GCI Update

Holy Land

Watch video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKXvgvvC7qI

GCI President, Dr. Greg Williams, gives an update on Grace Communion International.
He shares the experience of a recent trip with work colleagues to the Holy Land – Israel. Dr. Williams reflects on the relational bonding that occurred and how we, as disciples, can do the same during this Easter season – inviting our friends, family, and neighbors to share in the experiences of Jesus’ life in our life.

Prayer Guide – April 2019

Click the image below for the 2019 April Prayer Guide.

 

 

 

New Zealand Update

Christchurch Killings: The dreadful massacre of innocent people at worship in Christchurch on March 15th has shocked our nation and rightly dominated the news lately.

Dennis Richards sent a message Sunday on behalf of the Church to the Muslim Association as a mark of our shock and grief, and as a sign of solidarity with them. The message, which was drafted by Phil Baldwin, reads:

To our Muslim Brothers and Sisters,

The people of Grace Communion International in New Zealand are deeply saddened by the tragic violence and hatred perpetrated against New Zealanders at Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Masjid in Christchurch yesterday. 

We know that many believers will be praying to the God of Abraham for your comfort and strength at this time. We will be praying for those who are grieving the loss of family and friends, for those who have been injured, and for those who are caring for them. 

None of us believe that Muslims or members of any religious group should be targeted because of their beliefs. We share your shock and grief at the senseless death of so many.

May God’s love and blessings and peace be upon you.

Dennis and I have heard from a number expressing support and prayers, and we appreciate those messages very much. We are sure you will all want to acknowledge the selfless courage of the first responders and the hard work of the medical and forensic teams, and are joining in prayer for recovery and healing of the wounded, their families and community, as well as the nation as a whole. It is clear the healing process will be lengthy. We sincerely encourage everyone to remember our Muslim Kiwis and our nation in prayer.

It has been heartening to witness the national outpouring of grief and sympathy towards those affected. The thousands of flower bouquets left outside mosques, provide an acknowledgment that Kiwis haven’t always acted charitably towards our Muslim immigrants, and signify a commitment to draw together as one people even though we represent many different cultures. Despite their grief, the restraint and dignity shown by Muslim community leaders have been impressive, as has also been the open-hearted and determined response of our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, and others.

It, therefore, appears that some positive and powerful outcomes will yet emerge from this dark and dreadful tragedy. Thank you for your continued prayers for the return of peace in our Muslim and wider communities.

Warm regards to all,
Rex Morgan

 

Disaster in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi

Since our last update requesting prayers for GCI members in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, we have learned that Cyclone Idai did indeed affect many GCI members, especially in Mozambique. Although loss assessments are still being made, the Home Office has received a request from our leaders in that region for funds to purchase, food, water, shelter material, blankets, clothes and other urgent supplies.

The Home Office quickly responded sending approximately $22,000 from the GCI Disaster Relief Fund to help with these urgent needs.  On behalf of those in need, I want to thank all our congregations who previously sent funds to the GCI Disaster Relief Fund so that we, as a church family, are prepared to help our brothers and sisters in need when disaster strikes.

Please continue to remember our friends in Africa in your prayers as they recover from this devastating event.

With appreciation,

Mathew Morgan, GCI Treasurer

_____________________

GCI Disaster Relief Fund

If your congregation has a heart to help members impacted by major disasters like the one in Mozambique, the best way to do so is to donate to the GCI Disaster Relief Fund. The Fund helps provide members in disaster areas with emergency needs such as food, water, medicine, clothing, temporary housing, home and/or church hall repairs, temporary local pastoral salary expenses and other emergency needs. Monies received into the Fund that are not immediately needed will remain in the Fund to be allocated in future disasters. In previous years, money from this Fund has been used to help members recover from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, storms and flooding in Bangladesh, an earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands, typhoons in the Philippines and an earthquake in Haiti.

If your congregation would like to donate to the Fund, you can set up a one time or monthly donation through GCI Online Giving (https://www.gci.org/online-giving/) by selecting Give for Disaster Relief under the drop-down menu.

