GraceConnect E-News, No. 70, Week of October 20, 2014


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Mark and Candi Ritzman, along with their children, Tytus, Zachariah, and Cosette, are planting churches in Cleveland, Ohio.

Turning the World Upside Down for Jesus

The city of Cleveland, Ohio, according to church planter Nathan Wells, was “once a thriving industrial city, now desperate, desolate, dependent, and dangerous.”

And that’s where Pastor Mark Ritzman decided to plant churches.

Ritzman grew up attending
Grace Church of Greater Akron, Ohio, Norton Campus (Dan Gregory, lead pastor), located south of Cleveland. He spent 11 years as pastor at Metro Grace, (an urban ministry in Philadelphia that recruits, trains, sends, and coaches teams to plant churches in neighborhoods throughout the city) but felt God calling him to something else. 

Ritzman, along with his wife, Candi, and three children, officially joined SEEDNet full-time in September as a regional church planter ministering to low income apartment complexes. (SEEDNet works in Spiritually, Emotionally, Economically, and Developmentally oppressed areas in Ohio.) 

“We really felt God calling us back to Ohio,” Ritzman explained. “Joe Curuso, [pastor of mobilization at
Grace Church of Greater Akron, Ohio, Bath Campus (Jeff Bogue, lead pastor)],connected me with Nathan Wells [director of SEEDNet]. It really fit with what I wanted to do and what God was calling me to do.” (Grace church is one of Ritzman's supporting churches.)

Right now, Ritzman is focusing on three apartment complexes in the old Brooklyn neighborhood on the west side of Cleveland. He walk the blocks around the complexes with ministry partners (including George Swain, who is working with SEEDNet on the east side of Cleveland)  and do what they called "PEWing" -- Praying and Evangelizing while Walking. They strike up conversations with people they meet and ask how they can pray for them.

“We look for opportunities to tell people about Jesus right up front,” said Ritzman. “It’s been exciting to see that lots of people want to be prayed for, which took me off guard at first.

“We want to raise up leaders from the people that we’re ministering to,” he continued. “Many of the people we know may have come from backgrounds of addiction or urban problem backgrounds, people selling drugs, and living in sinful environments. That’s a challenge, but it’s one I’m excited to face…you have read how the disciples turned the world upside down for Jesus and we’re reaching the same kind of people.”

Pray for the Ritzmans, for SEEDNet, and for the city of Cleveland as they establish and expand their ministry there. Follow their ministry at, or send them a note of encouragement at

From Around the Web...

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

CE National has released a promo video for Operation Barnabas, a 7-week ministry training opportunity that has been used by God to encourage young people to develop ministry skills and further learn to serve like Jesus for 41 years. Watch it here

CE National is also excited to present Pastorpedia, monthly resource for pastors and church leaders. Pastorpedia is produced by three experienced pastors: Jeff Bogue, of Grace Church, in several locations in the Bath-Norton-Medina areas of Ohio; Jim Brown, of Grace Community Church in Goshen, Indiana, a church known for its strong growth, family and men’s ministries, and community response teams; and Knute Larson, a coach of pastors, who previously led The Chapel in Akron for 26 years and was once director of CE National. Find out more by clicking here
BMH author Larry McCall, will be speaking on "Walking Like Jesus Did" at the annual retreat for the Alliance International Church in Hong Kong, this November 1 and 2.The host pastor, Dan Tupps, is originally from Winona Lake, Ind. Read more here.
The Mummies of Egypt
This week's featured book

The Mummies of Egypt
By John J. Davis

This much-needed volume fills a gap in the study of ancient Egyptian practices and beliefs. Egyptian mummification is a subject that is easily caught up in mystery and speculation. The author has made this subject understandable by presenting it in a readable, non-technical, and interesting manner.

Regularly priced at $10.99, now available ONLY for subscribers of GraceConnect eNews at 50% off! Simply use the code "Mummy" when you purchase the book. Click here to buy The Mummies of Egypt. Offer is only good through midnight Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

Events in the FGBC

November 11-24 – Cambodia GO Team (WGUSA)
January 16-17 WLS Class: Soul Care, Winona Lake, Ind. (WGUSA)
January 23-24
– WLS Class: Spiritual Formation, Long Beach, Calif. (WGUSA)
January 26-28 –  Southwest Focus Retreat, location to be announced (FGBC)
March 13-14 – WLS Class: Women and Scripture, Frederick, Md. (WGUSA) 
March 16-18 – South Focus Retreat, Florida FFA Training Center, Haines City, Fla. (FGBC)
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
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