Friday, February 26, 2010

Prayer Vigil for Dave Plaster

From the Grace Brethren Church of Columbus, Ohio:

Tonight (February 26) through Sunday, 6:00–9:00 p.m., DC200/201 will be open for us to again gather in prayer for the Plaster family and our church. Tonight from 6:00–8:00 the Frontporch young adult community will join in music, scripture reading, and a live phone call to Rob Plaster. (The room will be open until 9 p.m. for prayer.) Everyone is invited. Bring your Bible and make it a priority to join the Grace family in this important effort.

At 1:52 p.m. today, Ginny Plaster, Dave's wife, posted the following message on his CaringBridge site:

Our worst fears have come true in that Dave was diagnosed with the JC Virus which causes PML. We will be meeting with the doctors to discuss options but we have been told that the prognosis is poor. Pray for a miracle! Thank you for the outpouring of love and prayers for my family and I.

For continued updates on Dave's condition, see

For more information on PML:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jerry Young Surgery Update

Joel Richards, AGBM president, sends along this update and urges prayer for Jerry Young, AGBM's Ministry Director:

Jerry Young had surgery last Wednesday to deal with cancer in his bile duct. It was supposed to be an eight-hour procedure but actually took 10 hours. Tests are being run to see whether or not Jerry will need chemotherapy. He will be in the hospital for two weeks and will face a long recovery.

For regular updates on Jerry's condition, see his Caring Bridge site.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Top Ten Brethren Sins

One of our neighbors in the Church of the Brethren has written a tongue-in-cheek list of Top Ten Brethren sins. Here are a few selected sins--read the entire list by clicking here. They come with a warning: "You've got to know brethren to get it, but here they are."

By Walt Wiltschek - The top 10 Brethren sins:

9. Thou shalt not refer to female members of thy denomination as “cisterns”

8. Thou shalt not enjoy the baptism so much that thou goeth back under for a fourth dip.

7. Thou shalt not have fewer than three popular Brethren hymns on your iPod at all times.

5. Thou shalt not go overboard on “going green” by substituting solar power for oil in the anointing service.

4. Thou shalt not try to get a discount at McDonald’s by claiming the “Big Mac” was named after your church’s founder.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

David Plaster Now at Cleveland Clinic

Pastor David Plaster from the Columbus (OH) Grace Brethren Church is now at Cleveland Clinic. The family has set up a Caring Bridge site at to keep prayer supporters and friends updated on his progress.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Plaster Illness Diagnosed

Dr. David Plaster (pictured), pastor of the Grace Brethren Church of Worthington (Columbus), Ohio, has been hospitalized with a mysterious illness for the last several weeks. His daughter, Rachelle Plaster Creighton, has confirmed that the official diagnosis for her father's illness is ADEM.

She says, "Long road for recovery-his case is pretty severe so up to six months for hopefully FULL recovery. He will be in hospital through at least Saturday before going to rehab (still in same hospital).

The following technical information regarding Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)explains more of what Pastor Dave and his family are dealing with:

What is Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis?

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is a neurological disorder characterized by inflammation of the brain and spinal cord caused by damage to the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is the fatty covering, which acts as an insulator, on nerve fibers in the brain.

Onset of the disorder is sudden. Symptoms, which vary among individuals, may include headache, delirium, lethargy, coma, seizures, stiff neck, fever, ataxia, optic neuritis, transverse myelitis, vomiting, and weight loss. Other symptoms may include monoparesis (paralysis of a single limb) or hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body). (Dad has hemiplegia...not total paralysis but VERY WEAK and not much feeling at all).

Among the most common abnormalities are visual disturbances and language, mental status, and psychiatric abnormalities. Mental status disturbances include lethargy, fatigue, confusion, irritability, obtundation, and coma. Psychiatric changes include irritability, depression, personality change, and psychosis. Focal or generalized seizures occur as an early sign in 10-25% of cases.

Clinically patients present with the rapid development of focal or multifocal neurologic dysfunction. Full recovery is seen in 50 to 75% of cases, ranging to 70 to 90% recovery with some minor residual disability (typically assessed using measures such as mRS or EDSS), average time to recover is one to six months. Residual motor deficits are estimated to remain in about 8 to 30% of cases, the range in severity from mild clumsiness to ataxia and hemiparesis.

Recovery and rehabilitation

Persons recovering from acute disseminated encephalomyelitis need time to recover their normal consciousness and movements. Problems with memory, especially short-term memory, may be present. The recovering person sometimes has trouble controlling their emotions and is easily frustrated.

Frequent periods of rest, alternating with shorter periods of mental and physical exercise are prescribed during initial recovery. The maximum possible recovery of brain and motor function may take a period of weeks or months.

