This Sunday, November 19, is the penultimate Sunday of the Church year. Our gospel lessons for the last three Sundays of the year are three great parables of Christ's return to judge the living and the dead...
...taken from the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew. Last Sunday we read the parable of the ten bridesmaids, this Sunday the parable of the talents, next Sunday, November 26, the judgment of the nations.
Belief in the return of Christ in glory to judge the world and inaugurate the general resurrection is a normative part of the Christian faith, as well as Muslim and, to some extent, Jewish faiths. Individual Christians, Muslims and Jews hold widely varying opinions about Christ's return. But the normative Christian hope is to live with confidence in newness and fullness of life, and to await the coming of Christ in glory, and the completion of God's purpose for the world.
Our confidence is deeply rooted in our faith that God is love. And therefore God will always do what is best for us. Nothing, not even death, shall ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The parables in Matthew 25 make it clear that God expects us to faithfully and persistently live the love that has been modeled and entrusted to us by Jesus until he comes again. I recommend planning to live it all your life!
Jesus healed, liberated, fed, and restored others, and in the end gave himself completely for the redemption and salvation of the world. It's a high bar. But gratefully, he did the bulk of the work. Our job is not to save the world, but to bear witness to him and to try to continue to work for healing, liberation, fullness of life and restoration for all people.
The world around us often directs us toward personal care and fulfillment. God does not deny us personal care and fulfillment. But God calls us to realize true joy is in love that centers God and the needs of others.
As we invest our time, talent, and treasure in the work of God we do find joy, newness and fullness of life, The work of a faithful life is rewarded not only with joy, but in the health and well being of a community that returns that love and takes care of us, too.
Tuck Bowerfind (he/him/his)
Rector | Grace Episcopal Church
Worship Services | Proper 28 | Sunday, November 19
Holy Eucharist | 8 a.m.
In-Person & Zoom
Christianity and Culture | 9:15 a.m.
Parish Hall & Zoom | HOPE
Upcoming Christianity and Culture Topics
November 19th: Anne Hansen will be speaking about HOPE. The world is full of alarm and sorrow. What is the nature of Christian hope? And how are Christians called to live this hope in a troubled world?
Holy Eucharist | 10:30 a.m.
In-Person and Youtube
Bible Study, 4 p.m. – The ladies’ discussion group will meet in the Welles Room (Library). Please join us!
The Parish Office will be closed Monday through Wednesday next week.
December 3, 9 a.m. (between the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services)
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.
The Rt. Rev. Mark Allen Bourlakas
Morning Prayer | Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.
In-Person & Zoom
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 totalling $480,000-520,000. To date we have received pledges from 48 households totaling $236,420.
Thanks to our contributing households thus far:
John & Cecilia Arpin
Laurent & Elizabeth Boetsch
Tucker & Delea Bowerfind
Betsy & Buddy Carter
David & Marjorie Connolly
Lynn & Carol Dent
Barton & Gail Dick
John & Gail Dickerson
Ed & Lu Dooley
Jim & Kitty Farrar
Matthew Fogo & Kevin Manning
Tim & Catharine Gaylard
Mary Stuart Gilliam
Tom & Carol Gosse
David & Anne Hansen
Sandy & Catherine Harcus
Jack & Anne Hershbell
Drew & Megan Hess
Harold & Kathryn Hill
Pierson & Ellen Hotchkiss
David & Chris Howison
Benjamin & Laurie Huger
James & Darlene Keane
Greg & Janet Lemmer
Buster & Signe Lewis
Bill & Barbara Luton
Pat & Lisa McGuire
Rob & Susan Minor
Grigg & Cindy Mullen
David & Jeanne Passmore
George & Eleanor Penn
Tim & Mary Price
Steve & Peggy Riethmiller
Joanne & Paul Robblee
Bill Sayre & Melissa Gladwell-Sayre
Sue & Steve Shultis
Ham & AP Smith
Jimbo & Ruth Smith
Harry & Marnie Wheeler
Kent & Mary Wilson
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.
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.
Pre-Thanksgiving Day Worship
Rockbridge Area Ministerial Alliance will sponsor our Annual Joint Pre-Thanksgiving Day Worship Service on Monday, November 20, 2023 @ 6pm. Our hosts are Pastor Skyler Daniel and the Manly Memorial Baptist Church, located 222 S. Main Street in Lexington. The Rev. Justin Clement, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church will be the preacher. We hope to see you there! Please bring a contribution for RARA.
