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News for and about Grace Episcopal Church
December 4, 2009
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Christian One-Liners

Peace starts with a smile.

Florence Poyer supplied us with several of these. Send us yours and we'll share them, too.
Dear Friend,

Advent II WreathThis Sunday, we'll light our second Advent Candle, as we prepare for the celebration of Christmas starting on Christmas Eve and continuing for the twelve days of Christmas.
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In This Issue ...
Christian One-Liners
Notes on This Sunday's Readings
Keep in Your Prayers
Stewardship Campaign: Not Over 'Til It's Over
Grace Receives Grant
Grace Church Giving Tree to Provide Gifts for 15 Needy Children
Thanks to ...
A Fresh Idea for a Holiday Concert Dinner at Grace Church
Coming Events...
Grace Church as Leaven
Grace Accepts Bishop's Invitation to Participate in Common Ministry Development
Choir Rehearsing for Christmas
Flowers Make Grace Church Even More Beautiful at Christmas
Senior Warden Vacation Plans
Nominations for Mission Council & Other Offices Needed
riends of the Groom Coming to College Hill
Share Your "View From the Pew"
Keep in Touch with What's Happening in the Diocese
Notes on This Sunday's Readings

You can read Sunday's lessons here.
Sunday is the first of the two Advent Sundays on which John the Baptist is the central figure. This dynamic prophet marked the beginning of Jesus' ministry. He announced the time of Messiah's arrival and called the people of Israel to repentance in preparation for that coming. The Gospels see him as the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy of one who will prepare the way for God to come to the peoples of the earth.

The writer of Baruch, one of the books accounted as the Apocrypha by Anglicans, is presented as addressing the Jewish exiles in Babylon with words probably borrowed from Isaiah. God's people are called to look forward to the coming of God with joy and gladness, for when he comes God will lead all the peoples to our true home.

The second reading is from Paul's letter to the Philippians. In greeting this congregation, Paul speaks of his affection for them and of his imprisonment. He urges them to continue in faith as they await the day of Christ's return.

The Old Testament and John the Baptist looked toward the coming of the Messiah in history to establish God's Kingdom. The New Testament looks toward the return of Christ at the end of history to bring that Kingdom to fulfillment. We, the Church, gather in Eucharist in the "in-between times" to celebrate the foretaste of that Kingdom and to be equipped by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Kingdom to the world.
Keep in Your Prayers ...

Prayer Requests Jim Edgy, John Thayer, Gigi Woode, Toussaint Thrower and family, Ray Harris; Marilyn White; Trevor Van Wagenen; Anna Hamilton, Ed Frye, Jo Carroll,Karen Van Wagenen,Elaine Hughes,Maureen Back, Eloise Pinto, Ruth Bertram, Robert Flemister; Judy & Walter Handy, Shelly Martin, Barbara Todd; Kim Martin, Robb Martin; Dean Bryeans, Mary Hall, Chris; Irene Bryeans; Joshua, Caleb, Anne, and Darryl Handy; Marcus Flemister; Kim Herrmann, Al Berghausen; Mary Lou Bellows; Jackie Lewis, Mike and family, Chris and family, Doug Matthews and family, Malcolm Daniel, Jean Cavalieri, Shelby Hager and Laura Chace.
If you need pastoral care or know of someone who does, please call or email the office (513-541-2415, Please keep us informed about about illness, hospital stays, requests for visits, communion, and prayers for special concerns. Help us to serve you.
Stewardship Campaign: Not Over 'Til It's Over
Treasurer Roger Perna reports, "As of 12/3/09, we have received 27 pledges for a total of $49,564. Our 2009 numbers were 34 pledges for a total of $61,000.00."

It's not too late to make your pledge to Grace Church for 2010. Whether large or small, every pledge shows that someone has decided to show support for Grace Church.

If you did not receive a pledge letter, or need to consult with someone about your pledge, please see Treasurer Roger Perna or Senior Warden David Mukasa. Your pledge, whether large or small, shows your support of the community that is Grace Church.

