Staff Transitions Update – September 2021

Our church has experienced three key staff transitions this year, and we are thankful that God has been faithful to provide for us in staffing these positions for uninterrupted and effective ministry.

Children’s Ministry. After serving as our Director of Children’s Ministry for 15 years, Cassandra Dewitt resigned on May 31 to follow the Lord in using her gifts in a new way on the next leg of her journey.

  • Donna Mulvaney is serving as our part-time Interim Director of Children’s Ministry and Ann Kovalik is serving in a part-time supportive role to Donna. Their initial focus is to offer Sunday morning classes for children birth to 5th grade.
  • Our Children’s Ministry Exploratory Team has researched and worked together to present several recommendations regarding multiple aspects of Children’s Ministry to the Elders for review. We anticipate forming a Children’s Ministry Staffing Search Team this month and prayerfully hope to have permanent staffing in place by early 2022.

Care Ministry. Chuck Arnold retired from Grace Point on June 30 as Pastor of Congregational Care, and we thank the Lord for Chuck’s time serving our church family. Grace Point will continue to respond personally and promptly to spiritual, emotional, and financial needs, and to utilize a team approach in meeting those needs. Our Care Ministries Team (led by Linda Hamilton, Marlene Bollmann and Joan Bennett) is working together effectively to continue to extend care to our church family in ways that represent Christ.

  • Pastor on Call. The pastors on staff rotate for one week at a time responding to incoming calls and email requests. The POC then works with the individual or family to determine steps forward in their care, which may include an external counseling referral, an internal referral to a Confidential Care Provider, or another specialized connection within or outside Grace Point. Chuck had been training the POCs over the last year in resources available, and he has been role playing counseling situations. POCs will provide pastoral counseling on spiritual matters (1-3 sessions max) and will refer all other cases to Christ-centered counselors in our area, while maintaining contact with the counselor for shepherding purposes.
  • Care Coordinator. Eileen Hemming was hired on June 1 as our part-time Care Coordinator, and we are excited to have her skills and experience in this vital area of ministry. The Care Coordinator is an administrative position. Eileen interfaces with the congregation, the pastors and the Care Ministries Team and care providers outside of Grace Point to assure loving and effectual care to those in need.

Connection Ministry. Jay Button was celebrated and thanked by the church family on Sunday, August 29 as he stepped away from his role as Pastor of Connection at the end of August. Jay and Kim are looking forward to seeing where the Lord has them next to continue in ministering to God’s people.

  • Small Groups Ministry will be led by a volunteer team overseen by Dave Wolf, with elders serving as coaches for our highly valued small group leaders.
  • Men’s Ministry will be led by Tom Cummings and a well-established group of volunteers under staff oversight of Jeremy Davis.
  • Discover Grace Point, Membership, and Baptism will be coordinated by Jim Weber with staff oversight by Steve Weir. The Discover Grace Point class will resume this autumn on a regular basis to offer opportunities for Grace Point attenders to learn more about the church and to become members.
  • Fellowship Fund will be administered by Jan Haas with staff oversight by Bill Wright.
  • Prime Time Ministry will be overseen by Sharon Sloan, who will work with the current Prime Time Planning Team when they are ready to resume gatherings. This important ministry provides fellowship opportunities for our attendees ages 55 and up.

Administrative Support. We are delighted to announce that we have hired Jenna Mazer as our part-time Ministry Administrative Assistant. Jenna will begin the week of September 19, 2021. She will be our receptionist and will serve Dave Wolf, Jeremy Davis and our Children’s Ministry. Look for Jenna in our front office soon, and please take a moment to welcome her!

We thank the Lord for the staff team members He has provided throughout the years and those He has planned for the future. “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do.” (Hebrews 6:10 ESV)

Please pray with the elders and staff for God’s favor as we navigate these changes and look forward to the new season of ministry in the coming months.

If you have further questions, please contact kkovalik@gracepointpa.org, dwolf@gracepointpa.org or sweir@gracepointpa.org.

