The small town of Bethlehem, Pa., stands at a crossroads of sorts. Situated less than two hours from Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and New York, the former steel town welcomes varied ethnic groups and nationalities from all over the country. About six years ago, Lehigh Valley Grace Brethren Church was asking God how they could effectively reach into the community around them. Instead, God answered by bringing the community to them.
“We’d been praying for about two years,” said Lehigh Valley pastor Larry Humberd. “An Egyptian family comes to us. They had been attending a Plymouth Brethren church over in Egypt. When they came to the states, they had been meeting in somebody’s living room and were too big for the home. They asked us if they could use our facility for worship.”
The church agreed enthusiastically, and the small Egyptian church began conducting services in Arabic on Sunday afternoons at LV Grace. A year later, a small Filipino congregation came to Humberd and told him they needed a place to meet as well.
“We had the church booked all Sunday morning, and then the Egyptian church from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., and we’re back at 6:00 at night doing other ministries,” explains Humberd. “So the Filipino pastor said to me, ‘Look, we’ll be flexible because we know we’re asking you for help, but we were hoping maybe something like Sundays between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m.’”
It was a no‑brainer. Now, three churches meet in the building at LV Grace, and every so often, all three congregations convene for a celebration, including what they call Praise, Prayer & Pie at Thanksgiving, and another event around Independence Day. “There’s a good mix of families and culture there,” notes Humberd.
“Now, the church building in use the entire day. God really impressed me with the idea that we can make our plans, but if we pray, He will set things up His way. We prayed, and God dropped these opportunities in our lap. God is awesome!”
Click here to send a note of encouragement to Pastor Humberd.
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.