18 JAN 2017
This Week at Grace

The Art of Listening First
There is in every person that which waits, waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in herself. There is that in every person that waits - waits and listens - for the sound of the genuine in other people. And when these two sounds come together, this is the music God heard when [God] said, 'Let us make [humans] in our image.'
-Howard Thurman
In 1980, the Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman offered these words to the graduates of Spelman College. This address has always drawn me in as one of my favorite works by Thurman. There are certainly more well-known quotes from this great theologian, but these words always stop me in my tracks. "Listen for the sound of the genuine," he instructs. Listen.
How many times when we are preparing to begin a new chapter in our lives do we hear other words? Go! Do! Succeed! Achieve! This is the advice we give to people as they ready themselves to move into the future. These are words of action. These are words that will launch us head first into whatever comes next. But, these words forget that so often the most successful journeys begin with listening.
Think of the example of Jesus, who found himself retreating in solitude before critical times in this life. Sometimes beginning in a posture ready to listen can yield beautiful results. As Thurman suggests, it can help us hear the sound of God calling us from where we are. Other times, listening can help us hear the voice of God in other people. And when we can do both, listen to self and to other, we can begin to see the common humanity God has put in us all.
I have learned that it is good to begin new relationships in ministry with listening. There is a lot of good and important work we will tackle in the coming year, but all of that work begins with us listening to one another so we can understand where we've been as a church, where we are being called as a church, and how God will use each of our gifts. To help create space to listen "for the sound of the genuine" in this community, I have set aside several times for Listening Sessions. My hope for this time is that it will be a starting place to hear your story. To guide these sessions, we will focus on four main questions:
  • What drew you to Grace UMC?
  • How has being a part of Grace UMC helped you grow in faith?
  • Tell me a time when you felt especially proud to be a part of Grace UMC. What makes this occasion stand out?
  • Where do you see this congregation in five years?
I look forward to hearing from you in the coming weeks!


Listening Sessions (Sundays)
  • January 29th, 9:30am, Wesley Companions Classroom
  • February 5th
    • 10am, New Adult Sunday Class, Living Room
    • 12:15pm (following worship), Living Room
  • February 12th, 10am, Grace Cafe

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The Vision at Grace
To feed our surrounding community, spiritually and physically, while reaching outward with God's love and intentionally welcoming all in the name of Christ.


Sunday, January 22
Church Council Meeting, 12:30pm, The Living Room (formerly Fellowship Hall), lunch included

Tuesday, January 24
Needles and Prayers, 7pm

Sunday, January 29
Listening Session with Pastor Stacey, 9:30am, Wesley Companions Classroom

Saturday, February 4
Men's Breakfast Meeting, 8:15am, Meet in the Upper Parking Lot, Walk to IHOP, Finish in Grace Cafe, 9-10am

Sunday, February 5
Listening Sessions with Pastor Stacey
  • 10am, New Adult Sunday Class, Living Room
  • 12:15pm (following worship), Living Room
Sunday, February 12
Listening Session with Pastor Stacey, 10am, Grace Cafe

Tuesday, February 14
Needles and Prayers, 7pm

Ministry Spotlight

Join the men of Grace for a breakfast meeting, Saturday, February 4th, 8:15am.

We will meet in the Upper Parking Lot, walk to IHOP and finish at the Grace Cafe (9-10am). Questions: contact Dan Waller via the church office (office@graceonponce.org).

Congregational Care
Heartfelt Christian sympathy to the family and friends of Nancy Page, who passed away this morning. We will share more details as we know them.

Sharing Our Gifts
Give to Grace. Safe, secure, one-time or recurring, tax-deductible giving is available by visiting www.graceonponce.org/donate or by scanning the below QR code.

Your gifts make a difference in the lives of our church and community.

And remember that Grace's financial documents are open and available. Simply email our financial assistant, Nora Harris (nharris@graceonponce.org) with any questions you may have.

Thank you for your faithful support of the work that God is doing through Grace Church!

458 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

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