Days of Grace January 2017



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.


Interim Pastor: Rev. Robin S. Keating

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 Keating’s Cell Phone: 336-250-9554


Rev. Keating’s e-mail address:   


Pastor Dorothy Thormaehlen Cell Phone:



Info/Prayer/Bible Study Line

717-632-1819, access  86212#


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


January 1  New Year's Day

Sunday School 9:45 AM

Worship Service 10:30 AM


January 1 winter communion is rescheduled to January 22.


Annual meeting is January 22 following  the traditional worship service.


Annual reports are due Friday, January  6, 2017.  


2017 contribution envelopes are available.


A Word From Pastor Robin Keating…


Francis of Assisi is quickly associated with “Pet Blessings” and the like. But why not Christmas?


Frances was born into a wealthy family in Italy, yet he cast away his great inheritance and the very clothes on his back. He explained those actions as simply coming from the desire to follow Jesus. Hence, Francis became known as “the poor little man of God”.


Mary’s song of jubilation in scripture is known as “The Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-55), where she envisions a new world where the hungry are fed and the poor lifted up. The angels sing glory, peace and goodwill to the poor shepherds outside of Bethlehem. But by the 13th Century the Christian world had nearly forgotten the true meaning of the Christmas Season. Through his love and humility Francis gently reminded the world of Christ’s way to goodwill and peace.


Francis is credited with displaying the first Nativity Scene, incorporating live animals into the event. This live display developed into the modern dramatization of the Nativity. The tradition of hanging suet from trees (especially on Christmas Eve), as well as other goodies provide to animals, stems from Francis’ desire to acknowledge the creatures presence at the Bethlehem stable, “Where Mother Mary and the Christ-child rested on that blessed night between ox and ass.”


And this little known Christmas story of Francis’ Christmas day celebration is shared here:


The table was set with white linen and glassware. Francis called his companions and told them not to wait for him if he should be late coming to the Christmas feast. He then quietly left. When the feast began, there was a knock at the door. Francis entered dressed as a beggar and in a shaky voice asked, “For the love of the Lord God, give alms to this poor, infirm pilgrim!”


Most likely Francis was recognized, but one of his order replied, “For the love of that Lord whom you have named, we will give you of the alms which the Lord has given us.” And with that Francis humbly accepted the platter of food and sat on the dirt floor by the table.


All those gathered looked miserably upon Francis and could not eat in their discomfort. Francis at last stood up and explained, “When I saw the table worshipfully and sumptuously laid out, I thought within myself it was not the table of poor men of God who daily go from door to door for alms. For it becomes us to follow the example of the humility and poverty of Christ.”


This Christmas Season and into the New Year let us take a cue from Francis of Assisi. Celebrate simply and humble, remembering that the angels proclaimed a new gospel, a gospel of Good News that Jesus brings peace on earth and goodwill to all people. It’s just another way of saying, “Have I told you today that I love you?”


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!




On November 28th, the consistory and the transition team met with consultants from Samaritan Counseling for the interpretation of the Congregational Assessment completed during October and November.  There were a total of 98 surveys completed representing about 65 percent of our current attendance.  This is a good return that gives us an excellent representation of views and concerns of the congregation of Grace church.  The report that was given that evening is very lengthy and difficult to summarize in just a few paragraphs.  However, it was very enlightening about where we are as a church and areas that we need to focus on as we move forward. After hearing the report we felt we needed help in clearly presenting and explaining the findings to the entire congregation.


On January 29th at 9:30 A.M. the consultants will be with us to present the results to the entire congregation.  As we did in the past, the modern service will be shortened that morning to allow all members who are interested to meet in the sanctuary to hear the presentation.  After the presentation of the findings, there should be time remaining for questions and answers prior to the start of the traditional service.  Please mark your calendars and make plans to attend this presentation.      

Dan Trimmer


December Consistory Digest


There were 14 members present, including Pastor Keating and Pastor Thormaehlen.


