Christmas Eve and Beyond at Grace

The final countdown has begun-- 48 hours until Christmas Eve! I am excited to see familiar faces, not so familiar faces, and totally unknown faces all day this Sunday. It’s always wonderful to see rows and rows of the Celebration Center packed with families. I’ll be away for a week following Sunday so this will be my final email contact of 2017! So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Please be mindful of a few things for Sunday and beyond:

December 24

  1. It will be a tremendous help for everyone to sit in the middle of the row. If you sit on the end and there are empty seats you’ll be asked to move down. We don’t want first-timers to feel like they are inconveniencing anyone, so leave empty spaces near the aisles. If possible, park away from the building, leaving room for guests. Ditto for the back rows-- sit toward the front! You’ll be closer to Baby Jesus!
  2. The 4:00 service is intentionally for children and families. It is a low-stress, fun, silly time of worship. No “shushing” of kids is allowed! 
  3. The offering at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. will be for the Grace church budget. Special offerings will be received at 4:00/7:00/11:00 p.m. services. These will benefit, respectively, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Grayson County, and UMCOR’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. Did you know: Grace has contributed more than $7500 to UMC missions this year? That’s in addition to our denominational support, which, once again, was paid in full. And of course many individuals and groups around the church support all kinds of initiatives in town and around the world. I am proud to serve such a generous congregation. Thank you.
  4. Speaking of which, on behalf of the church staff, thank you for the generous love offering we received last weekend. Christy and I hosted many staff members at our home last Tuesday. What a gift to serve with amazing people.
  5. Christmas Day: Vicki and Tom Busby will deliver a lunch provided by many Grace folk to Sherman Fire Station #3 at Pecan Grove Park. Another way to share joy!

Beyond Christmas

  1. Rev Mel Caraway will be the guest preacher December 31. Mel is a retired UMC pastor who was very active in the Emmaus community and social justice issues.
  2. SHARE: Taking it to the Streets is relocating to Four Rivers in Sherman in January. They will have much more space, including an office, and a better volunteer pool to draw from. Blessings to Camille and the SHARE Board. Grace has loved this partnership and it will continue in the new space.
  3. Saturday, January 6, 9:00-11:00 a.m.: Church leaders (outgoing and incoming) will reflect on 2017 and look to 2018. We’ll also set the budget for 2018, hear from Marsha Kahl about the emergency preparedness training event hosted by Sherman Police last month, and review materials for the Healthy Church Initiative weekend, Feb 16-18. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. 
  4. Everyone is invited to the parsonage for our annual Epiphany Party Sunday, January 7, 2:00-5:00 p.m. This is our opportunity to say thank you for having us as your parsonage family. Desserts and coffee will be served! 1612 Lamberth Circle in Sherman. Come and go.
  5. Save the dates: Healthy Church Initiative Weekend, February 16-18. Everyone is needed to show up and participate! Saturday the 17th: 10:00-3:00 p.m. Sunday the 18th: one worship service only, at 10:00 a.m.