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Grace Lutheran Church
Congregational Handbook

Congregational Handbook 2008












          Baptism of Infants and Younger Children


          Baptism of Adults (Adult Catechumenate)


Affirmation of Baptism                                              




First Communion                                                        




Sunday Church School                                                 


Other Educational Opportunities                               


          Vacation Bible School


          Youth Table Talks


          Katie’s Table


          Bible Study






          Sunday Morning Liturgies                  


          Regular Feast Days                            


          Worship Participants                         


          Nursery Care


          Altar Guild                                        


          Altar Flowers                                    


          Funeral Guidelines                             


          Wedding Guidelines                          










Financial Matters                                                        


          Offering Envelopes                            




          Simply Giving                                   














All the baptized are considered members with us in the body of Christ and encouraged to take a full and active part within the life of the congregation.  For good order, however, only those who are Active Adult Members (see below) are considered as legal/voting members of the congregation.




Active Adult Membership is based on a regular pattern of communing with and contributing to the congregation.  To be considered an adult member one must also have been confirmed or been received into membership through a similar process.  Those considered as Active Adult Members have the right to vote in all matters pertaining to the congregation and to hold any of the elected offices within the congregation.








How do I Become a Member?






1.          Baptism/Confirmation


2.          Affirmation of Baptism (those previously in another faith tradition


                   (ie. Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian etc.)


3.          Letter of Transfer (members of other Lutheran Congregations)






The following pages will outline the processes involved in each of these membership rites.








Baptism is the Church’s rite of initiation.  It is an event which is celebrated only once in a person’s life.  A person may wish to affirm their baptismal vows at various stages of their life but the rite of baptism is not repeated.  The process of preparing for baptism is different depending on the age of the person to be baptized.  The process for Baptism of Infants or Younger Children is used for individuals under 12 years of age and the process of the Adult Catechumenate is used for those 12 years of age and over.  For those 12-15 years of age this process would be done in conjunction with the Confirmation process.




Because of the nature of baptism as incorporation into the family of God all baptisms will be celebrated in the context of the regular worship life of the congregation.  Private/family baptisms are excluded.  Emergency baptism may be performed in the event of health risks to the candidate.




Baptism of Infants or Younger Children




Pregnancy: The parent(s) should contact pastor before the birth or adoption so that he may begin prayers for the family.




Birth: Parent(s) should notify the pastor at the time of birth or adoption.  A rite for thanksgiving for the birth or adoption of a child may be used in worship to celebrate this event.




Baptismal Preparation:  Parent(s) should contact the pastor regarding the scheduling of the baptism.  (Dates most appropriate for baptisms are: the Easter Vigil, the Baptism of our Lord [first Sunday after January 6], Pentecost, Holy Trinity, All Saint’s Sunday [first Sunday in November].  Baptism is not celebrated during Lent, on Easter Sunday or Christmas Eve.




Baptism preparation sessions precede the baptism in the church.  In addition to the parents the sponsors and godparents should also plan on attending.




Sponsors/Godparents: A member(s) of the congregation should be asked to serve as a sponsor for the child at his/her baptism.  Godparents may also be selected from friends or family to witness on behalf of the child.



Baptismal Living:  Parents bring their children regularly to worship and for participation in the educational ministry of the congregation (see Sunday School).  Parents are expected to teach their children the faith of the Christian community, especially through the reading of the Bible and through regular practice of prayer.




Parents may celebrate baptismal anniversaries each year with their children by lighting the baptismal candle and by using devotional materials for the remembrance of baptism.




The congregation will also support the parents in nurturing their child through the Cradle Roll materials, the presentation of Bibles (1st Grade) and the Confirmation process.




Adult Catechumenate (Baptism of Adults)




This is the process whereby the church has welcomed the unbaptized adult into the Christian faith through Baptism.  The process affirms the work of the whole community of faith in the baptismal task. 




Inquiry:  The process of preparing for adult baptism can begin at any time during the year.  The first step in that process is Inquiry.  Those considering adult baptism should meet with the pastor to discuss the process in more detail.  This period of inquiry is especially attentive to, and shaped by, the needs of inquirers.  During this period inquirers will be joined by sponsors who will accompany them on their faith journey.


