Days of Grace March 2016

March 2016

The Days of Grace


Grace United Church of Christ






Web site:


Church Office Hours

Mon.-Thurs. 8:00 A.M – 4:00 P.M.

Friday 8:00 A.M.– 1:00 P.M.


Pastor: Rev. Dr. Bruce P. Bouchard

Visitation : Rev. Dot Thormaehlen

Organist/Choir Director: Harold E. Heller  

Modern Service Worship Director:  Amy Fawks

Modern Service Music Coordinator:  Kathy Trimmer

Secretary/Bookkeeper: Linda DeMaio

Sextons:  Sandy Puterbaugh and Faye Myers


Modern Service 9:00 AM – 9:45 AM

Church School 9:45 AM – 10:30 AM

Traditional Worship Service 10:45 AM


Pastor Bouchard’s Cell Phone:


Pastor’s Home Phone:  630-2570

Rev. Bruce Bouchard’s e-mail address:


Pastor Dorothy Thormaehlen Cell Phone:



Info/Prayer/Bible Study Line



Grace Church Office e-mail address:


Newsletter e-mail: (deadline is 15th of the month)


9:00–9:45 AM Modern Worship Service

9:45-10:30 AM Church School for All Ages

10:45-11:45 AM  Traditional Worship Service





Sharing the Blessings


One Sunday many years ago, we needed to turn around the piano in the church sanctuary. Since it weighed some 900 pounds, this was no easy accomplishment. God blessed us with many hands that made for light work. Ten strong guys each picked up their share of the weight and it went very smoothly and quickly. Although everyone had their part to play, there was an enormous satisfaction in being part of this good effort. We did together what we never could have done alone.


We have all seen people who refuse to allow anyone to help them. They want to do it all themselves. They want all the control. They fear imposing on others. Meanwhile, they strain under the weight of the job that they have to do. Or, since they cannot even budge the enormous task, they give up. It never gets done. They feel frustrated and angry.


At Grace Church, we pull together. We do not hog all the leadership or tasks to ourselves. If we are working at a ministry, we share the blessings of doing good works for the Lord. We not only make a place for members of the church to feel part of this fellowship of caring, but even those who have no faith.


It takes a special kind of faith to share these blessings. First, we need to trust that God is Lord of our universe and not us. Second, if we encourage others to take up a calling from God, it does not diminish the Lord’s love for us. God is proud that we have learned to share. Empowering others does not make us lazy, but helps others to find a place to do good in God’s Kingdom. Working together, we are far more effective and happy. We do not have to sit back and wait for change to overtake us. God is calling us to be a positive source of change in the world. God wants us to be part of transforming the lives of others. We can make a difference now!


Give thanks to God! As we follow Christ’s ways of empowering others and sharing God’s Kingdom, we will have a very bright future as Christians and as a congregation.


Congregational Self-study


It is my hunch that the future looks bright for Grace United Church of Christ. After my departure, our congregation will be unified to move forward. Having had a pastor that has served for almost 32 years, they will miss me as I will miss them, but they will be ready to seek and welcome new leadership. They will support this transition with their time, money, and creative ideas. They will ask God to guide them. I am also guessing that they will want a pastor who will want to continue allowing God to guide them into a new future. They will want someone, who will cherish the past, but be ready to let God’s creative possibilities for the future happen.


This is my hunch. It is a good guess. I know people fairly well here. Our course in a church, there is never 100% agreement on anything, but this, I suspect, will be the will of the vast majority. At the same time, I do not have the data to support my hunch. That is why having a self-study is so important. As our congregation searches for a new pastor, we need to have data driven decisions. We need to be intelligent about our organization as a church. The way the congregation understands our ministry will make a significant difference in the kind of leadership that we need. When a pastor and a congregation match, this can be a very powerful team. Having worked for years matching pastors and churches, Rev. Thom Webster of the Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ, highly recommends that we work with this self study or Congregational Assessment Tool (CAT.)


