Thoughts & Updates

News, perspectives and updates from Grace Episcopal Church

Abundant Life

AbundantLife

Breaking News!!!  We’ve all heard these words thousands of times.  They’re so overused that I once heard WRAL’s David Crabtree say on air something “really” was breaking news.

Although Jesus’ resurrection might not be breaking news, I think the power it unleashes is.  People often relegate the resurrection to the next life.  Resurrection power though is available for you here and now.

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Easter Sunday

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 We had a great celebration of Jesus' resurection!  Thanks to everyone who did a fantastic job decorating, serving, singing, playing and attending our worship, bringing food for and coordinating the brunch, putting on the Easter egg hunt and cleaning up!  It was a great morning!   
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Easter and Hope

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When I was a child I loved to read an illustrated book of ancient Greek myths.  One was about Pandora.  According to Greek mythology, she was the first woman.  The gods gave her a jar she was not to open.  When she did, all the evils that plague humanity flew out.  Seeing them escape, she slammed the lid closed, enclosing hope.

 

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Palm Sunday: God Plans to Prosper You

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Without a doubt Palm Sunday is one of the most jarring of the year.  One moment we hail Jesus and the next we yell “Crucify him!”  And, yet, it is so true.

We all know public opinion is fickle.  One day a sports figure is revered as the hero and the next booed as the goat.  My guess though is Palm Sunday is more for you than the reenactment of fickle public opinion.  I imagine that you have experienced this Sunday first hand as I have.

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Contemporary Music Sunday

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I’m excited to welcome our friends April and Annette Williams this Sunday.  April and Annette have been with us in the past.  A few years ago they led the music in our summer mid-week contemporary music service and one or two Sundays, also.

As part of our preparation for a second service with a more contemporary musical style, we are worshiping with different types of music when Gayla is away on vacation.  On December 31st, Susan Gilbert led our music, playing a combination of hymns and other songs on the piano.  This Sunday during our 10:30 a.m. worship we will have guitar and vocals.  In every other regard, the service will be the same. 

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Congrats and Thanks to Our 2018 Vestry (Governing Council)

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Sunday the 2018 Vestry (the congregation's governing council) was commissioned!  Thank you for your willingness to serve in this important leadership ministry!

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Our Youth Make a Difference Now

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You’ve heard people say, “The youth are the future of the church.”  While that saying encourages adults to provide ministries for teens, it dismisses their current contribution.  Young people are important members of our church, today. 

They contribute in many ways.  Youth regularly read the psalms during our worship and serve as acolytes.  They serve those in need through Backpack Buddies, a program that provides food for the weekend for hunger-at-risk kids, packing meals, assisting in delivering and holding food drives from time to time.

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Lizzy's Baptism!

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Congratulations to Lizzy, her family and her friends!  It was a great joy to participate in her baptism!

 

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A Winter Storm and Human Nature

Empty Bread Shelves at Trader Joe

Although the Bible and science say the earth will end in fire, we Southerners know it will end in snow and ice.  At least, that’s the way it seems every time there is the slightest hint of snow! Wednesday, when I went to Trader Joe’s, the shelves were half empty.  The bread and soup were almost completely gone.  A cashier told me that some people got into fights over food.  That wasn’t the only story though of our winter storm. Thursday morning on WRAL, I saw several young people push the car of a person stuck on a Highway 70 exit ramp near Goldsboro.  The driver got going again thanks to them. It’s an old story.  Challenging situations bring out the best and the worst in us.  The book of Genesis reveals both are part of humanity.  God created humans, male and female, in God’s image and humanity, although created good, turned from God.  The difference is Jesus. Jesus reunites us again with God and our fellow humans.  We are still imperfect.  Sometimes we fail to act in the best way.  I know that’s true for me.  Our better nature though through Christ is the truer one.  The more we focus on Jesus the more we can live into the life changing power of God’s love and be like those young people near Goldsboro. John

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Ready for Christmas?

