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December 2023

Updated: Feb 2

Greetings from Grace: Some evenings I sit in our front windows and just look at our church’s building. I think about all of the people who have walked in our doors and been greeted by a smiling face, a sweaty handshake, or a famous church lady hug. BEHOLD the welcome of the church. You see our building serves a purpose for the work we do, but it is not THE CHURCH. WE ARE THE CHURCH. You see when I sit and look at our building, I don’t think about the paint or the roof that will inevitably need replacing soon; I think about the beautiful community we are fostering.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, we tried something new and partnered with The S.W.I.T.C.H. Society, a local community benefit business that hopes to reduce textile waste and change women’s relationship with clothing. Teams of volunteers from their organization and people from our community set up tables, organized clothing, and assisted with the operation. We even had a crew bring in lunch on Saturday to show our appreciation for the work this organization is doing in our community. In just three days, 8,287 items were given away. I watched from our house as car after car pulled up and left with bags of clothing. BEHOLD the work of the church!

We also learned some valuable lessons partnering with this organization. BEHOLD what the Spirit is teaching us. We learned that perhaps we need to remember how to treat guests with the utmost love and care when they enter our building (and everywhere). No matter who someone is, no matter what they are wearing, or how they have accessorized, we can celebrate the diversity of human expression without judgment. It can also be difficult to take instruction from people we don’t know. It can even be more frustrating when we don’t understand why we are doing something, but we must honor the work of our partner organizations and remind ourselves that service is not about making ourselves comfortable. It is about sacrificing our time, talents, and abilities, to be in service of others.

BEHOLD a Savior is born! The season of Advent, like Lent, is a season of preparation for what is to come. This season, we prepare our hearts for the renewed sense of Jesus in our lives. My hope for you this year is that this season will bring a spirit of gentleness. That even with all the noise in the world, you will take time to remember: you are loved, you are beloved, and God is love.

Blessed are we who seek you,

The light that dawned so long ago

In that dark stable.

Love given.

Love received.

Receive this gift, dear one.

Love has come for you.

Kate Bowler & Jessica Richie

Grace & Peace

Pastor Sam

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