A spiritual home where all are welcome; a healing place in a broken world.
Issue 147 November 19, 2011
I thought this might be a quick issue, coming so soon after the previous issue, but I discovered that there's just too much going on to do a short issue. That's good news!
I was really encouraged with the outcomes of the Congregational meeting last weekend. Now we have a chance to put our creative hats on and see what we can come up with!
I am, of course, feeling really good about the awards that eGraceNotes got at last weekend's Diocesan Convention. Some people have told me I'm too modest about this. The article below should remove any doubts about that. Seriously, though, you can't have a good newsletter about a congregation where nothing's happening. Lively congregations make good newsletters possible, and I'm sure happy to be part of the Grace congregation.
See you Sunday at the healing service, If nothing else, I'll be praying for relief from a cold that's been slowing me down most of this week!
|Congregational Meeting Identifies Three Functions Needing Attention
|The November 12 Congregational Meeting identified three functions where focused attention now could yield the biggest improvement in the life of Grace Church:
- Building Our Community
- Reaching Out
Three short-term task forces were formed to analyze each function and recommend changes at the January 16 Mission Council meeting.
- Management: Chuck Bowles, Wanda Miller & Judy Handy.
- Building Community: Carol Lyon, Roger Perna, & J White
- Reaching Out: Grace Staples, Bill Jenne, & Ken Lyon
The task forces will be looking at each of these areas with an eye to coming up with ways to improve the health of the function and/or reduce the amount of energy needed. They will eagerly welcome others who want to help between now and January and will be soliciting help from outside resources as needed.
The October Congregational Meeting had identified the amount of energy being put into various Grace Church functions. At this meeting, they began to define what each function would look like in a healthy church, and then graded Grace Church on each function on a 1 to 3 scale.
Function Energy Score
Management 75 1.7
Worship 42 2.1
Building Our Community 40 1.4
Facilities 27 1.7
Finance 15 1.3
Reaching Out 13 1.4
Pastoral Care 14 2.0
As is usual with such meetings, it's difficult to communicate what the terms used in this short summary actually mean. Thus, readers are encouraged to contact any of the people mentioned above with their questions or comments. If you need help contacting anyone, please contact the office (513-541-2415, firstname.lastname@example.org).
|eGraceNotes Recognized for Excellent Communication by Diocese
Winners of the wRite Stuff communications competition were awarded the first-ever gold, silver and bronze quill awards for excellence in communication in a ceremony held at diocesan convention. In the electronic newsletter division, eGraceNotes was awarded the highest level "Gold Quill" award in both categories in which awards were given: "Best of Show" and "Overall Excellence in Design."
The wRite Stuff competition was developed not just to award good examples of writing and design but also to lift up communication in our congregations as a tool for the Gospel. Communicating the Word of God is the central mission of the Church, and a more communicative Church means a more missionary and pastoral Church.
In this first-ever competition, 95 entries in 12 categories were submitted by 16 different congregations from around the diocese. The categories covered both print and electronic newsletters produced in the 2010-2011 program year (September 2010 until June 2011).
Judges were recruited from dioceses, schools and congregations across the U.S., the Episcopal Church Center and Forward Movement Publications.
eGraceNotes was first published to a very small subscriber list in April, 2006. It contained two articles: "Rumors of Our Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated" by Senior Warden John Thayer and "Greetings from Fr. Howard," who was then joining us as priest-in-charge. The 146 issues that follow document the rebirth of Grace Church as a common ministry congregation with expectations for continued renewal of health, God willing. eGraceNotes now goes to 164 subscribers. You can see that first issue here, and an index to all issues here.
Editor Ken Lyon is pleased with the recognition that this award brings to the Grace Church community. He's happy to have had the College Hill eNewsletter, which he started a year earlier, to practice on before starting eGraceNotes. He credits Roger Speer much of the credit for the current design, which is based on Grace Church's website, which Roger designed.
|Celebration of Wholeness and Healing This Sunday
This Sunday's 10 am worship will again be a Celebration of Wholeness and Healing with Hawley Todd presiding.
Reports from last month's service tell of a worship experience that is beginning to come into its own at Grace Church, as more people come to understand and find ways to participate in this healing experience.
As usual, there will be Bible Study before the service at 9 am, Sunday School during the service, and Snack 'n Chat following in the Small Assembly Room.About this service ...
