bach_wide.jpgBach Mass in B minor at Grace on March 25

J. S. Bach's Mass in B minor will be sung by the Wheaton College Concert Choir at the Bach Cantata Vespers on Sunday, March 25, at 4:00 p.m. Paul Wiens, Professor of Choral Music and Conducting at Wheaton College, conducts the guest choir and orchestra.

Bach completed his monumental Latin Mass in B minor in 1749, a year before his death. It is a summation of his life's work as a composer of music to the glory of God. (Sample the "Crucifixus" and "Et resurrexit" from the Creed here.) On Sunday morning, March 25, Carl Grapentine will present a preview of the Mass in B minor during the Adult Education hour.


Thanks from the Stewardship Committee

Trust_Art_stacked.jpgThe Stewardship Committee thanks the many Grace members who brought a Faith Promise, a pledge of financial support, to the altar on March 11. Our Faith Promises are a sign of the commitment of our whole lives to God. If you have not yet made a Faith Promise for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, please consider doing so. Faith Promise cards are available at Grace. You may place your pledge card in the offering plate on Sunday morning or return the card to Grace, by mail or in person, any time during the month of March.

Children in Sunday School classes also completed special Faith Promise cards. You can see a sampling of their replies in the display case in the atrium, opposite the school office desk. 

What does it mean to be “a good steward”?
Grace members have shared their experiences with stewardship in Giving Stories published on the Grace web site. Read more.

EasterCrocus.jpgHoly Week and Easter Worship

Sunday of the Passion, April 1
Holy Communion at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.

Holy Week, April 2-7
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Responsive Prayer, 8:40 a.m.
Maundy Thursday, Holy Communion, 8:40 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Good Friday, Adoration of the Cross, 8:40 a.m., Noon, 7:00 p.m.
Holy Saturday, The Great Vigil of Easter, 7:00 p.m.

Easter Sunday, April 8
Holy Communion at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m.

Easter flowers
Please consider ordering flowers to decorate the chancel on Easter Sunday. A signup sheet with pricing is at the reception desk. You may bring your plants home after the 11:00 service. The deadline for ordering is March 25.

Hymn Story

“Jesus, I Will Ponder Now”     
by Carlos Messerli

“Jesus, I Will Ponder Now” (LBW 115) is the Sending Hymn for the Sunday of the Passion, a day unique in the church year for its sudden shift of mood from triumphal celebration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to the contemplation of his execution. The hymn articulates the thoughts of the believer who, having heard the reading of the Passion earlier, leaves the service prepared to participate again in the Holy Week events of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  The text, translated from the German by August Crull (1845-1923), acknowledges the guilt we share with all humankind for our sins, which brought about the need for Jesus’ sacrifice. Finally it affirms the love and gratitude of the believer who can now look forward to singing the praises of the Savior in heaven above.  

It is not often that the author of a Christian hymn receives honors in his lifetime that would be comparable to being named national poet laureate or to receiving a Grammy, Oscar, or MacArthur award. Sigismund von Birken (1626-1681), who wrote “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now,” received these kinds of recognition in his day. He was the son of a Lutheran pastor in Bohemia, whose family was forced by religious persecution to flee to Germany when Sigismund was a young child. He later studied law and theology at the University of Jena, but dropped out of both programs to become a school teacher and private tutor. By the age of nineteen his special gift for writing was recognized, and he was admitted to a prestigious poetic society, the Pegnitz Shepherd and Flower Order. Eventually he was elevated to the nobility by Emperor Ferdinand III and became a member of the Fruitbearing Society and Chief Shepherd of the Pegnitz Order. Von Birken’s output of some fifty hymns includes “Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus” (LBW 487).               

The tune of “Jesus, I Will Ponder Now,” JESU KREUZ, LEIDEN UND PEIN, was composed by Melchior Vulpius (c.1570-1615), a highly respected Lutheran church musician. As the composer of about 400 hymn tunes, he is regarded by noted German musicologist Walter Blankenburg as the leading composer of hymns between Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Johannes Crüger (1598-1662). He is represented by six hymns in LBW, including “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice and Sing” (LBW 144) for Easter. He also wrote 200 motets (including a complete cycle of Gospel motets for the church year) and a musical setting of the Passion history. 

Lenten midweek worship
Lenten midweek services continue on Wednesdays, through March 28, with Morning Prayer at 10:00 a.m. and Evening Prayer at 7:00 p.m. Supper is served in Fellowship Hall beginning at 6:00. There is no Wednesday evening service during Holy Week.

