Image_1.jpgYouth Gathering Garage Sale

Shop the Youth Gathering Garage Sale from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 9.  Or come to the pre-sale on Friday evening, June 8, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. for an entrance fee of $10. Proceeds will go toward the expenses of 14 youth and adults who will be attending the 2012 ELCA National Youth Gathering in New Orleans.

Last-minute drop-off times for donations
Wednesday and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to noon and 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Friday, 10:00 a.m. to noon. 


Stewardship: "Commend them to do good"

Trust_Art_stacked.jpgGrace's fiscal year ends on June 30. Bold and generous financial gifts are needed to support the congregation's ministry. Neal Armstrong's Mission Moment on Trinity Sunday, June 3, reminded us of the abundance of material blessings most of us enjoy, especially in comparison to the rest of the world. He then quoted 1 Timothy 6:17-18, which says “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Commend them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share."  

All that we have comes from God, and we are called to use these gifts to do God's work in the world. In the weeks ahead, reflect on God's blessings to you and consider increasing your giving or making an extra gift to Grace in support of the 2011-12 budget.

 


3821344678_4bbd8187d5_o.jpegJazz Psalms

Come to Grace on Sunday, June 17, at 4:00 p.m. for a very special worship service. Eight of Chicago's top professional jazz musicians will be joined by singers and additional musicians to present Andy Tecson's Jazz Psalms. You'll hear God's word in a whole new way. (Listen to samples of Tecson's music here.)

The Jazz Psalms use the iconic American art form to interpret extraordinary texts that proclaim God's presence through the joys and sorrows of life. They were composed in 1982 in memory of Elsa Marty, wife of Dr. Martin Marty. The first performance took place on June 19, 1982 at Valparaiso University.

In this 30th anniversary performance, baritone Douglas Anderson will again sing the magnificent creation psalm, Psalm 104. Jerry Coleman, Ken Jandes and Andy Tecson will return as original band members, joined by Bobby Lewis, Bobby Schiff, Tim Coffman, Stewart Miller and Ron Friedman. Justin Sisul will conduct. The program also includes a setting of Psalm 42, a song of lament, as well as settings of other joyful psalm texts.

2247119838_1dd327c6e2_o.jpegDr. Marty will be the homilist for the service. The Rev. Peter W. Marty will provide the Psalm prayers. Martin Marty taught religious history at the University of Chicago and has written more than 60 books. Peter Marty is the pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, a 3400-member congregation in Davenport, Iowa. He is the author of "The Anatomy of Grace" and served as host of the national radio broadcast Grace Matters. Both father and son served as Assistant Pastors at Grace.

A free will offering will benefit Lutheran Social Services of Illinois and Lutheran Child and Family Services. A reception will follow the service. The event is co-hosted with the West Cook County Chapter of Thrivent.

 


Crossing the Word of God with Our Lives 

by Pastor Bruce Modahl

Those who teach preaching provide students with a roadmap of sorts to take them into the text and back out to a sermon. For Richard Caemmerer, who taught several generations of Lutheran preachers at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and then Seminex, the signposts for the map were goal, malady, and means. What is the goal for our lives the scripture text puts before us? What is the malady that keeps us from reaching the goal? What is the means God provides to overcome the malady and reach the goal?

Another teacher laid out a similar map with the signposts of point, problem, and power. Still another states it more simply as judgment and grace. Lutheran theologians Robert Bertram and Ed Schroeder mapped a route into the text that keeps the cross at the center. They called it Crossings. It provides a map for crossing the Word of God with our lives. It begins with diagnosis. What is the problem according to the text? At first glance the problem is something palpable, something external, on the surface. The external symptoms cause us to look for an underlying cause. Diagnosis literally means to see through. The law of God sees through us to the heart problem beneath what we see on the surface. Push deeper for the eternal problem, what God has to say about it, an eternal and deadly prognosis.
 
However, Jesus death and resurrection provide a new prognosis for us, a prognosis of forgiveness and the abundant life in Christ. That good news transforms us and causes us to hang our hearts on the promises of God. With our eternal future secure and our hearts transformed our words and deeds are likewise transformed and we conduct our lives as part of God’s new creation.

This is the map I use in preparation for every sermon. You will seldom hear the sermon progress in the same stages. That would be too formulaic and not true to the roundabout way of our lives. You nevertheless will always hear me proclaim why we need a crucified and risen Lord and the difference this Lord makes in our lives.


Hymn Story

File:Veneto_0036.jpeg"Blessed Be the Lord"
by Hans Dumpys

One of the earliest festivals of the saints to gain universal recognition was that of St. John the Baptist. In the western church his day was important as early as the time of St. Augustine. Since John was six months older than Jesus, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist is celebrated on June 24.

Very appropriately the Hymn of the Day for Sunday, June 24, is the canticle "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel," known as the Benedictus and also as the Song of Zachariah. In this canticle Zachariah utters a song of thanksgiving on the occasion of the birth of his son, John the Baptist, as recorded in Luke 1:68-79. This Gospel canticle is always sung in the service of Morning Prayer (LBW, p. 131ff.), but on June 24 it serves as the Hymn of the Day in the Sunday communion service.

