GraceConnect eNews, No. 130, Week of December 14, 2015

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

They Have Names

Greg Howell admits he was a little disgruntled at the couple that came in their motorized wheelchairs to the Saturday night Connections service at Community Grace Brethren Church, Goldendale, Wash., where he serves as pastor.
 
The service is always preceded with a meal.
 
“They would come and they would eat,” he remembers. “And they would pile up their plates again and ride out before the service [began].”
 
“I was a little ticked about this,” he confesses. After three or four months, he made a comment in staff meeting. “I said, ‘It’s okay they come. I wish they’d stay. It’s kind of too bad that they are using us.’”
 
David Quilici, then the youth and worship pastor at the church, looked at Greg and said, “They have names. Do you know their names?”
 
“I confessed I did not,” remembers Greg. “I knew his first name was Victor and I didn’t know anything else about them.”
 
David had been sitting with them while they ate. He learned the couple had some serious health issues, and was disabled and financially handicapped. They weren’t the typical middle class family that the church generally attracted.
 
It wasn’t long before Victor Cone and his wife, Jessie (that are their names), began to stay for the service, along with her brother and sister-in-law, who lived with them. When the need for volunteers for Wednesday night childcare was announced, the couple stepped up to help.
 
For the pastor, it was more than the filling of a need.
 
It was a change of heart – his own.
 
“The bottom line is my heart had to change to realize the reason we did Saturday night Connection was to not reach the same people we were reaching [on Sunday morning], but to be sure we were reaching the community, and this was part of our community,” he says.
 
Jessie and her brother, Tim Rebman, were both baptized not long after the couple volunteered to help. The family has continued to be active in the ministries of the church.
 
It took a reminder from a young staff member that regardless of economic, physical, or spiritual status, everyone has a name and is valued in the sight of God. “They are real people,” Greg acknowledges. “And it changed my heart about all of the people that come, anytime.”


[Connect:]

Send a note of encouragement to Pastor Howell at
 ghowell@fgbc.org.
 
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[Your Turn]

 

[Read:]

"It's easy to spend time being thankful for the birth of Jesus this Christmas. It's appropriate to share what God did this past year around the Christmas table, but do not stop there!" says Dan Cosentino, youth pastor at the Grace Community Church in Goshen, Ind. (Jim Brown, lead pastor). 

"Since Christ came to earth we can not only reflect on God's goodness in the past but on His goodness in the future! He came once and is coming again!"

Click here to read the rest of the post. 


[Laugh:]

Pastor Mark Artrip of
Movement Church (a Grace Brethren congregation Hilliard, Ohio), made this humorous parody video to thank the volunteer team's of the church's recent Christmas Party. Click here to watch.
 

[Leader's Corner:]

Pastorpedia founders Knute Larson, Jeff Bogue, and Jim Brown appear in a post and video interview recently on Pastorpedia, a CE National resource for pastors and leaders.  Click here for the full post entitled, "Developing Leadership in the Church," or click the video below
 
Pastorpedia - Helping Pastors Choose Leadership in Their Church

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 21-22, 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 lcgates@bmhbooks.com.
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