GraceConnect E-News, No. 81, Week of January 5, 2014

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

One Reason to be Excited in 2015 

[Community,] noun. 
"A group of people who share the same interests, pursuits, or occupation, especially when distinct from those of the society in which they live."

An artist wishing to create a sculpture must choose a medium like clay or marble over a flat, white canvas. A Shakespearean sonnet means a poem written in iambic pentameter and containing exactly 14 lines. During the Baroque period, composers used the excruciating and tedious rules of
counterpoint to pen a masterpiece.

Much like the rules and structures of any art form, the creative force of a community, by definition, lies in its parameters. When referring to a physical place, a community is a specific, three-dimensional area
 – with boundary lines and city limits. And when a community is gathered around a common belief and mission, the idea is the same: the defining characteristics of a community is the way to maximize the potential of that group for the good of one another and of the world.

It’s a special privilege to be a part of the Grace Brethren community. Our history started in 1708 near Schwarzenau, Germany, where a small group of Christians committed to following Jesus and his Word, no matter what the cost. That passion has been perpetuated in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, believe that every word in the Bible comes from God and gives us direction and hope.

Today, the
Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches is part of a multi-national network of congregations whose values are defined by the pursuit of biblical truth, biblical relationships, and biblical mission. In the U.S. and Canada, the Grace Brethren movement consists of congregations in more than 250 cities, 20 national and cooperating ministries, and 20 cooperating districts. Outside of North America are more than 3,000 Grace Brethren churches, hundreds of new church starts, and an ever growing number of cooperative ministry initiatives.

The Grace Brethren community isn’t about leaving something out. It is about the restorative potential created because of and within the given limits – to let the beauty come through more vibrantly through a specific framework. It is only within the limits of a community like this that we can nurture deeper relationships, love with more focus and energy, and experience the fullness of relationships the way God intended.

Here at GraceConnect, we want to help you experience the fullness of community through the Grace Brethren Fellowship. To help you do that, we want
this newsletter to be a tool and a resource to help you grow in your faith and connect with others. Even more importantly, we hope to embolden you to make use of the best resource you have: a community of believers who love Jesus, his Word, and the church.

We know that the distinctives the Grace Brethren Fellowship adheres to
are not entirely comprised of dogma. We know the FGBC isn’t your only community. But that’s not the point: Within this Fellowship of common beliefs and goals are people we can encourage, love, challenge, and bless all the more because of our common ground.

So. We’re switching things up a bit here at GraceConnect. And we want to hear your ideas as we sharpen our methods. Scroll through for a short tour of what’s to come, and feel free to
send us your ideas for content! (Click the button below to shoot us an email). Also, feel free to spread the word by clicking on one of the "share" buttons below.

We are excited about what this New Year has to offer, and we hope you are too!

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What to Watch for...(Your Turn)

In this space, dubbed Your Turn, we give you an opportunity to do something about the stories we share here. 

In the Read section, we will share options for further reading, whether it be a book or blog posts by authors in the Grace Brethren fellowship, Bible verses or studies, and good quotes for thoughtful contemplation.     

In the Connect section, we will always be opportunities to touch the lives of other Grace Brethren believers. Small gestures are often the biggest encouragement. 

In the Pray section, we will share fellowship-wide requests and other ideas and resources to inspire your talks with God.  

This year, we will be focusing on the seasonal themes of BIBLE, MISSION, RELATIONSHIP, and GRACE. Although every story and resource won't deal directly with these themes, they will contribute strongly to the content we include. 
 

#GraceConnectsUs 
[
Question of the Week]  

Hashtag #GraceConnectsUs on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for a chance to be featured in our newsletter! 

Lets get it rolling: this week, share a picture and/or brief word affirming someone in your Grace community: Why do you appreciate your fellow Grace Brethren Fellowship believers? Don't forget #GraceConnectsUs!
Leader's Corner: Occasionally, we will be posting resources, ideas, and encouragement in this space specifically for pastors and church leaders. Click here to send us your ideas! 
Layman's Corner: Occasionally, we will be posting resources, ideas, and encouragement in this space specifically for laity --  church members. Click here to send us your ideas!
You might have noticed the edition of the logo above on our masthead. The Brethren Missionary Herald Company, the parent organization of GraceConnect, is marking it's 75th year in 2015. Since 1940, we have been providing communication services for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. Watch future issues of the eNews for more information.

Events in the FGBC

January 16-17 WLS Class: Soul Care, Winona Lake, Ind. (WGUSA)
January 23-24
– WLS Class: Spiritual Formation, Long Beach, Calif. (WGUSA)
January 23-25  Kalahari Winter Retreat, Sandusky, Ohio
January 26-28 –  Southwest Focus Retreat, The Oaks, Lake Hughes, Calif. (FGBC)
March 16-18 – South Focus Retreat, Florida FFA Training Center, Haines City, Fla. (FGBC)
March 20-21 – WLS Class: Women and Scripture, Frederick, Md. (WGUSA) 
April 24-25 – WLS Class: Women and Scripture, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (WGUSA) 
June 21-27, 2015  Great Canadian Adventure, Toronto, Ontario (GBC)
June 21-27, 2015 – Encounter Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga. (EWP)
July 14-19, 2015 – Momentum Youth Conference, Marion, Ind. (CEN) 
July 23-26, 2015 – Flinch Conference (national conference), Newark, N.J. (FGBC) 

CEN – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC – Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
GBC – Grace Brethren Canada
WGUSA – Women of Grace USA

Send events for the calendar to lcgates@bmhbooks.com.
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