Volunteer Opportunity: Bible 2 School

Bible 2 schoolBIBLE 2 SCHOOL is a non-profit organization that provides non-denominational Bible classes to kids in Public school. This is a great opportunity for students to hear from the Word of God, but it doesn’t happen without the help of volunteers! They have added more Bible Electives for fall and are in need of volunteers! If you’d like to learn more about Bible 2 School, click here! If you would like to get more information about volunteer opportunities for released time Bible classes, contact Alicea here or by calling 717-419-0450.

CE National Celebration

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CE National is an organization that many at Grace Church are familiar with. They are responsible for Momentum youth conference that nearly 80 from Grace Church attended, as well as Operation Barnabas, a ministry-training program that many from Grace Church have participated with. They are the parent organization of Urban Hope Training Center and Community Church in Philadelphia, lead the youth-ministry major at Grace College, and much, much more. In addition, Grace Church financially supports TK and Dana Kurtaneck who work full-time with CE.

Every year, CE has a celebration banquet for churches in our district, and YOU are invited! Come to hear from TK and other representatives about the past year of ministry through CE programs and people. The evening includes a free meal as well as an opportunity to give a love-gift supporting ministries to those who are often over-looked. Here are the details:

CE Celebration

Where: Good ‘N Plenty Restaurant, Smoketown, PA

When: September 15, 6:30 p.m.

RSVP: to Judy at CE National by September 8 (574-267-6622) or email

Celebrating Missions: Part 1 of 3

Sunday night the Grace Church missions team hosted a missions celebration! Those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the variety of experiences throughout the night and walked away challenged to be more engaged in our responsibility to “reach the nations” with the good news of Jesus. We’ll post a few blogs this week highlighting different elements of the event in case you weren’t able to make it!

We’ll start at the end! We ended the evening by covering the entire world in prayer! Literally! We asked everyone who attended to pick 3 countries to pray for and had them circle the country name on a world map. It was awesome to see couples, families, and other individuals huddled together and praying for the work of the gospel across the entire globe! Many wrote the names of their countries down to continue to pray for them throughout the week as well. A changed heart is a work of God, so prayer is a powerful way to be involved in missions.

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Another prayer element came in the form of a packet of prayer cards for all of Grace Church’s missions partners! We encouraged everyone to take one home and to place it at a visible place in their home to remember to pray for our partnerships and investments all over the globe. We continue to make new cards for Grace Church folks who are serving on short-term trips as well, so your pile can continue to grow over time. A display gave people ideas of how to use the cards:

  • Place them in a box in the middle of the dinner table and pray for one partner each night before dinner
  • Place them all in a photo album and keep it in your purse or with your Bible to pray during down-time or quiet time
  • Hang them on a line across a play-room wall to keep them visible and in the front of your mind
  • Clip them to your fridge with a fridge-magnet and pray for one when you open your fridge

If you missed the event, stop by the missions table in the lobby to pick a packet up, or contact the church office to mail you one!

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A final prayer element that was quite moving was to have Faa, from our featured partnership, GROW, praying for us in Thai! Pastor Doug asked Faa to pray in either Aka (her native, tribal language) or in Thai. She chose to pray in Thai “because that’s the language she has memorized Scripture in”! In other words, she was praying Scripture! Though we couldn’t understand her prayer, our hearts were aligned and moved as we observed her passion while she spoke to God.

Fun, FREE Kids Event to Benefit SVPS and HOHC!

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Grace Church has been involved with supporting HOHC (House of His Creation) and SVPS (Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Center) for many years! Check out this great event, hosted by WJTL, that will benefit these two great organizations!

Come to Kids Cookie Break 14 on Saturday, August 30, 2014! There will be two identical programs (Morning 10 to 2 and Evening 3 to 7) at the home of WJTL, the Junction Center (1875 Junction Rd., Manheim, PA). Performances by Slugs & Bugs, Steven Courtney & The Suitcase Musicians, This Way Up, Jesse Rothacker & Forgotten Friend Reptiles, and Phredd. PLUS there will be a petting zoo, inflatables by Big Bright Bounces, Firetrucks, Pedal Cars, Candy Drop, tours of the WJTL facility, KCB games, prizes and more!

This year, everyone is encouraged to bring diapers, wipes or formula to donate to Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services and House of His Creation.

The event is FREE, however tickets are needed and became available for download  TODAY at 10am.  There will also be $5 Chick-Fil-A boxed lunches (including a Chick-Fil-A Sandwich, bag of Herr’s snacks, a bottled water from Turkey Hill, and a piece of fruit) available for purchase when you reserve your ticket to enjoy the day of the fest and to help offset the cost of this free event.

Click here to order your free ticket to the Morning Program

Click here to order your free ticket to the Evening Program

Remember tickets are available NOW and are limited. Last year this event “Sold Out” in less than 24 hours.

