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Be There for Pentecost June 4

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After the video the Rev. Roxanne Gwyn and I did on why we don’t say a confession of sin during Easter season worship, a Facebook friend was concerned that people who only attend Christmas Eve and Easter Day miss out. They do, but not only on the confession but also the year-long rhythm of seasons, feasts, fasts, prayers and rites that help deepen our faith and strengthen our walk with Jesus. This Sunday we observe one of the most important holy days of the year – Pentecost. This day celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ disciples in Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-6) and on us when we are baptized.

The Spirit unites us with the Father and the Son in heaven and with other believers on earth. The third person of the Trinity, who dwells in us, empowers our life in Christ. The Holy Spirit comforts, strengthens and guides us through the ups and downs of life.

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Become a Member

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“I myself don’t subscribe to any organized religion” writes Mick Mooney, author of An Outsider’s Guide to the Gospel, in a blog post. While Mooney’s view might sound radical, it is common today and not just about religion. Across the board, voluntary organizations have lost members since the 1960’s.

The Christian faith has always been essentially communal. Jesus calls the Twelve Disciples, symbolically recreating God’s people, the twelve tribes of Israel. The apostle Paul repeatedly refers to believers as members of the “body of Christ.”

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Comfort Wrap for Sierra

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One of the great gec traditions is giving a comfort wrap to graduating seniors and to young people moving away.  Becky presents the wrap on behalf of the women of the church who say a prayer and tight knots.  The wrap is a tangible reminder of God's and the congregation's love for them and that our prayers are with them.  The wrap has meant so much that some young people sleep with it when they first go away.  Becky presented this wrap to Sierra who is graduating from High School and going to Western Carolina University in August.  Congratulations to Sierra, and Thanks, Becky and the women of the church for such a moving and meaningful tradition!

 

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Youth Sunday

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The young people are not only important for the future but for the present!  We had a great service Sunday to celebrate them.

 

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Girl Scout Troop Recognition

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During our Youth Service Sunday, we had a great time celebrating the girls, their families and the leaders of one of the Girl Scout Troops.  Many joined us at the cookout, too.  Check out the picnic pictures here.  Thanks for being with us Sunday!

 

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Cookout May 2017

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Everyone had a great time at our end of the school year cookout with the girls, parents and leaders of one of the Girl Scout troops that meets at GEC.

 

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Mother's Day

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Happy Mother's Day to all Moms!  Thank you for all you do and have done!  You are a great blessing!

This year the men gave a hydrangea to each mother at the service.  Thanks to Jack Bacheler, who arranged for the hydrangeas, and the men for this great gift.  

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God Is Your Mother and Father

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With Mother’s Day this Sunday, we naturally think of our mothers and the mothers of our children and grandchildren.  At Grace, Sunday we will recognize, thank and pray for all mothers during our service.  The men will also give a gift to all mothers in attendance.

While we generally think of God as our Heavenly Father, God is equally our Heavenly Mother.  It is true that most images for God in the Bible and the Christian tradition are masculine.  I believe this has more to do with the fact that throughout most of human history our society has been patriarchal.

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Backpack Buddies

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Grace Episcopal Church has many ministerial outreach programs. One such program is the Interfaith Food Shuttle’s Backpack Buddies, whose motto is "Feed Teach Grow".

As Grace's Backpack Buddies coordinator, I assemble 34 bags of groceries that would feed a needy child through the weekend.  This is coordinated with First Baptist every other week and distributed to classrooms at Cooper Elementary in Clayton.  This provides low-income households with weekend nutrition for needy children.

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Avery's Baptism

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We were thrilled to participate in Avery's baptism!  Here are pictures of the big day!

 

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Litter Clean Sweep April 30

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While everyone seems to have difficulty remembering them, at least when we bring them up at clergy conference!, the Five Marks of Mission (or mission activities) are an important statement of how Jesus calls us to serve in the world.  The Marks of Mission state,

The Mission of the Church Is the Mission of Christ

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Thank You and Easter Outreach

Thank You and Easter Outreach

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our celebration of Christ’s resurrection Sunday!   People gave lilies, flowers, food, drink and the risen Christ painting.   They also gave of their time, serving during worship, Sunday school, coffee hour, cleanup, the egg hunt and more.  More moved chairs, set up the flowers, prepared the altar and hung the painting.  Our choir sang a beautiful anthem.  It was a wonderful morning!  You did a great job!  Thank you!

If you have photos, please email them to me.  I’d like to include yours in the ones posted here.

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Easter Celebration

Easter Celebration

It was a great celebration of Jesus' resurrection at Grace!  Here are some pictures of the flowering of the cross, the Easter egg hunt and the church.  We are especially thankful for the gift of the painting of the risen Christ and those who gave lilies in honor or memory of someone.

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Easter Service Invitation


The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope to face our daily challenges.  You are invited to Easter service Sunday April 16 @ 10:30 am to experience the hope of the resurrection for yourself.

 

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Palm Sunday Breakfast

Palm Sunday Breakfast

Everyone had a great time at our breakfast Sunday!  Thanks to the men for preparing it!

 

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New Restroom Mirrors and Sinks

New Restroom Mirrors and Sinks

Thank you to Timolee and Blake Dohner for new mirrors for the church's restrooms!

 

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Fasting and Praying for Easter

Fasting and Praying for Easter

I’ve never thought of myself as a trendsetter, except in the early eighties at the start of the chocolate chip cookie craze (I was way ahead of that curve!), but it seems I am, and you are, too, if you fast.  It’s hard to believe, but fasting has become trendy.

According to the website Fashion, celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon, Ben Affleck and Beyoncé fast.  While celebrities generally abstain from food for weight loss or health, we fast for God, as Jesus did for forty days in the wilderness.

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New Pipe Organ

New Pipe Organ

God has given our congregation the great gift of a 500 pipe organ.  St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Durham, gave it to the congregation for $1.  You will see pictures here of when St. Luke's Senior Pastor and Treasurer brought a bill of sale and received the church's check.  There are also pictures of it being moved from St. Luke's to Grace and its installation.  Grace's organist Gayla built a platform for the console.  We hope the installation will be completed in May.  Our great thanks to God for this gift and to all those who contributed to moving and putting the organ in the church.

 

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The Shack Sunday March 19 @ 1:15 p.m.

The Shack Sunday March 19 @ 1:15 p.m.

William Young wrote The Shack as a Christmas gift for his six children without planning to publish the work of fiction.  After friends convinced him to submit the book, religious and secular publishers alike rejected it.  Young finally self-published the fictional tale in 2007 with hardly any notice.  The title took off the next year thanks to word of mouth and talk on Christian radio and TV.   The Shack debuted at number 1 in 2008 on the NY Times bestseller list and stayed there till 2010.  The novel has been turned into a movie now in theaters.

For those unfamiliar with the story, the main character Mack Phillips encounters each of the Trinity’s three persons in a shack, where his daughter was murdered four years earlier.  Ever since her death, Mack has suffered what he calls “The Great Sadness.”  He finally breaks out of his depression, talking with the triune God that weekend in the woods.

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Women's Mtg Sunday Feb 5 @ 9:30, Youth and Men's Ministries

Women's Mtg Sunday Feb 5 @ 9:30, Youth and Men's Ministries

 

Recently, the Holy Spirit has been working overtime in our congregation!  We have our challenges, no question, but the Spirit is doing amazing things in our midst.   First, God gave us the Holtkamp organ that Phil Swartz, the organ installer, will begin work on Thursday.  The Holy Spirit, through you and others, has also given us almost $12,000 towards our $15,000 goal for its installation and our music ministry.  Incredible for a church our size!  As if this weren’t enough, the Holy Spirit is revitalizing our ministries, too!

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