If your congregation prefers to send a check, make it out to Grace Communion International, indicating on the memo line that the donation is for the GCI Disaster Relief Fund. Send the donation to:

GCI Disaster Relief Fund
Grace Communion International
3120 Whitehall Park Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28273

Regional Celebration Registration

Making plans for summer? Don’t miss out on registration for the Central and Southeast Celebrations

In 2019, GCI will host Regional Celebrations in the USA:

  • June 7 – 9 Central – Dallas, TX
  • June 21 – 23 Southeast – Charlotte, NC
  • September 27 – 29 North Central – Noblesville, IN
  • October 25 – 27  East – Ocean City, MD

Click the image below to for more information and registration options.
Regional Celebrations 2019 Banner

 

LiLY Women’s Conference

LiLY logoThe Women of Edgehill Community Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio would like to invite you to their 16th Annual LiLY (Living Life for You) Conference “Joy Intact,” held April 26th-28th, 2019 at the Embassy Suites in Beachwood, Ohio.

This is a weekend filled with wonderful worship, inspired speakers, lots of laughs and simply enjoying the presence of the Lord.  The conference is attended by a diverse group of women and teens (Bonfire Sessions for ages 13-17) from every stage on their journey. We come from different churches and denominations.  We are about meeting at the feet of Jesus and making him known.

We keep the registration prices low, meals are included, and you can fill your suite with up to six women to cut the cost of the hotel.  This is a great opportunity for you, your family or group of friends to come together and share a weekend in Christ with no judgment or expectations.

Follow the link for more information. http://www.edgehillcc.org/lily

Tamar Gray, Assistant Pastor
lgraybass@roadrunner.com
Edgehill Community Church
Cleveland, Heights Ohio

GCS Summer Semester Registration

Grace Communion Seminary is Accepting Applications!

GCS Study Photo

With our Summer Semester registration beginning on April 29, now is a great time to send in an application. Our classes and degrees support our mission of “Equipping the Saints for Pastoral Ministry” but we also encourage those not currently serving in ministry to consider what we offer. For more information, check out our website at www.gcs.edu. If you have any questions, please contact our Registrar at 980-495-3978, or our Dean at 980-495-3951.

Devotional – Contentment

But godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).

Contentment is gain! Really? To see how most of us live, it would be easy to think it is discontentment that brings great gain. It is the demanding shopper who seems to get special treatment. The talk show host who reminds us of all that is wrong with the world seems to get the highest ratings. The advertisements that imply we are “less than” if we do not buy their product seem to generate the most sales. Our economy seems to run on stimulating discontentment. And, the constant presence in our lives of people expressing their discontentment is contagious… it begins to infect us.

And then we read Paul’s counter-cultural advice.

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4: 11 – 13).

Jesus, we thank you for living a life in which you were contented to be without so we could gain much. Help us to be, like Paul, ready learners of the secret of living contentedly in an evil and corrupt world. Grant us that eternal perspective that always reminds us that a person’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions (Luke 12: 15).

 

 

By Charles Fleming – Orlando, Florida

Sun Valley Blessing of the Children Service

As part of our missional rhythms in the love venue at Comunion De Gracia Sun Valley, we have semi-annual services dedicated to blessing the children. Our first service for 2019, was held Sunday, March 24. I had the privilege to pray over and anoint 56 children, including two that are still in their mother’s womb. Fourteen of these children were first- or second-time visitors in our church.

Over the first three months of the year, the children have been learning about the fruits of the Spirit. They presented a play reflecting what they had learned, and participated in special songs. In Comunion De Gracia, two of our declared values are missional living and children’s ministry. Through these services, not only do we open a missional space for our congregation, but I also get to pray over and bless the children from church and some from our community.

We believe that our children are not the future church, but rather the present church. By creating these spaces for them, we are expressing to them that they are loved and valued. After being blessed, all the children had an opportunity to enjoy a time of fun and games.

Honoring the Lives of Don & Sue Lawson

We regretfully pass on to you the death of Don Lawson. The following tribute was written by GCI National Director Mike Rasmussen.