The canticle falls into two parts. The first section (Luke 1:68-75) is a song of thanksgiving for the realization of the messianic hope of the Jewish nation, though here the realization points towards Christ, "a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David." As in the past, in the family of David there was power to defend the nation against their enemies. As the Jewish people had impatiently borne the yoke of the Romans, the House of David was to be their deliverer. The deliverance was now at hand, and was pointed to by Zechariah as the fulfillment of God's oath to Abraham. But the fulfillment is narrated not as a political/military event but as a spiritual possibility, that "we might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness all our days" (Luke 1:74).

The second part of the canticle (Luke 1:76-79) is an address by Zachariah to his son, who was to play an important part in the history of redemption. He was to be a prophet and to preach the remission of sins before the coming of the Messiah, "to go before the Lord to prepare his ways." This is an allusion to Isaiah 40:3 which John later applied to his mission: "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord', as the prophet Isaiah said" (John 1:23).

This rich text was set to music for the Lutheran Book of Worship by the late Richard Hillert, a member of Grace.

(Image: "John the Baptist" by Bartolomeo Veneto, 16th century.)

 


News and Events

VBS_painting.jpgVacation Bible School
Vacation Bible School is next week. "Splash in God's Word," is scheduled for June 11-14, 5:30-7:30 p.m., for children age 3 through those entering fourth grade. You can register online. Fifth-graders through high school youth are invited to help as leaders. Contact Pastor Faulstich to volunteer. 

Confirmation Summer Intensive
This year’s Confirmation Summer Intensive takes place this week for youth entering 7th and 8th grades in the 2012-13 school year. The topics are Pastor Faulstich’s favorites – Luther, Lutheran History, and Lutheran Theology. 

Planning meeting for the Fall Bazaar

All women of Grace Church interested in learning about opportunities for service at this year's Fall Bazaar are invited to a kick-off meeting on Monday, June 11, 7:30 p.m., at the home of Beverly Lueking, 829 Lathrop Avenue, River Forest. Join event co-chairs for dessert, coffee, and conversation about how you can lend time and talent to this time-honored Grace tradition. The Bazaar will take place the weekend of November 2-4, 2012, and will showcase handcrafted items, culinary delights and much more!  A Friday evening dinner and a Sunday morning brunch are planned.

If you love to sew or bake, decorate or design, or simply want to explore many other ways to get involved, please join us on June 11. To RSVP, or for more information about ways to serve, please contact Ann Anderson (708-386-5737; alueking@comcast.net), Julie Christopher (312-213-9440; jac1-2-3@hotmail.com), Beverly Lueking (708-366-8599; bevlueking@gmail.com) or Nancy Wohlford (708-366-7680; nancy@wohlford.com).

Cornerstones
The annual Cornerstones picnic is on June 13, at Donna Serpico’s, 1700 Riverwoods Drive, Melrose Park. The bus will leave Grace at 11:30 and return between 1 and 1:30. If you drive yourself, plan to arrive early as parking is very limited.

Religion in Literature
The Religion in Literature book for September is Tolstoy’s "War and Peace."  You might want to get started on it this summer. A copy of the book is available for checkout in the Grace Church library.  

Nursery jobs
The Grace Church nursery needs additional staff members. These are paid Sunday morning positions for individuals 18 years of age or older. Contact Jennifer Brayton (708-456-3749) for more information.

Church Vocations Scholarships
The application deadline for Church Vocations Scholarships is June 15. Guidelines for applying can be found on the Grace website or at the reception desk. Applicants must be active members of Grace and pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree program in areas that are preparatory for Christian vocation within the church or in the secular world. Undergraduate applicants must be juniors or seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or better. If you have questions, please contact Diane Carioscio (diane_carioscio@comcast.net).


Grace School News

Scrip orders due by June 19
Scrip cards may be ordered from the school office through the summer. The next deadline for orders is June 19. Scrip gift cards return a percentage of the purchase price to Grace School. See a list of retailers participating in the program here. Print the order form here. Also please keep saving those Box Tops .


Serve at Grace and in the Community

New refugee project will assist African families new to Chicago
In response to the Faith Perspective forums on immigration and refugees, a committee of Grace members has made a commitment to assist two refugee families who resettled in the Chicago area earlier this year, assisted by the organization RefugeeOne.

Muna Mohammed arrived in the U.S. from Kenya in December and is pregnant, due to deliver July 4. She lives with her brother and is anxiously awaiting the processing of her husband's documentation so he can join her here. She needs financial assistance to help pay her rent as she is unable to work at this time. She is also in need of baby items.

Francoise Mukanywandwi fled the civil war in Rwanda and arrived in the U.S. in February with her two daughters, ages 3 and 12. She, too, is by herself awaiting the processing of her husband's documentation. She needs help with child care and financial assistance to help pay her rent while she searches for a job.

The committee will have a table in the atrium on Sundays from June 10 through July 1 and would appreciate support in the form of financial contributions, gifts cards to Target, and a variety of baby items. If you would like to get more involved or have any questions, please call Sue Foran at 708-488-0296 or stop by the table. Thank you so much!

