GCI Update

Focused on Hope

GCI President Greg Williams gives an update on Grace Communion International. He shares our focus on Hope for 2020. This will also be the theme of our Denominational Celebration this summer. May we remember throughout this year that Jesus is our hope.

GC Next

It is my joy to announce the GCI USA GCNext Team. The GCNext Team is a team of emergent young-adult leaders in GCI USA who have said yes to an opportunity to be equipped and empowered to actively participate in the ministry of Jesus. The members of the team will be equipped and empowered to lead GCIgnite, a young-adult gathering, at the 2020 Denominational Celebration. I am privileged to introduce the team members and the GCI USA regions they represent:

Sarah Rossi: East
Andrew Rakestraw: Southeast
Christianna Doele: Southeast
Izzy Hernandez: North Central
Daniel Hill: North Central
Rezzelle Santibanez: Central
Gordon Herrmann: Central
Hazel Tabin: West

In January the newly established team gathered for a team retreat. It was a Spirit-inspired weekend of prayer, fellowship, team-building, vision-casting, planning, games, worship, and more. I am encouraged by the enthusiasm this team has for what God is doing in GCI. Please join me in prayer for these faithful leaders as they continue to follow Jesus and say yes to participating with him in ministry.

With Hope,
Cara Garrity
Development Coordinator

 

GC Minalabac Children’s Learning Center

Pastor Len and I were at GC Minalabac Children’s Learning Center, in Minalabac, Camarines Sur, Philippines, last weekend (Feb 8-9). This was part of our meetings with the Districts in Bicol, meetings with the local leaders, and to support the ongoing initiative for the churches to be more healthy, missional, and community-based through sustained holistic ministry. The late husband Pastor Reuel Pamor and wife Gina started this ministry to kids some three years ago conducting kids Bible studies, and participated in giving gifts in partnership with Operation Christmas Child.

Due to the typhoon Nina, which struck two Christmases ago, those facilities along with some houses of our members were destroyed. From the support of the Home Office and our international fellowship, those structures were rebuilt and rehabilitation work (physical and livelihood, values) has been ongoing. One of the structures they use for kids fellowship was called Grace Communion Minalabac Kids Learning Center (which we formally inaugurated) where Gina, along with some daughters and leaders, continue to nurture scores of children every Saturday.

During the visit of Mr. Tom Fallon last year with the Odyssey In Christ, Tom saw the ministry that Pili Church has been doing, and he was also able to witness and participate in the ministry of Pili Church to the students of the university and he also got to see some of those kids. He was moved to offer some token of support so that by Christmas, these kids can have some joyful fellowship. That money was used to buy tables, chairs, school supplies, food, etc. and this past weekend, this plan was implemented with about 130 children, 30 parents, and about a dozen members of the Minalabac Police Force who attended. These police officers (including Police Chief Captain Chester Enriquez) have been beneficiaries of an ongoing values formation for the local police by GCI leaders led by Pastor Ricardo  Perez of Pili Church.  But this weekend, they also became our GCI partners as they provided security, and gave a relevant seminar on RA 9262, which is the law that protects women and children from physical, emotional, and psychological abuses by men and husbands. Most of the parents there were moms and they really appreciated the seminar. Before the seminar and the fellowship ended, we were able to pray for the police force, the kids and the parents.

The members and leaders are very excited about what the Lord is doing, through our leaders and brethren in Pili and Minalabac. The members there are not many, nor well to do, but led by Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, they serve with a lot of energy, and a lot of love. We pray for those kids, parents and those police officers that they will get to understand and believe the gospel, we pray that one kid and one family, one officer at a time, our servant leaders and churches (along with other GCI churches elsewhere in the country) will be catalysts for change in their communities. Thanks to God, to our servant leaders and our members.

Blessings!

Eugene

 

 

A Praise Report for Patama Banks

Leonard and Patama Banks

I want to thank you all for the continued prayers for my wife over the past 6 months for her trial with Lymphoma cancer. We are pleased to update you with the news we got yesterday that the cancer is gone from her body. This is called remission, not a trace of a cancer cell in her body. The doctor showed us the first images back in September of 2019 of her PET scan in comparison to the ones yesterday. It is a miracle that all the areas are free of cancer cells.

I am grateful for the wonderful team of doctors and specialist that helped us get through this. We are eternally grateful for our Father in heaven who gives out this wisdom to human beings to be able to help us. To God be the Glory for all he does in our lives!

Patama is still weak. She lost 26 pounds and is going through physical therapy to help get her muscle strength back. She will be going through radiation in three weeks (10 straight days) to be sure that the cells around the spine where the cancer was are dead.

This has been a wild ride for us both (mainly her) and I know God was and is still holding me up. When I didn’t know what to pray for or even how to pray, you all were making intercession for us, I know this because many of you told me.

This could easily become a book, but I want to end by saying we love you all and are honored to call you all friends.