Presented by Turkey Hill Dairy’s All Natural Ice Cream
Sponsored in part by Chick-Fil-A, Herrs, & WJTL

On Board, On Mission (Part 2 of 3)

You don’t have to go abroad to be “on mission” for Jesus! There are opportunities to serve in significant ways all around us. This week we are featuring three stories (this is the second story) from Grace Church professionals that serve on boards of great, God-honoring organizations doing significant work in our community! (Missed the first one? Check it out here!)

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Matt Weaver and his family have been attending Grace Church for thirteen years. Matt and his wife, Krista, are members of the Homebuilders ABF and have four children who are part of various Grace Kids ministries. Matt also serves on Grace Church’s Hope to the Oppressed committee. Though he is involved in a few different ministry areas, his heart for others does not stop within the walls of Grace Church.

Matt has served on the the board for Bethany Christian Services of Central PA for four years and is also the chair of the Property Committee. Matt was approached by a current board member at Bethany just as his family was considering serving in foster care or adoption. He felt that this opportunity may be his chance to be involved in helping children in need. As it turns out, God wanted him to do both!

During his time at Bethany, he has been able to attend the Bethany Banquet each fall. At each banquet, the audience hears from parents who have made adoption plans for their child and from the couple to was able to welcome that child into their home.

Two years ago we got to hear from an adoptee now in her teens who was adopted as an infant. She was able to introduce her birth mom and her adoptive parents to the attendees, share how much she loves them all, and thank her birth mom (who was courageous enough to make an adoption plan) and God for giving her a forever family. That was cool!

When asked the question, “How and/or why would you encourage other people at Grace Church to serve in areas outside of the church,” Matt gave this answer:

There are many ways to serve the church family but when we have opportunity to serve the lost and the least of these in our community and our world at large, we can enjoy the blessing of giving back to Christ who gave His all for us.  

To learn more about Bethany Christian Services, click here.

Be sure to stick around for part 3 of our “On Board, On Mission” blog series!

On Board, On Mission (Part 1 of 3)

You don’t have to go abroad to be “on mission” for Jesus! There are opportunities to serve in significant ways all around us. This week we will be featuring three stories from Grace Church professionals that serve on boards of great, God-honoring organizations doing significant work in our community!

Cristi Morgan and her husband John started attending Grace Church soon after they were married 14 years ago. Jason Young, Pastor Young’s son, attended college with John, giving them an instant connection with Grace Church. John and Cristi got involved in the Homebuilders ABF, finding that it was a great foundation for their marriage. Mike Lutz, the ABF teacher, is still considered a mentor to the couple. Cristi also mentioned that Beth Fahnestock and Lynn Niner have been mentors to her throughout the years. “When I look at the impact that those people have had in my life, it naturally leads me to want to become involved in a mentorship ministry so that I could ‘give back’ in a way.” 

Today, Cristi and John are still involved in Grace Church ministries. They belong to a Connect group and serve behind the scenes on the tithe counting team. We are so grateful for their involvement and commitment to Grace Church, but living “on mission” doesn’t stop within the church walls either. Keep reading to see how Cristi is “On Board, On Mission.”

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In 2012, God used a series of events to open the door to my involvement with Bridge of Hope (BoH). At that time, I was more seriously considering how I should become involved in a ministry. Then I heard one of the BoH staff members featured on a WJTL radio morning show. She captured my attention as she told her personal story and described the BoH program. Her testimony really left a lasting impression on me. A few weeks later, I learned that a mentor group was being formed within our church to serve a new BoH participant in our community. I knew that the Spirit was prompting me to serve in this capacity. After about 16 months, we celebrated my BoH friend’s graduation from the program. Afterward, I asked God, “OK, what next?”   The Spirit opened up the next window of opportunity with a phone call, asking me to join the Board of Directors. Again, I knew that this is where God wanted me to serve.

I’ve seen lives transformed in this experience. In the last year alone, the BoH Lancaster and Chester County office has served 53 single mothers & their 101 children. The mission of Bridge of Hope is to end and prevent homeless for single mothers and their children within our community. The program provides rental assistance and helps them to secure permanent housing. Personal and financial stability is achieved by connecting them to resources within the community and a mentor group from a local Christian congregation. As participants experience the unconditional love of Christ demonstrated through their relationships with the staff and mentors, many come to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. BoH just celebrated their 25 year anniversary and the countless lives that have experienced positive life change as a result of the program.

The experience has exceeded anything that I could imagine. I am reminded of Ephesians 3:20. He does “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Participation in the program changes the lives of the participants and their children, as well as the staff and mentors. While we extend support in tangible ways, sometimes the “stuff of life” seems impossible and all you can do is pray. Through fervent prayer, we have seen God protect and provide in countless ways. He is faithful.

To learn more about Bridge of Hope, click here!

Check back in this week to hear two more incredible stories!

