GRACE NEWS - December Newsletter

“GRACE NEWS”

December 2012

 Christmas at Grace United Church:

 

Dec 2:  Advent I – Hope

10:30 am - worship – Communion

Pledge Night at St. John's Anglican Church Hall

  (Doors open 5:00 - Dinner 6:00 - Program 7:00)

Dec 9:  Advent II  - Peace

10:30 am - worship – Youth presenting special

       music

White Gift Sunday

7:00 pm - Wassail Party

(popcorn, hot apple cider, carols & Kids performing)

Dec 16:  Advent III – Joy

10:30 am - worship –  Pic Ups

7:30 pm - The Music of Christmas

Dec 23:  Advent IV – Love

10:30 am - worship – “Happy Birthday Baby Jesus”

Dec 24: Christmas Eve Service

7:30 pm - Family Service for All 

Blessings for a hopeful, peaceful, joyous and love filled Christmas with family and friends.

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Wassail Party

Sunday, December 9th @ 7:00 pm

Grace United Upper Hall

  •  Kids Performing
  • Carol Singing
  • Apple Cider    
  • Popcorn

Come & join the party!

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The Music of Christmas

Sunday, December 16th  @ 7:30 pm

Grace United Church

GRACE CHOIR

KIDZ CHOIR

GRACE BELL RINGERS

CELEBRATION RINGERS

LLOYDMINSTER COMMUNITY BAND and more!

Refreshments to follow in the Upper Hall

Admission by Donation for Outreach Programs
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A message from Paul - Advent 2012

I have been working in Grace United Church now for roughly 90 days. I want to say thank you to my work colleagues, Joyce, Mary, Diane, Audrey and Gladys and to all the committee members and volunteers who keep Grace going.  You have all made me feel welcome in this place and for that I am grateful.

In many ways the past weeks seem like a brief whirlwind of activity and energy.  In other ways it seems much longer and much slower. But true time (kairos time) is measured in significant events: in lessons learned, in friendships begun, in conflicts resolved, in plans made, in lives touched, in lives changed; in meals shared, in games played, in prayers prayed, in saints remembered.  Much of this we have done over the past three months. I look forward eagerly to the months ahead and to the delight of many more life giving moments.

This week we enter the season of Advent.  In liturgical terms, we mark the perennial experience of waiting; in this case waiting for the Holy to be born in our midst.  How long does that take?  Sometimes it only takes an instant.  Sometimes recognizing the wonder of the world around us, or the giftedness of our children, or the wisdom of our parents, takes many years.  Sometimes understanding and living out of God’s indwelling presence is the work of generations.

This December we will all experience the crazy frenetic pace of trying to be several places at once, perhaps spending too much, or eating too much, or expecting too much (of ourselves and others).  It would be a fine thing if every once in awhile we could stop, be a little compassionate with ourselves and others if we do not meet expectations, wonder for a moment what it really is that God requires of us, and take a bit of time to offer a blessing or a gift to someone truly in need.

Finally I should say a few words about our Grace Church Future Development Campaign.  In the spring we will be beginning to build a new church hall.  Many of you have already contributed generously to this great adventure.  To you we say thank you for your generosity and for your belief in the future of Grace Church and Lloydminster.  We are hoping that many more of you will be considering how best to support this new plan, and declare your belief in the the future of Grace United Church.

It is a great privilege for me to be a part of Grace Church during this time of so many changes and positive initiatives.  I am looking forward to what we can accomplish together.

Paul DuVal

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Looking Ahead  - from the Christian Development Committee

By the time this newsletter is circulated our very fun craft day will have just been completed on Nov. 25.  We had an awesome 25 children and youth come for this very active day.  The young people of our congregation enjoy creating the Christmas crafts and sharing these crafts with our church family. (You get the wonderful opportunity to purchase these crafts to support the Sunday school program).

Dec. 2 - Communion Sunday/Classes will be led by Margo Hines to help the children prepare for Dec. 9-White Gift Service and the Wassail party as well as the Dec. 23 intergenerational service.

Dec. 9 - is our White Gift Service.  Children will be involved with this service.   Margo Hines will lead the Sunday school children’s singing and Jeanne Smith will lead the Kidz Sing. Please bring unwrapped gifts and we will disperse the items to the various organizations within the community of Lloydminster.  We accept food items for the food bank, toys for the CKSA Gifts of Christmas, new clothing (scarves, toques, mitts/personal toiletries for the Interval Home and the Men’s Shelter) and pet food for the SPCA. 

Dec. 16 - Regular Sunday school classes.

