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Grace Lutheran Church

351 Greenwood St

Hop Bottom, PA 18824

(Susquehanna County)


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SERVICE at Grace Lutheran



 The Program served 199 children of 73 families. Most of these were within the MVSD.  During mid-summer, we were informed of needy families in the Choconut/Friendsville areas. As a result we served an additional 9 needy families with 26 children from that area for the remainder of the 2019 season.  Total costs for foodstuffs for the 2019 season were about $19,650.00.  Among the interesting statistics for the 2019 Program year: We distributed 486 dozen eggs, 1084 cans of fruit, 1002 containers of pasta sauce, 1002 containers of pasta, 1052 cans of of tuna. Anticipated updates for the 2020 season:  We will be utilizing the Grace Lutheran Church facilities for the 10th consecutive year for distributing to the MVSD area families.  May 30th will be the chicken barbecue fundraiser at the Lenox V.F.W. Post at Lenox Corners. There will be 50/50 drawings, basket raffles, a bake sale as well as the popular gun raffle. Contributions for the basket raffle are always welcome.  The Newmann Hall Center in Choconut will be the distribution site for needy families of the Friendsville, Choconut, Little Meadows areas for the season.  A new distribution site for Montrose area families will be the Montrose V.F.W. This group is also planning a Sept. 19th chicken barbecue, golf tournament, basket raffle, bake sale and gun raffle. They are already supported by the Montrose Lions Club, St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Kiwanis Club.  The Elk Lake School has agreed to utilize their high school for a distribution site this summer. The American Legion has already donated to the SLB and offered to do some type of fund raising as well as assisting in the actual distribution.  Summer Lunch Box is now a 501c(3) organization. That is we are now registered with the Commonwealth of PA as a non-profit group.  For those who may wish to use it, our E.I. number (tax exemption) is: 84-2249142.  SLB is also considering a couple designs to choose a logo for the group. This is a work in progress.  2019 books were audited recently and found in compliance with bank records.   As you can see this will be a very busy season for Summer Lunch Box. Additional help is always appreciated, whether for a week or 2 or the entire season. Please watch here for additional updates.

Respectfully submitted, Lorraine Stanton





When we think of stewardship, we usually are thinking about "giving" of our money, even though stewardship is defined as the giving of our time, talent, and treasure. We often dismiss the "time" and "talent" part. Over the past few months, we at Grace have witnessed some extensive giving of time and talent by many people in the remodeling of the parsonage. Wallpaper has been stripped, heaters painted, floors stripped, carpet removed, walls painted , banisters stripped (the list could go on and on). This has not only saved much money for the congregation, but has encouraged new relationships among members. There is still much to do to get the parsonage ready for a new Pastor. Stan Klees has set up a schedule of workdays on Thursday mornings til afternoon. Please consider stopping in and seeing how your time can be used to help. You don't even need talent (just ask Kim Bode!). Thanks to all who have come to help! The house looks great! Looking forward to seeing some new faces stop by and volunteer!

The Amazing Journey of a Simple Shoebox Gift Begins with You and Results in Evangelism, Discipleship, and Multiplication


Packing: From children to seniors, people pack shoebox gifts each year to bless children in need around the world. Collecting: Churches and groups of all sizes collect boxes from their communities. Shipping: Thousands of volunteers serve annually inspecting and preparing shoeboxes for international shipping. *Every hour work stops for a few minutes to pray for the children who will receive the boxes.* Worldwide Distribution: Long before shoeboxes arrive in more than 100 countries, volunteer National Leadership Teams train pastors and community leaders who want to share the message of the Gospel and bless children. Outreach Events: Pastors around the world host outreach events in places where people may not know Christ and invite them to follow Him. As a result of what they learn in The Greatest Journey, boys and girls grow in Christ and share with friends and family. The students also invite others to their graduations where the Gospel is shared. This often brings parents, siblings, and friends to Christ and to become active members in the local church. Families are reached, churches grow, new churches are started, and communities are transformed. It all starts with you! Join what God’s doing and pack a shoebox.




Leaves are beginning to fall and autumn is officially here: Time for a wrap-up of the Summer Lunch Box Program for 2019:

 SLB served 73 families with a total of 199 children during the 5 distributions of summer, 2019.


 Our first distribution was June 15th with the final one on August 10th.

 For the first time, we were able to provide some additional protein.

SLB was sufficiently funded to purchase 1/2 steer and all of that was ground into hamburger and frozen into 1 lb. packages. Stepniak Custom Butchering was kind enough to butcher, cut, wrap and freeze at their expense. We had a donation of another 1/2 steer and Stepniak's once again provided their helpful services. Three area sisters banded together and purchased chicken quarters, froze and wrapped them as an additional hand-out. Clients were delighted with this extra meat.

