Days of Grace May 2017


paint-along-14MAY 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.


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


A Word From Pastor Robin Keating…


The month of May for our congregation and Transition Team will be a time of assessment and evaluation. The Transition Team begins its “winding down”, while we move towards establishing the Search Committee. The final work of the Transition Team is to write a narrative report to the Consistory and congregation as a summary of their work and any insights and recommendations made during their process, which includes suggestions for the Church Profile. The primary focus of the Team will be keeping the heritage of Grace in mind, while looking towards the future of our congregation.

Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

A reminder for clarification as we enter into the formation of the Search Committee:  The Transitions Team is NOT the Search Committee. However, some members of the Transition Team may serve on the Search Committee (It is even recommended that some be included simply for the sake of congregational continuity, helping with interpretation of the transitional work).

Prayer has been an integral part of the Transition Teams work, even as they were selected by the congregation with the encouragement of prayer. Likewise, the Search Committee needs a similar process. And the congregation should be in a state of continual prayer for them, as they do the work of selecting a candidate for the congregation to decide upon.

The Transition Team has worked towards understanding the Vision of the congregation. The Search Committee is to continue that effort as the Profile is developed. A pastor is called to “equip” the laity to carry out the mission the members believe God is calling them to fulfill. So, the better the clarity, the better chances of an excellent fit between pastor and congregation.

While it may seem to some that the past year has been a “lost” year, much needed work, reflection, and healing as occurred. That’s not to say that the work, reflection and healing have ended. I, as the Interim Pastor, continue to lead you through the process until a candidate is selected. Just another way to ask, “Have I told you today that I love you?”


April  2017 Consistory Digest

There were 13 members present, including Pastor Keating.

Treasurer’s Report:

General pledge for March 2017:  $14,584.04  (4 Sundays)

General pledge for March 2016:  $14,989.00  (4 Sundays)

    YTD 2017 income:     $51,437.94

    YTD 2017 expenses:  $61,806.44

    YTD shortage:            $10,368.50

Checking account balances

        Deacon:           $19,729.36

        Education:       $11,911.18

        Memorial:        $  4,447.96

        Resource:         $29,976.84

        Operating:        $  5,756.59


The Education Fund and Deacon Fund offering envelopes will be reduced to one envelope each for 2018.  More Improvement Fund envelopes will be added to replace the deleted Education and Deacon Fund envelopes.


We have signed the contract for replacing the carpeting in the sanctuary. We will report the timeline for completion when we have that information. We will need help in moving the pews off of the chancel area and other jobs in preparation for the installation.

A lock will be added to the janitor closet door next to the boiler room. Someone used the expensive vacuum and damaged it.  There are also cleaning materials stored there that should not be accessible to children.

The light bulbs currently used in the sanctuary are becoming difficult to find.  An LED light bulb is available for $367 each.  The bulb is rated for 50,000 hours. A sample LED bulb will be tried in the sanctuary.


Worship and Music reported a meeting was held on March 22 to plan the heritage Sunday combined worship. It was decided that both Ambient Grace and the Grace Choir will sing all song selections together. The theme of the service is I Just Saw Jesus. The children from Sunday school will perform a song prior to the TWIC Youth Group's children's sermon. The Transition Team will hold a short interactive presentation on missions in the church following the service and then a light luncheon will be sponsored by the Ladies of Grace.  The combined service will be at 10 AM. Invitations are being sent out.


The last activity for the Transition Team will be April 23, 2017.  The Transition Team will disband at the end of May.


A Consistory retreat will be held June 24, 2017, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, in the parlor.


The discussion for the Wedding Policy, and time permitting, the Memorial Fund Policy, will be held on April 24th at 7:00 PM in Fellowship Hall.  Samaritan will moderate. Voting on Grace Policies will begin April 30, 2017.  Voting will be by paper ballot after the Modern Service and after the Traditional Service.  


The qualities of a good Search Team member (provided by Rev. Tom Webster) will be printed in the May Days of Grace with the goal of having the congregation submit nominations by the end of May. The team can then be formed from these nominations and begin work in June with the development of the profile.  Nominations for the Search Team will be collected May 14, 2017.  The Search Team will be installed at the end of May or early June with 10 to 12 members serving on the team.


The fourth draft of Fellowship Hall and Kitchen Use Policy for Non-church Events was approved to be sent to the congregation.  Work is still continuing on the Fund Raising Policy.


Prepared by Craig Bixler 4/15/17


Church Policy Updates


As you know, the consistory is in the process of developing policies to cover a number of different areas in the church.  Not everyone will agree with every sentence of every policy presented, and the process will take time and effort.  However, it is an important step in our transition to a new minister.   These policies will give our new minister clear direction in making future decisions that reflect our congregation.


