GCI Update

We’ve Come a Long Way!

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and friends,

If you have been around GCI for a while, you will recall our vast study on the topic of women in ministry. Study papers were submitted to the denomination over a long stretch of time, and much was published about the role of women as seen through the lens of scripture. After prayerful consideration by our denominational committee, it was decided that women could be ordained and serve in ministry capacities that were once reserved for men. Hallelujah! Praise God for opening our eyes to the truth.

It is an amazing journey that we have been on to see many wonderful women of faith rise up and serve Jesus through the ministries of GCI. We currently have 113 female Elders in our fellowship. Four of these Elders serve the church out of the Home Office – Pam Morgan, Michelle Fleming, Cara Garrity and Susan Williams. We have an additional two female Elders serving as Directors on the GCI Board – Celestine Olive and Jen Gregory and one Superintendent serving Australasia – Daphne Sidney.

The addition of the female perspective and voice “at the table” has made us a stronger and more balanced church. As President, I have noticed how the presence of women in leadership has made us more collaborative and much more innovative. A big thank you to the women for stepping up and stepping in!

It gives me great pleasure to announce three major advancements of three special ladies who work out of the denominational Home Office.

      • Michelle Fleming

        Michelle Fleming who has been our Media Director for three years will take on a greater role as our Communications Director (CD). The CD is a senior level manager who reports to the president and works with the team of GCI managers for the overall good and health of the organization. The CD acts as an advisor to the President, monitors the messaging of the church, maintains the clarity of the vision, and serves as press contact for the church. Michelle will continue the oversight of Media and will add another staff person to share the workload.

      • portrait of elizabeth mullins
        Elizabeth Mullins

        Elizabeth Mullins will join the media team as our Publications Assistant to support the timely production, delivery and execution of projects related to GCI Publications. Working in unison with the Communications Director, Media Team, and Denominational Leaders, the Publications Assistant maintains alignment with the church’s vision and mission with the GCI audience in mind.

      • Cara Garrity, who currently serves as the GCI
        Cara Garrity

        Development Coordinator, will have expanded responsibilities to include Host of GCI Podcast, and Coordinator of the Ministry Coaching service that is available to pastors and ministry leaders in the US. Her new responsibilities fit nicely into the ongoing development needs that we have in GCI.

I am privileged to work with these amazing women. Their collective skills, knowledge and experience make GCI a better organization. I am proud of each of them, and I solicit your prayers of support as they move into these roles.

The inclusion of women in the ministry of GCI has been a tremendous blessing, and most of all, it reflects who Jesus is and how he so adeptly oversees his church.

Praising God for making us healthier,

Greg Williams

GCI Buzz – Ministry Training Centers

This month’s GCI Buzz explains MTCs and their role in developing and multiplying church leaders.

Jacksonville GCI Church Member Turns 100

 

Mrs. Eva Moorman, a widow and mother of 17 children, turned age 100 this year, on January 4, 2022.

A committed follower of Jesus Christ all her adult life, Eva is an inspiration to our congregation ever since she started worshipping with us a few years back. