ECO NATIONAL GATHERING REPORT
Some of your GRACE team spent the week at the ECO Presbyterian National Gathering in Newport Beach, California, hosted by our sister ECO church, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. It was a moving time of worship and connecting with ECO leaders (pastors and elders) from around the country. We are a part of a growing denomination that connects us to other churches and continues to encourage and equip us to be a flourishing church.
During the Gathering, we heard challenging words from speakers. We heard from John Mark Comer, a pastor and author of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. We heard from Nona Jones, Director of North America Community Partnerships and Global Faith Partnerships at Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, talk about the challenges of discipleship. And, we heard from Andrea Gurney, a psychologist, who talked about the challenges of the last few years in the church, and the resilience required in pastors and leaders in these days. When ECO releases the videos, I will share the links. You will be challenged and encouraged.
Another highlight was hearing Dana Allin, our denomination’s Executive, share the growth and vision for our ECO Presbyterian denomination. Dana challenged us to live into the “C” of ECO — Covenant. We are covenanted, connected to each other and to our ECO churches. We certainly experienced that this week.
Our GRACE team had the chance to meet with leaders from our peer churches for encouragement and for an exchange of ideas and best practices. I spent an evening with lead/senior pastors of the other large ECO churches. Kyra Thomas, Taylor Shade, and Doug Stewart each went to meetings and gatherings focused on young adults, discipleship, next generation, and mission.
Finally, ECO continued to introduce its new ECO Seminary, the Flourish Institute of Theology. The vision of this seminary is to equip students with an excellent theological education, coupled with practical ministry training. We want to prepare generations of leaders for our ECO Presbyterian Churches who are ready to lead and serve. It is an honor to be on the faculty of the Flourish Institute of Theology. I have the privilege of teaching 15 students in my course, Preaching: Principles and Practice, beginning later this month.
It was a very exciting week. Wherever we went, people were asking about God’s work in you. I got to share the GRACE story – and how God is at work in you! People are counting down with us to the move-in to our new building.
Sunday, we will continue in our “Luke: The Mission” series. I hope you will pick up the new journal to follow along with this series on the Gospel of Luke. Dr. Mark Crumpler will preach, “3 Times.” The disciples were learning, but they still didn’t fully grasp the mission. 3 Times, Jesus told them that the mission included Jesus’ suffering and death. Appropriately, we will observe communion.
ON MISSION 2023 COMMITMENTS
God was at work last Sunday, as we made our commitments to the Mission here at GRACE Church. In addition to our commitments, we welcomed 13 adults and 5 children to GRACE, and were inspired by interviews of our own GRACE people ON MISSION at GRACE, in the Lehigh Valley, and around the world.
If you missed it, CLICK HERE to see the video. And if you didn’t make your 2023 financial commitment, you can CLICK HERE to join us. Your commitments guide the Finance Committee and the Session as they budget for our mission and ministries in this very exciting year our church.
I’ll be away this week on vacation, visiting a “bucket list” location – following the footsteps of Martin Luther in Germany. I’ll also get to connect with our new mission partners – Iranian Christians who are planting churches and ministries in Germany. I’ll be praying for you as you worship, and will look forward to being back with you next Sunday.
Dr. Marnie Crumpler, Senior Pastor
Dr. Marnie Crumpler