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.