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Life With Grace | December 22

Updated: Dec 23, 2023


A group of 15 smiling church goers stands on the alter
Christmas is nearly here. Join us for worship this weekend and welcome the birth of our savior.

Happy Christmas

If you're a fan of Christmas music, then you've undoubtedly heard the classic tune by legendary American singer-songwriter Barry Manilow, "Christmas Is Just Around the Corner." With its catchy melody and heartwarming lyrics, it's a song that truly captures the spirit of the season...

In the song, Barry conveys a powerful message that Christmas is more than just a holiday. He reminds us that this time of year is about much more than gifts and decorations - it's a time to reflect on what truly matters in life. Christmas is a time filled with love, joy, and togetherness. “Christmas Is Just Around the Corner” emphasizes the true meaning of the holiday season, in contrast to other Christmas songs that focus on worldly things.

This coming Monday, the twenty-fifth, we will celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we eagerly anticipate his triumphant return. I invite you to find "Christmas Is Just Around the Corner" on YouTube, sing along with Barry Manilow, and cherish your loved ones while spreading kindness and joy to those around you.

And I wish you a very Merry Christmas! May this Christmas bring you immense Joy and Happiness. It’s the perfect time to cherish the past year’s memories and look forward to new beginnings. Christ, Peace, and Love fill you.

Rev. Samson Mamour


Worship Services | Fourth Sunday of Advent | Sunday, December 24 | One Unified Morning Service

No Christianity and Culture This Week

There will be no session on December 24th as there will be only one service that morning

Upcoming Christianity and Culture

December 31st:   Joanne Robblee will present on the Symbols of the Season.  She will share information about our beautiful Chrismon tree, ornaments, the meaning of different halos, the religious symbolism of the Twelve Days of Christmas, and, of course, the tasty meaning of the candy cane.

January 7th:  Intergenerational Service on the Epiphany.  We will be focusing on the Bible story and its different interpretations, making stars and decorating some crowns, and we will enjoy some delicious Three Kings' Cake made by our very own Mary Wilson.

January 14th:  Tuck will be providing an overview of Renewal Works, a research based church-wide program that focuses on spiritual growth.

January 21st:  Tim Gaylard will present on the well known oratorio ,The Messiah,by George Frideric Handel.  Tim will share information about the story of this amazing piece of music, its religious and musical significance, and its famous composer.

January 28th;  Unitive Service - no Christianity and Culture.

Feb 4th:  This is a general meeting during which the Strategic Planning team, Tuck, and the architect will provide a critical update on the Parish House Building Project.


Holy Eucharist | 10:30 a.m.

In-Person and Youtube

Advent 4 at 1030
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Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services


Christmas Eve | December 24 

5 pm with live Christmas Pageant and Communion

Christmas Eve at 5
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10:30 p.m. Choral Prelude

11:00 p.m. Festival celebration of Holy Eucharist

Christmas Eve at 11
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Christmas Day | December 25

10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist with Carols

Christmas Day 2023
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A Christmas Message from the Rector:

Dear friends

O come all ye faithful, draw near in heart and mind to Bethlehem, to those shepherds keeping watch over their flocks in the darkness. Once again heed the voice of the angel who proclaims the good news of the savior's birth for us. Give thanks for the provision of God who persevers in making all things well, shining and overcoming the darkness. Come, let us adore Him.


There is no blazing Christmas tree in Manger Square outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem this year as there normally is. Throughout the Holy Land outward Christmas celebrations are muted . Nevertheless, Christmas is being celebrated joyfully with prayer, carols, and services.


Elements of the Christmas story we often overlook, seem particularly appropriate to remember this year.  The flight of the Holy Family into Egypt to escape the murder of the Holy Innocents.  The salvation God offers is often rejected.  And not only by Herod and his peers.


