GraceConnect E-News, No. 10, Week of August 26, 2013
The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
It wasn't long ago that a chain link fence separated Ritzman Community Learning Center from its next-door-neighbor, the Ellet Grace Brethren Church in Akron, Ohio (Jonathon Carey, pastor). But when church members realized that parents waiting for their elementary-aged kids needed a place to park, they offered their lot. Soon school officials cut a hole in the fence and the church members built stairs with a railing, allowing easy access to the parking lot. They even brought refreshments to waiting parents -- hot chocolate on cold days or bottled water in warm weather.

It was the beginning of a love-your-neighbor story that benefits the community while showing the love of Christ. Over the weekend, the church hosted its fourth annual "We Care Ritzman" event, complete with inflatable games, a complimentary lunch, free backpacks loaded with school supplies, a uniform exchange, and a chance to "flush" the principal. Learn more about it in "Being a Good Neighbor."

This week's featured product is The Prophecies of Daniel. Regularly priced at $17.99, the book is 50 percent off only for subscribers of GraceConnect eNews! This is a great resource for students of the Bible and particularly for those who are interested in the end times.

If you enjoy this newsletter, would you forward it to one friend within your church and encourage them to subscribe? It's the best way to stay connected with news, ministries, and events within congregations of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC).

Being a Good Neighbor

For the fourth year in a row, the Ellet Grace Brethren Church in Akron, Ohio (Jonathon Carey, pastor), set out to bless the elementary school next door, Ritzman Community Learning Center, a K-5 elementary school in the Akron public school district. (Classes start this week for the 22,000-student district.)
The church opened their doors on Sunday afternoon (August 25) for the We Care Ritzman Back-to-School Extravaganza, welcoming students and their parents with a variety of opportunities and free services, according to Beckie Gurnish, who heads up the effort. Among the final numbers:
  • 120 backpacks filled with school supplies were distributed. (“Our highest number yet,” said Beckie.)
  • 70 haircuts within two hours by seven volunteer stylists.
  • 200 Sno-Cones served. 
Ritzman’s principal, Larry Bender, faced down his students at the flush machine. Seated in a chair beneath a bucket of water, he waited as the students took turns trying to upset the bucket, similar to a dunk tank.  â€œThe kids loved it,” added Beckie.
A free lunch was available, served by Beckie's daughter-in-law, Rachel Gurnish, and her volunteer staff.

There were door prizes for the moms and dads who accompanied the children. “Every parent walked away a winner, as we had prizes ranging from cones at the local custard stand to gift certificates for gas, restaurants, and a local business that sells school uniforms,” Beckie reported.
Area businesses also contributed to the event, a tribute to the reputation the church has garnered for being a good neighbor. “Many of the businesses told us they recognize the good work we are doing in the community,” Beckie said. “In fact, we recently had to buy a new refrigerator for the church. We bought it at a local dealer who gave us a nice discount and free delivery because we are good community people.”
While the day was focused on meeting the physical needs of students, it was bathed in prayer. “I always make up teacher bags for those who come,” said Beckie, who is a retired educator. “This year I told them we would be praying for them during the school year and I actually got to pray with one of them.”

See more photos of We Care Ritzman Back-to-School Extravaganza.

How is your church reaching out to area students as they head back to school? Let us know in the comments section at Being a Good Neighbor.

Bell Begins at WLGBC; New Staff Named at Grace College

Jay Bell has joined the staff of the Winona Lake (Ind.) Grace Brethren Church (WLGBC) (Bruce Barlow, lead pastor) as the pastor of mobilization. Previously he served in a volunteer role as missions and evangelism pastor while serving full-time as director of Internationals-USA with Encompass World Partners (formerly Grace Brethren International) Missions. He is pictured at right with his wife, Jan, who frequently serves with him.

At Grace College and Seminary, Paul Blair has joined the staff as the vice president of Financial Affairs (CFO). Blair will assume a strategic role in the planning, implementing, and managing of the institution’s financial related activities.

Blair is a respected financial leader in the Warsaw/Winona Lake (Ind.) area. With more than two decades of Fortune 500 company experience, he has expertise in investor relations, strategic planning, business development, and financial reporting. In the past, he has served as vice president of investor relations at Zimmer Holdings, vice president of strategic planning and development at Owens & Minor (Richmond, Va.), and director of investor relations at Bindley Western Industries.

William (Bill) Eisenmann has been hired as a senior member of the financial staff and will assist with Blair’s transition into the CFO position. Eisenmann is a retired senior partner with BKD LLP (Fort Wayne) and was Grace’s senior auditor for many years. He was also revenue accounting manager at Anthony Wayne Services and vice president and chief financial officer at Physicians Health Plan of Northern Indiana, Inc.

Do you have an announcement regarding a new staff member or a promotion at your church or ministry? Simply sent them to Liz Cutler Gates at GraceConnect.

The Prophecies of Daniel
This week's featured product

The Prophecies of Daniel

By Lehman Strauss

Regularly $17.99, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 50% off!

Simply enter the code Daniel in your shopping cart at (Price is good only until midnight, September 2, 2013.)

On sale now!

In creating a commentary for the common man, Dr. Lehman Strauss takes a careful look at the man Daniel and his message. "He had the touch of God upon him," Dr. Strauss writes. "Nothing finer could be recommended to the youth of today than a study of the life of Daniel. He is an aristocrat of the Old Testament, a truly great man because God had touched him."

This book takes an engaging and informative look at Daniel's life and his inspired prophecies. It is an important resource for anyone who wishes to better understand biblical prophecy.

Events in the FGBC

September 4-16 â€“ Argentine Ministry Trip (WGUSA)
September 18  â€“ Super Wednesday (GCS, CEN)
September 29 â€“ Prayer Sprint (EWP)
October 7-9 â€“ Central Focus Retreat (FGBC, Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio)
October 21-23 â€“ East Focus Retreat (FGBC, Ocean City, Md.)
November 1-2 â€“ Homecoming (GCS)
November 3 â€“ Day of Generosity (EWP)
November 5 – Super Wednesday (GCS, CEN)
November 15-16, 2013 – Women's Leadership Class, Wooster, Ohio (WGUSA)
January 27-29, 2014 â€“ Southwest Focus Retreat (FGBC, location to be announced)
January 29-31, 2014 â€“ Fellowship Council (FGBC, location to be announced)
July 17-21, 2014 â€“ Vision2020 DC (FGBC)
July 22-27, 2014 â€“ Momentum Youth Conference (CEN)

CEN – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC â€“ Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
GCS  â€“  Grace College & Seminary
WGUSA â€“ Women of Grace USA
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