Hunger Walk for the Harmony Church Food Pantry
Grace will be participating in the 27th Annual Hunger Walk on June 23. The walk begins at Soldier Field at 8:30 a.m. and follows a 5K (3.2 mile) course heading south along the lakefront, turning around at 31st Street. Last year's walk drew 9,400 participants and raised more than $500,000.

We will walk alongside James Brooks’ congregation as they raise funds and awareness for the Harmony Church Food Pantry in North Lawndale. The Harmony Food Pantry serves over 350 guests per week. The Greater Chicago Food Depository will give a $12 credit toward food purchase for each walker. This $12 credit (or donation!) allows 25 people to shop at the pantry.

Sign-up to walk in the atrium on Sunday, June 10. There will be bus transportation from Grace to and from Soldier Field on the day of the walk. You can also pledge your financial support on Sunday mornings. Or make an online pledge in support of Harmony's pastor, James Brooks. Contact Diane Carioscio with questions (diane_carioscio@comcast.net) or 708-771-7287.

More ways to serve
Looking for ways to serve at Grace and beyond? Contact Donna Mindrum, Social Ministry chair (386-7513; donnamindrum@hotmail.com). Here are some current and ongoing projects:

•    ConKerr Cancer Pillowcase Project will be meeting on Tuesday, June 19, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., in Fellowship Hall to make pillowcases for pediatric patients at 3 area hospitals. Please bring a sewing machine if possible. No sewing experience is required. Any questions, please contact Donna.
•    Donate to the special food drive being conducted in the next few weeks. Nonperishable items and canned goods may be brough to the bin in the atrium by next Sunday, June 10, for delivery to food pantries the following week.
•    Volunteer at Oak Leyden Developmental Services in Oak Park. Work with staff to provide enrichment experiences for adults with varying degrees of developmental difficulties. Contact Don Becker (beckers606@yahoo.com).
•    On the third Monday of every month, a group of Grace members gather at Fraternité Notre Dame to make sandwiches for distribution to the needy in the Austin area. If you would like to help, please email Kristin Schnabel at kristin.schnabel@gmail.com.

 


Health and Wellness Ministry

Spiritual support for survivors of abuse: “There is no fear in love.” 1 John 4:18

We, as a faith community, need to educate ourselves and the ones we love about the spiritual concerns of abuse survivors. This will help us support survivors and perpetrators on their journey towards recovery. Several years ago the Health Cabinet, with a grant from Wheat Ridge Ministries and support from Thrivent, established a Domestic Violence Ministry here at Grace Lutheran Church and School. The Domestic Violence Ministry’s goal is to help our congregation become a safe haven for abuse survivors and perpetrators, a place where they can feel safe, begin to understand their pain, and be referred to the appropriate agencies for professional counseling.  

Referral to professional help is not the end of our caring role.  Congregations must also be there to assist with spiritual issues and provide a healing environment throughout the process of recovery from abuse. Our congregation’s seven volunteer first responders, through special training, learned to understand the mindset of long-term abuse survivors, to recognize the importance of spiritual concerns for survivors, and to understand the survivors' confusion regarding the nature of sin and forgiveness as it relates to abuse. Appropriate responses to survivors of abuse who are struggling with spiritual questions focus on the innocence of the victim. Survivors need to be reminded that they did nothing to deserve the abuse.

“Like a fragile leaf that is caught slowly circling in a river eddy, abuse victims become trapped within the effects of their abuse while the rest of life flows by them. But survivors have strength and a desire to live, and with help and support to keep them afloat they can embark on a journey towards healing and rejoin the mainstream of life.”

(Visit the web site that is the source of this quote for more information on the spiritual needs of abuse survivors.)



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:

Bible study
The Bible study group is now discussing Jonah, led by Bob Jandeska. The group meets every Sunday morning in the conference room.

June 10, 17 and 24
From Hosea to Malachi Overview: Majoring in the Minors. Pastor Modahl's four-week series on the minor prophets of the Old Testament continues through June. The topic for June 10 is "What's Famous in Amos (Hosea and Joel, too)?" The last two sessions focus on "Major Hope from the Minor Prophets."



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 June 10, 17 and 24.

Foods Resource Bank funds food security programs and sustainable agriculture in the developing world. Money to support these programs comes from individuals, churches and urban and agricultural communities in the U. S. Grace participates in a FRB community growing project with farmers in Forrest, Illinois. Learn more at FRB's Frequently Asked Questions page.

The sisters of Fraternité Notre Dame serve people who live in poverty on Chicago's West Side, with a soup kitchen, a food pantry, and after-school programs for children.

The Fund for Theological Education is a national, ecumenical organization dedicated to finding and supporting tomorrow's Christian leaders. FTE provides fellowships and a network of support for students on their path to leadership. Their lively and inspiring web site is here.

 


Summer Building Hours

Daytime hours
June 4 – August 17, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 pm

Evening hours
June 4-14, 4:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
June 15, closed for the evening
June 18-21, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
June 22, closed for the evening
June 25 - August 17, open on Tuesday evenings only

The building will be closed Tuesday evening, July 3, and Wednesday, July 4.