Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pray for Chuck Lawson, on Ventilator

A phone call today from Ken Lawson, son of Trotwood, Ohio, pastor Chuck Lawson, alerts us to pray for Pastor Chuck, who is currently hospitalized at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio.

Chuck Lawson has been being treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and is currently on a ventilator, laboring to breathe, according to Ken.

Your prayers for Chuck and his doctors would be appreciated.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Marilyn G. Salazar With the Lord

Marilyn G. Salazar

BMH has just learned of the death on April 28, 2010, of Marilyn G. Salazar, wife of Robert Salazar, former pastor of the Everett Brethren Church, a Grace Brethren church in Everett, Pennsylvania.

Marilyn G. Salazar, 75, of Bedford, Penna., died Wednesday, April 28, 2010, at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown. She was born August 20, 1934 in Lewistown, daughter of the late Dr. Samuel J. and Florence L. (Hummel) Steinberger.

On August 5, 1956, she married Rev. Robert G. Salazar and he survives along with three children; Colleen, wife of David Young of Duarte, CA; Alan Salazar, married to the former Julie Ostgaard of McKinney, TX; and Jeffrey Salazar, married to the former Penny Bossenbrobk of Ontario, Ca; and nine grandchildren. Also surviving is a brother, Carl Steinberger and wife Nancy of Pomona, NY, and a sister, Cheryl Huff of East Burkeville, TX.

Mrs. Salazar was a member of the Everett Brethren Church. She graduated from Robert P. Smith High School in 1952 and Bryan University at Dayton, TN in 1956. She taught elementary through high school the past 30 years.

She was also a missionary to Spain for five years. She was an accomplished pianist, and taught piano to many Bedford area students.

Graveside services were held Tuesday, May 4, 2010, at the Maitland Brethren Church in Lewistown.

Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Available

Lake Institute on Faith and Giving Invites Applications for Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship on Religion and Philanthropy

The Lake Institute on Faith and Giving at the Center on Philanthropy, Indiana University is offering a one-year doctoral dissertation fellowship of $22,000 for the academic year 2011-12.

The fellowship is intended to support the final year of dissertation writing and will be given to a scholar whose primary research focus is in the area of religion and philanthropy or faith and giving.

Applicants must be candidates for the Ph.D. degree at a graduate school in the United States; fulfill all pre-dissertation requirements by December 31, 2010, including approval of the dissertation proposal with the expectation that the dissertation will be completed no later than June 1, 2013; and have not received a similar grant or fellowship to support dissertation writing.

Visit the Center on Philanthropy Web site for complete program information.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Registration for Southwest Focus Retreat Now Open

Registration for the Southwest Focus Retreat for Grace Brethren ministry leaders is now open. The retreat will be January 31 to February 2 at a new location, The Oaks Conference Center, Lake Hughes, California.

This will be the third retreat that follows the theme “Fully Alive” and provides participants an opportunity to step away from their regular responsibilities to focus on what is happening in their own lives. Dan Allan, pastor of the Grace Brethren Church, Ashland, Ohio, and Tony Webb, executive director of Vision Ohio, are the leaders.

“As a family of churches, leaders need some time when they are out of the spotlight and where it is safe to talk,” says Tom Avey, who plans the weekends as coordinator for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. “Focus Retreats provide this setting. Dan and Tony are working to provide 48 hours of re-focus and refreshment for ministry. Please come! It will be safe. You will be out of the spotlight. You will be glad you came.”

Tom Hocking, the 2009-2011 moderator of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, also stresses the importance of participating in a Focus Retreat.

“In order to pursue the passions of our Commitment to Common Mission—namely, church planting, leadership development, and integrated ministry—we must sink deep roots into the reality of Christ in us, the hope of glory,” he says. “Please pray with me that God will use these Focus Retreats to refresh our souls at the fountain of life, equipping us to start springs of life in our everyday contexts.”

This is the first time the Southwest event will be held at The Oaks Conference Center, which is located in a secluded valley at the edge of the Angeles National Forest, 65 miles north of Los Angeles. Click here for directions to The Oaks.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Jerry Young 'Remains About the Same'

Jerry Young, longtime retired pastor from the Grace Brethren church in Lititz, Penna., and more recently the ministry director for the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers, continues about the same.

This material is taken from his CaringBridge website. Jerry had a tumor removed on Wednesday, February 17, 2010, from his bile duct. He has been diagnosed with Choleangio adenocarcin​oma, which is a cancer of the bile duct.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 5:54 PM, MST

Greetings from Janae, Justin, Jared & Jason!

Thank you for all of your continued support for our family! We have two incredible parents and we appreciate all the love and support that has been given to them (and chocolate)!

There isn't much new to report on Dad. He remains about the same with no major day to day changes. He did get up and eat breakfast with the whole family 3 days in a row and it was wonderful to have most of our family together (we were missing Eric, Chase and Brianna)! We snuck a dozen roses in the house today and hid them from Mom so that Dad could give them to her! It was a sweet moment for her!

Mom is AMAZING!! She coordinates so many things while taking care of Dad. She has so much support from the many friends nearby.

For now we will keep praying for Peace and Comfort during these times! God is Good!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Clever Idea for Ministerium Meeting

Here's a clever idea, generated by Roy Halberg, which the Southern California ministerium will be enjoying at their next meeting:

Who doesn't love books? Who has enough books?
I've been buying, reading, collecting books since junior high and now I find I have many that I no longer need. How about you?
I am bringing several books to GIVE AWAY . . . my paper books have been replaced by digital copies . . . and I no longer need them

How about you? Got a book or two you could give away to a brother? Bring your books!! One book or a box . . .