Healing is the process of becoming the person God created us to be. Wholeness and healing happen as we invite God's presence into our lives. Prayers for healing are simply putting oneself in an attitude and position where one is open to receive God deeper into one's life.
Healing is holistic. It involves the body, emotions, mind, and spirit of a person. And not only that, it involves all of one's relationships with others and creation. With that understanding of healing, we can see that Eucharist is also a healing service. Both services focus on healing the wounds that separate us from God, from each other, and that exist within ourselves.
Coming to the rail for healing prayers in this service has much the same function as coming for the elements in the Eucharistic service.
|Interesting Feedback from the Wednesday Night Healing Service |
We received this feedback from a newcomer to this month's Wednesday night Celebration of Wholeness and Healing:
Thanks, Hawley, for welcoming us to Grace Episcopal! It was definitely interesting and I could feel a lot of love all around us. That to me is what it all boils down to, so when that seems to be missing in what a parish offers it is very disappointing. Sometimes that is brought to mind in my day-to-day work here at St. xxxx.
Eliza liked it too, as I am sure she will tell you, and it is so unusual that she will go to a church, so it was great that perhaps it changed her perceptions of what can go on in a church. Ditto for Dell!
Sometimes we're not sure if our Wednesday night service comes under the heading of Outreach or Evangelism. Looks like it's both!
|Community Services List Being Created |
Rhonda Sharp reports:
I spent some time earlier this week getting together a list of community service resources (see here
). Can you all please take a moment and let me know if there is any other agency you know of that we can add to the list?
Having a list like this became very important to me during my morning in the office this week, because I can't even count the number of calls I received asking for assistance.
I realize that we have the 211 number for United Way, but having this lists allows us to offer a more compassionate and more immediate approach. For example, someone needed bus tokens. I was able to refer them to St. Vincent DePaul, and it was fixed immediately. Had I sent them to 211, there would have been a lot of frustrating calls for them in between.
Many of these people sounded very desperate and scared, so I think having a list that gets them to the point where they can be helped a bit faster is a good idea. Thank you for anyone who takes a look at it.
Check out the list: Give Rhonda and the others who answer our phone a hand at helping us serve our community better!
|Thanks to ... |
- ... Rhonda Sharp for taking the initiative to put that Community Services list together.
- ... Roger Perna and Bob Smith for picking up all those yams from Aldi's for the Thanksgiving baskets.
- ... Carol Lyon, Chuck Bowles and Ken Lyon for leading two Congregational Meetings.
- ... Hawley Todd for leading our healing services.
We're sure that we've left out many of the people who deserve our thanks. Let us know who we've missed by clicking eGraceNotes@GraceCollegeHill.org
Please keep these people in your prayers for their special needs:
Jonathan S., Noah, Chico & Ponda, Lauren, the Daniel family, the Cavalieri family, Virginia Chapel's family, Anne, Darryl, Caleb & Joshua, Brian, Kim & Robb, Erik, Alison, Alexis & Nathanael, Marie, Irene Bryeans, Dean Bryeans, Diane, Maxwell & family, Barbara, Beverly, Bob and Rita, Father John, Alice, Christine Zuniga, The Hagedorn family, Nathaniel, Zachary, Bonnie, Kristine, Judy J., Marci, Susan, Pat J., Rehan, Dee, Kim H, Mary S., Margaret K., Beth Tracy, Karen and Diana, Della, theThe Partin-Sharp family, Rita, and Mimi.
Please pray for all on our prayer lists and the following members and supporters who are not always able to attend services: M. Back, M. Bellows, J. Carroll, E. Gescheidle, N. Hall, A. Henneberg, J. Henthorn, E. Kelly, N. Koester, E. Pinto, M. Ratliff, C. Relyea, MJ Showers, and J. Strohmeier.
Requests for prayers may be called in to the church cell phone: 513-763-9520. Please also indicate whether the name of the prayer recipient is to be listed in the bulletin.
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.
|Coming Events |
The online Grace Church Calendar lists most everything we know about that's happening at Grace Church. If something's not listed, or if you see errors, please tell the office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
| News Shorts
- We need someone to lead Bible Study in the parlor at 9am on November 27. (Ken, Roger and Hawley are all unavailable). Leading the study is easier than you might think. Ken will provide a list of questions to ask, and the group can look up the answers in the source materials we have available. Here's your chance! Let Ken Lyon know.
Since Chuck Bowles will be leaving for new digs in Atlanta in the near future, we will need volunteers to replace him on Altar Guild and Flower Guild. Please contact Chuck Bowles at email@example.com if you are interested. Chuck will train you before he leaves.