Thanksgiving Day Service
Thursday, Nov. 23, 10:30 a.m. Following the service, we would love to share Thanksgiving dinner with the parish and members of the community in the parish hall. We will provide the Turkeys, stuffing, cranberry sauce, country ham, southern stewed tomatoes, pecan pie, and apple cider. We invite you to bring a complementary dish from your Thanksgiving tradition and your beverage of choice. If you would like to join in please let us know by calling the parish office or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall Clean-Up Day
We will be having a second fall cleanup day – focusing mostly on leaf collection – this Saturday, November 18, starting at 8:30am. There may be some light pruning that wasn’t completed last time but will mostly be raking and removing leaves. If you have a leaf blower and can bring it, it will make the ‘raking’ go quickly. Otherwise, bring rakes, clippers, gloves - the usual.
Paws to Connect
In recognition of Thanksgiving Break, we will pause as students reconnect with their paws at home.
Journey to Bethlehem
As a special holiday activity again this year, we are hoping to have our families at Grace participate in a shared spiritual journey. Beginning on the first day of Advent, December 3rd, a family can invite Mary and Joseph to spend the night at their house. The two will come with a special prayer for the family to say to bless the home that offered hospitality. You can keep a copy of the prayer to read during Advent. We would love it if you would take a picture of your family with Mary and Joseph and
send it to Martha Burford, who will post your pictures on Facebook. After Mary and Joseph have spent the night, you will need to make arrangements to pass them on to the next family on the list included in their box. Hopefully, by Christmas Eve, Mary and Joseph will have visited all the families on the list. The last family (Dec. 23rd) are asked to bring Mary and Joseph to the 5:00 pm Christmas Eve service where Baby Jesus will be waiting for them.
Do you have a special nativity set that you would share with the Church for a few weeks? We will display Nativity sets in the windows of the Nave during the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Please bring your set to the Nave and place in a window by Friday, December 1.
Main Street Lexington Church Open House
December 15, 4–6:00 p.m. If you would like to volunteer to greet visitors to our church please contact email@example.com.
This Advent season, you're invited to Advent Meditations, a three-week online series offered these Monday nights in Advent from 7:30 - 8:00 p.m. Join us for this half-hour each week to slow down and take time for silence and contemplation as we experience this special season.
Sounder Community Circle
"The Sounder Community Circle" arose from a very successful event last April, where a diverse audience of more than 100 people heard the author's son, Kip Armstrong, talk about how Charlie Jones, a black educator in Rockbridge County, inspired his father to write "Sounder," and its sequel "Sour Land," Mead explained. "People kept asking me when the next 'Sounder Circle' event would take place. Now I can say 'every second Monday of the month at 7:30 p.m.’”
When asked about why the name of the series expanded to include "community," Mead reflected: "A co-organizer who loves puns said that our ultimate goal is to build a 'Sounder Community!' And indeed, it is! The idea is to learn lessons offered by local literature and history so together we in the Rockbridge area can create a more promising future for all."
Mead says the first session will end with brainstorming about topics that participants want to explore from Armstrong's books. "After the introduction on November 13, we are planning a very special program for December 11, which will feature images from the town of Lexington found in 'Sounder,'" Mead enthused. "Beyond that, community members will help shape the direction of our discussion topics, because 'Sounder' belongs to us all!"
Every Sounder Community Circle event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Susan Virginia Mead.
Boys Home of Virginia Wish List
Please help us support the Boys Home of Virginia by supplying any of items on their wishlist.
Lanford Mission Emergency Fund
The Mission Emergency Fund was begun at Grace in 1984 to assist residents of Rockbridge County who seekemergency financial support to meet rent, utility, food, medical, or temporary housing expenses. In late 2014 the name of the fund was changed to the Lanford Mission Emergency Fund (LMEF) to recognize Sarah Lanford’s long-time service to this ministry.
The emergencies that prompt requests for assistance include sudden illness, unexpected job loss, loss of health insurance, or other crisis situations. In the majority of cases, RARA (Rockbridge Area Relief Association) does the vetting to verify need and eligibility and then contacts Grace Episcopal along with Lexington Presbyterian and St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic churches to share with RARA in the financial support.
Through early November 2023, Grace has received 153 requests for assistance, and the MEF has expended $11,969.13 to meet those requests. The funding for this ministry comes from Grace’s Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas loose plate offerings, individual gifts, a small COC grant, and a quarterly draw from the Lanford Endowment Fund.
As we approach Thanksgiving and reflect on all of the blessings and gifts in our lives, we ask you to consider adonation to the Lanford Mission Emergency Fund to assist those who are less fortunate. A donation to the LMEF can be made through your Thanksgiving 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 our website.
