Grace Notes: December 2020

From the Rector

Dear Friends,

Dear Friends,

Frederick Buechner writes, “Advent begins in the dark” but this year it may seem that it is hard to tell the difference. Darkness seems to be the constant theme and experience of 2020 and it seems that we can’t even look forward to the traditional joys of Christmas, parties, family gatherings, Christmas Lessons and Carols, or perhaps not even Christmas Eve Mass with the candlelight singing of Silent Night. (I am not ready to quite throw in the towel yet on that one but I must admit it looks unlikely). It is easy to get depressed and, in a sense, give up – why bother with Christmas at all?

And yet this is a variation on a question that is at the heart of every Advent season – why did God bother to come into the world in the first place? And how can we prepare space in our beings to be overwhelmed once more with the experience that God did bother and does continue to bother to come into our world and into our lives?

As much as things have changed this year, this much has not changed – God is still in our midst – loving, healing, encouraging – God still bothers and Jesus will still come the stable in Bethlehem and into the manger of the hearts of all who prepare a space for him.

So, do not give up – do not be discouraged – do not lose hope – find a new way to prepare a highway for our God even in the midst of this wilderness time.


Father Joe

Worship Update & Christmas Plans

Given the reality of the Pandemic and the high infection rates in our area we will not have public in person worship for the foreseeable future. We will continue with our weekly live stream service on Face Book at 9:30 a.m. and the service will be posted on our You Tube Channel. If you need help connecting to the service please give us a call.

If we are able – and this is a longshot at best – to have in person worship for Christmas we will have 2 services as usual at 5 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. We will take reservations with a to be determined number of parishioners allowed at each service – perhaps 25 – 35 at best. Please watch for information on how to reserve a spot. If we cannot have in person worship, we will live stream a 5 p.m. service that can be watched at any time and you will also get information as to how you can participate in the broadcasted Diocesan or National Cathedral services.


Mitten Tree

Time to bring in your gloves, mittens, hats and scarves for the Annual Mitten tree! The office is open from 9-1 and Monday, Wednesday and Friday or better yet leave us a message and Father Joe will pick up the mittens from your front porch!

We will give out these gifts as part of the Christmas celebration at the Food Pantry.

Food Pantry

979 households in six days!
That may be a record.
The 688 households for Thanksgiving is 70 + more than last year … and we served outside … and we packed all the boxes.
AND we get to do it again for Christmas
Monday Dec 21 4-6 pm and Tuesday Dec 22 9-11 am.

EventDate# Served
North Central State11/24/202016
North Central State11/19/202011

Thanks to Bob Windsor, who navigated us back into Meijer Simply Give, from whence our 4,800 cookies came! Good to see Bob when we picked up the cookies.
You see in the photo our “sweeties” framed in Meijer’s cookie box tops and our 20 + pallets of packed Thanksgiving boxes in the background.

Fr. Joe has done it again with the help of Richland County Foundation, $6,000 grant to provide a greenhouse for winter distribution. We will close Dec 2 and 3 to construct. The end walls will come later.

Error in the slips that went out… so we will be open two Wednesdays in a row, the 9th and 16th.
The Pantry will be closed Dec 2 and 3 and Dec 30/31.

Thank You all


“Connected in Grace” is our theme for this year’s Every Member Canvas.

We are well on our way to wrapping up the Canvas. Thank you for your faithful and prompt response. Once again, your faithful giving is remarkable and prospects for financial prospects for 2021 look promising. However, there are still about 20 family units from whom we have not heard. SO, please return your pledge card as soon as possible! Also, we still need your pictures for the collage!

Vestry Nominations Sought

At the January 2021 Annual Meeting we will be electing 3 people to serve on the Grace Church Vestry for the next 3 years. The Nominating Committee of retiring Vestry members – Betty Diemer, Deb Landin, and Jason Whitehead – are accepting names.

The Canonical requirements are that the nominee be:

  • 16 years of age or older
  • a member of the parish for at least 6 months
  • a member of a family unit that contributes to the support of the parish
  • attendee at church at least 3 times in the past year (definition of active).

The Vestry recommends the following additional expectations for members:

  • Contribute to the Operating Fund of the Church.
  • Be a regular attendee in Church.
  • Be active in the overall life of the Church.
  • Agree to regularly attend Vestry Meetings including the Annual Vestry Retreat.
  • Agree to serve on a Vestry Commission
  • Agree to serve on other committees or programs as agreed to by majority of Vestry members such as shepherding or stewardship programs.

If you are interested in being considered for nomination, or would like to nominate someone else, please speak with a member of the Nominating Committee.

Year-End Giving

Please remember that all contributions must be received by December 31st to be included in reporting for tax purposes in 2019. If you have questions about your pledge, please call the Parish Office at (419) 524-2661

Offering Envelopes – 2021

The 2021 offering envelopes are now available. Please pick up on Sunday or stop by the office. VERY IMPORTANT! PLEASE mark down your name and the box # that you take. Otherwise, when you turn one in, we will have no way of knowing who to credit for the contribution. Thanks!