Signs of God’s gracious gifts abound

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes, Voice of the Clergy.

By the Rev. Katheryn King

“From his fullness we have received grace upon grace.” John 1:16”

Katheryn KingIndeed! Grace upon grace is how I would describe this year. The leadership of staff and Vestry, the volunteers in so many varied ministries, faithful worshipers, and delightful children are all signs of God’s gracious gifts

I thank God daily for the privilege and honor to serve the people of God at Grace Episcopal Church with the Very Rev. Daniel Richards along with these wise women, Erika Shenk-Tessin, Ann Hackett, Catherine Turnbull, and Kathy Will as we meet, read and study, plan and pray for Grace.

It has been three years now that I have had responsibilities in the areas of Pastoral Care and Worship.

I thank God for Adam Gahn, Lynn Feeter (and sometimes Fancy), Ellen Schrader, the Rev. Wally Draeger, and Mike McManus who make daily visits at Munson Hospital to all Episcopalians and others who request a visit. Kathryn Christian’s soothing harp and singing is also appreciated.

Lay Eucharistic Visitors bring Holy Communion along with thoughts and prayers from our Grace parish family to our sisters and brothers unable to be in worship with us.

I Thank God for Tom Thompson’s visits to Elaine Schubot, Helen Hankins to Maxine Ballentine, Anne Kelly to Dave and Julie Christensen, Bob and Sandy Foote and John Strickler to Kay Hollis. Our friendly visitors see Genevieve Fagerstrom by Connie Riopelle and Pete Clapp and Nancy Brannan for Marian Talbot and bring them to worship if possible. Sylvia Keely is available for errands, Gloria McClay and Dave Christensen keep in touch with some folks by phone. This fall the Monday Morning office volunteer began sending a copy of Sunday’s bulletin and Grace Life to all our homebound. This way they really feel included, often following the readings and prayers, and knowing “what is going on at my Grace Church.” Carolers from Joyful Noise, Grace Harmony and Chancel Choir brought special Christmas joy to members and friends at Traverse Manor and some homes in Eagle Creek.

For me personally, I live and breathe pastoral care for the whole Grace community. If you too believe this is the way to follow Jesus, as his Disciple, please come and be with us.

Another area of responsibility is the Saturday 5:00 pm Eucharist –and what a joy it is! We continued a whole year of liturgical exploration: Jazz Mass with the St. Louis Stompers in both January and October, Martin Luther’s “German” Mass, Celtic Service with music by the Tongue Family, Mass on the Grass was held at F & M Park followed by a potluck picnic, and Stir-Up Advent service prepared a symbolic cake that was served on Christmas Eve. The Rev. Pete Clapp is the moving force in creating these worship experiences, and I get to learn from our retired clergy.

I thank God especially for Pete and Wally Draeger. The Rev. Marilyn Dressel and the Healing Team is always supportive and an inspiration for the St. Luke’s Day Healing Service and attending a Healing Workshop with them held at St. Philip’s in Beulah. I embrace the richness of traditional worship but enjoy opportunities to be creative as in the Maundy Thursday Service.

2014 will offer a series of historic, pre-reformation Eucharistic liturgies on the fourth Saturday of the month in order to understand the development of our worship of Jesus and “why we do what we do.” I hope we can have more Healing Services for each other and the world.

I thank God for Grace Harmony and singing with them when I am not involved in preaching and presiding. I always enjoy opportunities with the children of Grace and their families. “Play and Pray” summer Bible school is again on my calendar.

I had a once in a lifetime experience to go to Spain and Portugal with my travel savvy friend, Connie Riopelle. For 18 days, some vacation, some continuing education, we saw incredible sights in Gibraltar, Tangier (Morocco), Corduba, Sevilla, Madrid, the Algave area, Sagres and Lisbon. I of course was impressed by the cathedrals and am still reflecting upon the rich history of Christians, Muslims and Jews. We shared a ‘travelog’ one Friday evening at Grace. It would be fun to see others’ journeys, too.

My hope and prayer this year ahead is for health and safety. Whether I participate in the splendid Consecration of a new Bishop or give a Blessing for the folks that come to Friday lunch –I Thank God!

 

 

Blessed by Daniel’s leadership – but not reliant

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes, Voice of the Vestry.

By Steve Wade
Senior Warden

Steve WadeIt is customary within the Episcopal Church for a rector of a parish to be given a sabbatical every few years. This time away from daily duties is intended to allow for a dedicated time of study and spiritual renewal. In the coming year, after five years of ministry at Grace and 10 years of ordained ministry, it is time for Daniel to go on sabbatical.

