I feel blessed to be in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. I walked the aisle in a Grace Brethren church at the age of seven to acknowledge Christ as my Savior. I was surrounded by a congregation of godly men and women who prayed for me and my friends through our teen years more times than I’m sure we’ll know on this side of heaven.
I met some of my best friends in life, especially my husband, because of the Grace Brethren church. Not only did I develop relationships with people in the congregations where I worshiped, I connected with individuals through district camps, Brethren National Youth Conferences, at Grace College, and the annual conference for the FGBC. Those are all marked with memories of speakers, quizzing, and NAC competition. Some of my dearest friends in the fellowship today are individuals I fi rst met at youth conference, prayed for their missionary parents who were working in a far-off land, or sat next to in a college class.
That’s why I love attending conference. It’s been called a family reunion because that is what it is – not only are we brothers and sisters in the faith, but we share a common history, a bond that is marked by memories of a college-aged Ed Lewis playing the piano with gusto in the old Lancer gym or Jim Custer teaching about demons to a McClain Hall auditorium fi lled with spell-bound teens. We’ve washed each other’s feet on the beach in Florida, enjoyed communion in Columbus, and been challenged in Montreal to begin new churches. We’re committed to the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible.
Each conference is unique and this year was no exception. Th e pages of this magazine will give you a glimpse of two separate, yet distinctive gatherings of the Grace Brethren this summer. At Momentum in Cedarville, Ohio, teens were challenged to lay down their lives and serve others. At Celebrate ’10 in Cincinnati, Ohio, adults were asked to consider the future of our network of churches – how do we maintain the scripturally-sound, culturallyrelevant church that has come to typify the FGBC, while moving ahead together for the kingdom? For the first time, both conferences came together for “We Care Miami Valley,” sharing Christ’s love with the people of the greater Dayton area and beyond, through outreach events and acts of caring around the region.
But you’ll read about more than just conferences in this issue. New churches are the lifeblood of our future, taking the gospel to the unreached people of North America. No one, in my mind, typifies church planting in our fellowship better than Lester Pifer, the long-retired church planting executive for our fellowship. He turned 90 years old this year and is still sharing the gospel and encouraging young men while serving as a staff pastor in Columbus, Ohio. You’ll read his story on page 8.
C.S. Lewis once remarked, “Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?” I feel that way when I’ve been
with a few of my Grace Brethren colleagues, whether circled around a fire, worshiping in an auditorium, or talking over coffee. I hope you’ll get that sense as you read through this issue of the magazine.