Catechumenate:  On the First Sunday in Advent those who are prepared to enter more fully into the process are Welcomed by the congregation as part of the worship service.  At this time weekly sessions begin. 


          The catechumenate is an open-ended period of time during which catechumens  explore the Christian faith more deeply through the reading of scripture, prayer, worship, and ministry in daily life.  This period of reflection and study may last from several months to more than a year.


On the First Sunday in Lent candidates are Enrolled into the discipline of Lent: prayer, fasting and works of charity.  On this Sunday they make public their intentions to be baptized into the Christian way of life.  Throughout the Lenten season they will be blessed and prayed for by the congregation.




Baptismal Preparation:  Lent is a six-week period of final baptismal preparation for candidates who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil. The Rite of Holy Baptism is celebrated at the Easter Vigil (the evening before Easter) in a powerful and mysterious service. 


Baptismal Living:  The newly baptized continue their gatherings each week of Easter to reflect on the mysteries of Baptism, Holy Communion and the life of Confession and Forgiveness. 


Throughout this process attention will be paid to how one lives out one’s baptismal calling in daily life.  On Pentecost Sunday the baptized publicly announce their choices of vocation in the church and in the world.




Affirmation of Baptism


Adults who have been baptized but have not experienced a time of regular faith development (such as confirmation instruction), may be encouraged to join in the adult catechumenate group as a way of preparing for reception into membership through affirmation.  At the Easter Vigil they will be asked to affirm the baptismal vows they have made rather than being baptized.




[Inquiry about the Adult Catechumenate process for either baptism or affirmation of baptism should be addressed to Pastor Jacobson 226-7548]






Confirmation is a process whereby our young people (grades 6-9) are invited to examine the faith in an intentional and comprehensive way.  The process is a three-year process and follows the basic outline of the adult catechumenate model.


Beginning in the Fall of the 7th grade the students begin the process.  Luther’s Small Catechism is the basis for study focusing on the Creed, the Ten Commandments, Baptism and Holy Communion.




Beginning the second year of the process the students will choose a sponsor from the congregation who will then support them in their journey.  They will enter the public aspect of the process through the Rite of Welcome.  The material for the second year of study will continue to be Luther’s Small Catechism.

In year three the students will meet with Pastor Jacobson.  The course of study will center around the Bible, Prayer and Worship as well as the responsibilities of being a member of the congregation.  The students will be individually interviewed by pastor and recommended to the congregation for Confirmation. At this time they will celebrate the Rite of Enrollment with the congregation.


Confirmation will be celebrated at the Easter Vigil along with those from the adult catechumenal process.  Following Confirmation each student will be asked to select a ministry in the church to engage in for a year’s commitment.




First Communion


Admission to the Sacrament of Holy Communion is by the invitation of the Lord, presented through the Church to those who are baptized. 


Customs vary on age and circumstances for admission to the Lord’s Supper.  Baptized children begin to commune on a regular basis at a time determined through mutual conversation that includes the pastor, the child, and the parents or sponsors involved.  Ordinarily this beginning will occur only when children can eat and drink, and can start to respond to the gift of Christ in the Supper.  (The Use of the Means of Grace: A Statement on the Practice of Word and Sacrament for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, page 41).


Grace makes instruction available for all children four years old and older each Lenten season with First Communion usually celebrated on the Sunday of the Passion.  Parents wishing to have their children commune at an earlier age should contact pastor for mutual conversation.




Sunday Church School



While the care and nurturing of the baptized begins at baptism through enrollment in the Cradle Roll.  Formal Sunday education begins at two-three years of age.  Classes are grouped depending on the availability of students and teachers.  Material is based on the Sunday morning lessons.  Classes are available for the children of God from age 2 through 102.  Sunday School begins at 9:30 a.m. in the sanctuary for a time of prayer and worship and moves to the individual classes at 9:45 a.m. Children should be picked up from their classrooms at 10:45 a.m. For more information on the Sunday School program please see Debbie Jacobson (226-7755).




