Monthly Archives: June 2021

A Pastor’s Note to Grace Covenant – June 25, 2021

It’s been anything but dull around Grace Covenant this week. Every day we had around 50 kids hopping, scooting, singing, and screaming with delight. It was VBS Week! Wild World of Water was the theme. The numbers this year were just under half of our usual because, due to the uncertainties of COVID-19 protocols during the planning stages, we limited participation to Grace Covenant kids only; we did not invite the community, as we ordinarily do. Though we had half the number there was no less energy, and no less fun! In addition to the gospel-themed lessons, songs, and skits, the children also heard from some of our missionaries via video. As always there was a challenge to bring food for the local food bank and a mission challenge. The mission challenge this year was to raise $150 for a water filtration system, to provide clear water for a village in Africa, where clean water is sparse. The goal was easily eclipsed, as the children raised over $400. That money will go to World Vision as part of their Clean Water Project. What a wonderful way for our children to express practical love to both Christians and non-Christians in Africa!

Check out the video that was shown to the children, explaining the importance of clean water:

During our services on Sunday you will hear more about the week. Those in the 8:30 service will also get to hear the kids sing one of the songs learned during the week. But we invite you to participate in the work of VBS by joining in prayer for the seeds that were planted to blossom and bear fruit in the hearts and lives of the children who were present. And join me in giving thanks to God for Lauren Malone & Jeni Mortier, who coordinated VBS this year; and for all the volunteers who made this such a joy-filled week for the children entrusted to us.

Shifting gears, I also invite you to pray for upcoming General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, which will be held next week, June 29 – July 2 in St Louis. Ron Pohl (Elder Emeritus) and I will be representing Grace Covenant at this national gathering of church leaders from all over the USA. Prayer is always appreciated, but perhaps this year as much as ever. There are some very important issues that have been causing a measure of tension within the denomination for the past few years. Some of these issues will be directly addressed at the Assembly next week. I am anticipating that some of the debates could get a bit testy. So join me in praying that God would be honored, not only by the resulting decisions but also in the demeanor of those engaged in the discussions. For any who may be interested, most if not all of the Assembly – including worship services – will be available for viewing online. Just click the link, PCA GA, for the schedule of events and the link to the LiveStream. (If you wonder what a General Assembly is like, think of C-SPAN, but for churches.) Finally, please pray for Ron and for me, as both of us have been appointed to serve on what is called Committee of Commissioners – Ron serving the committee that will oversee the work of Mission to the World (MTW), and I will be serving the committee that oversees the work of Mission to North America (MNA).

I invite you to join me in welcoming John & Jennifer McCarthy, and family, to Grace Covenant. John is a graduate of Denver Theological Seminary, and is a candidate to become a Navy Chaplain. John will be doing a pastoral internship with us this Summer – and perhaps for the next year. So, when you meet the McCarthy’s at church, please greet and welcome them warmly.

Finally, just a reminder, on Sunday evening we will have the first of our Summer Church Picnics at First Colony Pool & Clubhouse. Details are in Grace Notes. I hope to see many of you there – just as I hope to see everyone on Sunday morning!

Grace & Peace,

W. Dennis Griffith, Lead Pastor

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A Pastor’s Note to Grace Covenant – June 18, 2021

Summer is officially arriving this weekend! The Summer solstice – the longest day of the year – will be at 11:31pm on Sunday June 20. Not sure I’ll stay up to watch, but it’s good to know that it is Summer.

Though not tied to the solstice, one of the great harbingers of Summer at Grace Covenant return next week, after a hiatus last year. VBS – or Vacation Bible School – will run Monday thru Friday mornings here at the church – mostly outside this year. Our VBS is one of our most important ministry activities of the year. Countless hours of preparation are given so that we can share the Good News of Jesus with the children God entrusts to us. This is a vital part of our Mission to the Next Generation. Whether you are a parent, a volunteer, of just a lover of Jesus, please join us in praying that, by God’s grace through the power of the Holy Spirit, the seeds sown next week will take root and bear fruit in the hearts and lives of those who participate.

