GraceConnect E-News, No. 3, Week of July 1, 2013
The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Happy Fourth of July from the staff of GraceConnect. This week's eNews is brief, but it's still filled with news and information about the family of believers that is the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. For more news in the FGBC, see

In this issue:
  • Step back in time with a story from the April 2, 1966 issue of the Brethren Missionary Herald. Read a first-hand report of the ministry of "Amazon Bill" Burk, who died June 26 while visiting family in Washington state.
  • Learn more about the upcoming Grace Brethren conference, Vision2020 South, in an interview with speaker (and Grace Brethren pastor), Jason Haymaker. There is still time to register!
  • Catch up on the FGBC family news with this week's People section and the Events listing.
  • Take advantage of this week's featured book -- Loving Your Wife as Christ Loves the Church by Larry McCall -- now available at 50% off only to subscribers to the GraceConnect eNews (through July 9, 2013).

Patience in Church Planting

As we learned of last week’s death of veteran missionary, “Amazon Bill” Burk, the tributes to his ministry have poured in. Burk’s association with the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, and Encompass World Partners (formerly Grace Brethren International Missions), with whom he ministered, was long and storied. For many of us who grew up in Grace Brethren churches in the 60s and 70s, we were enthralled with stories of his work along the Amazon River in Brazil.

Many of Burk’s stories are captured in past issues of the Brethren Missionary Herald magazine, which was published from 1939 until the mid-1990s. Every issue included stories from the mission field and the staff at GraceConnect decided to take a look back and be reminded once again of Bill and Imogene’s ministry in the jungles of Brazil. Here is a story written by Grace Brethren pastor, Dean Risser, after he and his wife, Ella Lee, visited the Burks in Quatipuru, Brazil, in 1966.

Eighteen months ago the Bill Burks moved into a small, country village on the Quatipuru River. My wife and I saw and heard the progress made there by the Gospel of Christ, and observed firsthand some of the methods the Lord has blessed.

A decade earlier a Pentecostal group had tried to establish a spiritual beachhead in Quatipuru. They set up a platform with sound system and musical instruments, started a public meeting and were promptly run off by a gang of young rough necks hired by the lay leaders of the Catholic church. The Pentecostal group made a similar effort several times, with the same result every time.

We met Miguel when we were
 there recently, one of two keen young
 men studying weekly with Bill Burk.
 Ten years ago he helped to drive out
 the Protestants; now he is a pastor in training, although his father is still a lay leader in the local Catholic church. He is married and has five children, and works long hours in the timber, seeking to memorize 12 Scripture verses every day on the way to and from work. How did this happen?

Read the rest of the story here.

Transformational Leadership
Jason Haymaker

“It’s so easy in church to get caught up in development planning – in the systems of things,” explains Jason Haymaker, pastor of Western Reserve Grace Church in Macedonia, Ohio. (That's Jason in the photo at right.) “The leader sets the culture as to whether the church will be a transformational church or just an organized church. If we are producing ‘safe’ leaders in fear of doing something wrong, they will lack vision for what God could do in their church or organization.”

He believes the community aspect of leadership – of garnering an awareness of the greater story of God’s church and each individual’s role as a part of it – is important.

It is evident that Haymaker has a fervor for developing what he calls “transformational leaders” who are confident instead of controlling, full-of-faith risk takers instead of passive leaders, and who are firmly committed to God’s overarching mission over personal leadership preferences. He will share this passion during the Wednesday morning session (July 31) at the Vision 2020 South Conference, the national conference of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. (Click here to register.)

 Read the rest of the story, Transformational Leadership, on

Ryan and Sharmion Bowell and family


Ryan Bowell has been named to the position of Director of Credit Services, at the Grace Brethren Investment Foundation (GBIF), effective July 1, 2013. Ryan comes to the GBIF as a seasoned business professional with a strong background in strategic planning and the ability to work within multiple levels of an organization. Ryan will primarily provide oversight to the loan function of the GBIF, as well as provide support for other areas of ministry. (Ryan is in the photo at right with his wife, Sharmion, and their children.)

