GCI Update

Role of Seniors in the Church

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

Some people are late bloomers, making their greatest accomplishments in the later years in life. Age does not have to be a barrier to success. Allow me to share a few inspiring success stories of great accomplishment achieved by those well beyond 60 years of age.

Although Judi Dench, of 007 fame, had been a stand-out in her work for theatre and TV over her lifetime, she really hit her stride and became a household name in her 60s. To date, Judi has received seven Oscar nominations, all of them past the age of 60. She won the Oscar for “Best Actress in Supporting Role” in 1999 for Shakespeare in Love. She leads all actors for Academy Award nominees older than 60.

Harland Sanders did not start developing Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was in his 60s. Once the Colonel’s brand was developed and growing, he sold it and franchised it in his 70s and lived comfortably for the rest of his years. His chicken is still “finger-licking good.”

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, didn’t start painting until she was 76 years old. When she could no longer hold an embroidery needle due to her arthritis, she decided to give painting a try. Her works were discovered by an art collector who bought her entire collection of paintings and displayed them at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Her popularity and skill are on display in museums all over the world.

What about “Grandpa Moses?” Yes, the Moses of Israel. He was 80 years young when God spoke to him from the burning bush in the desert. Then for the next 40 years he led the children from the clutches of Egypt through the Red Sea and into the desert for an entire generation before turning the reins over to Joshua to complete the mission of taking the people of God into the promised land.

I will be turning 60 in July and can officially get senior discounts. I expect that my body will begin slowing down some, but just like these late bloomers I have shared with you, my work is not over. My good friend Joseph Tkach, who still serves on our GCI Board and offers his wisdom with me as needed, has shared some commonsense wisdom for maturing adults. Here are some highlights of his list.

    • Never go up on the roof of your house
    • Be strategic with your daily steps, and don’t be bullied into thinking you have to do 10,000
    • Unless you were a national contender, NO skateboarding or surfing
    • Don’t go past two steps up on your ladder (use a spotter)
    • Forget about getting a gorgeous suntan (and rethink the beach body)

I hope this gave you a chuckle.

When it comes to the role our senior adults play in the life of our church, we can look at Paul’s instruction in his letter to Titus.

Tell the older men to be temperate, serious, prudent, and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance. (Titus 2:2 NRSVA)

Titus was to teach older men about these six qualities that are marks of maturity. In other words, older men are to be wise, loving and balanced; they are to be fully grounded in doctrine and belief. Finally, they are to be a calming, stable factor to their church family.

Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behaviour, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good. (Titus 2:3 NRSVA)

The presence of older, saintly grandmothers can be a real inspiration to the church community and can add credibility and dignity to the testimony of the local church.

The book of Titus reminds older adults to resist the temptations of letting free time become idle, or to de-escalate into the realm of activities of gossip or alcohol abuse. In other words, they are to fight the proclivity to become grumpy, irritable and cynical. (This may be my biggest challenge in my older years.) My goal, however, is with all the other seniors in GCI, that we are known for being patient, gentle and gracious. These traits will win the day as we continue to contribute to the life of our church family.

Please hear me when I say as a senior adult, your work is not finished. You are to be a mentor, a counselor, and instructor for the younger women and men in your church. Use your kindness and wisdom to build these meaningful relationships that allow you to make deposits in the younger generations coming behind. Please also consider how you might use your financial resources to build the church and support the next generation as they continue sharing the good news about Jesus. You can and will make a significant difference!

Joining the Seniors soon,
Greg Williams

Connect With Us on Facebook

As we prepare for the GCI Virtual Denominational Celebration, now more than ever, is a great time to connect with your GCI friends through social media.

GCI has a strong presence on Facebook, with many congregational Pages and regional Groups. Our churches are continually finding new ways to engage and connect with their neighborhoods by sending virtual invitations through Events and engaging Posts on their congregational Pages. Our members are showing up for their communities and realizing that, this year especially, a presence online is often an essential first point of contact for guests and future members.

GCI also has an official denominational Facebook Page, Grace Communion International – GCI. Here, you can find engaging questions and join in the discussion with fellow members in the comments sections. You will also see weekly meditational Posts, meant to encourage your spiritual walk. On a monthly basis, this same Page provides educational content in the form of Church Hacks, meant to inspire and improve the way you do church locally.

If you Like and Follow the Grace Communion International – GCI Page you can find information about the upcoming Denominational Celebration and follow along with our Event Page as we count down the days until we can all celebrate together virtually. By RSVPing to this Event in Facebook, you will receive exclusive content leading up to the Celebration, and be the first to receive an invitation to the GCI Denominational Celebration Group on Facebook.