As Summer unfolds, we look forward to seeing more and more old friends return to join us in worship on Sunday mornings. We have already enjoyed seeing many who have been away for the duration of the pandemic. We have also enjoyed a number of new friends who have joined us over the past several months. As both old friends and new friends come together, we thought it might be a good idea to try connect as many as we can. So, for these next couple weeks, we are planning to offer refreshments on the front porch between services, and we are inviting everyone to mingle. Regardless of whether you are an 8:30 or an 11am attender, we hope you will join us on the porch and on the lawn, connect, re-connect, and catch-up with one another.

Finally, (this is a short note this week,) I want to take this opportunity to note a newly minted federal holiday that will be observed this weekend on Saturday, Juneteenth. While I confess my awareness of this holiday goes back only a few years, Juneteenth is actually the oldest nationally recognized commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S. Now, some may wonder why I would highlight this holiday. It’s not a date on the ecclesiastical calendar. I don’t make a point of necessarily acknowledging every other national holiday. Why highlight Juneteenth? The short answer is this: With racial tensions and racial divisions still plaguing both our culture and the Church across our country, I thought it appropriate to use this date as an opportunity to revisit these issues. I have drafted short post in which I have provided a number of links to a variety of resources that look at some of issues related to racial division from a gospel perspective. I have no desire to create debate. Instead, I hope some of these resources might help promote greater understanding – and maybe some healthy discussion. So I hope you will check out: Resources for Racial Understanding & Reconciliation.

That’s all for now. I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend. As always, I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

Grace & Peace,

W. Dennis Griffith, Lead Pastor

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Resources for Racial Understanding & Reconciliation

This weekend marks the newly minted federal holiday, Juneteenth – which is short for June 19th. I confess my awareness of this day goes back only a few years, but Juneteenth is actually the oldest nationally recognized commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It is the commemoration of emancipation in Texas, on June 19, 1865 – more than two years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Why do I highlight this holiday? I hope you will understand as you read on.


Racial tension and racial division are major issues in our culture – and in the Church. This is not a new problem. It was also a problem in the Early Church. But because it is still an issue, Paul’s words to the early church in Ephesus are still relevant for us today:

“Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:12-14)

Whether one see racial division as a “gospel issue” or not, racism and racial division are inarguably Kingdom issues. And these are issues that the Gospel – and only the Gospel – can resolve. Only the Gospel has the power to make us one in Christ, regardless of race or culture. 

Therefore, as tensions linger, and even intensify, the Church has the ability – and therefore the responsibility – to show that only Jesus has the power to break down the dividing walls of hostility and bring Shalom – true and lasting peace. In a culture that often, and increasingly, views faith in Jesus to be irrelevant and unhelpful, we have an opportunity to be “Salt & Light” by actively pursuing peace and friendship between all races and cultures in our community. (Matthew 5.9; Matthew 5.13-16)

Racial reconciliation is not the goal of a gospel-centered church and life, but it is clear from Scripture that it is a beautiful fruit of it.

A Biblical worldview responds to every circumstance with love, empathy, and understanding even of those different from us, instead of letting popular culture and news soundbites define our attitudes and beliefs. When we listen to more voices, sometimes especially some that sound different from our own, God often reveals to us some of the blind spots in our own hearts.

At Grace Covenant we are committed to mercy and justice. (Micah 6.8) As a church, we believe grace changes everything! The gospel frees us, compels us, and empowers us to seek justice and reconciliation in the midst of brokenness. This is gospel work – work that we’re committed to doing together as we learn, lament, repent, and – by faith – move forward. But “to do justice” and “to do mercy” requires both humility and understanding.

So, using Juneteenth as an occasion to help us move forward toward better understanding, I have compiled a list of resources. This is in no way an exhaustive list, but these resources are among those I have found helpful. Some are from our own denomination, others from the broader Evangelical church. Some of these resources may resonate more than others; and some express viewpoints I cannot entirely endorse. Nevertheless, there is benefit from listening to a broad range of voices and seeing from a variety of perspectives.

Grace & Peace,

W. Dennis Griffith, Lead Pastor


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NOTE: Over time I will add to these lists. So I hope you will bookmark this page, and make use of it both now and in the future.


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