Dec. 23 - Intergenerational Service-Happy Birthday Baby Jesus

Dec. 24 - Family Christmas Eve Service at 7:30 pm.

Take note, we have Grace United Church calendars that sell for $2.00(sticky) and $3.00 (magnetic). The proceeds of these sales go to help the Sunday school program.

No Sunday School on DECEMBER 30.

Classes resume Jan. 6

Have a Blessed and Wonderful Season with your family and friends and remember a kind word and a smile go a long way in keeping the merry in…

 (Submitted by Loretta Mitchell)

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Nomination and Support Committee 

Grace is a busy church that requires many dedicated people to keep things running smoothly.

Our committee assists Central Board by bringing forward names of individuals who have agreed to fill vacancies that arise during the year.   We also prepare a list of committee nominees for the consideration of the congregation at its Annual General Meeting.

To carry out our mandate we need your help. Please consider the various opportunities to serve and contact myself, one of our committee members or the church office. We would be pleased to provide you with information about any committee.   

For a brief description of the role of each standing committee, check out this link to our church website /committees.

(Submitted by Eric Simpson)

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FRIENDSHIP AND VISITATION

Pastoral care including home and lodge visits and our top priority - hospital visits, keeps our committee and many others at Grace busy.  We now have name badges (thanks to Edith Cunningham) to identify us as representing Grace United when we visit. 

We have a committee of eight women - Shirley Aston, Carol Bugiak, Barb Russell, Hazel Feist, Rosemarie Grant, Marilyn Mann, Shirley Wilson, and Irene Herring, and three men - John Skene, Don Boyce and Vern Hauer.  We would welcome new members to join us at any time.  We can always expand on the care of our Church family.

Carol Bugiak sends out “cards of congratulations” for special birthdays and anniversaries.  Thank you, Carol.  Also, thank you to Pat Smith for sending get well and sympathy cards.  Thanks also to others who fill in when Carol and Pat are away.

Our Prayer Shawl Ministry provides loving care and spiritual and emotional support to those who are ill, lonely, bereaved or “low in spirit”.  We are grateful to those who have donated these beautiful shawls and to Rev. Paul for blessing them before we deliver them.

            We have had the pleasure of Rev. Paul’s presence and input at our last two meetings.  His assistance and support are appreciated.

            Our Poinsettia project is underway. These beautiful plants will adorn our sanctuary in early December before being delivered to people who have suffered the loss of a loved one or are confined to their homes.

If you know of someone who needs or would like a visit, please call anyone on our committee.

Submitted by Irene Herring (Secretary)

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STEWARDSHIP

November is Stewardship month at Grace United Church. During November a display has been set up in the Narthex on the topic: Stewardship - How Would You Like To Give?  Please take time to check it out when you are at the church.

Also, a letter from the Stewardship Committee will soon be arriving at your house. It outlines the various ways your contributions to Grace United are used to live out the ministry of Jesus Christ.  The Stewardship Committee encourages you to read this letter and renew and even increase your pledge to the community ministry of Grace United Church and to the Mission and Service Fund.

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Mission and Partnership Development at Grace

While we are fortunate to have George Berry providing architectural leadership for our building project, we are equally fortunate to have Rev. Joel Den Haan and our new minister, Rev. DuVal, providing “mission” leadership.

Those who attended the January 2011 workshop that Rev. Joel and Rev. Diane Strickland led may remember that they urged us to build a church for 2025 – not 1985!  Church buildings need to enable and support congregations to fulfill their intended ministries in and to the wider community.  They must be “seven-day-a-week” churches.

But what is and what should be our ministry in the wider community and how should we go about fulfilling that mission?  

The central theme of Rev. Den Haan’s presentation to Central Board last week was “mission through partnerships”.   He urged Grace United to identify its “mission focus” and then “partner” with individuals and community organizations with similar missions.  “Invite community stakeholders to a round table discussion and ask the question, “How can we support and work with you to serve….?”  By partnering, we can be much more effective than if every organization just “does its own thing”.

Rev. Joel reminded Central Board members that the history of the United Church of Canada is all about service to the disadvantaged.  In the Great Depression, it was the United Churches in small prairie towns to whom the homeless and hungry could turn for a place to stay and something to eat.  “That is who we are.”

He also stressed how important it is that we, with the leadership and support of Rev. DuVal, determine our mission focus in concert with our facility planning. This should ensure a new facility that will serve our congregational needs as well as supporting our outreach into the wider community.

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Building Project Update

When will construction start?

The self-imposed timeline for the project is to have the new construction portion of our project “weather proof” before the arrival of winter 2013!  This will require a construction-start in the spring of 2013. That in turn requires that detailed construction drawings be completed in late-winter 2012-13.  This will ensure maximum “contractor interest” and better pricing than if we went to tender at any other time of the calendar year. 

