Days of Grace July 2017


JULY 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. Melissa Eicholtz

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:   


Rev. Melissa Eicholtz



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…



Why are some people inclined to generosity and selflessness, while others are unconcerned for the welfare of others and are more self-centered? The age old question, regarding why those who are selfish and those who are selfless are the way they are, arises within the philosophical/theological realm. These differences do not seem to be a matter of heredity, but rather perspective – perspectives which can be learned or unlearned.


Perhaps the difference simply boils down to a theological perspective where one defines humanity’s purpose within creation. Genesis tells us that God created the heavens and the earth and all that is therein. And furthermore, that God instructed Adam to care for the earth and all its creatures. One school of thought informed us that we could do whatever we wished with the world, as though we were given carte blanche (as in a blank check). This laissez faire (anything goes) attitude towards taking from creation is a very individualistic approach. An alternative understanding of the text directs Adam and all of humanity to be stewards (as in caregivers) of all creation. This then becomes a holistic way of caring and nurturing for all that God has given. 


In a similar fashion ancient Israel viewed kingship as a divine mandate to care for and nurture the people under the king’s rule. This perspective was for the betterment of the whole society or what we have come to think of as the “common good”. In contrast the outlying countries, and even some of Israel’s rulers, governed through domination for the strict benefit of the ruler, himself (or herself). The former view of kingship is an example of selfless rule versus the latter as a selfish rule.


Jesus is quoted by Matthew, Luke and John in saying “Whoever (anyone) wants to save (love) their life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save (find) it”. In Jesus’ declaration he expresses the understanding that selflessness will gain the kingdom of heaven on earth. When one can selflessly give of oneself with altruistic love and compassion, the mandate of Christ and God are followed. Amazingly when one gives of oneself, one receives greater gifts of love and understanding. Happiness wells up within the givers and the reservoir of strength increases as a result of this selfless action towards creation. Admittedly Jesus has been the only individual to be able to accomplish this perfectly. We in our weakness can at best strive to balance our actions for the greater common good.


God, Christ and the Holy Spirit (throughout our scripture) encourage us to strive beyond ourselves for the benefit of community in great need. Use your time now to examine your actions. Are you doing more for yourself and less for others? Think about the many ways we can work with our church to increase our actions for the benefit of others. All of these ways help us to continually ask with sincerity, “Have I told you today that I love you?”





June 2017 Consistory Digest


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

Treasurer’s Report:

General pledge for May 2017:     $11,210.02  (4 Sundays)

General pledge for May 2016:     $16,426.52  (5 Sundays)

     YTD 2017 income:         $85,112.01

     YTD 2017 expenses:    $102,322.30

     YTD shortage:                $17,210.29

Checking account balances

                 Deacon:       $20,875.22

                 Education:   $11,917.84

                 Memorial:   $38,400.00

                 Resource:      $7,892.09

                 Operating:   $10,487.73


Carroll Miller will start to address proper procedures for money handling. No one should be handling and keeping Grace money at home. Any money collection should include a count sheet with two signatures.


A list has been compiled of contributions to the organ fund.


Carroll Miller will chair the Fundraising Committee.


Betsy Eyler, Patti Miller, Carol Spangler-Solomon, and Richard Benner have volunteered to serve on the Memorial Fund Committee.


The consistory voted with appreciation and regrets to accept the resignation of Pastor Dot Thormaehlen.


The Consistory voted to call Rev. Melissa Eicholtz as Grace’s Visitation Pastor.  The position will remain the same at 10-15 hours per week at $20.00 per hour.  She will also cover for Pastor Keating in his absence.


The Consistory voted to give Pastor Keating a 2% raise plus an additional two weeks of vacation.   


There are electrical problems with a breaker panel near the choir loft.  The current breaker panel will need to be replaced with a larger one at an estimated cost of $1200.00.


Consistory voted to remove the third pew in the sanctuary, pulpit side, to assist Grace members with disabilities.


Pastor Robin reported the Transition Team will be decommissioned June 18, 2017, before the Search Committee is installed.  The Transition Team report needs a summary and some fine tuning.  The report should be ready in one or two weeks.


The search committee has been named.  They are:  Amy Fawks, Patti Miller, Beverly Speight-Mohamed, Merle Whisler, Donna Bankert, Liz Hossler, Matt Boyer, Linda Bixler, Gary Rickrode, Ken Wenger, and Dan Trimmer. They will be installed on June 18th. 


Prepared by Craig Bixler June 14, 2017


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.


Grace Policy Vote

The congregation voted for three policies on Sunday, June 11, 2017.  Seventy-five ballots were received.  

Grace Policy Vote Results:

 Memorial Fund:     70 yes     5 no 

Use of Fellowship Hall for Nonchurch Events:     71 yes     4 no

Fundraising:     64 yes     10 no  (one ballot was not marked) 


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.



