My Friends and Partners in the Gospel,
As we roll into the numbing sameness of the
quarantine, I want to encourage you. God is with us. And our God redeems all
things. I am reminded of this verse from the prophet Joel,
“I will restore to
you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” (Joel 2:25).
God’s promise to his people is a promise of
restoration, resurrection, and redemption. If we will only turn to him, we can
share is his restored land, we can live in his resurrection kingdom. But we must
turn to him.
If you are working more hours, and/or spending
more time parenting, and/or working from home, and/or struggling to learn new
strategies and systems, do not despair. Set aside a time every day to be still
and connect with God. Set aside a specific place in your home – be it a room or
a closet or a chair - where you do no work. Invite God into that space. Let it
become holy space for you, where you are present to the presence of the Lord.
If you are working fewer hours, struggling with
parenting adult children who returned home, spending all your time in your
home, growing bored and listless with the sameness of every day, do not
despair. Set aside a time each day to go outside, into the weather, and connect
with God. Set aside a specific place or route or area outside your home – be it
your porch or a park or a walk in your neighborhood – where you are alone.
Invite God into that time. Let it become holy time for you, where you are
present to the presence of the Lord.
We will continue to be the Church, the Body of
Christ, with and for and through each other. Grace will continue to find ways
to connect with Christ, self, and each other. Take advantage of this strangely
changed time to connect with God in new and different ways. Do not despair. Our
God is with us wherever we go, even if we go nowhere.
I have three very important pieces of new to
share with you about the life of Grace Church.
These things will impact our
life together and reveal the redemptive work of God.
The Grace Church Sabbatical in 2020 has been
postponed to next Summer. Yes, this is disappointing. But after extensive
conversations with our leadership, there was simply no other choice to make.
All of the money that has been donated toward the sabbatical will remain in the
sabbatical fund to be used only for a sabbatical in 2021. The good news is we
have another chance to apply for a Lilly grant. We will begin working toward
that this week. I want to thank Diana Mamori and Robby Turner for their
leadership of the sabbatical committee, and everyone on the committee who has
worked so hard. Committee Members are: Julie Turner, Kari Phillips, April and
Krysten Gutchess, Gerald and Donna Hill, Mike Monroe, Aubrey Tolentino, and
At the direction of the vestry, Grace Church
applied for the PPP loan being offered through the Small Business
Administration. We were informed last week that our application was approved.
Today, we received the $32,300 funding of that loan. These monies are allocated
for payroll and benefits for Grace employees. And if we apply these funds
strictly in accordance with the loan agreement, then the total amount of the
loan will be forgiven and we won’t have to pay it back. We are very excited to
receive this loan because it will enable us to keep our staff paid and employed
for eight weeks.
Additionally, Grace Church has received a
private, one-time grant from an anonymous benefactor. This grant is in the
amount of $10,000. Its purpose is to help Grace families who
are in need because of reduced income due to the Covid-19 crisis. The goal of
this grant is to assist with major needs like mortgage,
rent, food, and life-saving medicine. This is not a general grant to help
the wider San Antonio community, but a grant specifically to help those at
Grace Church. This grant has been deposited into the Rector’s Discretionary
Fund to be dispersed by him. Should you find yourself in a position where you
need financial help because you have lost income due to reduced work hours,
layoff, or termination of employment, PLEASE CONTACT FATHER JAY.
As always, I remain your partner in the gospel,