Adult Education

Sunday morning Adult Education classes at Grace offer ideas to think about all week long, as well as opportunities to grow in faith in fellowship with other Grace members. Here's what's coming up in the next few weeks: 

March 25 at Grace
Jean Bogner will present “Garbage and Global Climate Change” on March 25.  Dr. Bogner, a member of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is part of a network of two thousand scientists from around the world who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.  Also on March 25, Carl Grapentine, Grace member and WFMT morning program host, will discuss Bach’s Mass in B minor to be presented in concert at 4 p.m.

“The Wedding at Cana” is the topic in CAFÉ, with the discussion led by Susie Calhoun on March 25. CAFÉ joins the Sunday School students for a Family Sunday in Fellowship Hall on April 1. The Bible Study led by Bob Jandeska meets every Sunday.

Other programs of interest

The Siena Center at Dominican University presents a lecture, "Nuclear Power: Promise and Peril,” March 22, 7:00 p.m., in Room #263 of the Priory Campus. The speakers are William George, PhD, professor of theology at Dominican University, and Thomas George, PhD, engineer and developer of software used by the nuclear power industry. In this presentation and discussion, two brothers--an engineer who uses mathematics to ensure nuclear safety and a moral theologian who writes on obligations to future generations--explore both the promises and the perils of nuclear power.  Admission is free. 

Author and peace activist John Dear, SJ, will lecture on his new book, "Lazarus, Come Forth!" at Unity Temple, 875 Lake St. in Oak Park, Friday, March 30, 7:00 p.m.  In Dear's view, Lazarus represents humanity stuck in the culture of death; Jesus is the God of Life calling humanity out of the tombs, out of the culture of violence and war, and into the new life of resurrection peace. The event is sponsored by L'Arche Chicago, a community of adults with and without intellectual disabilities sharing life together in homes in the Oak Park area.

Jim Wallis, best-selling author, founder and editor of Sojourners magazine, and celebrated public theologian, will speak on "Broken Politics and the Common Good," April 11, 7:00 p.m., in Loyola University's Regents Hall, Lewis Tower, 111 E. Pearson Street, Chicago. The lecture is free and open to the public. A free will offering will be gathered to benefit the scholarship fund of the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE). 


Send out disciples

by Gwen Gotsch

My Friday mornings as a music teacher and staff person at Grace begin in Senior Kindergarten, teaching music, singing and faith, all in the same twenty minutes. During February we practiced singing a fun song about Jonah, the whale, Daniel and Noah, proclaiming “God’s the one who saved them ALL!” Last week we experimented with handchimes and sang about the peace of God. Today we used a song to answer questions about who, what and how we are: “If anybody asks you who I am . . . say that I’m a child of God.”

The worship of God and the proclamation of our salvation in Jesus are a part of every school day at Grace, in math, science, reading and social studies classes, as well as in religion, chapel and daily prayer. A Christian day school is not the only way to form faithful disciples, but it is a very effective way to send children into the world committed to aligning their own futures with the work of God’s kingdom. When we speak of the ministry of Grace Lutheran School, it is not just the ministry of building up and educating preschool and elementary school students. It is the ministry of sending out disciples whose lives will reflect God’s light into parts of the world well beyond Grace.

At a time when many parochial schools are struggling to keep their doors open, Grace School is fortunate to have healthy enrollment numbers, skilled teachers, and the strong support of the Grace congregation. You can celebrate this ministry and help support the mission by coming to A Graceful Evening, the benefit for Grace School on March 31, 6:30 p.m. at Elmcrest Banquets in Elmwood Park. If you haven't yet purchased your tickets, plan to do so soon. Ticket sales end on March 28, but the Graceful Evening committee is expecting a sell-out. You can buy tickets online or purchase them in the atrium this Sunday morning, or at the reception desk on school days.



Welcome New Members
To the following new members of Grace, received in membership on March 18: Margaret Garmatz; David Gruendler; Julie Hinz; Jon and Kara Keller, Max and Jacqueline; Shawn and Kristin Vogen, Bjørn, Kaitlin and Mara; and Lance and Stephanie Wilkening.


Grace's group for seniors meets on March 21 and 28. Morning Prayer at 10 a.m., followed by Bible study. Luncheon on March 21. 

