Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Former Grace Brethren Pastor, Howard Gelsinger, Dies

Former Grace Brethren pastor, Howard H. Gelsinger, 64, of Robesonia, Pa., died on Sunday, September 30, 2007, at the Reading (Pa.) Hospital.

He was born in the Reading Hospital on December 29, 1942, son of the late Clarence D. and Esther L. (Forry) Gelsinger. He was a graduate of Conrad Weiser High School. He was involved in dairy farming before the Lord called him into full time ministry. After graduating from Lancaster Bible College, he served an internship at Myerstown Grace Brethren Church and a pastorate at the Echo Valley Grace Brethren Church, Tremont, Pa., and the Grace Brethren Church in Charlotte, N.C. The last several years he was a member of Calvary Bible Fellowship Church in Sinking Spring, where he was involved in teaching Sunday school, Bible Studies and the Sr. Saints Ministry. He was recently employed by Triple M. Farms in Lebanon. He was also a member of the Heidelberg Township Zoning & Variance Board.

Surviving are his wife, Linda M. (Schaeffer) Gelsinger, and daughter, Jackie D., wife of Randy Moomaw; and three grandchildren, Erin, Kyle, and Tyler of Wooster, Ohio. Other survivors include a brother, Melvin C. Gelsinger, Robesonia; three sisters, Lorraine E., wife of Kenneth Kratz, Sinking Spring, Linda M., wife of Paul Cruz, Philadelphia, and Louise M., wife of Allen Houtz, Robesonia.

Funeral services were held held at Calvary Bible Fellowship Church. Interment at Bain's Church Cemetery, Lower Heidelberg Township.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Missionary Fund of the Calvary Bible Fellowship Church, 4891 Penn Ave., Sinking Spring, PA 19608.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Using Media to Extend Your Message

Here's a stimulating piece from the Southern Baptists challenging us to use media to extend the church's message:

Getting your message out through media

By Woody Murray

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--After Paul had his conversion experience, he spoke boldly at every opportunity. There may never have been a more powerful speaker for the Word. But the Lord allowed him to be placed in prison. Paul probably struggled with why God wasn't permitting him to travel and tell others the Good News.

He could reach many hundreds, maybe thousands, of people through his traveling evangelism. So Paul wrote letters instead. God inspired those letters, and now those letters comprise much of the New Testament. They have changed many millions of lives since Paul penned them. They will change the lives of many millions more in the future.

What does this have to do with your church's ministry touch-points? Think about it: Is your church relying primarily on a Sunday message for evangelism, or are you taking advantage of other opportunities to reach even larger numbers of people than those who simply attend your services each Sunday? There are so many ways to share your ministries and reach beyond the walls of your church.

For example, can your pastor write a regular devotional for your local daily or weekly newspaper? How about a community magazine? Even the smallest local newspaper or magazine has the potential to reach many hundreds of people who otherwise may not ever know about your church. One short devotional from your pastor might be just the message someone hurting needs to read. It may touch a heart, and that person in turn may visit your church and have his or her life changed for Christ.

Can you offer your weekly worship services on a local Christian, or possibly secular, radio station? Sometimes there are very small local radio stations, both AM and FM, that may not have very powerful signals, but still reach thousands of loyal listeners in your community.

Occasionally, these stations are looking for programming on the weekends or at night. They may be willing to air your Sunday messages and expand your worship services well beyond the people who visit your church each Sunday. You could let your members, particularly shut-ins, know that they can catch your Sunday worship on the radio when they can't attend.

How about television? Is there a local affiliate station, even a local limited access television channel, in your area that might air your worship services at a reasonable investment? You could be surprised to find that your worship experience can be expanded beyond your greatest dreams ... but not beyond God's plans.

There really is no limit to what God can do with your church's ministries. You just need to take a first step and see where He will lead you. Begin picking up and reading through the free local newspapers and magazines you see at the supermarkets and drug stores.

Spend a little time scanning the radio stations on your AM and FM dials, particularly at night and on the weekends. Use your TV remote control to check channels that might be available for covering your worship. Then take some time to visit the local newspaper offices or your local radio and television stations. Ask if there are any needs your church might fill. You may find that God has already been at work opening doors for you.

Be willing to consider options that have never crossed your mind. Survey your church membership and find out if any of them might work for, or know someone who works for, one of the local media outlets. Maybe the producer of your local radio station attends your church regularly.

