Javier Forero, who is a pastor at Iglesia Comunal La Esperanza, a Grace Brethren church in Valrico, Fla., has been examined by the Florida-Caribbean District of Grace Brethren Churches and has been recommended for licensure.
Although keeping it surprise was not an easy task for the family of Grace Church at Willow Valley (John F. Smith, pastor) in Lancaster, Pa., on Sunday, June 14, Pastor Bob and Dorothy Kern were escorted through the doors of the church’s family life center where approximately 300 guests quietly waited. The Willow Valley Church where Pastor Bob has been associate pastor of senior adult ministries for the past nine years gathered to honor his 50 years of pastoral ministry. The evening included a “This is Your Life” presentation featuring secret guests from past ministries who also joined in honoring Dorothy, who has faithfully served alongside her husband.
Congratulations may be sent to the Kerns at 527 Park Avenue, Quarryville, Pa. 17566.
Ron and Thelma Thompson were honored by the Grace Brethren Church of Aiken, S.C. (Steve Taylor, pastor) on August 30 as the couple moves to Tennessee in partial retirement. The couple has been involved in ministry for more than 50 years, including serving 14 years as the evangelist for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.
CE National, Winona Lake, Ind., honored a variety of individuals and organizations during Equip09, the national conference of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, which was held July 26-31 in Columbus, Ohio. They include:
– Pastor Mike Brubaker, Grace Community Church, Frederick, Md., National Pastoral or Church Staff Member of the Year Award for his faithfulness and vision in the area of Spiritual growth, Outreach ministries, Biblical training and teaching.
– Grace Church, Akron, Ohio, I Care Akron, Outreach Idea of the Year Award
– Melinda Cosentino, Grace Brethren Church, Canton, Ohio, The Durwood and Claudine Brooks National Bible Quiz Coach Award. She has taken a non-existent quiz team to one that is exciting and thriving. Her heart is focused on the students learning God’s Word.
– Field Focus Teams, Grace Brethren Church, Winona Lake, Ind., Church Ministry Idea of the Year
– Jerry and Jan Kelley, Grace Brethren Church, Simi Valley, Calif., Senior Medal of Ministry Award (sponsored by Grace Village). The Kelleys have faithfully serve the local church by shepherding the “Keen-agers,” teaching Sunday School, hosting a mid-week Bible study, leading a nursing home ministry, and providing comfort and healing to hurting people. (Jerry and Jan Kelley, Kelly, Jerry and Jan.jpg)
– Joyce Bachman, Kendallville, Ind., Youth Sponsor of the Year Award. She has been sharing Christ with the youth of Noble County for more than 25 years! She disciples and leads a girls small group and prays faithfully for our young people.
CE also presented Faithfulness Awards:
– Pastor Bob Combs, Grace Church, Norton, Ohio, for the 36 years of faithful service to the people at Grace Church and for his dedication to see others come to know Christ!
– Greg McNeal, Kendallville, Ind., for his faithfulness as a church elder, Jr. High Sunday School teacher, and helper where needed. For pointing others towards Christ.
– Helen Diffenderfer, Susquehanna Grace Brethren Church, Wrightsville, Pa., Helen and Warren helped start this church 40 years ago. She remains faithful, praying and giving wise counsel, always pointing to God’s grace and His plan.
– Benny Zakaski, Grace Brethren Church, Canton, Ohio, Benny has taught Sunday school to young people for more than 50 years. He has a desire to see other know Jesus, and even transports un-churched kids to services.
The Association of Grace Brethren Ministers at its annual national conference meeting in Columbus, Ohio, in July awarded its top three awards for service.
– Kent Good, who has served with his wife, Becky, for many years with Grace Brethren International Missions first in France and most recently in Cambodia, was given the Excellence in Ministry award.
– The Pastor of the Year award was given to Greg Howell, who has for many years pastored the Grace Brethren Church in Goldendale, Wash.
– The Lifetime Achivement Award was given in absentia to E. William Male who served many years as a Grace Brethren pastor, Christian educator, and administrator at Grace College and Seminary in Winona Lake, Ind.
On the Move
Jim Murray is now the pastor of youth and young adults at the Grace Brethren Church of Aiken, S.C., where he has served as an intern pastor of youth since January. He is a recent graduate of Columbia Biblical Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree.
Grace Brethren Chaplain (First Lieutenant) Jeff Mason is home from Iraq, where he has been stationed with the 157th Combat Service and Support Brigade.
Dr. Terry Hofecker, pastor of Northwest Chapel Grace Brethren Church, Dublin, Ohio, participated in an archaeology project at Tel Gezer, Israel, this summer.
Jesus and Rosa Munoz have joined the Latin American team of Grace Brethren International Missions (GBIM) and will continue to plant Spanish-speaking churches in Florida. “I believe that my ministry with GBIM will be more effective because of the number of our church members who go back to their countries of origin,” he said. “We can send these church members as missionaries to their own countries.” It was incorrectly reported in the last issue that he would be working with the Florida District Missions Board.
Donald R. Bowlin, former Grace Brethren pastor, died June 13, 2009, in Hemet, Calif.
Morgan Burgess, 76, Delaware, Ohio, died June 28, 2009. The father of Grace Brethren missionary Greg Burgess, he also served on the boards of the Grace Brethren Investment Foundation and Grace Brethren Home Missions.
Dortha Dowdy, retired missionary to Argentina, died July 22, 2009, at the age of 97. She and her husband, James Paul Dowdy, served in Argentina from March 1937 until June 1962 and then again from August of 1971 until their retirement in 1973. (, Dowdy.jpg)
Margaret “Peggy” Ethel Spangler-Dwyer, 96, died July 6, 2009, in Colorado Springs, Col. She along with her late husband, Don, were former Grace Brethren missionaries to the Central African Republic.
Arnold R. Kriegbaum, died June 27, 2009, at the age of 95 in Fishers, Ind. He was a Grace Brethren minister in California, Iowa, and Florida. From 1953-1961 he served as the editor of the Brethren Missionary Herald magazine and, from 1962-1979, as dean of students at Grace College, Winona Lake, Ind.
Joel Anthony Martin, 27, formerly of Chambersburg, Pa., died July 18, 2009, in Indianapolis, Ind. A Grace College graduate, he was pursuing a graduate degree in school psychology at Ball State University, Muncie, Ind. In 1999, he served on the Florida Operation Barnabas team.
See In Memoriam for complete obituaries.