Your prayers for Pastor Dave, his wife Ginny, other family members, and the Worthington church will be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Continue to Pray for David Plaster

Pastor Dave Plaster of the Worthington (Columbus) church in Ohio has been readmitted to Riverside Hospital where he is being treated with medication for weakness in his muscles. He will remain there for rehabilitation for an undetermined period of time.

Doctors have not yet been able to offer a definitive diagnosis, but continue to run tests and monitor his progress. Please continue to pray for Pastor Dave and Ginny and their family, and for the doctors and nurses caring for him. Thank you for honoring the request for no visitors at this time.

If people want to send cards his address is:

7904 Manorgate St
Lewis Center, OH 43035-6014

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Canadian Church Planter Passes Licensure Exam

Shane Edwards (pictured, with his wife, Cheryl), Canadian church-planter, passed his licensure review this week. He, his wife Cheryl, and their six children are planning to church-plant in Medicine Hat, a city of 61,000 people located in the southeastern part of the Canadian province of Alberta.

Edwards’ progress may be followed on his blog,, subtitled “A family’s journey from suburban Vancouverites to Albertan church planters.”

Philip Bryant, Grace Brethren church planter from Vancouver and mentor to Edwards, said, “We are excited for him and Cheryl as they continue to meet the goals that they have set to start a new church in Medicine Hat. Keep praying for them—there are still many things that are ahead.”

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Rick Dale New Lexington Associate Pastor

Pastor Jason Carmean of the Grace Brethren Church of Lexington, Ohio, has announced that the Lexington church voted to call Rick Dale this past Sunday in a special business meeting. Dale will begin as Lexington’s Associate Pastor of Family Ministries beginning February 21.

Dale was formerly the pastor of Spring Valley Grace Brethren Church in Elyria, Ohio, which was the church in which he grew up.

Cedar Rapids Church Seeks Senior Pastor

Senior Pastor

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Grace Brethren Church is located in a neighborhood in NE Cedar Rapids on the corner of D Ave and 29th St NE. There are approximately 13,000 people within a one-mile radius of the church building and 145,000 within a five-mile radius.

The largest age group is between 29-49 with 30% of the population. The population is 88.7% Anglo and 4.2% African-American. The Hispanic population is small but is the fastest-growing segment of the population. The population is projected to grow by 4.2% between 2010 and 2015. Education levels (high school and college degrees) are above national averages. The median house value is $91,000.

If you walk or drive around the church you will see hundreds of middle-to-lower income homes and lots of kids toys. We have a unique opportunity to be a neighborhood church that impacts lives. Our building is not large but it is convenient to the neighborhood.

We would like to reach young families in our neighborhood. In the past decade our congregation has grown older, smaller and tired. We need a fresh vision and a fresh start. We have some mature disciples of Jesus Christ that can be a valuable tool in discipling new believers.

However we do not have the evangelists or leadership to reach our neighborhood. Without this fresh start we will likely cease to exist in the next 10 years and a great opportunity to reach a neighborhood will likely be lost. We are willing to do whatever it takes as long as it is biblical and grounded in the Great Commandment.

Our future pastor will love people, have evangelistic gifts, and be able to shepherd and honor the current church family. He and his family will probably move into our neighborhood and will likely need to supplement his income with a part-time job.

He should have a solid foundation in the Word but not necessarily a seminary degree. Preaching skills are important but so are people skills and the ability to reach people for Jesus. Ours is not a heavily programmed church. There is not a lot of administrative overhead to care for. The building is in good shape. Our future pastor can enjoy a strong people focus.

If you are interested in this ministry opportunity contact &.Gene Stadtmiller at (319) 393-8548 or

Monday, February 08, 2010

Using a Wireless Microphone? Read This!

Roy Halberg, pastor of the Alta Loma (CA) Grace Brethren Church suggests the following may be good information for Grace Brethren churches to know:

Operation of Wireless Microphones in 700 MHz Band Prohibited After June 12, 2010

Robert Johnson from the Bellflower GBC sent this to me.

This would be a good thing to send out to ministerium members.

The 700MHz frequency range will be in use by emergency personnel starting
June 12. If churches are using this range of wireless frequency after June
12, they could be fined.

Gordon Austin, of Grace Brethren International Missions, adds that good information may also be found at (Technologies For Worship Magazine)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Pray for David Plaster

David Plaster, pastor of the Grace Brethren Church of Columbus (Worthington), Ohio, has been experiencing health issues this past week. This notice from his daughter was sent as a prayer request from Grace College & Seminary, Plaster's previous employer:

"Dad has been in the hospital for over a week and they have been running tests due to weakness in his left side. He has spots of inflammation on the brain. . . right side which caused the left side weakness. Treatment was started. Pray treatment will be successful."