Also ask if there might be a member of your church who owns some farmland near a major freeway or highly traveled road. Would that person allow you to erect a sign for your church giving directions and possibly allowing a very brief ministry message? This kind of sign can reach so many people driving by each day and encourage them to attend your worship service. Make sure you have a professional sign painter do the message and stay within your local sign ordinances.

Another alternative to sharing your worship services is to offer a question and answer column or program ("Q&A") on Christianity, or religious issues of interest to your community. "Q&A's" are popular and can help you address the specific spiritual needs present in your local ministry field.

How many new ways can you reach out beyond the walls of your Sunday worship services to touch the lost?

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).


Woody Murray is an independent church communications specialist who helps churches more effectively reach their communities. He has worked for 30 years in communications and marketing in advertising agencies and at a major Christian organization.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hemet, California, Seeks Bi-Vocational Pastor

Center of Grace Brethren Chapel of the San Jacinto Valley (Hemet) is searching for a Senior Pastor. He needs to be bi-vocational until the church can grow to the point of being able to support him full-time.

We are looking for a pastor who will build up the body, teaching them out of the Bible to save, disciple and to send us out into the mission fields of the world (starting with our own local area). A pastor who is committed to shepherding youth and seniors, reaching out to the community, conducting prayer meetings and home studies.

Interested candidates should submit a resume with a cover letter to Center of Grace Brethren Chapel, c/o Pastor Bill Kitchell, P.O. Box 5057, Hemet, Ca 92544
e-mail: rudyandjoyann@verizon.net

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Basore Road Calls CE Pastor

At a special business meeting on October 7, the Basore Road Grace Brethren Church (Dayton, Ohio, Brian "Skip" White, pastor) called Andy Gannon to be Pastor of Christian Education.

Andy is a graduate of Lancaster Bible College, and has pastored an independent Bible church in Maryland for the past four years. Andy's wife, Rachel, is the daughter of Jay Fretz (pastor of Hagerstown Maranatha Brethren Church). Andy and Rachel will begin their new ministry at the end of November.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

McElvray Becomes Worship Director at Lititz

Matt McElvray (pictured) has been moved from "interim" to full-time status as Worship Arts Director at the Grace Brethren Church in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

In making the announcement, pastor Scott Distler (the full story may be read on Scott's blog at http://folkslisten.blogspot.com/2007/10/dropping-interim.html ) said, "Matt has been a wonderful addition to our ministry staff. He is a joy to partner with in ministry day in and day out . . . There is absolutely no question in my mind that Matt is the man to lead our Worship Arts Ministry here at Grace Church for many years to come. I look forward to seeing where Matt takes this area of ministry as he makes it more of his own."

Friday, October 05, 2007

Recent Youth Pastor Changes

From the current newsletter of CE National:

Dan Kramer has resigned at Grace Brethren Church in Osceola, IN

Dave Nicodemus is the new youth pastor at Grace Brethren Church of Columbus in Worthington, OH

Brad Deetscreek is the new youth pastor at Grace Church-North Campus in Akron, OH

TJ Erlandson is the youth pastor at Gateway Community Church in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania

Kevin Lilly is the youth pastor at Northwest Chapel in Dublin, OH

Timothy Clothier is the new youth director at Community Grace Brethren Church in Warsaw, IN

Joey Foster is no longer the youth pastor at Grace Brethren Church in Waldorf, MD. Bill Holt will take that role.

Donnie Peters is the new youth pastor at Hope Community Church in Cary, NC

Chris Brenneman is the youth pastor at Grace Brethren Church in New Holland, PA

Brent Saba is the Director of Training at Urban Hope Training Center

Mo Grimm is the youth pastor at Warsaw Community Church in Warsaw, IN

Mike Pumphrey is the site director for the 412 Commission in Goshen, IN

Lee Strappello is the acting youth pastor at Grace Brethren Church in Martinsburg, PA

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pray for Betty and Randy Poyner

Your prayers are requested for Betty and Randy Poyner, who have served a number of churches and positions in the Fellowship and have both been battling cancer in recent years. The Poyners now live in Florida, and the following is an edited excerpt from a recent e-mail from Betty:

Our lives have suddenly taken another turn.

Last week we were in Little Rock for Randy's check-up. It was great. In fact if he does as well the next six months, he will take him off treatment.

In the process of our appointment Dr. Barlogie asked about me. I have had three chemos now and none has stopped the cancer. He asked if I would consider a stem cell transplant. They have had some good success with putting women with ovarian cancer in remission.

