GraceConnect eNews, No. 92, Week of March 23, 2015

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
After months without a pulpit, Reverend Herman H. Hein, Jr. opened the Kenai Grace Brethren Church on January 4, 1970. Fifteen people met for morning worship in the Kenai Library.

Six Months Without A Pulpit

This story, by Reverend Herman H. Hein, Jr., was first published in the February 1970 edition of the Brethren Missionary Herald. In it, he shares his story of challenges and growth as he founded a Brethren Church in Kenai, Alaska. Enjoy this throwback to another era in the history of the Grace Brethren movement.

During the 16 years of my ministry, the thought has often come to mind, “What is it like to be without a church, or a regular pulpit ministry?” Well, I found out. From the time of the last message at Kokomo, Indiana, to the first message in the Kenai (Alaska) Grace Brethren Church, it was exactly six months.

Every Sunday morning during those six months there was an empty feeling because we could not go to our church to preach the Gospel of Jesus. It was an empty period of time. We enjoyed witnessing to others, but it isn't the same as preaching the Word. But praise the Lord, the six months of emptiness is passed.

I have a pulpit again! It is only a small homemade lectern, made during substitute teaching in a high school manual training class, but what a blessing to preach that first message after all that time!

After waiting and preparing for thirteen years from the original call of God to begin this work, we look back and see how the Lord was working to bring it to pass. Let’s go back to six months ago when we enjoyed our last Sunday with the people of Kokomo. They sent us forth with thirty-five almost new songbooks, two lovely offering plates, a new guest register, their blessings, and their support. The Brethren Home Missions Council sent out a Minute-Man Appeal to pay our expenses to get us here.

On arriving in Anchorage, I was employed part time as the sales and service representative for the Alaska Scale Company. On arriving in Kenai, I was sponsored by a local businessman into selling Amway Products. In September I was hired as a substitute teacher in the Kenai High School and Soldotna Junior High. These jobs, along with what my wife can earn at a part-time job with Sears Roebuck, and help of $100 a month from Brethren Home Missions to help on our lodging, we have been able to make our livelihood.

The Lord began to work more outwardly. There was a great need for school teachers - so Beverly Welborn, our daughter, was promised a job teaching. It didn’t take long for Beverly and Jim, her husband, to get started on their way to Alaska. I found Jim a job in electronics before he arrived, and now both are employed. Then the Lord provided a job for Terry Appleby, and he and his family arrived on December 20.

We met on December 13 and organized the Grace Brethren Church, with plans to start the first Sunday of the New Year, but there was no place to meet. Then the new Baptist work meeting in the library moved out on December 20, leaving it open for us. So January 4, 1970, arrived along with 14 people for Sunday school, 15 people for morning worship, and 13 more back for evening worship. So that is how the Lord started the Grace Brethren Church of Kenai, Alaska. Praise His Name! The six months of emptiness is over.

Kenai is a city with a population of almost 8,000 scattered over an area about eight miles long and two miles wide at places. Many of these people have not started to church since they moved here. It is not going to be an easy job, but it will be a blessed job. God has shown us that His mighty hand is in the work. “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

--Rev. Herman H. Hein, Jr. served served with Grace Brethren Home Missions for many years, establishing and pastoring churches in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Alaska. He passed away June 6, 2010 (find his obituary here). Read his unabridged story and browse the rest of the 1970 archives by clicking here. Read our previous throwback story here

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[Your Turn]


[Read:]

Ally Charriez went to Haiti thinking it was a country full of people less fortunate than she. Instead, she was overwhelmed by the wealth and depth of relationships the people of Haiti shared, despite their material poverty.  Take a minute to read her meditation on happiness versus material wealth on the CPR-3 blog.  

--

Josh Starkey, worship director at the Grace Brethren Church in Simi Valley, Calif. (Jordan Bakker, pastor), talks about church membership in a recent blog post. "Membership is important to us because it's a tangible expression of commitment, and of responsibility, that we share toward one another in the body of Christ," he writes. Read the rest of the post here.

[RUN:] 
 
Grace Community Church in Goshen, Ind. (Jim Brown, pastor) is raising money for Grace4Iraq, a project that provides apartments and medical resources for refugees displaced by ISIS in Iraq, by hosting the AMAZINGRACE this coming September. Click here for more information about the race. (If you don't want to run, there are also options for volunteers and sponsors.)  Don't forget to add Grace4Iraq to your prayer list; you can read more about what Grace4Iraq is doing here.

 

Events in the FGBC

April 24-25 – WLS Class: Women and Scripture, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (WGUSA) 
June 15-July 27 – Operation Barnabas, Winona Lake, Ind. (CEN)
June 21-27, 2015  Great Canadian Adventure, Toronto, Ontario (GBC)
June 21-27, 2015 – Encounter Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga. (EWP)
June 23-July 7 City Life Tours East Coast & West Coast (CEN)
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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