Holy Week at Home

Sunday, March 28, 10am – Palm Sunday Worship with Communion

Thursday, April 1, 6:30pm – Maundy Thursday Meditation with Communion
Friday, April 2, 6:30pm – Good Friday Meditation
Saturday, April 3 – Passion Walks
Saturday, April 3, 7pm – Queer Grace Community Easter Vigil with Communion

Sunday, April 4, 6:30am – Sunrise Meditation
Sunday, April 4, 10am – Easter Sunday Worship with Communion

Joining Worship Online

If you are on Facebook, our church Facebook page can be found at facebook.com/gracenempls. If have a Facebook account and you “Like” our page, you will see a notification on Facebook when we go live for worship. But you do not need a Facebook account to watch the videos! Just go to facebook.com/gracenempls and watch.

You can watch previous worship videos on our Facebook page or by going to gracenempls.org/worshiponline.

Joining Worship by Phone
During any of the worship times, you can dial 312-626-6799. When asked, enter meeting code 908-357-395 and press #.

Preparing for At-Home Worship
When you prepare to watch the live stream or recorded videos, it is helpful to pay attention not only to what you can see and hear, but also your other senses. Some suggestions:
– Sit in a comfortable chair or on the couch.
– Put on slippers or grab a blanket for comfort and warmth.
– Light a candle, especially if it is a good smelling one!
– You are very much welcome to eat your breakfast or dinner, or drink coffee or cocoa or tea, during worship.

Communion At Home
In the beginning, the Christian church was not in a separate church building, but in individuals’ homes. The people prayed and sang together, read Scripture, listened to testimony, and shared their food.

The Lutheran church proclaims that Jesus is fully present for us in the bread and wine of communion. Luther wrote that it had nothing to do with whether a priest or pastor was “good enough” – in fact, he said that all baptized Christians, as members of what he called “the priesthood of all believers,” could baptize and could consecrate communion in an emergency! We are living in very unusual times, and we hunger for the promise of the presence of God. That is why we will continue to eat communion together, at our many kitchen tables, physically separate but still one body of Christ, and surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

You are invited to use whatever bread (loaves, crackers, even cookies!) you have available to you. You are welcome to add a cup of juice, milk, wine, or any other liquid to this practice if you like.

Drive-Thru Drop Offs!

My Very Own Bed
Saturday June 20, 10am – noon
5th Street Side of Grace Center

You may remember that we started a drive for My Very Own Bed back in March – collecting brand-new twin sheets, pillows, mattress pads, and stuffed animals for children moving out of homelessness. This drive was on pause during our at-home worship, but MVOB recently announced they are low on supplies! Barb Bower picked up and took over our current stock of donations today, AND this Saturday, we will also be taking drive-up donations!

Look for the pop-up tent on the curb on our 5th Street side! You can drive up, drop off, and head out!

You can bring NEW:
– twin size bedsheets
– twin size mattress pads
– twin size blankets or comforters
– pillows
– small stuffed animals

Worship is On (line)

 

During the encouraged social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, we will be connecting and worshiping online.

Join us for online worship on Sundays at 10am by Zoom here or by Facebook here. You may also call in to listen by dialing 312-626-6799 and entering meeting code 908-357-395.

Join us for online for Midweek Mediations on Wednesdays at 6:30pm by Zoom here or by Facebook here. You may also call in to listen by dialing 312-626-6799 and entering meeting code 114-860-901.

You do not need a Facebook or Zoom account to watch videos or listen by phone.

You can also find past videos of worship on Facebook.

If during this time you find yourself in need – your employment is reduced, your isolation increases, or you’re simply wanting a new book recommendation – please feel free to contact Pastor Emmy directly. We will be reaching out to every family in the congregation and finding ways to keep in touch, but we don’t want anyone to slip through the cracks. We are here for you.

Church in the Time of COVID-19

The Christian church has long been a place of gathering in times of trouble and worry. As new information and confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to dominate the headlines, we want to be proactive in our community care and prevention.