We talked with our doctors here and they encouraged us to go for it. So we are leaving Friday to go to Little Rock. We will probably be there for 3-4 weeks. The first week I will have tests and then they will develop a plan.

Our living address there will be 115 N. Taylor, Little Rock, AR 72205. We will get mail at our friends Dave and Jeri Steinfell whose address is 6 Windrush Pt., Little Rock, AR 72211. We'll let you know if we can do the e-mail or not.

That's all we know for now. Please hold us up in prayer again.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Keith Randall New Pastor at Soldotna

Peninsula Grace Brethren Church, Soldotna, Alaska, has a new senior pastor!

On Sunday, September 30, following the worship service, the congregation of Peninsula Grace met to vote on the call of Keith Randall as senior pastor. The result was that the Rev. Keith T. Randall became the third senior pastor in Peninsula Grace’s 24-year history, by an overwhelming vote (there was only one – “no”, and 2 – “abstain” ballots cast).

This action by the church brings to completion a five-month search process. The search committee, after careful consideration of a number of potential candidates, made a unanimous recommendation to the elder board, which in turn made a unanimous recommendation to the congregation that Keith be called as the new senior pastor.

Plans are being made for an appropriate installation service.

Reported by Chuck Thornton, Associate Pastor

Encourage the Bob Smoker Family

Kork Moyer, communications coordinator for the Northern Atlantic Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, sends along the following information regarding help and encouragement to the Bob Smoker family:

I’ve created a place on our NAF website to accept monetary donations to help Bob and Jean Smoker after this tragic fire.

There is a Prayer page on the site that explains the magnitude of the loss. The URL for Prayer is http://www.gbnaf.org/prayer.html, and folks can contribute here http://www.gbnaf.org/contributions.html. There are also links from the Main page found at www.GBNAF.org.

I also think dropping them a note reminding them how much we love them would be comforting too. The church address is; Susquehanna GBC, 6694 Sunrise Ave., Wrightsville, PA 17368.

Marjorie Mayes Obituary

Marjorie Florence Mayes
Born in Long Beach, California on Nov. 11, 1926
Departed on Sep. 29, 2007 and resided in Longview, TX.

Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007

Rosewood Park Cemetery

Funeral services for Marjorie Florence Mayes, 80, of Longview, will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, October 4, 2007, at Rader Funeral Home Chapel, with Dr. Howard Mayes officiating. Burial will follow at Rosewood Park Cemetery.

Marjorie was born November 11, 1926, in Long Beach, California. She attended Polytechnic High School and graduated from Pasadena College with a teaching degree in 1949. That same year, she married John Mayes and moved with him to Winona Lake, Indiana, where she taught first grade while her husband attended Grace Theological Seminary.

Marjorie continued her teaching career when the couple moved back to California, also serving as the principal of Brethren Elementary School in Long Beach California in the 1960s. She ministered as a pastor’s wife in churches in Long Beach and Whittier, California, and in Sunnyside, Washington.

Marjorie accompanied her husband, Dr. John Mayes, to Longview in 1983. Together, the couple founded Grace Christian School as a ministry of Grace Brethren Church, and Marjorie served as pastor’s wife and as principal of the school. While she was much beloved in these roles, her family remembers her best as a loving wife, mother, and grandmother.

Marjorie is survived by her husband of 58 years, John of Longview; their four children, Richard Mayes and his wife Sandy, Sharon Newlin and her husband Stuart, Annie Olson and her husband Ken, all of Longview, and Joy Dean and her husband Steve of Indianapolis, Indiana; seventeen grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren. Mrs. Mayes was a sister to Frances (Mrs. Charles) Ashman of Winona Lake, Indiana, and a grandmother to Jeremiah Olson, who is worship/music leader on the staff of the Grace Brethren Church in Goshen, Indiana.

Marjorie Mayes had four sisters, three of whom are still living. They are: Helen Brown (half-sister) of Beattyville, KY; Frances Ashman of Winona Lake, IN; Ruth Mosley of Scotts Valley, CA. Marjorie was the youngest of the five.

Memorial contributions may be made to Missionary Tech Team, 25 FRJ Drive, Longview, Texas, 75602. Checks may also be written and sent to the Grace Brethren Church, 800 Doyle St., Longview, TX 75601.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fall AGBM Newsletter Arriving In Mail

The Fall, 2007, issue of Sharpening One Another, the newsletter for the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers (AGBM) is in the mail and will be arriving in the boxes of dues-paying members this week.

