A spiritual home where all are welcome; a healing place in a broken world.
Monday, November 29, 2010
|Dear Ken Lyon,
Advent has arrived--the time of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas. This can become a stressful time if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the buy-buy-buy, go-go-go spirit that the commercial world promotes at every opportunity.
Happily, the church provides us a peaceful refuge during Advent. The usual altar flowers are replaced with soothing greens and alleluia's are given up for the season. In these and other ways, we're reminded that Christmas doesn't start until the evening of the 24th, when the flowers will be back in superabundance, along with the alleluia's and the wonderful Christmas music. Then, we'll have 12 days to celebrate Christmas as much as we want.
At our house, we've found that one way to make the Christmas celebration more meaningful is to hold off on "pre-celebrating" the event. Like the church, we hold off putting up our Christmas decorations until after the last Sunday of Advent, and we start playing our collection of Christmas music on Christmas eve.
One side benefit of this procedure is that we get some really great bargains on Christmas trees a day or two before Christmas.
One important gift that Grace Church offers is that it is a place where one's contribution is welcomed and valued. If you'd like to be a bigger part of helping Grace Church realize its potential, contact someone on the People Page in an area of interest to you, or contact us at 513-542-2941 or email@example.com.
If you think of others who would like to see this eGraceNotes
, click here
to send them a copy.
| Happy New (Church) Year!
Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent, marking the beginning of the liturgical calendar year. It is a Holy time, when Christians wait and prepare for the coming of Christ on Christmas.
During the season of Advent, we are called to seek the light of Christ, even in the midst of darkness. We are invited to face the darkness of our own lives and in the world around us. The prophets assure us that the darkness will not overcome us. They call us to watch for the light. We are called to wait, to hope, to trust in promises made.
We have placed an Advent Wreath at the front of the church. It's an important symbol of the season, consisting of an evergreen wreath and four candles. The circular shape represents eternity, having no beginning and no end, and evergreen is chosen as it symbolizes growth and everlasting life.
The four candles will eventually be lit in the wreath over the course of Advent. We may think of the first candle, which we lit yesterday, as one representing HOPE. We can hope because God is faithful and will keep the promises made to us. Our hope comes from God. "And again Isaiah says, 'The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.' May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:12-13).
| Bishop Breidenthal Will Confirm, Receive and Reaffirm on January 2
On January 2, Bishop Breidenthal is making his visitation to Grace. In addition to celebrating Eucharist with us, he will be confirming and receiving
people into the fellowship of the Episcopal Church. He will also be blessing those who wish to reaffirm their baptismal vows.
We already have one person being being confirmed and one being received. If anyone else would like to join them in being either confirmed or received, please let Hawley Todd know.
This service also includes a part for those who are already confirmed or received in the Episcopal Church to reaffirm their baptismal vows. We have asked Bishop Breidenthal if we could include that in our service. He said "absolutely."
Reaffirmation is appropriate for any whodesire to renew their Christian commitment or who have experienced a renewal of faith. It is also appropriate for those who have returned from a time of religious inactivity to an active practice of faith.
If you were (or would like to be) one of the many members who have voiced a desire to grow intentionally in your relationship with God, please consider making a reaffirmation of your baptismal vows! I will do so myself.
If you have not yet been baptized and wish to receive this sacrament, the bishop will do that as well.
In any case, let Hawley Todd (513-967-6581, firstname.lastname@example.org
) know your intentions so you and the Bishop can be prepared.
Advent and Christmas are perfect seasons to focus on the tremendous gift that Jesus is in our lives.
| Holiday Concert & Reception Sunday, December 12 at 7 pm
Start your holidays with the Queen City Rainbow Band Concert and Jazz Bands, performing in the amazing beauty and acoustics of the Grace Episcopal Church sanctuary.
After the concert, join your friends and family for a dessert reception in the Great Hall.
The concert program includes our favorite choices of familiar holiday favorites:
- The Concert Band will play Symphonic Prelude On Adeste Fidelis, Ding Dong Merrily On High, Candlelight Carol, Gesu Bambino and others.
- The Jazz Band will play No "L" in Swing, And the Angels Swing, Baby, It's Cold Outside, Santa Baby, God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen, and more.
You will love the "sonorous tones" of Grace's Ken Lyon as he narrates "The Bells of Christmas" written by Robert Longfield.
Admission is free, but the Rainbow Band will be giving all goodwill concert donations to Grace Episcopal Church. The band has rehearsed at the College Hill church for over six years, and has enjoyed the great facilities and community Grace Church offers.Click here
to hear a short preview and for more information.
| Prayer Shawl Winner Announced
The winner of the prayer shawl from our free drawing in November was Catherine L. Barrett from Hammond North. Marjorie Shadd wrapped it and took it to her with our best wishes and a note about the healing ministry at Grace.
We received a total of 33 entries (from voters and life line screenees). We will contact these other folks in the future, announcing the winner and inviting them to participate. This is the beginning of us following the "Best Practices" we learned in October.
|Stewardship Campaign Status
The 2011 Stewardship Campaign yielded 24 pledges for a total pledged amount of $47,154. We identified 38 "regular attendees", so this would give us a 63% participation rate.
For your information, in 2010 we had 27 pledges totaling $50,865 and in 2009 we had 34 pledges totaling $58,490.
