Saying Goodbye

It is with regret mixed with deep gratitude for her years of service that I share the resignation of our administrator Jennifer Schultz effective on September 9, 2018.

Jen has been a faithful servant of Grace Lutheran and of its predecessors Saint Paul’s and Emanuel for over thirteen years, and has been the coordinator of our Little Kitchen Food Shelf and developer and organizer of our many years of low-cost summer camps for kids. Her work has been invaluable and her commitment to the mission has strengthened and supported us in our call to love and serve the neighbor. There is no question that she will be deeply missed; we wish her good luck and godspeed in her new ventures.

Jen will be available to assist with managing the food shelf while we navigate the transition and enter the hiring process for a new administrator. We are fully committed to continuing the good work of the Little Kitchen Food Shelf, and we are excited to welcome a new person into its administration (whoever it turns out they may be!).

We will be celebrating Jen’s many years of service on Rally Sunday, September 16th, after morning worship. All those who have benefitted from Jen’s leadership, administration, and friendship are invited to join us at 11:15am that day.

– Pastor Emmy

School Supplies Drive!

It’s time for our yearly School Supplies Drive!

As always, any new school supplies will be welcome, and will be distributed to teachers, schools, and kids as needed. But this year we also have a request list! New City Charter School is moving in, and to welcome them to Grace Center, we’ve asked for a list of what will serve them best – along with of course some supplies for Sandy Kortebein and Sue Traxler’s classroom and office needs!

– Pocket folders
– #2 Pencils
– Composition notebooks
– Label stickers
– Headphones
– Dry erase markers
– Large erasers
– Tape (painter’s tape, masking tape, packing tape, duct tape)

Please bring your supplies to church any time before Monday, August 27.

Support our Seminarian!

Grace Alworth has been with us for many years and has served in many capacities, including teaching confirmation and supply preaching. Grace has a Master of Arts in theology from Luther Seminary, and has long felt a call to ordained ministry but was unable to pursue it…

…until now! Luther Seminary is currently offering “Jubilee scholarships” to Master of Divinity students, covering all tuition for those students. This has enabled Grace to re-start the candidacy process and pursue her ordination as a pastor.

However, that does not mean her whole seminary education is free. Grace will still have to pay for books and student life fees, along with lost income from returning to school full-time for two years.

Many congregations help their seminarians with school expenses, and our finance team and council have approved covering Grace’s tech fees, student life fee, and book costs. But especially as a small business partner (hooray for Studio 2 Ceramics!) we know that Grace is making a big sacrifice in finishing her degree. That’s why we’re making it possible to give to a special seminarian fund through Grace Lutheran Church, to help Grace meet any other financial needs she and Jim encounter during her time at seminary.

You can make a special gift to the seminarian support fund online here or by check in our Sunday morning offering. Checks can be made out to Grace Lutheran Church with “seminarian support” in the memo line.

Ch-ch-ch-changes at Grace Center!

Door 3 has a new canopy!If you’ve been around Grace Center lately you’ve noticed a lot of construction activity!

Our doors have long been labeled with numbers (Door #3 for the food shelf and Door #2 for the church office — or is it the other way around?). In addition, whenever the sun shone brightly on Door #2 in the early morning (coincidentally when the office opened or about an hour before Sunday worship starts) the paint swelled and got sticky, making the unlocked door still difficult or even impossible to open.

 

This past fiscal year Grace Center budgeted funds to install door canopies, which will solve a number of problems! Now instead of giving a door number, we can give a door color, which is easier for visitors to remember. The canopy on Door #2 also means the sun isn’t glaring down on it. And it makes the whole building look updated and more colorful!

 

 

And an even bigger change — our playground is gone! The existing playground was carefully removed earlier this month by Bauer Bros (North Minneapolis salvage company), with assistance from Hutterite members (similar to Mennonites) from southern MN.  The playground will be reassembled (and repaired, as needed) by the Hutterites in their community in Gibbon, Minnesota.

But have no fear. Grace Center received $60,000 from the Northeast Lions Club last year, and since then Lorrie Stromme has been doing amazing work gathering grants and other available funds. She has raised $145,000 so that, at no rent or operating cost increases, we will have a brand-new inclusive playground by the end of August!  They are still working to raise the final $15,000.

The new playground is called “Fair Play,” because it features equipment that welcomes kids with special needs and all abilities to play together, side by side. There will be ramps for wheel-chair access, swings with support, sensory play equipment, softer surfaces, and stimulating learning areas. (There is no accessible playground for kids with sensory or physical disabilities on our side of the city.) It will provide smiles, fun, and fitness for families in the community, as well as students in the schools at Grace Center. Fair Play will be an asset for the Northeast community as a whole, but especially for those with special needs.

The new playground is scheduled to be installed on August 12 and 13 by volunteers, under the supervision of a professional playground installer.  Church members, local residents, neighborhood groups – all willing adults — are invited to help out.

The tasks on Saturday, August 12, involve digging some footings, setting up the main playground structure (with ramps for wheelchairs), the rotating pyramid, swings, edging, and the sandbox. We are hoping to have 40 to 50 volunteers helping out between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.  We are recruiting a core group of 10-15 who will be able to stay all day.  Please bring work gloves.

The tasks on Sunday, August 13, involve continuing to install the play equipment, spread pea gravel, and install the “discover cave” structure after the pea gravel is in place.  We are seeking 30 adult volunteers that day, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Please bring work gloves.

Volunteers will receive a t-shirt, water, snacks/a meal.  Rest rooms and shade/AC are inside the building.

On August 26 and 27, we will need volunteers again to help spread the engineered wood fiber in the places where there is no poured-in-place rubberized surfacing. We would welcome 30 volunteers, and we are hoping that some will bring wheelbarrows and shovels.

Volunteers can sign up on the Grace Center Web site (http://gracectr.org — under the Fair Play Project tab) — or call or text Heidi Zaworski, 612-408-0242.

Donations are also welcome online (by credit card or PayPal) to support the final stages of Fair Play!

Advent and Christmas Worship Schedule

ChristmasCandle

ALL are welcome to come and join us! Bring your family, friends and out-of-town guests to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Youth Christmas Program
Sunday, December 11, 10 AM
Our Sunday School children will continue the beloved tradition of retelling the story of Jesus’ birth with singing and a lively sketch during the 10 AM Worship Service.

Service of Longest Night
Wednesday, December 21, 7pm
A space for those who are grieving or hurting during this Christmas season.  Hosted by Grace Lutheran along with Intertwine Northeast and Mill City Church.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (with Communion)
Saturday, December 24, 4:30 PM
We will gather together to hear the story of Christ’s birth and sing carols.

Christmas Day Worship Service (with Communion)
Sunday, December 25, 10 AM
Celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas morning!