This month's Mission Council meeting on December 16 will be working to come up with a budget that makes best use of our limited monetary resources.

Grace Receives Grant from Commission on Congregational Life

We have received the following from Canon Johanssen: "I am pleased to announce that you have received a grant from COCL in the amount of $20,000 for 2010."
You may remember that members of Mission Council met with Canon John Johanssen on October 14th to discuss Grace's plans for the future. The Rev. Canon Johanssen oversees congregational development. He works with churches that are thriving as well as those in crisis. Canon Johanssen also oversees deployment--that is the calling process for priests and congregations--as well as evangelism, stewardship and development.
Then, on October 21, representatives of Mission Council met with the Diocesan Commission on Congregational Life. COCL is charged with encouraging, supporting, evaluating, and seeking opportunities for development and growth of all fellowships, missions, and parishes of the diocese.

Apparently, our story was well-received. These funds, along with generous pledges and gifts from our members and friends, along with budget cutting by Mission Council, will go a long way to balancing Grace's budget for 2009.
Grace Church Giving Tree to Provide Gifts for 15 Needy Children

Christmas PresentsIt is our tradition to give wrapped gifts to specific needy children in West College Hill each Christmas.  To participate, please take a numbered tag from the Giving Tree at the front of the nave and record the tag number on the sheet on the piano along with your information. 

After buying and wrapping your gift of clothing (the tag contains name, gender, and clothing size of the child), put the same tag on the OUTSIDE of the wrapped gift.  Return all gifts under the tree on or before December 20. 

If you want to give but can't shop, please put your check with a note in the basket by the sign-up sheet and someone will shop for you.
Thank You Thanks to ...

...The EnGuard Flag & Drill Team for providing a hot breakfast after this Sunday's service.

...Wanda Miller for the seasonal plantings and decorations on Belmont, and the Altar and Flower Guilds and Building & Grounds Committee (especially Ken Lyon) for beautifying our space for Advent Season.

... Mary McLain and Carol Lyon for the new Grace Church banner.

... Mother Kimberly Knight and Father John Bower for officiating at our Sunday services.

... Jonathan Tan, Ken Blue and Mark Behnken for providing organ music for our Sunday services.

If you know of others who deserve our thanks, do let us know at
Grace Church Christmas Dinner and Concert Coming Sunday, December 13

The Grace Church Christmas Dinner and Concert is coming Sunday, December 13.  Dinner will be prepared and music presented by the Queen City Rainbow Band

The festive evening starts with appetizers and beverages (BYOB) at 5:30 pm, followed by dinner, music, dessert and carols, all in the Great Hall. 

Bring your whole family and friends and neighbors.  Tickets are $20 adults and teens, $10 children 12 and under (or sliding scale as we want as many as possible to attend). 

For tickets, see Grace Staples or call the office (513-541-2415), or sign up at the Rainbow Band web site so we will know how many to prepare for.  All proceeds above costs will be split between Grace Church and the Rainbow Band.

The QCRB has contributed twice previously to Grace Church's Christmas celebrations.  You can see pictures of previous Christmas Concerts  here and here. The band has rehearsed at the Grace for over five years, and is happy to help the church by coordinating the Holiday Dinner.
Coming Events

