Taking Action – Compassion in India

Dear Grace Point Prayer Partners and Compassion Sponsors,

As you may know, Grace Point has a partner church in Bolivia through Compassion International – a Christ-centered organization that seeks to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Recently, Compassion has been forced to withdrawal all operations from the country of India – affecting over 145,000 children and babies. Below is an update from Jimmy Mellado, President & CEO of Compassion. 

Would you please pray for Compassion and the many children affected by this decision? Would you take action and contact your senators and congressmen to ask for their help with this situation?


From Jimmy Mellado, President & CEO of Compassion International:

For nearly a year, we’ve been sharing updates with our sponsors of Indian children about the severe funding restrictions India’s government has placed on our programs there. Along the way, we have sought every possible remedy with the Indian government, and while we have received significant support from our U.S. government at the highest levels, India has still not lifted their restrictions. Now, despite all these efforts and worldwide prayers to prevent this outcome, our inability to fund our operations is forcing us to suspend our India operations fully starting March 15.

For the sake of the 145,000 babies and children who will suffer as a result, our government is willing to stand with us in voicing our significant concerns over this action, but they need to hear from you, our Compassion sponsors, to do so. That is why we are reaching out to each of our U.S. sponsors to make them aware that Compassion is being forced to close its sponsorship program in India and to request their assistance with a very important ask.

Today, in response to this terrible injustice, will you make a bold statement to your representatives in the U.S. government? Speak up for the children who have no voice. Make a statement about your heart’s desire that these children be loved and served. Let them know that the children in India who live on less than $2.00 per day really matter.

Please take just one minute to write your senators and representatives today. Let them know that people like you who want to help should continue to have the opportunity to support children living in extreme poverty in India. Ask them to show their support of these children by speaking with political representatives in India. We’ve pre-written the letter for you, but you can also add content if you want to share your personal thoughts and feelings about Compassion closing its work in India. It will only take a few clicks to make this very important statement.

While these letters may not prevent the close of our work in India at this time, your action will serve as a seed that God plants to make a significant difference in the future, for Compassion and many other faith-based as well as secular organizations working in India. And who knows how God may use this? This may just be the impetus He uses to soften the hearts of the India government regarding Compassion. Please stand with us and show your elected officials that you care for these children.

Despite this deeply troubling situation, we take to heart Jesus’ message in Matthew 25:40 that “whatever you have done for the least of these you have done for me.” We cannot imagine not being able to serve these vulnerable children in India, especially when the need is so great. Although Compassion’s existing service to more than 145,000 precious Indian babies and children may end, we will continue to work diligently to advocate for the more than 100 million children living in extreme poverty within India.

Thank you in advance for your willingness to partner with us in this important effort for these very vulnerable children in India.

In Christ,

Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado
President and CEO
Compassion International

P.S. Please make an important statement by taking just one minute to write your senators and representatives today to let them know that you want a future hope to support precious children living in extreme poverty in India.

Three New Ways to Give

At Grace Point, our mission, together as a church, is to “help more people become fully committed followers of Jesus Christ.” There are a number of ways that we can partner together to accomplish that mission. It could be serving in a ministry, praying for our missionaries, or giving to support the ministry at Grace Point.

Our General Fund is what we use to pay the electric bill, pay our staff, support our missionaries, and order supplies for our kids and youth ministries. All of these things (and many more) are crucial to helping more people become fully committed followers of Jesus.

Today in the services, we announced three new ways that you can give towards to the General Fund and support the work at Grace Point.

  • Debit Cards – You can now give via our Online Giving site (http://giving.gracepointpa.org) using your Debit Card. You can give a one-time gift or setup a recurring gift using your ACH info (routing & account numbers) or your debit card.
  • Give by Kiosk – On Sunday mornings we will have a special location in the foyer where you can give using your debit card at our new kiosk. In seconds you make a secure gift and print a receipt!
  • Give by Text – For many of us, our smart phones dictate our schedules, our work, and our social lives. You can now give by text! Simply text “gracepoint” to 73256 and you’ll be able make a secure gift. It’s fast and easy to use!

Regardless of how you give at Grace Point, it is an act of worship – prayerfully, giving back to God from what He has given to us.

If you have any questions about the above ways to give, general questions, or how to give via stock donations, contact our church office at 215-968-2354.

Ministry Celebration & Biz Meeting Recap

This past Sunday evening we held our Semi-Annual Ministry Celebration and Business Meeting. We celebrate what God has been doing in the life of our church! It’s always encouraging to hear how God is working in your life and helping you to become more like Jesus.

