Sermon: 7/30/18

Sermon: 7/30/18

Consider for a moment all the ways we feed people at Grace: pancake breakfast and GLOW, heat respite and during Grace Room distribution, fellowship following traditional worship, stewardship brunches, past pig roasts and Oktoberfests, the Reformation and centennial celebrations, funeral lunches and WELCA Bible study goodies, snacks shared when hungry people appear at the office door, council snacks and occasional luncheons like the WELCA Christmas concert luncheon, not to mention all the other groups who serve food from Grace like Native American Urban Ministry, Trevor's Vision, Oasis Church, and anyone who holds their wedding reception or engagement party or renewal of vows reception here.  At first glance, you'd think we were in the business of feeding people!

Heat Respite at Midpoint

During the last few weeks our attendance has been steady at approximately 175 people per day. While everyone comes for food and water (we use 20 cases, approx. 480 bottles per day), not everyone stays to enjoy the daily movie, or a relaxing afternoon in the cool, 76-degree atmosphere of Hope Hall.

Yes we feed, and we offer community, and a little entertainment in the cool, but that's not all. In our small way, we also are educators. Organizations like Terros visit regularly to perform free HIV tests. Our friend Vonda Bennett is here every Friday to provide resources on jobs, housing, medical, etc. Vonda shared with us that she was herself homeless in our neighborhood for two years, and made use of the resources the city had to offer... now she’s giving back to the community.

We are grateful to have received donations from all over the valley, from Gold Canyon to Sun City West. Thanks to all of our amazing ministry partners -- we can’t do it without you!!

On Sunday, July 8, Sven visited pastors Glenn Zorb, Annemarie Burke, and Chris Heller at Mountain View Lutheran Church in Ahwatukee, to thank them and their congregation for their unbelieveable contribution of water (400 cases!) and very generous cash donation. That is really a great accomplishment by one congregation! Everyone he met was so kind and encouraging of our ministry. Blessings to all our friends at MVLC!

Sven and Paul are also so very grateful for the amazing group of volunteers who donate between 6 and 12 hours every day to the summer's Heat Respite program. If you are interested in volunteereing or have questions about how or what to donate, please call the church office or email us.

UPCOMING EVENT: We are planning another raffle at the end of Heat Respite on August 31. We will raffle gift cards ($10 max, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Circle K, etc.), bus passes, etc. If you want to help with the raffle, please contact us.

2018 Heat Respite in Full Swing!

Week 3

The third week of Heat Respite is complete. This week our team served nearly 1,000 people, approx. 200 per day. We gave out more than 1,500 bottles of water, served over 2,000 meals (breakfast, lunch, snacks) -- a big Thank You goes out to our amazing kitchen crew: Marlene, Lori, Devlin and Frank -- but we can't do it alone. We also had volunteers including Anne Gardner, Brent and Sarah Smith, and volunteers from Trinity Lutheran Church in Fountain Hills. This was Trinity's first service at Grace, so a special thanks to them for bringing 225 lunch sacks, 225 servings of potato salad, and 228 bottles of soda!

What does 'Heat Respite' mean to our participants (some names changed)?

Moon: “It’s a place to get out of the heat and to hydrate and rest. People who help here are amazing. They make coming here meaningful.”

Zoey: “The love the staff shows -- Paul & Sven put in so much to provide a safe place! I can not say how much it is appreciated! Grace Lutheran Church is such a sanctuary!”

Glennis: “Heat Respite means to me that people can take a break and get the rest that is needed, to escape the heat. Respite comes from the latin word respectiv -- we almost always use respite as a time of relief, not a place of relief.”

If you think you can help out in some way to support this program, want to donate, or just spend some time with our participants, there are many opportunities to do so. Just give us a call at (602) 551-9234 (Sven) or (480) 388-0225 (Paul), or email us at

4th of July Celebration 

Many of you celebrate the 4th of July with friends and family and barbeque. For many of our participants the people around them are their family, so together with Trevor's Vision, a non-profit organization from Peoria that hosts a meal every Thursday evening in our Hope Hall, we're planning a family-style B-B-Q for our community. The menu includes bratwursts from 'The Proper Beast' (a local Gilbert business), vegetables & salads, drinks. If you want to help out, have any time to spare, or have chips or other easy to hand out items, anything would be appreciated. Also, if you want to swing by and listen to a harmonica solo, or short comedy routine, please join us!