For these reasons at their February meeting, the Consistory voted to employ the services of the Samaritan Counseling Center in Lancaster, who will guide us through this process. They will be working with Holy Cow Consulting out of Ohio. Although the Ohio agency has a strange name, it was founded by Rev. Russell Crabtree, who literally wrote the book on congregational assessments called Owl Sight. I and other leaders of the church have read the book and found it very helpful.


On Sunday, March 13, 2016, from 9:30-10:30, Rev. Thom Webster will  be spending an hour with the congregation to explain the whole process of searching for a new pastor. We will gather in the church sanctuary. The Modern Worship Service will be shortened. We will end in time to take part in the Traditional Worship Service.


This is a very exciting time for Grace Church! God bless you as you do the important work of calling another pastor!


Lenten Programs and Services


Special Thanks to the Membership Empowerment Team’s Spiritual Team that put together these special events.


The 2016 Lenten Schedule is as follows:

3/2   Perspectives on Israel and Palestine  6:30 PM

3/9   Molly Baskette – speaker  7:00 PM

3/16 Lord's Supper Seder Experience  6:30 PM

3/24 Maunday Thursday Service  7:00 PM


Volunteers Clearances

We have been working very hard to encourage all the volunteers who work with children to get their volunteer clearances from the state well in advance of the deadline. All of our employees have these clearances. The following volunteers also have them.

Holly Badman      Donna Bankert    Danielle Benner   Kristine Benner    Craig Bixler         Linda Bixler        Janet Black           Elizabeth Eyler    Joleen Fennell      Susan Foerster      Betty Freed          Tina Hagarman    Linda Heller         Alecia Highlands  David Highlands Linda Huber         Pam Kreitz           Nancy Kuhn          Michael Mummert  Debra Rickrode    Gary Rickrode      Glendon Ruhlman  Ashley Rummel  Linda Sager          Joann Sites           Johanna Sites       Holly Smith   

Carol Spangler-Solomon                  Joyce Wagner       Jenn Weaver        Aaron Welper      Deborah Wierman  







Please thank them for their good effort when you see them. A few more volunteers have also gone through the application process and are waiting to receive more documents in the mail.



Church Directory

Please inform the church office if there are any changes to your address, phone number, or email address.




“God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Did you know One Great Hour of Sharing responds to disasters on average every 2.5 days, while it changes lives 365 days each year? Your gift to One Great Hour of Sharing is hard at work in 138 countries, including the U.S. When you make a gift to this offering you become a partner in the refugee, disaster relief, and community development efforts of the United Church of Christ.


The One Great Hour of Sharing offering will be received during the month of March. Envelopes are available beside the Days of Grace located in the large transept, Fellowship Hall, and the front of the church. Prayerfully consider a gift to One Great Hour of Sharing.


Consistory Digest


February 8, 2016

There were 15 members present including Pastor Bouchard.

Treasurer’s Report:

General pledge for January 2016:   $15,693.68  (5 Sundays, one snowed out)

General pledge for January 2015:  $11,574.10   (4 Sundays)

YTD 2016 income:  $19,569.27

YTD 2016 expenses:  $18,515.11

YTD overage:  $1,045.16

Checking account balances

    Operating:  $22,654.51

    Deacon:      $20,365.30

Education:  $11,150.70

    Memorial:   $39,404.45

    Resource:    $7,664.46


Trustees Report:

Gary Rickrode replaced the batteries and pads on the AED machine.

Pastor Bruce had Bixler do some repairs on the boiler in the parsonage.

The cost for the snow removal was between $800 and $1000.

An inspection of the kitchen was conducted this past week and the oven was found to be non-compliant. The shelf blocks the flow of water from the fire suppression nozzles. This will need to be addressed.  Mike Mummert stated he will make some adjustments to make water flow from fire suppression nozzles compliant.