November 9 is "GIVE A BROTHER A BOOK DAY" . . . come early, come often . . . you'll be glad you did!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Marguerite Tresise With the Lord

BMH has just received a call from Pastor Frank Figueroa, Jr., of the Waipio Grace Brethren Church, Mililani, Hawaii, to let us know that Marguerite Tresise, 99, passed away Wednesday, October 20, 2010, at 12:36 pm Pacific Time. She was the wife of the late Rev. Foster Tresise, founder of the first Grace Brethren church in Hawaii. She would have been 100 years old on December 14.

Foster passed away January 2, 2001, at age 86. They have a daughter, Leilani.

Maxine Peters With the Lord

S. Maxine Peters, wife of longtime Grace Brethren pastor Jack Peters and mother of Pastor Steve Peters of the Community Grace Brethren Church in West Milton, Ohio, has gone to be with the Lord.

Maxine, age 85, of West Milton, Ohio, departed this world October 20th. She is greatly missed by her devoted husband of 64 years, Jack, two sons, Jack Jr. (Deborah) and Steve (Sue) and precious Dawnie, 9 grandchildren, Tarah, John, Suzanne, Rachel, Steve, Scott, Stewart, Sarah and Seth, 23 great grandchildren and 2 nieces Twila (Hal) and Jan (Robin). She was preceded in death by her parents Paul and Ola (Johnston) Mustard and her dear sister Eileen Montgomery.

Maxine graduated from Jefferson High School and National Business College in Roanoke, Virginia. She was employed by the Virginia State Parole Board, Donaldson Air Force Base Greenville, SC, Mack Truck Hagerstown, MD and in later years as librarian at Community Church in West Milton.

Maxine was an accomplished vocalist and pianist. She spent her life serving her Lord in ministry and her husband. Celebration of her homegoing will be on Monday at 10 a.m.(viewing) and 11 a.m. (service) at Hale-Sarver Funeral Home, 284 N. Miami St. in West Milton, Ohio. In lieu of flowers gifts can be made to Community Church Missions.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jerry Young Gets Some Bad News

Dr. Jerry Young, former pastor at Lititz, Penna., and most recently ministry director for the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers, has been battling a series of serious health problems the last several years. He and his wife, Loreen, live in Tucson, Arizona, and this latest post from Loreen on Jerry's Caring Bridge website is cause for fervent prayer:

Jerry had the PET scan this afternoon and we got the worst news. The cancer in now in the liver so that is why he has been feeling so terrible the past two weeks. Hospice is coming here tomorrow to interview us.

He does not want any surgery, chemo or any other measures taken, so as before, it is all in God's hands.

The good news is that his mom is still hanging in there and we have sold the truck and RV to dear friends in Phoenix, John and Martha Schumacher, so that is an answer to prayer. Glad I have a least a couple of praises as it seems like every journal entry is negative so I am glad to have these couple of praises.

Just keep praying for both of us as I know you angels already are doing. This had been pretty crushing for me. Well, for both of us, but he took it much better than I did today. God bless you dear ones.

To follow Jerry's Caring Bridge website, log onto:

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Few Suggestions for Reading

Daron Butler, pastor of cross-cultural missions at the Grace Brethren Church, Wooster, Ohio, asked an interesting question of pastors at the recent Central Focus Retreat, held October 11-13 at the Mohican Lodge near Perrysville, Ohio. He wrote about it recently on his blog, the Daron Butler Blog. Here's a bit of his post. Click here to read it in its entirety.

Books pastors are reading from Central Focus Retreat

During lunch on Tue Oct 12 at the Central Focus retreat I asked Pastor Terry Hofecker and Pastor Tony Webb what books they were reading or recently read. Here is their "off-the-top-of-their-head"
  • "Tangible Kingdom" by Hugh Halter & Matt Smay. View a video and other resources at missio.us"
  • "Tangible Kingdom" workbook was highly recommended if you thinking of starting a new ministry to young adults.

To read the rest of the list, click here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seal Beach Announces Intentional Pastoral Transition Plan

The Grace Brethren church in Seal Beach, Calif., which has been pastored for many years by Donald Shoemaker, has announced a long-range plan, at Shoemaker's request, to transition senior pastoral leadership. Here is the announcement.

"OCTOBER 12, 2010. The Board of Elders of Grace Community Church of Seal Beach, California, after an extensive study of Pastor Donald Shoemaker’s request to conclude his Senior Pastor duties sometime in the near future, has announced that Pastor Don will continue in his position as Senior Pastor until January 8, 2012. At that time, he will become the church’s Pastor Emeritus.

"The Board has also announced plans for interim leadership for 2012, utilizing the pastoral services of current staff members, Pastor Steve Williams and Pastor Bob Wriedt, with the intention to call a new Senior Pastor by the end of 2012.”

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

James Renick Obituary

Rev. James R. Renick, 72, of Salunga, Pennsylvania, passed away peacefully on Sunday, October 3, 2010, at Susquehanna Valley Nursing Center, Columbia. He was married to Joyce Baker Renick for 46 years.

