Grace Lutheran Church & Preschool

Newsletter - March, 2024

17880 E. Covina Blvd. | Covina, CA 91722
Church Office (626) 332-4536 | Preschool (626) 967-5855
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Join us for a blended, in-person service in our Sanctuary every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. 

Sunday Worship is streamed on the Grace-Covina FaceBook page, and posted to YouTube on Monday. If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 or have had contact recently with anyone with COVID-19, we ask that you worship safely with us online. We also welcome our Grace family and friends from around the world to our online Worship!

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Dear Siblings in Christ,

Christ is Risen! Ok. Well not quite yet. Easter Sunday is early this year falling on the last day of this month. It is not the earliest date for Easter Sunday but it does seem as if it has snuck up on us this year. After all, we just celebrated New Year’s Eve what seems like only weeks ago! Nevertheless, here we are in the midst of Lent, looking forward to the blessedness of an empty tomb and salvation for those who believe. Most would say it is Christianity’s most holy of days and who can dispute the impact Christ’s rising had on our world? It is without question the most significant day in human history!

And on the 31st we will gather to celebrate, revive our Halleluiahs and shout the phrase, “Christ is risen!” The glory of Easter is truly spectacular and my favorite day of the year! Why wouldn’t it be? Christ’s resurrection brought about redemption and restoration for humankind and all of creation. We have all our sins forgiven and we have the guarantee of eternal life in heaven. We also have full access to the heavenly throne room for God to receive all our prayers, no longer having to depend on intermediaries to speak to Him on our behalf. There are also the promises of true hope, perfect peace and endless joy! All that and I have barely scratched the surface! Easter represents the priceless gift of grace that God so freely offers us through His Son. How can one not get excited?

That grace that God so freely provides for us is absolutely free. There is nothing we can do to earn it or deserve it. We can’t, and God does not expect us to, pay it back. It cost us nothing, but it is not cheap. In fact, it the price paid for it was unimaginable suffering and a torturous death. Christ paid it all. That sometimes gets lost on each of us. How do I know that? From a theological perspective, that is one of things free will does to us. Think about Adam and Eve as representative of human nature. From a personal perspective, I am too often aware of my own sense of entitlement when my nature as a sinner rears its ugly head. From a pragmatic perspective, the number of worshippers on Good Friday is a fraction of what it will be on Easter Sunday. 

I mention that last perspective not to create a sense of guilt or obligation, or even to ‘boost’ the numbers on the Friday before Easter. But, simply to give evidence to the truth that none of us truly appreciate the value or cost of grace. It is human nature…More often than not when we see a cross we simply view it as a symbol of Christianity and not what it actually was - a torture device. Awareness of the cross amplifies exponentially the value and impact of grace and it is what probably had the greatest impact on the beginnings and inertia of Christianity as we know it.

We cannot begin to imagine what those who followed and loved Jesus must have thought or felt when their Teacher and proclaimed Messiah was dying on the cross. They gave up everything to follow Him and it was seemingly all for naught. Hope was lost and it must have felt as if it was truly too good to be real. Then, three days later Jesus showed up! You know the story. All hope was restored, or more likely amplified. As things played out Jesus was not going to stick around much longer and the spreading of the Gospel was left up to the people who loved Him most. And they endured the most difficult of circumstances and impossible odds. Who would believe their message? 

I cannot help but to think that what they witnessed on Friday propelled them to a level of persistence and endurance never seen before in human history. They understood how costly grace is from first hand experience. Most of them would eventually lose their lives for the sake of the Gospel. Their willingness to do so can be partially explained by their understanding of a love that is willing to give its life for us. A love none of us can afford.

Again, my purpose for this is not to instill guilt or a sense of obligation, but to remind you of the infinite value of Grace. Grace we celebrate on Easter and hopefully everyday of our lives. And to hopefully increase our own sense of gratitude knowing that we all belong to the God of the empty tomb. Christ gave everything for us and to us. How we respond reflects our gratitude and the value we place on what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called, “Costly grace.” So, as we lift our halleluiahs and proclaim, “Christ is risen!” and celebrate the gift of grace, let’s also give remember the cost of that grace.

Yours in Faith.

Pr. Steve

February Council Report

From the Council Meeting of February 13, 2023

• To acknowledge all the volunteers of Grace, there will be a time of recognition each Sunday at the end of worship.  The council agrees that without volunteers taking part in various activities and doing the tasks that need to be done, a lot less would be happening here at Grace.

• During the season of Lent, Bible Study, 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m, will continue as usual.  There will be no Wednesday night Lenten services.

• Good Friday services will be held at noon and 7:00 p.m..