Sue and Don Lawson
Sue and Don Lawson

It is with a heavy heart I write this tribute for one of the greatest couples I have ever known. On Friday, March 22, 2019 Don Lawson, longtime mentor, friend and servant of God, went home to be with our Lord and also with his late wife Sue. Don and Sue met, when Sue was only 15 and they have been married pretty much ever since and they rarely left one another’s side during those 60+ years.

Don and Sue had a love affair which lasted for more than six-decades and the past few years had been extremely difficult for both of them.  It was always Don’s prayer he would live long enough to hold Sue’s hand when she passed and Don managed to hang on long enough to do that very thing. He was holding Sue’s hand when she died a little over a month ago on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

Sue began to have various health issues, even though most of her internal organs were doing well. The challenge for Sue was the onset of dementia/Alzheimer’s.  It got to the point where Don had no choice, but to put Sue in a nearby Memory Care facility, which about killed him. Don would go and see Sue faithfully, even though most of the time, Sue no longer remembered who he was. Don would still spend time each day talking with Sue and holding her hand, hoping for that moment when she would remember and give him that smile, he loved so much.

Don had major health challenges as well.  He had a hip replacement surgery many years ago, but it never quite healed properly. He suffered from crippling arthritis and he also encountered liver problems, which required dialysis three times a week, each session lasting up to six-hours long. Don was also battling cancer throughout his body.

Don was born in 1936 in a small town in the Eastern part of Oklahoma.  It was a tough time, as the Dust Bowl was just coming to an end as well as the Great Depression. Don played a major part in my being in Pastoral Ministry these past 21+ years and I am sure many others can say the same thing. He was a great mentor and served in congregations across the United States for more than 40-years.

Don and Sue were deeply loved by many and they both impacted many people lives.  They will be greatly missed!

 

Celebrating the Life of Al Barr

Allan Wallace Barr was born May 21, 1944, in Dayton, Ohio to Wallace and Josie Barr. Al became a member of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) in 1963. He began his ministerial education at Ambassador College, Pasadena, California, graduating in 1970. Al met his future bride Edna Munson in 1965 in Big Sandy, TX. They were married in 1968. From this union five children were born; Joanna Elizabeth, Susanna Marie, Jonathan Allan, Leeanna Rosa, and Pamela Julianna.

Al’s first ministerial assignment was as Assistant Pastor of the St. Louis, Missouri congregation of WCG 1970-1976. The first church he served as Pastor was in Chicago, Illinois, from 1977-1984, moving then to Miami, Florida, serving as Pastor from 1984-1993. From 1993-1997 he served as pastor of the Atlanta, Georgia congregation. In 1997 Al was promoted to Regional Pastor, serving until 2006. In 2006 Al and Edna moved to New York City, where he served as Pastor to two churches in New York. He retired from pastoral ministry in 2011, when his health began to decline. He and Edna returned to Atlanta after he retired. Al returned to employment with Douglas County Public Schools as a substitute teacher in 2017 and worked with children at South Fulton Christian Center.

Al loved Jesus; he loved ministry, and he was especially passionate about youth ministry. He was an active member of the Atlanta church, serving in both the children’s and youth ministries. He was a man of deep faith, courage, strength, and determination; always willing to serve when called upon. His smile was never brighter than while watching his wife and daughters singing and praising God.

Al was preceded in death by his parents, one brother and one of his beloved daughters, Susanna Marie Barr. He leaves to cherish his memory his loving and devoted wife of 50 years, Mrs. Edna Barr, along with three daughters and one son, four grandchildren, a host of nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends and a GCI church family who loved him and will miss him dearly.

Pastor Allan Wallace Barr was a mentor to a number of current GCI pastors. His legacy of faithful service for the kingdom will have an eternal impact.

A private memorial service was held for Pastor Al Barr on Monday, March 25, 2019. Details regarding a celebration of life service will be made available after the plans are finalized.

Cards may be sent to:

Mrs. Edna Barr
782 Britt Road SW
Mableton, GA 30126

We Are GCI Series – Tracy Crouch

Watch video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVkx2psDUnQ

We Are GCI Series is a collection of videos where various GCI leaders and members are highlighted. In this episode, GCI Pastor, Tracy Crouch, shares a little about herself, why she likes to serve in GCI, and in what ways she connects the most with God.
#WeAreGCI