Celebrate 2010, the annual conference of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, was nontraditional in format but still very much a traditional annual meeting in spirit. It was held July 16 to 20 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nearly 500 people participated from around the U.S. and Canada.
On Saturday, registrants from Celebrate joined with the students at the Momentum youth conference (which was concluding in nearby Cedarville, Ohio) to minister as part of We Care Miami Valley. They scrubbed toilets in a senior citizens tower, played games with kids at community picnics, painted aging houses, and talked with people about the love of Jesus, to mention a few of the activities. It was an effort to put hands and feet to the gospel, going into neighborhoods and meeting needs while sharing about Jesus Christ.
Speakers Tom Hocking, the moderator of the FGBC and pastor of the Bellflower Brethren Church in California, and Jeff Bogue, pastor of Grace Church, a Grace Brethren church in Akron, Ohio, focused the conference on the future of the Fellowship of Grace
At business meetings on Sunday and Monday, the conference welcomed four congregations into the fellowship. They include Darby Grace Brethren Church (Shawn Kaeser, pastor), Plain City, Ohio; MISPA Missionary Community (Luc Nonorme, pastor), Miami, Fla.; Capital City Grace Brethren Church (Larry Totzke, pastor), Columbus, Ohio; and Iglesia Vida Nueva (Abner A. Solano, pastor), Grandview, Wash. Also approved as a cooperating ministry was Servant Send Ministries, a Pennsylvania organization founded by Grace Brethren pastor Dan O’Deens that will have a two-pronged focus: nextchurchplant.com, an individualized approach to mobilizing and motivating church planters and churches to accomplish their vision, and CPR-3 (Crisis Preparation Readiness), to help the Church provide hope in times of crisis.
In addition, the conference voted to remove the provisional status from Go2 Church Planting Ministries and Vision Ohio. At the 2008 conference, Go2 was granted a provisional national ministry status and Vision Ohio was granted a provisional cooperating ministry status. (A national ministry, while sponsored and controlled by members of Grace Brethren churches, must have representation from the three regions of the U.S. and Canada.)
Three men were elected to serve on the Fellowship Council, the group that meets twice a year to conduct business for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. They are Dave Kennedy, lead pastor of the Community of Grace, Richmond, Va., representing the eastern region; Clancy Cruise, lead pastor of the Grace Brethren Church, Marysville, Ohio, representing the central region; and Michael Saldivar, pastor of youth and worship at LaLoma Grace Brethren Church, Modesto, Calif., representing the western region. Roy Halberg, pastor of Grace Fellowship, Alta Loma, Calif., was appointed to fill a vacated term, also representing the western region.