OktoberfestOval_2008.jpgOktoberfest comes to Grace on September 23

Oktoberfest-Modahl-2006.jpgGrace's annual Oktoberfest celebration will resound through the gym, the atrium, and even the kitchen on Sunday, Sept. 23, starting at at 4:00 p.m. Oktoberfest is a great afternoon of fun, friendship, food, and German Gemütlichkeit.

is a hard-to-translate German word for celebrating in a cozy, cheerful, festive atmosphere, where everyone feels welcomed, accepted and at peace. No matter who you are--adult or child, young or old, Grace member or visitor, host or guest--you belong at Oktoberfest!

You can purchase tickets on Sunday mornings between services through Sept. 23 or at the reception desk during the week. Advance tickets are $15 per person age 12 and up, $8 for children ages 5 to 11; tickets at the door are $18 for adults and $10 for children. Children under 5 years of age are free. The admission price includes all food, activities and limited beverages (wine, beer and schnapps as well as soft drinks.

Dinner is a traditional German menu of grilled brats and hot dogs, sauerkraut, red cabbage, green beans, German potato salad and apple cake. There will be music from Grace's own Oktoberfest Oompah Band, along with a performance by a German folk dancing troupe, a children's lantern parade, and the traditional German sing-along. Proceeds from the event, including the silent auction, benefit Grace School and Boy Scout Troop 66. An Erzgebirge booth, with genuine hand-carved Christmas decorations and toys, will also be featured during the Oktoberfest.
Don your Lederhosen, dirndl, or alpine hat, or just come as you are! Don't miss Oktoberfest!

Download the Oktoberfest flyer and share it with friends and neighbors.

Congregation Meeting on September 16

A regular meeting of the congregation will be held on September 16, following the 11:00 a.m. service.

According to the church bylaws, the September meeting is for the purpose of providing a program review and a financial report.  We look forward to learning more about the activities of Grace Lutheran School from our new principal, Bill Koehne, along with a financial update.  

The agenda for the meeting is as follows:
1. Opening prayer and devotion
2. Review and approval of June meeting minutes
3. Grace School report 
4. Director of Stewardship report 
5. Financial report 
        Update on fiscal year outcome
        Current financial status
        Custodial funds update
6. Endowment Committee report 
7. Approval of 2013 congregational meeting dates
8. Benediction

GraceGarden_09_11_2012.jpgNews and Events

Grace Garden
Take a few minutes to visit Grace Garden on the northeast corner of Bonnie Brae and Division, across the street from the church. It is particularly beautiful this fall thanks to volunteers who have been hard at work through the summer. They have recently added new chrysanthemum plants in memory of Betty Watts.

Bach Cantata Vespers on Sept. 30

The 2012-13 season of Bach Cantata Vespers begins on Sunday, Sept. 30, with a festive cantata for St. Michael and All Angels: "Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg (They sing now of triumph with joy, BWV 149). William Trexler of Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hickory, North Carolina, is the homilist. The preservice music for orchestra and trumpets begins at 3:45 p.m. Mark Bangert, Professor Emeritus at the Lutheran School of Theology, is the guest speaker for the cantata preview session at 9:45 a.m. that morning.

Women @ Grace Fall Market
Save the dates for the Women @ Grace Fall Sale on Friday and Sunday, November 2 and 4. There will be a box lunch and a family dinner on Friday, and brunch on Sunday. Proceeds from the sale go to Grace benevolences. The committee is looking forward to your help and participation. Contact Ann Anderson (alueking@comcast.net), Julie Christopher (jac1-2-3@gmail.com), Beverly Lueking (bevlueking@gmail.com), or Nancy Wohlford (nancy@wohlford.com).