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Praying for Pastors' Wives

The following information has come to the Winona Lake office:

Pray for Ed Waken and his wife, Debbie: Debbie will begin chemotherapy on Feb 12th along with a drug therapy called Herceptin (specific to her cancer which is an aggressive form), then we will have radiation as 'dessert' :-) So 2010 will be full of things such as these for the Waken clan. Thanks for praying and I too missed you all earlier this week at Focus...

Pray for Oscar Chavez and his wife, Pat: Pat had surgery last week and will be recovering over the next six weeks

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Preparing for Easter Church Guests

From Baptist Press:

FIRST-PERSON: Preparing for Easter church guests

Diana Davis

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)--You've inundated your town with prayer and printed invitations to worship at your church on Easter. The nationwide GPS (God's Plan for Sharing) media blitz has reinforced those efforts. You have a sudden, terrifying thought ... "What if they all show up?!"

My husband often says, "You get what you get ready for." Need fresh ideas for getting ready?


-- Update website, guest packets, directional signage and first-time-guest parking spaces.

-- Make the church facilities sparkle; they reflect your love for God.

-- Prepare extra bulletins, chairs, ushers, greeters, decision counselors.

-- Avoid acronyms in printed and spoken announcements; guests won't have a clue what HSM means.

-- Offer your best, wholehearted worship to God.

-- Make a plan for guests to receive e-mails, snail mail and a personal contact within 72 hours.


-- As you welcome guests, ask them to take the "three-week challenge," committing to attend your church three times so they can get a true feel for your church and God's guidance for their lives.

-- Incorporate the three-week challenge into your regular communication card or guest registration, with a check box for first time, second time, completed three week challenge and "I lost count."

-- Offer a three-week punch card for a free drink, if you have a church coffee shop.


Urge every church member to personally connect with two guests at church each Sunday. Provide helpful hints:

-- Pray silently as you approach guests.

-- Write down the guest's name.

-- Walk with guests to their destination.

-- Jot your personal phone or e-mail on a card for the guest.

-- Tell them what you love about your church.

-- Introduce guests to other church members with similar interests.
-- Invite the guest to small group Bible study.

-- Leave your pew and sit near a guest in worship.

-- Circle items on the bulletin that might interest the guest.

-- Personally invite the guest for coffee, lunch or an upcoming church event.

-- Escort the guest to meet the pastor or staff member after worship.

If they all show up to hear about Jesus this Easter Sunday, will you be ready?
Diana Davis is the author of Fresh Ideas (B&H Publishing) and the wife of the Indiana Baptist State Convention executive director. Learn more at Learn more about GPS at

Pastor Donald Abshire, Roanoke, With the Lord

Pastor Dan Gillette, Secretary of Blue Ridge District Ministerium of the Grace Brethren Churches, has alerted us to the following:

Rev. Jesse Donald Abshire Sr., 87, of Boones Mill, Va., went to be with our Lord on Monday, February 1, 2010, after several years of illness.

He was born on October 4, 1922. He was preceded in death by his parents, John L. and Delia Abshire, also of Boones Mill. Surviving are his wife of 61 years, Colleen Trent Abshire; his son, J.D. Abshire and wife, Debbie; his daughter, Yvonne and husband, Donnie Hodges; grandchildren, Beth Anne Deems and husband, Michael, Naomi Arthur and husband, Alan, Jessica Gardner and husband, Cabell, and Whitney and Celeste Hodges; seven great-grandchildren, Tyler and Mikey Deems, Koen and Paxton Arthur, and Abby, Aydin, and Anna Lily Gardner.

Donald is also survived by his sisters, Claudine Mizak and Janet Guilliams; also his brother, John L. Abshire Jr. and wife, Janet, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Donald was a World War II Veteran and was a self-employed orchardist in Boones Mill. He was also the founding pastor of Grace Brethren Church of Boones Mill where he later retired in 1988; after which he attended Boones Mill Baptist Church.

Donald was a godly example to his family and all those who knew him. He was a faithful pastor, leading many souls to the Lord.

Funeral services will be conducted from Flora Funeral Chapel, 11 a.m. Thursday, with the Rev. James Steele, the Rev. Ralph Miller and Mr. John L. Abshire Jr. officiating. Interment will follow in Franklin Memorial Park.

Many thanks to friends, neighbors and Carilion Hospice Service of Franklin County for your continued love, kindness and support. Friends may call after 3 p.m. Wednesday with his family receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m. at Flora Funeral Service, Rocky Mount.