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A group of elders gathered in September to examine Arnold Betony, pastor of the Native New Life Church, a Grace Brethren church in Albuquerque, N.M. Picture, left to right, standing, are: Jerry Young, John Schumacher, Robert MacMillan, Steve Galegor, and Howard Mayes. Kneeling is Arnold Betoney.
Arnold Betoney was examined and approved for a ministerial license in 1996 by the Red Lake, Ariz., Grace Brethren Church, but his ordination was overlooked for years. In September, several members of the Grace Brethren Investment Foundation board examined him for ordination and the following Sunday, September 19, the Native New Life Church agreed with the group’s recommendation and ordained him to the Christian ministry. “I introduced the occasion,” reports Dr. Larry N. Chamberlain, CEO of the GBIF. “Howard Mayes gave the charge, one of the church members prayed in Navajo, and Robert MacMillan prayed in English. It was a great moment.”
Mark Combs was ordained during a special service on October 3 at Calvary Grace Brethren Church, Kettering, Ohio.
John Shirley and Jonathan Wiley were examined for ordination on September 15 in the North Central Ohio District and were recommended for ordination.
On the Move
After nearly nine years of involvement and music/worship leading at the Grace Brethren church in Mississauga, Ontario, Bart Blair has announced that God is leading Bart, his wife Elizabeth, and their three children to move across Canada and join with the new church-planting team in Medicine Hat, Alberta.
Tom Eames is the pastor of the Southern Hills Community Church, a Grace Brethren church in Strongsville, Ohio.
Marion, Ind., native Kelsey (Warren) Mitchener has joined the staff of the Brethren Missionary Herald Company, Winona Lake, Ind., as editorial assistant. In her new role she will help with the editorial needs of BMH Books and FGBC World, serve as the office receptionist, and take orders for BMH Books, among other responsibilities.
Catherine Sue Abbitt, 49, Winona Lake, Ind., wife of Pastor Tom Abbitt, August 31, 2010.
Richard Eugene Bell, 62, Winchester, Va., Grace Brethren pastor, September 19, 2010.
Mallori Lin Kastner, 18, of rural Wabash, Ind. and a student at Grace College, September 17, 2010, at Winona Lake, Ind.
Patricia A. Jentes, 63, Rittman, Ohio, mother of Pastor Mike Jentes, August 25, 2010.
For complete obituaries, click here.
Leaders of the worldwide Grace Brethren fellowships met the Chateau St. Albain in France.
A plan for implementing the three-part strategy of the Commitment to Common Mission document was developed and adopted by delegates to a CHARIS leadership meeting September 12-15, 2010. Meeting at the Chateau St. Albain in France, the leaders of the worldwide Grace Brethren fellowships agreed on a strategy of utilizing small teams with specialized expertise to foster and encourage church planting, leadership development, and integrated ministries over the next decade among Grace Brethren churches worldwide.
Mabton Congregation Helps the Needy
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, … Matt. 25:35, 36
"Each request for assistance is met with a visit to the home, providing an opportunity to share the gospel."
It started as a simple Christmas outreach designed to meet the needs in the community while sharing the love of Jesus.
For nearly 25 years, the people of the Mabton, Wash., Grace Brethren Church gathered food and other items each December for needy families in the community. The first few years, they distributed baskets to five or ten families. By the time 2007 rolled around, nearly 20 households were being helped annually.
That’s when the congregation of about 100 decided to step it up. Little did they realize it would lead to a completely different ministry of helping people in their rural Washington community– one that would meet various needs throughout the year.
At first the elders of the congregation said they’d like to increase the commitment to help 50 families. They admitted they didn’t know where the funds would come from, remembers Paul Guay, who has pastored the congregation for 12 years. “They said, ‘We feel led to increase it.’”
They approached Jake, who attended the church and managed a local chain department and grocery store. He authorized a discount on items they wanted to purchase. Guay recalls that Jake told the committee, “If you let me know sooner next year, we can do more.” Even then, Jake’s employees chipped in and he was able to secure a small grant from the company’s corporate office.
“So we raised our sights to 75 [families to help],” Guay says.
by Judy Daniels
Nate and Rachel Gurnish serve pulled pork sandwiches to guests at We Care Ritzman, an outreach of the Ellet Grace Brethren Church in Akron, Ohio.
The people of the Ellet Grace Brethren Church in Akron, Ohio, love their next-door neighbors. And there are more than 300 of those neighbors to love—most of them under the age of 10.
The Ellet church is right next door to the Ritzman Community Learning Center, a K-5 elementary school in the Akron public school district. The church has formed a bond with the students and staff at Ritzman by simply seeing and meeting needs.
Pastor Jonathan Carey of the Ellet church says that the “relationship with Ritzman has opened people’s eyes—energized them.”
That relationship began about 20 years ago when the pastor’s mother, Peg Carey, with the help of the late Dortha Wiley, whose husband, Ralph, was then interim pastor, started a Good News Club at the church. The club attracted students from Ritzman and soon had several dozen in attendance. The impact has been significant.
For example, when a Ritzman student was having some problems in school, her teacher suggested to the girl’s mother that the girl should go to the Good News Club next door. She did, and she and her mother also began going to the church. The daughter accepted Christ, and her mother got back on track with the Lord as well.
After a number of months of prayer, reflection, and visioning, the congregation of the Ocala, Fla., Grace Brethren Church voted July 18 to dissolve the Ocala church as an independent entity, and become a campus of Grace Church of Sebring, the Grace Brethren church in Sebring, Fla.
“They willingly have submitted to follow the leadership of the elders at Sebring, who prayerfully accepted them with joy,” says Randy Smith, pastor at Sebring.
The decision to rebirth the Ocala church, which had been without a permanent pastor for some time, was based on a work that God had been doing for months, according to Smith.
“About a year ago the leadership of Ocala Grace faced a real problem,” he explains. “Their dear elders had served faithfully into their 80s and knew they needed help to keep going. They are men of integrity, but they felt unable to keep forging ahead. The spirit was willing but the body wouldn’t always cooperate.