Grace Lutheran Church & Preschool

Newsletter - June, 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 YouTube channel. 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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From the Pastor

Greetings Grace Family,

Summer is here and for those of us who have jobs that can often mean planning or taking a vacation. I have vacationing on my mind because as I’m writing this article I am days away from a family vacation. Something I am excited about! It is not something I’ve done probably as much as I should have since taking a call at Grace. Sure, I’ve taken weekends off here and there, but I can count on one hand (and still not using all my fingers!) the number of times I have taken a full week off. It is not really ideal or something I would necessarily brag about. 

There are a few things that have contributed to my lack of yearly vacations. One of those contributors is that during my adult life it wasn’t something me and my family did consistently. For much of my first marriage my wife and I were raising a child and traveling with children can be as much work as vacation, and we never really had a great deal of extra income that lent itself to expensive travel. We also have a home that has a bit of a stay-cationing setting, and for the last several years before Tracy died I was in school and vacation time was not a thing when a person is working fulltime and pursuing a graduate degree. I don’t have regrets about not being vacation people, nor am I complaining. I’m a pretty simple guy who does like to stay close to home with my family so I never felt like I was missing out.

So, why the personal disclosure about my vacation history? For one, like I stated, I’m about to take a vacation. Really though, it is really more about balance in one’s life and something we all need, probably, more of. And that is Sabbath time. Now I’m not talking about Old Testament, strict adherence to the Commandment of keeping the Sabbath holy. It is more the spirit of that Commandment that I am referring to. 

God gave the Commandment with very specific reasons for the Israelites thousands of years ago at a time and for a people radically different from us and our current age. Without going into the weeds theologically, the two basic and primary reasons were for rest and be intentional about our relationship with God. That’s the balance I’ve been contemplating.

Because of the not so common for me vacation I’ve been thinking about the balance between those two things, rest and relationship. If I’m being honest I’m much better at one of those things. Can you guess which one it is? Of course it is my relationship with God. Is that what you guessed? As I’ve said many times I am fortunate that I am a ‘professional’ Christian and I get to spend quite a bit of time practicing disciplines that foster a deep and abiding relationship with my Creator and Savior. It is perhaps the greatest part of being a Pastor! It’s the rest part that I really needed to contemplate.

Pastors are busy people and often feel as though our work is never done. Burn-out is a real issue in the profession. But, as I thought about it, my rest, or Sabbath practice of resting, I realized I’m not as deficient as I initially thought. Now, I rarely have a full day of rest in the OT sense. Few truly do. But, I do manage to find chunks of time when I can relax, unwind, and do nothing. Sometimes without even feeling guilty! (I’m getting better at that!) And though I haven’t taken advantage of week long periods of time to ‘vacation’ I feel pretty good about how I’ve balanced spending time with God and spending time decompressing. I will admit that I would like more regular vacations and I hope this won’t be my last vacation for the next few years.

So, what about you? Do you feel like you have to always be doing something? Do you feel like you could devote more time relationally with God? Here’s something I kind of realized in thinking about the Sabbath and the rest/relationship component. God is a realist. He devoted 6/7ths of a week, or 85%, of His time ‘working’. That’s way more busyness than rest. Does that resonate with you? Sure we could always spend more time fostering a better relationship with God and resting, but at the minimum, less than 20% of our time is sufficient. It’s not necessarily optimal, but that lower number should relieve any guilt you might be feeling about how much time you devote to the two R’s. I say it’s not optimal because spending more time with God will always result in a deeper and more fulfilling life. And who couldn’t use a bit more rest?

God wants us to live happy and healthy lives. This is why Jesus said that the Sabbath was for humans and not humans were made for the Sabbath. It is a gift and a blueprint for a happy and healthy life. And the proper balance between God, rest and work can make all the difference in the world. How’s your balance? Do you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel and making little progress? Do you feel close to or distant from God right now or in general? Or, do you feel unproductive because, well, there’s a lot of resting? The thing is that balance will change in different seasons in our lives and it is very individualized. My balance isn’t yours and vice versa. Your answer to those three questions I just asked will help you discover if you’re out of balance. We mostly have control of how we spend our time and finding the sweet spot is part of what I believe God had in mind for us with that Commandment. It wasn’t an order from God to make Him happy. It was a gift from God to help us be happy in what is often a crazy and sometimes chaotic world. 

