"What Joyous Song Unfolding"

by Gwen Gotsch

Gifted Lutheran poet Susan Palo Cherwien’s new hymn “What Joyous Song Unfolding"  will be sung at the ALCM Hymn Festival at Grace on Thursday evening. At last Wednesday’s rehearsal the Joyful Voices choir learned the tune and then moved on to the text: “What joyous song unfolding / has called us in the night? What loving voice imploring / has drawn us into light?” I stopped to ask these nine-year-old singers about the unfamiliar word imploring, but they wanted to talk about something else. We were rehearsing in the Grace sanctuary, vast and echoey even with the lights on. Lauren and Sophia looked off into the far corners and imagined what it would be like to be called by a voice they couldn’t see. Who was it?

We went back to the text: “The voice of God is singing / the heartbeat of the spheres. It echoes in all being / and calls us still to hear.” Lauren pictured a giant heart muscle beating. Sophia recalled the spheres in a classroom model of the solar system—but how could space have a heartbeat? Cherwien is evoking the concept of universal music or music of the spheres, an idea explored by philosophers and mathematicians since the ancient Greeks. But it was a difficult metaphor for young minds. We sang to the end of the stanza, and the girls noticed that the last chord was “weird,” unexpected. It seemed to be asking questions.
We’ll look at the hymn’s second, third and fourth stanzas at this week’s rehearsal. They describe how nature and we ourselves respond to God’s music. The hymn concludes with a prayer: “May all our songs be noble / and draw us deep in you / that singing holy stories / more holy we become.”

We join the song of God’s unfolding kingdom coming into being. That unexpected chord at the final cadence promises transformation and joyous new harmonies. 

Hymn Festival, Thursday, July 26, 7:30 p.m.

Grace is hosting the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ALCM) Region 3 conference July 26-28. The event begins with a hymn festival on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary. Members of Grace's Senior Choir and Joyful Voices will participate in the festival. Pastor Costello conducts and Dr. Steven Wente of Concordia University is the organist. The theme is "Through the Church the Song Goes On," celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ALCM. The program includes hymns from Tanzania and China, a new hymn written for the anniversary by Susan Palo Cherwien, and traditional favorites, including "Thine the Amen." Come to sing, come to listen, come to extend hospitality to church musicians visiting Grace for the conference.

CantataCampRehearsal_2012.jpgBach Cantata Camp Vespers, July 27, 7:15 p.m.

The high school students participating in the annual Bach Cantata Camp will conclude their week of study and music-making as they lead vespers worship on Friday, July 27, 7:15 p.m. The service includes a performance of Was frag ich nach der Welt (What need I ask of this world, BWV 94), with soloists Sarah Beatty, Karen Brunssen, Andrew Fredel and Douglas Anderson. Students sing the choruses, additional music in the service, and participate in the orchestra.

Morning Prayer and other services
You are invited to join Cantata Camp participants as they begin every day with Morning Prayer, through Friday, July 23-27, at 8:30 a.m. in the sanctuary. Join them also for Compline (Prayer at the Close of the Day) on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 9:00 p.m. There is an additional Service of Morning Prayer on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. as part of the ALCM program.

Choir trip to Germany
Members of Grace's Senior Choir and guests, along with Pastor Michael Costello, are traveling to Germany at the end of July. Their itinerary includes singing Cantata #94 in a Sunday morning service at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig--J. S. Bach's church. Their travel and their singing in Germany is a reminder that our songs praising God's salvation are joined to those of Christians throughout the ages and around the world. "Through the Church the song goes on."

Muna.jpgRefugee Ministry team extends care and support to families

The Refugee Ministry team, on behalf of our two sponsored families, would like to thank everyone at Grace who so generously donated money, baby and household items. The families are so grateful for what you have done to support their urgent needs. Your gifts also go a long way in making them feel loved and a part of their new community. We will be inviting these families to a worship service at Grace in September so we can give them a great big Lutheran welcome. Stay tuned for dates and more information.

