Absalom Jones

A spiritual home where all are welcome; a healing place in a broken world.

Issue 148 December 23, 2011 

In This Issue ...
Grace Celebrates Christmas
A Note from Fr. Bob About Our Christmas Services
Welcome Christmas Visitors
Christmas Eve Reception
Christmas Greetings from Our Bishop
Christmas Greeting and Gift from Hawley Todd
Thanks to ....
Prayer Requests
A Note from Jonathan Tan
Coming Events
News Shorts
Dear Reader,
At our house, we'll be using the space between the two Christmas services to decorate our Christmas tree and open our presents. Keeping Advent has helped us remain a little less frazzled during what can be a stressful season. Today, we brought our tree indoors and started playing some Christmas music. I hope we're forgiven for this little pre-celebration of Christmas!

You may notice a new heading picture at the top of this issue. The person who reviewed eGraceNotes for the diocese's wRite Stuff awards suggested that the heading should show more people and less building. That's a comment with which I agree, so I've changed the heading to incorporate more people. I've made the sames changes on our web site. Take a look and give me your comments. If you can help make it better, please let me know. (I don't hold myself up as a graphic designer).

Merry Christmas!


Our Values
Links ...
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Find us on Facebook 

Grace's Calendar

Grace's Photo Albums

Back issues of eGraceNotes

Sunday Service/Volunteer Schedule

Donate Money to Grace 


More Links 
Grace Celebrates Christmas
Absalom Jones
Grace will celebrate Christmas at two services:
  • Christmas Eve at 7 pm Saturday and
  • Christmas Day at 10 am Sunday.  

All are invited to participate fully in our celebrations of Jesus' birth.


The services will be very different, with different celebrants, different readings and different music, so attending both is not at all out of the question.

Refreshments will follow both services, providing  an opportunity to greet friends, new and old.

Bring family and friends with you!
A Note from Fr. Bob About Our Christmas Services

Absalom Jones

On Christmas Eve, we celebrate the beautiful feast of the Nativity in all of its simplicity:  the shepherds, the manger, the star, the animals, the Holy Family.  It is a profound thing--and yet easily comprehensible.   


The Gospel for Christmas Day is quite different.  It is the Prologue of St. John.  It speaks of holy light, incarnate light coming into this dark world. It speaks of a savior--the Word-made-Flesh--God dwelling amongst us.


Luke wrote as an historian.  John writes with the pen of theology.  They give us two different pictures of one marvelous event.   


In the baby Jesus we have a God who loves us so much that He comes into our world in a gentle, loving way.  No fanfare, no fireworks--just utter simplicity and utter love.   


John's Word-made-Flesh reverses the tragedy of Adam and Eve.  He is the new Adam, the one come to break down the gates which bar us from heaven--and to redeem all humankind, encircling us in the Light of Divine Love.   


What a gift we have this Christmas!  It is a gift for eternity. It is a gift for each one of us who claim Jesus as Lord, Savior, and Redeemer.  Where do you stand in all of this?  Do you offer Him your life, your actions, your thoughts, your concerns, your love?    


Have a Blessed Christmas!  


Bob Hufford+  

Welcome Christmas Visitors



How a person is treated when they first visit an unfamiliar church can make a lot of difference in their life.  See here for a nice short article on one person's discovery of what her welcome meant.

Christmas Eve Reception


Absalom Jones
After the Christmas Eve service you are invited to join us for a few minutes or a longer time--whatever time you can spare--for a celebration.



We will have punch and Christmas cookies, wine and cheese, and other hors d'oeuvres.


Please let us know if you will be able to join us.  We don't know whether to plan for 4 or 40!  Just send an e-mail to millerw@fuse.net saying yes or no to this invitation. 


Wanda, J, and Marjorie


PS:  Whether or not you RSVP, do feel free to join us! 

Christmas Greetings from Our Bishop
Absalom Jones
This is the beautiful painting from our Bishop's Christmas greeting. You can see a larger version, along with the Bishop's greeting here
Christmas Greeting and Gift from Hawley Todd

Dear Friends,


Peace and all good to you.  


We have placed online (here) the homily that I gave at Grace at our most recent Wednesday night healing service. Since several of the non-church-goers told me they liked it, I thought it might have some meaning. It is a way to prepare for Christmas and give a special gift to yourself and loved ones.


Love, light, goodness, blessings and joy to you all!  




Hawley Todd, TSSF  

Minister of Christ Healing

Executive Director, Episcopal Healing Ministries

Area Director, Ohio & Kentucky, Order of St Luke

Thank You Very MuchThanks to ...


... Roger Perna, Bob Jones, Jeff and Grace Staples for setting up, unloading trucks, feeding volunteers, and directing traffic, etc. at the Feed The Children distribution of Christmas food boxes to 1200 people in College Hill.   


... Ohio State Parolees who completed painting three downstairs rooms, removed junk, cleaned, repaired cabinetry and replaced ceiling tiles. Also to Roger Perna, Bob Jones, Wanda Miller and Marjorie Shaddwho supervised them and to Mary McLain and Grace Staples for preparing and serving a delicious hot meal to all.   


... Marjorie Shadd for procuring and wrapping Christmas gifts for Christ Community in College Hill.   


 ... J.  White for her efforts in finding and accommodating renters for the building.  


