GCI Update

Living Our Mission

GCI President, Dr. Greg Williams, gives an update on Grace Communion International. He talks about our mission as a denomination and shares the three basic ideas of how we can be more intentional in living out our shared mission.

Video Transcript

Our 2020 theme for GCI is “Hope.” The vision remains the same, Healthy Church. “Hope” is the special focus area for the New Year. We will be writing many articles about the hope we share in Jesus and how this is the hope that the world needs. We categorize the ministries of Jesus under the headings of Faith, Hope and Love, He is the personification of all three virtues. When we speak of the ministry space of Hope, we are focused on the reason the church gathers, to point the assembled church to Jesus; the one who is hope. When the church gathers, we expect that it will be made up of seasoned believers as well as newcomers. And you know what? All peoples who form the assembly need the assurance and certainty that comes in knowing Jesus and encountering him in corporate worship. In July the church will have representatives from around the world assemble to attend the Denominational Celebration in Charlotte, NC. From Wednesday July 29th, Sunday August 2nd we will come before our Lord and rejoice.  As I prepare myself to address the participants, I find myself studying Paul’s letter to the church at Rome.  The first part of Romans chapter 12 talks about our reasonable act of worship is to surrender our lives to the living God and then fully utilize the gifts he has placed in each one of us. He builds from this platform and speaks to the matter of “one-to-anothering.” A phrase that he often writes about. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another Because of hope, or we can just as easily say “because of Jesus”, we can “one-to-another” well. We can love as caring siblings; we can honor others by esteeming them over ourselves; and we can be of the same mind because the mind of Christ abides in each of us. This will be a time to rejoice as we rally around Jesus and the sure hope we have because of him.    C.S. Lewis viewed “Hope” as a theological virtue. He goes on to say: “This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.” Church let’s become fully grounded in the hope of Jesus and I hope to see many of you in July. I am Greg Williams keeping you updated on the life of the church.

2020 Denominational Celebration Announcement

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the postponement of the 2020 Denominational Celebration in Charlotte. We have deliberated among the Managers, sought counsel from our Superintendents, and been in constant prayer. So, in the best interest of our global family, we have determined that postponing the gathering to July 2021 is the right thing to do.

We have included a letter from Pam Morgan, Operations Coordinator, explaining the details for all who have registered and the procedures for getting your refund. We are extremely grateful to the 900 plus people who registered early and displayed enormous enthusiasm about coming together to celebrate the hope we have in our Lord Jesus. Please hold onto that enthusiasm and we will celebrate with exuberance in 2021.
To give you further input as to why we have made this hard decision, allow me to share insights from three of our Superintendents.

“The Denominational Celebration is about four months from now. In between, some countries will hit their peak of coronavirus infection while some will be at the tail end of infections and others will have just recovered. The global bell curve will cover all of us to one degree and another. What will follow, as you know, are the effects of this aftermath. There are too many uncertainties with this rapid spread of Covid-19. With the current situation, attendance for the July 2020 Denominational Celebration will be negatively affected. Therefore, calling off 2020 celebration to July 2021 has more probability for Covid-19 to have run its full course. Your hard work with Home Office managers is appreciated.” – Kalengule Kaoma, Superintendent Africa

“Today we have entered our Church fast here, and our love and prayers are with you and the Home Office, trusting He will guide you in all things. It’s just a month ago that you and Susan were in Australia, and all the members were so encouraged by your presence and your messages of love, faith and hope – the grace of Jesus. We did not realise what was ahead at that time, but more than ever before, as the normalities of life are being stripped away with the uncertainties and ever-increasing restrictions over our lives, we hold on to the assurance of where our lives are anchored, in the love, faith and hope we find in Him, the true Vine – can’t help thinking of how we are all attached across many miles, and one in spirit in Christ. Since my last update, the number of infections has almost tripled, and we see the beginnings of the spike in Australia now. Travel bans are in place indefinitely, with estimates ranging from anywhere up to 6 months for things to be cleared. It’s difficult to pin a timeframe, but we are praying for God’s intervention and our prayers are with you all, for His love, guidance and protection as we face these challenges together.” – Daphne Sidney, Superintendent Australasia