We ourselves might rather not love our enemies, show mercy, forgive.  We might rather have power and might to beat them back, to destroy them.  Nevertheless God's gambit in coming among us is humble, self offering love.  Love not for the lovely, but for us sinners.  Not love that seeks what is desirable, but love that seeks to overcome and transform evil and sin through grace. To call and lead and companion us in the more excellent way.  Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 4:1


God's Spirit is working in Bethlehem, in Gaza, and in Lexington - all around the world - inspiring hearts and minds through the power of the word to turn and seek and find the Word made Flesh. Jesus the Good Shepherd of our souls.  


The glory of God's incarnate love has not been overcome.  Even today in Bethlehem.  May it illuminate your heart and mind, strengthen you in your weakness to follow in the more excellent way, forgive you all your sins and help you forgive others, bring us all to joy, and keep us in everlasting life and glory.

With gratitude,

Tuck Bowerfind (he/him)

Rector | Grace Episcopal Church

 

St. Nicholas Day Appeal 2023

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

Our 2023 St. Nicholas Day Appeal is now underway, and I invite and encourage our parishes to engage the promotional materials included below to promote this appeal in your bulletins and digital communications during the seasons of Advent and Epiphany. The conflict in Israel is on all of our hearts and minds as many innocent people on both sides are being injured and killed everyday. The some 7,000 Anglican Christians who make up The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem are praying and working for peace while assisting those in need of healing and hope. Archbishop Hosam has asked that we, Anglicans, support the various medical ministries of the diocese during this very difficult time. Therefore, your Executive Board and I have designated our St Nicholas Appeal to aid The Princess Basma Centre located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Through its Child Rehabilitation Centre, this mission of the Diocese of Jerusalem is able to provide treatment and rehabilitation for children with disabilities from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, for the age group 0-15. You can learn more about the Center here www.basma-centre.org.


Please consider faithfully how you might support this effort, either by donating online at www.dioswva.org or by mailing a check payable to the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia with “St. Nicholas Day Appeal” marked in the memo to PO Box 2279, Roanoke, VA 24009.

Peace,

The Rt. Rev. Mark Allen Bourlakas

 
 
Morning Prayer | Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.

In-Person & Zoom

 
Pop Up Christmas Eve Pageant

All children/grandchildren (both of the parish and visiting) are welcome to participate in this year's Pop Up Christmas Pageant.  We are looking for  children that would like to participate in bringing forth the creche figures on Christmas Eve at the 5pm service and/or dress as an angel, shepherd or animal.

 

Please contact Drusie MIlford (540-461-1427 or drusmilford@gmail.com) or LIz Moss (540-223-1048 or emoss267@gmail.com) if you have a child or grandchild who is interested so that we can plan and have a head count.

 

Multiple costumes are available in the middle classroom on the top floor of the parish hall.  Participating children will need to be at the church by 4:40. on Christmas Eve to prepare.  Children will rejoinn their families at the conclusion of the Gospel reading/Pageant. Please join us for the pageant!

 
Rooted in Abundance

Thank you to everyone who has returned a pledge for the Rooted in Abundance pledge campaign to fund the 2024 operating budget of Grace Episcopal Church. Every pledge helps us with our planning for the year to come. We will list the names of those who have made a pledge every week, as well as the total pledged to date. Our goal is between 115-120 pledges totaling $480,000-520,000. To date we have received pledges from 122 households totaling $530,278.00.

Thanks to our contributing households thus far:

