July 21, 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Cadillac Church Celebrates 30 Years

The Cadillac, Michigan, congregation of the GCI marked its 30-year anniversary on July 10, 2011 with a grand celebration, praising God for his faithfulness and guidance through the many years in our present location. The main message was given by former Cadillac pastor, Briscoe Ellett, who now pastors the Freeland, Michigan, church. Pastor Ellett challenged the members to move forward in faith and trust that God will always provide what we need, as we follow him where he leads. Former pastor Alden Sims gave a brief history of the Cadillac church, and district pastor Sam Butler presented letters of congratulations from Ken Williams, the regional supervisor, and from Joseph Tkach. Current pastor Ray Griffee led the group in praise and worship and gave closing remarks.

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The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying the meal planned by Nancy Sims, and prepared by many hands. Current Cadillac members and many former members fellowshipped, reminisced, and watched old videos of church “hunter socials.” These were another reminder that God loves his church “dwelling in unity.”

Due to recent economic cut-backs, the school that has provided the Cadillac congregation a home for 30 years is now closing. They will be relocating to Chase, Michigan, where they have an opportunity to meet in a church building and bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to a new community. Although there are many uncertainties ahead, the congregation is confident that our living God will continue to be faithful and lead us forward for his purposes.

Photo Captions: 1. Current Pastoral Team: Ray Griffee, Susan Davis, and Jimmy Kohler; Alden Sims, former pastor 2. Speakers for Celebration: Ray Griffee, Sam Butler, Alden Sims, Briscoe Ellet 3. Attendees enjoying the meal and fellowship


Word in the Street

This four-day-long Generations Ministries urban mission reaches out to the inner city of Cincinnati, OH. Teens and adults serving as Word in the Street missionaries run a day camp for children ages 4-12. In spite of uncooperative weather, the attendance was great, with a high on Thursday of 130 campers. The camp serves children from the inner-city. It is held in a community center between two housing projects that are often hostile toward each other. Word in the Street missionaries provide the children with games, worship events (including puppet ministry), and serve an evening meal each day to anyone who shows up (this year we served approximately 550!).

In addition to the games, last year we started giving away children’s books. This year we set an extravagant goal to give out 500 books over the four days. The members reached out to neighbors, book stores and publishers and we ended up with over 1500 books.

If you are interested in learning how to create such an outreach effort, please contact Pastor George Hart of Christ Community Church at George.Hart@gci.org.

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Some of our congregations in the U.S. are currently receiving Transformational Church consulting services from our Ministry Development Team. These services utilize the Transformational Church Assessment Tool (TCAT) provided by LifeWay Resources. Recently Philip Nation from LifeWay interviewed GCI Pastor George Hart concerning the TCAT and GCI’s Transformational Church consulting. View the video of the interview at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr__RxiiJf0&feature=player_embedded&list=PLA9037A56D636B6CD. Any churches interested in utilizing the TC consulting service may contact Ministry Development Team member Ted Johnston at Ted.Johnston@gci.org.


Northern Light Camp

GenMin’s Northern Light Camp, led by camp director Todd Fox, was held in Minnesota on July 10-16. 25 campers and 22 staff members participated. In accordance with the camp curriculum, the group celebrated Living Loved. This theme was wonderfully enhanced by the participation of a guest Christian band.

About ten months ago Rileigh Fox, one of the Northern Light campers, was attending a Christian concert. She spoke with members of the band Silverline (known for their hit single, Broken Glass). She asked them to attend Northern Light Camp. They agreed and while at camp they led a worship workshop, a chapel service, and conducted a worship concert (see picture). The band’s testimony fit perfectly the camp’s Living Loved theme, drawing the campers deeply into chapel debrief discussions. As a result, God’s healing hand was clearly evident as campers shared their trials and joys. Praise rang through the heavens with the baptism of some of the campers in the beautiful surroundings of Root River.

Camp activities this year included canoeing, rock climbing, high ropes, archery, Bible study with prayer, and various classes including pen making (using a wood lathe), ice cream making, pottery and drama.

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SEP SoCal

GenMin’s Spiritual Enrichment Program, Southern California (SEP SoCal) completed its tenth year of camp where 88 staff served 184 campers (age 8-19). This camp family brought together Fillipinos, African-Americans, Hispanics, Egyptians and Caucasians from California, Kentucky, Florida and Canada. It was a gorgeous mix of God’s children, representing 47 churches (including 13 GCI congregations) and 12 denominations (and many of the campers are unchurched). 107 of the campers and staff name GCI as their home. This level of participation would not be possible without the support of many generous donors. Over 2/3rds of the campers were given partial or full tuition scholarships.

