I am writing on the plane flying home from the ECO National Gathering in Dallas, Texas. Our GRACE team of 6 joined over 1500 other ECO church leaders from around the country. It was an incredible time of worship and connecting with ECO pastors and staff and elders.
We heard from Dana Allin, ECO’s Synod Executive, the vision for the future of ECO. He highlighted the need for young leaders and the ways that ECO is working on leadership development and partnering with Gordon-Conwell Seminary to provide excellent and more affordable seminary education for the next generation of pastors. I am very happy that our very own Kyra Thomas is one of the first students in this new program. Kyra is our Pastoral Fellow and is leading our young adult ministry. Taylor Shade, our Next Generation Director, will also be a part of some of these initiatives as he joins Kyra in the ECO Ordination Process. I am so happy that we are benefiting from our connection to ECO in very practical ways.
At the conference, we were also able to connect with our peer churches – I met with all the large church Senior Pastors. Our Executive Director, Brant Lingle was able to connect with other Executive Directors. The meeting closed with a Synod meeting where our elders, Will Jones and Ann Terres were voting commissioners. In addition, we were inspired by ECO’s new partners around the globe. ECO now has a partnership with the Presbytery of the Nile in Egypt. By far, the best part of the gathering was answering the question about how God is at work in you. Over and over again, I got to share the GRACE story – and how God is at work in you! You are inspiring people around the country!
I can’t wait for Sunday to worship with you.
This week, I will launch a new series called The Four Loves. The series is inspired by the book of the same name by C.S. Lewis. C.S. Lewis, famous for his children’s book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is perhaps the most influential thinker of his time. His book, The Four Loves, started as a 1958 BBC series of radio broadcasts. We will actually hear his voice on Sunday introducing the four loves. These talks and the later written book were controversial because they dealt very directly with all the four loves – Storge (familiar love), Philia (friendship love), Agape (perfect love) and yes, Eros (the erotic love).
Love may be the most overused word of our time. What is Love? And If God is love… then how do we as Christians experience and live into love?
Throughout this series we will work on our friendship love. Every Sunday of this series, we will have nametags available for you to wear. When you get to BECA, fill one out each week. It’s a great way for us to learn names and grow more connected!
Finally, if you have been a part of GRACE for a while and you are ready to take a next step into our community…. Do it! It’s not too late to be a part of NEXT this Sunday morning at 9 am at BECA. Pastor Mark will be leading this class that will share our vision and how you can join us. Click here for more information.
What a privilege to be….
Your pastor and friend,
Dr. Marnie Crumpler, Senior Pastor