 ... all who responded to the call for musicians, especially for our Christmas Eve service.   

... those who provided flowers for this Christmas season:

  • John Thayer, in memory of his grandparents, George and Mary Matile
  • Phillis Dietz, in loving memory of her husband Jim Dietz
  • and also  Wanda Miller, Mary McLain, Marjorie Shadd, Grace Staples, Chuck Bowles, Ken and Carol Lyon    

... John Hodapp and Sons Funeral Home for providing our calendars of the church     year as they have for many years. They are so helpful to Altar Guild, Worship     Committee, Lectors and all of us. Look for them in the back of the church.


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.


PPrayer Requestslease keep these people in your prayers for their special needs:   


Jonathan S., Noah, Chico & family, 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, Alice, Christine Zuniga, Nathaniel, Zachary, Bonnie, Kristine, Judy J., Marci, Susan, Pat J., Rehan, Dee, Kim H, Mary S., Margaret K., Beth Tracy, Karen and Diana, The Partin-Sharp family, Rita, Mimi, Brenda, the Fantetti family, the Bennett Family, and Ernestein Flemister.


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.           


Pastoral Care

If you need pastoral care or know of someone who does, please call or email the office (513-541-2415, office@gracecollegehill.org). Keep us informed about about illness, hospital stays, requests for visits, communion, and prayers for special concerns.
Absalom JonesA Note from Jonathan Tan

It was wonderful to be home at Grace for the 4th Sunday of Advent. As I always tell others, Grace Parish is a little parish that has a can-do spirit, much like the little engine that can climb up the hill. Having been a member and worked in so many different parishes in different parts of the world, there is something unique about the parish spirit, cameraderie, support, empathy, and just plain good fellowship. Size is not important, spirit is.


I am proud to be a member of Grace, to be home to see familiar faces and renew old ties, and am looking forward to coming back on my next trip to Cincinnati. May the Spirit move you all to greater heights in 2012.


Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas Eve celebration and all the best for the new year 2012!


Jonathan Y. Tan, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer, Australian Catholic University School of Theology Strathfield, NSW, Australia
What's Happening at Grace

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 (office@gracecollegehill.org).

  News Shorts
  • Carl Relyea, our friend and long-time former Clerk of Council, celebrates his 99th birthday on Dec. 29. Cards may be sent to 1346 Teakwood Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45224.
  • Grace Church volunteers will again provide meals and overnight hosting to homeless families thru the Interfaith Hospitality Network on Friday, Jan. 6, at First UCC. (Other College Hill churches provide these services throughout the rest of that week.)   Please contact Mary McLain if you can provide food, activities, cleanup, etc.
  • Fr. John Bower is retiring (again) after his Christmas Eve service with us.  Your cards of appreciation would be welcomed.  
  • Our dear friend and former member and deacon, The Rev. Laura Chace, was honored posthumously by the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Cincinnati at the open house of its new Shelter Services Center on Dec. 2. Laura dedicated more than 20 years of her life and work to sheltering homeless families at Grace Church and Christ Church Glendale as well as serving on the IHN Board.

  • Over the years the Choir Room has become the repository for many "treasures."  There are quite of few that need to be returned to their rightful homes.  Please check the round table toward the back of the room to see if any of this items belong to you. They include one woman's white cardigan, one Army blanket, an olive colored fringed cover that may be for a table, children's books and toys (once used in the church) and other educational materials.  In addition, there is a marvelous collection of antique books on a shelf. If anyone has a source that could repair the books please let Marjorie know. Some books need to be cleaned, others may need to be recovered. 
  • 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 bowles1453@aol.com  if you are interested. Chuck will train you before he leaves.
  • Sunday Service Volunteers are always  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 Diocese is looking for Summer Camp Counselors for Procter Center.  Read  more about it in a recent issue of e-Connections here
  • Lectionary Bible Study won't meet December 25 or January 1.  Each Sunday thereafter at 9 am we discuss the day's Scripture lessons. Please make an effort to attend - we want to make this study a viable part of our adult formation program. We will have plenty of copies of the Bible to read from; you are encouraged to bring your own Bible, if you have one. (Not meeting on 12/25 or 1/1.) 
  • A Feast of Love celebrates Christ's birth at the 26th annual Christmas Day FREE sit down hot dinner at 5742 Hamilton Avenue on Sunday, December 25, from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. If you are able to help, volunteers and food are needed. If you are in need of help, everyone is welcome and no one will be denied. For more information, contact Karen Lane at 541-5676, Ext. 167. For meal delivery or transportation, call 787-0786.
  • Marjorie Shadd shares information about a reading course by Dr. Christ Pramuk of Xavier University, writer of Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton to be held at St. Monica-St. George in University Heights.  Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk who was one of the leading figures within the Catholic Church in interfaith exploration.  The course that Pramuk will lead offers a great opportunity to explore Merton's insights, both his mystic theology and real-world concerns. Read more about it here.   
  • Kroger shoppers can make donations to the Freestore Foodbank via tear-off coupons in denominations of $1, $3, and $5 in the check-out lane at local Kroger stores.
  • 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, jhandy23@cinci.rr.com).   
  • 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.
Absalom JoneseGraceNotes 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 eGraceNotes@GraceCollegeHill.org.

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