GraceConnect eNews, No. 111, Week of August 3, 2015

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Seven travelers from Hope Grace Brethren Church hiked the St. James Way this past May and June.

The Way of St. James  

El Camino de Santiago, or the Saint James Way, is a series of paths that traverse Europe. However, they are not just any dirt roads; they are the routes of spiritual pilgrimages. For more than a thousand years, travelers have walked these paths hoping to gain spiritual insight.

While the beginning of the journey might be from many different cities, the final destination is the same: the city of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. People of all different religions and worldviews journey together as many are Christians, agnostics, or atheists.


During late May and early June of this year, seven people from the Hope Grace Brethren Church (HGBC) in Dillsburg, Pa. (George Traub, pastor), walked the Camino (pictured at right). However, they were not only trying to gain spiritual insight for themselves, they wanted to minister to others on the journey.

“The trip was intended to be more than just a personal experience for each participant. We were part of a larger effort to expand the St. James Way into a ministry,” said Lenny Wong, one of the leaders on the trip.

A few years ago, Encompass missionaries and national ministry partners in Portugal had asked some Grace Brethren churches to partner with them in trying to cultivate a permanent ministry for people walking the Camino. Over several years, the ministry has progressed from being an occasional mission trip to becoming a continuing ministry for Camino pilgrims.

The HGBC group’s plan was to walk 100 miles. To complete this, they needed to walk between nine and 19 miles each day. The majority of the time, the group didn’t walk together. Instead they would hike individually or in pairs, at their own pace. This allowed more personal conversations to emerge with other pilgrims. 

“The 100 miles wasn’t actually the goal – that’s the nice thing about the Camino. It isn’t about getting there, but instead it’s all about the experiences during the journey,” said Wong.

He likened walking the Camino to the life of a pilgrim. Struggles abound in both life and the Camino. The goal is not to be the fastest to get through the journey, however. The focus should be on steadily progressing to the destination without failing to share God’s love with fellow pilgrims.  

Some of the most valuable moments came in the evenings as the HGBC pilgrims shared meals and their lives with fellow travelers in hostels along the Camino.  For one particularly memorable meal, the HGBC team sat around a table hand in hand with about thirty pilgrims from six different countries as each person in their own language thanked God for the blessings they had experienced.  It was an extremely moving event to see such a diverse collection of people thanking God. 

“We walked about 100 miles,” concluded Wong. “In the end, though, nobody really cared. That’s what makes the Camino special–it teaches us that in life we have to avoid focusing on our temporal, illusory goals and instead pay attention to the people that God has place around us.” --by Melissa Sorensen
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[Pray:]

The spring/summer session of "Engage 5" through Encompass World Partners recently wrapped up in Atlanta. Encompass staff helped celebrate their accomplishment with lunch and a special ceremony recognizing each class member's unique personality and contributions to the experience.

Engage 5  is designed to prepare missionaries for overseas ministry as well as equipping those who wish to reach ethnic communities in the USA. Click here to read more about the members of this year's Engage 5 team, view pictures, and find out how you can pray for their efforts. 

[Read:]

"There is no authority higher than God and His Word. It is quite simply the most important transfer of information from one to another in the history of the universe."

Dr. Rich Scheinder, pastor at Friendship Grace Brethren Churchin Fort Myers, Fla., blogs at Rich Words. In a recent post, he explains the literal historical grammatical method of interpreting the Bible. Click here to read the post.  

[Watch:]
 
Last weekend, Grace Fellowship in Pickerington, Ohio (Keith Minier, lead pastor) hosted a Single Parent Fair for their surrounding community. Nearly 200 volunteers served over 780 adults and kids on Saturday. 153 kids received haircuts, 471 kids received school supplies, 120 moms got pedicures, and 58 family photos were taken. Watch their brief recap video here
 

Events in the FGBC

August 10-14, 2015 – Encounter SoCal Santa Ana, Calif. (EWP) 
August 28-29, 2015  WLS: Biblical Foundations of Leadership, Winona Lake, Ind.   (WGUSA)
September 21-23, 2015 Northwest Focus Retreat (FGBC) 
September 25-26, 2015  Revive '15 Fellowship Forum, Indianapolis, Ind.  (WGUSA)
October 5-7, 2015 – Central Focus Retreat (FGBC)
October 19-21, 2015 East Focus Retreat (FGBC)
October 30-31, 2015  WLS: Principles of Effective Bible Study, Columbus, Ohio  (WGUSA)
November 2-6, 2015 – Charis International Leadership Encounter, Bangkok, Thailand (EWP)
November 13-14, 2015  WLS: Women & Scripture, Elizabethtown, Pa.  (WGUSA)
January 15-16, 2016 – WLS: Women & Scripture, Ocala, Fla.  (WGUSA)
January 25-27, 2016 Southwest Focus Retreat (FGBC)
January 27-19, 2016 Fellowship Council (FGBC)
March 14-16, 2016 South Focus Retreat (FGBC) 
July 22-25, 2016 Vision Toronto (FGBC) 
July 26-31, 2016 -- Momentum Youth Conference (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 lcgates@bmhbooks.com.
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