The Porch Editorial Board Update
April 2022 | Written by Barb Ryczek
Did you know that the Porch’s purpose is to build relationships among the people who attend Gashland EPC? Let’s begin with an introduction of the Porch’s editorial board. First, there is Ellie McGinty who leads us in our endeavors each month. She is our contact with the church staff as well as a writer of poetry and the article series “Manifold Witness.” She is most definitely our technical expert, as well as the main photographer for each issue, including the cover. Next, there is Steve Moberg, who helps compile information about the church’s outreach and writes about missionaries Gashland supports. He is a super talented editor and fine tunes each issue to perfection. Steve is the only guy at our meetings, but he doesn’t let that bother him one bit. His perspective is very much valued. Maribeth Griessel writes “Get to Know,” which highlights staff, elders, and deacons; “Visit with a Volunteer,” which is chosen from members who volunteer their services to work in the church; and “Inasmuch,” a series on stewardship. Maribeth has a knack for naming our series articles. When writing about couples in our church, she came up with the title “A Cord of Three Strands.” Maribeth explains, “At Gashland we have couples who serve faithfully together. When a husband and wife build their marriage with the Lord at the center, they become that cord of three strands,” referring to Ecclesiastes 4:12, which says “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Finally, Barbara Ryczek helps interview and write about different ministries at the church to be written in the section called “Semester Slice.” She also submits photographs from time to time of church activities.
“The Porch gives us opportunities to learn much more about a person,” explains Steve Moberg. “It helps us to learn about their education, where they grew up, and their work experience. Most importantly, we learn how their relationship with the Lord impacts their lives.” Maribeth Griessel believes,“a comprehensive newsletter is truly needed at Gashland. The information provided helps the reader to be able to delve deeper into so many different topics, and this is of great value to me. For example, I knew we supported missions but certainly had little understanding of the ‘who, what, where, when and how’ (The basics of journalism!)” It is our hope we can all grow more connected and support each other in unique ways as we serve God and the people of Gashland.
When asked what it means for the Porch to be “The Life and Stories of Gashland EPC?” Ellie McGinty explains, “The Porch is meant to reflect both the struggles of the Christian life as well as the beauties and joys of it. Telling the stories through this platform encourages those hearing and writing about them as well as those who are telling them and those who are reading them.” This can show us how God is working in the lives of others in the church. Maribeth and Steve both shared similar thoughts
about growing in community by learning about staff members , decons, elders, volunteers, missionaries GEPC supports or a particular ministry. Steve added, “This occurs as we discover important details about the lives of others; things we probably never would learn in just passing conversation.”
How have we seen God work in and through the Porch the last year until today? Ellie says, “that in writing Manifold Witness, the hope has been to use words winsomely and wisely to communicate God’s presence in every part of life.” Individuals have told her that these stories have given them encouragement and impacted their lives. Ellie has also witnessed the Porch staff learn more about teamwork and communication. Being part of a team helps one consider others thoughts and perspectives. Steve has witnessed conversations among members sharing information that they have read in the Porch. “They have let others know about activities going on in the Church they may have not known otherwise”. The stories in the Porch have impacted their lives, and Steve believes,“God is pleased and glorified as we grow in relationship with one another.” Maribeth says, “she has been approached numerous times with comments expressing closer relationships among Gashland’s church attendees and church members as people learn more about their brothers and sisters in Christ and various committees and programs at Gashland.” Barbara says, “ what comes to mind is how God has used each of us as instruments to bring about articles in a timely manner. Many people who were at GEPC for Susanne Drayer’s service were able to see the lovely article, A Cord of Three Strands about Bob and Susanne and how they met and their life together.” We can all say this is God’s work and not ours! Amen.
Each of us working on the Porch have hopes and prayers for its future. We pray that church members might feel called to volunteer and serve in whatever area speaks to their hearts. We hope, that the Porch continues to grow into a publication that includes creative endeavors, poems, short fiction and non-fiction pieces as well as artwork from more people in the church. No one should feel this is an every month (issue) or popularity contest. “Remember that we never know how God might use our story in the lives of another believer or someone who hasn’t yet found Christ “ writes Steve.. Maribeth adds, “Please contact me if you would like to suggest someone who would be a good subject for our articles. Please don’t feel there are others more important or more interesting.” The Porch staff will pray that members of Gashland will be led to tell their stories as well as inspired by how God has worked in each of our lives.
For your information, past issues of the Porch can be found at gashland.org/the-porch/