Jim retired in 2003 from Cokesbury Bookstore at Lancaster Theological Seminary. Previously, he and his wife served in Christian ministries in France.

Jim earned a Master’s Degree in Missions from Princeton Seminary and a Master’s Degree in Theology from Grace Theological Seminary. He attended Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lancaster. A people person, Jim developed many friends throughout the world and enjoyed keeping in touch with them. He also enjoyed reading, history, games, puzzles, and especially spending time with his family.

Born in Hartford, CT, he was the son of the late Job R. and Louise Trimmer Renick.

In addition to his wife, Jim is survived by his children, Lauri and James Renick, both of Lancaster; two sisters, Mary Lou (Harry) Nickles, NY, and Ruth (Luis) Sandoval, NM; a brother, John (Linda) Renick, FL, and a brother-in-law, Carl Welty, MD. Two sisters, Joan Hollister and Helen Welty, and a brother-in-law, Jack Hollister, preceded him in death.

A memorial service for Jim will be held at Sheetz Funeral Home, 16 E. Main St., Mount Joy on Saturday, October 9, 2010, at 1 p.m. Burial is private in Westminster Church Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Parkinson’s Disease Center, Research, 330 S. 9th St., Philadelphia, PA 19107. Online condolences to:

Pastor Galen Lingenfelter With the Lord

Longtime Grace Brethren pastor Galen M. Lingenfelter died at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 5, 2010, in Pasadena, California, at 89 years of age. His son, Sherwood Lingenfelter and daughter-in-law Judy were at his bedside when he departed quietly into the presence of the Lord and Savior he had served for more than 55 years.

The west coast members of the family will gather for viewing the deceased and greeting guests at Cabot Funeral Home, 27 Chestnut Street, Pasadena, California, from noon to 3 p.m. on Thursday, October 7. Sherwood and Judy will
host a reception at their home (655 N. El Molino Ave) for the extended
family immediately following the viewing.

The funeral services for Galen Lingenfelter will be held at the Leamersville Grace
Brethren Church, Dncansville, Penna., on Monday, October 11, 2010. Viewing will begin at 1 p.m. EDT, and the memorial service will begin at 2 p.m. The internment service will be held about 4 p.m. at the Brumbaugh Cemetery in Fredericksburg, Pa.

Friends of the family are welcome at the Cabot Funeral Home on Thursday,
October 7, 2010 in Pasadena, CA, and at the memorial and internment
services at the Leamersville Grace Brethren Church, Leamersville, Pa on
Monday, October 11, 2010.

Flowers may be sent to either the Cabot Funeral Home or the Leamersville Grace Brethren Church. Gifts may be given to Fuller Theological Seminary for scholarships in the name of Galen M. Lingenfelter.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Hawaii's Frank Figueroa Recommended for Ordination

Note from the Wapio Grace Brethren Church in Mililani, Hawaii, regarding Pastor Frank Figueroa, Jr.:

Aloha, I'm Steve Butler, the Head Deacon of the Waipio Grace Brethren Church in Mililani, Hawaii. Good news, I've been forwarded an email From Ted Kirnbauer, Pastor of Grace Fellowship and the head of the Hawaii Ordination Board. In it he states that Pastor Frank's Board Examination results was unanimous in his favor and offered congratulations.

On behalf of the Deacon Board and congregation of the Waipio Grace Brethren Church I thank you for all your Aloha (love and concern) that you have showed to our Pastor and to our congregation. Please let me know how I can be of further service. Thank you once again, Steve

Steven C. Butler
Head Deacon
Waipio Grace Brethren Church

Thursday, September 23, 2010

NCO Recommends Two for Ordination

Todd Scoles, coordinator for the North Central Ohio district reports, "Both John Shirley (Heartland GBC) and Jonathan Wiley (GBC Columbus) were recommended unanimously to their respective congregations for ordination as elders in the FGBC. Thanks to the men who came last Wednesday to participate in the exams and congratulations to the two candidates.

"More than 50 attended the NCO Family Picnic last Friday evening at Highbanks Metro Park, including a number of new families. I'm always pleased to see how quickly the ministers in our District gather, welcome, and converse. I had an ice breaker ready to go, but there was no need to use it - as it should be!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Randy Poyner: 'A Few More Years'

Longtime Grace Brethren pastor Randall (Randy) Poyner, who has ministered in Goshen, IN; Johnstown, PA; Lansing, MI; Fort Myers, FL; Hagerstown, MD; Little Rock, AR; and Palm Coast, FL, continues his battle with cancer. His wife, Betty, went to be with the Lord in December of 2007 and here, reprinted with his permission, is part of Randy’s update on his current situation. The prayers of friends and colleagues will be greatly appreciated.

“For 23 years I have been battling bladder cancer (discovered in 1987 when I was diagnosed with colon cancer). Cystos & biopsies every 4-6 months over this 23 yr period kept the cancer on the walls of my bladder. But cancer is relentless and it finally invaded the muscle walls of the bladder & began growing outside the bladder. A tumor is growing against my right kidney, causing the kidney to malfunction and shut down.

"Unaware that a tumor was growing up against my right kidney (it couldn't be detected by any scans), I went into kidney failure two weeks ago and emergency surgery was done putting drain lines into my kidneys. That's when the tumor was found.

"The treatment plan is to do chemo once a week (2 hour drip) for two weeks, have a week to recuperate and repeat the cycle nine times and see if we can shrink the tumor & arrest the cancer. My cancer chemo in the past 23 years has been with colon cancer (in remission) & multiple myeloma (in remission). Now it's a new challenge with another cancer.

