VANDALIA — First Grace will be hosting its Fourth Annual Community Christmas party and concert at 2624 Stonequarry Road on Sunday, Dec. 6 beginning at 4:30 p.m. This year’s Christmas party will include Christmas cookie decorating (gingerbread men and sugar cookies), pictures with Santa Claus and his sidekick, Buddy the Elf, snacks, sweets, drinks, and Christmas Carol Karaoke beginning at 4:30 p.m. followed by a concert performance by the talented Brown Family at 6 p.m.
After a change in leadership four years ago, the church began to actively pursue opportunities to get involved in the community, including regular involvement with the Vandalia Food Pantry.
“We want to see members of our church having a positive impact on the community with the good news of Jesus Christ,” Pastor Bruce Jackson said. “And we all know families desperately need encouragement today.”
The concert group performing on Dec. 6 comes from LeMars, Iowa. This will be the Brown’s second visit to the Miami Valley and to First Grace as a result of their friendship with the senior pastor’s family. The award-winning Southern Gospel group has been touring across the United States for 13 years. They continue to own and operate their family farm in LeMars and take a break from the road for planting season and harvest. The oldest son in the Brown family, Adam, and his wife Jennifer, appreciate the connection to their community in LeMars.
“We enjoy life at home,” Brown said. “There’s just something about being in the country. I’ve always enjoyed it.”
The Brown family has said they are looking forward to bringing the warmth of their community and family Christmas to First Grace on Dec. 6.
The youngest member of the Brown family, Andrew, says that touring can be challenging, especially during a family holiday season like Christmas. However, he says he appreciates the opportunity to invest in people all over the country and spend time with his family on the road.
“I’m thankful for what I’m doing,” he said. “I think it’s a special thing that we do.”
To add to the family experience, Shelly’s husband Keith is the chief bus driver and sound technician.
“Because we know we’re called, it’s been worth it all,” said Keith. “God has opened the doors and there are adventures and blessings behind each one.”
What makes the group unique is their family vocal blend, violin trios, and entertaining interaction together on stage. They have been celebrated in Southern Gospel circles over the past several years. This year, for the fourth time in a row, the Browns were named one of the Top 10 Mixed Groups by Singing News. According to mother, Shelly Brown, “This honor is very rewarding coming from the fans and knowing that we’ve touched their hearts in some way.” For 3 consecutive years prior to this year, the Browns were awarded Top Horizon Group of the Year. The group recently finished their newest music video, “All God’s Creatures,” and a new single, “Love Loud” as a StowTown Recording artist, with Dove Award winning producer, Wayne Haun. For the upcoming concert at First Grace, however, the group will be bringing a Christmas flair to familiar favorites as they ring in the season with the Vandalia community.