Sunday, May 10, 2009

Grace Brethren Ladies Retreat & Bellingham Ordination

This past weekend Katherine had the wonderful privilege of being the speaker in Mabton, Washington at a Ladies Retreat for the Grace Brethren Church. The pastor and his wife were on staff at Grace Community Church a number of years ago. One day he felt God calling them to be involved in a small community somewhere and the door opened in the small town of Mabton in the Tri-Cities of Washington. Katherine stayed with an older couple who owned a farm house with a large wheat farm.

The theme of the retreat was Growing in God's Fragrant Beauty from 2 Peter 3:18 & Ephesians 5:2. Katherine chose as her topics: "Growing in Grace & Knowledge" which dealt with growing in awareness of God's blessings in our lives beginning with salvation, as well as in the knowledge of God through God's Word and prayer. From Ephesians 5:2 she shared on "Walking in a Christ-like Love" in which she dealt with loving in sacrificial ways. She also spent time talking about the subject of forgiveness and our responsibility according to God's Word. Many of the women were moved by her teaching as they felt the Lord dealing with their hearts in a number of areas.

The ladies did a great job of decorating in a Victorian theme and providing delightful meals as well as fun crafts. Even though the crafts were simple Katherine tends to be "craft-challenged" but found it a good time anyway.

The drive home was NOT uneventful but reminded her of God's protection as she made the three and one half hour trip. She went from 70 to an immediate stop to avoid a herd of elk (twice), backing up vehicles behind her. She was truly thankful for God's grace and care.

This past Monday Bob had the privilege of being a member of an Ordination Council for the Assistant Pastor of Evergreen Community Church in Ferndale just outside of Bellingham. He rode up and back with Earl Brubaker, Executive Director of N.I.C.E. and former director Dr. Roy Sprague; both of whom were also on the Council. Steve Finkbonner has been involved with ECC for about 17 years and had been preparing for his ordination for a couple years. About 10 men participated in the questioning time. We began with lunch provided by the church and then a hymn and prayer. Then Pastor Steve Vanvleck addressed the steps leading up to the Ordination. Once a moderator was chosen (Earl) and a clerk (Pastor Steve) the examination began.
There was an oral examination period consisting of Steve's Christian experience and Ordination Standards: call to ministry, training, reasons for seeking ordination, and personal qualifications for spiritual leadership. This led to the primary Oral examination whe
re we had time to ask Steve about his doctrinal statement and questions related to various areas of doctrine. Following this was a time of examination of church history and polity with more questions. After a short break there was a time for a couple men, who had reviewed the written documents ahead of time, to share about the Doctrinal statement, Exegetical study and Sermon manuscript.

We finished the Council time with discussion among ourselves indicating areas to share with Steve that he needs to fine tune in doctrine and current issues. The advice was then to recommend to Evergreen Community Church to ordain Steve Finkbonner. We all gathered around Steve and closed in a prayer of dedication. for him.

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