Here are some of the highlights from Sunday night:

  • Dessert is always a highlight!
  • Three people were recognized for becoming new members to the church: Gene Alligood, Kathryn & Walter Rolle. Kathryn shared briefly about how they came to Grace Point and the impact it has had in their life and their family.
  • Bill Wright, Director of Administration shared a financial update; giving is below budget and expenses. New giving methods (give by text, debit cards, and giving by kiosk) are coming soon. Bill also shared that over $830,000 has been given – across all accounts, including the General Fund.
  • Chuck Arnold, Pastor of Congregational Care, updated us on the Care ministries and the new Marriage, Family, & Relationship ministry that has had a strong start.
  • Dave Wolf, Senior Pastor, shared an update on our Strategic Goals, and how the staff have been working on an updated foal for 2017-18, with three strategies to meet that goal. Stay tuned for more info!
  • We also heard updates from Missions and the Youth Transition Team.
  • Scott Leuz, Elder and Chair of the Youth Director search team, announced that the team has narrowed the search down to three candidates and have handed the process over to the staff. The ministry staff will now review resumes, doctrinal statements, philosophies of ministry and lots of other documents & recordings.
  • Dave Crist and Laura Schlenker were recognized for their service as staff members – each serving over 20 years!
  • Glenn Ely, Elder Chair, reminded us of the new Elder candidate process, and members voted for the two candidates. Dave Kneller and Rich Speeney both received unanimous positive votes. (The Elders will now meet, weigh the vote of the membership, and if they are still in unanimous agreement, Dave & Rich will become elders – starting their terms July 1.)

Thanks to all who came out!

Same Mission – New Look!

Maybe by now you’ve noticed that we’ve updated our website. It has an exciting new look with some new features – including being more mobile-friendly.

You might be thinking, “Why did we need a new website? What was wrong with the old one?” Well, nothing was wrong with the old one – and that’s often the case when it comes to technology and the “Inter-webs.” We’re just updating it with a fresh new look!

Our website serves many purposes, including being “the front door to our church, before the front door.” Many times people will visit a church’s website before they even think of visiting in-person. The same is true for our church. Guests will often have questions like, “What can I expect? What’s it like? What programs do they offer?” Our website answers those questions and more, and gives guests a sneak preview of our church!

Our main website’s primary audience is those looking for a church – those who may be new to Grace Point, future attenders, or those just checking us out.

Our blog (this website) is for those of us that are already “in the know” and may be serving in a ministry. You’ll see a menu option above that says, “Ministry Tools” – this is where you’ll find the Building Use Form (a.k.a. Room Reservation form) and Foyer Table Reservation form. More tools will be added soon, so be on the lookout!

For now, bookmark this site (http://blog.gracepointpa.org) and share our new website with your Facebook friends, neighbors, and others who you’d like to invite to Grace Point.

Happy New Year

Every year individuals make a list of changes that they want to make in the new year. By February most of the desired changes fade away. Failure to bring about change occurs because there is no significant foundation for the desired changes. Real change comes about when the person has a solid foundation to support the desired changes.

The foundations for change include:

  1. Motivating godly lifestyle changes. A person’s relationship with God gives them a special identity and a particular purpose for living. Ephesians 4:1
  2. Specifying what needs to change from the inside out. Ephesians 4:22-24
  3. Pursuing accountability from supportive relationships. Hebrews 10:24-25

In October of 2016 Grace Point started a Marriage, Family, and Relationships ministry. The purpose of this ministry is to bring about the desired changes that will strengthen marriages, families, and relationships overall, using the foundations listed above.

Starting Sunday, January 15, we will address the topic of “Safe Haven Marriage.” Together we will explore the foundational concepts of having a safe haven marriage. These classes will take place at 9am in room A-1 on January 15, 22, 29, February 12 and 26.

In March, we will explore the topic “Entering the World of Adolescence.”

In April and May, we will explore the topic of Personalities and Relationships. The Myers Briggs Personality profile will be available for individuals to complete prior to the first class in April.

As we enter 2017 may we work together to bring about godly changes in our marriages, families, and relationships.

Fall Happenings!

School has started, the leaves are turning – summer is gone.

Though days at the beach and beside the pool might soon become distant memories, exciting days are ahead at Grace Point. As a staff, we’re excited to see what God is going to do in our church and in our community this fall. I think you’ll want to be a part of it!

Below is a laundry itemized list of what’s happening and opportunities to connect with others at Grace Point.

Be sure to check our website and Facebook page for updates!