Architect George Berry will have had his third design meeting with the 19-member Define and Design (D and D) Committee before this newsletter is distributed.

Consensus on major design elements has occurred quite quickly so that for the “Pledge Event” on December 2, there will be drawings and a 3D computer representation of the current version of the conceptual plan.  However, design refinement will continue until the finalization of construction drawings.

What approvals are required?

Several approvals are required before construction can begin.

An important informational meeting is tentatively planned for late January 2013.  At this meeting, plans will be reviewed, cost and funding matters will be discussed and congregational enthusiasm for the project will be judged.  Presuming there is strong support for the project, appropriate resolutions will be placed before meetings of the Board of Trustees and the congregation in February 2013.

Immediately thereafter and presuming project approval, the required endorsement of St. Paul Presbytery will be sought.

The project also requires a permit from the City of Lloydminster.  Our architect handles the permitting applications on our behalf and has already had discussions with people in the Planning Department.

What about the Money?

From the earliest discussions about this project, there has been a very clear consensus in our church family that we will not burden our children and grandchildren with a large capital debt. 

If your Church leadership and your project teams did not have faith and confidence in the spiritual generosity of our congregation, our excitement for this project would be diminished.  It is not!  We believe that this project is important to our church family and our mission in the wider community.  We believe that all in the Grace family will be moved to support it, as they are able.

While nearly $2M of the estimated $3M cost of the project is already on deposit, much of the remaining funding will be in the form of pledges with the actual money accruing to the church in the years ahead.  Interim financing of some amount and for some period of time is anticipated but will not be known with any certainty until our pledge campaign results are known in February 2013.

How much am I expected to donate/pledge toward this project?

It would be most inappropriate for anyone or group of people in our church to presume to tell others how much they should give toward this project! 

Kathryn Hofley, of the United Church of Canada emphasizes that “people will give, when moved by faith, if they see a clear opportunity through their gift, to make a difference in the lives of people”. 

If you believe that this project will assist Grace United Church to make a positive difference in the lives of people in our community and the world, then we invite you to pledge and donate, as you are able. 

What happens to our church during construction?

Our architect believes that it is very feasible for us to continue to use the sanctuary for much of the construction period.  But for those Sundays or other days when it may not be useable, our friends at Knox Presbyterian have offered to make their church facility available to us!   We will discuss details of how that might work for us and for Knox when we get closer to construction.

Current plans are to move other church operations into our “house” immediately west of the church.  Some renovations will be required to make the space suitable for church office and program use.  Those renovations should only take a month or so and will be largely “cosmetic”.

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STEWARDSHIP COMMITTEE

November is Stewardship month at Grace United Church. During November a display has been set up in the Narthex on the topic:  Stewardship - How would You Like To Give?  Please take time to check it out when you are at the church.Also, a letter from the Stewardship Committee will soon be arriving at your house. It outlines the various ways your contributions to Grace United are used to live out the ministry of Jesus Christ.  The Stewardship Committee encourages you to read this letter and renew and even increase your pledge to the community ministry of Grace United Church and to the Mission and Service Fund.

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Finance Committee Report

2012 is a very, very exciting time for Grace United.   We can feel the spirit working amongst us as we eagerly fund-raise for our new Church.  

In the midst of all this excitement, we are ever grateful that our Church family hasn’t forgotten about the support required for our general operating expenses.  Our annual budget this year is $304,097.  To the end of October we have achieved about 70% ($213,847) of this budget.    Our expenses total $236,164 – approximately 78% of budget.   We are currently showing a deficit of $22,317.  With your continued support, we are hopeful that this shortfall will be covered by our November and December offering.     Thank-you for your generosity. 

Submitted by: Jo-Anne Locke

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Board of Trustees Report

Word has been received that the administration of the estate of the late David Jones is now complete and that the final installment of his very generous bequest has been paid to the church.

An allocation of $850,000 from the bequest has been made to the Future Development Fund in support of our building project.   The balance of funds has been assigned to the Legacy Gift Fund.  In keeping with policy established in 2012 to deal with such gifts, this portion of the bequest will be used to support “the development and enhancement of the ministry of Grace United Church”.

Thanks to the very generous donation by two other Grace families, the former Mulvey property immediately west of the church is now church property.  While it will eventually to be used for additional parking spaces, the house is available for our use as an office during construction.

The Trustees have been examining the various accounts used by Grace United and will be suggesting some consolidation so as to maximize investment returns.

 - Submitted by Vic Juba on behalf of the Board of Trustees.