GraceConnect eNews, No. 142, Week of March 7, 2016


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Madison Clark of Grace Community Church of Seal Beach, Calif., faces the unique challenge of her small stature -- but she doesn't let that get in the way of a rich life.

Small Stature, Big Heart

Madison (Madi) Clark faces a unique challenge: born with a type of dwarfism called achondroplasia, at 22 years old, she is just over four feet tall. But what she “lacks” in height, Madison makes up for in spirit, personality, and a broad smile that immediately lights up any room. For the last 10 years, Madison has attended Grace Community Church of Seal Beach, Calif. (Steve Williams, lead pastor).

“I was going into middle school when my parents found this amazing church,” she says. “It has impacted me in a way that I can't even begin to describe. My faith in God has always been important to me, and going to Grace has made my relationship with Jesus Christ a whole lot stronger.”

“The entire church family has been such a positive light in my life and I can't thank everyone enough for seeing me beyond my disability and what I may look like,” Madison notes. Madison has big dreams, including a desire to educate others about dwarfism. This past year, she self-published her memoir, "Always Looking Up,” which tells her story from birth onward.

“I had been writing notes in my journal since middle school and then in high school I started to get excited about possibly putting it together in a book,” she remembers. “It was after my recent book launch which Pastor Don [Shoemaker] attended that he read my book and learned about some of the unique challenges that I (as a little person) face on a daily basis and how I have tried to overcome them.”

“She was always most attentive and very friendly when I'd greet her before or after services,” said Shoemaker, pastor emeritus at Grace Community Church of Seal Beach. “I find her quite a remarkable young woman.”

Madison is currently attending Cypress Community College with plans to transfer to California State University, Long Beach, in the spring of 2017. She is majoring in Health Science with dreams to go into speech pathology.

“I've always had a love for children so my dream is to work with them in a hospital setting. I still to this day remember my speech therapist helping me as a child. I would love to be able to give back and hopefully inspire another young child as well.” You can read more of Madison's story and purchase her memoir on her website,, and send her a letter of encouragement at


[Your Turn]



"Don’t be afraid to take new areas of your life! When the Spirit wants to take new territory, which Jesus already owns, it’s time to go forward... The enemy will not give up easily. He will fight back. But a changed life, becoming more like Jesus, is worth the effort!"

Chris Suitt, lead pastor of New Hope Community Church, a Grace Brethren church in Canyon Lake, Calif., writes about how Jews in British-occupied Palestine in the early 20th century took a stand for their homeland and how it relates to our own walk with Jesus. Click here to read the rest of the post from his blog,


"You can feel the tension rise when the captain of a plane announces a delay. The weather does not comply with travel plans; planes circle the city in a holding pattern. This image, in many ways, defines the Christian life. We wait for God to answer prayers, bring healing, and restore justice. We wait for Jesus to return. As we wait, both our hope and holiness take a hit. In his first letter to the Thessalonian church, Paul encourages this beloved church to hold on. The plane will land; Jesus will return."

Click here to hear the latest sermon from Pastor Tim Sprankle of the Grace Brethren Church in Leesburg, Ind.


Keeping an eye on Grace College? Grace president Dr. Bill Katip explains what sets Grace apart as a college pursuing character, competence, and service in this video.
Click here to watch. 


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Events in the FGBC

March 14-16, 2016  South Focus Retreat  Lake Haines, Fla. (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)
May 20-21, 2016   WLS: Women and Scripture, Ashland, OH (WGUSA)
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  Atlanta, Ga. (EWP)
July 4-10, 2016  StreetWise (formerly Crosswalk, Philadelphia, Pa. (CEN)
July 22-25, 2016  Margins Conference  Toronto, Canada (FGBC)
July 26-31, 2016  Momentum Youth Conference  Cedarville, Ohio (CEN)
October 16, 2016   Day Away: North of 55, Dublin, Ohio (WGUSA)
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

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