GraceConnect E-News, No. 75, Week of November 24, 2014

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
The mission of nonprofit ministry Bridging RVA is to "“Connect individuals, groups, and causes for the common good of our community.”

Building Bridges

God started stirring Dave Kennedy’s heart during the 2013 national conference of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches in Atlanta.

“I went to the  Mobile Learning Labs and saw some nonprofit organizations in operation,” said Kennedy, who is pastor of
Community of Grace Church in Richmond, Va. “I was so fascinated by that, and loved the idea of being out among people in need.”

Kennedy returned home from conference and started meeting with longtime friend John Sawyer, staff pastor of Bon Air Baptist Church outside of Richmond. 

“Interestingly enough, [Sawyer] texted me first, and we found out that God had been working in both of our hearts to get out of our offices and into the lives of needy people,” Kennedy recalls. Both are full-time pastors at their respective churches.

Over the next several months, the two men worked together to discover the needs of their surrounding community and put their vision on paper.  During the summer of 2014, their vision turned into an official nonprofit organization called Bridging RVA, a ministry that reaches out to the metro area of Richmond, “Connecting individuals, groups, and causes for the common good of our community.”

Even though Bridging RVA is an official nonprofit, it wasn’t their first introduction to on-the-ground ministry. Before the two pastors started Bridging RVA, they had already been involved with what they call a “rapid response,” ministry, such as providing blankets and coffee to the homeless on cold nights.

“We were alerted to that need by a Jewish newsman on one of our local TV stations,” explained Kennedy. “We were going to have our coldest night of the season in January [2014] and he just started calling churches and saying, ‘Hey, I’ve heard there are some homeless people behind the shopping plaza and we were wondering if you could do anything to help these people out,” and he kept hearing, ‘No.’ Eventually, the newsman called John [Sawyer] and within hours he mobilized a team of guys from his small men’s group who would provide blankets and coffee and food.”

Bridging RVA is intentionally a non-faith-based nonprofit, which Kennedy says gives the ministry a chance to work alongside of more unchurched people, “not only those who need help but those who want to give it.”

In the last year, Bridging RVA has partnered with other churches, nonprofits, and individuals to carry out ministry projects, including leading a fundraising campaign to distribute “100 Beds to 100 Kids in 1 Day” in partnership with Beds4Kids, Inc. This Thanksgiving they are partnering with  local Starbucks to provide coffee to more than 1,000 people on Thanksgiving Day during a “Giving Heart Feast” at the Richmond Convention Center.

“That’s the greatest thing for us,” notes Kennedy. “People rubbing shoulders with each other, having an opportunity to share Christ with those around them. We’re at the beginning of this, but we believe that the Lord has really blessed us with successful achievement.”

Stories, pictures, and videos can be found at
 BridgingRVA.com. Follow them on Facebook, or send Pastor Kennedy a letter of encouragement at dave@bridgingrva.com.

From Around the Web...

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

The Culture Test is a free, five-minute tool for learning your primary culture type - guilt, shame, or fear. This 25-question test will help you understand global cultures and how you operate within your own cultural context. Click here to take the test.
 
Grace Church in Norton, Ohio (Dan Gregory, lead pastor) recently completed The Shoe Project, an initiative that combines donating gently used shoes with the gospel message to people might not be able to afford their own. Over 7,800 pairs of shoes were collected by Norton Grace to send to people in need in Africa through Soles for Jesus. Read more and watch the recap video here.

Matthew Harmon, professor of New Testamant Studies at
Grace Theological Seminary, gives his perspective on the gospel. Watch the video below.

Bible Classics
This week's featured books

Sale Extended!

 

Bible Classics
Two books by Bernard N. Schneider and Jesse Deloe

This set includes two books that will enhance your study of the Bible and how you view God’s love.

Regular combined price for these books is $11.98. Now both are available ONLY for subscribers of GraceConnect eNews at 50% off! Simply use the code "Classics" when you purchase the books. Click here to buy this two-volume set.

The Love of God and You by Bernard N. Schneider
Dr. Schneider began this book when he was ill, but he and his wife, Mary, worked together at the task. He was able to outline most of the book and to write a number of the chapters. He then became too ill to continue the work and, shortly thereafter, went to be with the Lord. Mary eventually completed the manuscript. This was not new for her, as she had worked with him in other writings and it became a labor of love to see the manuscript complete.

This books presents an in-depth look at all the facets of God’s love… as seen in His goodness, wrath, mercy, grace, faithfulness, forgiveness, greatness, and other topics

Sweeter Than Honey by Jesse B. Deloe
This is a guide to effective Bible study and provides the background of how we got our Bible. It examines some basic considerations of the Bible – its origin, arrangement, marvels, reliability, and use.

Regular combined price for these books is $11.98. Now both are available ONLY for subscribers of GraceConnect eNews at 50% off! Simply use the code "Classics" when you purchase the books. Click here to buy this two-volume set. Sale extended through midnight Tuesday, December 2, 2014.

Events in the FGBC

January 16-17 WLS Class: Soul Care, Winona Lake, Ind. (WGUSA)
January 23-24
– WLS Class: Spiritual Formation, Long Beach, Calif. (WGUSA)
January 23-25  Kalahari Winter Retreat, Sandusky, Ohio
January 26-28 –  Southwest Focus Retreat, The Oaks, Lake Hughes, Calif. (FGBC)
March 16-18 – South Focus Retreat, Florida FFA Training Center, Haines City, Fla. (FGBC)
March 20-21 – WLS Class: Women and Scripture, Frederick, Md. (WGUSA) 
April 24-25 – WLS Class: Women and Scripture, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (WGUSA) 
June 21-27, 2015  Great Canadian Adventure, Toronto, Ontario (GBC)
June 21-27, 2015 – Encounter Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga. (EWP)
July 14-19, 2015 – Momentum Youth Conference, Marion, Ind. (CEN) 
July 23-26, 2015 – Flinch Conference (national conference), Newark, N.J. (FGBC) 

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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