GraceConnect eNews, No. 131, Week of December 21, 2015


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Merry Christmas from GraceConnect!

Gratitude Goes Both Ways

Pastor Brian McCall of the Grace Brethren Church in Martinsburg, Pa. was helping one of his fellow pastors move into a house next to the Cove Shoe factory, the largest employer in their small town, employing about 350 people.

“As I was helping unload the moving truck, God placed it upon my heart that our church needed to reach out to the people there,” he recalls.

So he collaborated with his fellow pastors and together they came up with an idea: why not serve an appreciation lunch to the workers at the Cove Shoe Company and use it as an opportunity to spread the love of Jesus?

So they picked a day, rented a tent, bought supplies, assembled two dozen church volunteers, and asked the congregation to bake nearly 1,000 cookies for the event.

On July 16, Martinsburg volunteers set up in a vacant lot adjacent to the factory in the morning and prepared to serve three 30-minute lunch shifts. During these shifts, each person received a hot dog, bag of chips, a homemade cookie and a drink. Since many of the employees of the shoe factory get paid by the piece as they manufacture shoes, this allowed workers to return directly to work if they preferred, but also gave them the option of using their 30-minute break to sit in the tent, leave prayer requests at the tables, or pray with and talk to Martinsburg volunteers.

“We made free copies of the Word of God available and ran out,” McCall remembers. “We had to go back to the church to get more!”

After serving nearly 300 people, the volunteers received a tour of the factory.

“Our people developed a great appreciation for their hard work,” saysMcCall. The event was deemed so successful that the church decided put on two more appreciation dinners for the staff at two local nursing homes.

“Many of those in the senior care facilities have cared for our loved ones,” notes McCall.

“During all three, our main words to people coming in was, ‘Thank you for the work that you provide in our community.’ We simply want to express the love of Jesus Christ and bring his church to them.”


Send Pastor Brian a letter of encouragement at

[Your Turn]



"The holidays can be overwhelming, not just because there’s so much more to get done on top of our already busy schedules, but also because they are so emotionally charged. Our expectations for the season and for others increase, and so do our budgets. It’s completely understandable that we all might get a little crazy around Christmas time, right?"

Nate Rayl, pastor of Biblical community at 
Grace Church, Bath Campus, a Grace Brethren congregation in Akron, Ohio (Jeff Bogue, senior pastor), writes 'Five Ways to Avoid Christmas Burnout' on the Grace Bath blog. Click here to read the full post. 


Pastor Ivanildo Trindade of Grace Church, a Grace Brethren church in Lititz, Pa., shares a timely reminder amongst the hustle and bustle around Christmas about the weight of Jesus' journey to earth:

"Of all the travel surrounding the birth of the baby Jesus — Mary’s trip to visit her pregnant relative, Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary’s trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the wise men who came from the East... the angels who engaged in some amazing intergalactic travel, even the flight to Egypt — all of these pale in comparison to the journey the Creator of the universe took, from the bosom of the Father and the soothing presence of the Holy Spirit to a place replete with suffering, strife, selfishness and sin."

Click here to read the full post. 


Check out this Nativity Story rendition by the 
Grace Brethren Church, Leesburg, Ind. (Tim Sprankle, pastor), complete with artwork by Leesburg Grace kids. Click the picture below to watch the brief video narration.

The Nativity Story as drawn by the kids of Leesburg Grace Brethren Church.

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Events in the FGBC

January 22-23, 2016   WLS: Equipping Others for Ministry, Orange, Calif. (WGUSA)
January 22-24, 2016  Kalahari Retreat, Sandusky, Ohio (FGBC)
January 25-27, 2016  Southwest Focus Retreat (FGBC)
January 27-19, 2016  Fellowship Council (FGBC)
February 5-6, 2016  WLS Spiritual Formation, Auburn, Calif. (WGUSA)
February 26-27, 2016  WLS: Women and Scripture (Spanish), Tampa, Fla.  (WGUSA) 
March 14-16, 2016  South Focus Retreat (FGBC) 
March 14-15, 2016   CELS CE Leadership Summit, Philadelphia, Pa. (CEN)
April 8-9, 2016  WLS: Spiritual Formation, Winona Lake, Ind. (WGUSA)
April 21, 2016   Day Away: North of 55Hagerstown, Md. (CEN)
April 22, 2016   Day Away: North of 55East Earl, Pa. (CEN)
June 13-17, 2016   Encounter SoCal (EWP)
June 19-25, 2016  The Great Canadian Adventure, Toronto, Canada (GBC)
June 22-28, 2016  Mission Trip to Haiti (WGUSA)
June 27-July, 2016  Encounter Atlanta (EWP)
July 4-10, 2016  StreetWise (formerly Crosswalk, Philadelphia, Pa. (CEN)
July 22-25, 2016  Margins Conference (FGBC) 
July 26-31, 2016  Momentum Youth Conference (CEN)
October 16, 2016   Day Away: North of 55, Dublin, Ohio
November 20, 2016   Day Away: North of 55, Duncansville, Pa. (CEN)
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
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