Joyful Voices Junior
Joyful Voices Junior is a new program for beginning singers, kindergarten through second grade. It's an easy way to give choir a try. Children attend two 35-minute workshops on Wednesday evenings to practice a song, and then sing as a group in church on Sunday morning. The first rehearsals are from 5:15 to 5:50 p.m. on Sept. 26 and Oct. 3, followed by singing for worship at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 7. Other fall dates are Nov. 7, 14 and 18, and Dec. 5, 12 and 16. Come for one session or come for all. Contact Gwen Gotsch with questions, or to let her know your child is interested (ggotsch@graceriverforest.org; 708-366-6900 ext 122). New singers in grades 3-6 are welcome at Joyful Voices rehearsals, 6:00-7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Supper Shuffles
Last chance to sign up for this year’s Supper Shuffles. Please contact the reception desk by Thursday, September 13, if you are interested (708-366-6900; gracechurch@graceriverforest.org). Supper Shuffles are made up of 8 to 10 adults (singles or couples) who meet in one another’s homes for food and fellowship. The host provides the main dish and others bring an appetizer, salad, side dish, or dessert. If you are a new member or a not so new member, this is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow parishioners.

Religion in Literature

Religion in Literature meets on Friday, September 21, 8:00 p.m., at the Hurrelbrinks, 21 Spinning Wheel Road, #17H, Hinsdale. Amy Merrick will lead the discussion on Leo Tolstoy’s "War and Peace." Please feel free to come, even if you haven’t quite made it to the end of the book. The reading list and meeting schedule for the year is online.

Cornerstones Bible study meets on September 12, 19 and 26. Food and fellowship at 10 am, Bible study at 10:30. Worship at 11:00 a.m. on Sept. 19, followed by a luncheon. You are invited to join this lively group of seniors who meet weekly in the church library.

Reel Talk
Grace's movie discussion group, Reel Talk, meets on Friday, September 14, 7:00 p.m., in the Seminar Room. The movie is the classic comedy, “The Party,” starring Peter Sellers and Claudine Longet.  Directed by Blake Edwards, this 1968 film is about a bungling actor from India who is inadvertently invited to a Hollywood dinner party. The group meets monthly at Grace to watch a film and talk about it.

Jeff Cribbs will discuss the current state of the stock market when ROMEOS (Retired Old Men, etc.) gather on September 18, 10:00 a.m., in the church library. Coffee, donuts and conversation. 
Juliets are welcome.

Serve as a greeter
Thanks to many volunteers, Grace members and guests are greeted personally as they arrive for worship on Sunday mornings. Would you be willing to serve as a greeter before the 8:30 or 11:00 a.m. worship services? The greeter schedule is flexible; families are welcome. Fill out a form at the reception desk to volunteer. Contact Marge Sanger (sangerml@att.net) for more details.

Amigas Bake Sale
The annual Amigas Ministry bake sale will be held Sunday, Sept. 16, between services. Proceeds benefit this ministry to impoverished women and children in Brazil which was started by Grace’s own Martha Heine. Donations of baked goods are particularly needed, as well as monetary gifts. Checks should be made out to Grace; please write Amigas on the memo line.   

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!
Scrip orders support Grace School
Scrip cards may be ordered from the school office. The next deadline for orders is Tuesday, Sept. 18.  Scrip gift cards return a percentage of the purchase price to Grace School. Go to the Grace web site for the list of retailers and the order form. Also, please keep saving those Box Tops.

Changes coming to Grace Notes and Grace Notes deadlines
Grace Notes is changing to a new format and new mailing schedule. Beginning in October the newsletter will be published once a month and sent by postal mail to every member of Grace. Each issue will also be posted online at graceriverforest.org. There will be one more issue of the current format, mailed on September 11; the deadline for that issue is September 3. The monthly Grace Notes for October will be mailed on September 25; the deadline for that issue, which covers the entire month of October, is September 17. Send news items to gracechurch@graceriverforest.org. If you have questions, story ideas, or need to know more about changes in Grace Notes, call Grace (708-366-6900) or email Commmunications Coordinator Gwen Gotsch (ggotsch@graceriverforest.org) or Grace Notes editor Jennie Hurrelbrink (jhurrelbrink@graceriverforest.org).

From the Stewardship Committee

Have you thought about making regular contributions to Grace through automatic withdrawal from your bank account or through your bank’s online bill-paying service?  Many people use these services to simplify the process of paying bills and to assure that bills get paid on time.  Here’s a story from a Grace member who uses automatic withdrawal to make family church contributions in a timely fashion.