"I've lived six years beyond expectancy so each day, week, month, and year will be a gift. God may not be finished with my earthly ministry yet. If so, He will prove Himself strong and sufficient on my behalf. Our prayer is to glorify Him and be a witness to His life-changing power.

"Through a mentoring relationship with the top surgeon in our area who is highly respected both as a medical professional and Christian witness, God has opened relationships with the medical community. Dr. Steve Bowers, out of his gratitude for my mentoring relationship with him and his wife, has personally become my medical quarterback and put together one of the finest medical team of specialists who have taken on my medical care. God is allowing me to build personal relationships with these doctors and the opportunity for Dr. Steve and me to share our faith and relationship with Jesus Christ.

"Never in all my years has God allowed me to touch the lives of so many people in a local community as well as develop an eldership leadership team in a local church along with mentoring a gifted pastor and his wife. I have been truly blessed. Our prayer is that God will give me a few more years of ministry and complete the legacy of equipping many saints for His glory."


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bryants' Father With the Lord

The father of Grace Brethren Canadian church planters Philip and Nathan Bryant passed away at 11:45 last night.

Philip writes, "The funeral will be at the E. Wilton Church on Saturday at 11. We are trying to figure out how to get our girls to come as they really wanted to come for the funeral. It has been good to be with family. They have all done so much as we live so far away. Knowing dad is with Jesus and free of pain and full of life!"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pastor Richard Bell With the Lord

Pastor Dan Pritchett of Hagerstown, Md., has informed us that Richard Bell, pastor of Apple Valley Community Church in Winchester, Virginia, went home to be with his Savior yesterday (Sunday) around 6:15 pm. Bell, whose father-in-law was the late Ralph Hall, has been battling a rare form of leukemia for several years.

Richard Bell Obituary

Rev. Richard Eugene Bell, 62, of Winchester, Virginia, died Sunday, September 19, 2010, in the Blue Ridge Hospice Residential Center.

Rev. Bell was born October 1, 1947, in Cumberland, Maryland, the son of Oscar Nimrod and Dorothy Viola Daniels Bell.

Rev. Bell graduated from North Hagerstown High School in 1965. He attended LeTourneau College in Longview, Texas, from 1965-66 and graduated from Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, in 1969 and in 1973 graduated from Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana.

Rev. Bell dedicated his life to serving the Lord as a pastor, faithfully teaching God’s Word for 36 years in Grace Brethren Churches in Ft. Wayne, Indiana; Kokomo, Indiana; Dallas Center, Iowa; Akron, Ohio; and Winchester, Virginia. Since 1998 he pastored the Apple Valley Community Church in Winchester.

From 1986-1998, while pastoring Grace Brethren Church, he produced a weekly ½ hour radio program on WINC-FM where he challenged people to apply biblical principles to their everyday live. From 2001-2006 he thoroughly enjoyed teaching religion, ethics, and philosophy as an adjunct professor at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown, Virginia.

He married Nancy Elaine Hall Bell on June 12, 1970, in Winona Lake, Indiana.

Surviving with his wife are a daughter, Deborah Joy Bell of Winchester, VA; a son, David Jonathan Bell of Winchester, VA; and a sister, Janet Marie Bell Ott of Franklin, TN. A brother, William Bell preceded him in death.

A funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, September 22, 2010, at the Enders & Shirley Funeral Home Chapel, Berryville, Virginia, with Rev. Dan Pritchett officiating. Burial will be 2 p.m. Thursday, September 23, 2010, in Rest Haven Cemetery, Hagerstown, MD.

To view the obituary or sign the online register, please visit

Pray for the Father of Nathan and Phil Bryant

This news comes from Beth Bryant, wife of Phil. (They are planting a Community of Hope, Grace Brethren church in Surrey, British Columbia. His twin brother, Nathan, is the executive director of GBCanada USA, the Grace Brethren church planting organization in Canada.) It is reprinted here with their permission.

As I write this, Philip is headed east to be with his family; Nathan and his family should have arrived. As some of you know, their dad had quadruple by-pass surgery in early July. From the beginning, complications set in, and he was in and out of ICU for nearly 2 months. He had requested that no extreme measures be taken, but certain procedures were allowed because it was hoped that they would give him time recover on his own.

Three weeks ago, he was finally moved to rehab, and we hoped that he would begin to gain strength, but it became very obvious two nights ago that those weak systems were not recovering, other infections had set in and that what had been intended as temporary measures were now all that sustained him. That is very much against his expressed wishes, and on Sunday, the family made the very difficult decision to honor his wishes; he will be taken off life support equipment on Monday morning. The assumption is that he will not live for very long after it is removed, almost certainly no more than a day or two.

So please pray for Philip and his family; with the likelihood of returning for a funeral in the near future, this will be a very short visit. His siblings living in the area have done an amazing job of shouldering the load and caring for Dad and Mom in this very difficult time - pray that he will be able to encourage and affirm them. Pray for our girls; they are obviously very sad, and though we've been honest with them about the realities of his situation, they are still hoping for recovery. I'm sure there will be many tears shed over the next few days - I woke this morning to find Lydia curled up at the foot of our bed.

