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Grace United Church of Christ, Houston Texas

Clerical Comments 

God will judge between the nations and render decisions for many countries. They will beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation will not raise the sword against another, and never again will they train for war. Isaiah 2:4

The month of September is overshadowed by 9/11. The shadow darkens when we add the aftermath of hurricanes like Katrina and Harvey, and now the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, fires, floods, famine, and the growing threat of global warming. It is in these times that an imaginative word is needed. The prophet Isaiah, writing in his own troubled times of conflict, almost twenty-five hundred years ago, imagined weapons of death and destruction being transformed into tools of construction and life, “swords beaten into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.” Ploughshares and pruning hooks are future leaning agricultural tools of hope and faith. Before seeds can be planted, the soil must be ploughed. Before future growth, the branches must be pruned. Plowing and pruning are acts of faith that the seeds will grow, and the plants will flourish.

As the shadows of our time stretch across our horizons, we gather in faith every Sunday morning and dare to use our God given, hope filled imagination to articulate in prayer, praise, song, and speech the possibility of a future where peace, justice, compassion, inclusion, reconciling love, and saving grace are all possible. What weapons of destruction in our lives and world are we imagining transformed into tools of construction and new life? Vengeance transformed into mercy. Hatred transformed into love. Judgement transformed into grace. Injustice transformed into justice. Oppression transformed into freedom. Prejudice transformed into affirmation. Apathy transformed into empathy. Fossil fuel transformed into renewable energy. What do you imagine? What can we imagine together as the church, the Body of Christ? There is great transformative power in imagination, in a song, in a prayer, in a word.

Imagination can be like a candle’s flame piercing the shadow with the bright light of hope. In the words of William Shakespeare’s, The Merchant of Venice: “How far that little candle throws its beam! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.” (5.1.90). I look forward to imagining with you this Sunday in hope filled worship of God through whom all things are possible. Thanks be to God! Yours in Christ, Pastor David


 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

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SEPT 4 - Holy Communion

SEPT 5 - Labor Day

SEPT 7 _ Sr. Bus Trip to the HMNS

SEPT 7 - Men's Fellowship at Live Oak Diner at 6:30PM

12935 Dairy Ashford Rd, Sugar Land, TX 77478

SEPT 11  - Potluck luncheon after worship. New Adult Class - Saving Jesus

Joint worship with Christ United Fellowship has been postponed to a future date.

SEPT 11 - National Grandparent Day

Sept 15-Oct 15 Hispanic Heritage Month

SEPT 21 - CCSC Gala

SEPT 22 - First Day of Autumn

ZOOM Fellowship Every Thursday at 6 PM

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Sr. Bus Trip

Join us on the Harris County Precinct 4 bus on Wednesday, September 7th, for a short trip to the Houston Museum of Science and History where we will be able to tour the Cockrell Butterfly Center and visit the Planetarium there. Please meet at the L. A. Fitness parking lot, 1555 Eldridge Pkwy, Houston, TX 77077, @ 8:45 a.m. so we can leave from there @ 9:00 a.m. We expect to return to that parking lot by 2:30 p.m., before heavy traffic.

The cost will be a total of $14 each, which includes senior and group rates. Please pay Donna C or Eileen Lancer (Silver Sneakers) in cash, correct change, in an envelope with your name on it. You can give it to Donna at church or L. A. Fitness. If that is not possible, let Donna know and we can work out another method of payment.

When boarding the bus: 1) please have $2 ready for the bus driver's tip and lunch; 2) do not bring any food or drinks except a container of water; 3) please wear comfortable shoes; and 4) bring your phone charger cord if you like. The bus has a port by each seat. Donna C

It Only Takes A Spark

Love is the spark that kindles the fire of compassion. Compassion is the fire that flames the candle of service.  Service is the candle that ignites the torch of hope. Hope is the torch that lights the beacon of faith. Faith is the beacon that reflects the power of God. God is the power that creates the miracle of love.

—William Arthur Ward  

Keeping the Sabbath

Oh, what a blessing is Sunday, interposed between the waves of worldly business like the divine path of the Israelites through Jordan! There is nothing in which I would advise you to be more strictly conscientious than in keeping the Sabbath day holy. I can truly declare that to me the Sabbath has been invaluable.