“A couple of years ago, our household decided to start making our weekly offering to Grace Church through automatic withdrawals from our bank account. As is often the case when contemplating a change, we had talked about making this switch long before we actually did so.

“Why did we put it off? Simply, we just didn’t get around to sitting down and setting up the process. We also had a vague concern about ‘giving up control’ over our offerings. However, after several Sundays of scrambling to write the check as we headed out the door to church, trying to figure out how many weeks we were behind in our giving after missing some Sundays—or forgetting our offering entirely—we decided to take action.

“Using auto withdrawal has been simple and easy. After clicking on the ‘Online Giving’ icon on Grace’s home page, I was able to quickly set up a system of auto withdrawal that was tailored to our preferences for the amount and timing of our offerings. And losing control over our offerings hasn’t been an issue at all. The process works according to the preferences I select and responds immediately to any changes I make over time.

“We’ve also come to appreciate the big advantage that auto withdrawal provides to Grace: the church experiences a regular inflow of income to pay its regular outflow of expenses. Whether or not our family is in church every Sunday, church and school staff still need to receive their salaries and Grace’s bills need to be paid on time. I’m sure no one wants to wait until our family returns from vacation!

“Even after setting up auto withdrawal, I find that I still tend to place our now empty offering envelope into the plate on Sunday. For us, the act of placing the envelope in the plate has become a symbolic way to feel bound to our parish community. It’s also a visual demonstration to our children and to others of our commitment to that community. And, if I do forget the envelope on a Sunday, I have peace of mind in knowing that I’ve done my part to assure that Grace receives what it needs to maintain itself and its ministries.”


Opportunities to Serve

Looking for ways to serve at Grace and in the community? Here are some ongoing projects, brought to you by the Social Ministry Committee. 


Donations for the refugee families sponsored by Grace may be brought to the bin in the atrium coatroom. Needed are baby clothes, size 6-12 months, stage 1-2 diapers, and gently used clothing in women’s size large and for girls age 4 and 14. Leads on employment opportunities in the hospitality business are also needed. If you have ideas, suggestions or questions, call Sue Foran, 488-0296.

ConKerr Cancer pillowcase project

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the ConKerr Cancer Pillowcase Project is sponsoring MOPS, Miles of Pillowcase Smiles. The group’s Chicago chapter will be meeting Thursday, Sept. 13, 7:00-9:00 p.m., in Grace’s Fellowship Hall. Come help us reach our goal of making a mile of pillowcases. Please bring a sewing machine or serger if you have one. Even people with no sewing skills can help. Questions? Email Donna Mindrum at donnamindrum@hotmail.com.

Work at the Chicago Food Depository
Grace members can help the food pantry at Harmony Community Church earn credits towards food purchases by volunteering at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, 4100 West 42nd Place, from on Sept. 18, 9:00 a.m. to noon;  Oct. 10, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.; and Oct. 16, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old and able to stand for three hours on a concrete floor. Sign up at the reception desk. For more information, contact Diane Carioscio (diane_carioscio@comcast.net; 708-771-7287). Former Grace Youth Director James Brooks is the pastor at Harmony Church, which serves Chicago's impoverished North Lawndale neighborhood. 

Be a friend to an adult with a developmental disability
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).

Make sandwiches
On the third Monday of every month, a group of Grace members gathers at Fraternité Notre Dame to make sandwiches for distribution to the needy in the Austin area. To volunteer, please email Kristin Schnabel at kristin.schnabel@gmail.com.

Pack lunches for PADS
Help with Grace’s PADS Lunches Program. Volunteers sign up to make sandwiches in their homes and then deliver the sandwiches to a local PADS shelter on a specific date. Grace will reimburse the cost of the supplies or you can  donate the costs. We provide the lunches twice a month during the school year.  This is a great project to do with kids or as a service project for scouts or confirmation. If you are interested in this ministry, please contact Rebecca Dahlstrom, centurywanderer1@hotmail.com, or 660-0252.