Ryan most recently was employed by Encompass World Partners as the Director of Finance from 2007 – 2012, following his promotion as Controller from 1998 - 2007.  Prior to this role, Ryan served as an adjunct professor for Grace College and as a staff accountant for Owens & Co.

Ryan holds a B.S. in business administration and a B.S. in accounting from Grace College, Winona Lake, Ind, and received his CPA license in 1997.

Click here for more information.

This week marks Kurt Miller's first as the director of strategic partnerships at MetroGrace, a Grace Brethren urban church planting initiative in Philadelphia, Pa. Learn more about Kurt's new ministry here.

Loving Your Wife as Christ Loves the Church
This week's featured book

Loving Your Wife As Christ Loves the Church

By Larry E. McCall

202 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-88469-304-8

Regularly $15.99, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 50% off!

Simply enter the code 50OffMcCall in your shopping cart at (Price is good only until midnight, July 9, 2013.)

On sale now!

Men need models. Some men have grown up with dads who were good role models for how to love their wives. Sadly, most have not. From the crucible of real-life experience and study of God’s Word, Larry McCall delivers a powerful message that there is a model of perfect husband-wife love. Here is help for any husband or band of brothers who desire to grow as husbands. It is Bible-based, Christ-centered, and grace-promoting.

Check out a few reviews:

This book should be in the hands of EVERY Christian husband. I don't make that statement lightly. There are many books on marriage, some good, some not so good. Some are heavy on philosophy & theology, some on psychology, some on practical advice. Some are slanted toward newlyweds while others focus on troubled marriages. Some are thoroughly Biblical while many give the Bible only lip service even though they are marketed as Christian.

This has allowed my finance, now husband, learn the value of being the head of the family, and know what God expects from him as a husband and a Christian.

Events in the FGBC

July 2-3  â€“  Operation Barnabas: Team 123 at Valley Grace Brethren Church, Hagerstown, Md.
July 3-4  â€“  Operation Barnabas: Team 123 at Grace Brethren Church, Waynesboro, Pa.; Team 314 at Penn Valley Grace Brethren Church, Telford, Pa.
July 5-7  â€“  Operation Barnabas: Team 314 at Grace Brethren Church at Willow Valley, Lancaster, Pa., and Grace Brethren Church, Martinsburg, Pa. (July 7 only)
July 6-7  â€“  Operation Barnabas: Team 123 at East Side Grace Brethren Church, Blacklick, Ohio, and Western Reserve Grace Church, Macedonia, Ohio (July 7 only)
July 9-10  â€“  Operation Barnabas: Team 123 at Grace Church, Medina East, Medina, Ohio
July 10-11  â€“  Operation Barnabas: Team 314 at Grace Fellowship Church, Pickerington, Ohio
July 11-14 – Brethren World Assembly, Brookville, Ohio (Dayton area)
July 12-14  â€“  Operation Barnabas: Team 123 at Grace Brethren Church, Delaware, Ohio, and Brighton Chapel, Howe, Ind. (July 14 only); Team 314 at Grace Brethren Church, Pataskala, Ohio, and Wawasee Community Bible Church, Milford, Ind. (July 14 only)
July 21  â€“  Operation Barnabas: Team 123 at Grace Brethren Church, Brookville, Ohio; Team 314 at Community Grace Brethren Church, West Milton, Ohio
July 22-26 – Encompass World Partners Family Reunion, Norcross, Ga.
July 23-24  â€“  Operation Barnabas: Team 123 at Movement Church, Hilliard, Ohio; Team 314 at Encounter Church, Dublin, Ohio
July 16-21 – Momentum Youth Conference, Marion, Ind.
July 26-31 – Vision2020South (national conference), Atlanta, Ga.

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