Other Educational Opportunities



Vacation Bible School is held each year in early August.  Sessions run from Sunday-Thursday, 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.  Themes vary from year to year.  VBS is a time for mixed-age learning in a more informal setting than that of Sunday Church School .  Crafts, skits and music highlight the week-long experience.




Youth Table Talks are held four times a year on Sunday evenings.  Table talks are an opportunity for the youth of the congregation to have informal conversation with pastor around a meal setting.  Faith, school and family issues are often the center focus of these conversations.  Special table talks may be set up at the request of the youth to address particular issues.




Katie’s Table is a Saturday morning program for women which focuses on faith issues, the Bible, and the church.  It has proven to be a time of lively conversation and many, many questions.  Katie’s Table meets once a month from 9:30 a.m.—11:00 a.m.




Bible Study is an on-going ministry of Grace.  Short-term (1-3 sessions) studies are held at various time of the year.  Small group Bible Study is also organized at various times of the year in individuals’ homes. Guided Bible study for home devotions are available during the seasons of Advent and Lent.







Sunday Morning Liturgies


Holy Communion is celebrated at both Sunday Morning liturgies on a weekly basis.  Worship times remain constant year-round.


8:30 a.m.   is a spoken liturgy of Holy Communion.  There is no music and the hymns are omitted.


11:00 a.m. is a full liturgy of Word and Sacrament.  The choir sings at this service from September-June.  Nursery care is provided on request.




Ash Wednesday services are held at 7:30 p.m. with the imposition of ashes and the celebration of Holy Communion




Mid-week Lenten Services are held on Wednesday evenings during Lent. They focus on the themes of the catechism: The Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, The 10 Commandments, Baptism and Holy Communion.  When held at  Grace (periodically these services are held in conjunction with neighboring parishes) the service features the liturgy of Evening Prayer.




Holy Week Morning Prayer is held each morning of Holy Week beginning at 8:00 a.m.  The service is a brief service of Confession and Readings focusing on the events of Jesus’ last days.




Maunday Thursday is celebrated on the Thursday evening prior to Easter. At Grace we gather for a simple meal which concludes with the celebration of Holy Communion.




Good Friday Stations of the Cross is celebrated on the Friday prior to Easter at 4:30 p.m.  It features readings, times of reflection and prayer, and a focusing on the cross of Christ.




Easter Vigil is held the Saturday evening before Easter.  It is a dramatic festival service celebrating the mysteries of the church.  At this service those participating in the catecumenate program are baptized, renew their baptismal vows or are confirmed. Occasionally this service is held in cooperation with other Lutheran parishes.




Christmas Eve service of Holy Communion is celebrated at 10:00 p.m. December 24.





Worship Participants




Acolytes serve at the 11:00 a.m. liturgy and at other special liturgies throughout the church year.  Training is available each Fall.  Children from age 6 through Confirmation age may serve as an acolyte.




Communion Assistants serve at the 11:00 a.m. liturgy and at other special liturgies throughout the church year. The communion assistant assists with the liturgies prayers and the distribution of communion.  If interested please see pastor to arrange training.




Lectors/Readers serve at the 11:00 a.m. liturgy and at other special liturgies throughout the church year.  The read the first two readings from scripture.  Lectors are scheduled on a volunteer basis.  You may sign up in the entryway for a particular Sunday.  The lessons to read on that Sunday are


available with the sign-up sheet at least one month in advance.  If you have never read publicly before or if your would like some help coached areavailable upon request.




Choir is lead by our Minister of Music and rehearses each Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m.  The choir sings at the 11:00 a.m. liturgy.  If you are interested please see Janice Grunenwald or call her at 226-9209.




Altar Guild is responsible for the care of the altar and sacristy.  A full description of their duties is found on the next page.  You may serve for a week or a month at a time.  A sign-up sheet is found in the entry way. training is provided.




Nursery Care is provided for the 11:00 a.m. service.  A nursery attendant will be in the nursery downstairs prior to worship.  If you are in need of the nursery during worship the attendant will be seated in the back pew just inside the door. It is the belief of this congregation that all children are welcomed in worship but in those cases where respite care for the parents is needed in order to fully worship the nursery is provided.




Altar Guild

Description of Duties




·         Altar set-up for Sunday morning will be provided by pastor unless other   arrangements are made.