Beyond Grace

SerajLibrary.jpgDinner at Grace benefits the Seraj Library Project in Palestine
The Seraj Library Project is sponsoring a fundraising dinner at Grace on Saturday evening, September 29, 4: 30 p.m. The Seraj Library Project assists in the education of Palestinian villagers of all ages and faiths through the development of high quality and accessible libraries (books - not buildings!) in the Palestinian territories. The project's five libraries, housed in community centers and churches, provide places for children to go after school and for adults and children to read together. They also provide access to computers and the Internet.

Estephan and Laurie Salameh founded the Seraj Library Project in 2005 as graduate students in Chicago. They now live and work in Palestine. Grace member Case Hoogendoorn is a member of the Seraj Library Project's board. Visit the Seraj Library Project web site to learn more about the organization. For tickets to the dinner, email info@serajlibrary.org.

Hymn festival with Pastor Costello at the organ

Pastor Costello will serve as the organist at a hymn festival at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Cross, 29700 N. Saint Marys Rd. in Libertyville, on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 8:00 p.m. The theme for the hymn festival, sponsored by The Society of the Holy Trinity, is Luther's "Seven Marks of the Church."
One-woman show on Dorothy Day at Good Shepherd Church
Still Point Theatre Collective presents "Haunted By God: The Life of Dorothy Day," on Friday, September 14, 7:30 p.m., at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 611 Randolph St, Oak Park. Hailed as “a moving, magnificent one-woman show,” this dramatic portrait features Still Point founder Lisa Wagner-Carollo as Dorothy Day (1897-1980), who has been called “the most significant, interesting and influential person in the history of the American Catholic Church.” The play follows Dorothy from her days as a 17-year old Greenwich Village bohemian, through her middle years as a social activist and journalist to her later years as an elderly, wise leader. The suggested ticket donation is $10. Call Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 708-848-4741 for more information. Still Point Theatre Collective is a Chicago-based community of artists dedicated to creating performances, workshops, retreats, and community events that celebrate our common spirituality and raise consciousness on issues of peace and justice. Still Point activists use the tools of theater-making to amplify hard-to-hear voices at society's margins, including prison inmates and former inmates, and adults with developmental disabilities.

LCFS Harvest Gala
Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois will hold its 23rd Annual Harvest Gala on October 20 at the Mid-America Club in downtown Chicago. The theme for this year comes from John 13:34, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  Last year’s event raised more than $176,000 for LCFS programs such as adoption and foster care, counseling, youth residential care facilities and a variety of community services. Register online or call 708-488-5558.

Volunteer at RMH of Loyola
Ronald McDonald House of Loyola offers hospitality to the families of children who are going through challenging medical times. The organization, based at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, is looking for volunteers willing to work three or four hours weekly or bi-weekly, greeting families and visitors or maintaining the interior and exterior of the facility. Contact the organization for more information (loyolavolunteer@rmhccni.org; 708-327-2273).

Walther Golf Outing
You are invited to Walther’s Tee Off for Student Scholarships Golf Outing, Monday, October 8, at The Royal Fox Country Club, 4405 Royal and Ancient Drive, St. Charles.  The Tee-Off for Student Scholarships is a benefit to raise money for the Grant-in-Aid program which provides support to assist students who have a financial need.  To sign up as an individual golfer or foursome, attend the dinner, sponsor a hole, or donate an auction item or prize, please visit Walther's web site or call 708-344-0404 ext. 204.

Living Out the Mission of Grace Church

by Pastor Bruce Modahl
(This article is based on Pastor Modahl's Adult Ed presentation on Sunday, Sept. 9. Guest speaker Pastor Steven Bouman leads another session on the church's mission next Sunday, Sept. 16, at 9:45 a.m.)

Before we talk about what the church does, we must consider what the church is.

The church is the people of God, called to faith by the Holy Spirit, gathered around word and sacrament by that same Spirit, and preserved in faith by the Spirit. The church’s being is centered in worship. The church’s being depends on God’s doing.

In discussions about the mission of the church, the tendency is to focus on what we are doing for God. We need to reverse that order and talk about what God is doing in the world around us and in our community of faith. Once we are clear about what God is up to in our midst, we need to ask the question, “What is God calling us to do?”

The founding mission of individual congregations is seldom written down. It is assumed. In 1902 the founding mission of Grace Lutheran Church was to serve the German immigrants moving into Oak Park and River Forest. By the 1920s the church was in decline. The reasons were the sons and daughters of German immigrants were more conversant in English and they were marrying those who did not speak German. Pastor O.A. Geiseman realized the founding mission of the church was not its current mission. He led the congregation in making the difficult change to English. The church once again flourished.

In 1956 First Lutheran Church was organized in New Port Richey, FL. Its founding mission was to serve those of Finnish descent who were retiring to New Port Richey largely from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Thirty years later the church was in decline. Retirees no longer were moving to that part of Florida. The church is still in decline. They have not been able to adapt their mission to what God is doing in the surrounding community.

The lesson gained from these two examples is to keep the questions in front of us: What is God doing in our community? What is God doing in our congregation? What is God calling us to do?

Adult Education

Fall brings a new line-up of Sunday morning Adult Education classes to Grace, including sessions on politics and the upcoming election. Download the fall schedule here. Adult ed sessions begin at approximately 9:45 on Sunday mornings. Here's what's coming up in the next few weeks:

September 16

Living Out the Mission of Grace Church: Evangelical Leadership for Today’s Mission.  Stephen Bouman, Executive Director of Congregational and Synodical Mission for the ELCA, will discuss the ELCA’s formation of leadership for today’s mission context.

Making Disciples. A new session of this 10-week class begins on Sept. 16 at 9:45 a.m. Pastor Modahl and the New Members Committee welcome anyone interested in becoming a member of Grace and other individuals interested in deepening their understanding of Christian beliefs, the Lutheran tradition, and the mission and ministry of Grace Church and School.

September 23
Faith and the Judicial Process. Rebecca Pallmeyer, a U.S. federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois and a Lutheran, will share her thoughts on the role of faith in the judicial process.

Sept. 30
Honoring God in Politics. Amy Black, associate professor of political science at Wheaton College, will discuss sources of tension that make dialogue about religion and politics difficult and will offer practical guidance on engaging in political discussions, analyzing issues, and evaluating candidates in ways that honor God.

Bach Cantata Preview. Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg (They sing now of triumph with joy), presented by Mark Bangert, John H. Tietjen Professor of Pastoral Ministry: Worship and Church Music, Emeritus, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, discusses the cantata written for St. Michael's Day, to be presented at the 4:00 p.m. Bach Cantata Vespers on September 30.

Sunday Bible Study
The class meets weekly in the Conference Room at the bottom of the atrium stairs for a verse-by-verse study of the Bible. All are welcome as the class discusses the book of Esther through the month of September.

Siena Center presents session on foreign policy in the 2012 election
Dominican University's Siena Center is hosting “Election 2012: Voting Beyond the Water’s Edge” on Tuesday, October 2, 7:00 p.m., in the Priory Campus Auditorium, 7200 W. Division St., River Forest. Gerard Powers, PhD, professor of Catholic peace-building at the University of Notre Dame, will discuss whether the foreign policies of the presidential candidates enhance or undermine the ability of the United States to be a force for peace, development and human rights around the world. Admission is $10. For more information, please call the Siena Center at 708-714-9105, visit www.dom.edu/siena, or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/DUSienaCenter.

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 September 16, 23 and 30:

Misericordia serves more than 600 developmentally disabled children and adults from diverse racial, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.  It provides a continuum of types of residential care, enabling each individual to live as independently as possible.

New Moms, a grass-roots agency in Northwest Chicago, serves at-risk adolescent parents and their children with mentoring, case management services, life skills training, parenting education, and supportive housing.

The Night Ministry serves homeless and runaway youth, working poor adults, uninsured and underinsured individuals seeking medical assistance, the chronically lonely, pregnant and parenting teen moms, and others who have “fallen through the cracks” of Chicago’s social service systems.