Thank you for your love and prayers - they bless us more than we'll ever be able to communicate.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mark Combs Ordination October 3

An ordination service for Mark Combs will be held Sunday, Oct. 3 at 4 p.m. at Calvary Grace Brethren Church, Kettering, Ohio.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Dates, Leaders for Focus Retreats Announced

Tom Hocking, 2009-2011 moderator of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC), has announced that Dan Allan and Tony Webb will be leading Focus retreats for Grace Brethren ministry staff members in 2010 and 2011.

"Dan and Tony have a passion to help pastors re-focus and re-fresh for ministry and have designed these two-day retreats with that in mind," says Tom. "Over these past two years God has reminded us how important it is for the Body of Christ to work together in order to realize the amazing future God longs for us to experience. To that end we are building teams of people in the areas of their effectiveness. So, I am especially grateful to my friends, Dan and Tony, for serving our movement in an area in which God has clearly gifted them—spiritual encouragement.

"In order to pursue the passions of our Commitment to Common Mission—namely, church planting, leadership development and integrated ministry—we must sink deep roots into the reality of 'Christ in us, the hope of Glory,'" adds Tom. "I love Dan and Tony’s theme—'Fully Alive!' Please pray with me that God will use these Focus retreats to refresh our souls at the fountain of life, equipping us to start springs of life in our everyday contexts."

Dan is the senior pastor of the Grace Brethren Church in Ashland, Ohio. He served as moderator of the FGBC in 2004. Tony is the director of VisionOhio, a Grace Brethren church planting organization in the Buckeye state. He previously served as pastor of Southwest Grace Brethren Church in Grove City, Ohio.

Below is the schedule for the retreats:

Registration is currently open for the fall retreats.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Cathy Abbitt With the Lord

Word has been received of the homegoing last evening of Cathy Abbitt of Winona Lake, Indiana. Cathy is the wife of Tom Abbitt, executive pastor at Warsaw Community Grace Brethren Church, and has been a third-grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School in Winona Lake.

Further details will be posted as they are available. Your prayers for the survivors, the Warsaw church family, and the children at Jefferson School will be appreciated.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Continue Praying for the Abbitt Family

Tom Abbitt, executive pastor at the Warsaw (IN) Community Grace Brethren Church, would appreciate continued prayers for his wife, Cathy, who is fighting advanced cancer.

Cathy returned home from the Goshen hospital recently and is under hospice care. They were able to move up the date for the wedding of their oldest son Nate (another ceremony was to be held this past Sunday in Chicago).

The Abbitts' daughter, Amy, is taking time off from her job at Lincoln Elementary School in Warsaw, Indiana, to help with her mom's care. Their youngest son, Matt, is a senior at Warsaw High School this year and is in the midst of football season.

Tom's parents have arrived in Winona Lake as well to help. Please pray for Cathy's pain to be under control and for peace and strength for the entire family during this difficult time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Former Grace Brethren Pastor Clyde Balyo With the Lord

Former Grace Brethren pastor Clyde Groce Balyo, age 96, of Dayton, Ohio, passed away on June 29, 2010.

He was born on November 23, 1913 in Greenville, South Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina and graduated from Grace Theological Seminary in 1946 with a Bachelor of Theology degree.

He pastored at the North Riverdale (OH) Brethren from 1946 to 1953 and served with the Greater Dayton Association of Southern Baptists as supply and interim pastor for 22 years.

In 1958 he accepted a position at Elano Corp. as production control manager, later becoming personnel manager. He returned to Elano Corp. as Vice President, retiring in 1985.

In 1989, at the age of 76, Clyde began his hobby of embroidery. He became a member of the Dayton Chapter of the Embroidery Guild of America. He later developed a special interest in Japanese Embroidery and excelled in this special art.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John G. and Etta C. Balyo; wife Mary Frederick Balyo; a son, John Edwin Balyo; two sisters, Lucille B. Reed and Clare Martin; two brothers, William H. Balyo and Dr. John G. Balyo. He is survived by his wife, Elsie Grubbs Balyo; two daughters, Brenda L. Sperry and husband David of Naples, Florida and Aileen Lehman and husband Roy of Medina, Ohio; a daughter-in-law, Darlene B. Scott of Springboro, Ohio; a stepson James H. Frederick and wife Doris of Springfield, Ohio.

He also leaves his granddaughters: Debbie Cooper (Mike) of Connersville, Indiana, Amy Sohrenssen (Mike) of Lancaster, Ohio, Jenny Healy (Steve) of Hamden, CT, Susan Miller (Scott) of Columbus, Ohio, Kristen Nelles (Daniel) of Galloway, Ohio; grandsons: Brad Balyo (Lori) of Springboro, Ohio; Robert Sperry (Talli) of Media, PA; Andrew Sperry (Marianne) of Franklin, TN; Brian Lehman (Joy) of Upper Arlington, Ohio; Andrew Lehman (Cara) of Cincinnati, Ohio; 16 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild.

Funeral services were held on Friday, July 2 at the Centerville Grace Brethren Church with Pastor Dave Holmes officiating. Interment is at Lower Miami Cemetery. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dayton Christian School.

Clyde's confident belief in the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection as a guarantee of the believer's resurrection is expressed in these words of the Apostle Paul. "I am not ashamed because I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mike Jentes' Mother With the Lord

Mike Jentes, of the pastoral staff of the Los Altos Grace Brethren Church in Long Beach, California, sent the following note to the FGBC office:

I found out my mom went to be with Jesus this morning. I'm headed back to Ohio tomorrow and the kids & Mindi on Friday for the weekend. We would appreciate your prayers.

