GRACE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
Mailed: December 4, 2014
DECEMBER GRACE NOTES
DECEMBER GRACE NOTES
Grace United Church of Christ
500 School Street, Kohler, WI 53044
Thomas M. Schroeder, Pastor Volume 72—No. 10
Home Phone: 920-458-7087
Church Phone: 920-452-6795 December 2014
Dear Friends in Christ,
“O Come, O Come Emmanuel!” This familiar hymn reminds the church of the season of Advent, a time traditionally marked for remembering the years of preparation and consecration prior to the coming of the Messiah.
For many centuries, the Church has identified the beginning of the Christmas celebration with a time of reflection and expectation called Advent. The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival” and, when used in conjunction with Christmas, reminds us of the anticipation and expectation held over hundreds of years by the people of Israel for their Messiah and promised King. For centuries before Christ, Hebrew rabbis methodically and passionately taught the Jewish people that Messiah was coming. They taught that the people should be ready to embrace their King when he appeared. They emphasized the need for holy living and obedience to God’s law. This explains how the lowliest shepherds and fishermen of that day were acquainted with the promises of a Messiah. This season of preparation was all by God’s design.
Today, we mark Advent in the Christian church with the display of a wreath – its circle reminds us of God Himself, eternal and endlessly merciful. It is evergreen – reminding us of the hope of eternal life. The light of the candles reminds us of the Light of world, and the prophetic promises of His coming.
The first Advent was the glorious manifestation of incarnation – the uniting of god and man in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, born of a virgin in a lowly stable in obscure Bethlehem Ephrata. This indeed was a magnificent and redeeming event without comparison!
Christ came into this world for a purpose, it was not on a whim that God decided that he would do this. There was a very real purpose, and that was to bring mankind back into a relationship with its creator, back into God’s family just as the prodigal son was welcomed back into his father’s house. Jesus did not just come to bring salvation to the Jews, although he came as Jew and lived among Jews. It is clear from Jesus’ own words, and Paul shows the Scriptural basis for believing this that Jesus came that all might know the saving grace of God. And that’s the message at the heart of the Christmas story, behind the glitter and tinsel, and beyond the nativity plays and present giving the Royal Variety Performances. A baby came to bring hope to a world that had lost its way, lost the plot.
But all Christians must also appreciate and embrace another significance in this season of Advent. This Church season is also a prime opportunity to affirm the promise of Jesus that just as He came once, He would one day in the future return to the earth as Sovereign Ruler.
And there is something within the Christian message that can echo Paul’s word of hope even within the darkest of days. God is there, above all that mankind can do to spoil creation, and there is no situation that can be counted as hopeless while there is the grace of Jesus and the peace and power of God present in
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the world. But there is more to Christian faith that hope for now or the immediate future. Our hope rests in the Kingdom of God and the promise of an eternity spent in the presence of God in His Kingdom. Our hope is in then now and the hereafter. In the now because the Kingdom of God is wherever God is allowed to reign, and if that is in your heart then you are living in the Kingdom. It looks to the hereafter because that is the promise of the New Testament “He who believes HAS eternal life.”
Our hope lies in the victory of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection. It grows as we start to trust god’s promises and act upon them and that add two other benefits, peace and joy. Come and experience the true wonder of God’s ways as we move through Advent to the celebration of Christmas.
God Bless, and Peace, Rev. Tom Schroeder
OPPORTUNITIES FOR WORSHIP IN DECEMBER
December 7th – 8 & 10 Worship
Advent is a time to prepare and on this Sunday we look at our preparation for the coming of Christ as we hear the story of John the Baptist. The Senior Choir will sing at 10 a.m.
December 13th – 8 & 10 a.m. Worship
This is a day we prepare ourselves to make room for “the One who is to come.”
At 10 a.m. the Sr. Choir will enhance the service with anthems to prepare our hearts for God’s wondrous work. Join us this day of celebration.
December 21st – 8 & 10 a.m. Worship
Mary responds to God’s message with elation and excitement. This day we fill our lives with smiles and excitement as well. The children of the Church School will be instrumental in our 10 a.m. service.
December 24th – 6:30 and 11 p.m. Worship
6:30 Family Celebration Service: This service is a wonderful celebration for children and those who are young at heart. It is a service featuring carols, anthems, and scripture with a Christmas story that helps capture the meaning of the day. This year the Senior Choir will be part of this service.