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I always ask people if they’re ready for Christmas.  As you would imagine, some are and others aren’t.  A few wisely tell me it doesn’t matter whether or not they are, the day will come anyway.

Ultimately, this day isn’t about the decorations, presets, parties and cards, as wonderful as all of those are.  It’s about the birth of Jesus, the Son of God.

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Advent Wreath Symbolism

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I have been studying the rich symbolism of the Advent wreath.  Although the meaning of the different parts varies among Christian traditions, the themes are remarkably similar.

The round ring symbolizes the eternal love of God seen in Jesus.  The evergreens reveal the everlasting life that comes through Him

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WRAL Features Story of Grace Organ

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Learn More about the amazing way God brought the organ to our church! Click here to watch the story featured by WRAL's Tarheel Traveler Scott Mason!

 

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Pipe Organ Dedication Sunday

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Music moves the spirit in a way words alone cannot. St. Augustine of Hippo said 1600 years ago, “He who sings prays twice.” Music’s power has inspired people to sing and to play musical instruments in God’s praise for millennia. Psalm 150 says, “Praise God with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals” (3-5).

This Sunday at 4 p.m. we will praise, thank and dedicate to God’s glory the Holtkamp organ. This instrument has dramatically enriched our worship. Its beautiful sounds remind us that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world and in our lives.

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John Gibson
It's a Holtkamp. Here's their website: http://www.holtkamporgan.com.... Read More
Saturday, 23 December 2017 09:35
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Fall Fest for Pets Sunday October 29

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As I started writing this note, Donovan, our cat, gently head butted me. He snuggled next to me after I petted him. Our other cat Coco had pushed open the unlatched bedroom door early this morning, jumped on the bed and started licking my arm. “Kitty love,” Cindy and I call it!

Pets are integral parts of our lives, members of our families. Each has her or his likes and dislikes. Our cat Tuxedo loved to gnaw on corn cob and chow down on broccoli! We form deep bonds with their unique personalities. I cry whenever I lose one. Our furry, feathered, and scaled companions are gifts from our loving God.

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Ice Cream Social and Silent Auction

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Thanks to everyone who did such a great job on our Ice Cream Social and Silent Auction!  We raised $1,001 for our music ministry and everyone had a great time!  It was a huge success!

 

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Listening Groups Sunday July 23

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Grace Episcopal has the unique opportunity to serve as the Beta Church in our area for Project Resource (PR). This program is an holistic approach to stewardship that helps us define how we manage our resources and donations in terms of ministries, missions and impacts. Click on this link to learn more about PR and being a Beta Church.

Our Project Team has met several times including the Diocesan kickoff meeting in January and a direct meeting at Grace with Marlene Weigert, Canon for Administration. We are excited about participating in this program and feel it will helps us as a church and individually in growing in faith.

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ASP 2017

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Sierra, Alex, Logan and Christine joined the St. Paul's, Cary, Appalachia Service Project to make homes warmer, safer and drier in Avery County, North Carolina this summer.  They made a difference and had a great time!  Check out all the pics from their week!

 

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Eternal Food

Eternal-Food

In 1985, Madonna released the hit song “Material Girl.” I thought recently, after rereading the feeding of the 5,000 in John’s Gospel, that the lyric “we are living in a material world and I am a material girl” summed up not only 1980’s excess but also materialism’s ageless allure. After the feeding, when the crowd pursues Jesus, he says, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me … because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (6:26-27).

The material without question is important. Everyone needs food. We followers of Jesus must feed the hungry today like Jesus in the wilderness, but we also must feed those who hunger for “the food that endures for eternal life.”

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Bishop Anne's Visit

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We had a joyful celebration with Bishop Anne, welcoming new members, giving thanks for fathers and rejoicing over the new organ.

 

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A Joyful Celebration of GEC's New Organ

Music Minister Gayla Turk with the GEC

We had a joyful celebration of the new organ Sunday.  The first hymn sung by the congregation appropriately was "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee!"  We were blessed to celebrate with Bishop Anne who has a beautiful voice among her many talents.

 

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