GraceConnect magazine is being mailed this week. Below is the introductory editorial for the issue. Additional stories will be posted here in the coming weeks, but if you can’t wait, read the complete issue here. It’s also available, at no charge, at ISSUU. For a free subscription, mailed directly to your home, click here. (Bulletin and newsletter announcements for use by local churches will also be emailed this week.)
I’d joined four of my long-time friends for a girls’ get-away. That Saturday afternoon, we shared stories, laughed together, and shopped our way through the quaint destination we had chosen. But there was one moment that stands out in my mind.
Taking a break, one of my friends sat on a bench to call her mother, the caregiver for her ailing father in a city more than a hundred miles away. She learned he had taken a turn for the worse and her mother was alone, sitting at his side in the hospital.
As she concluded her conversation, my friend joined us, her eyes filled with tears. “He’s not doing well,” she said. “She’s by herself. I wish I could be there with her.”
It didn’t take long for us to huddle with our arms around her. We prayed for her, for her dad in the hospital, and for her mom, who was carrying much of the burden by herself. We weren’t in a grand cathedral or on a spectacular mountaintop, but on a modest street corner in small town America. In the moment, I felt the power of prayer and the importance of those relationships that allow us to come together before the throne of God.
It’s a picture of the biblical relationships found within the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, which was one of the top values identified by pastors and leaders last year during regional Focus Retreats.
Its significance is repeated again and again as I move among Grace Brethren gatherings.
“We are family.”
“We need each other.”
“Take pride in our tribe.”
“I believe that you want the name of Jesus to be made famous,” said Jeff Bogue, senior pastor of Grace Church in Akron, Ohio, speaking at Fellowshift (2014 national conference). “I believe if we take all that God has given us, we love each other, and we share, then we can change the world.”
The current issue of GraceConnect magazine is about those world-changing relationships found in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. It is our hope that it will encourage you to seek out a pastor, leader, or parishioner in another church as a ministry teammate, prayer partner, or friend – all for the greater good of the Kingdom.
I’d encourage you to connect with others than through the platforms of GraceConnect, as well. You’ll find opportunities to learn more about the people and churches of the FGBC through the weekly eNews, stories at graceconnect.us, and on social media sites such as facebook.com/graceconnectus, twitter.com/graceconnectus, or instagram.com/graceconnect.
Among those posts, you’ll find opportunities to pray for someone else, like we did on that street corner. Later that evening, my friend talked to her mother again to learn that her dad had improved. In addition, a couple who had planned to visit the next day, showed up at the hospital that afternoon. They were an encouragement to her mom and an answer to prayer. For that moment, they changed the world for my friend’s mother.
GraceConnect is produced by the Brethren Missionary Herald Company for leaders and individuals in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC). It is printed quarterly and mailed, at no charge, to interested individuals.