Vote on Grace Policies


The congregational vote on the proposed wedding and memorial fund policies will be held on Sunday, April 30, after each service.  The vote will be by paper ballot and be a simple yes or no vote for each policy.  The policies have been available for review and there was a meeting scheduled for discussion and questions on Monday, April 24.  There has been ample opportunity to study and comment on the policies so there should be no need for additional discussion on April 30. If we were able to discuss the Grace Memorial Fund Policy on April 24, we will also vote on that policy April 30 as well.    The vote should take only a few minutes and results will be posted on the church website.  A yes vote will mean that the policy becomes the official guidance for the church.  A no vote will require the proposed policy to be revised and presented for a future vote before it becomes official.


Opportunity for Input


One area that was revealed in the survey was a belief by some in our congregation that how decisions are made are not always clear and may not always reflect the will of the congregation.  To try to address these feelings, the consistory invites any member of the congregation to attend our monthly meetings.   There will be time set aside at each meeting for members of the congregation to ask questions or express concerns to the consistory as a whole.  Meetings are held the second Monday of each month at 7:00 P.M. in the parlor.  If you have a question or are concerned about any aspect of the church, please consider taking this opportunity to share.


Transition News        

    Search Committee to be Formed


On May 14, we will accept nominations for members of the Search Committee.  3×5 cards will be distributed after each service and each member will be asked to nominate three members to serve on the Search Committee.  The consistory will then review the names presented and ask those individuals receiving the most nominations to serve on the committee.  The goal is to have a working committee of 10-12 people in place by the end of May. 

You may remember that Tom Webster shared the qualities of a successful search committee member with us last Spring.  These qualities are:


1.  Persons who demonstrate a positive, hopeful attitude and behavior in both good times and bad.

2.  Persons who embody the core beliefs and principles of the congregation.

3.  Persons who have a clear idea of why God created Grace UCC.

4.  Persons who can exhibit understanding while holding a different opinion or perspective.

5.  Persons who value confidentiality but not secrecy.

6.  Persons who have neither grudges to continue nor axes to grind.

7.  Persons who are perceptive readers.

8.  Persons who are OK with consensus.

9.  Persons who are patient and discerning; not prone to rush to a decision just for the sake of making a decision.

10.  Persons willing to commit to a long, intensive process, willing to adjust their schedule accordingly.

11.  Persons who exhibit a good sense of humor.

12.  Persons who are generous with their time and talents and who are realistic in financial matters.


There may be no persons who hold all of these qualities but there are certainly those who hold many.  Please study this list and prayerfully consider who you believe meets many of these characteristics and nominate those people on May 14th.


Copies of this list will be available at the rear of the church and in the large transept.  They will also be posted on the church website.


Honoring of Graduates

Sunday, May 21


Any high school or college graduates should complete the form available in the large transept and Fellowship Hall and return it to the church office by Sunday, May 14.




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

632-1146 for open dates.


Vacation Bible School

Sunday, July 9 – Thursday, July 13

6:15 PM -8:00 PM


Theme: Maker Fun Factory

Created By God – Built for a Purpose


Anyone who would like to help with VBS, please contact Linda Bixler  632-5606.




We have sold 78 reservations for the annual Spring Tea Card Party on April 19 and will be calling for desserts soon.


Forty-four folks have paid for the June 18-21 Vermont trip.  We have room for four more, if you are interested in a great holiday.  We are staying at a Four Season Resort Inn, which will provide you with upscale lodging in an attractive setting.  We have scheduled some very remarkable venues to explore.  All meals will be  provided and then off we go to explore this beautiful area.  You can call Mary Jane Fuhrman 637-1513 for additional information.


The Yard Sale will be May 13.  Please keep us in mind when you are falling over “too much stuff” while Spring cleaning.  We treasure your support.  *Items may be placed in the storage shed.  Please box items if possible. During  office hours storage shed key is available  in the office.*


Traditional Service Choral Anthems


Each Sunday the Chancel Choir sings a choral offertory for the meaningful enhancement of the Traditional Worship Service.   In the  past, there have been special requests for a particular anthem to be sung.  Should any person or groups of people be interested in sponsoring an offertory anthem, they may do so by contacting the organist, Harold Heller, either before or after a service, or by calling 677-6849.  The request must be completed at least a week prior to the sponsorship.


The music may be sponsored in different ways, such as In Memory of, In Honor of, To the Glory of God by, etc.  Sponsoring choral offertories is a great way to honor those who mean, or have meant a great deal to a person, people, or groups of people, such as family and friends.  The sponsorship also supports the costs of the music program of Grace Church.  The cost for a sponsorship,will be $25.00 per selection.




The June meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 14, at noon in Fellowship Hall.  The meal will be Chicken Pot Pie with Linda Sager and Donna Bankert  as the “cooks in the kitchen.”  Of course, included will be pepper slaw, applesauce, and dessert.  We'll need to know, by June 7, how many meals to prepare.  Please see the Sunday bulletin for a form to reserve your space for this meal and the cost again will be $6.00.  The program will be presented by Dan Martin of God's Country singing a variety of songs from his program, including 1950's, Rock and Roll, Classic, Country, and Gospel music.  He is a local person, living in Spring Grove.  We look forward to seeing you.