A Fond Farewell to Jay & Kimi Button

On Sunday, August 29, we celebrated the years of ministry given to Grace Point by Pastor Jay Button and his wife, Kimi. The pastors and elders prayed for Jay and Kim during the morning worship services. We are sharing this prayer to the Lord to thank Him and in anticipation of His responses. Jay and Kim — we thank the Lord for you both!

Loving Father…we are extremely thankful today for Your chosen man, Jay Button, who you called decades ago into ministry—to preaching, teaching, shepherding, and caring for Your flock—to a lifetime of humble service.

Father, we are together giving You thanks for bringing our brother Jay, along with his dear wife, Kim, here to Grace Point. We hold Jay and Kim in the highest regard in love because of their service to You.

We ask You to grow and strengthen the faith that Jay and Kim have already displayed by leaving what is known and familiar, to step, in the same way that Abraham and Sarah did, toward something new that is only known (so far) by You. 

We ask You to give Jay a constant zeal for Your church, and to use Jay in a mighty way despite any personal challenges he may face.  Help Jay to live each sermon before he preaches it—to personally apply Your Word in his life so that he can be most effective in exhorting Your people to action. 

We know You don’t define greatness in the same way that we do—man looks at the outward appearance, but You, Lord God, look at the heart.  So we thank You for giving Jay a heart that follows closely after Yours, a heart that passionately pursues Your Kingdom in the midst of a broken and decaying world, a heart that clearly and lovingly shows the way to Jesus and to saving faith in Him no matter who is asking for directions, and a heart that seeks restoration for people whose lives are in pieces—as well as for those who think they have it all together.

Please give Jay the patience he will need to deal with people’s conflicts, and help him to persevere even when they don’t appreciate his pursuit of peace. Help those who Jay leads to loyally support him with wise and understanding hearts.

Dear Jesus, we praise Your name—You’re the One who saved us from eternal punishment and You’re the One who daily saves us from sin’s devastation.  We commit Jay and Kim to be Jesus to the many souls they will encounter in the future, just as they have been among us, so that others would come to know more of the best news ever—the gospel that restores the broken, heals relationships, and transforms lives.

Father, we know that this couple can mentor others well!  Please enable Jay and Kim to mentor with spiritual sensitivity, by listening for Your still, small voice, by patterning their lives after Jesus’ life, and by continuing to bear the fruit of Your Spirit.  We ask You to protect Jay and Kim from the focused attacks of Satan, and that You would enable them to both finish well, staying far from sin, and walking closely in obedience to Your Word. 

Gracious Spirit, we surrender Jay and Kim into Your hands, asking for supernatural guidance for this faithful pair. Wherever You may lead Jay and Kim, please continue to work through them for Your Kingdom purposes. May they be able to humbly and joyfully laugh at themselves, and to please You by steady obedience, in the same way that we have seen them consistently live for You while they were with us at Grace Point.  May the Buttons continue to be filled with your grace and truth, and to clearly display the gospel by their attitudes, actions, and words.

And we ask that in this day of celebration and farewells, …and in all the days for the rest of their lives, Jay and Kim may have rich and lasting joy in their journey with You!

We ask all of this, in the holy name of Jesus–AMEN

June 27 Annual Meeting Recap!

On Sunday, June 27, 2021, we held our Annual Business Meeting, and it was good see people in-person this time! It was a welcomed change from last year’s June Annual Meeting via video webinar.

Here are some of the highlights:

New Members

Pastor Jay Button welcomed four new members to Grace Point. It was exciting to see these new (and young) people take this next step in their involvement and commitment to Grace Point! Welcome!

Staff Recognitions

Lead Pastor Dave Wolf recognized Darrell Benjamin for his 20 years of service as Worship Coordinator at Grace Point. Darrell’s heart for the Lord and worship is evident in how he enthusiastically leads us each week.

Bill Wright was recognized for his 10 years of service as Director of Finance & Operations. Bill’s faithfulness to keep us on target with our finances and the daily operations of the church are highly valued and greatly appreciated!

Thank you, Darrell and Bill! Congratulations!