Update from the Rittman Church:

Upon the sudden passing of Pat Jentes our thoughts and prayers are extended to Carl and the family. The service plans are as follows:

Friends and family may call at Roberts Funeral Home on SR3 north of Wooster on Friday evening from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Funeral services will also be at Roberts Funeral Home on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Following the graveside ceremony there will be a meal at the Rittman Grace Brethren Church.

Please contact the church office if you have any questions. Cards may be sent to Carl Jentes and family at 33 Lane Street, Rittman.

Update on Seth Wirt Recovery

Andy Wirt, church planter in New Albany, Ohio, has posted this photo and update on his son, Seth, who is recovering from an accident in which a couch fell on his face.

Thanks so much for all that have prayed and continue to do so for Seth and our family.

As you can see from the attached picture, God's healing power has been evident in Seth. Trish took him to our family's ENT yesterday and, after looking at the hospital CAT scans, Dr. Speis again shared how "lucky" Seth was not to be more seriously injured.

Apparently he is healing well internally and, as you can see from the photo, he is healing really well externally. Seth will have scarring issues, but nothing like we expected (and he continues to improve daily). The doctor seemed to think things are going well internally also--he just underscored with us that we have to watch colds (so as to not let them turn into sinus infections and we'll have to monitor the development of sinus cavities in Seth's forehead as he grows up).

We have so much to be thankful for and are just very grateful to all of you who have prayed for and shown such amazing love to Seth and our family. We are truly blessed to live in the community we do, have a fantastic church family in ClearView, and have such a broad and deep support network via our biological and spiritual families around the world. Praise God! :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

North Central Ohio to Examine Two

Dr. Todd Scoles, coordinator for the North Central Ohio district, sent out information to pastors in his district about this upcoming examination. Pray for these men--Todd gives a good reminder of the importance and mindset of the examination process.

Our fall ministerial exam date is set for Wednesday, September 15, 9:30 AM at Grace Polaris. We have two men sitting for ordination exams - John Shirley and Jonathon Wiley.

The ordination exam consists of a man's reflection on his ministry, a brief report on books he read on pastoral leadership, his interaction with counseling case studies, and the feedback he received from those in his ministry. Make it a priority to be at these exams for these two men.

You might think, "With only two men for exams my presence is not necessary or critical." But it is. We all benefit from these exams - our questions and discussions with these men AND among ourselves as examiners is part of the "iron sharpens iron" aspect of ministry.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Former Sunnyside Elder to Spokane

Steve Richardson, formerly of Sunnyside, Washington, will be installed as Executive Pastor at the Fourth Memorial Church in Spokane, Wash., in an installation service to be held at the church on Sunday, August 29 at 10:30 A.M. A reception will follow at 12:15 P.M. The church is located at 2000 North Standard, Spokane.

During his time in Sunnyside Richardson served in several capacities at the Grace Brethren Church, including serving on the Elder Board and pulpit supply. He previously had served in the pastorate in Cave Junction, Oregon.

His wife Miriam is the daughter of Marjorie Ruppert of Sunnyside. The Richardsons are the parents of three children.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

AGBM President Richards Receives Diagnosis

The following report, shared with his permission, is from AGBM president Joel Richards, who is pastor of the LaLoma Grace Brethren Church in Modesto, California. Joel has been struggling with throat and voice issues for several years. Your prayers for Joel's treatment and recovery and for his wife, Jane, and family would be appreciated.

Well I had my surgery. Unfortunately, the pathology report following my surgery revealed that I have cancer in one of my vocal cords. Somewhere in the last year there was a dramatic change in the nature of the plaque that was in my throat. The doctor was unable to remove it all because some of it is now attached to the vocal cord. That is the part that now needs to be dealt with.

Thankfully, the prognosis for eliminating this cancer is good. This cancer is in a very early stage and radiation is normally very successful. I will be seeing an oncologist and I have been told that they want to start treatments as soon as possible.

It goes without saying that I wasn’t expecting this. There may be an upside. My surgeon said that the likelihood of the other stuff returning is minimal. I told him that would be an answer to my prayers that I wouldn’t have to have any more of these surgeries. I wasn’t expecting that the answer might come in the form of cancer!

I would appreciate your prayers.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Basore Road Seeks Senior Pastor

Senior Pastor

Basore Road Grace Brethren Church, Dayton, Ohio, is looking for a quality candidate to serve as a full-time Senior Pastor. His primary responsibilities are to provide expository communication of the Word, shepherd and train the congregation, the church staff, the leadership and ministry teams.