Dialogue Group
The Dialogue Group meets on March 21 at 10:00 a.m.  Dr. Kurt Hendel, Professor of Reformation History at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, will speak about God hidden and revealed in Luther's theology, and review the preparations Lutheran churches around the world are making for the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation in 2017. All are invited.

Important weekday parking information
Please note that parking is no longer allowed during the week in the parking lots north of Division Street, except for a few spaces reserved for cars with Concordia stickers. If you park there, you will be ticketed or towed. Parking on Sunday morning is permitted, but please park elsewhere during the week.  

Reel Talk
The movie discusssion group meets on April 20, 7:00 p.m. in the library. The film is "The Help," the 2012 Oscar-nominated film about African-American maids working in the homes of middle class white women in Jackson, Mississippi just prior to the Civil Rights movement..

Religion in Literature
Grace's book group, Religion in Literature, meets on April 20, 8:00 p.m., at the Hurrelbrinks, 21 Spinning Wheel Road #17H, Hinsdale. Amy Claud will lead the discussion on "The Bluest Eye," by Toni Morrison.  A copy of the book is available for checkout in the Grace Church library.

Health and Wellness Moment

Lynn Sivertsen writes about "Maintaining Our Precious Vision." Read more about vision changes, especially in people over fifty, here.


Grace School News

GLSlogo_2011-12.jpgAdvertise in the Graceful Evening Program and/or School Yearbook
If you would like to place an ad in the school yearbook and/or the Graceful Evening program, download the form for more information. This is a great way to congratulate a graduate, advertise your business, thank a teacher, or show support for the school.

School fundraising
Using Scrip gift cards to shop for routine purchases can help raise significant amounts of money for Grace School. Currently school families are working towards the goal of putting an iPad in every classroom, funded by donations from the Scrip program. Take a look at the list of more than 600 participating retailers and print out the order form, then b
ring completed order forms to Mrs. Maggio in the school office, with your check.  The next order will be sent in on March 26.

Grace School is still collecting Box Tops; each box top is worth ten cents.  See the list of participating products here.

GLSBenefitGraphic.jpgPurchase tickets now for A Graceful Evening

Tickets for A Graceful Evening, March 31, 6:30 p.m., are available online as well as at the Grace reception desk and in the atrium next Sunday morning. The $40 ticket includes dinner, cash bar, and live and silent auctions. Ticket sales end Wednesday, March 28. Plan to buy your tickets in the next few days--they will sell out soon.


Serve at Grace and Beyond

Spring cleaning? Getting rid of stuff?
Save your thrift shop goodies for a Grace garage sale on June 9 in Fellowship Hall. Items can be dropped off at Grace the week prior to the event. Proceeds will go toward the expenses of 14 youth and adults who will be attending the 2012 ELCA National Youth Gathering in New Orleans.

Social justice programs
In the atrium are packets of information from last Sunday's Faith Perspectives program on immigration issues, as well as several important notices from United Power for Action and Justice, the metropolitan-wide organization to which Grace belongs. 

United Power consists of congregations and other organizations that come from every conceivable faith, racial, ethnic, geographic and economic sector, united by shared values and dedicated to taking action to increase justice in our community.  Grace members John Bouman and Steve Kaufman are active leaders and can provide additional information.

Cancer survivors invited to banquet

On Saturday, April 27, at 2:00 p.m., Concordia University Chicago and Dominican University will host the American Cancer Society Mini Relay for Life on the Concordia University track and field. The event includes a banquet for cancer survivors and their caregivers.  All cancer survivors and caregivers are invited to attend. To register for the survivorship banquet, please call Lauren Coleman at 630-936-7163 or register online.

Arts and crafts vendors needed for sale
Bethesda Home & Retirement Center is having an arts and drafts sale on April 28, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., to raise funds for Bethesda’s Life Enrichment resident programming. They are looking for vendors to sell their items and also volunteers. You can find out more information at their web site or contact Laura Ayento at or 773-836-3255.

Ministry partners

Each Sunday, we pray for one of Grace’s partners in ministry as selected by the Benevolence Committee.  Here are a few more details about the groups featured on March 31 and April 1:
Concordia University Chicago provides a broad, liberal arts based undergraduate education, and graduate and professional programs, especially in the field of education. Grace specifically supports several teacher-training educational scholarships.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania consists of 20,000 members in over fifty congregations. Its diaconal organization, Sandora, provides social services for those in need. Contributions from Grace help to support a Lithuanian pastor serving four congregations.