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Grace United Methodist Church

Mary's Messages: Redemption in Our Mess

March 25, 2021

Lent has definitely flown by. My family started it off on Ash Wednesday when we put ash from the fireplace, that we had been using to keep warm during the freeze, on our foreheads. We didn’t specifically give up anything, but we did receive a few doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Life slowed down for my family dramatically with a new baby and the precautions from taking Covid-19 seriously, but maybe with the vaccine, we can do a little more after Easter. I did add in a Bible study, and the interaction I have had with others has been really refreshing, so I hope we can see each other again in person soon. We have also had a lot of opportunities for service at the church, and we have two final ones coming up before Easter: the church clean-up day on Saturday, March 27, from 9 a.m. -12 p.m., and Outdoor Messy Church In-Person returns! Messy Church is a non-traditional, generational worship experience that is geared toward families. Due to weather concerns, we have moved the date. We are now having ours in the courtyard from 3-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 3. The theme is Easter, and we would love to see all the families and volunteers we can. We will do our best to stay safe with Covid and have lots of hand sanitizer around.

This is our last Sunday before Easter. We will celebrate Palm Sunday, and I encourage you to celebrate at home with us by getting your own palm branch, leaf, coloring sheet, or piece of clothing to wave as we sing songs welcoming Jesus. I also encourage you to tune in to the Holy Thursday and Good Friday services so that you remember the sacrifice that can sometimes be lost in the celebrations of Palm Sunday and Easter. They are a time to reflect, repent, and prepare for the joy that comes with Easter.

If you are ready for in-person worship, I invite you to register to attend one of our services. Due to Covid-19 precautions, we added an extra service to our normal lineup, so now we have three services: 7, 9, and 11 a.m. for Easter Sunday. After Easter, services will resume at their 10:45 a.m. time. Registration will cut off once we reach 50 people per service, but right now, reservations have been on the low side, so please come if you feel comfortable.  Reserve your seat here.

May the remaining days of Lent be a blessing to you.

Mary

 

March 18, 2021

First off, thank you to all the volunteers who came out to work to unpack the semi-trailer from our fellow United Methodist Church in Ohio. Hopefully, by the time you receive this, we have completed unloading the truck, but you might check in on social media to see if you can run over and help us with the last push.

I am excited to announce that Easter Reservations are live now! Yes, we will be having in-person services starting on Sunday, April 4. We will continue to also offer services online for the foreseeable future as we continue to bring the infection rate of Covid-19 down. Reservations for Easter are required because we want to maintain proper social distancing and have only a quarter of our sanctuary filled. This means that the services will be limited to 50 persons each. We have expanded our worship services to three services for Easter Sunday. You can join us at 7, 9, or 11 a.m. You can follow this link here to register, or you can register at graceintheheights.org/register. Again, Easter will be in person on April 4 at 7, 9, or 11 a.m, and you must register so that we are not overwhelmed with attenders.

Since we will be back in person on April 4, we are in need of volunteers for the service. You might volunteer to be a greeter, someone who passes out individual communion servings, someone who distributes packets to children, or someone who runs the slide show. Please sign up to help us here or at graceintheheights.org/register.

We are having an Easter Beautification Donation this year. In lieu of our regular Easter Lily donations, we encourage you to donate in memory or honor of someone by giving to the “Church Campus Restoration” fund at graceintheheights.org/give. The donations will be used to purchase some Easter lilies for the in-person worship on Easter Sunday, and also to purchase flowers or other plants that will be used to restore our campus after Winter Storm Uri. We will be sharing a list of the names of the honorees on Easter, and it is a wonderful way to honor your loved one by making an improvement to the campus we worship on.

Thank you all for continuing to support Grace throughout our pandemic. We are excited to see how God will use the gifts from Ohio, to see how we can improve the campus with Easter Beautification Donations, and we are so excited to see you in-person and on April 4th at 7, 9, or 11 a.m or online at 9 and 11 a.m.

Sincerely,

Mary Gossett
Director of Family Ministries

 

March 11, 2021

What a year we’ve had.  
 
This past week, I peeked into the sanctuary and noticed forms for Easter lilies out… from last year… and then I noticed the altar flower calendar on the wall from 2020. We put so much on pause. 
 
But I have hope that Easter is coming. New life is just around the corner. When all seemed lost and hopeless, Jesus taught us that death is not the end and that love and life triumph in the end. 
 