Roger Perna, Finance/Stewardship Chair
|Service Participant Schedule Posted
We have posted a new service participant schedule here
that covers services through the end of January. Please check to see that you'll be able to serve when scheduled. If you can't, please find a replacement from the list of worship resources at the bottom of the schedule, and let webmaster Ken Lyon know at email@example.com
If you see any errors in the list of worship resources, please let Ken know. He's new at this scheduling business.
|Elizabeth Kelly Celebrates 97th Birthday
Long-time member Elizabeth Kelly was treated to a birthday cake honoring her 97th birthday at a recent coffee hour.
|Sunday School/Nursery Room Refurbished
Thanks to the work of several wonderful volunteers, the Sunday School/Nursery room has been completely repainted, recarpeted and refurnished.
It looks great!
|Thanks to ...|
... Walter and Judy Handy hfor donating 50 copies of a new hymnal they selected with Jonathan Tan called "My Heart Sings Out."
... Carol Lyon for donating the prayer shawl that was raffled off.
Please keep these people in your prayers: Al Berghausen, Dean Bryeans, Irene Bryeans, Malcolm Daniel, Jean Cavalieri, Tony, Phillis Dietz, Erik, Alison, Alexis & Nathanael Handy, Joshua, Caleb, Anne & Darryl Handy, Judy & Walter Handy, Polly Hager Family, Kim Hermann and family, Marjorie and Faisal , Elizabeth Kelly, Carol Lyon, Kim Martin, Robb Martin, Shelly Martin, John Kakande Mukasa, Madeena Nolan, Pete Staples, Steve, Barbara Todd, Toussaint Thrower & family, Karen Van Wagenen, Joseph Black, Mukasa family, Matovu family, Angie and family, the Edgy family.
You may use the Prayer Request Book at the rear of the nave to have persons included in the Sunday bulletin Prayer List and for prayers this week, or you can tell the office (513-541-2415, firstname.lastname@example.org). Make sure you have the person's permission to list him or her.
If you need pastoral care or know of someone who does, please call or email the office (513-541-2415, email@example.com). Keep us informed about about illness, hospital stays, requests for visits, communion, and prayers for special concerns.
To see what's coming up at Grace, click here.
If you see errors or omissions, please email eGraceNotes@gracecollegehill.org.
|The Giving Tree is Here|
This is how we provide Christmas gifts for needy College Hill children. Our Outreach team is doing this in support of our Common Ministry goals and as a longstanding mission of Grace Church.
This year we hope to reach out to each child with an extra prayer or other insert from Grace Church in their gift of clothing. See instructions on the signup table before taking a tag, then record the information on the sign-up sheet with your name and the child's.
The wrapped gifts with original tag on the OUTSIDE are due back Sunday, December 12. If you have questions, call Grace Staples at 513-251-3538. Thank you!
|Advent and Christmas Flowers
During advent the altar is adorned with greens. This lets our mind rest as it prepares for Christmas. The suggested donation for greens is $35. Christmas.
Christmas is ushered in with poinsettias and other large arrangements on the altars. Share the joy of beautifying the nave and sanctuary with a donation towards the flowers.
You may give these flowers in memory of a loved one, in honor of a loved one or in thanksgving.
Suggested donation for the main altar flowers is $50, for the peace chapel offer is $25. Suggested donations for the poinsettias that surround the altar and other parts of the church is $15-$25.
Please sign up at the table by the Belmont door or call the church office, or make your contribution online at Grace's new online giving page here.
The flowers need to be ordered early to get the best selection. Let us know your intention as soon as possible.
Grace Church's Facebook Page Adds to Our Internet Presence
Forty-nine people now "like" the new Grace Church Facebook page, and about twice that many people have already visited our page. We can use our Facebook page to talk about Grace Church on an ongoing basis. One of our first uses of the page was to help get the word out about Jim Edgy's memorial service.
Anyone can share on our page. We encourage you to share your comments or questions about Grace. As things happen at Grace, or as you have thoughts about Grace, post 'em for all to see!
Click the link below to get to Grace's Facebook page. Then click the "like" button so that you're registered as a fan of Grace Church.
If you don't have a Facebook account, you'll see a Sign Up link for you to use to get an account. Be sure to set your privacy settings so that you're not bombarded with unwanted messages and requests. Web Site and eGraceNotes Also Help Spread the WordOur website
had at least 150 different visitors last week, most of whom had not previously visited our site. Research tells us that the internet is now the most common way that people seek out a church to visit, so we try to make our site represent Grace honestly and well to people who don't yet know us.
We now have 140 subscribers to eGraceNotes
, of whom you are one. Our subscribers are people who already have had some contact with Grace Church, and we use this medium to keep folks uptodate on what's happening at Grace.
|Opportunities to Contribute that Don't Involve Money|
Virginia Chapel writes: "We need Sunday school helpers. I can commit to every other Sunday, but we need help for the weeks that I can not be here. I can prepare and leave material for you to use. Contact me at 513-522-5893."
Sunday Service Participants
Sunday Service Volunteers are needed in all positions. Training is offered for acolytes, Eucharistic Visitors and Chalice Bearers. We are a Common Ministry Parish. Everyone is encouraged to participate. Let the office know of your interest.
|Our Cathedral Offers Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light
Christ Church Cathedral Presents Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light, a one-woman play written and performed by international mezzo soprano Linn Maxwell, on Friday, December 3, at 7 pm.
The performance is free and open to the public, but a good will offering will be collected to benefit Cincinnati area charities that serve the needs of women.
For more information go here.