Anonymous

Lori Apgar

John & Cecilia Arpin

Buddy & Evan Atkins

Doug Ayer

Anne Blanken

Laurent & Elizabeth Boetsch

Peter Bowerfind

Tucker & Delea Bowerfind

Jane Brooke

Alexandra Brown

Madison & Katharine Brown

Martha Ann Burford

Catharine Burns

Bettie Cadden

Betsy & Buddy Carter

David & Marjorie Connolly

Virginia Cooke

R. David & Melissa Cox

Ed & Marlys Craun

Jay & Joan Crawford

Roger Crockett

Dennis & Susan Cross

Susan Denson

Lynn & Carol Dent

Barton & Gail Dick

John & Gail Dickerson

Punky Dod

Ed & Lu Dooley

Will & Cary Edgar

Don & Claudia Ellis

Carole Elmore

Jim & Kitty Farrar

Dot Fogo

Matthew Fogo & Kevin Manning

Mark Gallagher

Tim & Catharine Gaylard

Keith & Pat Gibson

Mary Stuart Gilliam

Rene' Glidden

Rose Gordon

Tom & Carol Gosse

Julianne Grimes

James & Anne F Grizzle

Peter & Julie Grover

Margaret Haberman

Kristy Hamilton

David & Anne Hansen

Sandy & Catherine Harcus

Elizabeth Harralson

Diana Harris

Winifred Hart

Helen Head

Jack & Anne Hershbell

Drew & Megan Hess

Harold & Kathryn Hill

Kay Horner

Judy Hotchkiss

Pierson & Ellen Hotchkiss

David & Chris Howison

Benjamin & Laurie Huger

Hank & Sharon Humphreys

James & Darlene Keane

Suzanne Keen

Diana Kenney

Deborah & Bill Klein

John & Beth Knapp

Helen Kostel

Bill & Kathy Kozak

Sharon & Frederick Kurtz

Steve & Susan Lawrence

Greg & Janet Lemmer

Buster & Signe Lewis

Mo & Julia Littlefield

Bill & Barbara Luton

William & Michelle Mackie

Samson Mamour

M.J. Mayerchak

Donnie & Heather McBrayer

William McCorkle

Pat & Lisa McGuire

Jo McMurtry

Uncas McThenia

Susan Mead

John & Drusie Milford

Rob & Susan Minor

Helen Moore

Liz Moss

Grigg & Cindy Mullen

Ann & Jerry Nay

Elaine Nelson

Mark Nelson

Elizabeth & Bill Oliver

David & Jeanne Passmore

George & Eleanor Penn

Michael Perry

Shay Peters

Henry Porter

Tim & Mary Price

Steve & Peggy Riethmiller

Joanne & Paul Robblee

Cynthia Robertson

Woody & Lori Sadler

Bill Sayre & Melissa Gladwell-Sayre

Judy Schram

Heidi Schweizer

Frank Settle, Jr. & Cecile West-Settle

Marjorie Sherrill

Sue & Steve Shultis

Ham & AP Smith

Jimbo & Ruth Smith

Sarah Stockton

Paul Strickland

Lisa Tracy

Spencer & Beverly Tucker

David Wade

Kitty Wainwright

Nancy Walker

Harry & Marnie Wheeler

Kent & Mary Wilson

Michael & Beverly Wirtz

Christina Young

If you are new to pledging and would like guidance here are three basic guidelines -

1. Pledge something. You are a valuable member of the body of Christ. Most of your contribution to Christ's work is through the works of love you do for others every day in your work and personal life. You also share in the responsibility for maintaining and operating our facilities and ministries. Some members give $1/week, some give $400/week. Some give nothing. Whatever you commit and fulfill will be gratefully received and faithfully used for God's mission through Grace. Whether you give something or not, you are a beloved member of the parish and the body of Christ.

2. Consider pledging proportionally. As your income or net worth change, continue to give proportionally. For example - you can base your giving on a proportion of your gross annual income. Or if you have a positive net worth, you might consider basing your giving on a proportion of your net worth.

3. Consider tithing your income or net worth. Traditionally, tithing is ten percent of gross household income. Muslims have a different standard that you might consider. They give 2.4% of their gross positive net worth. If they have zero or negative net worth they are not expected to give anything except time and talent.

 
Lanford Mission Emergency Fund Christmas Appeal

In the words of Teresa of Avila, we are “the hands, feet, eyes, and body of Christ in our world.” As we approach Christmas and reflect on those words, the Christian Outreach Committee asks you to consider a Christmas donation to the Lanford Mission Emergency Fund.


