GraceConnect eNews, No. 123, Week of October 29, 2015


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Members young and old brave the Pennsylvania cold at one of Grace Family Church's 2014 hot chocolate stations.

...With a Marshmallow on Top!

“I realized that there is only one night of the year that dozens of kids who need Jesus, along with their parents, come to the door of my house in a friendly mood and willing to chat.”

What better perspective for a Christian to take during the week of Halloween? Tim Hodge, the lead pastor of
Grace Family Church in New Holland, Pa., shared this while helping organize his church’s ministry to trick-or-treaters in their community. While he is not an advocate for what Halloween represents, Pastor Hodge can’t help but notice-- and feel encouraged by-- the community feel of the evening and the investment parents make to their kids during trick-or-treating.

How can the church not join in on opportunities like this? Last year, the Grace Family congregation decided to try an experiment. They set up hot chocolate stations on the front lawns of several church members throughout the community…and what is more inviting on a cool October evening then a steaming cup of hot chocolate? These stations were well received, of course, and this was the green light Pastor Hodge and his church family needed to make a reappearance this year…with some adjustments, of course. 

In 2014, there were four hot chocolate stations. In 2015, the church has added a few more, and constructed bright and distinct wooden booths. The surface of these booths sport the church’s logo and website. Members of Grace’s student ministry have volunteered to man the stations, with the objective of making the most of this great opportunity for conversation. One stand specifically will be set up at the ‘trunk or treat', organized through a local ministry that runs the town’s youth center. Hot chocolate remains the main staple, but a few families choose to provide bowls of candy as well. Sugar is the main theme, after all!

What makes these hot chocolate stations the church's new avenue of ministering is that it only involves giving, be it a cup of hot chocolate, a five-minute exchange, or an on-the-spot prayer request. Rather than going about the norm of asking the community for donations or fundraiser support, it becomes about showing the loving nature of God, and surprising people when they realize there’s no catch.

While still in its birth of becoming a tradition, many people from Grace Family Church see the opportunity to be a blessing to the community for many years to come, serving down the roads and side-streets and cul-de-sacs of their town. Pastor Hodge and the members of the church he serves, both young and old, are truly taking initiative with their chocolaty endeavor. Rather than wait for a blessing to come to them, they are creating one for a variety of families in the community. 

As Pastor Hodge states, “…the opportunity to intentionally interact with our community is well worth pursuing.” He plans to continue to monitor these pursuits, watching for ways to either grow or improve this often untapped path of community connections and outreach. 
-- By Haley Bradfield

[Connect:] Click here to send a note of encouragement to Tim Hodge.

[Your Turn]

How do wet cement and yellow 'Caution' tape fit into a ministry? Click Here to see how Pastor Brian McCall and his congregation of Martinsburg Grace Brethren Church of Central Pennsylvania made it work this past August.

Next week is the Charis International Leadership Encounter. Participants are coming from around the globe to participate. Click here to learn who they are and how to pray for them!

Every Christian has a story; many of which come up before one of us gets baptized. Click here or watch below to hear Kyle's story on Vimeo from Grace Church of Greater Akron. Witness his re-birth into God's family!
[Leader's Corner:]
This week, delegates from around the world are traveling to Bangkok, Thailand, for Charis International Leadership Encounter (CILE) 2015 meetings November 2-7.

For the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches-USA those delegates are Clancy Cruise, Keith Minier, and Mike Yoder. The delegate for the FGBC-Canada is Bartley Sawatsky.

See for specific ways you can be praying. Please also consider signing up for the prayer chain, so that the week of meetings is regularly covered in prayer. 

Watch for regular updates on the meeting posted at and by GraceConnect's Liz Cutler Gates.

[Connect:] Click here to send a note encouragement to Clancy Cruise, Keith Minier, Mike Yoder, and Bartley Sawatsky as they prepare to represent the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches at the Charis International Leadership Encounter.

Events in the 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 22-24, 2016  Kalahari Retreat, Sandusky, Ohio (FGBC)
January 25-27, 2016  Southwest Focus Retreat (FGBC)
January 27-19, 2016  Fellowship Council (FGBC)
March 14-16, 2016  South Focus Retreat (FGBC) 
June 19-25, 2016  The Great Canadian Adventure, Toronto, Canada (GBC)
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
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