Grace Church Calendar

Upcoming Services:
  • Sunday, 12/6:  Holy Eucharist Rite II with Mtr. Kimberly Knight, followed by a sit-down breakfast provided by the Flag and Drill Team.  Also, look for Jane Strohmeieir's table of ceramic Christmas decorations.  At $5 each, she is splitting the proceeds with Grace Church.  They will be available again at the Christmas Dinner on Dec. 13.
  • Wednesday, 12/9, 7 pm: Celebration of Wholeness and Healing with Prayers, Drumming, Laying on of Hands & Reike.
  • Saturday, 12/12, 10 am to 3 pm: Common Ministry Workshop at Procter.
  • Sunday 12/13: Holy Eucharist Rite II with Mtr. Kimberly Knight.
  • Sunday 12/13, 5:30 pm: Holiday Dinner & Concert with the Queen City Rainbow Band.
  • Sunday 12/20: Holy Eucharist Rite II Fr. John Bower.
  • Thursday 12/24, 7 pm: Christmas Eve Holy Eucharist Rite II with Fr. John Bower
  • Friday, 12/25, 10 am: Christmas Day Holy Eucharist Rite II with Fr. Ray Betts.
  • Sunday 12/27: A Service of Nine Lessons and Carols.
See the Grace Calendar Page for the most up-to-date listing of events at Grace.  Let us know at if we've missed anything.
Grace Church as Leaven       

Sometimes we think we are too small to do much.  But it's surprising how one thing leads to another and the impact is multiplied beyond our wildest dreams.  Such a story is Grace Church's involvement with the homeless shelter, Interfaith Hospitality Network (soon to be called Family Promise, as it is now called nationally). 
Grace began hosting homeless families back in the 90's.  We hosted the program for about 15 years with Christ Church Glendale helping out with dinner and overnight hosts.  But their participation eventually shrank to only one person.  Then in 2005, events led to our having to give up the hosting because of lack of enough volunteers in our own congregation.  At this time, The Rev. Deacon Laura Chace, who had been a coordinator for the program, convinced Christ Church Glendale to take on the hosting.  We, along with several of our former support congregations, agreed to continue overnight volunteering.
Some people at Glendale might have thought they could have dinner catered, but Laura taught them that the program meant being present and interacting with their guests.  Their program, over time, evolved into one of the best hosting congregations in the city.  They have made many innovations that have been copied by others and have always been rated highly by departing guests.
Most importantly, however, through sitting down and talking with their guests, they began to realize the many needs that people face that had not been apparent to them in their own everyday lives.  With this realization and their extraordinary skills, Christ Church Glendale members began volunteering elsewhere, with agencies that build and repair homes, with food pantries, and very recently with other churches in helping Hispanic immigrants learn English so that they can interact with co-workers, improve their school work and function more efficiently and productively in an English speaking society.
So what Grace Church may have at first perceived as a failure on its part to continue to host has actually turned into many multiples of blessings to those we serve and to those who volunteer.
A final chapter (to date) to this story is that the Grace Church volunteers are now returning to College Hill to participate in a start-up network of six College Hill churches who will host IHN four times a year in our own neighborhood.  They will start in January at First United Church of Christ on Belmont, just up the street. 

Let's see how the blessings can multiply in College Hill!  Contact Mary McLain, Grace Staples or the church office (513-541-2415, for details.

Thanks to Grace Staples for this great perspective!

How You Can Participate in This Important Ministry

Grace Church will be the supporting congregation for one night during College Hill's first week as IHN hosts--on Friday, January 8. We are asking for volunteers to prepare and bring the meals, to be dinner hosts, to help serve the meal and visit with the guests, to be activity hosts to engage the children or to help with homework or to be overnight hosts to stay and sleep at the church with the families.

Training for the range of volunteer positions in preparation for this new ministry will be held on December 19th at the First UCC Church in College Hill.

IHN College Hill needs help from Grace to buy beds. They are $225 each.
Mary hopes we can help them buy one or 2 beds. We don't expect to be able to get all new beds by the first hosting in January. We have a source who will let us use their old used beds this first week to fill in.

Please let Grace Staples or Mary McLain know if you can help and can come to the training.
Finally, on Sunday December 6th we encourage you to do some Christmas shopping at Ten Thousand Villages. This unique fair trade store offers handmade jewelry, scarves, home decor, creches etc. from around the world at very reasonable prices. On this special day it shares all profits with IHN. The shop is located in O'Bryonville at 2011 Madison Rd.
Common Ministry Development Workshop at Procter December 12

The first step in Grace's participation in Bishop Breidenthal's "program to develop Common Ministry in your congregation and our diocese" takes place on
December 12 from 10 am to 3 pm at Procter Conference Center. There members of Grace Church and members of other invited churches will "discuss this program and how we can get started. We will talk about your needs and how this program can be adapted for your congregation."