Along with the board, the Senior Pastor will develop a vision for the future of the church that helps equip the congregation for the work of the ministry. Furthermore, the Senior Pastor shall be faithful in the exposition of Scripture so that the congregation may grow in their understanding and application of the Word of God. (Ephesians 4:11-14; Acts 20:28)


1.Exhibits the godly character and qualities outlined in 1Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; and 1 Peter 5:1-4.
2.Demonstrates the exegetical and homiletic skills necessary to study and effectively communicate the Word of God.
3.Demonstrates strong interpersonal and relational skills and has a passion for pastoral care.
4.Commits to personal regular accountability with other godly men and demonstrates the ability to maintain such relationships.
5.Exhibits a heart for evangelism and a deep desire to reach the lost for Christ.
6.Demonstrates effectiveness in discipleship and shows the ability to inspire and equip members of the congregation to reach out to the community addressing both spiritual and social needs.
7.Shepherds the staff by providing professional development, personal growth, encouragement and feedback, and sets goals for growth in their respective ministries.
8.Demonstrates an attitude and approach of being faithful, available and teachable.
9.Agrees ᅠfully with the Statement of Faith of the Fellowship Of Grace Brethren Churches.
10.Holds a license or ordination, or willing to obtain such.
11.Has several years of experience as senior or associate pastor in leading a multi-staff church including preaching to the congregation on a regular basis

Please visit our website at to get a better view of who we are and what we are all about. Please email your resume and references to or by USPS to: Mark R. Mohler Pastoral Search Committee Chairman 506 W Washington St New Carlisle, Oh 45344


Steve Mitchell Health Update

The following note is from Dave Mitchell, father of Steve Mitchell, who is pastor of the Garden City Grace Brethren Church in Roanoke, Virginia. Earlier the family had requested prayer when Steve was diagnosed with a form of leukemia, and this is an update.

I am sending this to those who have asked how my son Steve is doing with his leukemia.

Up until this blood test today we thought things were doing pretty well, but the test today revealed that his white cell blood count had gone from 66,000+ to over 91,000+. He goes back to the cancer doctors Sept. 10 and if the count is still up, then the next step will be a round of fairly hard chemo and if that doesn't put it in remission then a bone marrow transplant will be the possible consideration. The count could drop back into the 60's, but there is no way to tell until the test is given again.

How to pray? Well of course we'd like to see God heal Steve of this disease, but if it comes to taking chemo pray that Steve will be able to physically endure the effects and that it might work and put this in remission.

If the count goes down then it will give him some time before he eventually has to take treatments. Both he and Supriya are really trusting the Lord and it doesn't seem to affect them as much as it does his mom and me, but we are all trusting God's will and that all that happens will bring glory to God.

We, the Mitchell family, want to thank all of you who let us know that you are praying for Steve and his family. We truly love you and are thankful for all of us being a part of God's family.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Pray for Elizabeth Pierce

Zach Doppelt, pastor of the Ghent Grace Brethren Church in Roanoke, Virginia, passes along the following prayer request:

Please pray for Elizabeth Pierce, cancer survivor and daughter-in-law of Greensboro, NC, church planters Daniel and Teressa Pierce. She has been diagnosed with melanoma, and is currently having these spots removed. This is the most serious type of skin cancer, and she needs our prayers.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Update on Seth Wirt

Please continue to pray for the recovery of Seth Wirt, the seven-year-old son of Ohio ClearView church planters Andy and Trish Wirt from a home accident in which a couch fell on Seth and injured his face. Here is an update from Seth's father, Andy, at the two-week marker after the accident:

Two Weeks After...

My heart is full of thanks to so many of you who have posted notes, sent inquiries, called, visited, e-mailed, etc. to ask how Seth is doing. Thanks so much for your care and concern for our boy. One thing that has been such a blessing for Trish through this whole trial is to see how many people love Seth with us.

Please forgive me for being remiss in not responding sooner to notes asking for an update on Seth. I can't believe how busy the last two weeks have been. We've had overnight guests most of this time, have completely (that is probably impossible...but we sure have tried!) safety-proofed the basement where our kids play, spent more time at the hospital with Seth's surgery, etc. I've found that it was much easier to write when it was just Seth and me at the hospital. I could update Facebook and send e-mails while he was sleeping, etc... but now that we're back to more of reality... I can't keep up. Thanks for your patience. :)

Anyway- I continue to marvel at the sheer strength and resilience God has infused into Seth. I really believe it is miraculous. I thank God for it. Since the second day in the hospital, the only pain medication Seth has had are two doses of Tylenol (after surgery). My kid with a fractured nasal structure, stitches, swelling- the kid who had a 2-hour surgery on Tuesday- etc. keeps saying, "Why would I complain- I don't have any pain". I don't get it- except that God has taken it away and is giving him strength.

I'm also proud of Seth for his attitude. If he were to express himself, I think he would say that the toughest part of this whole journey is that his summer is completely interrupted. Due to the fracture between his nasal bone and his skull- he is at an increased risk for meningitis if he were to get an infection. This means no pool (dirty public places), etc. until almost when school starts (6 weeks from accident). He also can't run, jump, wrestle with Dad and his brother, etc.- all the stuff that a boy thrives on.

Fortunately, Seth loves crafts, art, Lego's, etc. so he has some things to keep him busy. Thanks to so many of you that have dropped off games or art supplies or Legos or video games- he has plenty to keep him busy. Although he has shed some tears at not being able to participate in some things Silas gets to do, Seth has had a real good attitude about his limitations. I know he is working hard to "see the glass half full" (my words).

Other physical stuff- Seth came through his surgery (last Tuesday- July 13) with flying colors. The Ocular surgeon installed a stint (small plastic tubing) in his left eye to try and allow the crushed tear duct there to heal. This will be taken out in 6 weeks (Seth doesn't know it is there yet- don't tell him! :) But, if you see him, look closely and you will see it (medical technology is amazing!). Praise God- the right one is functional and Dr. Foster felt it would heal on its own.

