GraceConnect eNews, No. 183, Week of December 19, 2016

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Merry Christmas from GraceConnect!
Christmas in a Teacup

Sometimes what we want most during the winter season is to sip a hot beverage in the company of friends. For the ladies of Peninsula Grace Brethren Church in Soldotna, Alaska (Justin Franchino, lead pastor), that warmth often comes from their annual Christmas Tea. In the past, the church hosted occasional brunches during the winter months, where eight to twelve ladies would meet at a local restaurant for a time of light food and fellowship.

Two years ago, God began laying the Ladies Ministry at Peninsula Grace on Ronna Martin’s heart. When she asked around, a theme that emerged was a lack of connectivity, support, and encouragement between the women in the congregation. Because of this feedback, a more consistent scheduling of the brunches turned into a Spirit-led scheduling of ladies’ retreats, which have taken place for the last three years in the fall. It was out of the brunches that followed these retreats that the Christmas Tea came about.

“Last year, I wanted to do the brunch in my home for December,” Deanna Cashman explains, “and it turned into a tea instead.”

With the house decorated for Christmas and the cookies already baked, the tea was hardly a step out of the way. At each tea, one woman is chosen to share her testimony about what God has been doing in her life, while the group enjoys holiday treats. The result has been a more warm and open fellowship among the women of Peninsula Grace.

Ronna, Deanna, and these other women look forward to making the tea an annual gathering amid the monthly brunches. Lisa Peterson, the secretary of Peninsula Grace, types up invites that are handed out to the ladies as they come into the church on Sundays. The brunch is also advertised in the church bulletin. 

The Christmas Tea, as well as the monthly brunch, creates space for women to encourage, and support one another. This new branch of communication and fellowship at Peninsula Grace has brought hope to the women there. "The connectivity, unity and welcoming to new women in our body has been super encouraging,” notes Ronna. -- by Haley Bradfield

[Connect:] Send a note of encouragement to Ronna
here and Deanna here.    
 
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[Your Turn]


[Read:]

"I am convinced that what we believe about the harvest must drive how we engage our work in the harvest. 
In other words, if I believe the harvest is large, then I will put many resources into it; if I believe the harvest is small, I will put few resources into it.... If I believe the harvest is white and ready, then...what work am I doing proactively in the harvest?"

Tony Webb, director of Vision USA Church Planting network, has started a new blog on the topic of church planting and regional focus and development. Click here to check it out and read the rest of the post.

[Forgive:]

"There are many things I consider to be marks of true godliness, but none hold a candle to this:
'I forgave you a long time ago…'"

Laurie Mathers, administrative assistant at 
Chico Grace Brethren Church in Chico, Calif. (Matthew Raley, pastor), writes a compelling reflection about forgiveness and how it can transform our lives. Click here to read the rest of the post. 

[Watch:]

The kids from the Grace Brethren Church in Rittman, Ohio (Bud Olszewski, pastor), sing a few Christmas songs with a little help from kids past... Click the picture below to watch the video.
 
Rittman Grace Kids go old-skool for Christmas

Events in the FGBC

January 20-21, 2017   WLS: Principles of Effective Bible Study, Orange, Calif. (WGUSA) 
January 21, 2017   Walk Through The Bible - NT Seminar, Wrightsville, Pa. (SGCC)
January 27-28, 2017   WLS: Women & Scripture (Spanish), Bellflower, Calif. (WGUSA)
January 28, 2017  Connect & Equip SoCal, Regional Mission Conference, Orange, Calif. (EWP)
January 30-February 1, 2017   Southwest Focus Retreat  (FGBC)
February 24-25, 2017   WLS: Spiritual Formation (Spanish), Tampa, Fla. (WGUSA)
March 13-15, 2017   South Focus Retreat Haines City, Fla. (FGBC)
March 17, 2017   Day Away - North of 55, Ashland, Ohio (AGBC)
March 17-18, 2017   WLS: Women & Scripture, Roanoke, Va. (WGUSA)
March 25, 2017  Connect & Equip East: Regional Mission Conference, Parkersburg, PA. (EWP)
April 7-8, 2017   WLS: Spiritual Formation, Frederick, Md. (WGUSA)
April 28-30, 2017 –  Hispanic Summit,  Atlanta, Ga. (WGUSA)
April 28, 2017  Heritage Event, East Earl, Pa. (CE)
May 22-24, 2017   Northwest Focus Retreat, White Pass, Wash. (FGBC)
 
AGBC – Ashland, Ohio, Grace Brethren Church
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC – Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
SGCC – Susquehanna Grace Community Church, Wrightsville , Pa.
WGUSA – Women of Grace USA

Send events for the calendar to lcgates@bmhbooks.com.
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