All members and friends of Grace Church are asked to seriously consider attending this meeting. The more of us who attend, the further along we will be in understanding what Common Ministry is about and how Grace can benefit by it.

You can read the full text of the Bishop's invitation and its two attachments, which spell out what this programs is about, in the Common Ministry section of the Grace Church online file cabinet.
Grace Church ChoirChoir Rehearsing for Christmas

The Choir is beginning rehearsals for the Christmas Eve Service which will be celebrated at 7 pm.

Even if you can't sing every Sunday, we would be glad to have you join us for practice and on Christmas Eve.  We need you!

Rehearsals will be on Sunday, December 13 and Sunday December 20 and on one evening TBA. If you can come to any rehearsals, please join us.
Flowers Make Grace Church Even More Beautiful at Christmas

Christmas FlowersChristmas Flowers will make Grace church even more beautiful in the coming festive season.  If you would like to contribute please sign the list on the piano or call the church office (513-541-2415,

Suggested donations are:
  • Poinsettias, small $4, medium $10 and large $20. 
  • Floral arrangements for the high altar and the communion table are $50 each
  • Flowers for the peace chapel are $25. 
You may give these decorations in memory or in thanksgiving for a loved one or in honor of a special occasion by indicating when you sign up.  Make checks payable to Grace Church and mark "Christmas Flowers."
Senior Warden Vacation Plans

Senior Warden David Mukasa will be in Uganda from December 9 until after Christmas. Junior Warden Carol Lyon (513-542-2941, will fill in in his absence.
Nominations for Mission Council & Other Offices Needed

Mary McLain, J. White and Tammy Robertson have agreed to serve as the Nominating Committee, in preparation for the Annual Meeting to be held early in 2010.

At that meeting, both wardens, several Mission Council members, as well as Delegates and Alternates to Diocesan Convention will be elected.

If you would be willing to take on any of these responsibilities, please let any member of the committee know. Ditto if you know of someone who could fill any of these positions--but get the agreement of the person first.

Grace's by-laws specify the process for nominating and electing officers. You can see our by-laws here.
Friends of the Groom Coming to College Hill

Grace Church's friends, Friends of the Groom, are presenting "Nativity on the Square and Other Christmas Encounters" this year at College Hill Presbyterian Church on December 4, 5 and 6.  Click on the here for more information and to order tickets.
Share Your "View From the Pew"

Please share your thoughts regarding worship at Grace:  What you particularly like, what you might prefer less of, favorite hymns, etc. 

When you're in church, you can use one of the yellow index cards we have placed in the pews; then place it in the bin on the back table or give to the usher. Or send an email to, with "Attention Worship Committee" somewhere in the message.

We appreciate your input. 

From the Worship Committee.
It's Easy to Keep in Touch with What's Happening in the Diocese

The Diocese has its own eNewsletter called e-Connections that provices regular updates on Diocesan matters.  To subscribe, click here.

You can catch up with what's happening at the Diocesan web site.
eGraceNotes is published every week or two or three. Our primary purpose is to help keep members and friends of Grace Church up-to-date on what's happening at Grace.

While we try our best to represent the Grace Church congregation, opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anyone other than the editor (and perhaps not even his!).

The content of eGraceNotes depends on what news is provided us. Thus, the fact that something appears or doesn't appear in eGraceNotes is more likely a matter of whether or not someone provided information to publish rather than editorial bias. Send news that you think would be interesting to

Photos in eGraceNotes are often edited to remove extraneous material.

Ken Lyon, Editor.
Grace Episcopal Church | Phone: 513-541-2415 | 5501 Hamilton Avenue at Belmont Avenue | College Hill (Cincinnati) | OH | 45224