GraceConnect E-News, No. 50, Week of June 2, 2014

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Community Grace Church, Greencastle, Pa., opened a homeless ministry that provides shelter, food, and clothing along with job and life skills training.

Whatever They Need: Serving the Homeless 

Perched neatly on the edges of four major interstates, Greencastle, Pa., is a literal “hub-city” for millions of travelers. It is also a hub for the homeless and those struggling financially, who end up caught between cities without money or transportation. 

Paul and Denise Hutchison witnessed that reality upon meeting a girl with a black eye and no place to go. Gripped by the necessity of caring for this young woman, Paul and Denise followed God’s prompting and began a homeless ministry at the church he pastors, Greencastle’s Community Grace.

“You see these people,” Denise said, “and you’ve got to do something.”

Now, almost four years later, Community Grace supports their homeless brothers and sisters by providing shelter, food, and clothing along with job and life-skills training.

“We thought the next step would be, if God allowed us, to build a kitchen,” Denise said. “We don’t have a big space. The church is actually an old garage that’s been renovated. But there is one more space to finish. We’re building the kitchen there.”

At “370 square feet of kitchen,” the room holds a conventional and confectionery oven along with other standard kitchen equipment. The church plans to feed 100 to 200 people each week and will serve them in the sanctuary.

Volunteers from the congregation have had to learn a new skill-set to meet the challenge of cooking in large quantities. The Hutchison’s prior experience in the catering and restaurant business has given them a solid starting point, however, and Denise and her daughter, Jessica, will teach classes on how best to make bulk meals.

Community Grace’s congregation and the wider community have blessed this ministry with the willingness to donate time, money, and resources. Denise knew, and the church agreed, that if “God leads us to build a kitchen, that’s not just the only step he’s going to lead us in. He’ll find ways to bring in the food and everything.” She mentioned the church’s recent Easter Explosion, a community event that reached 6,000 people and included a helicopter drop of 30,000 Easter eggs, where the church incurred no costs. The event was free. “God is going to provide it, that’s the way our church feels about anything,” she said.

When the couple owned their own deli, Denise recalled, they knew that whoever entered their doors would be fed, no matter if they could afford it. Community Grace’s new kitchen functions with the same principle: “We just know that God’s going to [provide] because he wants the people fed.

“God just brings [the homeless and hurting] to us. Our church isn’t really easy to find. People don’t see it. [But] they’ve heard now about the church, so they just find it, or they call. We’re here to help. If people need clothes or food or whatever, they call us, and we can tell them honestly that we’ll have whatever they need tomorrow because it always comes through. And then we take it to them, and they’re amazed because they realize how much God loves them.” —by Marisa Vogel

If you are interested in sending donations to Community Grace for the kitchen ministry, their mailing address is Community Grace, P.O. Box 604, Greencastle, PA 17225. 

People

Patrick Black, associate and youth pastor at the Grace Brethren Church, Elizabethtown, Pa., was ordained on Sunday, June 1, 2014.

Memorial services were Saturday, May 31, for Polly Jackson, wife of Grace Brethren pastor and church planter, Ed Jackson. She died May 26
. Send a note to Ed in care of Emeritus at Outlook Manor, 690 Cooper Road, Westerville, OH 43081.

From Around the Web

Here are a few links from Grace Brethren churches that you might find of interest…
 

Leadership Development

The "Mighty Men" at SEEDNet, a ministry that plants churches in spiritually, emotionally, economically and developmentally oppressed areas, meet weekly to encourage one another in godly masculinity.

"[We] lay our hearts on the table every week. We consult the scriptures -- usually verses about masculinity -- and we treat each other like brothers. Sometimes that means hugging each other and crying, other times it means yelling at each other. We believe men need to be men. And when men come to Christ they need to be even more manly. Time is short and the areas we go into are lacking true masculinity, so we don't have time to be politically correct, gender-neutral or soft in any way."

 ...Read more about this world-changing ministry here
 

Church Planting

One of the cooperating ministries that will be considered this summer at the national conference of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches is VisionAlaska. Check out their web site and learn more about a renewed vision for planting Grace Brethren congregations in the 49th State.
 
Javier  Forero, pastor of Iglesia Comunal La Esperanza in Valrico, Fla., recently returned from a trip to Haiti with the Grace Brethren Haitian pastors from South Florida. He reports that 36 people accepted Christ during their visit. Click here to see images of of their visit.

 

Integrated Ministries

Asia's Hope Executive Director John McCollum published a defense of residential orphan care on Red Letter Christians, a widely-read Christian website. Click here to read the story. 
 

Other Links

Megan Albright of Grace Community Church, Fremont, Ohio (Kevin Pinkerton, pastor) tells her story of illness and healing during her senior year of high school.


 
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Events in the FGBC

June 27-July 3, 2014 – Encounter ATL (EWP)
July 17-21, 2014 – Fellow/Shift FGBC Vision Conference (FGBC)
June 22-27 – National Rondezvous Camp, Burr Oak State Park, Ohio (GBB)
July 22-27, 2014 – Momentum Youth Conference (CEN)
July 29-August 11 – National Timothy Adventure (GBB)
November 11-24, 2014 – Cambodia GO Team (WGUSA)

CEN – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC – Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
GBB – Grace Brethren Boys
WGUSA – Women of Grace USA
Send events for the calendar to lcgates@bmhbooks.com.
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