Staff Update

Dave Wolf also provided an update on several staffing transitions and plans going forward, highlighting the hire of Eileen Hemming as Care Coordinator, Donna Mulvaney as Interim Director of Children’s Ministry and Ann Kovalik in a part-time administrative support role for Children’s Ministry. Dave also provided some clarification regarding each transition and mentioned that plans are well underway to redistribute Pastor Jay’s responsibilities, as he will be stepping away from his role at Grace Point effective August 31, 2021. A celebration and send-off reception for Jay and Kim Button is scheduled for Sunday, August 29, 2021.

Further explanation regarding staff transition plans can be found in this document.

Financial Update

Bill Wright provided a summary of recent months’ giving and expenses, and where we stand year-to-date. Due to giving in May (down 7.5% over May 2020), our income-to-expense is in the red $71,468 year-to-date. We are projecting to end the fiscal year (ending June 30) in the red by $79,500 income-to-expense, and giving is projected to be below the budgeted need by $145,000. Bill assured that while there is a lot of red, the overall financial health of the church is good.

Bill presented the proposed budget for the 2021-22 ministry year, which reflects a $153,400 or 9.6% decrease over the current ministry year. This budget does include a part-time salary to fill the Ministry Administrative Assistant position, a position that was in last year’s budget, but hiring was put on hold.

Restatement of the Articles of Incorporation

Elder Keith Brown shared some background information regarding the purpose of the Articles of Incorporation and why they need to be updated. Keith invited Dave Kneller to share some encouraging words from Grace Point’s rich history, dating back to 1901, and how the church has seen similar financial struggles, and yet God remained faithful.

Reinstatement of Ken Kovalik as Elder

Ken Kovalik has been on sabbatical for the last year, and the membership was asked to vote to reinstatement Ken as an elder.

Head Teller

Andy Nichols has served as an Interim Head Teller for the last year. While the term for Head Teller is a three-year term, Andy has agreed to stay on as Head Teller (no longer interim) pending congregation vote.

Ministry Highlight – Missions & Hospitality

Joan Zeberlein gave an update on lots of happenings within Missions and Hospitality. She began by introducing the Missions Priorities Team that has been tasked with Grace Point’s missional values and core missional priorities. Joan also gave up date on a new set of missionary care teams, called Prayer and Care Teams (PAC Teams), that will provide encouragement and support through connection and prayer for each of our missionaries.

Lastly, Joan gave a brief recap of each area and announced that Children’s Check-in would be moving under the umbrella of Hospitality Ministry. Plans are underway to recruit additional team members and develop a cohesive strategy for welcoming guests and returning attenders consistently on a Sunday morning.

Closing

At the end of the meeting, Jack Edmond gave clear instructions for how to vote using the ballot that was e-mailed to members or by using the paper ballots distributed at the meeting. The results of the vote as of the conclusion of the meeting included an overwhelming majority “yes” vote on all four voting items. The meeting was then closed in prayer.

Bringing Balance to Last Week’s Article

Grace Point Family,

Last Friday we forwarded to our church family an article written by Converge President, Scott Ridout, condemning the violence and riots that occurred at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Since last Friday, several people in our Grace Point family courageously reached out to me to express their concerns that the Converge article could be perceived as partisan, and I am glad that I have had the opportunity to ask these individuals to “help me understand your concerns.” Through these conversations, I heard a primary concern that this article did not represent the balance for which Grace Point is typically known in its communication on current events, and so I offer these thoughts to bring balance to this conversation.

Let me first share with you the two reasons we forwarded the article:

  1. We felt Converge had made an important statement distinguishing our Christian community from those who, while carrying symbols sacred to our faith, attacked the Capitol building and endangered the lives of others. While it is not for me to judge the hearts of these individuals, I do believe it is important to call out their actions as inconsistent with the teachings of Christ. He called us to respect the property and wellbeing of our neighbors – even those with whom we disagree. (This condemnation is equally applicable to the many riots sparked by racial tensions in 2020.) It is important for the unbelieving world to know that believers, in general, and Grace Point, in particular, in no way endorse or identify with those who perpetrate hatred or violence.
  2. We also feel it’s important from time to time to remind our church family that we are part of an association of churches called Converge, which exists to start and strengthen churches worldwide. Forwarding articles from the president helps us stay connected with our larger network, and to understand the perspectives that are shared on a national level.