Yours in Christ

Pastor Steve

May Council Report

From the Council Meeting of May 14, 2024

• Grace’s Good Gifts donations of $205 resulted in the purchase of two chicks, two piglets, one goat, two roosters, and four mosquito nets.  Thank you to all who participated.

• The “Stamp Out Hunger” Post Office food drive resulted in 17 tons of food for the AFP from the Temple City and La Puente Post Offices! There were over 70 volunteers to help transport, load and unload, and sort food.  The AFP has a storage bin on the back driveway to help with the sorting and storage of food.  It is a temporary fixture.

• It’s nearing the end of the school year with graduations, promotions, and the beginning of summer vacations.  Pastor Steve will be taking a vacation June 1-8.  Jeff will be gone June 9-16.  If you have any graduates in your family, please let the church office know.

• The 2023 audit of the church financials was completed May 5th.

• The Church Council continues to authorize transfers of monies to our First Internet Bank savings account.  The interest accrued for just the first four months of this year is between $500-$600. 

• There are a lot of improvements and repairs to be done around our campus.  Entering the summer months, the sprinklers in the front and back yards are being evaluated and repaired.  Thanks to Ken Linden for repairing the sprinklers in the park.

• There are a number of members facing health issues and other life changes.  Please keep them in your prayers.

In His Service,

Brenda Noriega 

Council President

June Scripture Readings

Sunday June 2, 2024

2nd Sunday after Pentecost

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

Psalm 81:1-10

2 Corinthians 4:5-12

Mark 2:23—3:6

Click here for readings

Sunday June 9, 2024

3rd Sunday of Pentecost

Genesis 3:8-15

Psalm 130

2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1

Mark 3:20-35

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Sunday, June 16, 2024

4th Sunday of Pentecost

Ezekiel 17:22-24]

Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15\

2 Corinthians 5:6-10 [11-13] 14-17

Mark 4:26-34

Click here for readings

Sunday, June 23, 2024

5th Sunday of Pentecost

Job 38:1-11

Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32

2 Corinthians 6:1-13

Mark 4:35-41

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Sunday, June 30, 2024

6th Sunday of Pentecost

Lamentations 3:22-33

Psalm 30

2 Corinthians 8:7-15

Mark 5:21-43

Click here for readings

Joining a Bible study is an important part of developing a deeper understanding of God's wording how the books of the Bible fit together. Now is a great time to join, as we have started our reading and discussion of 1st Corinthians.

In this letter to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul spoke of issues related to both life and doctrine: divisions and quarrels; marriage; freedom in Christ; worship; communion; and the resurrection.

Check your email or the website for updated information about Bible Study.



Lexi Jacobs | June 1 

Robert Ordonez | June 1

Charlie Dabbs | June 3

Jenny Brown | June 5

June Evinger | June 6

Jan Clarke |June 6

Vicki Jacobs | June 8

Charlene Snyder | June 10

Connie Brown | June 18

Aiden Biggs | June 22

Jacob Loyd | June 27

Charlene Lisberg | June 29

Scott Jacobs | June 29

Haleigh Jacobs | June 30



Mike & Mandy McCabe 

June 2

Suzanne & Bud Banks

June 10

Charlie & Marie Dabbs

 June 20

Brandon & Anna Loyd 

June 23

Steve & Nancy Adzovich 

June 26 

Brenda & Randy Noriega 

June 27

June 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: Christy Arreguin, Kathy and John Walker, Cindy Skolaski, Lilly, Lenny LaVache, Sue Henderson, Logan Oravetz, Laureen Alvarez, Art James, Jaxon Turner, Bill Wengel, Mariesha Ross-Richard, Gen Alley, Sandy Streeter, Debby Gonzales, Myrna Ott, Pastor Ed McGee, Patty VanRaalte, Ryder, Morgan, Tim Phillips, Audry and Leo Fuller, Linda Dalton, Bernie Schantz, Nance R., 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 Dorothy Cato, the family of Joy Mangan, the family of Carol Moomaw, the family of Kelly Florentine, the family of Dakota Garske, the family of Shelly Ruiz, Ryder’s 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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