SUNDAY MORNINGS

  • Worship Services, 9AM and 10:30AM
  • Grace Point Kids 9AM & 10:30AM
  • Grace Point Youth Sunday Study, 10:30AM
  • Adult Bible Study, 10:30AM
  • Women’s Bible Study, starting September 11 at 10:30AM
  • Life Group Connection, September 18 at 10:30AM
  • Newcomers Luncheon, September 25 at 11:45AM
  • Barnabas Care Ministry Training, September 25 to November 13 at 9AM
  • Marriage Classes, October 23, November 13, 20, 27 and December 11 & 18 at 9AM

KIDS & YOUTH

  • Kids Club – Wednesdays starting September 14 at 6:30PM, 3 yrs. (potty trained)–6th grade
  • Youth Group – Middle/High School – Thursdays starting September 15 at 7PM
  • Youth Retreat – October 28-30
  • Seniors Retreat – November 4-6

ADULTS – Ongoing

  • Choir, rehearses twice a month, sings on Sunday once a month
  • Discover Grace Point, Saturday Edition, September 17 at 8:30AM…also offered in four one-hour sessions, Sundays, October 9-30 at 9AM
  • GP Men Breakfast, Saturdays, October 3 and December 3 at 8AM
  • Men’s Bible Studies, Mondays-Saturdays at various times and places
  • Moms in Prayer, every other Thursday morning at 9:15AM, starting September 9
  • Moms Morning Out, Wednesday mornings at 9:45AM, starting September 7
  • Newcomers’ Luncheons, Sundays, September 25 and November 13 at 11:45AM
  • Potluck & Praise Evenings, Sundays, September 18 and November 20 at 5:30PM
  • Praise & Prayer, Wednesdays 7-8PM
  • Prime Time Fellowship, various monthly events for those over 55
  • Shabbat Fellowship, 1st Fridays of the month at 7PM
  • Small Groups, various times and places during the week
  • Small Group Leadership Training, Tuesday, September 27 at 7PM
  • Women’s Fellowship, third Wednesday of every month, starting September 21, 10AM-2PM
  • Women’s Bible Studies, various days and various types
  • Worship Team (vocalists and instrumentalists), on rotation, rehearses prior to 9AM service, assists in worship on Sunday
  • Young Adult Gatherings, Wednesdays, starting September 21, 6:30-8:30PM at Elys

One-time Events

  • Men’s Tailgating Party, Sunday, September 25 at 2PM
  • Block Party for All Families, Wednesday, September 28, 6:30 to 8PM
  • “The Great Date Night,” an enjoyable evening for adults, Saturday, October 22, 7PM
  • Men’s Retreat, November 4-6 at Refreshing Mountain

Why I Attend the GLS

For the last several years, I’ve had the privilege to attend the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit simulcasted live at Bethel at Philadelphia Mills. Even though I’ve attended via satellite simulcast, it has become a highlight of my year. I’ve assisted with some of the technical aspects to help Bethel’s GLS event run smoothly. Bethel has a great tech team, and it’s a pleasure to work with them.

Here are five reasons why I look forward to the GLS:

  1. Serving alongside other churches – We’re all in this together and I love the
    Photo from Instagram.com/wcagls

    opportunity to serve alongside fellow Jesus-followers and help leaders become better leaders. These men (and fellow technicians) are awesome!

  2. Great content every year – From Bill Hybels to leadership experts Patrick Lencioni and Dr. Henry Cloud, the Global Leadership Summit always brings the best speakers to share lessons for leaders in all spheres of life.
  3. The Local Church is the Hope of the World – Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church has been known to say from time to time that the local church is the hope of the world. That’s because we have the gospel of Jesus Christ, who can change lives and change the world. We need to stop playing church, and be the church. Each year, this is a great reminder of our calling.
  4. Seeing outside the box – I love to see the technical artists at Willow and at Bethel at work. From the stage lighting to the set design, these artists understand what it takes to create environments that draw you in, and hold your attention. Their careful use of lighting, color, and effects is inspiring.
  5. Photo from Instagram.com/wcagls
    Photo from Instagram.com/wcagls

    Investing in my own leadership – This may go without saying, but we are all leaders. We all lead in various capacities from the home to our work, from our community soccer leagues to our churches and ministries. Everyone benefits when a leader gets better. I want to be the best leader I can be, and the GLS helps me do that.

While I’m often managing multiple screens, the weather, technical liaising, and other duties while I serve during the GLS, it’s always great to attend and serve at the Global Leadership Summit.

When was the last time you invested in yourself as a leader?

Would you consider attending the GLS next year? I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and come out a better leader!

It’s not about numbers…

Often times in ministry we hear the phrase “it’s not about numbers.” I whole-heartedly agree with that statement – ministry is about people, relationships, and helping others learn more about God and the gospel – not numbers.

