Gratitude: Fruits of the Spirit

By Deacon Lexanne Graves

Graves is Vice-President of the South Carolina Synod

“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.”

Philippians 1:3-5

Bishop Herman R. Yoos III hosted a Gratitude Luncheon at our 2018 South Carolina Synod Assembly for rostered ministers and congregational members who represented congregations that gave 10% or more of their regular giving to Synod Mission Support. Bishop Yoos expressed his appreciation to these members and then the congregational members, and rostered ministers engaged in conversations around the table in pairs, on gratitude and generosity, centered around the question: “What does it mean to you and your congregation to be in partnership with the South Carolina Synod and the Churchwide Organization?” The dialogue was quite lively and resounded in Jesus’ words that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Persons shared that when they partner with the Synod and Churchwide, they know that their prayers and financial resources can reach far greater people and places than they could even imagine. We can reach children in Allendale County who don’t have books to read, provide clean water for persons in Tanzania, help a SC rostered leader who needs counseling, aid congregations and disciples to rebuild after a 100 year flood, assist our NC neighbors after recent hurricanes, and the list goes on and on. When we all partner together with faithfulness and generosity, we can become Jesus’ compassionate presence for one another locally and globally.

As a follow-up to this Gratitude Luncheon at assembly, the members of the Synod Council were asked to visit congregations to express thanks to the members for their Mission Support. A “Fruit of the Spirit” plate was presented as a gift to each congregation to be displayed in a prominent place in each church facility.

The “Fruit of the Spirit” plates were crafted by Marquerite Palmer, the founder of and the Director of the Newberry Arts Center. Marquerite has been a potter for 30+ years with a dream of starting an Arts Center in Newberry, SC where she and her family have lived since 1993. Through years of prayer God led Marquerite down many surprising and sometimes painful pathways that were the training and pruning she needed to begin the Arts Center with the commitment and support of the City of Newberry. Newberry Arts Center, NAC, is located in downtown Newberry and offers classes in all forms of art for children to adults. A scholarship program funded by generous citizens helps NAC insure that many children and adults who would not otherwise be able to afford classes and camps can experience the peace, joy and exhilaration of being creative, a gift given to everyone from the Great Creator. NAC is also the host and founder of the South Caroline Clay Conference and Pottery Sale held every February in Newberry. For more information about Newberry Arts Center you can visit their Facebook page at Newberry Arts Center – NAC or go to their website at

The plates are made from a stoneware clay called Speckled Brown from Highwater Clays in Asheville, NC. This clay is a warm soft brown color with specs of granular manganese that add dark specks to the clay. The Cream Glaze works well on this clay to show the subtle details of carvings while letting the warmth of the clay show through. The words and carving in the plates are all done by hand and each piece is created individually; nothing is stamped or copied.
It was a great joy to visit these congregations and present them with these special plates.

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