Replacement for Pastor Dot Found


With the resignation of Pastor Dot as Visitation Minister, the need for a replacement is necessary.  We have been blessed to find a very qualified person to fill this position.  The Reverend Melissa Eicholtz will be joining us in the capacity of Visitation Minister beginning soon after Pastor Dot leaves.  Rev. Eicholtz is an ordained UCC minister who attended seminary with Pastor Dot and attended Grace a few years ago.  She recently held a full time position at a church in the area but the full time position did not allow her the time for her family that she felt was important.   Luckily, she was looking for a part time position at the same time we were looking for a visitation pastor.  She comes highly recommended by Pastor Dot and is looking forward to getting started.  

Dan Trimmer






Search Committee Formed


The search committee is now in place.  Those individuals who received multiple nominations from the congregation were approached and 11 have agreed to serve.  Those individuals are:

Amy Fawks, Patti Miller, Linda Bixler, Donna Bankert, Liz Hossler, Matt Boyer, Merle Whisler, Gary Rickrode, Beverly Speight-Mohamed, Ken Wenger, Dan Trimmer.

The committee was installed on Sunday, June 18 and will begin working on the Church profile as soon as possible.  The congregation will have the opportunity to review the profile before it is delivered to the Conference.  The Conference will then distribute the profile to prospective candidates.  The committee will interview candidates, check references, etc., before making a recommendation to the congregation.  You will be kept informed of the progress of the committee throughout the process.

Dan Trimmer


Volunteers Needed for Fundraising Committee


The fundraising policy that was recently passed by the congregation requires a committee to administer the policy.  If you are involved with any form of fundraising at the church it would be very helpful if you would consider serving on this committee.  It is hoped that every organization that does fundraising is represented on the committee.  If interested, please contact Carroll Miller.  

Dan Trimmer



Greetings Members and Friends of Grace,


My name is Melissa Eicholtz and I am thrilled to be your new Visitation Pastor.

Many of you may remember me from a few years back when I attended Grace while I was working through the Ordination Process. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a 2011 graduate of Lancaster Theological Seminary where I earned my Masters of Divinity degree. I was ordained in Nov 2015. Up until June 11th of this year, I had served as the full time Pastor at St. Jacob’s (Stone) UCC in Glenville.


My husband Bob and I live in Spring Grove with our two sons Pierce (17) and Dennis (15). Pierce just graduated on June 2 and plans to head to Temple in the fall (oh my). When I’m not with the family or doing some sort of church work, you will find me playing competitive tennis with the USTA or “trying” to golf.


Church Visitation has long been a passion of mine. I acquired that passion from my mother who started a Visitation Team at our church when I was 14. Like it or not, she saw that I was one of the original members of her new ministry. I would accompany her on visits until I was about 17 and then she strongly encouraged me to go out and do visits on my own. I think Visitation is one of the most important ministries of the church as it enables us to live out the words from 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “encourage one another and build each other up.”


I’ve always liked this quote and think it sums up what church visitation is all about, “When we meet one another in either planned or chance visits we can support one another in pain, strengthen one another in sorrow, and guide one another in confusion. We can be God’s presence to one another.”


I look forward to getting to know all of you and working alongside of you in this ministry.


Please never hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or thoughts you may have.


Your Companion in the Faith,

Pastor Melissa







Wise Mental Health Team


The Grace WISE Mental Health Team will meet Wednesday, July 19, at 7:00 PM., in Fellowship Hall.  Topic of their presentation and discussion was undetermined at Newsletter printing time.  Please check the weekly service folder announcements or call the Church Office for more information on this  supportive group, promoting awareness to foster understanding of mental health issues that affect so many folks today.  We are a nonjudgmental, loving group who care.  Light refreshments will be served.   Stop in and see what we are all about.  Bring a friend!






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


Registration for VBS may be done online at the following link

or contact Linda Bixler 632-5606.



Anyone who would like to help with VBS, please contact Linda Bixler  632-5606 or use the above link to volunteer.


 VBS Supply Donations

Check the wall in the large transept to donate items for VBS.

VBS Decorating

On Saturday, July 8  at 8 AM volunteers will decorate for VBS.  Everyone is invited to help.





Save the Date – The Ladies of Grace will be sponsoring a Mini-retreat on Saturday, August 12, from 9AM-11:30AM in Fellowship Hall. Please contact Jenn Weaver 717.451.9703 (text or voice)  OR if you would like to help organize the event. More details will be available in the July Newsletter.


Please Join us as we fill our cups with the sisterhood of spiritual growth and love. We will share this love by reaching out to share God’s grace.