It was neither my intent nor desire to make a partisan statement with this article. Rather, the motivation was to uphold the name and mission of Christ in the eyes of those who do not yet know Him. Some of you will remember a message we studied last July:

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD.”  Joshua 5:13-14 (emphasis added)

Here is one of many cases when God is not interested in taking sides as people divide into “us vs. them,” but is solely focused on making the name of Christ known so that Christ may draw all people to Himself. Grace Point has not been and under my watch will not be a church that promotes political sides. We are to promote the Great Commission of Christ as members of the army of the LORD, fighting together the darkness brought on by our spiritual enemy. The purpose of last week’s article was not to promote a political side, but to promote the purity of the cause of Christ.

Having said that, I understand that last week’s article calls out one political side without calling out the other. Because the article specifically called out our now former president, I would like to balance what was said there by stating that I have serious concerns about several policies our new president has vowed to pursue, and the impact they may have on our religious freedom. As well, I have concerns with the stance of the new administration on several social issues including abortion, which I believe to run counter to my understanding of Scripture. 

In all honesty, I feel there is a lot of material to work with in calling both the Democratic and Republican platforms to account from a Scriptural standpoint. I have always made an effort to “offend everyone equally,” so to speak (when it comes to politics at least!) and I apologize that last week’s email was not balanced in that way. 

In light of this incident, I commit to two practices going forward:

  • I will renew my vigilance to present any political views in a balanced manner, as we have done to this point.
  • When addressing sensitive topics like politics, when there is high potential for offense or misunderstanding, I will make sure that you hear from me or another trusted member of our own Grace Point staff rather than forwarding the thoughts of someone with whom you have little connection. You need to be able to follow up a Grace Point communication by approaching a leader you know and trust with the conversation, “help me understand.”

And there is something I hope YOU will take away from this. In the polarized culture in which we find ourselves, I want to call you to trade a posture of accusation for a posture of teachability. Resist the natural bent to judge the motives of those with whom you disagree, and instead follow the example of those brave individuals who reached out to our leadership this past week with a humble spirit of curiosity in saying, “help me understand.”

I believe strongly in the vision and mission of Converge, and I trust Scott Ridout’s desire to follow Christ and make Him known. We will continue to cultivate our relationship with Converge and share Scott’s thoughts with you again in the future. As well, we will by God’s grace communicate in such way that we do not lose the opportunity to impact our community for the Gospel by taking political stances.

I am grateful for the diversity of Grace Point – ethnically, socially, politically. As we are called by Christ to unity, let us remember that unity is not the same as uniformity. And let us embrace the fact that unity is not easy – sometimes it takes hard work. Let’s continue to do that work together, as we fix our eyes on the Author and Perfector of our faith.

For the glory of Christ,
Dave Wolf
Lead Pastor

…Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Middle East FOCUS Update: Lebanon Relief

Written by Brenna L., Middle East FOCUS Team

If you’ve been around Grace Point for a while, you’ve probably heard about our FOCUS in Lebanon. Lebanon has faced a refugee crisis for the past several years due to war in neighboring countries. The coronavirus lockdowns made this situation even worse. Then in August, a massive explosion devastated the city of Beirut. The impact was so great that every window in Beirut shattered, but with those shattered windows came open doors that had been shut for months because of the lockdowns.

When the FOCUS team learned of the gravity of the situation, we knew that we wanted to give, and we knew Horizons would be a great steward of whatever money we were able to raise. Over the past few months, we have sent over $34,000. This money has gone to the Lebanon Crisis Fund, a fund set up to bring vital humanitarian aid and the Gospel message to those devastated by the explosion and the worsening economic crisis.

Horizons is the perfect ministry to help because, although they are an international organization, they have local staff that live and work in Beirut. They are trusted in the communities as authentic, caring people deeply committed to loving their neighbors and sharing the Gospel while giving practical help to people who are suffering tremendous loss and unimaginable poverty.

