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Monthly newsletter grace and Peace Lutheran Church

august 2018

Volume 6


Grace and Peace

From Your Pastor

Throughout August we are going to be talking about bread. Our Gospel lessons come from John 6 where Jesus feeds the multitudes and tells us. “I am the bread of life.” Here are some thoughts from a commentator, Richard Lowell Bryant. I found his words thought provoking:

Why the “bread of life”?  Bread seems so basic.  Jesus could have used any number of words or phrases to describe himself, right? 

However, I believe bread makes more sense than we realize.   Bread makes the world go around.  Before we had money, before civilizations had cash to run their economies, what made the world tick; bread.  The cultivation of grain is the defining feature in western civilization…  We are who we are because of bread.  Bread became one of the keys to life, wealth, commerce, and power. 

Jesus, on the other hand, speaks against the grain.  He doesn’t talk about grain or its byproduct (bread) in a tangible way reflecting cultivation or accumulation.  For Jesus bread or grain, as life giving as it is, can’t be measured on scale, then bagged, or sold to the highest bidder.  Wheat can’t be planted in the ground, grain can’t be cultivated, nor can bread be baked.  Jesus is talking about something everyone knows, something their parents knew, their grandparents knew and asking them to look inward.  Jesus is going against the dominant culture of wheat, grain, and bread.  What feeds us keeps us captive.  What feeds us leaves us hungry.  What feeds us keeps us apart.  What feeds us is crumbling from the inside out.

We need new food, different grain, and better bread.  It’s not Moses’ recycled bread, rediscovered ways to slice old bread, but a renewal of the spirit that Jesus brings to those who decide to go with him as he runs against the grain.  It’s a rejection of scarcity economics and an embrace of abundant living.  That’s what John means by the bread of life.   It’s kind of scary to walk away from a table full of bread and toward a guy who uses bread as a metaphor.  That is against the grain thinking.  It’s also the most basic act of counter-cultural discipleship Jesus asks of any disciple.  Step from what you know, away from your comfort zone, into an area where faith is your only frame of reference.

Because you’ve been so nice, I’m going to let you in on a secret about the bread of life.  It’s not bread at all.  Jesus is a way of life; life lived on terms of abundance, grace, joy, and love.   

Peace and Joy!

Pastor Roberta

Where God Is Doing New Things

I love to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love. I love to tell the story, because I know it’s true; it satisfies my longings as nothing else would do. (ELW #661)

The congregation’s pastor and I processed toward the “back” of the worship space as we all sang the old hymn with vigorous familiarity: “I love to tell the story,” the story “of Jesus and his love.” When we reached the back pews and turned again toward the gathered folk for the liturgy’s final blessing and sending, in my mind’s eye I was transported back over decades and distance to another Sunday when I was serving as an acolyte for worship with First Lutheran Church in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, the congregation that first formed me in faith. I could see and sense my gangly, slightly long- haired early-teen self-standing next to Pastor Joe, who had just finished preaching about our call to tell the Jesus story anywhere and always, to anyone and everyone. Echoing through the years I could still hear his strong, somewhat gravelly, always off-pitch voice rising above the voices of the few hundred folk gathered for worship. I could hear again the conviction in his voice and see the gleam of joy in his eyes as he sang: I love to tell the story, because I know it’s true; it satisfies my longings as nothing else would do. “Go in peace; serve the Lord!” snapped me back to the present time and place to join the congregation in responding with our own conviction and joy, “Thanks be to God!” And in that moment, I remembered anew how much I do love to tell the story of Jesus and his love ... and I realized how seldom I actually tell it outside of my role as pastor and bishop.

It is one thing to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love in settings related to my role as bishop, like preaching, teaching, leading meetings, and pastoral conversations. It’s another thing altogether to tell others about Jesus and his love in the various moments and relationships of my life outside that role, with family, friends and acquaintances, in the neighborhood where we live, during encounters with folks in stores or at events or across the table at some social gathering.

In the years since that long-ago Sunday at First Lutheran, I seem to have moved a little more toward the approach to telling the story of Jesus and his love captured in this quote sometimes attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times; use words if necessary.” Yet, the bible teacher, Walter Brueggemann reminds us that

It'{This article is an excerpt from Bishop Gafkjen’s report to the 2018 Indiana-Kentucky Synod Assembly. The full report may soon be accessed via the Synod Assembly section of the synod website:}

Bishop Bill Gafkjen

Financial Committee Report

Dear Friends of Grace and Peace,

Here it is the end of July already, and school will be starting on August 8th! Soon after we will be gearing up for the Fall Festival in our brand new “yellow” food booth! Thanks to David Meyer for making a special trip to the factory in Georgia at the end of his vacation to pick it up!

It’s been a truly blessed, exciting year for us as a Church. We had a very successful first time Craft Fair in May -many thanks to Darla Jones. We hope to repeat it next year. We had over 60 children participate in Vacation Bible School (about 30 more than we were expecting)!

As you may recall, at our Congregational Meeting in early April, we all voted to approve long overdue renovations to our building —If you’ve been here on a recent Sunday you’ve been cooled by our new HVAC, which is saving us 30 -40% on our energy bills. The roof replacement will be paid off in August. The plan is to direct that monthly payment plus an extra $200 toward the monthly repayment of the new HVAC. The council believes this should be manageable for our congregation.

“Should be Manageable”, however, is the important phrase here. It assumes that everyone continues to donate to the church in a consistent, generous manner. Since April donations are down across the board …. which is a serious concern for the Council. We have had to transfer significant funds from our reserves for the each of the last four months.

The Council truly appreciates that many in our congregation are on a fixed income and donate faithfully. We also know that some people are not aware how important their regular donations are to the work of the church. This is the reason the Council is sharing this with you. The needs and work of the congregation should be open and transparent, so that everyone understands how important their regular giving is to the wellbeing of their church.

We are firm believers that if we trust in God’s goodness, God will provide for us with incredible abundance.

On behalf of the Finance Committee,

Jeff Byrne, Finance Chairperson

Mission of Grace


If you empty a box, please break down the box.  Ideally you can put it in the recycle can (the green lid can).  If not, leave it where it can be taken out. Let's try to recycle our cardboard.  Your trash detail thanks you!

The Mission of Grace is in need of toiletries, toilet paper, shampoos, deodorant, etc.. Please contact the office or Vicki Oshodi or the office if you have items you would be willing to donate.

August Community Dinner

Please join us

Grace and Peace Lutheran Church

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

6:00-8:00 p.m

Barbeque Chicken, potato salad, veggie tray, dessert

Sponsored by

The Mission of Grace-An outreach ministry of Grace and Peace Lutheran Church,

And Fresh Air Community of Faith

All are welcome at our table

Be a Part of the Mission of Grace

· Pray for the Mission of Grace

· Donate items for the Giving Room (toilet paper, diapers, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items)

· Donate can food items

· Join us on the third Tuesday of each month for the community dinner

· Volunteer your time helping with filing and answering phones, stocking shelves, etc.


Dear Friend of ReconcilingWorks,


We are just one week back from the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston, TX and my heart and mind are still processing the impact you made possible through your financial gifts, the “God Adores You” card you filled out, and all your prayers.


The 30 x 45 foot ReconcilingWorks booth at the Gathering was some of the most sacred ground I have stood on in a while. The space was decorated with a dozen PRIDE flags for different identities in the LGBTQIA+ community, a photo booth area with a teen Jesus cardboard cutout, free resources, temporary tattoos, and of course the “God Adores You” cards. Over the three days in the interactive learning center we had kiddos come up and start crying as they saw their P