      What: Women’s Retreat

(all women 16 and older welcome)

When: Saturday August 12  9-11:30 AM

Where: Fellowship Hall of Grace UCC

RSVP: by August 6 to Jenn Weaver or 717.451.9703






Let's catch up on our last three projects:


Easter Candy Profit:   $1454.31

Rainy Day Yard Sale:  1520.12

Vermont Bus Trip:         970.20


Now, looking ahead there will be gobs of opportunities for you to volunteer in many ways. Remember we pledged many hours of service from our church members.  Think about where you can help in making peach and pumpkin pies, Tea and Card Party, and Christmas candy.  There is a southern bus trip being put together now for the last part of October.  More to come on it.

Mary Jane





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



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!



"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. Melissa Eicholtz  records the The Bible Study and Prayer Line every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 717-632-1819 access 86212#





Thank You


Thank you Thank you!

I want to thank everyone for the many cards, well wishes, prayers, and concern during my recent illness.

The doctors never did figure out what happened to me, but I am Thankfully on the mend!

I want to Thank Everyone again, especially Pastor Robin for his visit!

Thanks again,

Les Loucks






Thank you so very much for the wonderful farewell from Grace as I leave behind the visitation pastor position.  The service and party afterwards on June 11 were so meaningful to me.  I thank you for your good words, cards, gifts, and your thoughtfulness and encouragement.  I thank you for your support of the visitation program and of my ministry at Grace.  You wished me well, and I wish all of you well as we all move forward with the changes at Grace!


Pastor Dot






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 – New Windsor Project


The Sewing Group will be taking a break from bed pads in July and August.  Instead, we will be volunteering for service projects in New Windsor.  Please join us on Tuesday, 11 July and/or Wednesday, 9 August.  We meet at the church at 7AM and carpool to New Windsor.  If you are interested, please contact Linda Sager or Donna Bankert.


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.



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.




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!



Donations to Outreach Opportunities for the Penn Central Conference


Members of Grace recently participated in two PCC outreach activities.

Grace members donated cash and toiletry items for food pantries and homeless shelters. The following items were delivered to PCC: 2 rolls paper towels, 22 rolls toilet paper, 13 bars of soap, 2 – 10 pack razors, 2 shampoos, 4 body lotions, 10 toothbrushes, 7 tubes toothpaste, and 8 containers deodorant.

Quarters were contributed to raise funds for a new washer and dryer at Hartman Center.  Grace members donated $30.00 in quarters.  The quarters were given to Rev. Dave Bushnell, who is on the Hartman Center Advisory Council.  Rev. Bushnell was happy report $3200 in quarters were collected from PCC congregations.

Thank you, Grace, for your donations.



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 (outside of church) 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.



The Gettysburg Association Summer Family Picnic will be held July 27, 2017, 6:00 PM, at St. James UCC, Harney Road, Littlestown.  See Linda or Craig Bixler for more details. 









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.

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.


July Needs



Pineapple, Sweet & White Potatoes, Egg Noodles, Rice



Sheets, Full-size Towels, Toiletries    



Razors (disposable), Body Wash, Scotchbrite Pads, Sugar  



All single serving please!   

Cereal, Oatmeal, Breakfast Bars  


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




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:  Barry Bankert, Mike Mummert          

July   2:    Len Bankert, Linda Huber,

        Nancy Bankert, Dan Kessler

        Danielle Benner, Maynard Warner

July   9:    Len Bankert, Linda Huber,

        Nancy Bankert, Dan Kessler

        Danielle Benner, Maynard Warner

July 16:    Kim Aumen, Karl Whisler

        Joleen Fennell, Merle Whisler

        Steve Hershey, Carroll Miller

July 23:    Communion – Consistory

July 30:    Kim Aumen, Karl Whisler

        Joleen Fennell, Merle Whisler

        Steve Hershey, Carroll Miller





July   2:  Linda Bixler

July   9:  Rev. Richard Benner

July 16:  Donna Bankert

July 23:  Craig Bixler Assisting Elder

July 30:  Joan Rebert


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)




July   2:  Betsy Eyler

July   9:  Kris, Holly, Ryan Smith

July 16:  Faye Myers

July 23:  Communion – Consistory

July 30:  Barry & Donna Bankert





        Acolyte & Reader

July    2:  Kristina Newman

July    9:  Cobie Caler

July  16:  Sydney Bankert

July  23:  Vance Hagarman

July  30:  Kristina Newman





Beginning Sunday, July 2, the Nursery will be closed for the Summer.  Please consider helping with this Ministry that cares for our young ones during Worship Service when it re-opens beginning Sunday, 10 September. 

Contact Nancy Kuhn 637-2713 for more information and to sign up for an assignment date.  


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!!!







The Coffee Hour will be on hiatus for the summer.  It will resume in September.  We are grateful to Janet Black for coordinating the Coffee Hour effort and the good folks who take their weekly turn. 






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.