- Calling all Musicians: Any folks wishing to lend their talents to becoming music leaders for the congregation (even if not for every week) should speak with our organist, Bill Jenne.
- Yams, Anyone? Grace Church members have contributed $161.00 so far toward the $258 purchase of eight cases of yams for the Christ's Community of College Hill Thanksgiving baskets. These baskets will be distributed to 200 households. We will continue to welcome donations through the holiday. We will notify you as soon possible what will be needed for Christmas Food Boxes.
- The seventh annual Advent Carol Service will be offered by Ascension and Holy Trinity, Wyoming, on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 5pm. Sung in procession, this beautiful liturgical exercise is a highlight of the Advent season. All are welcome and tickets are not required. Ascension & Holy Trinity is located at 334 Burns Avenue in the historic Wyoming area of Cincinnati. Call 513.821.5341 for more information.
- Sunday Service Volunteers are needed in all positions including choir members, Sunday School teachers and sitters. Training is offered for acolytes, Eucharistic Visitors and Chalice Bearers. We are a Common Ministry Parish - everyone is encouraged to serve. Let the office know of your interest for training dates.
- The Interfaith Hospitality Network: Grace Church is serving Serving on Friday, 11/25/11. If you have food to deliver, please bring between 4:30 and 5 P.M. ready to serve.
IHN has received funding for their new Transitional Housing Program
. This will allow IHN to pay rent and utilities for 20 families while continuing to work with case management to overcome long-term stability barriers. IHN will partner with private landlords who will receive secured rent for specified periods of time and a dedicated case manager. If you own a rental unit (does not need to be Section 8 certified) or know any landlords that might want to work with IHN, please contact IHN's Shelter Director, Stacey R. Hall, at 513-471-1100, ext. 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Worship Service Volunteer Schedule through the end of the year is posted here. If you're listed and can't serve on your appointed date, please find a replacement and let the webmaster know. If you'd like to be added to the rotation in any area, please contact Worship Team Leader Judy Handy 513-681-5829, email@example.com).
- Softer seats, anyone? Junior Warden Wanda Miller has found a great deal on cushioned chairs to replace some of our old metal folding chairs. She's hoping that perhaps each family could purchase two chairs, but of course, would appreciate any donation. The cost is $19.97 each + tax = $21.27 - two chairs would be $42.32 at Sams' Club. If you are interested (even if you don't have a membership) please speak with Wanda. Thanks very much!
- Flowers on the altar beautify our worship and can memorialize or honor important people in our lives. You can sign up to give altar flowers here, or on a signup sheet near the upper Belmont entrance, or you can let the office know your wishes. $35 is the usual cost of flowers.
|World AIDS Day Prayer Service 2011
St. John United Church of Christ (520 Fairfield Avenue, Bellevue, KY) invites you to the annual World AIDS Day Prayer Service on Thursday, December 1st at 7:30 p.m. This year's service will be filled with art song selections from the AIDS Quilt Song Book, hymns of faith and hope, poetry and prayers, and liturgies from around the world. A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall.
Anonymous HIV Testing will be offered by the St. John Free HIV Testing Program supported by the Northern Kentucky Health Department at the Church in room 201 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Please use the accessible entrance off the parking lot.
For directions and more information visit www.StJohnChurch.net. Contact The Reverend Keith M. Haithcock at 859.261.2066, ext. 202 or Pastor@StJohnChurch.net.
|Christ Church, Glendale, welcomes Diana Butler Bass to discuss "Christianity After Religion
Every recent survey of American religious practice shows that conventional religion is in serious decline; at the same time, people express high levels of enthusiasm for spirituality. What does this mean for our own lives, churches, and Christianity more broadly?
The Education Commission at Christ Church, Glendale, is very proud to be able to invite Dr. Diana Butler Bass to join us for a special weekend in December. We'll explore the big picture of how the 3Bs "believing, behaving, and belonging" are changing as we discern the shape of emerging spirituality and the implications of these changes on faith, congregations, and culture.
Bass is an author, speaker, and scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and among many other things, is the author of eight books including the best-selling Christianity for the Rest of Us (2006) which was named as one of the best religion books of the year by Publishers Weekly.
A special session open to the public will be held at the Glendale Town Hall on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost for this event is $10 and will include lunch. Please contact Joe Snavely at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, or to register for this special opportunity.