Gift Card Drawing

We're sponsoring a drawing at the halfway point of Respite (Friday July 20). We're looking for much needed bus passes (full or reduced fare), gift cards (Circle K, Subway, McDonald's, Einstein Brother's, Safeway,  etc.) -- please help if you can! Maximum $10 cards

Grace Room Update

With the amount of people we're serving, and the heat outside, we're running low on supplies for our clothing distribution room. Items most needed are:

  • T-shirts and tank tops (all sizes)
  • Men’s pants and shorts (30 to 36 waist)
  • Deodorant 
  • Small toothpaste 
  • Soap and body wash 
  • Disposable razors
  • Small shaving cream 
  • Men's and women's shoes and sandals, flip flops (all sizes)
  • Backpacks
  • Men's underwear (boxers, boxer briefs, briefs, all sizes)
  • Women's underwear, bras, sports bras (all sizes)
  • Socks (white and colored)
  • Books, Bibles, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, chess sets, etc.
  • Plastic shopping bags, reusable bags (you know you all have a bag full of plastic bags at home!)

Any donation is welcome, big or small!

Thank you and God bless you.

2018 Heat Respite at Grace Lutheran Church

Weeks 1-2

At Grace, We Are In The City For Good and Heat Respite is doing that on a daily basis! For the first two weeks in June, we had 1,451 entries for our program, including 1,235 volunteer hours -- that’s almost double the volunteer hours from last year! We have had some great volunteer groups donating their time, meals, water, and financially supporting our program. We could not do this program without all of your help, so thank you very much!

We would like to thank the following persons for volunteering their time and hard work almost every day of the past two weeks:

  • Marlene Haller
  • Frank Soto
  • Lori Thompson
  • Alex Thompson
  • Theo Thompson
  • Laura Thompson
  • Tarvies Mayweather
  • Ray Saunders, and many others!

We also had several groups donate food for lunches as well as volunteer their time with us. We are so grateful of their time and talents!

The program uses 3 - 4 cases of water every two hours, and we would like to highlight some very large recent water donations, including:

Also, thank you to Veteran’s Hands in Action, Phoenix, and Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Mesa, for donating snack items several times over the past 2 weeks.

If you are interested in volunteering or donating to the Heat Respite Program, please contact Sven Lenkewitz at (602) 551-9234 or Paul Hansen-Mitev at (480) 388-0225, or email us at to discuss opportunities available for you and/or a group!

We are in need of the following items:

  • Men’s underwear
  • Men’s pants and shorts sizes 30 - 36
  • Deodorant
  • Small toothpaste
  • Shoes (tennis shoes, men's & women's)
  • T-shirts (all sizes, men's and women’s)
  • Socks
  • Disposable razors
  • Shaving cream
  • Lotion
  • Soap
  • Body wash
  • Band-Aids
  • Nail clippers

Any donation will help and is greatly appreciated.

Thank you and God bless!

Sermon: 10/10/18

Sermon: 10/10/18

Jesus is out of his mind.  That's what his family thinks.  That's what the crowd thinks. Healing swarms of people and calling tax collectors and fishermen to follow him, Jesus upsets the expectations of those who know him and love him best.  But more than being out of his mind, the scribes, who are part of the Jewish religious institution, believe that Jesus is Satan. They think Jesus is evil. Preaching, praying, cleansing lepers, healing people, teaching about fasting and the sabbath, and calling disciples, Jesus not only upsets familial and communal expectations; he upsets the heart of the religious institution of the day.  He doesn't fit in the box in which the scribes place God, so they assign Jesus to an entirely different box. The scribes can't see what the readers of the gospel of Mark see—that God is at work in the life and ministry of Jesus, doing something new and unexpected.

Grace Room Donations Needed

Grace Room Donations Needed

Items most needed in the Grace Room include disposable razors, toothpaste, t-shirts, shorts, hats, baseball caps, body powder, boxers, tennis shoes, flip-flops and belts. With Heat Respite coming, we can use items like books, playing cards, and board games. Grace is taking the lead this summer; please reach out to Solveig or the church office if you are open to giving up some items or time toward this good cause. Thank you so much!

Pastor Sarah's Pen: Garden of Grace

Pastor Sarah's Pen: Garden of Grace

The space is called Garden of Grace: A Place of Prayer & Meditation. When you wander to the south side of our property, you will likely notice first and foremost the labyrinth created by white bags against small, dark gravel. Spiritual director Teresa Blythe teaches that the labyrinth “is an ancient prayer practice involving a winding path that leads ultimately to a center and then winds back out to the point where it began. It is not difficult to walk—there are no dead ends as in a maze. The path is symbolic of the journey inward toward God’s illumination and then outward, grounded in God and empowered to act in the world”