eGraceNotes from Grace Church
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December 20, 2008
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Do you have someone who has everything and is difficult to find a gift for?  How about giving a gift to Grace Church in that person's name?  You can stipulate the gift be used according to the interests of the person.

And while you at it, don't forget your special Christmas Gift to Grace Church at this very special time of the year.

This Sunday Is the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Advent IV WreathThis Sunday at our 10 am service, we light the fourth candle in our Advent Wreath.

You can read this Sunday's lessons  here

In the Gospel according to Luke, Mary is visited by an angel who tells her she will become pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Mary's response is, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord..." 

"Here am I" or "Here I am" do not appear very often in the Bible, and when they do, they signal that something important is happening.

Luke's first readers--well-versed in their scriptures--would have instantly recalled that "Here I am" is the response to God by a person who is being called to play a very significant role in God's world. By wording Mary's response in this way, Luke is telling his readers that Mary's calling is akin to that of Israel's greatest prophets: Abraham, Israel/Jacob, Moses and Isaiah.

In Genesis, they would recall that Abraham says these words (twice) in the story of the near-sacrifice of Isaac: 

 ... God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."

Abraham does as he is told. Later, after they reach the mountaintop,

Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied.  "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said.

Again in Genesis, Israel/Jacob gets a commission from God:

God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, "Jacob! Jacob!" "Here I am," he replied.  "I am God, the God of your father," he said. "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt ..."

In Exodus, Moses is tending sheep on a mountain, sees a burning bush, and has his life changed:

God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am."

Then God tells Moses that he is the one who is to go to Egypt to rescue the Hebrew people.

Finally, in Isaiah, Isaiah is having a vision of the heavenly court.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"  And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Isaiah becomes one of the great prophets in very difficult times.

See you in church Sunday. Lord knows what our calling will be!

And join Wanda Miller, our Coffee Hour Hostess, in the parlor after the service.
Keep in Your Prayers ...

Prayer RequestsPlease keep these people in your prayers for their special needs: Marie Speziale, Tom Mitchell; Ruth Bertram, Joyce Markham; Estel; Mrs. Matthews; Judy Handy, Shelly Martin, Susan Dewbrey, Deb Gamble, Barbara Todd; Kim Martin, Robb Martin; Florence and Bob Poyer;Dean Bryeans, Mary Hall, Chris; Irene Bryeans; Joshua, Caleb, Anne, and Darryl Handy; Marcus Flemister;Bo; Kim Herrmann, Al Berghausen; Teri; Mary Lou Bellows; Jackie Lewis.
Coming Events at Grace

Grace Church Calendar

In the coming week:
  • Choir Practice, Sunday, December 21, 9 am.
  • Eucharist Rite II, Sunday, December 21, 10 am.
  • Christmas Eve Service, Wednesday, December 24, 10 pm.
  • Christmas Day Service, Thursday, December 25, 10 am.
  • Parish Christmas Dinner Dance December 27, 7 pm;
  • Choir Practice, Thursday, December 25, 7 pm.
Coming special events:
  • Bishop Breidenthal Visitation, January 5.
  • Annual Meeting January 26.
And see the Grace Church Calendar for uptodate information on meetings and services at at Grace.  There's more there than you might imagine!
Deck the Halls

Christmas Flowers

Join the Flower Guild and others in decorating the church with Christmas greens, poinsettias and flowers on Tuesday, December 23 at 3 pm.   Watch the magic of Christmas as we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. 

You can help put up the evergreen sprays and the big red bows on the aisle candles and the poinsettias around the altar and the baptismal font. 

When it is all finished you can stand back and enjoy the beauty as we thank God for all his gifts.
Parish Dinner Dance Coming December 27

Christmas Party Dance

The multi-course gourmet dinner starts at 7 pm Saturday, December 27.  Dancing follows.  You'll never have another dinner as good as this for only $15! And the company is great, too.  As is the dancing (see above).

This is your last chance to let us know you're coming!  Sign up in church Sunday, or email
Pastoral Care

If you need pastoral care or know of someone who does, please let the office (513-541-2415, know.  This includes information on illness, hospital stays, requests for visits, communion and prayers for special concerns. 

Too often, we do not know until it is too late that something has happened.  Help us to serve you.
Rainbow Bands Present Holiday Concert at Grace

Richelle FrabottaThe Queen City Rainbow Bands performed their annual Holiday Concert at Grace last Sunday.  The program was a mixture of traditional Christmas music--many done with a very non-traditional beat--and jazzy pieces.

Richelle Frabotta (right) stepped in as conductor, replacing Tom Mitchell, who used recovery from a triple bypass operation as a reason for not showing up.  She handled her new responsibilities with great humor and enthusiasm.

