Message from Pastor John – “You did it again!”

You did it again!

Last Sunday, November 29, 2020, by all indications, was set to be a typical day marking the First Sunday in Advent – the beginning of a new Church Year – with an added emphasis of dedicating a live tree, planted earlier in November to mark the 50th Anniversary of Grace Lutheran Church at Carrollwood. A kind of regular day of expectation – special, yet typical.

But then…!!!

…you all filled it up with wonder and surprise by honoring the 40th anniversary of my Ordination into the ministry of Word & Sacrament!  Wow.  Thank You!!  Your generosity is ‘over the top’!

Thank you! Thank you!

Life goes on as Covid ramps up.  Staying safe while ‘life events’ are celebrated. 

Wedding:  Laura Heckley (Gregg & Terry’s daughter) and Zackary Lebovic will be married Friday, Dec. 4 in a private, family event in Brooksville. We pray God’s blessing upon them, and will include a special prayer this Sunday.

Baptism:  HarperMojica, daughter of Brittany & Raul Mojica, great-granddaughter (!) of Louise McMonegal, will be baptized in a private, family gathering this Sunday.  Prayers & Blessings!

Movie Night:  Come view “The Grinch” (2018 production) in an outdoor ‘staying safe’ show time on the parking lot at Grace.  Bring your own snacks, lawn chair, mask – or view from your car – this new version of Dr. Seuss’ classic tale.

Christmas Eve: stay tuned for details but there will be Christmas Eve services offered at Grace. Likely 2 services: one in mid-afternoon, and one at 7pm.  Masks, safe practices, as we celebrate the Birth of Christ in these tenuous times.

Advent services: there are two mid-week Advent services remaining.  Wednesdays – December 9, and December 16.  7pm. Virtual. Pre-recorded in the chapel. Go to Grace’s Facebook page, Grace Lutheran Tampa. They will also be posted on the website.

I try to grapple with the disbelief of those who still continue to consider Covid-19 a hoax or just another cold or flu.  No one in my immediate family has been affected – yet – and I give thanks. No one in the congregation has been stricken by this disease –  yet – and I give thanks.  Still, this is but a thimble full relative to the 275,000 who have died, the million who have or have had the disease and the untold number for whom long term unknown affects will change their lives. Kyrie Eleison.

All that said, I am grateful and thankful, each and every day, for each and every person and household at Grace, and the community that we are.  I encourage you to “Practice Gratitude”!  Rejoice in the life of every person; in the diversity of gifts and opinions that we share, and in the glue that holds us together:  the grace and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bless you all.

   Pastor Hillmer