Last week we marked the 200th issue of GraceConnect eNews. As is our practice, we’re including the story from last week’s newsletter here, along with the results of a brief survey outlining some of the reader’s favorite stories. The eNews is a weekly “letter from home” that includes stories of what God is doing throughout the network of congregations that is the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.
A Letter from Home
Last week, a friend asked if I wanted some back issues of the Brethren Missionary Herald magazine. He was cleaning out the family home and came across copies of the publication, neatly bound into a volume for each year – from 1942 to 1970.
The Brethren Missionary Herald was a predecessor to GraceConnect eNews. It was the whole reason this organization was founded – to publish a regular magazine for people in what has become the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. From the first issue in 1940 to until it ceased publication in 1996, most families in the Fellowship received a copy of the magazine mailed to their home. It kept a growing network of congregations connected so they could pray for one another and encourage each other.
I generally don’t turn down bound copies of the magazine, even though it is now digitized and easily available online. (Click here to access the digital archive.) I told him to bring them over. We’d find a place for them. (This is NOT a request for more copies, however. I think we have enough.)
As we carried the books to the storeroom, we reminisced about the magazine. His father was a leader in the Fellowship and even served as Editor of the Brethren Missionary Herald for a time.
“I remember seeing this copy in our home,” he recalled, stopping at one issue as he leafed through one volume.
Funny thing is, I, too, remember the magazine in my childhood home on a dairy farm in rural Ohio. I’d read the stories about the missionaries and see whose photos were featured as part of the Missionary Helpers Club. I’d look for articles about students I knew at Grace College or churches in the region where I lived.
Another friend, who grew up in a Grace Brethren church in Maryland, has said the Herald magazine was like “a letter from home.” It let you know what was happening in the broader family.
One of the things that keep us together as a group of independent Grace Brethren congregations is maybe more than the biblical teaching or even three-fold communion. It is the relationships – the bonds created over years of serving together in ministry, sharing each other’s burdens and encouraging one another along the way.
In the last 200 weeks, we’ve told the stories of what God is doing in the Grace Brethren network. It’s my hope that it’s still like a letter from home. Though it’s not on paper and ink, it still can be read from your favorite chair with your preferred beverage in hand. You just need to sign on via your favorite device, whether laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
We won’t stop with this 200th edition. There are plenty of more stories to tell because God is doing amazing things through Grace Brethren churches and ministries.
My prayer is that this newsletter saturates the homes of people in Grace Brethren churches and creates more ministry partnerships and more prayer for kingdom causes. Just like the old Herald magazine, it’s my dream that at least one person in every home the Fellowship subscribes. (Of course, every family member could have their own subscription.)
Would you take a moment to connect with someone today and encourage them to subscribe to the eNews? Simply send them this link to sign up at no cost.
…You Answered! We sent a quick email asking you what your favorite story was in the 200-week history of GraceConnect eNews! Here are some of your responses. (Some stories were mentioned more than once.)
- “One of my recent favorites was the video that Movement Church produced on the police officer who was in a literal fight for his life, and the transformation that occurred. My father shared this video with a sports team he leads.” (Fight for Your Life, March 27, 2017)
- “Mousey’s Mailbox~ it’s an example of a young heart that is tender toward the Lord and how to serve Him no matter how old you are. (Mousey’s Mailbox, April 10, 2017)
- “The Risk of Adoption….because we have an adopted Korean son.” (The Risk of Adoption, April 30, 2015)
- “Cracking the Biblical Code” (May 16, 2016)
- “Building Each Other Up – I like the cooperation of churches reaching out to help another church.” (Building Each Other Up, November 23, 2015)