Today is Monday, 16 August, 2004. BNYC and National Conference are over, and the beginning of the school year and the fall are bearing down on us fast.
This weekend was filled with a number of interesting and enlightening activities. I met for nearly three hours on Saturday morning with Jerry Young, who is on his way west, to eventually end up in Tucson.
Jerry, who retired at the end of June from his long-term pastorate in Lititz, Pennsylvania, is on a contract with the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers to study how that organization might be more effective and contribute to the ongoing health and growth of ministry professionals in the FGBC.
Based on Jerry’s report to the AGBM at national conference, we talked about BMH assisting with a newsletter, and how that effort may integrate with a proposed website that the new AGBM president, pastor Tim Boal from Penn Valley, PA, will soon be mounting. Lee Dice has been preparing and mailing the AGBM newsletter for a number of years, but he finds the schedule and work increasingly burdensome and so we’re looking at how BMH might be able to come alongside the AGBM and provide some communication services which are our core competency, not theirs, and thus relieve AGBM to go on and do other internal developmental work.
Tom Julien gave me a copy of his Seize the Moment book this weekend, which I had not seen before. Published several years ago by Grace Brethren International Missions, is it partly an analysis of the growth and high points of the Grace Brethren missions movement, and partly a collection of outstanding anecdotes and personalized stories of mission pioneers and changes of direction and thought as GBIM has developed over the some 104 years of its existence.
I’m excited about all GBIM is doing, and found Tom’s book to be very helpful in gaining background. Parts of it may even find their way into future FGBC World issues, as we try to have some historical piece in each issue to help give background and perspective to the Grace Brethren movement.
Issue #5 (September/October) of FGBC World has gone off to press and should be arriving in homes and churches on or about September 1. We had far too much content for this issue, and so had to delay some of the good stories we were planning to run. A two-page photo essay on BNYC and National Conference provides an overview of these once-a-year highlight meetings for the FGBC and CENational. A slightly expanded version of the new copy is currently up on www.FGBCWorld.com and will stay there until a new issue is ready.
Yesterday Sharon and I drove about 45 miles northeast to Rome City, Indiana, for the Gene Stratton Porter Chautauqua Days festival. Porter, the novelist and naturalist who was popular early in the last century, is commemorated there each August at a national historical site—her writer’s cabin and visitor’s interpretive center are on Sylvan Lake. We saw artifacts from her life, an interpretive impersonator who gave first-person background and information on the author of the “Girl of the Limberlost” and much more.
I continue to feel that some similar kind of museum/interpretive/history center for the Grace Brethren movement would be a good and helpful thing. After touring the MennoHof center on Anabaptist history, and now seeing how much enthusiasm and volunteer effort goes into the commemoration of this author (who died in 1924), I feel more strongly than ever that some good initiatives ought to be started to help capture, display and commemorate the roots and historical movements of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. It will get done eventually—this is the time to evaluate options, formulate some dreams, gather resources, and coordinate those who have similar interest and motivation.
Jesse Deloe finished working with Dr. Homer Kent, Jr. on editing and revising his new manuscript for a commentary on the book of Mark this past week. Now, after some intensive proofreading, it will go off to our publishing partner and hopefully will appear on the national market about the first of November.
BMH Books is still feeling its way into what its place should be in the publishing world, but project-by-project it’s becoming clearer what our niche might be. We continue to have contact with perhaps 20 potential authors whose manuscripts may eventually find the light of day as BMH Books projects. And we are talking with some of the other national organizations—particularly CE National and GBIM—about the possibility of playing a role in helping their publications appear in print, as well.
Grace College students are beginning to filter into town. Local elementary and secondary schools are beginning their school years—Lakeland Christian Academy began Friday and others begin this week.
Most family vacations are over, and Sunday-after-next Pastor John Teevan will give his annual “State of the Church” address for Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church.
There’s something both sad and exciting about turning the corner from summer and entering fall. Tom Avey and the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches office will soon be moving in with us here at BMH, and we anticipate a good working relationship and sharing of efforts—especially in communication—that will benefit us all.
Through my open window I hear the backhoe cleaning up the site of the Gamma Dorm fire across the street—and this week we expect King’s Highway to be milled, repaved, and widened from here down to Wooster Road. Traffic will be a mess during the construction, but the finished product will be nice.
Reflecting back on nearly a year of re-entering and re-learning the Grace Brethren church (I started at BMH October 1, 2003), I continue to feel very blessed and positive about the strong, motivated people in the FGBC, about the creative ways churches are reaching out to share the gospel, and about the excellent world-consciousness FGBC people have about spreading the gospel and the Word of God around the globe.
There’s lots to be excited about, and lots to affirm as the FGBC continues to seek the most effective way to fulfill the Great Commission.