Treasurer’s Report:

General pledge for November 2016:  $10,751.05                        (4 Sundays)

General pledge for November 2015:  $16,912.22                        (5 Sundays)

    YTD 2016 income:     $224,746.84

    YTD 2016 expenses:  $263,748.29

    YTD shortage:              $39,001.45

Checking account balances

        Deacon:             $23,281.28

        Education:         $11,537.83

        Memorial:          $11,131.78

        Resource:           $10,764.82

        Operating:          $17,453.98

The Memorial Fund Policy is currently being updated.


The Nominating Committee reported Barry Bankert was recommended to fill the unexpired term of Les Loucks, ending 1/31/2018.  Sue Fuhrman was recommended for a three year term, expiring 1/31/20.  Mike Bankert is eligible for a second term expiring 1/31/20.


The trustees reported Donald B. Smith repaired some roof leaks on the education wing.  Maynard Warner and Mike Mummert will be installing hand rails for the steps in the chancel area.


There was considerable concern about low attendance for the January 1 communion.  Consistory voted to reschedule the January 1 Winter Communion to January 22, 2017.


The Modern Worship Team reported the Modern Service continues to get more people involved with different aspects of the service to feel a connection.  Numbers have continued to remain steady through the transition from Pastor Bruce to Pastor Robin.  Ambient Grace participated in singing at the Advent festival and the special Wednesday service (December 14th).


The annual meeting will be held on January 22nd.  This is the fourth Sunday of the month and the date we have traditionally held the meeting.


Craig Bixler


Security System


The church will remain locked at all times except during regular office hours (8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M) Monday through Friday and during Sunday morning services.  Access during any other time is with a swipe card at either the elevator entrance or the alley entrance.  If you have not already gotten a card you can do so in the church office.  A few notes regarding the new system:

  • The alarm will arm automatically every evening at 10:00 P.M.  No one should be in the church past 10:00 P.M. or the alarm will sound.    Please take a second to double check the doors as you leave to make sure they have locked.  

So remember, if you normally enter the church during the evening hours or on Saturdays for any reason, see Linda in the church office.




In Spring 2017 we will be doing a trip to a beautiful inn in Vermont.  Each day (after a hearty breakfast) we will go out from there to see many places of interest—in many areas of Vermont.  More to come on this one.


Mary Jane Fuhrman


Church Office Holiday Closings

Pastor Robin will be on vacation from December 28, 2016, through January 7, 2017. 

The church office will be closed December 28, 2016, through January 3, 2017.  For emergencies, or if your call can not wait for a response for a few days, please call Pastor Dot at 443-904-3363.


Congregational meeting


The annual congregational meeting will be held on January 22nd immediately following the traditional service.  The meeting will review the prior year and approve a budget and consistory members for the coming year.  Please plan to attend.


"This Week at Grace"


Corby Myers updates the “Today at Grace” email and the church website.  If you would like publicity on the “Today at Grace” page or other church publication, please fill out the Grace Publicity Request page at on the church website. You can also find a link in the “Today at Grace” email. You can either print the request form or or email it. While a form may sound a bit formal, it does help you to share the information that we need for your publicity.


Rev. Dot Thormaehlen records the The Bible Study and Prayer Line every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 717-632-1819 access 86212#





The Youth Group made a financial contribution to buy mashed potatoes for the New Hope Thanksgiving dinner.  They will be making favors for the PAL Luncheon program during the Advent Festival.  They will also participate in the Christmas Program.  During their last meeting they discussed having the Souper Bowl Program again in January on Super Bowl Sunday.  They also will be planning a spaghetti supper in January or February.  Watch the newsletter and Bulletins for more information.


The Youth Group meets on Sunday mornings from 9:45AM to 10:30AM.  All youth, 5th grade and older are invited to join us.


Sewing Group – January 10


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.


Attention members and friends of Grace as you

are doing your cleaning of drawers and closets,

the bed pad ministry could use clean, threadbare  sheets and pillow cases to continue their work in service of the need for the community.


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.



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.




To sponsor flowers or bulletins for worship services, please contact the church office at 632-1146 for open dates.