Begun in this parish in 1984, the LMEF primarily assists residents of Rockbridge County who request emergency financial help with rent, utilities, and temporary emergency housing. The majority of requests come to Grace through RARA (Rockbridge Area Relief Association) which does the vetting to verify need.  Grace continues to partner with RARA, Lexington Presbyterian, and St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church to share in payments.  Through November 30, the LMEF extended a helping hand to 158 of our neighbors in the amount of $16,205.


Partial funding for the LMEF comes from Grace’s Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving loose plate offerings.  A donation to the LMEF can be made through your Christmas offering in the form of a check made out to Grace Episcopal Church with “Lanford MEF” noted on the memo line as well as on Grace Episcopal Church’s website.


The Christian Outreach Committee sincerely thanks everyone who contributed to the LMEF through their Thanksgiving offerings. Your continued, generous support to this long-time Grace Episcopal ministry is greatly appreciated!

 
Prayers for Peace in the Holy Land

A Note from Tuck:

I am writing to ask for your prayers for a de-escalation of violence between Israeli and Palestinian people and for return to the challenging work of building a sustainable and lasting peace.

I have reached out to the current student director of Hillel House, the Chaplain at VMI, and the director of Student Services at W&L to express our support of Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish and Muslim students.

I encourage you to reach out to your Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish and Muslim friends in recognition that this crisis creates the conditions for increased anti-semitic and anti-muslim behavior, as well the strong likelihood that they or someone close to them has been impacted by this crisis.

Finally, please read the following statement by the Episcopal Church and the accompanying statement by Churches for Middle East Peace.

Pray for peace.

 
Boys Home of Virginia Wish List

Please help us support the Boys Home of Virginia by supplying any of items on their wishlist. There is a basket on the stair landing to the Parish Office for the Boys Home donations. Please drop off at church. Thank you!

 
Upcoming Outreach Opportunities

Rockbridge Connect and Nourish (CAN) -formerly the Portable Community Table

From RATS (Rockbridge Areas Transportation Services): “We are working to build community by bringing together diverse people to share free, professionally catered dinners, by linking people to other community resources, and by providing free transportation to meals.”

Starting in 2024 the schedule will be 3 dinners a month at 6 locations. Each location will have an assigned month and week.

Join fellow community members at dinner: Rockbridge Connect and Nourish (CAN) - 2024 Community Dinner schedule Volunteer to serve at a dinner: Rockbridge CAN Community Dinner sign-up


Community Health and Wellbeing Survey

Please take 10-15 minutes to complete the 2023 survey. Conducted every three years, survey responses are used to identify health priorities in our community. Agencies use these priorities in making programming and funding decisions, many of which have already had a significant positive impact in our area. Carilion Health Assessment Survey 2023

 
A Plea for Haiti

Our neighbors in Haiti are struggling through a period of political violence and chaos. With the government disabled, many Haitians rely on church schools to educate their children. Grace, as part of the Virginia Haiti Collaborative, supports one such school in Haiti, St. Marc’s in Cerca-la-Source. Every month the Collaborative sends $5000 to Haiti to pay the salaries of the 30-some teachers at St. Marc’s who teach the 350 students in grades K-12. That $5000/month pays the full salaries of 30 adults and provides education for 350 students. The Collaborative is the school’s only source of funding.

This season, we are also raising money so that the students can have computers at school. They will need some degree of computer literacy to take their graduation exams and to serve them as they seek jobs after graduation. If you can help provide schooling for these children, please put Virginia Haiti Collaborative on the memo line and send your check to Trinity Episcopal Church, 214 W. Beverley St, Staunton, VA 24401. Trinity provides bookkeeping for the collaborative. For more information, please contact Anne Hansen or Tuck.

