Thoughts & Updates

News, perspectives and updates from Grace Episcopal Church

Better Church Visibility

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Danny and Pastor John added a balloon to our sign to make our church's location more noticeable to people passing on Highway 42.  This is part of our outreach to the community.
 
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Sunday July 1, 2018

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Another great Sunday at GEC!  
 
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Dealing with Difficult People, Part 1

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Last week Cindy and I had two dead trees removed.  While the men were working, one of our neighbors left a long voicemail complaining that they weren’t using a crane.  If anything fell on her fence, we would have to pay.

Later that same morning she came over to tell me that debris from other trees on our property were falling on her deck.  She wanted them removed, too.

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Recent comment in this post
Guest — JulieB.
John, you are Magic!
Thursday, 13 September 2018 11:51
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Ashton's Baptism

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It was a joyful Sunday celebrating Ashton's baptism!
 
 
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Fiftieth Anniversary Renewal of Wedding Vows

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A great celebration of 50 years of marriage!  Paula and Don renewed their wedding vows during the service, today!
 
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Father's Day 2018 Recognition

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We give thanks for our great Dads!
 
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Membership Matters

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“Membership doesn’t matter in Episcopal churches,” said someone to me Tuesday.  Sadly, that is true in many Episcopal congregations.  It’s symptomatic of an anti-institutionalism that has swept American society since the end of the 1960’s.

 

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Farmworker Sunday

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We had a great Sunday!  Thanks to Kate Walker, who spoke on behalf of the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry, to all those who donated clothing and other things for our brothers and sisters in the fields and to Fr. Frank, who took these photos! 
 
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The Heart of God

Kate-Walker-June-2018 Kate Walker, Student Action with Farmworkers Intern for the Episcopal Farmworker Ministry

There is a longline of books with titles like Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers.  Their theme is the importance of change.  They make a good point.  Times change and organizations need to change, too.  We’ve made a lot of changes at our church, upgrading the interior of our facility, strengthening our worship, and expanding our ministries.  And we need to continue to change to serve God, our members and our community.

 

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Pentecost 2018

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We had a great celebration of Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in Jerusalem, our graduating High School Seniors and our youth!  The choir from El Buen Pastor (the Good Shepherd) joined us for the service parts of which were in English, Spanish, French and Spanish.  Our altar guild and friends did a great job decorating the church for the great day!  Thank you to everyone who made it such an exciting celebration!
 
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One HUGE 10:00 a.m. Pentecost Service May 20th

IMG_2510 The Choir from El Buen Pastor, Durham NC

Sunday is a big day!  It’s Pentecost, one of the three main holy days of the year, when we remember the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church and to each person who walks in the way of Jesus.  We’ve got a great service lined up for this day!

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Abundant Life

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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

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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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