look forward to counting our blessings with you.

Sandy Rabe, Interim President
Gifts and offerings to be included on your 2018 giving statement need to be received by the church office by noon on Dec 31st.

The church office will generally be staffed on Tuesdays from 9am-2pm.

If you need to reach the secretary, please email the church office at graceucckohler@gmail.com or leave a message at 452.6795.
The MUSIC committee has not formally met and consists of Bev Kramer, Jim Limberg, Sandy Rabe (Council rep), and Curt Joa and Audrey Braatz for music.
The ARTS includes the following individuals who work together to make seasonal changes in décor and seasonal changes in the altar cloths: Judy Kummer, Phylis Preder, Linda Billmann, Bev Kramer, Barb Ruppel, and Rosemary Lohse. They met recently with Pastor Beth and have a few items needing refreshing like the greens and MOST IMPORTANTLY HELPING HANDS on November 27 at 9am to help “deck the halls.” Please come --- it’s quick and many hands make light work is very true!
The December Mission of the Month is the Giving Tree. Please take the paper ornaments from the tree in the foyer and return the gifts (wrapped). If you don't have time to shop, but would like to contribute, please use a Mission of the Month envelope found in the pews. Thank you for your generosity!

Since our last article in Grace Notes, the Sunday School held it’s annual UNICEF party. While our collected coins were perhaps light, it reminded us all of children across the globe that a little change makes a world of a difference in their day to day existence. Thank you to those that brought their pocket change and secretly even added some extra later on.

On Sunday November 18, the kids of Grace sang in worship under the direction of Curt Joa. They’ve been working hard on a few new pieces and a few old favorites.
 
Given the short time between now at the Christmas Program, we would like to encourage all children and confirmation students to attend at 8:30am Sunday School on November 25 so that we might assemble as one, assign roles, costumes, and game plan for "Sleepover at the Stable" on Sunday December 16 during 10am worship.
The Property Committee would like to extend a huge thank you for the accomplished chores and participation at Chili & Chores fall clean up weekend. One of the tasks included Pastor Beth's office being relocated to the main level. Many hands helped with the move.
The church pews were cleaned and polished and the cushions were vacuumed. The kitchen has been cleaned and reorganized. We have had roofing and flashing repaired to eliminate some water problems. New concrete walk and steps with a railing at the West door of Church plus a redo to level our ramp at the front entrance. This includes a new drain laid under the ramp from the gutter at the West side of the front entrance. A new stove has been installed at the parsonage. The refrigerator was replaced earlier this year. Also at the parsonage some touch up paint jobs and a few blinds were renewed. A old washer and dryer were removed and thanks to the McKnight's they left a washer and dryer that had been new in July of 2017.
If you know of anyone who might be interested in renting our 4 bedroom parsonage please let us know. 
We are presently looking to replace the carpeting in church since the buckling and ripples present a tripping hazard. More on that later. Once again thanks to all for your time, talent and treasure. 
Marge Horneck, Property Committee Chair
Window Project Update
Our window project is complete!! I am so pleased to report that every person who filled out a pledge card paid the amount they pledged. What a great reflection of the character of our members. Thank you so much!!

We celebrated the completion of the project in October with Mary Risseeuw and Marilyn Hanson telling the story depicted in each stained glass window and Pastor Beth blessing the windows. Paul Pickel, the son of Conrad Pickel our window designer, sent a recently published book to us. It is titled “Conrad Pickel A Tapestry in Stained Glass” by Gene Moody. The book is beautifully written and illustrated. It is available in the church office if you care to check it out.

A report of the window project money:
$26,651.25 pledged money and additional donations
$10,192.53 memorial fund gift money 
$36,843.78 total money collected
($36,190.00) cost of the project paid to Abler Glass
($114.99) cost of refreshments and music for the window celebration 
($175.00) cost to repair crack in St. Matthew stained glass, paid to Abler Glass
$363.79 the amount remaining after expenses were paid. This money will be put toward the cost of carpet replacement.
Judy Leonhardt, window project coordinator
In an effort to celebrate and record our history, please forward any photos of Grace church events to the church office. 
Click here for the
Grace Church is an accepting community of faith, committed to growth through change.
-Core values statement written on Saturday, May 13, 2017
Grace United Church of Christ
Office: (920)452-6795 graceucckohler@gmail.com
Rev Beth Petzke, pastor rev.beth.petzke@gmail.com
(920)371-8018
Grace UCC 1998