As of the morning of Thursday, March 12, the Minnesota Department of Health is not recommending the cancellation of community events and church gatherings. If this changes, we will follow the suggestions of the MDH.

While we continue to gather for worship, we will make changes and suggestions to our community life together:

  • In past weeks, we have moved to communion only by small disposable (compostable!) cups.
  • We are continuing to provide our usual hand sanitizing station, and added an additional pump bottle near the kids’ worship supplies.
  • We will be strongly encouraging social distancing during worship. This includes no-contact sharing of the peace (bump elbows, give a two finger “peace” sign, or fold hands in front in a prayer gesture).
  • Social distancing in worship may also mean sitting further from each other than usual.
  • Worship will continue to be livestreamed on our Facebook page (facebook.com/gracenempls). You do *not* need a Facebook account to watch the livestream.
  • We are adding a call-in service so that those without access to a computer can listen by phone to worship! On Sundays at 10am, you may dial 646-558-8656 and enter meeting code 908-357-395 to join. (It may ask you for a participant ID, which you can skip by pressing pound.)

Our food shelf will base its opening and closing decisions on recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minneapolis Public School system, and our primary food partners Second Harvest Heartland and the Food Group (who are also implementing additional cleaning procedures).

 

If you’re scheduled to help with a service activity but you’re sick, you can call or text Pastor Emmy at 612-548-1439 (or contact whoever is in charge of your activity, like Lynn Mena if you’re working in the food shelf!) and she’ll work to find a replacement.

If you are concerned about your financial stability during the outbreak (especially if your employment will be affected), please contact Pastor Emmy so that we might look for resources together to help.

If you’re tired of singing Happy Birthday while you wash your hands, our ELCA colleagues out in the Delaware-Maryland Synod released this alternative:

Our life in Christ is one of compassion and mutual care, and we ask that everyone remain mindful and aware as we do our best to prevent the spread of all illness in our shared spaces. Please reach out if you have any questions or feedback. We will be monitoring the situation and communicating any changes that need to be made. Peace be with you.

Hang on… what’s Lent?

Lent begins 40 days (not counting Sundays) before Easter, and it is set aside as a time of self-reflection, prayer, fasting, and charitable giving. In the time of the early Christian church, as adult converts were added, Lent was designated for preparation and teaching, with baptisms and first communions after sundown on Holy Saturday or at first light on Easter Sunday. The 40 days of Lent are for Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness.

Why purple?

Lent is the season leading up to Jesus’ death on Good Friday and resurrection on Easter morning. Before his crucifixion, Jesus was dressed in a purple robe by Pontius Pilate, mocking Christ’s claim to power. Purple reminds us of the upside-down reign of Jesus, the son of God who dies for us. Purple is also the color of  near-night and near-dawn, calling us to self-reflection and repentance.

What’s with the pancakes?

By the 15th century, Lent had been established as a time of solemnity and fasting. Christians were expected to get rid of all the luxurious foods in their house — specifically butter, eggs, and fat. Guess what you can make with those! Thus grew the tradition of Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday,” when Christians would eat and drink and do everything else they planned to not do for the next 40 days.

What’s this about fasting?

Fasting has long traditions in many world religions as a way to focus the mind and show one’s spiritual devotion and commitment. Temporary self-denial can invite us to compassion for those who are hungry not by choice, to a remembrance of the trials of Jesus, or to better appreciation of food when we do eat. A common practice today during Lent is to give up a particular kind of food or drink, like chocolate, candy, or alcohol (some even give up coffee!). But in a day and age when eating disorders are not uncommon, it’s important to remember that what we do during Lent is not for us, but for our relationship with God and compassion for our neighbor. A practice that puts us in physical danger is not the kind of fast God invites us to. That’s why we pray at the end of each Lenten service:

May we fast from worry and feast on trust.
May we fast from haste and feast on patience.
May we fast from judgment and feast on kindness.
May we fast from gossip and feast on service.
May we fast from resentment and feast on forgiveness.
May we fast from fear and feast on love,
finding our power for compassion in the life of Jesus our Lord.