Following Dr. Foster, Dr. Tiwari (plastic surgeon) adjusted fractured bones in Seth's nose to try and reform proper alignment. He also opened up the wound on Seth's outer nose (skin) where a patch of skin about the size of a dime is missing. He placed a bandage and splint over this that is to stay on for a week (we go on Weds. to get it out). His counsel is that the skin will heal better on its own here than it would with stitches.

We feel very good about Seth's progress. His sense of taste seems to be back. He cannot smell (please pray for restoration). The scar above is right eye seems to be healing nicely. He seems to be dealing with these challenges pretty well emotionally. Our concerns now lie in how his nose will heal- inside and out. Please pray that the nasal bone will re-fuse with the skull quickly and well.

Please pray that the surgery would hold (Dr. Tiwari said that 50% of the time it is necessary to do a more serious surgery because a surgery like Seth had does not hold up over time). We're praying that this one sticks! :) Also, because we can't see how his nose is healing (scar/skin wise), we don't know what is happening there. We are asking God for grace to help Seth accept whatever is happening when we see the progress as the bandages are taken off in a few days.

Thanks so much for praying for Seth. God has been very good to us. He has given us grace and extended so much protection and healing to Seth. He has shown Himself and His love in so many wonderful ways through so many people. Our family has been overwhelmed with God's grace expressed through people that have shown love to us in so many ways. Thank you.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ray Feather Obituary

Ray I. Feather, 63, pastor of Grace Community Chapel in Mukilteo, went to be with the Lord on July 23.

Pastor Feather was born March 26, 1947 in Martinsburg, Pa. He attended Washington Bible College in Washington, D.C. where he met his wife of 41 years, Sharon Mae Benyack.

He had a passion for studying and preaching God’s Word. He served as a beloved pastor to many in his 45 years of Christian service. And he shared his love for his Savior with everyone he met.

Pastor Feather is survived by his wife Sharon; children, Scott (Jodi) Feather, Doni (Jason) Weimer, Athena (Matthew) Grady; grandchildren, Asia, Coleman, Raylee, Camden, Addison, Lucas and Dawson; sister, Peggy (Walt) Bell; nieces; Melissa and Elise and brother Rob Gordon.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Virgil and Betty Feather.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 31 at 1 p.m. at Alderwood Manor Community Church, 3403 Alderwood Mall Blvd. in Lynnwood. There will be a reception following the service.

Memorials can be made to Grace Community Chapel, 9800 Harbour Place, Mukilteo, WA 98275, designated for the Weimer Thailand Ministry. His daughter and her family will be serving in Thailand as missionaries.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Larry Smithwick's Son Drowns in Alaska

Word has been received in Winona Lake that Rob Smithwick, the oldest son of former Grace Brethren pastor Larry Smithwick, has drowned in the Kenai River in Alaska. According to reports, he slipped in while fishing and was not able to get out. They were not able to recover his body.

Rob and his wife, Jenny, have five kids: Amee, Robbie, Riley, Timmy and Johnny. Their oldest, Amee, just graduated from high school in May. Larry and Shari Smithwick and their grandson, Larry, will leave their current home in Ohio to go to Alaska as soon as they can get tickets. Jenny’s address is P.O. Box 4163, Soldotna, AK 99669. Prayers for the family would be appreciated.

An article from the Soldotna newspaper may be viewed by clicking here.

Richard L. Burch With the Lord

Eddie Mensinger has called to our attention that Richard L. Burch, 83, passed away Wednesday, March 10, 2010, at Grandview Hospital, Dayton, Ohio. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bessie & Raymond Burch and grandson, Conner.

He is survived by Marilyn Burch, his wife of 30 years; children; Kathy (Bill) Armstrong, Judy Burch, Cindy Fowler, Christopher (Rachel) Gulden, Claudine (Kirk) Waymire, Carlotte (Jeff) Gebhart & Cynthia (John) Shaw; grandchildren; Katelyn, Brandon, Jesse, Jacob, Jarrett, Justin, Ash, Brittany, Jeffrey, Johnny U& Lillian; loving mother-in-law & father-in-law, Dorothy & Shelby King; brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and many other beloved family and friends.

Burch was a Grace Theological Seminary graduate (B.D., 1951), formerly senior pastor of the Brethren Church in Cuyahoga Falls and North Riverdale Brethren in Dayton; Associate Pastor at Salem Church of God; Interim Pastor for Ohio Church of God Ministries; outdoorsman, avid hiker, biblical scholar, outstanding teacher of the Gospel, marriage counselor, loving and fun father and grandfather.

Funeral services were held Monday, March 15 at Morris Sons Funeral Home in Kettering with Pastor Paul Strozier officiating. Interment at David’s Cemetery.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pastor Ray Feather Reported to be With the Lord

Dennis Russell is reporting that Pastor Ray Feather (pictured), of Grace Community Chapel in Mukilteo, Washington, has gone to be with the Lord. Feather was recently diagnosed with a form of pancreatic cancer.

Pastor Nathan Zakahi of the Sunnyside, Wash., Grace Brethren Church, adds this note: "He was in the hospital getting a blood transfusion when the doctors came out and spoke with family and friends. Ray was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago and a letter was read this past Sunday to let his congregation know of his condition. Adenocarcinoma, related to pancreatic cancer. Doctors had given him a year with treatment if the cancer was localized. Ray was awaiting a ptscan to see if the cancer was indeed localized. Needless to say, his passing was a shock to us."

More details will be posted as they become available.