—William Wilberforce

Labor Day laughs

Take a break and enjoy this work-related humor!

  • My first job was in an orange juice factory. I got canned because I couldn’t concentrate.
  • When I couldn’t hack it as a lumberjack, I got the ax.
  • I wasn’t suited to being a tailor.
  • Working in the muffler factory was too exhausting.
  • I was a banker … until I lost interest.
  • I realized there was no future in being a historian. 
  • Any way I sliced it, I couldn’t cut the mustard at the deli.
  • I studied to become a doctor but had no patients.
  • My job at the coffee shop was always the same old grind. 
  • When I worked as a plumber, the tasks were too draining.
  • I was hired at a gym but wasn’t fit for the job.
  • Finally, I got a job at a bakery; I kneaded dough!

Gilliw R 06, Lenelle J 08,

Henna M 015, Anna L 16, John H 17, Marilyn R 20

Karen P 22, Stephen L 25, Jay P 28,

The Beauty of Learning

There is divine beauty in learning. … To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps.

The books I have read were composed by generations of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, teachers, and disciples. I am the sum total of their experiences, their quests. And so are you.

  —Elie Wiesel

MISSION OPPORTUNITIES

BACK TO SCHOOL COLLECTION FOR ALEXANDER ELEMENTARY

THANK YOU boxes ofto all who contributed to the Back to School mission project! We were able to provide Alexander Elm with many bags and boxes of needed school supplies. Way to go GRACE UCC!

Easily given

It was only a sunny smile,

And little it cost in the giving;

But it scattered the night like morning light,

And made the day worth living. …

 

It was only a kindly word,

A word that was lightly spoken;

Yet not in vain, for it stilled the pain

Of a heart that was nearly broken. …

 

It was only a helping hand,

And it seemed of little availing;

But its clasp was warm, and it saved from harm

A brother whose strength was failing. …

 

A smile may lighten the falling heart,

A word may soften pain’s keenest smart,

A touch may lead us from sin apart.

How easily either is given!

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A primer on love

Is life not full of opportunities for learning love? Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them. The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education. And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better we can love.

—Henry Drummond

Please Remember in Prayer

Please continue to remember Pastor Lina A, Lisa L, Mae Delle J, Jay P, Gene S, Martin W in your prayers. Prayers are also requested for Donna C's husband Tom. Thank you.

OCTOBER NEWSLETTER

Please send all articles for the October newsletter by 9/15/2021, to graceucchouston@sbcglobal.net

Contact Information: Grace United Church of Christ

8515 Brookwulf Dr., Houston, TX 77072-3838 

281-575-7866 

Website: graceucchouston@sbcglobal.net

Update Food Barrel Collections for 2022

Grace UCC members have been generous in bringing items for the food barrel.  Lisa Lum has been taking the items to House of Amos on Beechnut and Boone Road.  Since we also have a strong connection to CCSC (Christian Community Service Center) with volunteers in their Food Pantry on Bellaire Boulevard and financial contributions, Council has given its approval to alternating monthly collections for both locations.  January has been designated for House of Amos; February for CCSC Food Pantry on Bellaire Blvd; alternating the rest of the year.  Families in crisis situations may receive a distribution of food from House of Amos every 30 days. During this pandemic, CCSC is serving a bag of groceries to families as often as they need, with no restrictions on their zip code or the number of times they can come. Both locations ask the clients to complete an application form. Most needed items at this time are cereal, peanut butter, meat (tuna or chicken), fruit, hearty soups, pasta and sauce, vegetables. Thank you for your continued generosity in helping our less fortunate neighbors.  You can learn more about each organization at their website: http://www.houseofamos.org/ and https://ccschouston.org/

Christian Community Service Center - COVID-19 Update:

CCSC is open & helping those in need. CCSC is continuing its work and mission, while taking the necessary precautions with our staff and volunteers.  The CCSC food pantries are essential services - serving as a grocery store to our clients - in compliance with the "Stay at Home, Work Safe" order issued by the City of Houston.  Your assistance is needed now more than ever. CCSC continues to closely monitor recommendations from local and national officials and experts regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. After significant consideration, we have made the following adjustments to program operations:
*The Emergency Services sites (3230 Mercer and 6856 Bellaire Blvd) are focused on providing food to those in need. We have modified operations to get clients served quickly - foregoing interviews and supplying a preassembled grocery package. Thank you to Donna Cardinale and Jane Eixmann, who continue to volunteer to help serve clients during this pandemic.
We are conducting phone interviews for financial requests for help with rent or utilities for residents living within our zip code range. If you need financial assistance and live in one of these zip codes: 77002, 77003, 77004, 77005, 77006, 77007, 77010, 77011, 77012, 77019, 77020, 77021, 77023, 77025, 77026, 77027, 77028, 77030, 77031, 77036, 77046, 77056, 77057, 77072, 77074, 77081, 77096, 77098 and 77401, please call for an appointment--713-8719741.
 
The community can help by donating nonperishable food items or making a donation.  Go to ccschouston.org and click on the "Make a Contribution" button.
*JobNet is primarily serving clients via phone, e-mail, and online tools. In person appointments may be scheduled for limited services, based on need. New and existing clients are encouraged to call JobNet at 713-626-8320 to receive ongoing virtual support during this time.
*Scheduled Martha's Way classes are postponed until further notice.
 
There are two convenient ways to make a donation:  Donate on-line by visiting our secure website www.ccschouston.org OR Mail a personal check to CCSC, PO Box 27924, Houston, TX 77227 (Please make checks payable to CCSC with "Back To School" written in the notes section.)  Donations needed and accepted year-round!
UCC officers share prayer for Ukraine

by UCC Leadership | published on Feb 24, 2022

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”   Proverbs 6:16-19 

As the attention of the world turns to the ignored cries for peace from the people of Ukraine, we the officers of the United Church of Christ join our prayers with those of churches and people of faith all over the globe that the attack against Ukraine will cease. As a Just Peace Church, the United Church of Christ calls for the de-escalation of violence and a return to diplomatic negotiations, the only true way conflict ever ceases. We urge our members to pray...

Holy God, Hear our prayers for all those who will die today because of war in Ukraine and other war-torn countries all over this world. Grant them an end to the suffering of this world and eternal peace that is only found in You.  

We pray for the people of Ukraine, Russia, and all nations — that war and bloodshed can be avoided and a new, just peace can be forged out of this crisis. We ask God grant wisdom to the leaders of nations, calling them to end provocation on all sides and invest instead in “the things that make for peace” as called for in all our faith traditions (Luke 19:41-2). 

We pray for an end to the deep insecurity and mistrust on all sides, and call on leaders to build trust, based not on military might or alliances, but on the basis of our shared future and common humanity. Now is a time in which past harm should be acknowledged and addressed, and new partnerships can be envisioned. 

We pray for and call on our leaders to have the courage to take small, verifiable, and independent steps toward peace, inviting others to reciprocate. Now is time to invest in conflict resolution, diplomacy and international cooperation — not more weapons which only escalate tension in the region. 

Be with those suffering in ways that we cannot. Protect them from devastation in ways those positioned in authority will not. Shield and comfort them as they confront the terror of violence that surrounds them. Hold them close to your heart and stay the hand of the enemies against them. Give us the courage and the strength to cry aloud against wickedness in high places that dare to harm others made in your image. Comfort the children and heed their cries to be saved from harm in this world.  

Make us a people who love our children, all of our children, more than we love greed, power, and control. Overturn governments of tyranny wherever they are found. Disrupt the intentions of evil and give us power to stand against demonic forces of greed and control. Grant that peace and justice come to warring nations by the hands of those courageous enough to stand and study war no more. Let Thy kin-dom come on earth as it is in heaven, we pray.  

In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

The National Officers of the United Church of Christ

  • The Rev. John C. Dorhauer — General Minister and President
  • The Rev. Traci A. Blackmon — Associate General Minister

The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson — Associate General Minister

 to all our guests!

    Soaring With The Spirit

    Grace

    UNITED CHURCH O F   C H R I S T
    8515 Brookwulf Drive
    Houston, Texas 77072
    PH: 281-575-7866

    Worship 10:00 AM Sunday School for all ages 11:30 AM