Please return the reservation form located in the Sunday bulletin to Dona Warner, Glenn Ruhlman, or Pauline Benner.


"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#





Looking ahead:  Youth Sunday will participate on  Mother's Day, May 14, during the traditional service.  The youth will sponsor the Coffee Hour on May 28 following the traditional service.


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


Sewing Group – May 9


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.


Volunteers Needed for Valet Service


Each Sunday volunteers are available at the elevator entrance to assist as needed.  Occasionally there is a need to park a car.    This service has received many positive comments and is greatly appreciated.


More volunteers are needed to assist with this service.  You would be scheduled every 5 or 6 weeks depending on the number of volunteers. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Linda Bixler 632-5606.




Charles Leon "Buddy" Messinger, Jr. 






Hannah Patricia Thompson, daughter of  Carrie and Aaron Thompson, was born on Friday, March 10.  Proud big sister is Eleanor; proud grandparents are Vickie and Brad Arnold.


Everly Paige Fennell, daughter of Joe and Celeste, was born on Wednesday, March 22.  Proud grandparents, Charlie and Joleen Fennell; proud great grandfather, Merle Whisler.


Raelan Marie Ramsey, daughter of Emily and Daniel Ramsey, was born on Friday, March 24.


Jaqueline Fink, daughter of  Jessica and Brian Fink, was born on Wednesday, April 5.


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.


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.  Please call the Church Office with any questions or concerns.  Thank you!



Baby Blanket Ministry


We have a wonderful group of ladies that have made beautiful baby blankets for parishioners who have had new babies.  We thought we could stretch our wings…since folks are so kind to make these blankets…to include new grandchildren of grandparents in our congregation. If you have a new grandchild please call Leslie Grote at .717-968-6183 If your grandchild lives in another state, either you or Leslie can mail the blanket for the new baby. We have talked about "reaching out" and this is a good way! For those who have been "on hold" for knitting/crocheting baby blankets…please stand by for new requests. Thanks!


Sharing God's Grace


Sharing God's Grace has set a goal of $5,000 to be our project this year, as well as a new goal of 750 volunteer hours donated by our congregation.  Volunteer hours can be counted from any community outreach activity.  Examples:  PAL, New Hope Ministries, Hanover Hospital, bedpads, etc.


Collections for the project are on the last Sunday of the month until the end of December.  Envelopes will be in the pews for your use anytime and the last Sunday of the month an opportunity will be given to bring your financial or volunteer hours to the front at the beginning of the last hymn. Checks should be made to Grace UCC with PAL in the memo line.


Church Office Hours have changed to:  Monday through Thursday, from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM  If you have a concern, please handle it through the Office Monday through  Thursday, from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM.  As always, if there is a concern that cannot wait, either Pastor Robin or Pastor Dot can be reached by calling them on their respective cell phones.  Their numbers are listed in the service folder each week and in the monthly newsletter.








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.


May Needs



Coffee, Ketchup, Sugar



Kleenex, Paper towels, Toilet paper   



Deodorant, Hand towels, Powdered drink mix



All single serving please!   

Cereal, Snack, Fruit Drink  


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:  Dan Trimmer, Ken Wenger          

May   7:   Brian Baldwin, Craig Bixler,

        Eugene Bixler, Linda Bixler

        Gary Rickrode, Greg Sindlinger


May 14:  Brian Baldwin, Craig Bixler,

        Eugene Bixler, Linda Bixler

        Gary Rickrode, Greg Sindlinger


May 21:   Leslie Grote, Paul Grote,

        John Storm, Melissa Storm,

        Carol Spangler-Solomon, Betsy Eyler


May28:   Leslie Grote, Paul Grote,

        John Storm, Melissa Storm,

        Carol Spangler-Solomon, Betsy Eyler



May   7:  Matt Boyer

May 14:  Youth Sunday

May 21:  Jenn Weaver

May 28:  Carol Spangler-Solomon


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)



May   7:  Richard and Becky Boyer

May 14:  Bonnie Miller

May 21:  Janette Becker

May 28:  Richard and Becky Boyer




        Acolyte & Reader

May   7:  Kristina Newman

May 14:  Cobie Caler

May 21:  Sydney Bankert

May 28:  Vance Hagarman




May   7:  Jennifer & Brian Baldwin, Kim Aumen

May 14:  Donna Bankert, Linda Sager, Faye Myers

May 21:  Allison Myers, Joleen Fennell, Ashley Rummell

May 28:  Becky Plunkert, Jenn Weaver, Joann Sites


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!!!





May   7:  TBD

May 14:  Happy Mother's Day – no coffee hour

May 21:  Honoring Graduates – Board of Education

May 28:  Youth Group





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.