GraceConnect E-News, No. 55, Week of July 7, 2014


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

When a Church Throws a Party 


What happens when a church throws a party? 

For the last five years, Auburn Grace Community Church, a Grace Brethren congregation in Auburn, Calif. (Phil Sparling, senior pastor), has done just that. Directed by Lorin Miller, music pastor at the church, the congregation has reached out to the community by offering a festive Independence Day concert.

The event, called Homeland, is a collaboration between the church, Placer Pops Chorale (a local choir directed by Miller), Gift of the Heart Orchestra, and area businesses. This year, more than 2,000 people attended the patriotic concert.

This year’s event was held at the outdoor Library Garden Theater in Auburn on Friday and Saturday, July 4 and 5. It showcased a 30-piece orchestra and a 50-voice choir performing a wide variety of American music. In addition, the church held an outdoor worship service on Sunday, July 6, and invited the public.

“We try to focus on the God-centered origin of our country,” explained Phil Sparling, senior pastor.

“It’s a fun event,” said Miller. “We have people that come from all over. [During the event] kids are running around, and you can buy ice cream and kettle corn and hot dogs, and everyone brings their lawn chairs. It’s a little slice of America.

“On Sunday we have a big church service in the same venue. [We] invite everyone back to be part of it. It’s the only time during our year when our entire church goes to the same service. We probably have 50 to 100 extra visitors.”

Miller is the intern program director and junior college choir director at nearby William Jessup University, and in addition to directing the Placer Pops Chorale. Because of the attention the event has enjoyed from the community, it has attracted the attention of others as well.

“Last year we got a congressional award from our congressman in Washington and a commendation from the mayor of Auburn,” said Miller. “Our key congressman is coming to speak this year as well.

“The feedback is always huge and very positive. It’s well attended, and it’s becoming a bit of an area tradition.

“We wanted to be a bridge event into our community, where people who don’t normally go to church will come and try us out. That is really what has happened. I can name person after person. It’s also a great way for instrumentalists to be a part of our community of faith.”

From Around the Web

Here are a few links from Grace Brethren churches that might be of interest:

For the past 15 years, Southview Grace Brethren Church in Ashland, Ohio (Mark Abel, pastor) has hosted a Wifflefest tournament. Click here to view pictures from the fun-filled day.

More than 130 volunteers from Grace Church, a Grace Brethren church in Lititz, Pa. (Ivanildo Trindade, pastor), gathered to help their community put on an Independence Day celebration to remember! Read about it here.

A team from the Hope Grace Brethren Church, Dillsburg, Pa. (George Traub, pastor), recently returned from ministering in Belize. Read their report here
The Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus: Studies in Mark
This week's featured book

The Beginning of the Gospel of Jesus: Studies in Mark

By Homer A. Kent, Jr.

This installment of The Kent Collection is a commentary that has been extensively rewritten and expanded from the author’s previous work on Mark. A careful outline keeps the reader from getting lost in the great number of events portrayed in this shortest of the Gospels. Photographs aid in understanding the geographical setting of many events.

Regularly $14.99, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 50%!

Simply enter the code "BookofMark" in your shopping cart at (Price is good only until midnight, July 15, 2014.)

Events in the FGBC

July 17-21 – Vision2020 DC (FGBC)
July 22-27 – Momentum Youth Conference (CEN)
July 29-August 11 – National Timothy Adventure (GBB)
November 11-24 – Cambodia GO Team (WGUSA)

CEN – CE National
FGBC – Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
WGUSA – Women of Grace USA

Send events for the calendar to
Copyright © 2014, GraceConnect (Brethren Missionary Herald Company), All rights reserved. *


We are located at:
1104A Kings Highway, Winona Lake, IN 46590

Our mailing address is:
Box 544, Winona Lake, IN 46590

 unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences  forward to a friend