11 p.m.—Traditional Christmas Eve Service: This year this service will be one of carols, scriptures and candles as we capture the sacred events celebrated this day.
Come and experience the wonder of God’s presence in our lives.
December 28th – 8 & 10 a.m. Worship
Celebrate the fourth day of Christmas and reflect once more, in the quiet of God’s time, the wonder of what God has done. This sacred time is filled with the awe of God without the hubbub of the culture’s agenda.
January 4th, 2015 — 8 & 10 Worship
This is a day of wonder. We celebrate the New Year with the Sacrament of Holy Communion at both services. At 10 a.m. we are exploring the possibility of special music to enhance the service.
Come and start the year off in awe and wonder.
December Grace Notes – 3
CONGREGATIONAL Meeting – December 14th at 11 a.m.
The congregation of Grace United Church of Christ is called together for a meeting on Sunday, December 14th at 11 a.m. for the purpose of passing a budget for 2015, approving the repair of the lift, funding a landscape project for the building, and repairs for the parsonage. Please plan on attending this important meeting for our future.
DECEMBER 14TH EVENTS: This is a busy day at Grace and one you will not want to miss. As usual, we will worship at 8 & 10 a.m. However, at 10 a.m. it will not be usual. The Senior Choir will enhance this service with their contributions of anthems. Following this service we will have our annual congregational meeting as noted above.
At 4:30 we will gather for an Advent Supper and ask you to join us in this fellowship time.
This light supper time is a time to gather and celebrate our oneness in Christ. The Evangelism Committee has put together a light supper for those who wish to gather together. It is a great way to get ready for the Christmas Walk, but that is optional. We gather at 4:30 and will sit down by 5 and finish cleaning up by 6 p.m.
At 6:30 – THE VILLAGE OF KOHLER CHRISTMAS WALK
This year we will start at Bethany Lutheran Church and after carols and readings, we will move to Grace and then on to St. John’s the Evangelist Catholic Church for more carols and some fellowship time to follow. This evening is a great way to make a witness to our common faith as together we celebrate “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” Everyone is invited and NOT LIMITED to Kohler residents or members of the churches of Kohler.
MISSION AT Grace United Church of Christ
Thank you! The resident shelters of Sheboygan thank you for helping to make Thanksgiving something special for those who spend the holidays in residential shelters. Your contributions helped people at Safe Harbor, Bridgeway, and the Salvation Army celebrate Thanksgiving.
THE GIVING TREE!
This year we are sponsoring families and bringing Christmas cheer to those who are struggling. Each family seeks a gift of necessity and a gift of cheer for each member of the family. Ornaments with wishes, sizes and needs are found on the tree in the foyer. Take some ornaments, purchase the gift/s, wrap it, place the ornament on the outside of the wrapping and bring it to Grace by December 21st. Your gift will bring joy! The “Mission of the Month” envelopes will be used to purchase gift cards from local grocery stores in order for the family to have a special meal.
JANUARY “MITTENS AND HATS” OFFERING: THIS January we will use the Mission of the Month as a call for mittens and hats for those in need. We encourage knitters and other crafty people to bring in home made mittens or hat while others will be invited to bring in hats and mittens from other sources. Help us help those in need.
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NEWS FROM MUSIC AND ARTS
Don’t forget December 14th Choir Service!
This 10 o’clock service will be filled with anthems sweet. The Senior Choir has been working hard on music that will touch the hearts of those who join us.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO MADE THE NEW ORGAN POSSIBLE.!
All gifts to the Organ Fund were greatly appreciated and contributed to the joyous fact that we have an instrument that can lead us in song and touch our meditations. We thank everyone who helped make this a reality.
In the process we also wish to thank those who made substantial gifts.
