Tom Avey, who is retiring as Fellowship Coordinator, and his wife, Sandi, were honored. Tim Hodge, who is the incoming Fellowship Coordinator, also read a list of ministry executives in the Fellowship who have retired in the last two years (or will be retiring), including Jeff Carroll (Grace Village), Ken Seyfert (Grace Brethren Investment Foundation), Ed Lewis and Timothy (TK) Kurtanek (CE National), and Liz Cutler Gates (GraceConnect and BMH Books).
The day started with breakfast sponsored by Momentum Ministry Partners (formerly CE National). Jeff Bogue, president of the ministry, introduced staff who was present and shared about the journey the organization has been on for the past 18 months since he assumed the role, including weathering COVID, which forced the canceling or downsizing of several summer ministries in 2020.
At the morning session, Dr. Tiberius Rata shared about the Living Words. He noted they come from the living God, they teach us to live in purity, and they give us strength. He also noted they give us wisdom, comfort us, and guide us. He challenged the pastors and ministry leaders in the room to go back to the foundation of the Word of God. Having grown up in communist Romania, he urged that we reject the Marxism that says there is no God. (Click here to see the Thursday morning session, including Dr. Rata’s message.)
On Thursday, meals were sponsored by Assist Church Expansion, Encompass World Partners, and Grace College.
At the Assist breakfast, church planters were introduced, including Dayne Carraway, who is planting Church at the Well in Towson, Md.; Jordan Millice, who with his wife, Annabeth, is planting Grace Church in Urbana, Ohio; and Trey and Sarah Gilmore, who are beginning Contrast Church in the Grandview Heights area of Columbus, Ohio.
During the Encompass luncheon, executive director Dave Guiles encouraged people to release their children to ministry. He debuted a new video which includes the testimonies of several parents who dealt with seeing their grown children pursue ministry on the foreign field.
Grace College president, Dr. Bill Katip, shared encouraging news from campus during their dinner on Wednesday evening, including the fact that they are expecting a record enrollment this next year.
“Thirst is not the problem,” she said. “It’s where the thirst is quenched. She also said that Good News releases us from the bondage that had been sewn into our soul. (Click here to see the Wednesday morning session, including Dr. Hill’s challenge.
On Wednesday afternoon, Irv Clark, senior pastor at the Grace Brethren Church, Clinton, Md., spoke on “Living out God’s Word through our Unity.” He shared the history of the Clinton church and how two churches merged to become one in 2001. One was African American and the other was Caucasian. He said that he felt they “did it right” in planning the merger, but also noted that true diversity is what your board room looks like. “When that is diverse, you have a diverse church,” he stressed.
He noted that Jesus prayed for our unity. “Our unity is powerful,” he said. “The world needs to see the body of Christ unified,” he added. (Click here to see Pastor Clark’s message.)
Wednesday concluded with a performance by comedian Andrew Stanley (at right) and a post session party on the patio at the church.
See more photos from the week on the GraceConnect Facebook page.
The week concluded with an optional Charisymposium on Thursday afternoon in which eight contributors presented exegetical papers on Genesis 1-5 and Romans 1 in order to lay a biblical foundation on the topic of gender and sexuality. In coming years, the Symposium will develop the theological and pastoral implications for the Charis Fellowship’s view on this topic.