The obvious purpose of this sabbatical is to give Daniel time to learn, reflect, and grow in his faith. There is, however, a second benefit that is less obvious. By investing in this sabbatical, the church has a chance to remember that, although we are blessed by Daniel’s leadership, we are not reliant on it. We are, in fact, a ministering congregation, not merely a congregation with a minister.,

Daniel, Amy, Rachel, Jolie, and Henri will be spend June, July, and August traveling in Great Britain. While there Daniel will study, write, and rest. As a result of this time away, Daniel will be personally renewed, and we as a church will be ready to resume our ministry with him.

Daniel is intentionally preparing for this time away both practically and prayerfully, and I suggest we do the same. As a church we, too, have a great opportunity to grow, but if we do not prepare ourselves we will miss this opportunity. Over the coming months I encourage each of you to join the Vestry as we pray for Daniel and his family and to listen for how God would have us use this time.

 

 

 

Financial Peace University testimonial: “My debt seemed staggering, but the coach and I worked out a plan.”

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes.

By Kathy Will

Kathy Will_StaffPageWhen I heard that Financial Peace University was going to be offered at Grace, I told Erika and Barb Klugh to please let me tell my story. I am an alumni and I want you to know how this has made a difference in my life.

In 2005, I was a single mom with two children in college and the third in High School. I had heard of Dave Ramsey, and had listened to his broadcast several times on the radio. What he said made sense, but I was still struggling along from paycheck to paycheck and using my credit cards to pay for whatever the kids and I needed. I had even completed a remodeling project on my house and used those convenient checks the credit card companies sent to pay some of the remodeling expenses. But I was missing payments often, and beginning to receive creditors’ letters and phone calls.

Then in December of that year, I was in a serious auto accident: I totaled my car, and was anticipating surgery to repair a broken foot. The weekend before my surgery I had a collection agency calling to threaten me with a lawsuit – they had no sympathy for my situation and just told me I had better find the money somehow. I can remember sitting on my bed in tears – in physical pain, but also very low emotionally. Luckily, I had some wonderful friends in my church that connected me with one of Dave Ramsey’s financial coaches. He sat down with me to go over my finances and waived his $400 fee, with the stipulation that I attend the Financial Peace University sessions being offered soon at my church.

At that time I was approximately $50,000 in debt and working as an administrator at a charter school earning $50,000 a year. I had been single over 10 years and while I did receive some child support, it was never enough to truly take care of everything the kids needed. My debt seemed staggering, but the coach said many people with much greater incomes have much greater debt – second homes, expensive toys, etc. He and I worked out a plan to start working with the credit card companies and get a handle on what I was spending.

Then came the nine-week class. A friend from my church taught it and each of us in the group helped to hold each other accountable. The videos were entertaining, and Dave Ramsey speaks from personal experience. There are no short cuts, but rather a different way of looking at what you do. Because of the class, I was able to pay off $7000 in the first two months, and I cut up all my credit cards – even the JC Penney card I had carried for 15 years. I learned to pay cash for purchases, and to turn down those offers of store credit you run into everywhere. The class discussed life insurance and investments. The support materials were terrific – budget worksheets, envelopes, and Dave’s on-line blog. And our monthly budgets started with setting aside our tithe for the church before paying any other bills.

Fast forward 8 years. Brad and I married, and we each brought debt into the marriage and have experienced several financial bumps along the way. Brad is not totally on board with the process, and I have not followed it consistently – and we will try to take a refresher course in the future. But I have retained some of what I learned: we do not purchase on credit, and I do try to keep our emergency fund intact. And this past summer I paid off the last of the credit cards. All $50,000 worth! While we are not quite debt-free, we are ever so much closer. Financial Peace gave me the tools and the goal, and has certainly changed how I live my life.

 

Financial Peace University begins January 23

Posted by & filed under Events, Grace Notes.

FPU graphic

We all need a plan for our money. Financial Peace University (FPU) is that plan! It teaches God’s ways of handling money through video teaching, class discussions, and interactive small group activities. FPU presents biblical, practical steps to get from where you are to where you’ve dreamed you could be. This plan will show you how to get rid of debt, manage your money, spend and save wisely, and much more! It’s fun, easy to understand and it will change your life! The average family pays off $5,300 in debt and saves $2,700 in the first 90 days so you have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

Thursday nights from 6:30 – 8:00 pm

January 23 – March 20, 2014

Grace Episcopal Church

Childcare available

Cost: $99.00 for the FPU Membership Kit (some scholarships available)

Payments and FPU kits can be picked up at the Grace Church office. Questions? Please email Barbara Klugh at litlrivr@chartermi.net or call 933-9708.

