I just returned from a breakfast appointment with a couple who has been visiting our church. It is exciting to hear them share their new experience with GRACE. ON the way home, I saw a few snow flurries.  Nothing serious… but you never know.  Our December weather has been a bit erratic.  I can’t help but think about the message of the Christmas angels – Do not be afraid.

On a serious note about weather, your staff is ready. Our “one call system” will call each member to inform you should services or events need to be cancelled.  Additionally, our website will indicate any necessary closings. I am grateful for our team who will communicate and will also work to keep both of our sites safe and accessible during the winter months and throughout the year.

Once again, we have a weekend full of ways to help you experience the Christmas story in fresh ways. Saturday night, join us for LIGHT OF THE WORLD: A Christmas Night of Worship. Our Modern Worship Team concert will be at BECAHI at 7 pm.  Sunday afternoon, join us for Lessons and Carols. Our Chancel Choir Concert directed by Tom Goeman will be at the Locust Street Campus at 4 pm.  These are wonderful events to invite a friend to experience our GRACE community.

In worship, we will continue in our series, “Christmas in Bethlehem.” This week we turn our attention to Joseph.  A righteous man, he didn’t want to create any more issues for his bethrothed, Mary.  It was enough that she was pregnant and the baby wasn’t his.  But, the marriage was off.  Sunday we will look at the “Separation that Reconciled the World”.  The very thing that separated Mary and Joseph when Joseph heard the news was the answer for the world.  As we countdown the days to Christmas, we will light the advent candles and sing some of our favorite carols.

Also, some of you have asked for End of Year Giving information.  Your giving is essential for the mission and ministry of GRACE Church.  I continue to be inspired by your generous giving – and by your commitments for 2018.  Thank you in advance for the difference you are making.  For more information – including info about stock giving and end of the year office hours, check out my P.S. at the end of this note.

Finally, Christmas Eve is going to be glorious.  This weekend, we will have some cards to help you invite your friends to join you.  Some of the highlights include nativity animals, an orchestra, our own incredible musicians (Chancel Choir and worship band) and of course, candles.  Click here for all the details.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! It is a great gift to be…

P.S.  Here is all end of the year giving information

If you wish to make additional contributions over and above your annual commitment, you may do so by writing “Gifts for the King” in the memo section of your check and mailing it to the church or putting your gift in the envelopes designated “Gifts for the King” found in the church office, at BECA, or in your envelopes you receive at home.  Or you can make a gift now by clicking here.

For your convenience, the Finance Office of the church will be open on December 27th  and 28th 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and December 31st from 8am to 12pm noon.

If you wish to make a contribution to GRACE Church in the form of appreciated stock you will need to initiate the transactions with your broker by no later than December 21st to insure that GRACE Church receives it by the year’s end.  Please let Sue Knarr in our Finance office know about your contribution.  You can email Sue at

You may want to check with your tax advisor regarding some of the special provisions in the recent tax law.  Many taxpayers are turning to “bunching,” a strategy that helps exceed standard deduction thresholds with charitable giving.  With bunching, you save the deductions you would have made over several years and then group them together to exceed the standard deduction amount in a single tax year. The strategy allows you to take a charitable tax deduction every few years, as opposed to making charitable contributions year after year with no tax advantage at all.


Consider a gift through the IRA Charitable rollover.  If you are 70½ or older and have yet to take your required minimum distribution, an IRA charitable rollover gift could be a great option for you.  You will not have to include the distribution in your taxable income and your gift counts against your required minimum distribution (RMD) for the year.


Your Pastor and Friend,

Dr. Marnie Crumpler, Senior Pastor