In order to accommodate growth in the number of campers and an enlarged vision for camp ministry, SEP SoCal moved this year to Pine Valley Bible Conference Center in Pine Valley, CA – 40 miles east of San Diego.

A key aspect of the camp’s growth at the new facility is the addition to the camp curriculum of 11 ministry equipping tracks. These tracks prepare older campers for ministry service within their home churches and communities. Jadah and Jason Queen led the Dance Ministry track. Jadah is an instructor at Rock Steady Hip Hop Dance Studio in San Diego and Jason co-directs Rock Steady Ministries and is a youth pastor for No Compromise Student Ministries in Spring Valley, CA at New Seasons Church. Jeremy Ketchum of Oaks Christian Church in San Marcos, CA led the Worship Ministry track. GenMin’s camps & missions leader Anthony Mullins led the Leadership track. Other tracks included Audio/Visual Tech, Church & Personal Finance, Drama, Missions, Ministry Development, Photography, Public Speaking and Videography (for an example of the work of the Videography class, see the SEP SoCal video at http://vimeo.com/26611393).

The theme for SEP SoCal this year was Rooted. The idea came from a song of the same name, written by Nathan Keating of the camp worship team. Nathan was inspired by Psalm 1, which states that a person who delights in God is “like a tree planted (rooted) by streams of water.” This led to Ephesians 3:14-19, which further shaped the theme, focused on deeply rooting the campers in the reality that God unconditionally loves them.

Each day the Junior and Senior campers had daily chapel with praise & worship and a chapel message, followed by debrief sessions and prayer time. The two groups shared meals and fellowship time. Junior campers had their own Christian Living classes and recreational activities including swimming, teambuilding, insects & snakes class, creative arts, kickball, Aeroball, basketball, volleyball, giant tire swing, laser tag, drama class, archery, hand-drum class, and bonfire. Senior campers had their own dance classes, swimming, high-ropes, zip-line, basketball, volleyball, archery, hand-drum class, a four-hour-long purity session, and the aforementioned ministry equipping tracks. The two groups joined together for a scavenger hunt, a Bunko tournament, and a praise & worship concert led by three youth worship bands. Both groups concluded camp with a communion service. A camper from Kentucky was baptized after the service, and several other campers are scheduled to be baptized at their home churches.


Wisconsin Dells:

“What are you up to Lord?” is the question we’ll be focusing on at the Dells weekend celebration from September 29 – October 2. Daily messages focusing on this theme will be presented by Willard High, Stephen Hill, Anthony Mullins and Sam Butler. Special breakout sessions on Friday and Saturday afternoons hosted by Anthony Mullins, Tracy Porter, Dave & Linda Holmes, Sam Butler, Willard High and Doug Johannsen are planned in accordance with this theme.

This event will again be held at the Kahalari family resort in the Wisconsin Dells.

Phone 1-877-525-2427 for room reservations – August 28 deadline!
HUT (or Desert Room) – $109.00 per night plus tax, 1-4 people only
LODGE SUITE— $129 per night plus tax1-4 people only
COMBINATION SUITE (lodge and hut)$238 per night plus tax – sleeps up to 8 people
VILLAGE (lodge and two adjoining huts)$347 per night plus tax – sleeps up to 12 people

FOLLOW THESE EASY STEPS!

1. Call the Kalahari Resort no later than August 28th to reserve your room. After August 28th, the low prices we’ve negotiated will no longer be available! Let the reservation personnel know you are with Grace Communion International or Worldwide Church of God. The reservation number is 1-877-525-2427 or reserve your room online by using this link:

https://res.kalahariresort.com/V1Web/GroupComments.aspx Note: begin with https://…not http://
Enter group ID: 16051
Enter Password: 244
Contact Password (Optional) leave this blank
Click on “Make Reservation” and follow prompts

2. Register your attendance with the church by downloading and filling out the registration form along with your registration fee to:

GRACE COMMUNION INTERNATIONAL
P.O. BOX 5005
GLENDORA, CA 91740-5005

ONLINE REGISTRATION AVAILABLE AT:
http://www.gci.org/go/wisconsin

Follow the prompts and pay with your credit card

3. Come Celebrate Jesus with your family and friends. Enjoy good food and many other activities.

Any questions, please contact doug.johannsen@gci.org by email or by phone at 612-850-6018.


Ghana
From Frederick Amu-Mensah, Marian Amu-Mensah, and Emmanuel Okai:

The Ambassador International School was founded by Grace Communion International in 2001 on the church property at Kutunse, Ghana, about 30 kilometers north of Accra. It was established as a social intervention support for the surrounding communities.

When the school opened, it used existing structures on the church property – the main church hall and one of the round houses. The church hall was partitioned to accommodate the new classes. At the beginning, eleven pupils were admitted into preschool, primary 1 and primary 2.