News on Muna: Thanks be to God...Muna gave birth to a healthy 7 lb., 6 oz. baby girl on July 3rd at 9:00 p.m. Members of our refugee ministry team visited last week and found both mother and baby to be happy and healthy. Muna named her daughter Nur after her grandmother. Like most new moms, Muna is a bit sleep-deprived but she remains so thankful for the love and support she is receiving from the members at Grace. All of the baby gadgets, furniture and clothes are being put to good use. Nur is growing quickly so she will soon need baby clothes in 6-12 month sizes. If you have outgrown baby clothes to donate, we would love to share these with Nur. In addition, stage 1-2 baby diapers would be greatly appreciated.

Francoise.jpgNews on Francoise: The two daughters from our other family, celebrated birthdays last week. Members of our refugee team visited to bring birthday gifts and cakes which the girls loved. The little one was already familiar with the "Happy Birthday" song! As we spent time with them, we discovered that in addition to a job for the mother, the family could use some gently used clothing for all seasons. Francoise, the mother is size large, The older daughter is 14 years old and the younger is 4 years old. We are unsure of the specific sizes so please use your best judgment if you have items you wish to donate. Francoise recently completed a course in hospitality and continues to take English courses. If anyone has leads on employment opportunities in the hospitality business, please contact Mary Goetting at 708-386-8047 or mary.goetting@cuchicago.edu

Where to Drop Donations: There will be a large bin in the coat closet in Grace's atrium where you can drop off donations whenever it is convenient. If you have ideas, suggestions or questions, please call Sue Foran at 708-488-0296.



News and Events

Learn more about Grace Church at "Making Disciples"
A new "Making Disciples" class will begin September 16 during the Adult Education hour. Led by Pastor Modahl and the New Member Committee, the class is for people interested in becoming members of Grace and for any individuals interested in deepening their understanding of Christian beliefs, the Lutheran tradition, and the mission and ministry of Grace Church and School. The class runs through November 18. If you would like to attend these sessions, or if you know someone who might want to be invited to be a part of "Making Disciples," please contact Karen Christopher, administrative assistant to the pastors, at kchristopher@graceriverforest.org.

Help us keep our records up-to-date

Have you changed your address? Your email? Your phone number? Do your adult children now have their own addresses and phone numbers, at school or elsewhere? We are updating the data base at Grace and we need you to tell us about changes in how we can best contact you and your family. Email or phone Grace with updated information (708-366-6900; gracechurch@graceriverforest.org). Thank you!
Devotional reading
Grace Communications Coordinator Gwen Gotsch is one of the authors represented in the July-September edition of the devotional booklet "Christ in Our Home." She wrote the devotions for August 17-31, which are based on lectionary texts for the end of August. You can pick up a copy of the booklet in the racks in the narthex, at the Division Street door, and at the reception desk.

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.  

Scrip orders due by
Scrip cards may be ordered from the school office through the summer. The next deadline for orders is Tuesday, August 21. 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

School supply drive
Grace's Social Ministry Committee is conducting a school supply drive in August for needy children at Lutheran Unity East School, Holy Family School and Grace Christian Academy, all located in Chicago. Suggested items include notebooks, crayons, folders, pens, pencils, magic markers and back packs. Items can be dropped off at the church from August 12 through September 2.

Opportunities to serve
If you are looking for other ways to serve at Grace and beyond, here are some ongoing projects:
•    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).
•    Join a group of Grace members who gather on the third Monday of every month 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.

If you have questions about these projects, contact Donna Mindrum, Social Ministry chair, (708-386-7513; donnamindrum@hotmail.com).


Beyond Grace

Theology on Tap at Dominican University

Join a lively conversation with theological experts in a casual, informal atmosphere on Wednesday evenings through August 1 in the Lewis Lounge of Dominican University’s Main Campus, 7900 Division, in River Forest. Enjoy friendship, refreshments (including beer). All young adults are welcome. The topic on July 25 is "Living Single with Faith, Purpose, and Passion," led by Beth Knobbe; August 1, "Responding to Global Poverty," featuring Katy Ryan.

Car wash at Bethesda on Sunday
Support the residents of Bethesda Home and Retirement Center by attending their Second Annual Free Car Wash, July 29, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 2833 N. Nordica, Chicago.  Donations go to Bethesda Home’s Tree of Life Initiatives, helping residents engage mind, body, and soul in activities regardless of age.  Contact Laura Ayento at 773-836-3255 or email layento@bethesdahome.com.