But…there’s a number of extraordinary ladies who love ministry, and have collectively completed a multitude of projects. The number of projects and people who have been touched by their ministry is impossible to count. I’m talking about the faithful ladies of the Women’s Fellowship.

Below is a summary of their work from last 12 months or so, and these are impressive numbers. We praise God for these faithful servants of the Lord and the many lives who have been impacted by their work.

OUTREACH PROJECTS

Child Home Community
11 Baby blankets, knitted/crocheted
3 Baby hats, crocheted

Child Evangelism Fellowship (C.E.F.)
2000 “wordless” zipper pulls

Esperanza Medical Center
748 Christmas – Jesus “stockings”
1000 Wordless Zipper Pulls – Easter
140 Easter crosses
1440 Spanish stickers: Jesus Loves Me
198 Various Summer handouts
623 Back-To-School bookmarks – God’s Rainbow Promise
128 Children’s books donated to their library
Toured facilities

Good Shepherd Ministry
42 Cans filled with cookies
333 Candy favors
50 Sunshine bags
54 Walker bags
23 Lap Robes
29 Knitted slippers
8 Knitted shoulder wraps
55 Pair Men’s white socks
154 Assorted Sunshine Bag articles
605 Christmas cards/envelopes

Philadelphia Bible Clubs
275 Tree Christmas party favors
32 Jewelry and jewelry boxes
32 Misc. household gifts
27 Baskets filled with travel/cosmetic items
60 Christmas-craft kits for mothers
16 Hats/scarves, knitted Towels/sheets/blankets

Pickering Manor (Bible Study)
10 Fall Favors (Fall in Love with Jesus)

Restoration Church
90 Fall favors (Fall in Love with Jesus – Kids’ classes)

Money Collected and Donated
$57 sent in memory of Marian Taylor to Immanuel Mission in Arizona.

GRACE POINT MINISTRIES

Short Term Trip to Bridesburg, Philadelphia, PA 
100 Wordless Bracelet Kits assembled

On Eagles’ Wings (ministry to Nursing Homes)
60 Winter favors (snowmen)
62 Valentine’s favors
62 Spring favors
60 Summer favors (Patriotic)

Quilting
47 Quilts for kids – St. Stephen’s quilt project
64 Homemade stuffed animals
27 Purchased stuffed animals
12 Preemie Hat/Bootie sets
32 Knitted hats

Short Term Trip Unidos en Cristo, Bolivia (Compassion Int’l)
350 Necklace kits (Fruit of the Spirit) assembled

Money Collected and Donated 
$168 given to GP library for children’s books in memory of Helen Jones.

Summer Playlist

One of my favorite things about warmer weather is driving with the windows down and my favorite tunes playing on the car radio (sometimes louder than it should be). Backyard BBQs and summer parties tend to be a whole lot more enjoyable with some “tunes.” I love music.

NEEDTOBREATHE - Hard Love
NEEDTOBREATHE – Hard Love

Music has always resonated with me, and helped me to come to terms with some of the darkest times of my life. The song, “In Christ Alone” has a special significance for me. Music can help us relax, process, or simply “be still” in the midst of life’s storms. That’s one of the reasons I love that we incorporate music into our worship services.

This summer, I’m spending a lot of time with NEEDTOBREATHE‘s latest album, “Hard Love.” It came out while I was away from home, and so track 8, “Be Here Long” means a lot to me. The chorus goes like this:

Close my eyes and think of you
Go to sleep and dream of you
We don’t get to be here long
I gave you the best of me
Loved you more than anything
But we don’t get to be here long

At the risk of sounding all mushy, it made me think of my wife and my boys when I was 3,000 miles away.

What songs have meaning for you? What are you listening to this summer?

Adventures at Adventure Camp

This is a special week for many of our kids at Grace Point. There are 130 kids ages 8-11 having a great time at Adventure Camp at Camp Tel Hai. Cassandra DeWitt, our Children’s Director, Liz Coffman, our Nursery Coordinator, and 50 other leaders are leading the charge to “Walk this Way” – which is this year’s theme.

From archery to crafts, from riding horses to sitting ’round the campfire, Tel Hai is always a life-changing week for these kids. Below is a portion from earlier this week on the Adventure Camp blogCheck out the blog for a daily video!

One of our favorite meals today was tacos for TACO TUESDAY of course! To top that, as if you could, we had a treat of terrific apple crisp today too!

An even more fun treat, was our evening special where the kids got to rotate between an evening swim, hayride and mini-golf under the lights! This is a favorite night for many of the campers getting to swim under the lights, and also, having the hayride back was a special treat. You could [hear] the kids singing tunes from miles away I am sure!