One Week; Eternal Impact

Grace Church has a long-standing relationship with Camp Conquest, a great escape right up the road in Denver, PA. Each year, thousands of dollars and thousands of hours are donated by people at Grace Church, and many children and families participate in ministries camp offers year-round. They are in prime summer-camp season right now, and as you can see in the pictures below we have lots of Grace Church people there as staff, volunteers, and campers! We asked two ladies who served as counselors last week to give us a picture of what it’s like:

What a great time to serve at Camp Conquest last week! As a cabin counselor of Quest week I enjoyed getting to know 13 students in my cabin at a deeper level and interact with many more! Yes, I was stretched in leading morning and evening devotions, initiating many spiritual conversations, prayed with students as they rededicated their lives, participated in skit night, played gaga, soccer, black light dodge ball and even went down the hill on the giant water slide (once).

It is so rewarding to serve at camp where students are stretched to meet new friends, challenged during Chapel time every morning and camp fire time every evening, devote 30 minutes each day memorizing scripture and have an awesome time of all kinds of fun games and activities like riding horses, crafts, pool time, rifle, trap shooting, cooking, archery, paint ball, and many other fun large group games!

The camp experience is such a great time for students to get away from their usual schedule and friends and be stretched to meet new people and be immersed in a week long focus on truths from scripture that challenge them! Between the three camps that ran simultaneously there were a total of 85 campers, by weeks end we had many who memorized scripture, two that accepted Christ as there savior and many more who rededicated their lives to Christ. It was so awesome to hear many campers say their favorite part of camp was hearing the chapel and camp fire speaker! I am so glad I was able to serve at camp for the week, I hope others will give it a try; you won’t regret building into the lives of students! -Joan McCracken

Tim Kachel faithfully serves at Camp Conquest each summer.
Tim faithfully serves at Camp Conquest each summer.
Eric Summy, a Club 56 volunteer, serves as a counselor!
Eric, a Club 56 volunteer at Grace Church, serves as a counselor!

A week at camp can be extremely exhausting but so rewarding in the end! I started volunteering at Camp Conquest many summers ago after a counselor impacted my life by encouraging me to follow God and serve Him as much as I could. I was a shy camper that got her world rocked that week. Camp is holy ground that will always remind me of the commitment I made to God at a campfire. The Holy Spirit is at work here at camp and I am privileged to be a part of it!

Last week I was a counselor for our Quest Week. The campers in my cabin were 13-16 years old and full of questions about God and how to deal with certain situations. The typical day started with a good morning song sung by me that sometimes ended with pillows being thrown to make me stop. From there we would start with cabin devotions then go to breakfast followed by chapel. This week we talked about attributes of God. After that we would go to activities that the campers chose: horses, archery, rifles, craft cabin, cooking, board games, etc. Then it was lunch and then cabin time where we would rest and work on bible verses. The campers have verse cards that if they memorize and recite to counselors they receive a medal. After that we would go to our sports activity (field games, water games, court games) with all of the quest campers. Then it was pool and store time and then we would have another activity that the campers chose. After that was dinner and then free time followed by an evening game lead by the counselors. We would then have snack and campfire. Then it was time to retire to our beds after a fun day full of activities!

Before bed we like to talk to our cabin about campfire and get them thinking about what it truly meant before we pray with them and turn out the lights. This was also the times where the big questions would come out and sometimes make me thankful I am a Bible college student. The campers are smart enough to have questions that they want answered. These are questions about how far God’s love truly goes and why God could choose some to be his followers and others to not and why didn’t God just make everyone a Christian? This last week I had a young girl in my cabin that was Messianic and had lots of questions about who God was and especially Jesus and his teachings. I also had a girl that was a “baby” Christian in awe of how God would love us as wretched as we are. Then I had a girl who grew up in church and on the mission field with her parents, she rededicated her life and wanted to follow God with everything she knew how to.

As a counselor, we have a week with these kids before you may never see them again. We must love them as much as we can while trying to step into their world to see where their hearts are at. We must encourage them and counsel them through trials that they are going through. We must be their friend and their role model for good attitudes and dealing with difficult situations. We must teach them and challenge them. It’s only a week, but they will remember you a lot longer than you remember them and they will surely remember their time here at Camp Conquest! -Hannah Graham

Tim works very hard to maintain the beautiful landscape that many campers call "home" for a week!
Tim works very hard to maintain the beautiful landscape that many campers call “home” for a week!
Ken relaxes for a moment after many hours of preparing for camp!
Ken relaxes for a moment after many hours of preparing for camp!

Here is a ‘thank you’ from a camper who was able to attend camp due to a sponsor:

Thanks for sending me to camp.  I loved it.  I’ve had a lot of fun playing games and learning about God.  This has brought me closer to Him and, I now know him as a Savior.  I love campfire which is when we get together around a campfire for singing and a message.  This has totally changed my life and my outlook on God.  Thank you for all your help.  -D

Steve (right) serves as a counselor each summer!
Steve (right) serves as a counselor each summer!
Victoria (brown shirt) sharing a meal with friends.
Victoria (brown shirt) sharing a meal with friends.
Jenna at the archery range!
Jenna at the archery range!
Abby (middle) smiles with her camp friends!
Abby (middle) smiles with her camp friends!