Golf outing for Phil's Friends
Phil’s Friends, an organization that provides Christ-centered care to those who are going through cancer, is hosting its Third Annual Phil’s Friends Golf Outing on Wednesday, August 1, at Bloomingdale Golf Club in Bloomingdale, IL. Cost is $150 for a single golfer and $575 for a foursome. Cost includes a Nike Dri-fit hat, 18 holes of golf, lunch on the course, and a sit-down dinner. To register, visit www.golfinvite.com/philsfriends or call Lauren Coleman at (224)653-8315. Sponsorship opportunities for the event are also available.

Host an international student
Walther Lutheran High School is hosting students from China for the upcoming academic year and is looking for families willing to provide homes for these young people. There is compensation for room and board as well as an additional stipend. Families who have hosted international students in the past have found the experience to be very positive and enriching. For more detailed information, please contact Shari Barnich at Walther (708-344-040, ext.227; shari_barnich@walther.com).


From the Health and Wellness Ministry

Balance disorders
by Ackli Howell

Most of us run our errands, walk the dog, get up from the dinner table or sit in our favorite chair to read the Sunday paper without thinking. Our body follows our every command without complaint and always with accuracy.

Now, what if your world suddenly became like Jell-o?  You feel as if everything is all tilted and jiggly. You are unsteady when you walk and you feel like you are going to fall. When you step from the cement sidewalk to grass your world starts to tilt and you become dizzy. These are often symptoms of impaired balance. Roughly 40% of the population suffers from impaired balance at some time during their lives.

Balance is controlled by the sensory input from sight, touch, the inner ear and the muscles and joints. Maintaining your balance depends on the information these sources send to your brain. When the information sent to the brain by any of these sources is disrupted, a conflict within the brain occurs causing you to feel disoriented, unsteady or dizzy.

When balance is impaired an individual has trouble maintaining orientation. Bright light, loud noises or even certain smells can bring on symptoms. The activities and lifestyle of those who suffer from balance disorders are severely limited.

If you have received a balance disorder diagnosis, consider consulting your medical professional to discuss taking up either yoga or tai chi in conjunction with your physical therapy or after its completion. The positional movements that require you to move your body and head together and in opposition to each other when performing yoga poses or a tai chi sequence may reinforce the physical therapy balance and coordination exercises and help re-condition your brain to compensate for impaired balance. Both yoga and tai chi may also help you redirect your focus away from your symptoms, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase strength and flexibility.

There are more than a dozen different balance disorders. For a list of the most common balance disorders visit www.dizziness-and-balance.com.  This website and www.balancechicago.com are good research sites if you think you may have a balance problem.

If you would like to read more on how yoga may help with balance disorders, click here and scroll down the page to click on the link "Balance Disorders (including vertigo) and Yoga."  This paper was my self-study submission for my 200-hour yoga teacher training.

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. Sessions begin at approximately 9:45. Here's what's coming up in the next few weeks:

A Report on the ELCA Youth Gathering
On Sunday, July 29, teens from Grace will share their stories from the ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans, July 18–22.

Arts in August
Grace members and guests talk about personal encounters with the arts.

Echoes in the Mountains: Serving in Slovakia, with Benjamin Chandler, former Grace JK and art teacher now teaching in Martin, Slovakia, August 5.    
Books and More, with members of the Library Committee. Class will meet in the library on August 12.
Perspectives on the Death of Christ, with Professor Benjamin Stewart of the Lutheran School of Theology Chicago, August 19.
Saints and Sinners: Religious Themes in Opera with Carl Grapentine, WFMT Program Host, August 26.

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 July 29 and August 5, 12 and 19.

International Partners in Mission partners with community-based organizations around the world that improve the lives of children, women, and youth.  

The Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots (LAMP) supports pastor-pilots and teams of volunteers who bring God's word to communities in remote areas of northern Canada.

Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois offers a wide range of social services to children, adults and families, including counseling, foster care, adoption, and  residential care for children and adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral difficulties.

The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) educates pastors and other leaders for service in God's kingdom.


Summer Building Hours

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

Evening hours
Through August 17, open on Tuesday evenings only