 Some interesting facts:

o We handed out over 1000 containers in each of the following categories: canned fruit, ramen noodles, canned soups, pasta, canned ravioli, canned vegetables.

o Over 600 packages of cheese were distributed along with 486 dozen eggs. Clients picked up over 680 gallons of fresh milk.

o As available, fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables were provided. Some of these were the result of bountiful local gardens.


 In the middle of July, we were made aware of the need for the program in Choconut, an area in the northwestern part of our county that is near Friendsville, Little Meadows, and Forest Lake. We served nine families with 26 children from that area. Choconut will continue to be a distribution point in the coming year. We will be working over the winter to finalize plans for this new site.  There are tentative plans to expand into the Lathrop Street area of Montrose as well as Elk Lake. Work will be continuing over the winter months to finalize the sites and set up plans for staffing, etc.


 Total expenditures for the season were about $19,600.00. This figure also includes some basic school supplies (pencils, rulers, crayons, folders, etc.) provided at the final distribution on August 10.

 Our major fund raisers were the annual chicken barbecue held in May at the Lenox V.F.W. and a first-ever benefit golf tournament at Tall Pines Players Club, Friendsville. These two events combined with the donations of various individuals, businesses, and organizations made our season possible. Summer Lunch Box exists because of the caring community in which we operate. We thank all who have so generously and thoughtfully contributed to our Program in the past and look forward to your continued support in 2020. Thank you!


Christmas in July??

It's never to early to start filling our Operation Christmas Child boxes! Nancy Shoemaker has graciously donated plastic as well as cardboard shoeboxes for us to take home and begin filling. If you would like one, check the closet at the rear of the sanctuary behind the curtain! Feel free to take one and start shopping!!!



At our recent Church Council meeting, President Rich Niederberger read a letter from District President Chris Wicher.  He reported on the shortfall of funds given from congregations in the district for 2018.  Many churches do not pledge to district or synod at all.  Last year, Grace pledged $8000 for the year.  This year, we have decreased our pledge to $7000 for 2019. District officials adjusted their own budget for 2019.  Some significant cuts that pertain to us at Grace are: ●Decrease grant support to Camp Pioneer from $45,000 to $13,000 ●Eliminate support to Philadelphia Lutheran Missions Many of our members have benefitted from the ministry at Camp Pioneer.  Many of our ladies attend retreat their every September.  In the past, our youth have attended retreats.  It is suggested that we individually support Camp Pioneer on our own.  Many in our congregation already do and for that Pioneer is thankful.  Please consider this in your giving plan. Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries is doing innovative things in downtown Philadelphia, reaching out to locals and college students.   Please consider supporting this ministry on your own. Grace has many needs of its own, and we realize that your resources are limited.  God will continue to bless us and our giving. Submitted by Anne Bode & Diane Nowalk, Stewardship Committee 


Find the Bright Side

Now is the time for all God’s saved people at Grace to come to the aid of His church. The pastor is retiring, attendance is down, contributions are falling short, and the number of people actively involved in the church council is dwindling. We are at a crisis crossroads and need everyone to step up and live like they are saved. Live like you are saved – what might that look like? My picture would be people that have a “we can do anything attitude,” energized, seeking opportunities to serve. There is so much to be done in just “maintenance” of our status quo, but we have for a long time neglected our evangelism outreach.  Joining Jesus in His Mission must be put into practice.  We need to develop a positive environment that, despite our difficulties, is encouraging to ourselves and anyone that comes in contact with a member of Grace. No longer can we just walk in for an hour on Sunday morning, hear a good sermon, go home, come back again the next week, hear another good sermon and repeat this cycle without a conscious effort to grow and change spiritually.  We need to build a vibrant culture that is anxiously seeking to express the joy of salvation.  Let’s start with an uplifting congregational meeting on December 16.

                                    Art Gundell, head elder 

A few ideas on Stewardship:

We are running low on greeters for Sunday mornings and are in need of one or two more volunteers to hand out bulletins and welcome our worshippers as they enter the Narthex. You would be put on a schedule to serve once a month. Please prayerfully consider this and let the church office know. Thank you.

Speaking of Stewardship, our country has a very important midterm election on November 6! It is our birthright privilege and duty to vote. Don’t let someone else speak for YOU, get out there and VOTE!

Speaking of elections, our congregation will have its own Election of Officers here at Grace! Do you have a desire to serve as one of our officers? Consider your talents and be willing to say yes when someone from the committee calls and asks if you will accept a nomination. A nomination from someone who saw that special ability and strength in you. An added bonus to being an officer is that it also provides you a seat and voice on the Church Council. Please pray for outstanding, positive turnouts and results in both elections. Nominating ballots will be available and collected in October.

God Bless , Deb Belch

Seven Loaves Soup Kitchen

On Thursday, Aug.30, 6 members of Grace helped out at the Seven Loaves Soup Kitchen in Tunkhannock. Chloe Belotti, Marie Doty, Lorraine Stanton, Carolyn Loch, and the Bodes worked with members of St. Paul's to serve close to 85 people. The commitment begins at 3pm. We were given the food items available for the day, and from those items, a menu was made. We made wimpie casserole, turkey with gravy and mashed potatoes, sausage and peppers, veggies, salad, and dessert. We finished cooking, serving, and clean up by 7:00. Everyone worked hard, but had a rewarding experience. St. Paul's works the Kitchen on the last Thursday of every month. Next month it will be on Sept. 27. Contact Carolyn Loch or Anne Bode if you're interested.

October!  Time to
begin thinking about gathering
items for a box for the
Samaritan's Purse "Operation
Shoe Box" project. 
A huge thank you to each of
you who has filled a shoebox
for a child in in poverty or a
victim of disaster around the
world and in the U.S.; and to those of you who are sending 1
or 2 shoeboxes for the very first time.  You have filled them
not only with basic hygiene items, school items and gifts that
bring joy to those children, some of whom have never before
received a gift of any kind, but also with hope and assurance
that someone cares about them. You are encouraged to
enclose a photo of yourself and a short note to the child
which will be translated into their native tongue.
This is the 25th anniversary of Operation Christmas
Child.  Purse has distributed over 157 Million
shoeboxes to children around the world in Jesus' Name.
Included in their box will be an invitation to go on  a 12 lesson discipleship program offered
to shoebox recipients each year. Meliza,12, in Mexico,
learned every Bible story in The Greatest Journey, then
asked for 15 booklets so that she could teach her cousins.
Her teacher said that this equipped her at a young age to
share the Gospel with her family.


 This is an opportunity for our family at Grace to impact a
child's life, and perhaps his parents and siblings for eternity!
There are shoeboxes on one of the front pews and box labels
on the table in the back of the sanctuary --- in case you
haven't bought many new shoes this year.  Prayerfully place
each treasure inside your box. Perhaps in eternity you will
meet some that come to thank you for your gift of love!
 Shoeboxes cost $9 to send around the t;The
Greatest Journey; discipleship lessons cost $6 per lesson
packet and the Leadership guides cost $3 each. Thank you to
those who, in spite of not being able to fill a box, are
contributing towards making these shipments possible.
 Please pray for the many boxes and the families that will find
out about Jesus and His love for them.
In Jesus' Name, Nancy Shoemaker
These will need to be filled and collected the week of
November 12-19.



“What is  Stewardship?”

CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP is the free and joyous activity of the child of God and God’s family, the church, in managing all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes. In other words, “It’s doing the best with what you’ve got!” As co-chairs of Stewardship we would like to thank you for your vote of confidence in us, and would like you all to join us as Christian Stewards as we use our abilities to serve the Lord. 

Deb Belch Cindy Chidester


Sometimes I amaze myself as to how I can be oblivious as to the things going on around me. Or to put it another way, I just assume everything is great because nobody has told me anything different. And that is exactly what happened at the church council meeting this month. It is that time of year that we begin putting together a budget for the next year. If you have ever been involved in this process, you know the first thing you do is look at what is going on with the current year’s income and expenses. So to get back to my being oblivious, I thought our offerings (from the plate and envelopes) were right on target with our budget. WRONG – giving has been down this year about 9% from the budget. Not only that, but it is down from last year at this time. Lately, monthly expenses are more than the offering each month. And we have two more months left this year! There are so many needs out there and pleas for donations. For some reason, it seems that we get real uncomfortable when the church starts talking about giving. But as much as it is uncomfortable, the council is asking you all to pray about how you can help close this deficit in our giving. If we all just put a little extra in over the next several weeks, we can reach our goal. We are a church family and families pull together when times get tough. And it is also said, if the burden is spread out over many, it is less of a burden on just a few. Thank you all for what you have done this past year and for considering this appeal.

Submitted by Stewardship Committee



Four Principles of Biblical Stewardship by Hugh Whelchel November 26, 2012


Bill Peel (The High Calling) suggests that there are four important principles about biblical stewardship we must understand: 1. The principle of ownership. The psalmist begins the 24th psalm with, The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. 2. The principle of responsibility: In explaining responsibility, Peel writes, although God gives us “all things richly to enjoy,” nothing is ours. Nothing really belongs to us. God owns everything; we’re responsible for how we treat it and what we do with it. While we complain about our rights here on earth, the Bible constantly asks, What about your responsibilities? Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities. 3. The principle of accountability: A steward is one who manages the possessions of another. We are all stewards of the resources, abilities and opportunities that God has entrusted to our care, and one day each one of us will be called to give an account for how we have managed what the Master has given us. Grace Notes March 2017 10 4. The principle of reward: In Colossians 3:23-24 Paul writes: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. So, be a joyful steward! Delight in the knowledge that He gives us all we need! Faithfully receive His precious gifts daily! Rejoice that we are empowered by God to be good Christian stewards through His love and His Gospel! God Bless You.

Stewardship co-chairs Cindy Chidester and Deb Belch

2Co 9:11  You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 



" I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service."  1Ti 1:12

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