Making gifts at the Maestro Level ($42,449.00 total) were:
The Arloine Greibe Estate
The Estate of Lillian Herman
Fred Grube in memory of loved ones
The Family of Jim and Betty Fischer
Making gifts at the Benefactor Level ($11,532.00) were:
In loving memory of Kathleen Brotz
Beverly Kramer in memory of Alvin Kramer
In loving memory of Ronald, Esther and Richard Multer
In loving memory of Loretta Schroeder
Larry and Deb TerMaat
Those at the Patron Level ($25,752.00) were:
Curt, Laurie and Marlea Joa
In memory of George Mehring from Eleanor Mehring
In loving memory of Doris Phipps
In loving memory of Loretta Gumm
Eugene and Margie Rausch
In loving memory of Rev. and Mrs. Roland Kley
Carroll and Phylis Preder
John and Sharon Hoppert
In appreciation – Margie and Jim Price
Fritz and Jeannie Johanning
Our beloved Clarence – love Elaine, Marg and Luann
The family of Tom and Bev Schroeder
The family of Jack and Carol Lorenz
The Montgomery family
Betty Musil in memory of my deceased family members
In loving memory of Richard W. Gier—LaVerne, Rick, Rob, Doug and Mike
Loving families — Cam, Lynn, Nathan Litt
The family of Donald and Marcia Fenner
The Rolloffs — Gerald and Lorraine
In loving memory of Bertha and Earl Horneck
Michael G. Rolloff and Lisa M. Rolloff
The family of Frederick Widder
Promoting Harmony – Chuck and Ann Ebert
The family of Karen and Eric Groth
Praise God with Music – Don and Iness Trotter
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Pat, Anthony, Chris and Garrett Forkner
The Family of Leland and Shirley Musil
Let’s Make a Joyful Noise – Tom and Anneke Teaters
Another $3,084.00 was contributed through the love and support of many others. We thank all of you for making this possible.
We are trying something new! TakeNoteStudio is looking at the possibly renting space at Grace UCC for KinderMusik classes. We are trying it out during the month of December. Classes are on Tuesday mornings from 9 – 11 a.m. and Thursdays after school from 4 – 6 p.m.
Jessica Hanson runs the program and has received the “Maestro” award — recognizing the top 5% of “KinderMusik” studios worldwide.
STEWARDSHIP AT GRACE: We thank all of you for your support over the year and longer. This year has been better than many of the past years because of your timely support. As we try to start each year with a zero balance it is important that all donations credited to 2014 be in my December 30, 2014. As the mail arrives after the banks close, it is important to plan on getting the contributions in my Monday, December 29th. Thank you for your support. New envelopes for 2015 will be out by December 7th. Please pick yours up as soon as possible.
STEWARDSHIP OF TIME: Sign up sheets for yearly tasks for the new year are on the bulletin boards in the foyer. We need new committee members, council members, ushers and others to step up and volunteer so that we can get new schedules out for February. A sheet is also included in the weekly bulletin.
STEWARDSHIP BY THE NUMBERS: Financial statements will be sent out this week and in the process we want to thank all of you for your timely support. This year our balance has often looked better than any monthly balance over the past six years. As of October 31, 2014, the balance in our General Fund is
at –$7,999. That is almost $10,000 better than last year. In November we have cut that amount down. Our income was over $12,000 and expenses averaged about $10,000 a month. In 2013 we were able to cut the deficit in half in November. We thank you for your support; and in order to truly balance our expenses and income, Grace UCC truly needs your help. For all this we THANK YOU!!!!!
DECEMBER GRACE NOTES – 6
OPPORTUNITIES FOR WORSHIP IN DECEMBER
Ushers: 7th 8 a.m. Jim and Will Hapeman 10 a.m. Chuck, Sam, and Deb Pfrang
14th Marie Boerner B.Musil, D. Montgomery, D.Kampmann
21st Richard Schoneman Karen, Andrew and William Groth
28th TBA Kurt & Noah Becker, Nicole Leicht
Lay Readers: 7– Barb Loose; 14—Mary Risseeuw; 21—Marge Horneck; 28—Betty Musil
Child Care: 7—Monica White; 14—Volunteer; 21 – Mandy Priebe; 28 — Amy Kalmerton
Acolytes: 7—Shelby Horth; 14—Molly Montgomery; 21 – Paige Kalmerton; 24—6:30—TBA
Kitchen: Lynn Green, Sarah Hapeman, co-chrs.
N. Christian, C. Meiselwitz, J. Carter, K. Milbrath, M. Priebe, B. Fischer, S. Schuessler, S. Horneck, Karen Kampmann, C. Lindstrom, J. Stefanczyk, C. Valenstein, B. Kramer, C. Lichtenberg, R. Payne, M. Risseeuw, Caitlin mcNitt, K. Groth, P. Grube, P. Gumm, R. Hendricks, D. Ziegelbauer, H. Becker, A. Rahm I. Trotter
Grace Notes, Sunday Bulletins, and Bridgeway sponsor: Bev Kramer
Flowers: 7—open; 14—Mary Ann Bichler; 21 – open; 28 — open