·         Following 11:00 a.m. worship:




          1.       Altar will be cleared and vessels washed and put away.




          2.       Dirty communion cups should be placed in the basket on the


                   counter and not in the trash.




          3.       Unused wine and wafers will be placed in their appropriate


                   containers (wine in the stoppered glass cruet without the cross


                   on it and the wafers in the covered glass container).  Both


                   containers should the be placed in the niche on the counter.




4.       Clean glasses should be put into the trays and the trays back in the cupboard.




          5.       Check the calendar to see if the altar clothes will be changed the


                   following week.  If so please make the change.




          6.       Notify pastor if supplies are running low or if items need to be






          7.       Wash communion linens and return them the next Sunday.




8.       If altar flowers are not requested by the donor arrangements should be made to have them delivered to a shut-in or someone who is








How do I Place Flowers on the Altar?






We currently have a contract with Vickers Florists in Knox to provide flowers on a weekly basis at a cost of $30.  To sponsor flowers for a given Sunday simply sign up in the blue notebook on the table in the entryway.  Write how you would like the bulletin announcement to read (i.e. “in memory of….by….,” or “in celebration of [event]...by….,” or “to the glory of God...by…” etc.).  Place a check for $30 [made payable to Grace Lutheran Church ] (or cash) in one of the envelopes marked “Flower Fund” next to the book and place it in the offering plate.  If you would like the flowers after the service please check the appropriate box in the book and take them after worship.  If you do not wish to take them home they will be delivered to a home-bound or hospitalized member.  The vases are the property of Vickers and we exchange them each week so please return them before the next Saturday.






Funeral Guidelines




·         As the baptized children of God it is most appropriate that when a member dies the funeral will be celebrated in the church.  Arrangements for this can be made in advance or through any funeral director at the time of death.


·         The celebration of Holy Communion is also an appropriate part of a Lutheran funeral liturgy.


·         Family participants in the liturgy are welcomed as readers and communion assistants.


·         Pastor is available to go with the family to the funeral home to assist in making arrangements if desired


.·         Pastor will meet with the family to plan any funeral worship arrangements or if it is the desire of the family he will develop the funeral liturgy.


·         A brief service for the comfort of the bereaved at the closing of the final funeral home viewing session can be arranged with pastor.  This service offers  family and friends an opportunity to share memories with one another.


·         A luncheon can be made available following the funeral if desired.  An approximate number of guests should be shared with pastor as soon as known.


Honoraria for the pastor and/or organist are usually part of the Funeral Home charges.




Wedding Guidelines



·         Pastor should be contacted at least four months prior to the date desired for a wedding.


·         Pastor usually schedules only one wedding per day so advanced planning is essential if a particular date is desired.


·         Three pre-marital counseling sessions with the pastor are required for all weddings.  Scheduling for these are the responsibility of the couple.


·         Arrangements for an organist, musicians and/or vocalists are the responsibility of the couple.  A list is available upon request.


·         Pastor has the final say with regards to the wedding liturgy including the music.


·         There will be no flash pictures allowed during the wedding ceremony (including paid photographers).  Couples are encouraged to have as many pictures taken before the wedding as possible (the voice of experience).


·         Video taping is acceptable with prior consultation with the pastor.  It is suggested that when possible the person video taping will attend the rehearsal.


·         Bulletins for the service can be printed through the church office.  Special covers are the responsibility of the couple.


·         Should the couple desire to dress at the church, a room will be provided.


·         Two free-standing candelabra may be used.  The candles (14 candles) are the responsibility of the couple.


·         The church has available for use a stand for a unity candle if one is to be used.  The candle(s) are the responsibility of the couple.


·         No rice is permitted to be thrown.  The use of confetti is prohibited both inside and outside the church.  Bird seed may be used outside.


·         The Social Room is available for a rehearsal dinner or reception (see below for cost).