Click here to register.

 

 

Advent at Grace Upstairs

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes.

Visit from St. Nicholas

A visit from St. Nicholas deepens the mystery of Advent.

By Catherine Turnbull
Christian Education Director

Jerome Berryman, the theologian whose work we rely on in our storytelling upstairs, says that we need Advent because the mystery of the Incarnation is so big that it takes several weeks to get ready to enter it. He reminds us how common it is—how easy—to walk right up to this Mystery (or even through it!) without noticing any mystery at all.

Welcome to the modern Christmas season, yes?

During these four Sundays of Advent, because we know the temptation to let the season swirl past us, the adults upstairs will be gathering with the children around the slow journey that leads to Emmanuel. Each week, we’ll tell just a part of the Advent story and mark it with the lighting of an Advent candle. The following week, we’ll start at the beginning and add another part, until we’ve lit all four candles and Jesus is born.

The mysterious Incarnation is a fine opportunity for wondering, and not just for children, of course. Along those lines, I offer you this excerpt of a song by a guy named Peter Alsop. It’s called, When Jesus Was a Kid. Perhaps a list of questions like these would be fun to generate at Coffee Hour?

It’s Christmas time again and the mall is really weird
Everyone gets stressed out Christmas shopping every year
I have to stop and wonder, looking at my Christmas list
When Jesus was a kid, would he be doing this?

I know he was a baby, but did he ever cry?
Did Jesus wet his diapers or were they always dry?
Did he use a bottle before he used a cup?
Did Jesus throw things on the floor for Mary to pick up?
Did Mary ever spank him? Does the Bible say?
Did Jesus scream and holler when things didn’t go his way?
I know he was a baby, but I wonder what he did
When he was about, my age, … when Jesus was a kid?

Did he have birthday parties? I like to think he might
But then I have to wonder, well, like, who did he invite?
Were there other kids in bathrobes who played tag the
way we do?
Was he bummed out when his birthday gifts said “Merry
Christmas” too!?
Did Jesus put on sunscreen, or did he wear a floppy
hat?
Living in a desert, you can sunburn just like that!
And he prob’ly hated eating “camel milk with mushy peas”
Or can saviors just get out of eating gross things when they
please?

(copyright 1991, Moose School Music)

Helping the homeless: Jubilee House Ministry (12/08/13)

Posted by & filed under Ministry of the week.

By Glenda Andrews

Jubilee House photo by Don Olendorf

Jubilee House photo by Don Olendorf

The doors of Jubilee House opened in October 2006 for two days a week with an average of 13 people a day. Today, Jubilee House is open five days a week with an average of 43 people a day. The need is great and Jubilee House is filling that need. By the end of December it is expected there will be over 10,000 visits for the year. Visits could be new people using the facilities for the first time or a person who uses the facilities everyday; to each they are served by dedicated, loving volunteers from Grace and the community at large.

The services offered at Jubilee House for the homeless or under employed are many. Hot showers and toilet kits are offered, laundry facilities complete with laundry detergent, computers with wi-fi, personal US mail delivery, personal secured storage bins, warm emergency clothing, and–for the hungry–warm food. Jubilee House is also an extreme weather emergency location. When the forecast is for 10 degrees or lower for an extended time or a blizzard warning is present, Jubilee House will open in the morning after Safe Harbor closes for the day and stay open until Safe Harbor opens again at 6:00 in the evening providing a safe and warm shelter from the life threatening cold.

Grace Episcopal Jubilee House mission statement is “an outreach ministry providing daily living needs, support, and ministry that promotes dignity and respect for all we welcome through our door.” The hours of operation are Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

 Matthew 25:35

“I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me into your home. I needed clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick and you took care of me.”

 This is the heart of Jubilee House.

 

 

Stations of Advent

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes.

Johnathan Randall Grant

Johnathan Randall Grant

In 2011, Grace Episcopal Church asked artist Johnathan Randall Grant to paint four meditations for Advent. Each is inspired by various texts in the prophets- and there is a painting for each of the weeks in Advent. The paintings are on permanent display on the lower level opposite the music room.

Grant is an artist from Northern Indiana. As a child he would sneak across the street to Catholic Mass. He learned to value creativity, imagination and his own faith at a very young age. Since then Grant has attended Asbury University, U.C. Berkeley, Indiana University and is indefinitely avoiding a masters degree at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Grant’s passion is to assist artists. He thinks that helping artists become whole and connected within The Church is the first step toward healing the Church… and healing the world. Pretty big ideas. Grant collaborates with churches, hosts spiritual retreats and workshops, and travels around like a wandering gypsy.