The Christian Outreach Committee sincerely thanks you for your continued support of this long-time Grace Episcopal ministry!
Mission and Outreach Committee of the Gadsden Trust
The mission of the Gadsden Committee “is to disburse funds (from the Gadsden Trust) to enable the spread of the Christian Gospel and to alleviate human suffering.” The Gadsden Committee’s fourth Quarter 2023 meeting will be held December 12, 2023, at 4 pm in the Parish Hall. Committee members (Gail Dickerson, Carol Gosse, William McCorkle, Cindy Mullen, Paul Robblee, Ruth Smith, and Woody Sadler) will review fourth quarter grant requests and distribute available funds in the following areas: local needs and concerns-community and Grace; seminarians and continuing education of Diocesan clergy and ministers of our parish; third world needs; and Diocesan projects or programs.
Fourth quarter grant requests can be sent to Gail Dickerson, Chair, and must be received by December 1, 2023. The Gadsden Trust grant request application can be found here.
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.
Grace Dining Groups Update
The dining groups have been formed and information sent out. However, it is never too late to still join a group. We have weekday luncheon, Sunday brunch and weekday dinner groups. Some dine in homes and some prefer to dine out. If you are still interested, please email Drusie or Ruth.
Light in the Darkness Service
Recognizing that Advent and Christmastime can be a particular challenge to those suffering from grief, loss, anxiety or loneliness, this beautiful service of choral music, candlelight, and prayer is offered to make space for those seeking God's healing as we look forward to His coming to restore all things. Join us on December 10th at 5 p.m.
Angel Tree is Coming!
Angel Tree is virtual this year! Grace Episcopal Church has chosen to sponsor 50 children. Will you help connect children with their incarcerated parents and show them the love of Christ? It starts with a simple Christmas gift.
Before December 13, go to our Grace Angel Tree site and select the child/children you would like to sponsor.
A Wal-Mart gift card in the amount of $30.00 will be sent to each individual child.
You may choose one child or multiple children.
Once you select a child, if they have siblings, you will be asked if you would like to sponsor their siblings. This is not required. If you choose to do so, all siblings will be in your “check out cart.” You can reduce the number of children once you proceed to your check out cart.
You will also be given the option to sponsor the caregiver and have a gift card sent to them. This is not required.
You may pay by credit, debit and ACH.
Note: In addition to showing the love of Jesus, your gift is tax deductible this year! You will receive a donation receipt upon virtual checkout.
Questions? Contact Melissa Cox at 540-319-1986 (text or call)
Thank you for sharing in this important and loving ministry.
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 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 for the people of Christ, Blacksburg and their rector, the Rev. Scott West. 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, Annie Campbell, Polly Lawrence, Betty Cadden, Jeff Mason, Joe Irby, Kent Wilson, Rosemary Phillips, Joan Wade, Don Ellis, Diana Kenney, Patrick Bowes, Ann Nay, Paula Cooper, Penny & Ned Henneman, Steve Riethmiller, David Wade, Barbara Bova, Daniel Diener, Shelby, Anne Stenhouse, Clay Sadler, Lynn Butler, Sharon Humphreys, Eloise Adams, Nancy Mastin, Judy (Carole Elmore’s sister), Elizabeth Klein (daughter of Deb & Bill Klein), Linda Lanford and Erik Figueroa (family of Tim & Mary Price), and those we name aloud or in our hearts. Pray for those who have died, especially Lucy Moise and Marc Silvia (brother of Lisa McGuire). Pray for the people of Israel, Gaza, Sudan, Haiti, Ukraine, and pray for cessation of violence, reconciliation, and peace.
In Thanksgiving for November Birthdays
11/18 Sis Harcus, Diana Harris
11/19 Steven Lawrence, Hank Humphreys
11/21 Tim Gaylard, Liam Murphy
11/22 Will McClung
11/23 Bill Kozak, Kristi Finnell
11/26 Michael McCabe
11/27 Jack Hershbell, Anne Blanken, Avery Hess
11/29 Robert Glidden
11/30 Harry Warner
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.
Christmas Basket packing
Saturday, December 9, 2023 at the Virginia Horse Center’s Anderson Coliseum. 8 a.m. to noon. No sign ups—just show up! First time packing with R,CB? Welcome! Tips: Dress in layers (with one being a Christmas sweater, perhaps) and wear comfy shoes. If you are interested in helping delivering, please contact Tammy Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org
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!