GRACE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
GRACE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST Non-Profit Organization
FEBRUARY GRACE NOTES
GRACE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
500 SCHOOL STREET, KOHLER, WI 53044
THOMAS M. SCHROEDER, PASTOR VOLUME 74 – NO. 2
Home Phone: 920-458-7087
Church phone: 920-452-6795
Dear Friends in Christ,
Lent begins Feb. 10, Ash Wednesday, and is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).
Lent was established with much discussion over the first 700 years after the resurrection of Jesus. It became a time to deepen ones relationship with God and to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. For some Christian traditions, Lent is a time of fasting and prayer.
What is Christian fasting? Biblically, fasting is abstaining from food, drink, sleep or sex to focus on a period of spiritual growth. Specifically, we humbly deny something of the flesh to glorify God, enhance our spirit, and go deeper in our prayer life. Christian fasting isn’t some kind of a “work” that’s commanded by Christ or required by Scripture. However, that doesn’t mean that fasting isn’t recommended as a part of our spiritual growth. The Book of Acts records believers fasting before they made important decisions (Acts 13:4; 14:23). Fasting and prayer are often linked together (Luke 2:37; 5:33). Too often, the focus of fasting is on the lack of food. However, the purpose of fasting is to take our eyes off the things of this world and instead focus on God. Fasting is a way to demonstrate to God and to ourselves that we are serious about our relationship with God. Although fasting in Scripture is almost always a fasting from food, there are other ways to fast. Anything you can temporarily give up in order to better focus on God can be considered a fast (1 Corinthians 7:1-5). Fasting is not intended to punish our flesh, but to focus on God. The primary Biblical reason to fast is to develop a closer walk with God. By taking our eyes off the things of this world, we can focus better on Christ. Christ says, “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:16-18).
Christian fasting is more than denying ourselves food or something else of the flesh – it’s a sacrificial lifestyle before God. In Isaiah 58, we learn what a “true fast” is. It’s not just a one-time act of humility and denial before God; it’s a lifestyle of servant ministry to others. As Isaiah tells us, fasting encourages humility, loosens the chains of injustice, unties the chords of the yoke, frees the oppressed, feeds the hungry, provides for the poor,
February Grace Notes–2
and clothes the naked. This concept of fasting isn’t a one day thing – it’s a lifestyle of servant living for God and others.
It is for this reason that we add our Wednesday night services in Lent, to give you more time with God. It is a time when you can look beyond yourself and the things of this world and look toward God and God’s creation. This year our Lenten journey will find us looking at “Christian Saints.” Some of these will be recognized by the Roman Catholic Church which keeps a calendar and record of saints, but many others will be outside that tradition and will be considered saints because of what they did. Our saints tried to live in such a way that they brought the love of God to the people around them. This is the criteria we will use. Come and join us on Wednesday evenings to hear of some remarkable people who tried to walk with God in Lent and beyond.
Peace, Rev. Tom Schroeder
OPPORTUNITIES FOR WORSHIP IN FEBRUARY
FEBRUARY 7 – WORSHIP AT 8 & 10 A.M.
This is the last Sunday in the season of Epiphany and we hear of the manifestation of God through the transformation of Jesus (Luke 9:28-36). Hear how God’s spirit can transform our lives.
The Senior Choir will sing at 10 a.m.
FEBRUARY 10 – ASH WEDNESDAY – WORSHIP AT 7:30 P.M.
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, starts us on a time of preparation as we move toward Easter. Use these midweek services to enhance your time in the presence of God.
That is what the season is all about.
FEBRUARY 14 – WORSHIP AT 8 & 10 A.M.
This being the first Sunday in Lent we hear about Jesus’ 40-day journey of temptation and
celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion at both services. The Children’s choir will sing on this day.
FEBRUARY 17 – WEDNESDAY AT 7 P.M.
Our midweek devotion services (7-7:30 p.m.) will let us hear about saints of the church and how they brought the presence of God to those they met. Through their lives we can learn how we can share Christ’s presence in our lives.
FEBRUARY 21 – WORSHIP AT 8 & 10 A.M.
We hear how God in Christ impacts those around him and calls us to do likewise.
The Senior Choir will sing at 10.
FEBRUARY 24 – WEDNESDAY AT 7 P.M.
Our Midweek Devotional service
FEBRUARY 28 – WORSHIP AT 8 & 10 A.M.
We all must learn that actions or lack thereof have consequences. Jesus tries to teach the people of his day this very lesson.
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NEW LEADERSHIP AT GRACE: The congregation elected STACY HARRIOTT and CHUCK EBERT to Church Council and thanked MARY RISSEEUW and CURT JOA for their past leadership at our meeting on January 31st.
The Church Council met immediately after and elected Deb Pfrang, President, Judy Leonhardt, secretary,Chuck Ebert as Financial Treasurer with Deb Pfrang as Assistant Financial Treasurer. Tim White will be the Property Committee Chair, and Judy Leonhardt will be the second council member on that committee. Committee liaison representatives will be Stacy Harriott to Mission’s Committee, Heidi Becker for Christian Education, Tim White for Evangelism, Chuck Ebert for Stewardship, and Stacy Harriott for Music and Arts.
