Grace Episcopal Church

Reaching the world for Jesus Christ beginning in Casanova


Dear Ones at Grace,

This has been the weirdest winter that I can remember.  It snowed last night and this morning.  It was supposed to be maybe up to a foot of snow but it was maybe 3 inches.  And given the warm days we’ve been experiencing in February and March, I’m sure it won’t be around long.  Nevertheless, spring has sprung!  It’s interesting to see daffodils and crocuses looking out through the snow.  Maples are turning red with blooms and I have seen Blue birds nesting!  I can tell that there is pollen in the air as well.  Can Easter be far behind?

Easter is also one of the many signs of the arrival of spring. Easter is also the tipping point for a radical shift in thinking between Old and New Testament writers regarding their attitude toward suffering.  Suffering may not be something we want to think about as we approach the joy of Easter but Holy Week is exactly the time to ponder suffering given what happens that week because the shift in attitude regarding suffering is due to the cross. Here’s what I mean.

When New Testament writers speak of hard times, they express none of the indignation that characterized Job, the prophets and many of the Psalms.  The NT writers offer no explanation for suffering but rather keep pointing to two events as if they form some sort of pictorial answer to suffering.  The events?  The death and resurrection of Jesus.

The apostles’ faith, as they freely confessed, rested entirely on what happened that first Easter Sunday.  The disciples soon learned what they had failed to learn in three years with their leader: when God seems absent, He may be closest of all.  When God seems dead, He may just be coming back to life.

The three day pattern – tragedy, darkness, triumph – became for New Testament writers a template that can be applied to all our times of difficulty or testing.  We can look back on Jesus, the proof of God’s love for us, even though we may not ever get an answer to our “Why?”  questions.

Good Friday demonstrates that God has not abandoned us to our pain.  The evils and sufferings that afflict our lives are so real and significant that God willed to share and endure them.  The God who sometimes seems out there also came and is “acquainted with grief.”  On that Good Friday,   Jesus Himself experienced the silence of God, as He quoted Psalm 22 not Psalm 23 from the cross.

But Easter Sunday was (and is) the real tipping point in this radical shift in thinking about suffering for the NT writers. Easter shows that, in the end, suffering will not triumph.  The end will not be suffering but resurrection and joy.  And this attitude is reflected in the words of three separate NT writers. James writes, “Consider it pure joy …when you face trials of many kinds.”  Peter writes, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” And lastly Paul, who writes, “We also rejoice in our sufferings.”  These Apostles go on to explain what good can result from such “redeemed suffering”: maturity, genuine faith, perseverance, character and many rewards to come – some in this life and others in the fullness of life to come

I am not suggesting that we go looking for trials or grief or suffering.  Certainly Jesus did not!  He did not turn away from it when it came either but rather pressed on through the tragedy and darkness to the triumph that was awaiting Him.  So may it be for us when we encounter such trials.  Our joy at Easter comes because of the suffering which came before.  May our joy be multiplied this year after the trials and sufferings that many have faced and some live with still.  And let us band together as a family in Christ so that our sorrows may be divided and our joys multiplied.
In His joy, Jim+

Feed My Sheep
The congregation of Grace continues to go "above and beyond" with their donations to Feed My Sheep. Our families are well fed and many of them share with others that are less fortunate then they are. Our mission continues to spread!  We requeat any non-perishables that require minimum preparation. The packages that have individual servings of juice,, cereal, chips , fruits , cookies  are always a good choice.  Canned veggies and fruits are welcome thank you for your continued support. Carol Grove

Schedule for Holy Week and Easter 2017
April 9 -     Palm Sunday – Holy Communion with Procession of the Palms and the dramatic reading of the Passion narrative – 9 AM
April 13  -     Maundy Thursday Eucharist and foot washing ceremony at 7:30 PM
April 14  -     Good Friday liturgy and Stations of the Cross – 7:30 PM
April 16  -     Easter:  Festal Eucharist at 9 AM followed by an Easter Egg hunt on the lawn (around 10:15 weather permitting) and coffee hour at the Family Center

Easter Egg Hunt
Please prepare a dozen plastic eggs (or more if you wish) for our annual Easter Egg Hunt and bring them to the Church or Parish Hall no later than Friday of Holy Week.  Empty eggs will be available while supplies last.

Roast Beef Dinner
The Spring Roast Beef Dinner is just around the corner - April 22 from 5 – 7:30 pm in the Parish Hall.  We’ll have all the fixin’s so come for some good food & good fellowship.  Come for a great dinner and bring family and friends.  A freewill donation will be taken at the door the proceeds of which will go toward purchasing our third AED (this one for the Parish Hall)

Rector’s Discretionary Fund
The loose plate offering (cash) collected on the first Sunday of every month is designated to be used for the Rector’s discretionary fund.  Donations may be made at any time by check made out to the church and designated for the Rector’s discretionary fund.  It will then be recorded as extra giving and passed on to the rector for this fund.

Income for the month of February was $7,656.32  (budget $9,616.67).  Expenditures totaled $8,023.29  (budget $9,616.67), resulting in a deficit for the period of $366.97.
Please continue to pray for Grace Church that it will grow spiritually, financially and numerically.  If anyone has any questions regarding this report or any financial matter, please feel free to contact me.     Judy Ball, Treasurer

Vestry Meeting Summary     Wed.  February 22
The Jr. Warden reported that the signpost at the intersection of Rogues Rd and Casanova Rd needs to be reset.
A fundraiser for Greg Hunsaker, a friend of our parishioners who has been seriously injured, is set for May 5th from 8:00p.m -10:00p.m at the Parish Hall with music by Bryan Jacobs and friends.
Please don’t forget “Feed My Sheep!”  Whatever non-perishable food item you can bring is always greatly appreciated.  Please remember that local families are in need.
The “Stop Hunger Now” packaging event is scheduled for May 13th at the Parish Hall.
The Vestry voted to purchase for 250 stickers and magnets to advertise the church.
The Treasurer will proceed in purchasing  an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for the church.

Chili Cook Off on April 8th:
Our 7th annual chili cook-off will be here April 8 so we need everyone's help to make it successful.  We have 18 chefs - Susannah, Carol Grove, Karen, Julie Brewer and Diane will compete from Grace.  Since Dee won last year, she will join our esteemed judges this year from Claire's and Fauquier Springs.  Betsy, Stacey, and Father Ron will be judging for the most creative chili name.  Rick will be on piano.

Diane Fahy will be handing out raffle tickets this Sunday, so please pick up a packet of tickets to sell.  We made almost $800 last year on the raffle so we need everyone involved in selling before the 8th.  The raffle this year gives one a chance to win a $50 gift certificate from Claire's; a $50 gift certificate from Red Truck; and a $25 certificate from The Rail Stop.  That's pretty good for a $2 ticket, and with those prizes, they will be easy to sell.  A big shout out to Red Truck who donated their gift certificate!!!!! A children's raffle will be in place on the 8th - Sweet Frog and Chick Fil-A.

Please see Penny to sign up to bring something and help out the night of the 8th or set-up the 7th. If you are not at church on Sunday, please call Penny 240 893-4049 to volunteer.  We will need everyone to sign up for at least two things.  Thanks so much.

Our goal is $5,000 so please help in bringing in your friends and getting the word out.   Remember to bring a canned item that will be distributed locally to those in need.