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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Showing Up

Grace Episcopal Church
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Grace Notes
25 April 2019

This will be the last weekly blog column that I will write for Grace Notes, so I want to focus on what comes next.  In all previous editions of this blog there has been a separate heading “Call for Contributions”, soliciting guest columns.  Over the years (and there have been over 350 editions of this blog), the number submitted has been less than 20.  In other words, if the parish is going to maintain a weekly blog, it will require:  (a) that someone decides to manage and format the blog; and (b) that a small group of people plan to contribute regularly.
If this blog goes away, there will be no great loss.  The overall average number of hits has been about 50.  But consider that an average of 50 people a week have both received information and some form of witness/reflection on matters spiritual.  In other words, ask yourself the question:  To the extent I have followed this blog, do I feel called to continue it (even if not weekly)?
As a final personal reflection I want to both report and reflect.  I will report that in a series of ongoing farewells outside of the parish I have been very surprised by the frequency of kind words, tributes, offerings of thanksgivings, etc.  Rather than being tempted to feel special, I will reflect the reality that whatever I have been able to do in the community has been as directed and empowered by God, and that the overwhelming majority of what I have “done” is to just show up.  Really.  Whether a tribute has been offered by a community organization, and government agency, the police, etc., the common theme has been that those offering tributes have not been accustomed to anybody from a church participating in public initiatives and a faith-based leader.  We can speculate about why churches have not been visible in a lot of public initiatives, but rather than speculate let’s just observe that when people of faith are visible in the community, in “showing up” to discuss and attempt to address common problems, a form of Christian witness takes place that is noticed.
Pray about where and when you are called to “show up”, and when you do, God will take over in how you will be called and empowered to serve.

Grace abounds:  Please thank: 
§  Everyone who contributed savories to the Easter gala reception, and to Polly Schmeiser and Mary Snyder for organization and setup.
§  Bobbie May for janitorial help, and for church decoration.
§  The Altar Guild, for much extra work:  Bev Evans, Mary Snyder, Bob and Anne Hanlon,  Elizabeth Schaffenburg,  Steve Fischer, Jon Fischer, Scott Fabiano, Stuart Schmidt.
§  Ben Dobey and the choir for much extra work!
§  Nicci Beeck for much extra work!

Music this Week:  The Second Sunday of Easter
                              R. Benjamin Dobey, Music Director

Prelude                           Fantasy in G Major                                            J.S. Bach    
Opening Hymn 193          “That Easter day with joy was bright”               Puer nobis                      
Offertory Hymn 206        O sons and daughters, let us sing”              O filii et filiae                                                                     
Communion Motet           This joyful Eastertide
                                          Traditional Dutch melody harmonized by Charles Wood                                                     
Communion Hymn 209    “We walk by faith, and not by sight”               St. Botolph
Closing Hymn 57             “Lo! He comes with clouds descending”              Helmsley                                    
Postlude                          Offertoire sur le chant O filii et filiae
                                                                                         Jean-Fran├žois Dandrieu

Parish Notices:
§  Annual Bake and Plant Sale: This annual event takes place, in conjunction with St. Luke United Methodist Church Rummage Sale, on Friday, April 26 (11:00–5:00 p.m.) and Saturday, April 27 (9:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m.) We need volunteers to provide baked items, staff tables, set-up and take down. Look for a more detailed list and sign-up sheet in the upcoming weeks.
§  Celebratory Save-the-Date: On Sunday April 28, we come together for ONE MASS at 10:15 as Fr. Karl celebrates his final service as the Rector of Grace Church. A reception lunch will be held after Mass, in St. Nicholas Hall, to show our appreciation for the many years of service by Bill May as our Sexton, as well as celebrating the 7 ½ years of service and friendship by Fr. Karl and Elizabeth Schaffenburg. For more information or if you have questions, contact the Parish Office.
§  Spring Cheer: Is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, May 1 at 11:00 AM in the church kitchen. At that time we will assemble daffodils and box cookies and then make deliveries. (There is a sign up sheet in the Narthex.) We need helping hands.  Can you bake, make a delivery and/or help arrange? Please join us for this fulfilling and fun ministry to our homebound and elderly; they will appreciate it. Call Barb MacEwen (920.912.4505) if you have questions. 
§  *I know this is short notice but it is MAY DAY and daffodils are just now blooming.
§  Good News Jail & Prison Ministry Banquet: The annual banquet in support of ministry in the local jail is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7 at 6:00 p.m. (Blue Harbor Conference Center) Nicci has 8 tickets available. There is no charge, but the cost of the meal to the ministry is $28.00; donations in support are accepted. There will also be a silent auction.  For more details, contact the Parish Office.
§  Bishop’s Visitation: On Sunday, May 12 (Mother’s Day) we welcome Bishop Matthew Gunter for his annual visitation. The Bishop will preach and celebrate at both 8:00 and 10:15 services. We will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation and First Communion at the 10:15 am service. Please join us for a gala reception immediately following the service. A sign-up sheet for savories, sweets and clean-up is on the Narthex table.
§  Summer Camp registration for camp sessions are now open: The Diocese of Fond du Lac Summer Camp is for kids age 4 through graduating 12th graders.
§  The registration process is now completely online and includes availability to make payments. *Scholarships are available; inquire at the Parish Office.
§  Save the Date-Eucharistic Festival, Saturday June 29: The Festival will be followed by the Bishop’s Picnic; there is no cost for the Picnic which include hot dogs, brats and ice cream. For more details, visit
§  Ushers Needed: Ushers are often the first people seen by newcomers, visitors, and even regular parishioners when coming to Grace Church. People enjoy being greeted by a smile; become a part of this ministry today!
§  Reservations Required: Grace Church has been blessed with many assets used for hospitality. Parishioners are welcome to use rooms and these items. This is a gentle reminder that Grace’s policy is to complete a form listing the items being borrowed and rooms being used. This form can be obtained from the parish office.
§  Something Extra for Grace: Envelopes are available in the pews if you are moved to give an extra gift, beyond your pledge or regular plate donation, toward the life of the church. Gifts are tax deductible; please write your name on the envelope.

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