“SOUPER” BOWL–Sunday, February 7th from 11 – 1 p.m.
Come warm your spirits with a bowl or more of soup made by the people of Grace UCC. Invite your friends and family and join us for a wonderful time!
Prices are $7/adults and $4/children 12 and under. Carry outs are available.
Missions at Grace
FOOD COLLECTION AT GRACE: Don’t forget the wicker baskets.
Non-perishable food items or cleaning supplies are in great need for those
struggling to make ends meet. Bring an item to share each month and we
can lighten the burdens for a family in need.
CHILDREN IN MISSION – FEBRUARY 28TH AT 5 P.M.
We have partnered with Rev. Hartmut Barsnick and the Mangoto Parish in Tanzania to reach out in the name of Christ and bring hope to the people in the Villages of Usungilo, Moronga, and Makangalawe in the Livingstone Mountains of southwest Tanzania.
We reach out to the work of this ministry as it seeks to empower and support the many orphans, the growing number of secondary school students and college students, the sick and marginalized. It plants trees for fruit and timber, organizes access to clean water, runs schools, does AIDS seminar education, and seeks to bring hope through a faith active in love.
Rev. Hartmut Barsnick will come to Kohler on Sunday, February 28th for a light supper followed by a program about the mission. Join us and see how you can make a difference in the world.
VISION BOARD: WHERE DO YOU SEE GOD IN THE WORLD??
We have a bulletin board by the lift on level 3 to picture God at work in the world. I encourage people to bring in pictures to show how God is active in this world of ours. These pictures can be photos or cut out of magazines or printed from the internet. Whatever picture you see that illustrates God’s activity, bring it in and share it with others.
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GIFTS TO GRACE: In February we will put up a tree for “Gifts to Grace.” You can help us limit budget restraints by picking a leaf and bringing in the item. Gifts of paper, postage stamps, and classroom supplies help us keep costs down.
Join us in our endeavors to Make Christ Known to the World. Through MINISTRY MATTERS we seek to connect to the members of Grace in new ways as we continue share the love of God. With our new computer program we will be able to integrate our income with our expenses, our bills with our budget, and our contribution with our members. The new program will also help us to get the word out whenever we cancel or service or have an emergency at hand. The new computer program will also be able to be supported through outside resources in case of a computer crash.
Through MINISTRY MATTERS we can also help connect the physical world with the spiritual world as we join with the outdoor ministry of the Wisconsin Conference and promote the church camps of the United Church of Christ. Moon Beach Camp and Pilgrim Conference Center offer excellent venues to see God’s work in creation and how we can be drawn to God through these marvelous acts. MINISTRY MATTERS is about updating these camps so that they can reach a wider audience with better facilities. It is about opening doors to underserved people, such as people with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Muscular Dystrophy. It is about making sure the children of tomorrow will be able to experience sanctuaries where they can relax, rejuvenate, and express their faith in tangible ways.
Through MINISTRY MATTERS we seek to join with Lakeland College and enhance its ties to the United Church of Christ with the Endowed Chair faculty position to honor the Rev. Dr. Reinhard Ulrich. Dr. Ulrich was the heart and soul of the bond between the UCC and Lakeland College for almost 50 years. Some of our members had him as a teacher, some of our members were actually married by him as he served area churches, and some of our members were introduced to new ways of thinking as he lead many adult seminars in the area.
ENCLOSED IN THIS EDITION OF GRACE NOTES IS A PLEDGE CARD TO HELP YOU JOIN OTHERS IN THIS VITAL OPPORTUNITY “MINISTRY MATTERS” AS WE SEEK TO MOVE INTO THE FUTURE. We hope to raise $5000 for Grace UCC (12.5%), $25000 for UCCI (62.5%), and $10000 for Lakeland College(25%)
A Capital Campaign for Grace UCC, UCCI, and Lakeland College
My gift to Ministry Matters is for a 3 year offering (Jan 2016-19)
My total gift will be _$________________
Annually _______ x 3 % to Grace UCC __________
Quarterly ______ x 12 % to UCCI __________
Monthly _______ x 36 % to Lakeland College ____
I understand that this Estimate of giving can be changed at any time.
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Another thank you for their Christmas gifts:
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE IN FEBRUARY
USHERS: 7TH – 8—Rick Weeden 10 and Ash Wed.—Larry & Deb TerMaat, Tiffany TerMaat
14th and 17th–CHURCH COUNCIL for both services
21st and 24th 8 – open 10 and Lenten service: Hendricks and Fred Grube
28th and 3rd. 8– Paul Green 10 and Lenten service: Teaters and Betty Fischer
LAY READERS: 7—Marge Horneck; 14—Mary Risseeuw; 21—Barb Loose—28—open
CHILD CARE: tba
KITCHEN: Betty Jones and Karen Horneck
(Kitchen committee list is included in this issue)
FLOWERS: 7—OPEN; 14—OPEN; 21—Chuck and Ann Ebert anniv.; 28—Margie & Jim Price
GRACE NOTES & BRIDGEWAY – Wayne and Rosemary Lohse