There is a lot to say this week, so read all the way to the end to see important information, including a report from our Building Committee!
In his book, The Language of God, Francis Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project, shares his experience in the East Room of the White House. He stood with Bill Clinton who announced to the world on June 27, 2000 that the DNA sequence of the human genome had been discovered. Clinton described it this way in the press conference:
“We are learning the language in which God created life. We are gaining ever more awe for the complexity, the beauty, and the wonder of God’s most divine and sacred gift.”
It was stunning to many that at this moment of scientific achievement, that such a strong connection was made to God. Reflecting on the connection, Collins said in his book,
“For me the experience of sequencing the human genome… was both a stunning scientific achievement and an occasion of worship.
The book goes on to tell Collins’ story of how a scientist moved from being an agnostic, to an atheist and finally to a follower of Jesus. I highly recommend the book.
Science and faith have an interesting history. Some believe they don’t belong together. You can’t hold both scientific and faith convictions. But Collins, and many other scientists believe you can. Faith and science belong together because God is the author of all things… including science. The more you know… the more you marvel at the God of the universe.
2020 made all of us hold on to our faith in new ways, but also turned us into armchair and google scientists. What is COVID? What is an RNA Vaccine? How does it spread? How can we stay safe? We learned that science matters.
On Sunday, I will wrap up our series Good Lessons from a Bad Year, with “Science Matters”. For your homework, read Psalm 8. Notice that phrase praising God… “You made (humans) rulers over the works of your hands.” I will also interview our own GRACE Scientists/Doctors, Dr. Matt McCambridge and Dr. Peter Ender in all the services as we take on this last lesson.
Also on Sunday, we will baptize one of the newest GRACE little ones and his mother. What a privilege to baptize and teach little ones the good news of Jesus. And what a privilege to have adults come to profess their faith in Jesus Christ. GRACE continues to grow deeper and wider. This week in our new member class, we will welcome 7 new members to our church family.
NEW SERMON SERIES and SMALL GROUPS Begins Next Sunday
Next Sunday, we will begin a new sermon series, I Believe. We will take a line by line look at the oldest and simplest statement of belief. For generations, believers all over the globe have said these words. As a part of the series, we are offering small groups after the second and third service. Don’t miss a chance to connect with others and take this series to a new level.
SIGN UP HERE. Groups start next Sunday!
ASH WEDNESDAY, Wednesday, February 17th, 7 pm at BECA
Mark your calendars for our Ash Wednesday service at 7 pm at BECA. You can worship in-person or online. We will begin our journey through Lent toward Easter Sunday. Our service will include the imposition of ashes. If you are watching online, you can come to BECA from 5-6:30 pm to receive your ashes in a drive-thru. Please keep your mask on for the drive-thru imposition.
Click here to register in-person worship.
CONGREGATIONAL MEETING – March 7, 12 noon
The session has called a meeting of the congregation/corporation for Sunday, March 7th at 12 noon. If you are attending the 11 am service, you can stay for the meeting at BECA. You may also sign up just for the meeting. Or, you can attend via ZOOM. The link will be provided the week before the meeting. At the meeting, the nominating committee will make their report for officer elections, you will receive the annual report and there will be a substantial report from the Building Committee… which brings me to …
A REPORT FROM THE BUILDING COMMITTEE
It’s been a while since our last update to you on the progress of our new Grace Church campus. We are happy to report that the plans are progressing nicely, and we are still hopeful to be able to break ground sometime in the May to July 2021 timeframe. We are expected to get preliminary approval of the project from Bethlehem Township in mid-February. The plans have been submitted to the Northampton County Conservation District (NCCD) for approval. Their approval timeframe is very difficult to forecast and will be the determinant on when we can receive final Township approval and start construction.
Design and construction drawings are being completed by our architects, Mann-Hughes, with a completion date for the drawings projected to be in the latter part of March. Decisions are being made on everything from sanctuary seating, audio visual design and color selections and room configurations for children, youth, and multi-purpose spaces. And the Memorial Garden design is beginning to take shape. We continue to get inputs from many of you as we go through this process and very much appreciate your thoughts and feedback. Please feel free to submit your thoughts to email@example.com
Serfass Construction, a reputable construction management firm from the Lehigh Valley has been selected as our Construction Manager for this project. We will be getting a detailed and updated program cost estimate from them in the April timeframe and in the meantime, they are working with Mann-Hughes and our Building Committee to provide cost estimates as design decisions are made to help us stay on budget. There continues to be upward pressures on material costs across the Lehigh Valley and we are working very hard to ensure that ultimate value is maintained while respecting the program cost estimate that was presented to you towards the end of last year.
Many more details along with illustrations will be presented at the annual meeting on March 7. We encourage you to attend this meeting to see the exciting and spirit filled plans being developed for our church! All of us feel God’s strong hand and guidance as we move through this process. We have an amazing Building Committee filled with talent, passion, persistence and faith and we are all excited about the work being done! We ask you to continue to pray that our end product will be pleasing to God and will be help us bring more people to know and serve Jesus Christ! See you on March 7!
Blessings, Gary Etter and Steve Follett – Co Chairs and entire Building Committee
God is on the move GRACE Church! It is a joy to be…
Your Pastor and Friend,
Dr. Marnie Crumpler