Produced by the Brethren Missionary Herald Co. for the AGBM as part of their ongoing partnership, the newsletter contains an article by AGBM president Joel Richards, a summary of actions and awards at the recent Equip07 national conference, and more.

A financial statement of income and expense for the organization is included, as well as an update on activity of the new board of directors for the AGBM. An "Around the Fellowship" article is a newsy update of church recognitions, ministerial moves, "In Memoriam" notices, and updates on licensure and ordination exams.

If any dues-paid members are not receiving the newsletter, they should write AGBM at P.O. Box 694, Winona Lake, Indiana, 46590 to be put on the mailing list. Daily updates are also available on the AGBM blog, which may be accessed through www.agbm.org or by clicking here.

Heartland District Celebration October 21

Pastor Jim Franklin (Grace Brethren Church of Flora, Indiana) has announced that the Heartland District conference and rally be held at Osceola (IN) Grace Brethren Church on Sunday, October 21, 2007 from 6:00 until 8:30PM.

In other action, the Lansing, Michigan, Grace Brethren Church was welcomed into the district, and Pastor Mick Rockafellow will bring a delegation from Lansing GBC to District Conference.

John Shirk of Chicago, Tim Boucher of Grace Community Church of Goshen, and Jim Franklin of Flora GBC, agreed to meet as Vision for MidAmerica and rewrite the mission statement of this organization. Tim Sprankle of Leesburg GBC agreed to help design of a website. Ron Boehm, Midwest Career Missionary of Grace Brethren North American Missions, also agreed to advise V4MA.

The next District Ministerial meeting will be held on November 20, 2007 at Fort Wayne GBC. Bob Arenobine, the senior pastor, will host this meeting.

A Be-Guile(s)ing Look at Argentine Asados

Jay Hocking has the following post on his blog at http://www.jaborah.com/2007/10/gbim-asado-cookout.html

On Thursday, the GBIM office had a going-away party for Kip Cone, who is taking a full-time position at the Winona Lake GBC. We had a great time, and enjoyed lots and LOTS of delicious beef cooked on a grill Argentine style, by our director (and former missionary to Argentina) Dave Guiles and missionary to Argentina Nate Dunlevy. Below is a short video survey of which of the two of them is better at grilling.

Richard Todd's Father With the Lord

Richard Todd, pastor of the Community Grace Brethren Church of Whittier, California, has the following note in his weekly update:

I want you to know that my dad went back into the hospital this past Wednesday afternoon and the next day, Thursday, September 27, passed away from this world and into the presence of Jesus. Thank you for your understanding in my having to rearrange a number of appointments and responsibilities in recent days. His memorial service will not be held until mid-October.

Richard's e-mail address is toddfamily@aol.com.

Marjorie Mayes With the Lord

Marjorie Mayes, wife of Pastor John Mayes of Longview, Texas, died quietly about 12:30 p.m. on Sunday September 30 after a difficult battle with pancreatic cancer.
Details and a more complete obituary will follow shortly.

Her daughter wrote today, “Saturday, we were fairly sure she was still hearing us, although she was unable to respond except for an occasional light squeeze of our hands or a barely perceptible nod of her head. Today, we couldn't discern any response. Her breathing became shallow, and eventually she just stopped breathing. We rejoice tonight that Mom is in heaven with Jesus. Today has been a tough day for all of us, though, and especially for Dad. Please pray for him as he adjusts to the changes in life without Mom here.”

Information is available at: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/marjoriemayes

Wayne Ayer Moving to Minerva, Ohio

Pastor Wayne Ayer (shown with his wife, Amber, and children), announced yesterday, Sunday September 30th following the morning service, to the congregation his resignation as Senior Pastor of Grace Brethren Church Norwalk, California.

After much prayer and pastoral counsel from other pastors in the Fellowship Pastor Wayne has accepted the call to Minerva, Ohio. Wayne will serve as the next Lead Pastor of Grace Chapel in Minerva, Ohio.

Pastor Wayne will begin the ministry in Minerva Ohio in the New Year. Wayne Ayer came to GBC Norwalk three years ago and they have seen a mini-revival and a great move of God at Norwalk.

Please be much in prayer for both Norwalk and Minerva during this transition that God would continue to do a great work in both places.