Leonard & Patama
GC Rochester, NY Pastor

ACCM at 2020 Denominational Celebration

The ACCM Diploma in Christian Ministry is both a unifying and clarifying ministry qualification for our GCI ministry leaders around the world. To help equip you for more effective ministry, ACCM is offering two intensive courses on July 27th and 28th, just before the Denominational Conference in Charlotte. Here are the details:

  • Class options – Doctrines and The Bible
  • Cost per class – $150 for credit and $100 for audit. Credit students must complete the assessments to receive recognition for the class.
  • An additional $40 onsite cost per class also applies.

Register today, and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to share learning together in a supportive community, building relationships and connections with brothers and sisters in Christ, as we explore the deep things of God in communion.

 

When Inventory Is a Blessing

Over the course of 59 years, GCI Memphis had accumulated a lot of inventory.

Memphis Moving Crew: Cleo Henderson, Peggy Oliver and Neil Earle

With a major change of location forced on us this summer, our allies at Good Shepherd United Methodist kindly agreed to store our inventory. Then, suddenly, they needed to open space quickly for another project. GCI had about a week to “clear inventory” and the weather was not cooperating.

Nevertheless, over two days on February 6-7, with just two vans, we were able to make well-received disbursements to people in our community network in some of the least advantaged parts of the city.

Some of this can be listed:

    • Three cartons of paper plates and cups to the 4-5-year-olds at Miriam Child Education Center, along with one electrical metal TV stand
    • Two bulletin boards to Two Steps Forward Day Care Center
    • One 7-foot beautifully lacquered cross to Good Shepherd UMC sanctuary
    • A 4-foot crescent-shaped “Celebrate Jesus” sign to Jesus Quest Church
    • One portable whiteboard to Raleigh Egypt Middle School
    • Two finely furnished lecterns to Raleigh Egypt High School

The schools, in particular, were glad to get these quality furnishings. Principal Meeks could not contain her joy, saying, “I’ll put this lectern in the auditorium right away.” They have been recipients of many school supplies over the years from a program run by our Women’s Ministry. In the end, it all came together and many friendships were made and cemented across the city. The real joy was seeing 1 Corinthians 15:58 fulfilled. People who labored to build these items can rest assured that they are still used and appreciated.

And that’s how inventory can become a blessing.

Wishing you blessings,
Neil Earle
Elder, GC Memphis

 

Baptisms at Grace Communion Bokod

Baptism pictures our union with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. We see evidence of this throughout the gospel. Our salvation depends on his life, death and resurrection. Our forgiveness—being cleansed of sin—depends on him; our Christian life and future depend on him. It pictures wonderful news—we have been raised with Christ to live with him.

It was such a joyous occasion to celebrate two baptisms this month at Grace Communion Bokod, in Benguet, Philippines. Pastor Martin Estong led the baptisms of Rosefa Rafael and Demsi Saturnino, with a reading from Matthew 28:16-20. We are praising God for transformed lives and the growth of our church family.

Sharing the Good News,
Sara Bolide

Do You Love Jesus?

Luke 7:36-50

The real test of love for God, is simply this, how do you react to Jesus?

46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

As we look at this passage, here is my question to you and me, did this woman have a lot of sins, and Simon just a little?

Simon considered that Jesus, at the least, was a prophet, yet he failed to honor him as a prophet. He greeted him with what would have been the equivalent of a half-hearted handshake. He was not in the least hospitable, he ignored all the social protocols of the day, including a polite kiss, he insulted Jesus, he was stingy and proud, his heart was cold, he was unforgiving, he had nothing but contempt for this woman, and he was judgmental. He was full of jealousy, hatred, and self-righteousness, thinking that God grades on a scale, and thus presuming himself to be better than this woman. In other words, his sins were sins of the heart … his heart was cold. The point is that, whereas this woman recognized, acknowledged and repented of her sins, Simon didn’t even recognize his sins, and thus his need for forgiveness.

This unnamed woman, on the other hand, came specifically to Simon’s house to see Jesus, and she did not come empty-handed. Feel her deep, genuine, warm, and caring worship, which she lavished on Jesus. Feel her passionate love and deep affection for Jesus, her kind, tenderhearted adoration of him who loved her and forgave her. Feel her deep remorse for what she had done, the people she had hurt, and the sins against her own body, and yet she finds in Jesus the loving God who is willing to forgive her, and take away her shame. Loving much is the uncontrollable response of those who recognize they have been forgiven much.

When you are tempted to think that others are laden with sin, and you are not, let’s remember that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, all our righteous acts are filthy rags in the light of who Jesus is. all of us are in need of mercy, and only Jesus can give it.

The apostle Paul referred to himself as the chief of all sinners, and spoke of Jesus who “loved me, and gave himself for me.” He loved Jesus so much because he saw and acknowledged how sinful he was, and he knew how much Jesus had forgiven him.

This kind of love comes from being overwhelmed by a love so deep that it grips you. You take delight in Jesus, and it changes you.

It comes from asking the question, “who is this man who loves us so much that he would bear our sins in his own body, and remove them from us?”

May we take the time to reflect on how much God has forgiven us, and may we fall head over heels in love with Jesus.

 

 

By Robert W.T. McKinney
Regional Director of the Caribbean