Use of the Church                     members                      no charge

                                                non-members               $ 200.00

Organist                                                                       $   50.00

Janitor                                                                          $   25.00

Pastor                                      members                      no charge

                                                non-members               $ 100.00

Social Room                             members                      no charge

                                                non-members               $ 100.00


All fees are due into the church office 1 week prior to the wedding










Food for Friends is a program of the Clarion Ministerium which provides a hot meal for the hungry of Clarion on a weekly basis.  The meals are served at the First Methodist Church (Wood and 6th) at 5:00 p.m. each Wednesday. Each participating church is scheduled for two consecutive weeks to prepare and serve the meal two or three times a year.  Pastor serves as coordinator for our church.  Needs include: menu planners, shoppers, cooks and servers.  Sign-up sheets for volunteers are made available two weeks prior to our turn of serving.




Project Group is a ministry of the Women of Grace that provides stuffed animals to the hospital and quilts for Lutheran World Relief.  The group meets on the second and third Tuesdays of each month beginning at 9:30 a.m.  Sewing skills are not necessary...full on-the-job training will be provided!  For more details see Ginny Grimm or call 226-7719.




Lenten Luncheon is a program of the Clarion Ministerium which provides a luncheon following the noon midweek Lenten worship services at Immaculate Conception School.  Needed are: preparers for the 3-Bean salad, pineapple upside-down cake bakers (mixes are provided), sandwich assemblers, and servers.  Sign-up lists are available in the weeks prior to our scheduled serving.








Youth Group is open for kids from 6th-12th grades.  The group plans fun activities such as a Halloween Party for the children, Christmas caroling, bowling, game nights, soup kitchen experiences, over-night trips, pancake breakfast and tobogganing (that is if the snow cooperates).  Events are usually scheduled on a bi-monthly basis.  See Dave Schirmer for more information 764-5630.




Women of Grace is a fellowship group for women of all ages.  It provides educational programs and Bible study as well as service projects.




Financial Matters




Offering Envelopes are available to anyone who wishes to have a record kept of their giving (you need not be a member to receive envelopes).  In November of each year the offering envelopes for the next year will be placed in the entryway.  All adult members will have envelopes assigned to them.  In late January or early February a statement of the previous year’s contributions will be made available to you for tax purposes.  Only offerings through the envelopes or when your name and envelope number appear on the donation will you be credited on the annual statement.


































Fund Explanation




1Current Expenses:  monies designated for this category are used to keep the church in operation.  Salaries, programs, utilities all are paid from this fund.




2Mission & Benevolences: monies designated for this category are sent to the synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in to support the ministries of the wider church.  (Seminaries, Lutheran colleges, Social Service Agencies, missionaries, etc.).




3Building & Maintenance: monies designated for this category are used for the upkeep of the church properties, purchase of equipment and mortgages.


Memorial Fund:  Contributions may be made to the Memorial Fund in memory of a loved one or friend at any time by so designating the gift.  Monies in this fund are used for worship appointments such as communion vessels, paraments and altar linens.  You may designate a gift to be used for a particular item or left to the discretion of the council.  At this time all undesignated gifts will be added to the Endowment Fund.




Endowment Fund: Is a fund that was created through the generosity of the Rupert and Long families the ensure the future of Grace’s ministries.  The interest from this fund is used for special projects, a scholarship fund, and also capital improvements.  Gifts of $500 or more are recognized in the Annual  Report each year and gifts of less than that amount are recognized in the year of contribution.


A copy of the guidelines for this fund is available upon request.




World Hunger Envelopes are available at the entry to the church year-round and are used at various times of the year for special emphasis.  Monies from these envelopes go to the hungry in this country as well as overseas.




Disaster Relief  Envelopes are used for relief efforts where natural disasters such as flood, hurricanes, tornadoes etc. have occurred in our nation and elsewhere in the world.  You may give at any time and target your donation to a specific crisis simply by marking that on the Disaster Relief envelope.  Envelopes are available in the entryway of the church or by calling the church office.




Simply Giving is an automated giving program through Lutheran Brotherhood that can help members of Grace give financial gifts to our congregation in a convenient, consistent manner through electronic funds transfer.  It is free of charge, and members who choose to participate need only complete one simple form to authorize automatic deductions from their checking or savings account.  You can sign up anytime.  Contact the church office for more details or pick up a brochure and application from the table in the entryway to the church.











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