The praise band now has a name: Ambient Grace. (Ambient: surrounding or encircling; Grace: unearned mercy.)  Ambient Grace performed at Hanover Has Talent while the judges tabulated the results. This was a great public "plug" for the modern service and for Grace.


President Dan Trimmer reported there is currently a nationwide ad posted by PCC for an interim pastor at Grace.  Three profiles have been received. He also reported six volunteers have requested to be on the pastoral search committee.  Currently, there are no volunteers from music or the Sunday school.


Pastor Bouchard reviewed the background and value of using Samaritan Counseling Center as consultants to assist with a congregational self-study for a better pastoral transition.  Dan Trimmer discussed the expenses of the program.  Dan stated if we purchase all modules the cost may be as high as $4000.  After discussion, Consistory members decided to use Samaritan Counseling Center as consultants. Ken Wenger introduced a motion to sign the Letter of Understanding with Samaritan Counseling Center at an initial approximate cost of $1,350.00, and pursue additional modules if needed.  Stephanie McIlwee seconded the motion.  M/C

Prepared by Craig Bixler

February 12, 2016


  • Resource Committee


Since Easter is very early this Spring—27 March, we also will be making candy in February.  Please consider joining us for a few hours.  We need you!!  


We are planning a bus trip for July to Mackinac Island.  Details will be available soon.  There is a lot of interest on this one, so call if you need to see information.

Call Mary Jane Fuhrman 637-1513


Sewing Group – March 8


Calling all pinners and sewers to help with the bed pad project. Starting time is 9:00 AM and we finish at 11:00 AM. We take a short break with snacks.

If any questions you can contact Linda Sager or Leone Musselman

The next meeting will be on April 12.

Attention members and friends of Grace as you

are doing your cleaning of drawers and closets,

the bed pad ministry could use clean sheets and pillow cases to continue their work in service

of the need for the community.


Linda Sager and Leone Musselman


Community Aid Collection Box

The Community Aid box is the ongoing effort of collecting gently used clothing and other small items. The Community Aid collection box is located at the far end of our church parking lot. Donations of clean, good clothes are appreciated. The sale of these items allows Community Aid to donate proceeds to various charities in our area.


We recently received a check in the amount of $130.00, representing the 4th quarter/2015, for our donations to the Community Aid collection box located at the end of our Church Parking Lot. This brings us to a total of $451.00 for the calendar year 2015.  Please remember this as a good way to share our gently used clothing for the benefit of others



To sponsor flowers or bulletins for worship services, please contact the church office

632-1146 for open dates.


Welcome New Members


Ann and Tony Heindl




Spiritual Groups at Grace


Rev. Bruce Bouchard is leading a Bible study on Tuesday afternoons at 1:00 PM.  

Sisters Through Christ meet on Wednesdays, at 11:30 PM.  They are reading a new book.

Bread and Grace led by Rita Bouchard(630-2570)  meets at the Parsonage next door to the church on

Sunday mornings at 9:45 AM. They are reading a new book.


Weis & Giant Grocery Cards


Do you shop at Weis or Giant? Weis & Giant grocery cards are an easy way to support our Deacon Fund as we earn 5% when we use these grocery cards. They are available in the church office.


What is the Deacon's Fund?


The Grace Church Deacon's Fund is used to assist those members of our congregation who may experience emergency financial need.  The need may arise from poverty, illness, accident, jog loss, fire, or other difficult situations.


74 CWS Hygiene Kits Assembled


The Friends of Lazarus are happy to report 74 hygiene kits for Church World Service were assembled from all the donations given by the congregation. Thank you for your support.




From  Carol Hinkle/Hanover Area Council of Churches:  Once again the Council of Churches is so very grateful for the support you offer to us.  This time a check for $6700.20, which will go a long way for our greatest needs, added to gifts of nearly $3000 for Changing Lives makes you one of our largest supporters.  We have been able to assist so many individuals and families through some very difficult times in their lives.  We thank God for you and the love of Christ you exhibit and allow us to do likewise.  May God bless you as you have blessed so many others.  Yours in Christ, Carol Hinkle.  