 

Stations of Advent_Hope and ProphecyHope and Prophecy

 Station # 1 Artist’s Statement

 Bible References: Isaiah 19:20, Jeremiah 15:21, Jeremiah 39:18

 Themes: Crying out. Desperate for deliverance. Hunger. A cry for a savior. Freedom from oppression. The chains being broken. Years of war and pain. Hope for renewal.

For the first station I wanted to explore the themes of oppression and deliverance. I painted very vague figures… are they people? are they past? are they present? are they us? one of the figures is a bishop… or an alien… or? There is a smaller figure holding a machine gun. That is a direct reference to the child soldiers in Uganda. I painted chains and arrows… broken. arms reaching out- or uplifted? hearts heavy, hungry, grateful? I wanted this painting to be tribal and raw and difficult. I painted it in a few hours… after months of pondering over the themes- contemplating our hunger for God- and for peace- inner- and outer- and the link between. Advent Starts with Hunger.

 

Stations of Advent_Root of JesseRoot of Jesse

 Station #2 Artist’s Statement  

 Bible References: Isaiah 11, Isaiah 9:6-7

 Themes: The Dawn of a New Era! Out of the stump of Jesse…a shoot will grow… Old powers over-thrown… Out of the chaos of the past grows a      forest of new life. A past of abused power and struggle is redeemed.

The second painting was the most difficult for me. I kept thinking of the passage about the stump of Jesse and the shoot rising up I tied some verses together- Stump of Jesse- mixed with the vine and the branches. Basically I ended up with the idea that a forest is growing out of this old system of death and oppression. It is still a young forest- but forests are alive and hopeful- and full of life. the stump is growing out of this old dirt. I filled the dirt with all sorts of power-structures and religious symbols, even a few critters. I wanted it to look like an excavation- digging up the past- examining what was before. the good perished along with the bad… but always this new and beautiful life growing out of it. Advent is about a new system.

 

Stations of Advent_Mary With ChildMary with Child

Station #3 Artist’s Statement

Bible Reference: Galatians 4:4

Themes: Offering . Expectation . Motherhood . Growth . Connection

Expectation was interesting for me to create. I talked to mothers- my own- and especially to Miriam Pico- about birth and about expectation and that process. Miriam talked about light and about offering and creation and a gift. I let all of it stew a bit… mixed in with texts from the prophets about “the fullness of time” and the earth as in labor pains. It all combined to create this image. I don’t really know what it means- but at its root it is about Advent- about expectation and about offering ourselves and our bodies. I really enjoyed hearing the perspective of Grace’s youth about this one- they talked about connection- about blood- about mythology and the earth. Be sure to ask them about what they think this painting means. Advent is about bodily sacrifice… and waiting.

 

Stations of Advent_Baby Jesus The New AdamBaby Jesus: The New Adam

Station #4 Artist’s Statement

Bible References: 1 Corinthians 15:20, Romans 5:17

Themes: The new Adam . As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness- so must the Son of Man be lifted up. Victory . Abundance . Shelter . Provision . A child that will heal the world and redeem the fallen state. Adam prefiguring Christ.

The last painting is perhaps my favorite of the four. Christ as the New Adam. When I was at Chartres Cathedral a few years ago the historian Malcolm Miller pointed out to me that the windows there always mirror biblical stories- there will be an Old Testament figure paired with a New Testament figure. Most of the combinations I had never even considered- and it helped me view each story with new intensity. My favorite pairing was Christ and Adam. Tidy bookends of the Bible. One man brought sin- another ended it. I wanted to portray Jesus in a new way- prefiguring the cross- but referencing the fall… so I painted Christ as a child hovering in front of the cross. He holds an apple- not bitten out of- but whole. The serpent still waits. (There is a passage in the Bible about the serpent waiting to devour the child as soon as he is born). My nephew was a year old when I painted this- and his hair was slightly ginger- so I basically painted him as Christ. (Please forgive me if that offends you- he was the only baby I really knew.) The Child appears victorious- surrounded by four green elements. Laurel is the Roman symbol of victory, Wheat is the traditional symbol of provision and sustenance, Grapes the symbol of bounty and celebration, and basswood- which to me symbolizes shade and shelter and protection. I wanted to continue the themes from painting #2 in describing Christ’s reign.