• The Food Pantry collected over 100 items and cash for the “Souper Bowl” activity held on Sunday, February 11.

• The “Tree of Love”, donations for the ELCA Good Gifts program, will remain up in the Narthex through the first Sunday in March.

• The Pre-School will be holding their Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 30 from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.  Grace members are asked to bring cookies and/or give monetary donations for food.

• The audit for 2023 will be completed in March.

In His Service, 

Brenda Noriega

Council President

March Scripture Readings

Sunday, March 3, 2024

3rd Sunday of Lent

Exodus 20:1-17

Psalm: Psalm 19

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

John 2:13-22

Click here for readings

Sunday, March 10, 2024

4th Sunday of Lent

Numbers 21:4-9

Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22

Ephesians 2:1-10

John 3:14-21

Click here for readings

Sunday, March 17, 2024

5th Sunday of Lent

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Psalm 51:1-12

Hebrews 5:5-10

John 12:20-33

Click here for readings

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Palm Sunday

Mark 11:1-11

Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalm 31:9-16

Philippians 2:5-11

Mark 14:1--15:47

Click here for readings

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Easter Sunday

Acts 10:34-43

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Mark 16:1-8

Click here for readings

Wednesday Bible Study

In-person (at 11:00 a.m. on the Grace campus) or online (at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom), our Bible study is a space to be curious, to ask questions, to give feedback, to wrestle with tough topics, and to express doubts and frustration. Consider joining in Wednesdays as we continue our study of Romans!



Chase Entrikin | March 1

Steven Turner | March 1

Randy Noriega | March 3

Lisa Entrikin | March 6

Sandra Streeter | March 6

Charlene Bergerson | March 7

Denise Thomas | March 8

Blake Yarber | March 9

Shannon Yarber | March 9

Heather Bergerson | March 9

Pastor Ed McGee | March 11

Tony Encabo | March 24

Ken Linden | March 26

Carol Davisson | March 28

Ashley Hernandez | March 28

Donald Jacobs | March 29

Steve Adzovich | March 31

March Anniversaries

Michael & Patty Van Raalte

March 18

March Calendar

Click here for updated calendar

Make or update a prayer request here

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry – Psalm 34:15 

Please pray for those with medical needs, including: Kelly Florentine, Gen Alley, Sandy Streeter, Debby Gonzales, Myrna Ott, Ray Snow, Pastor Ed McGee, Greg Miller, Rhonda Troup, Patty VanRaalte, Debbie Galiazzo, Ryder, Morgan, Meade and Andi, Tim, Audry and Leo Fuller, Linda Dalton, Judith Tury, Lisa and Mike, Bernie Schantz, Nance R., Charlie Dabbs, Melody Reich, Chris Saltonstall, Elva Maldonado, Emma Reardon, Marie O’Malley, Michelle Heyne, Stuart Merkel, Trina Clay, Billy Thompson, Connie Brown, Elena Navarette, George Fuller, Jim Oravetz, Joan and Lee Juneau, Joan Pelleren, Joyce Gower, Kari Watson, Martha Olson, Pam Elparin, Ray, Rose Marie Quesada, Sarah Encabo, Spencer, and victims of COVID-19.

Please pray for others in need of prayer, including: the family of Alma Pasos, the family of Felix Noriega, the family of Jerome Elparin, Ryder’s family, the Costley family, Christopher Oravetz, Jeffrey Saltonstall, family and friends of Marie Dabbs, and our Grace neighbors.

Please pray for the men and women currently serving in the armed forces, who are bravely protecting us and our country, including: Richard Larini (Navy).

Please pray for all victims of natural disasters.

Please pray for those who are being faced with grief, and all who know violence and hate.

Please pray for our Grace Lutheran Church Congregation and partners in ministry.

Please pray for the teachers and children of our preschool and infant care program, and for the teachers and students of Ben Lomond Elementary School, our school districts, and all schools, that they and their families will be safe.

Please pray for hospital staff, all medical personnel and first responders, those in essential services, and the leaders of our world, state, country, and local governments.

Please pray for the ACTION Food Pantry, the clients that they serve, and all those in need.

Your Church Council

President | Brenda Noriega 

Vice President | Johna Stienstra 

Secretary | Diana Alley 

Treasurer | Robert Ordonez


Cindy Skolaski | Nancy Adzovich | Sarah Encabo | Jane Wurtz

Your Church Staff

Pastor | The Rev. Steve Otte

Director of Worship & Music | Jeffrey Saltonstall

Preschool Director | Christy Arreguin

Custodian | Laureen Alvarez

Parish Administrator | Samantha Henderson

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