GraceConnect E-News, No. 72, Week of November 3, 2014

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

Drawing Strength From a Community

The life of a military chaplain and his family is often challenging and sometimes even lonely.

Elizabeth Schaefer (pictured at right with her husband, James), wife of a Grace Brethren military chaplain, has experienced that firsthand. James has had three year-long deployments during his career, in addition to numerous other shorter periods away for training.

“Throughout their careers, it is rare for our husbands to be stationed anywhere where there is a Grace Brethren church within driving distance,” explains Schaefer, whose husband, James, serves with the U.S. Army. "During those years when a GBC is not nearby, you can feel like you don’t have a home, spiritually speaking.”

That is why the Eagle Commission exists. Throughout the history of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC), close to 50 men have served as military chaplains, dating as far back as World War II. The Eagle Commission was formed more than 20 years ago to serve as a connecting point between Grace Brethren chaplains and the FGBC. Currently, 14 full-time chaplains and their families are supported by the Commission, plus a number of others who serve at Veteran's Administration medical facilities or with the Civil Air Patrol. (See the complete list at 
eaglecommission.org under "Our Chaplains" in the pull-down menu.)

“From my standpoint, it gives me a family,” notes Schaefer. “I have been so blessed over the years to be connected to the Fellowship. It has truly been a lifesaver in some ways.”  She adds, “Especially during the times [when my husband was deployed], the Eagle Commission was a comfort. They would pray for me at that particular season in my life, and pray for James and his ministry. I drew such strength from that.” 

She added that the chaplains and their families “rely on their connection with the Fellowship,” and find that this “family” is an incredible source of strength.

Right now, James, a lieutenant colonel, is assigned to U.S. Army Central Command at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.

“Our home church is in Clinton, Md., and we are on their missionary list,” said Schaefer. “They support us with their prayers, letters, and emails. But other churches and individuals reach out to us, too…we’ll get letters from all across the country because of the Eagle Commission connection.”

“Although our husbands are Grace Brethren [elders], they do not serve on a church staff or work in a Christian school. Instead, they minister, counsel, preach, teach, and work side-by-side with those who are not Grace Brethren, including all the other pastors (chaplains) they are assigned with. This can leave them feeling disconnected from their church home. Yet, it’s an amazing opportunity to be in a position where you relate daily to our country’s military leaders. 

“These leaders make decisions daily that affect the lives of America’s sons and daughters in uniform. It’s amazing that God has blessed our Fellowship with pastors who can be in these kinds of positions. We definitely need to pray that God will use them to have a godly impact on our military’s leaders and the decisions they make.”

Each summer, as many chaplains as possible attend the FGBC national conference. There they have an opportunity to personally thank the Fellowship and members of the Eagle Commission for their love and support.

The Eagle Commission is sponsored by Grace Brethren Investment Foundation on behalf of the FGBC. Information about the chaplains is offered through the Eagle Commission website as well as a quarterly newsletter. Don’t forget to encourage our chaplains and their families through your letters or emails, and let them know you’re praying for them! Email notes of encouragement to the Schaefers at schaeferfamily4@yahoo.com.

Click here to learn more about the Eagle Commission and to connect with the military chaplains. (Individual emails are included with their bios in the pull-down menu under "Our Chaplains.")

From Around the Web...

Here are a few links from Grace Brethren churches that you might find of interest…
 
Grace Church in Wooster, Ohio (Bob Fetterhoff, pastor) is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this fall. They took the challenge to serve Wayne County in 75 ways and have gone beyond their goal with 83 service projects! Click here to check out the story of Doug Ventling, who coordinated a landscape effort as one of these projects.
 
Mike Pumphrey, pastor of Awaken Church in Virginia Beach, Va., blogs at mike.awakenvirginiabeach.comIn his latest post, he pens a letter to Awaken Church about how suffering produces a harvest. Click here to read more. 

Dustin Godshall has begun as pastor of the Grace Brethren Church in York, PaClick here to learn more or send Dustin a letter of congratulations by clicking here. He served at Grace Church in Powell, Ohio (Rick Nuzum, pastor), for the past 11 years, most recently as the family ministry pastor.
The Poetic Books
This week's featured books

Poetic Books
By Charles W. Turner and Gerald H. Twombly

This two-volume set combines BMH classic titles related to the poetic books of the Bible.

Wise Words in a Wicked World: Studies in Proverbs by Charles W. Turner is a practical study of the Book of Proverbs. It takes a topical approach and contains helpful outlining. It reinforces that Proverbs is just like life — a single day is like a single chapter. In each there is included many varied incidents and happenings to challenge the reader’s thoughts.

The Penetrating Poets: Studies in Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon by Gerald H. Twombly is a study that could revolutionize your life. If you have suffered through unexplained trials, been falsely accused, experienced the pain of loneliness, or smacked hard against the stubborn wall of frustration, than you have shared the experiences of the Old Testament poets. It is to you that Job, David, and Solomon extend their invitation to join them as they walk through the experiences of life. You will share their joy, anger, frustration, love, and wisdom. You will relate to their hurt and cry with them to a God they did now always understand. You will share in their victories.

Regularly priced at $11.94, now available ONLY for subscribers of GraceConnect eNews at 50% off! Simply use the code "BMHpoet" when you purchase the book. Click here to buy this two-volume set. Offer is only good through midnight Tuesday, November 11, 2014.

Events in the FGBC

November 11-24 – Cambodia GO Team (WGUSA)
January 16-17 WLS Class: Soul Care, Winona Lake, Ind. (WGUSA)
January 23-24
– WLS Class: Spiritual Formation, Long Beach, Calif. (WGUSA)
January 26-28 –  Southwest Focus Retreat, location to be announced (FGBC)
March 13-14 – WLS Class: Women and Scripture, Frederick, Md. (WGUSA) 
March 16-18 – South Focus Retreat, Florida FFA Training Center, Haines City, Fla. (FGBC)
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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