 
Wanted: Sunday School Teachers

Grace is looking for youth, college students and adults willing to help provide Sunday School for a few children each Sunday from about 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. We are willing to pay a stipend. Please contact Tuck to find out more.

 
Prayer List

Prayer for the election of the next Presiding Bishop: Almighty God, source of all wisdom and understanding: Look graciously on your church, and so guide the hearts and minds of those who will choose our next presiding bishop, that we may receive a faithful pastor who will care for all of your people, equip us for our ministries, and proclaim your word to us and to the world, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.Please pray for the wider Church and intercessions requested by our Congregants: Pray for the continued healing of The Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. The Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, and our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mark Bourlakas. Pray today for your brothers and sisters in The Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. Pray for Brendon, Michael Murphy, Timmy, Rick Alexander, Bradley Fairchild and Karen Junkin, Gloria June Perry, Glen Jones, Patricia Brown Boyer, Dolly Shumate, Carolyn Glenn, Jack Hershbell, Laura Stearns, Worth & Katie Burnes & Family, Amelia Dull, Barb Ostrander, Stephen deMaria, Polly Lawrence, Betty Cadden, Jeff Mason, Joe Irby, Kent Wilson, Rosemary Phillips, Don Ellis, Diana Kenney, Patrick Bowes, Ann Nay, Paula Cooper, Penny & Ned Henneman, Steve Riethmiller, Barbara Bova, Daniel Diener, Shelby, Anne Stenhouse, Clay Sadler, Lynn Butler, Sharon Humphreys, Eloise Adams, Nancy Mastin, Elizabeth Klein (daughter of Deb & Bill Klein), Linda Lanford and Erik Figueroa (family of Tim & Mary Price), Patrick Keeley, Matthew (SVU student), Dorothy & Bill Rodman (Lori Sadler’s family), Cullen Bahr (friend of Drusie Milford), and those we name aloud or in our hearts. Pray for those who have died. Pray for the people of Israel, Gaza, Sudan, Haiti, Ukraine, and pray for cessation of violence, reconciliation, and peace.

 
In Thanksgiving for December and January Birthdays

12/23 Carol Gosse, Julianne Grimes, Betsy Carter

12/25 Harrison Edgar

12/27 Joy Harris

12/30 Maggie Lawrence, Willow Moles, Buddy Carter

12/31 Grace Frascati


1/4 Colin Murphy

1/5 Elizabeth Branner, Martha Ann Burford

1/8 Laurent Boetsch, Kitty Farrar, Helen Moore

1/10 Janet Lemmer, Peter Grover

1/11 Signe Lewis

1/12 Carol Muir

1/14 Liz Moss

1/16 Gabrielle Frascati

1/18 Laurie Huger

1/19 Elizabeth Boetsch

1/20 Paul Strickland

1/21 Sarah Edgar

1/23 Virginia Cooke

1/26 Maille Carrington

1/27 Sean Carrington , Joseph Moles

1/29 Jane Brooke

1/30 Melissa Gladwell-Sayre,  Cary Edgar

1/31 Tom Gosse

 

We're so glad you're here! If you or someone you know is new to Grace and would like more information about Parish life, follow the link below.

 


 
MLK Community Worship Service

Sunday, January 14, 2024 @ 4:00pm in the First Baptist Church

 

The MLK March/ Parade will be held on Monday, January 15, 2024 @ 10:30 AM beginning @ the Randolph Street United Methodist Church located 118 South Randolph Street in Lexington.

 
Be a Santa to a Senior 2023

It's time to kick off the 2023 Be a Santa to a Senior program! Please share with your friends, family, and co-workers. All of the older adults on this list are economically-challenged, disabled, or socially isolated. Help make the holidays brighter by adopting a wish list.

 
Donations for Lisa's House – Project Horizon

Items we currently need: · High efficiency laundry detergent · Toilet paper, paper towels · Lysol disinfectant spray · Dish soap · Coffee · $10 gas cards At this time, we are only able to accept items on this list. Thank you for thinking of us!

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