As I write, the East Coast is preparing for Hurricane Florence.  I know you join me in praying for those who have evacuated, those first responders who will be helping with rescues and assessing damages, and for many who will likely lose their place and property.  I also invite you to pray for churches that are in the eye of the storm and for those churches that will be on the front lines as the hands and feet of Jesus – including some of our sister ECO Presbyterian churches.

I anticipate that there will be ways that we can be a part of bringing support and care to these churches and to the people impacted by the storm.  Stay tuned for that.

A pastor friend of mine once said… “When the world is at its worst, the church must be at its best.”  And that’s what we will be talking about as we continue in our sermon series, GETTING WHAT WE DON’T DESERVE.  This week we will be thinking about “GIVING WHAT WE GOT.”  As followers of Jesus, we don’t just keep God’s grace to ourselves.  We give it away.

GRACE was the secret sauce of the early church. The earliest believers lived their GRACE.  They gave what they got.  They received GRACE, and they started giving GRACE away.  The world saw a group of people that were different.  People who stood up for the people on the margins.  People that cared about the poor.  People that ran into crazy situations that other people ran away from.

These Christians were always together, growing in faith and taking care of each other, showing GRACE to each other and the world. What does it look like for us to continue growing into that kind of community?  Come Sunday to hear more.

One way we will grow together this Fall is through the 40 days campaign.  We are hoping that over 500 of us will be a part of a 40 days small group.  You can sign up today.  Even if you are already in a group, I hope you will let us know your group is participating and sign up.  Here’s the link.

I can’t wait to see you Sunday.

Your pastor and friend,

Dr. Marnie Crumpler, Senior Pastor.

P.S. I also want to give you an update on our Master Planning Process.

Yesterday, we took a great step forward in the Master Planning Process. Earlier in the Summer, we sent out a RFP (request for proposal) to 6 architectural firms and received proposals from all 6. After reviewing the proposals for our master plan process and completing reference checks over the last few weeks, we invited four of the firms to make presentations in person.  A subcommittee of the Master Planning Committee spent the day interviewing each of the firms.  The next step will be taking a recommendation to the whole Master Planning Committee and then to the Session for final approval.  We anticipate that we will have an architectural firm selected by the end of the month.  This firm will lead us through our planning process and lead us to the planning for our future building and campus.

As a part of our Locust Street building dedication service next weekend, Sunday 23rd at 4 pm, we will give a more thorough report about our process and our progress.  These are very exciting times for GRACE Church.

We anticipate opportunities for everyone to give input to this process as we dream dreams about our exciting future. I see God’s sovereign hand leading us as we see chapters of our church’s story written. Over and over again, I say “ONLY GOD” could have done that…