Grace Church Family – Thank you so much for the cards, prayers, and concern during my brother's illness and his passing.  It was deeply appreciated during the difficult time.  

Blessings, Ron and Judy Rummel


To Friends and Fans – Thank you for your love, sympathy, and prayers.  It is nice to know you are thinking of us.  

Paul Seipp and family


Dear Church Family – Thanks for cards, calls and all well wishes during my recent injury and healing.  Thanks too for the support of Just Spiritual Bible Group.  I so appreciate each one of you and your kindness.  Thanks to Sonja and Carol for transportation.

Sincerely, Martha Channell


A big, sincere Thank You to all my Church Family Friends that took the time to send this old lady a Birthday Card! It truly made my day!

God Bless,Donna Zeigler


From Mary "Caroline" Blettner's Family:

Thank you to our caring Church family, for your thoughtful expressions of sympathy.  As a life-long member of Grace, Caroline had wonderful memories of her Church friends and five caring Pastors!

Thank you also to Pastor Keating for his comforting and meaningful service.  We are so grateful to have all of you as part of our lives.

God Bless, Linda & Richard Blettner & Jessica, Rene, & Dylan Staub


To my Dear Friends at Grace:

Thanks so much for the many prayers, cards, and food while I was in the hospital, and since my return home.  They were and are very much appreciated. Thanks also to Pastor Robin and Pastor Dot for their prayers and visits.

God Bless, Janet Hart









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.


January Needs



Scalloped Potatoes, Salad Dressing, Hot chocolate



Toiletries (Family size), Sheet Sets (Queen)



Deodorant (Men), Sandwich Bags, Hand Soap



All single serving please!   

Snacks, Drinks, Mini Meals


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

We are scheduled for PAL lunch the third Saturday each month. Help is always needed and accepted.  If you would like to volunteer to help at PAL lunch on the 3rd Sat of the month, please contact:  Craig Bixler 632-5606


The Clothing Bank needs your help!

We are looking for individuals who are available to come and sort clothing and items. Sorters are needed 8:30-11AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Cashiers are needed 9AM-12 noon on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and on the first Saturday of the month when the Clothing Bank is open from 9 AM to 12. If you are interested in learning more about this volunteer opportunity please contact the Council office at 717-633-6353.





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:  Jedd Beall, Sue Lang

January   1:    TBD

January   8:   Craig Bixler, Linda Bixler, Joleen Fennell, Glendon Ruhlman,

          Merle Whisler, Karl Whisler

January 15:    Craig Bixler, Linda Bixler, Joleen Fennell, Glendon Ruhlman,

          Merle Whisler, Karl Whisler

January 22:   Consistory

January 29:   Michelle Harter, Melissa Storm, Mike Harter, Pete Truesdale,            

          John Storm, Julie Truesdale



January   1:  Faye Myers

January   8:  Jenn Weaver

January 15:  Rev. Benner

January 22:  Grant Holub, assisting elder

January 29:  Holly Smith


Calling All Readers:  Please Help!

We are looking for some people to help with lectoring.  If you can help please leave a message in the office or on my answering machine!  Thanks for your help.  

Faye Myers (632-6361)



        Acolyte & Reader

January   1:  Kristina Newman

January   8:  Valerie Utz

January 15:  Sydney Bankert

January 22:  Cobie Caler

January 29:  Vance Hagarman



January   1:  TBA

January   8:  Deb Wierman

January 15:  Dave & Allison Myers

January 22:  Deb Wierman

January 29:  Joleen Fennell



January   1:  Happy New Year!  No nursery

January   8:  Michele Rudisill, Paige Harget, Joleen Fennell

January 15:  Becky Plunkert, Betsy Eyer, Joann Sites

January 22:  Pam Kreitz, Sherry Lawrence, Faye Myers

January 29:  Linda Sager, Donna Bankert, Nancy Bankert


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!!!





January   1:   TBA

January   8:   TBA

January 15:   Celebration of Ruth Stitt's 100th birthday

January 22:  Annual Congregational Mtg – no coffee hour

January 29:  John & Melissa Storm





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.