The “family” nature of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches was evident in 2014 as the most viewed stories on this website, graceconnect.us, centered around individuals who had serious illnesses or who had died.
The top story, Pray for Ron Boehm, was posted October 24 after Boehm, a Grace Brethren pastor and church-planting coach, experienced abdominal pain and underwent surgery for the repair of an iliac aneurysm. Four stories related to his illness actually made the list of most-accessed articles in 2014.
They were among many stories that were accessed on the site nearly 75,000 times during the year, with 62,812 unique page views (the number of visits during which a specified page was viewed at least once).
Boehm wasn’t the only one who was spotlighted with a serious illness, as prayer was requested. Also making the list was a story about Dr. Ron Manahan, who underwent bypass surgery in April, and one about Sue Guiles, wife of Dr. Dave Guiles, executive director of Encompass World Partners, who had an emergency appendectomy while traveling in Argentina, also in April. (Both have recovered and are doing fine.)
Other pages that included “family” news were the deaths of Virginia Faulkner, wife of Michael Faulkner, a pastor in New York; Dorothy Beaver, former Grace Brethren missionary and wife of Dr. Wayne Beaver; and Dr. John Sproule, former professor at Grace Theological Seminary. Deaths that impacted families in local churches also made the list of top stories, including a teen who died just weeks after making a life-changing commitment at Momentum Youth Conference, and a husband and father in Akron, Ohio, who drowned while helping rescue another swimmer.
On a brighter note, among the most-read stories were articles about members of a church who literally took the (cold water) plunge to raise funds for a family with a hospitalized baby, the beginning of national conference, and a congregation who was about ready to move into a new facility.
It is not uncommon for stories from previous years to also appear on the list. As with last year, a story from 2006 made the list at #10. (It was #3 last year.) It was the story, which first appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal, about a couple in the Ellet Grace Brethren Church who had adopted a girl who had been abused by her previous adoptive father. Other stories from previous years included an article about Emma Fretz and her hobby of creating beautiful works of art from eggs. Mrs. Fretz died on October 8 and was the widow of Walter Fretz, who was for many years the head of the Grace Brethren Investment Foundation in Winona Lake, Ind. A link to the 2006 story had been included in her obituary published on this site.
Not included in this list are the hits on the pages for the Timothy Letters, which were written by participants at the Focus Retreats for ministry leaders early in the year.
Visits to the sites came primarily from desktop computers, with 67.13 percent. Mobile users numbered 20.42 percent, while 12.44 percent of traffic came from tablets.
Here are the top 25 posts for 2014:
- Pray for Ron Boehm – October 24, 2014
- Continued Prayers for Ron Boehm Requested – October 25, 2014
- Jumping in the Lake: The Yeiter Cold Water Challenge – May 7, 2014
- Virginia Faulkner, Pastor’s Wife, Dies – March 3, 2014
- Prayer Requests, Praise Notes, for Ron Boehm – October 27, 2014
- Thought-Provoking Topics at Friday Momentum – July 20, 2013
- Two Pennsylvania Churches Welcome Pastors – December 1, 2014
- What Makes the FGBC Unique? – July 10, 2014
- Akron Church Member Dies Helping Rescue Teenager – June 2, 2014
- Ellet Adoption Story Brings Strong Response – April 16, 2006
- Emma Fretz Crafts Eggcellent Creations – April 1, 2006
- FellowShift, the FGBC National Conference, Begins – July 18, 2014
- Pickerington Church Readies for First Service in New Facility – November 21, 2013
- Tozer Grave Near Ellet Church in Akron – April 17, 2006
- Tim Miller, Former Pastor’s Son, Dies – February 17, 2014
- Nicole Beguin, 2013 Grace College Graduate, Dies in Accident – August 11, 2014
- Ron Boehm Recovering at Home – November 3, 2014
- Grace College Grad Dies in Accident – August 10, 2014
- Leamersville Church, Pastor Mark Lingenfelter Featured – April 4, 2012
- Dorothy Beaver, Missionary to the CAR, Dies – April 4, 2014
- Dr. John Sproule, Former Seminary Professor, Dies – October 2, 2014
- Ashland, Ohio, Teen Dies in Accident – August 16, 2014
- Boy, WLGBC Attender, Dies as a Result of Bicycle Accident – July 7, 2014
- Ron Manahan Update – April 17, 2014
- Pray for Sue Guiles – April 14, 2014
Visitors came from 125 countries, up from last year’s 123. The top 20 included:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
- South Korea