On the church side, we are busily preparing for Easter. We have our filming schedule set up for Holy Week. I am recruiting little actors to be in our Easter Pageant. We are working out details for registering for worship for Easter Sunday, and I am making lots of lists so that I don’t forget things like making signs reminding everyone to wear a mask in the sanctuary. And then there is the preparation work for Messy Church, which will be outside on Sunday, March 28, from 3-4 p.m. If you haven’t already volunteered, I would love your help! 
 
On this anniversary of when everything changed, I remember that we are not yet to Easter. We are still in Lent. Let us pause, and share our grief with God over this very hard year. I leave you with a prayer from Illustrated Ministry. 
 
Wonder Worker, 
In this year when everything changed, 
when we felt worried and weary, 
when we wailed and we wondered, 
you gave us a promise... 
 
Nothing can separate us from your love. 
And nothing will be wasted. 
With you at work, 
light, life, love, and liberation 
always win. 
 
Amen. 

 

March 4, 2021

I was able to host chapel once again with the students of Grace Weekday! I was blessed to receive my second dose of the COVID vaccine this past Saturday, so I feel a little more protected from the virus and hopeful that I can’t transmit it to others. There were many familiar faces at chapel, that looked so much older than the last time I saw them! I also met several new students. We talked about God’s love, and how the cross is a reminder of that love. I reminded them of the simplest verse about Easter that I know, “Jesus died, he was buried, and on the third day, he rose again!” We sang our favorite Lent song, “The Cross is Not the End” by Mark Burrus. The teachers and I both reminisced that these were the last things I taught them because the last time we had chapel was in March of last year when we were learning about Jesus and his journey to the cross.
 
We are all on a journey this Lent. It started off with a bang… of pipes for some people. The mess that the cold snap brought with it made the reflection of Ash Wednesday seem secondary to the crisis that we were in. Remember that Lent is a time of self-reflection when we are encouraged to think of others through almsgiving, fasting, and prayer. One of the ways that you might give alms is to charities that are helping others like the food bank, or maybe by purchasing something tangible, like an item to donate to Burrus Elementary. You might join a Bible study to have further prayer time and time to reflect on scripture. You might designate a little time each day to pray for the church each week. We are gearing up to start back to in-person worship, in addition to continuing online worship, on Easter Sunday. I invite you to pray for the church, its ministry, and all who are able to join us in person and online.
 
Finally, I invite you to think about volunteering with Messy Church. We will be holding an outdoor, Easter-themed, Messy Church on Sunday, March 28th, from 3-4 p.m. We will need craft volunteers and greeters to welcome those who join us.

 

Mary

 

February 25, 2021

Treasures

 

It’s a God thing.

 

Don’t you love it when it seems like God is speaking directly to you? Little did we know when we were picking the Lenten series on finding redemption in the mess of life and the Bible Study on Tuesdays that focuses on where your treasure is, that we wouldn’t just be talking about the mess that COVID has made of our lives. After last week’s storm, many of us literally have a mess in our houses thanks to burst pipes, food that we had to throw out, and any of the other things that the cold brought with it.

 

Life can be so messy, especially this last year where we took hit after hit after hit. In this week’s Bible study, we talked about how we should store up our treasures in heaven, where thieves can’t break in, pipes won’t rust or burst, and water can’t ruin things. After last week, I have a new appreciation for the treasure of electricity, heat, flushing commodes, and showers. This is on top of the treasures of seeing people in person, masks and vaccines to protect us, and hugs that I learned to treasure last year.

We may treasure our physical things, but they break, get stolen, or lost. What remains is memories, smells, tastes, and stories. Our hearts treasure the warmth that we feel when we are able to reach out and help others. If you are like me, wanting to help others but unsure of where to start, we have a great opportunity to once again help Burrus Elementary. I contacted their Wraparound Specialist and told her to let me know what she needs, and she did! The list is pretty simple, so please bring what you can by Tuesday, March 2nd to the office.

 

Collection for Burrus:
Water
Non Perishable Food Items
Male/Female Hygiene Products
Bedding and Blankets

There are many ways to help others right now, and I encourage you to find some way to help others. This is just one way. I hope that you will make new treasured memories by helping out others.

 

Mary

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Houston, TX 77008
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