“Some years ago, we had to cancel an All-African conference on short notice due to a threat related to terrorism. Many of our delegates had saved their own money in order to buy their airline tickets and were not able to get a partial or a full refund. The estimate at the time was that maybe as much as $40,000 had been lost collectively in airfares for African delegates. I don’t know where everyone is re whether tickets are bought already or not, but, perhaps, the more notice given, the greater the likelihood of some kind of refund; or, if tickets not bought yet, then not much spent internationally so far? Just to say that since the last update, the situation in Europe has intensified, and a complete lockdown is planned in some areas for up to three months at least. This makes advance planning of any sort extremely difficult.” – James Henderson, Superintendent Europe

These accounts paint a very clear picture that the responsible decision is to postpone. In my thinking, how could this gathering be a true, impactful celebration if so many of our international brothers and sisters were unable to participate? Therefore, we will continue to plan for an amazing, inspirational denominational event with the caveat that it will take place in July 2021 and the expectation that we can meet as a collective family.

We apologize for any inconveniences this has caused you, and we appreciate your patience. Thank you for your prayers and your faithful support during this long season of challenge, and may we all continue to rest in the assurance we have in Jesus.

Greg Williams
President Grace Communion International

 

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GC Urdaneta Celebrates its Golden Anniversary

The following article was originally published on the GCI Philippines website. Click here to view the original article.

Like gold, Grace Communion Urdaneta has proven its malleability as it withstood challenges and embraced victories leading to the celebration of its 50th founding anniversary March 1, 2020. True to its theme “Celebrating God’s faithfulness: Past, Present, and Beyond”, our congregation in Urdaneta (Philippines) gave all the glory not on its ability to adapt nor its resilience but on God’s faithfulness to the church.

The 142 participants coming from seven congregations all over Luzon: Manila, Cabanatuan, Binmaley-Mangaldan-Lingayen, San Carlos, Curva, Santo Rosario, and Baguio, together with the host church enjoyed the bright sunshine, scenery and sun-warmed sand as they joyously commemorated the founding at PTA Beach Resort, San Fabian, Pangasinan.

The festivity started with praising the Lord through hymn singing followed by a short devotional from one of the District Directors of Northern Luzon, Pastor Adonis Caguioa, emphasizing that the Father rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferring us into the kingdom through the Son with whom we have redemption. He emphasized the continued faithfulness of the Lord in the church’s spiritual journey.

The National Director and Asia Superintendent, Dr. Eugene Guzon, delivered the message focusing on the faithfulness of our Lord who is at work in our lives and the church from the very beginning up until now as we continue to participate in his work. A short message of gratefulness was given by Grace Communion Urdaneta Senior Pastor, Dr. Napoleon Meimban, which then led to the commemoration of the Lord’s Supper.

To encourage the church and to attest to God’s faithfulness, Abraham Ortiguero, son of the late pastor Pedro Ortiguero, gave a testimony on how the church started and his journey through the transition. Antonio Beatriz, a pioneering member of GC Urdaneta and now a member of GC Pampanga, also shared his experiences when he was still with the congregation, with some anecdotes making the members laugh.

Brief meeting of pastors and pastoral team members during the anniversary.

Catching-up, fellowship, and numerous chuckles accentuated lunchtime as everyone shared a sumptuous buffet. A brief meeting of the pastoral teams of the different congregations present came about after lunch to keep everyone updated on the direction of the church. Dr. Eugene Guzon facilitated the meeting.

Baptized during the 50th church anniversary namely Richelle Condrillon and Chantal S. Bolisay of Grace Communion Cabanatuan, and Brian Torio of Grace Commmunion Binmaley.

Before diving into the nearby beach to enjoy the waves, the participants took part in a group photo to memorialize the event. And to cap the glorious occasion, three were baptized: Richelle Condrillon and Chantal S. Bolisay of Grace Communion Cabanatuan, and Brian Torio of Grace Communion Binmaley.