Almost immediately after the explosion, Horizons set up three strategic sites around Beirut which served as launch points for teams of staff and volunteers, logistical centers, and drop sites for food and supplies. Several local churches, whose own buildings had been severely damaged, joined Horizons to minister to traumatized people around the blast site. Roughly 65 indigenous partner churches serve with Horizons in Lebanon preparing food, repairing damaged homes, and giving medical care. Horizons volunteers and staff are often able to stay and visit in the newly-repaired homes to pray and read the Bible with people who may be hearing the Gospel for the first time. After seeing how the people from Horizons work with such love and faith to meet their needs, they often cannot wait for their new friends to visit again. Horizons staff reports many examples of people asking for Bibles, church recommendations, and prayer. God is using believers in Beirut to show that He is good, and the FOCUS team is so thrilled that Grace Point gets to participate in this firsthand.

One of our goals from the beginning of the FOCUS process was for Grace Point’s unique resources and gifts to be multiplied, and, although things look very different than we ever imagined, the FOCUS team is so happy to report that God is, in fact, multiplying what we have given. 

Money from the Lebanon Crisis fund has also been used to purchase much-needed food (over 88,000 meals) and medicines. Please continue to pray for people who are hurting and for the Horizons volunteers and staff to be refreshed and used in mighty ways by the Lord. 

Middle East FOCUS Team Update

By Denise Nichols, Middle East FOCUS Team Leader

It seems like little has gone according to plan in 2020…at least in our minds. That certainly has been true for Grace Point’s Middle East FOCUS (our 3 to 5-year mission partnership) as well. But we have an amazing God and nothing, not even a pandemic, can thwart His plans! It is such a comfort to know that God is always in control!

A few members of the FOCUS Implementation Team were scheduled to travel to Lebanon this spring for a ministry development trip. The purpose of this trip was to explore the various ministry opportunities that might be a good fit for Grace Point and to identify one or more opportunities for our first Lebanon mission trip this summer.  We also were planning on in-depth meetings with Amchit Baptist Church, our potential church partner, to determine how we could come alongside each other in ministry and, hopefully, solidify an official partnership. We were disappointed and, quite honestly, rather discouraged that the COVID-19 travel restrictions prevented us from going on either of these trips.

God had other plans. Romans 8:28 reminds us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” We knew that we could trust in God’s perfect plan, not letting discouragement win. We knew that we needed to keep the FOCUS moving forward even though it was going to look very different than we had anticipated.     

The FOCUS Implementation Team has continued to meet regularly. Relying on God’s leading and direction, we began to explore some important questions. What does an effective Lebanon mission initiative look like when we can’t travel? How do we engage the congregation? How do we stay excited ourselves, not losing our momentum?

In June we held a Taste of Lebanon drive-thru event as a way to introduce Lebanese culture and delicious Lebanese food. A total of 152 meals were ordered from King of Falafel in Newtown, and $3,000 was raised for the ministry at Amchit Baptist Church. The event was quite a success and received very positive feedback. Be on the lookout for our next event! 

In July we held our first joint prayer meeting over Zoom with a few members of our team, Dave Wolf and leaders of Amchit Baptist. It was a sweet and powerful time of unity which strengthened the connection between our two churches. We have also been able to deepen our relationship with Amchit through regular communication, sharing prayer requests and becoming more invested in each other’s lives. We were very encouraged to know that they have been attending our online Sunday morning services! That would have been something we never would have imagined, but it has been an exciting part of God’s plan. 

A joint prayer time with Amchit Baptist Church.

In August, we established the Lebanon Relief Fund because of the deepening crisis in Lebanon.  Their economy has totally collapsed, prices have skyrocketed, unemployment has soared and those fortunate to keep their jobs have found their salaries cut drastically. In a country known for its hospitality, people are struggling to feed themselves and their families, let alone celebrate and share with others. The pandemic exacerbated this crisis and the recent explosion in Beirut took it to even more desperate levels.

Our ministry partner in Lebanon, Horizons International, has a vibrant and powerful ministry network, as well as a trustworthy reputation. They have been working hard to address the needs of the people, providing humanitarian aid for churches to distribute to those in need (up to 3,000 lunches per day!) In addition, their teams have been spending their days assisting in the clean up after the explosion and taping plastic over some of the millions of blown out windows. God has opened up the door to even more service and outreach opportunities as they share the Gospel with those they are helping.

Also, the owner of King of Falafel (from our Taste of Lebanon event) wanted to raise money for Lebanon relief and asked if she could donate it through Grace Point because she knew we were a trustworthy organization. This connection with our local Middle Eastern community was beyond what we could have planned, but it was part of God’s plan.

In just two short weeks since establishing the Lebanon Relief Fund, thanks to the generosity of the Grace Point family, we have been able to send over $34,000 to assist Horizons in their work, with a portion going to meet the needs of the members of Amchit Baptist Church and their community. If you have already given to the Lebanon Relief fund, thank you! Because the needs are great and on-going, we will continue to receive and forward funds. If you would like to make a contribution, go to: http://giving.gracepointpa.org and select the “Lebanon Relief” fund. 

Ephesians 3:20 reminds us that our God is a God “who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” He has given us so many examples of this during these past few months, and we know that there are many more to come!  We are humbled to be part of God’s plan, serving the people of Lebanon and sharing His love.

We can’t wait to see what God has planned next!

VBS 2020 Highlights!

Over the last three weeks, families have been enjoying FOCUS VBS – REFOCUSED with YOU in mind. Each week, families were provided with a gift box with activities, games, lessons and special items to guide them through VBS-at-Home. The gift boxes have served to encourage families in their faith and bring FUN into their homes in a new way.

We’ve heard that this unique approach to VBS has been extremely positive for families to learn together! We are grateful that we could serve our families in different and meaningful ways.

Here are a few things to celebrate and praise God for!

  • We had about 43 families participating representing about 84 children! 
  • We had 11 of those families were guests of Grace Point or new to our church. We welcome them and hope that VBS-at-Home has been a special first experience for them with us. 
  • Because of your generous donations, we have been able to bless families using half of our usual VBS budget and include more gifts than we could have previously. We praise God for your generosity making this possible. Thank you!

How you can continue to pray for VBS:

  • Pray that families would continue to be encouraged to have faith-centered conversations in their homes.
  • Pray that the seeds of faith that were planted would grow and that many kids would come to know and trust Jesus.
  • Pray that our guests might seek to know more about Grace Point so they can meet Jesus and be encouraged to grow in their faith!

Update from Lebanon – August 24

Grace Point,

Last week, we received the update below from one of our partners working on the ground in Lebanon. Please continue to pray for the people of Lebanon and our ministry partners. You can give to support our Lebanon Relief Offering by going here and selecting the “Lebanon Relief” fund: http://giving.gracepointpa.org

Here’s the update:

People are still very traumatized. The psychological shock seems to just be setting in. Many are injured and/or have lost so much.

The four most important hospitals in Beirut were destroyed.

The Horizons International teams have shifted to doing primarily building restoration. They are going to apartments and offering to replace glass and doors, mostly with plastic. While/after they do repairs, they share the Gospel and pray with the people.

Five people recently accepted Christ in one neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the churches are still focused on distributing sandwiches—approximately 2,500-3,000 per day! Horizons is providing some of the ingredients or money to buy the ingredients. The church members and their volunteers are making and distributing them.

Horizons also is distributing 100 food portion packages to each church.

Prayer requests: The teams really need rest. They are working long days in hard places. They are facing much pain and tears as they go from apartment to apartment, so it is psychologically very draining. It is hard to keep going.

Horizons Ministry Partner

Source: Horizons International Facebook Page

June 14 Business Meeting Recap!

Our first ever “virtual” Grace Point Business Meeting was held via Zoom with over 90 devices connected! Here are the highlights:

Staff Recognition: Laura Schlenker
Dave Wolf recognized Laura for her milestone 30 years on staff! Laura is appreciated for her commitment to excellence, care for people, love for the Lord, and last but not least – sense of humor. We are grateful to have Laura as part of our staff team.

Annual Report, Ministry Year 2019-20
Ministry Staff summarized in writing the highlights of the current ministry year in this document. A full color print version with testimonies and photos will be produced as well.