Donna Bankert:  A big THANK YOU to all who participated in this year's Mitten Tree Project. We collected a total of 210 items ranging from baby to men. Items received were Christmas socks, one PJ set, hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, head bands, hat and scarf sets. The items were divided between Hanover Council of  Churches, New Hope Ministries and Hoffman Home. The organizations were very grateful for the items.


From  Bill Roelke:  Dear Fellow Grace members, I want to Thank You for remembering me at Christmastime with your greetings.  

It is a great morning in Alamogordo although the night was crispy  we will see temperatures in the sixties.  We are aware that Winter will return in the coming week.  Speaking of Winter, you have really seen your share of snow and ice.  If any of you are interested in living with the sun, this is a place you may consider!I Miss Grace U.C.C. and the eastern seaboard and you.  Take care.

Love, Bill Roelke, 1400 Ohio Avenue, Alamogordo, NM  88310






Grace United Church of Christ is scheduled to help out at the clothing bank on the first Monday of the month from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM.



We are also scheduled for PAL lunch the third Saturday each month. Help is always needed and accepted.


March Needs



Tuna Helper, Dish Soap (Grease-cutting), Bleach



Diapers (size 5 & 6), Diaper Wipes, Men’s Boxers & Boxer Briefs (All sizes including XL & XXL—NO Regular Briefs)



Hand Towels, Coffee, Dish Soap  



All single serving please!   

Mini-meals, Cereal, Fruit, Cup-A-Noodles


We always have a need for old towels that can be cut up and used as cleaning rags! Please mark your bag

“RAGS” to avoid any confusion with your donation.



Volunteers Needed

If you would like to volunteer to help at PAL lunch on the 3rd Sat of the month, please contact:

 Craig Bixler 632-5606 or

Rita Bouchard 630-2570




If you are unable to serve a position that you are scheduled for please find a substitute and/or inform the church secretary.



Head Ushers:  Les Loucks

         Carol Spangler-Solomon


March 6:  Jenn Weaver, Dan Kessler, Earl Fuhrman, Doug Long,

          Mary Jane Fuhrman, Glendon Ruhlman

March 13: Jenn Weaver, Dan Kessler, Earl Fuhrman, Doug Long,

          Mary Jane Fuhrman, Glendon Ruhlman

March 20:  Mike Bankert, Len Bankert, Kelly Bankert,

          Nancy Bankert, Sydney Bankert, Fay Emlet

March 27:  Consistory




March 6:    Len Bankert

March 13:  Faye Myers

March 20:  Linda Bixler

March 27:  Assisting Elder:  Dan Trimmer



        Acolyte & Reader

March 6:    Kristina Newman

March 13:  Valerie Utz

March 20:  Cobie Coler

March 27:  Sydney Bankert   



March 6:    Alda Heller, Steph Welper, Jenn Weaver

March 13:  Darlene and Keith Potts, Ashley Rummel

March 20:  Nicole Miles, Danna Kale, Morgan Dean

March 27:  Michele Rudisill, Paige Harget. Kim Aumen


Nursery Help Needed

Our Nursery staff is in search of helpers so that we may be able to continue to provide this service during our Sunday morning Worship Services.  Please contact Nancy Kuhn or the Church Office, to join in on the fun that is our Nursery Ministry!!!



March 6:    Doug Long

March13:   Doug Long

March 20:  Mike and Stephanie Stonesifer

March 27:  Easter Communion Consistory   




March 6:    John and Melissa Storm

March 13:  David and Alecia Highlands

March 20:  Sallie and Kerry Durika

March 27:  Easter Sunday, Coffee Hour at 10:15AM     – Board of Education   





If you are interested in providing refreshments for the modern service,  please contact Pam Kreitz 717-476-9511.



If you are interested in helping, please contact Tina Hagarman 633-5309.

Christ calls us to reach out with Love and share God's Grace.