It was a golden moment for everyone witnessing the celebration knowing it is the Lord’s faithfulness that made the church reach 50 years and will make the church reach beyond.

By Rachelle Flores Garcia

GC Cleveland Outreach

In early March, before quarantines were set in place,  Grace Communion Cleveland Men’s Ministry Team went to the City of Life Mission to serve a meal. Our church purchased the ingredients and the men prepared and served the meal with the assistance of the kitchen staff. They served two groups of about 50 people. We look forward to what is next for our  Cleveland, Ohio men’s group.

We are also celebrating partnering with Fairfax Elementary School in our church community to provide a meal for another shelter we support. Church members did the cooking.  The teachers and staff donated $211 to provide a St. Patrick’s Day meal of corn beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and dessert for about 50 women and children who live in the shelter.

We are praying for our next steps and for all that is done. To God be the glory!

Tamar Gray
Pastor
Grace Communion Cleveland

Carolyn Cooley Ordination

Carolyn Cooley was ordained as an elder and commissioned as an Assistant Pastor in Grace Communion Fayetteville (North Carolina) on Sunday, February 23, in front of a large gathering of family and friends.

Those friends included GCI pastors and members from congregations in Raleigh, Wilson, Hickory and Wilmington, North Carolina. Carolyn’s husband, Pastor Billy Cooley, led the ordination ceremony and invited all ordained elders to the stage to participate in laying on of hands and prayer.  This celebration brought particular joy to acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s good nurturing work with, in and through Carolyn.

 

Anthony Mullins
GCI Regional Director, Southeast
Pastor, Grace Communion Hickory
Podcast Host, GC Podcast and Gospel Reverb

Kerry Magruder Ordination

On Sunday, February 9, we had the privilege of ordaining Dr. Kerry Magruder during our worship service at GC Surrey Hills, Oklahoma.

Dr. Magruder serves as Chair of the History of Science Collections, Associate Professor of Bibliography and as Associate Professor of the History of Science at Oklahoma University (OU) in Norman, Oklahoma. Kerry joined the faculty at Grace Communion Seminary this semester and is currently teaching our class on Trinitarian Perspectives on Faith and Science.

Kerry and his wife Candace have been a part of our congregation in Oklahoma City the past three years.  We are excited to have them as part of our church and seminary families and look forward to gleaning from Kerry’s education and experience.

He deeply loves God and is especially gifted at explaining the beauty and depths of Incarnational Trinitarian theology.

Michael D. Rasmussen
Superintendent, North America & Caribbean
Regional Director, Central US

Joy

“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. ”

2 Corinthians 8:1-3 NIV

Incomprehensible

What is joy? Is it the same as happiness? I have found that joy, such as God gives, is first of all incomprehensible. It is like a spring with an inexhaustible source, an invisible source.

Happiness often depends on our circumstances, while joy does not. It is therefore not strange to find people in the most deplorable situations still having incomprehensible joy!

An example from the Bible is Paul and Silas while they were in prison. They were found praying and singing when they had every reason to be in despair.

An example that often astounds me is that of church members in Africa. Most of them live in devastating circumstances! It is said that we (Africans) sing when we’re happy, we sing when we’re sad and we sing any other time in between! They suffer outwardly, but they have this inexplicable joy and generosity! They give whatever they have. Their joy always goes with generosity, singing and dancing.

A fruit of the Holy Spirit

This joy is also a fruit of the Spirit, as we read in Galatians. Remember the joy in your heart when you first came to Christ? The joy of the first love! Such joy can never be generated by our own wills, as attested by the scripture below:

“You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”

1 Thessalonians 1:6 NIV

Prayer

Father, thank you for the joy that comes from the Spirit. We live in a corrupt world full of suffering and pain. Carry us as we continue living in this world, and guide us as we wait on your coming to liberate us from this world of sin and death. In Jesus’ name, amen!

 

Margaret Musekwa

 

 

By Margaret Musekwa
South Africa