Head Teller Vote
Scott Leuz explained that Dave Hefty is stepping down after serving the maximum term allowed as Head Teller. (Many thanks for your faithful service Dave!) The Head Teller is responsible to recruit and oversee the counters of the weekly offering. Andy Nichols has agreed to serve for up to one year while a candidate is determined who will then fill a full 3-year term.

Director of Student Ministry Vote
Dave Wolf summarized the work the Director of Student Ministry Search Team has performed over the previous 6 months:

  • Reaffirmation of top three skills important in a candidate: relate well to students, parents and volunteer leaders
  • Thorough evaluation of previous search process identified seven improvements for the current process
  • Prayed and reached out to personal connections, asking the Lord for a candidate with a trusted personal reference
  • Met Jeremy Davis near end of April – have seen God’s fingerprints all over our conversations
  • Jeremy participated in more than ten Zoom calls, followed by a full candidating weekend of meetings and skill demonstrations, and culminating with a public Q&A

Believing that Jeremy is an excellent candidate for the position, the elders presented Jeremy Davis for approval by vote to be our new Director of Student Ministry.

Financial Update and Budget Vote
Bill Wright provided a summary of recent months’ giving and expenses, and where we stand year-to-date. We are grateful for strong giving in May, which puts our income-to-expense in a surplus of $3,863 year-to-date. We are projecting to be close to breaking even with income-to-expense this fiscal year (ending June 30) but giving is projected to be below the budgeted need by $52,000. Bill also gave an update on the amount of the loan for the Payroll Protection Plan, and the amount that has been used to date.

Bill presented the proposed budget for the 2020-21 ministry year, which reflects a $16,500 or 1.0% decrease over the current ministry year. This budget does include a full-time salary for the Director of Student Ministry to begin immediately. Also, included is a part-time salary to fill the Ministry Administrative Assistant position, which will not be filled right away but will be considered over the coming months based on giving trends.

Resumption Plans
Dave Wolf gave a brief update on plans to reopen Grace Point for Sunday morning in-person worship. The Resumption Team, comprised of two elders and three staff, are working hard to balance safety with the desire to be back together again. The church-wide survey sent out a few weeks ago revealed 200 responses split down the middle between those who are ready to resume in-person worship regardless of mitigation, and others who prefer heavy mitigation.

For the next several Sundays, we will be conducting “test runs” with selected serving teams so that we may experiment with mitigation practices and gain real-life experience that will be helpful in developing our parameters for reopening. We want to make the return to in-person worship as positive as possible. Livestream worship will continue as part of our online ministry.

Closing
At the end of the meeting, Scott Leuz gave clear instructions for how to vote using the ballot that was e-mailed to members by returning the ballot via e-mail by 2:00 p.m. Also, members who do not have e-mail or wish to remain anonymous may use the two-envelope system to mail in their ballot or drop off their ballot in the designated box at church by Friday, June 19. The results of the vote will be announced during the service on June 21. The meeting was then closed in prayer.

12 Months Later – Water Wells in Cambodia

Many of you may remember that last year’s combined Thanksgiving and Christmas offering was designated to help build fresh water wells in villages in the country of Cambodia by partnering with Samaritan’s Purse. We had set a goal of raising $20,000 for these wells.

Not only did we meet our goal, but we surpassed it! In the end, we raised $60,000 for the fresh water well projects. Wow!

Many of you have been asking, “What happened? Did they build the wells? Is there an update?” I have good news! Last week, I received an update from Samaritan’s Purse, and it included a video from the village!

Over the last 12 months, the staff and personnel with Samaritan’s Purse have been actively working to build and complete the wells in three villages in Cambodia. Below is a video from one of the project leaders thanking Grace Point personally for our generosity in helping to build these wells, and bring much needed fresh water to these people.

Thank you for your generosity and for helping to bring fresh water to the 300 families (1,500 people) in three villages of Banteay Meanchey, Cambodia.

Dirty Water
Previous water supply for the village.

Completed Water Well
A completed fresh water well in the village.

Children from the local school who live in the village.