The Jazz Ensemble opened up the program with "And the Angels Swing," followed by four other numbers.  Then the Sax Quartet performed five numbers, ending with "Zoot Suit Riot." The full Concert Band performed four traditional holiday numbers and then led the audience in a carol sing-along.

You can see more concert pictures here.

The evening ended with a reception hosted by members of Grace Church: Belinda and Roger Perna, Lisa Perry and Tammy Robertson, Laura Hall, J. White, Bret Bernard and Durrand Carroll, Mary McLain, Jim Edgy, Chuck Bowles.

The QCRB is a GLBT and allies band organized to perform for pride parades and other community events.  Everyone is welcome to join at any time.  All skill levels are welcomed.  This is the band you hear practicing at Grace on Wednesday nights. Contact QCRB (513-559-9987, or visit their website for more information.
A Message from the Senior Warden:  From Emergency to Emergence-cy

John ThayerThree years ago, Grace Church had entered a state of emergency. The Rector left, the Vestry dissolved, gloom lay heavily everywhere. Dissolution seemed imminent.
And then the transformation began!
Aided and abetted by people from the Diocese and from other parishes, the members of Grace Church rallied. From the darkness they found the hope, the will and the means to act--often in unexpected ways. Changes began and developed, combining the best of Grace Church tradition with innovations in actions and attitudes. New members
joined. Buildings and grounds appearance changed. The parish became a mission, and the mission gained a new Vicar.
Now, three years later, Grace Church has entered a state of emergence--an emergence-cy. The congregation is being reborn.

Of course, all problems are not yet solved. Change is rarely easy, often painful and yet absolutely necessary. As the congregation develops, it will solve these problems as part of the growth process.
The celebration of Jesus's birth comes at the darkest time of the year. Days are short and gloomy; nights are long and crushing. Yet springtime will come, no matter how far away it may seem. So shall it be with Grace Church! Under God's guidance, we shall emerge as a reborn community, ready, willing and able to carry out our mission. Be patient!  For the darkness shall turn to the dawning; then we shall be glad and sing!
John Thayer
A Message from the Presiding Bishop  

Katherine Jefferts SchoriThe light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it (John 1:5). 

The world settles into winter, at least in the northern hemisphere, and life to many seems increasingly bleak. Foreclosures, layoffs, government bailouts and financial failures, continuing war on two fronts, terrorist attacks, murders of some identified only by their faith--this world is in abundant need of light.

We know light that is not overcome by darkness, for God has come among us in human flesh. Born in poverty to a homeless couple, to a people long under occupation, Jesus is human and divine evidence that God is with us in the midst of the world's darkness. Emmanuel, Prince of Peace, Divine Counselor is come among us to re-mind, re-member, and re-create. A new mind and heart is birthed in us as we turn to follow Jesus on the way. The body of God's creation is re-membered and put back together in ways intended from the beginning. And a new creation becomes reality through Jesus' healing work.

Christians tell the story again each Christmastide, and the telling and remembering invites us once again into being made whole. Our task in every year is to hear the story with new ears, and seeing light in the darkness of this season's woes, then to tell it abroad with gladsome hearts to those who wait in darkness. Where will you share the joyous tale of light in the darkness?

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop, The Episcopal Church
Special Music for the Season at Our Cathedral

Music at Christ Church Cathedral

Sunday afternoon, December 21, at 5 pm, Christ Church Cathedral offers  A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols, based on King's College's traditional services.

Free parking will be available at the Queen City Club lot across Fourth Street from the Cathedral and at the 303 Broadway garage. If you park in the garage, you will need to pick up a voucher at the church reception desk, but, note, the garage will only have an attendant until 7:00 pm.
Bishop BreidenthalThe Bishop is Coming, the Bishop is Coming!
As most of you know, Bishop Breidenthal will make his first official visit to Grace Church to celebrate and preach at our 10 am service on January 4. 

It is very important that all of us are here to greet our new Bishop.  Please plan to attend, rain or shine, snow or sleet. Should the weather turn bad, arrange for someone to pick you up so we can have a good turnout no matter what. (The Lyons have a 4-wheel drive vehicle and a driver who loves to battle the elements.)

Also, let's be on time for this one. There is nothing more discouraging than to go into the church and see only 10 or 12 people there as the procession begins.  Of course, there are times when being late cannot be avoided, and it is probably better to come late than not at all, but coming late has become a regular habit for too many of us.
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Ken Lyon, Editor.
Grace Episcopal Church | Phone: 513-541-2415 | 5501 Hamilton Avenue at Belmont Avenue | College Hill (Cincinnati) | OH | 45224