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Blog

August 2018
August 2018
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Last week Pastor Don wrote a great summary of our trip to Malawi, especially of the marriage conferences that were our reason for going. They were exciting times of responsiveness and appreciation for what Don & Steve had to say. We praise God for these answers to prayer!

Outside the conferences, Malawian life was both intriguing and moving. In villages and in the city, meals were cooked over open fires; laundry was washed by hand; bicycles transported huge burdens; women in colorful ...


August 2018
August 2018
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Word of the Week: Holy

Holy is a very Christian word. To be holy means to be set apart for a purpose. We use it sometimes to describe a divine moment. We sense God’s love and power and we declare this to be a holy moment - a time where God drew near and we knew it.

Sunday night, August 12, was a holy moment in the Charlottesville Christian community. We gathered to lament, repent and rejoice as we remembered the sorrows of last August 12, 2017. Even though there had been some loud protests ...


August 2018
August 2018
By

Our Malawi team has been back in the USA for just more than a week now.  We saw some of you Sunday and gave a partial update. How did our nearly 2-week trip to Malawi go? Well, I think all four of us (Myself, Caron Ward, Steve and JoAnn Hohenberger) will be processing it for a long time. That’s because it went remarkably well.

Even before we left for Africa, God was very merciful in the fundraising side of things. Our Malawi brothers wanted us once again to give bibles as gifts - this time to ...


August 2018
August 2018
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Word of the Week: Scattered

I’ve never been a farmer, but I observe farm animals in two possible states (among others). Sometimes they are let out in the pasture and they are scattered about, seeking shade, water and a cool spot. Other times they are gathered and perhaps in a barn for a time.

Summer is a time when the flock at Grace is scattered! People are seeking recreation, visiting family, and generally just enjoying a different season. Families with school aged children are enjoying ...


August 2018
August 2018
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Movies are full of tropes, common themes or characters that show up again and again and again. The damsel in distress is one of them; the knight in shining armor is another. Another common occurrence is the old wise man. When you hear that, maybe you picture the wise wizard Gandalf, puffing on his pipe and holding all the answers. Perhaps you see Mr. Miyagi teaching the Karate Kid the mysteries of martial arts through waxing a car. Or maybe you imagine a Muppet-like Yoda, riding on a Jedi’s ...


August 2018
August 2018
By

Word of the Week: Service Time

Hi Church!  Our Malawi team is all back safe and sound! I’m using my word of the week to talk about fall worship service times.

Here is the decision:  Worship will continue at 9:30 AM indefinitely, and Foundations will be from 11:00 to 11:45 starting August 26th.

Here is the why:  The feedback from you was solidly in favor of the 9:30 service, though there were those who preferred the later time.  It was clear enough to the elders that it wasn’t a difficult ...


July 2018
July 2018
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Americans have a strange relationship to kings.

On the one hand, we don’t want a king. Every July 4th we celebrate how our country’s founders threw off the heavy boot of King George III. When those early Americans declared their independence, they also made another declaration: We don’t want a king.

On the other hand, even the most cursory survey of American popular culture shows that we do want a king. We think longingly about them. The final Lord of the Rings installment is titled The ...


July 2018
July 2018
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Word of the Week: Days

It hit me this morning: August starts next week. Is it just me or has summer flown by in a hurry? Before we know it, fall will be upon us. School will start back up. The weather will begin to cool. Leaves will begin to change.

There are still things I still want to do before summer ends, so this realization is urging me to make the most of these final weeks. I’ve been in a swimming pool maybe four times this summer – I should probably correct that. I still have some ...


July 2018
July 2018
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“Fine” never really means fine, does it? More often than not, it’s a way to deflect the question, “How are you doing?” Fine typically means “Feelings Inside Not Expressed” – and there’s a reason for that. Sometimes it’s just too difficult to talk about how we’re doing. The week, month, or year has just been too hard. We don’t have the words to talk about it, so instead we just say “Fine.”

In the Book of Psalms, God gives us some words other than “Fine.” The Psalms give us a vocabulary to ...


July 2018
July 2018
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Word of the Week: Progress

A couple of years ago our elders set out to discern what kind of church God was calling Grace Community Church to be. As we seek to make disciples as Jesus commands, what values would shape us? One of the pillars that came out of that season was that we would be a church that doesn’t exist for ourselves. In order to embody that value, we set out to find tangible and ongoing ways we could serve our neighbors.

I’m happy to report we’re making progress.

One of the ...


July 2018
July 2018
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In our blog series on the Psalms, this week we think about Psalms of thanksgiving. While there are some psalms of thanksgiving which are easy to identify (Psalm 8, 92, 145, 150), there are others which start with some kind of complaint, lament or problem but end with praise for God’s great answer (Psalm 30, 57). Suffice it to say that there is a lot of praise and thanksgiving in the psalms.

One way of reading scripture regularly is to include one Psalm (or in the case of Psalm 119, one ...


July 2018
July 2018
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Word of the Week: Better Together

Better together is a great phrase. It works for marriage, it’s true in a local church, and it’s true in a community. When we love one another, there is a synergy that comes from the Spirit’s life-giving work in us.

Since the tragic and troubling events of August 12, 2017, a group of pastors with common commitment to the historic Christian faith have been meeting to consider how we should respond (our initial concern), but then later how do we live out our ...


July 2018
July 2018
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There’s something about good times that make us want to sing. We sing to celebrate someone’s birthday. We have a whole genre of songs for Christmas. I remember graduation day at the University of Virginia when the whole graduating class came together, arms on each other’s shoulders, as we swayed together and sang the Good Old Song. But it’s not only big events that make us sing; a good week can be reason enough. Perhaps you break out Spotify on your phone and convert your morning routine into ...


July 2018
July 2018
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Word of the Week: Survey

Hey Church, thanks for holding down the fort while I got a bit of rest with my family. The survey about worship times has gone active. Already 50 different individuals have completed the survey - a good start. There are only a few questions, and some space for comments/feedback. All of your responses and feedback are welcome and needed. If you haven’t taken a minute to give us your opinion, please do so!

Please only complete the survey once (per ...


June 2018
June 2018
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The answer to the question “What is Presbytery?” is a bit complex. I could say “That’s where Don and Tom go to reconnect with pastor friends and other Presbyterian church leaders.” That’s very true, but it’s not quite saying enough.

The Greek word which we translate “elder” sounds like presbytery. Here is how it works in the Presbyterian Church in America. PCA churches in a region are grouped together so they can support one another in their mission of church planting, campus ministry, world ...