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  • Writer's pictureGrace Episcopal Church

Member Spotlight: Gail van Deusen

What is your “go to” Bible verse to get you through the day? Why is it special to you? 1 Peter 4:7-11 (NIV) “Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gifts (s)he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, (s)he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, (s)he should do it the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever, Amen.” This is the prayer to begin my day as it sets the tone of how a Daughter of the King (DOK) should live. We follow a ‘Rule of Life’ that guides us to fulfill our vows of prayer and service. It certainly covers what is expected of all those who call themselves Christians. Each of us has gifts and talents. Please share one or more of your gifts and/or talents and how you are currently or could use them to help others at Grace or in our community. One gift I’ve shared for several years is cooking/making meals for others. Thanksgiving has been a tradition where two meals are prepared, one for our family, and one for a less fortunate family. My mother and I started this through her church back when I was in my twenties. As DOK took on the mission of making dinners for Interfaith Emergency Services, it just followed that we’d plan a healthy home-cooked meal and divide up who’d make what. Then the Covid pandemic struck. Through lockdowns and restrictions dinners were still needed. I was still responsible and through the love of Jesus, it was accomplished. Quite often I made dinners for thirty-some with aluminum pans of food handed through their door. Doc and I masked up and kept our distance. Serving the folks as we had done was no longer permitted until the end of 2021. I missed hearing them applaud as they thanked us for our efforts. Once back to in-person church, the load has lightened as others have begun to help supply items for our dinners which is very much appreciated.

What is it that Grace Church has, (like a secret sauce) that engaged you, and keeps you engaged, week after week?

The opportunity to serve (acolyte, chalice minister, Eucharistic visitor), to work toward a goal (the ECW bazaar) to learn new skills (in the kitchen & ground clean-up), to be a part of a greater entity draws me to Grace Church.

The motto of DOK serves as my guide; it states:

“For His Sake...I am but one, but I am one.

I cannot do everything, but I can do something.

What I can do, I ought to do.

What I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do.

Lord, what will you have me do?”

During Lent, several Grace church members are reading and participating in group discussion with the book: “What’s So Amazing about Grace?” written by Philip Yancey. Yancey writes: “Many years ago I was driven to the conclusion that the two major causes of most emotional problems among evangelical Christians are these:

1. the failure to understand, receive, and live out God’s unconditional grace and forgiveness;

2. the failure to give out that unconditional love, forgiveness, and grace to other people.”

Knowing that it is easier to share grace with others you know or who are kind, reflect on a recent experience or situation. Share a recent experience you’ve had either receiving or giving grace.

A month or so ago, I was perusing a popular Florida store’s shoe department. I’d left my purse at home for the sake of having my hands free. My card was stashed safely in my right front pocket. An elderly man approached me for help finding a small suitcase. (Of course, he thought I worked there.) I showed him to the area where I’d seen luggage stacked earlier. He thanked me and back to the aisles of sandals I returned.

There I saw a man holding the arm of a woman in her fifties giving her shoes to feel. She had on sunglasses, so I soon realized she was blind. He saw me and inquired if there were any in size 6 like she had on. He then asked me whether I liked her outfit, following with, “I dress her, and she worries I mismatch her clothes.” Her white t-shirt and navy pants looked fine, so he was encouraged with my reply. I did find a pair like what she was wearing in 6.5, but they were too big.

The man suddenly stated he was going to the men’s room, so I located a chair for the lady. She sat listening to me describe a few pairs of shoes I’d found in size 6 for her, happily trying them on. (Just aren’t that many 6’s available!)

Two pairs fit well, one a navy boat shoe and the other a tan slip-on (no tying needed). The husband returned, apologizing for taking too long. He liked what she had on and those in the box beside her. She wanted both pairs because she found them comfortable. He was amazed that they were on sale and thanked me. He gathered up the two boxes and helped her towards the registers. “I’ll put in a good word with the manager”, he said. I just nodded politely.

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