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The Accra and Kutunse congregations then began molding blocks for the construction of a permanent school building. Funding was obtained through fundraising initiatives in the church areas, with the major funding coming from overseas GCI donors.

Since then, regular funding has been provided annually from the Kalamazoo church area in the United States through Mr. and Mrs. Cleophus Sturdevant, who occasionally visit the Ghana church. The church and the school are indeed grateful to all who have helped. Currently, classrooms have been constructed to accommodate pre-school through primary classes 1 to 6 and Junior High School forms 1 to 3. A computer laboratory has also been completed, which houses 10 computers.

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This year the school presented its third group of pupils for the annual West African Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE), which took place in May 2011. Fifteen students were presented. Thirteen students were presented for the examinations in 2010 and eleven in 2009. The two previous examinations registered 100 percent passing grades in all subjects presented. Successful candidates progress to senior high schools for further education.

The school is still growing. The current population of the school is 150, and it has the potential to reach 350. The biggest obstacle is the distance that many pupils have to travel to reach the school. The church is considering the purchase of a school bus to assist in this regard. This will make it easier for parents to enroll their children because of the assurance of safe passage to and from school. It will also free their minds from the time lost in taking their children to and from school. This is especially relevant to the preschool and lower primary pupils who are too young to cover the distances on their own.

Eventually, the church plans to add a second set of classrooms to help meet the needs of the local community.

The church hall that originally hosted the school has also undergone significant upgrades from the humble wooden structure it once was to a block structure capable of seating over 600 persons.

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Captions: 1 Church hall that served as classrooms when the school was founded. Molded blocks are in the foreground. 2. School assembled and ready to begin day’s work 3. Sturdevants giving a presentation in Kutunse during one of their visits 4. A class session in progress 5. Current state of AIS. Painting started in 2011 6. School layout as at 2011 7. Computer Laboratory of AIS 8. Pre-school class with their care giver, Deaconess Charity of the Kutunse congregation 9. 2011 final year students of AIS presented for BECE Examinations 10. Original church hall that doubled as classrooms for AIS 11. Refurbished and expanded hall for church services at the Kutunse site


Prayer Requests and Updates

Jason Richards
Update from Pastor Martin Manuel on his grandson

Today, for the first time in nearly three months, Jason walked around in his own home with his family! He has progressed so well that his doctors decided that they could release him to continue treatment and rehab at home while he waits for a heart transplant. Hallelujah!

We are understandably exuberant, but the journey to Jason’s recovery is not complete. Now, he will undergo extensive treatment at home. His parents and we (Genneen and I) take on nursing responsibilities of daily administering medicine and checks. This is all new; the hospital staff provided extensive training, but the task is complex.

Jason, of course, is thrilled to be home. There is no better place for him. Colin and Janet are relieved from nightly hospital stays, and we all are relieved of the daily hours in the hospital.

Your prayers have given all of us so much support through the grace of our wonderful God. Please pray now that Jason receives flawless care at home, that he receives the new heart that he needs, and that his parents have the strength to fulfill their responsibilities.

Some have remarked that Jesus has carried this family through these difficult days. Amen! We will continue to need the help of the Lord through the days and weeks ahead.

There is so much to say about the experiences of the past three months. We and many others at Seattle Children’s Hospital have experienced the grace of God in a special way.

Thanks again for all you’ve done,
Martin Manuel

Audrey Mae Robinson

Audrey Mae Robinson a long-time dedicated church member, passed this week at the age of 84. Audrey was the mother of Brenda High (wife of Pastor Willard High) and aunt of Jannice (Mrs. Curtis) May. She was an active worshiper at New Hope Christian Fellowship Church in Eagle Rock, California.

One of the joys of Audrey’s life was serving as a mentor for others; her cheerful smile and encouragement to “Keep Moving Forward” touched the lives of many.

Audrey was preceded in death by a son, Pastor Ronald Robinson, and a daughter, Florenda Robinson-Harrow. She is survived by her daughters Cheryl L. Robinson, Yuvetta Robinson, Brenda Robinson-High, son Anthony Robinson, and many other descendants. The family requests your prayers as they grieve the loss of this wonderful woman.

There will be a memorial service on Sunday, July 31, 12:30 p.m., at New Hope Christian Fellowship, 777 Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA. A catered meal will follow.

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith. Let’s encourage everyone to join together in prayer, for we belong to Christ, and by the Spirit it is in Christ that we pray. Prayer and other spiritual activities help keep our hearts in tune with God and remind us of who we are in Christ. He is our all in all, and in him we are eternally beloved of the Father and blessed to share his good news with others.

Love from my family to yours,
Joseph Tkach