The GCI Denominational Celebration Group is the place where individuals who have registered for the event and Watch Party members are encouraged to share their photos, group insights, aha moments, and engage with discussion questions posted after each of the Main Sessions. This Group will serve as the behind-the-scenes community for GCI members and friends who are registered for the Celebration. So, invite your friends, get your decorations ready, set up your watch party rooms, and RSVP to the official Focused on Hope 2021 Denominational Celebration Event Page to stay connected and rejoice with us as we get ready to celebrate together as a church Focused on Hope!

P.S. For those of you who are not on Facebook, we will be sharing a link to the Sunday Service on our GCI Website. Download Zoom and come worship with us!


Charlotte Rakestraw


By Charlotte Rakestraw
Social Media & Graphics Coordinator
Editor, GCI Update


Death of Cledice Decker










I regret to have to inform you of the death of one of our dear friends, Cledice Decker.

Following a recent surgery to address a nearly blocked carotid artery, Cledice suffered a massive stroke. Two of her closest friends found her on Memorial Day and saw that she was taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, the damage was extensive, and nothing could be done to undo it.

Wednesday evening, June 2, she was placed on hospice, where she remained until her death early Wednesday morning, June 9.

Cledice Jewell Decker leaves behind a legacy of genuine caring, generous giving and selfless service that few will ever match. She is and will continue to be greatly missed.

It is with a heavy heart that I share this, not only because we have lost someone of exquisite moral and spiritual beauty, but also because of the pain and sadness this news will cause. Be assured, however, that Cledice’s last days were without pain, served by a compassionate and caring hospice staff. She was kept comfortable to the end, in accordance with her wishes under such circumstances.

Cledice requested that there be no funeral or memorial service, so may I suggest that you memorialize her among your mutual acquaintances for the beautiful example she set in everything she did. In that way her legacy will live on.

Chris Anderson

REGISTER NOW: GCI Virtual Denominational Celebration

Register Now!

Registration for the virtual 2021 Denominational Celebration is open!  We will be focusing on the Hope Avenue, shaping our worship services to be inspirational experiences that center around our hope in the person of Jesus.

Individual Registration for members and Watch Party Registration for leadership teams to participate and debrief together are both available. Make the Celebration a retreat for your congregation. Click here for ideas on how to host a watch party.

Our Main Session Speakers

We are excited to present our GCI Superintendents and 2021 speakers! Each Superintendent will share stories of hope, revealing how the Spirit is moving in their region. The Main Sessions will also feature a live interview by GCI President Greg Williams with each Superintendent. Click here to visit our events page and read the Superintendents’ bios.

Devotional – The GOAT

I was having a conversation with my grandson about one of basketball’s
superstars when he commented that “he’s the goat.” What? I thought – “he
hasn’t been the player who lost the game for the team or stunk up the gym.” In the lingo of my day, “the goat” was the guy who blew the game.

He brought me up to speed at that time with the new terminology that the
goat is the GOAT, G-O-A-T, the “Greatest Of All Time.” It’s an acronym in our vocabulary of surging “acronym speak.”

In the sporting world there can be enjoyable arguments of who is the GOAT.
So, what about the world of humanity?

Among every human who has ever lived or is alive, man, woman, billionaire, CEO, dedicated humanitarian, powerful politician, caregiver, social worker, lawyer, marquee celebrity, technological wizard, arbitrage strategist, doctor, nurse, generous philanthropist, Nobel Prize winner, theologian, philosopher, evangelist, real estate developer, recovering addict, military hero, famous inventor, award winning entertainer, farmer, teacher, hall of fame athlete, union steel worker, The Best Dad Ever, The Greatest Mom Ever…there is Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.

Hands down, Jesus is the GOAT because he is simultaneously the living Son of God and Son of Man whose humility and love is unmatched!

Get to know him. Get to love him. Get to walk with him. Get to serve with him. Get to “wanna be like” him. Not only is Jesus the “Greatest Of All Time” – He is also your SAFE, “Savior And Friend Eternally.”

John 3:16-17, Philippians 2:5-11, Ephesians 1:17-23, Colossians 1:9b-22, John 15:12-15, 1 John 4:7-12, John 20:30-31

Lloyd Briggie

Prayer Guide July 2021

“Prayer is continuing a conversation that God has started through his Word and his grace, which eventually becomes a full encounter with him.” ― Timothy Keller

Join us in prayer as we come together this month asking for clarity and renewal and thanking Christ for new hope each day. Click the link below to download and print the July Prayer Guide, as we celebrate how God is working in and among our congregations.

Meet Kairis Joy Chiaji

“If I could teach anyone anything, it would be that their value is inherent. It doesn’t have to be earned because it’s already been determined. We get to spend our lives finding things to do that match it.” Check out this month’s GCI Profile to get to know Kairis Joy Chiaji, Pastoral Team Member of GCI congregation, Living Grace Fellowship, in Sacramento, California. To read her full profile, click the image below.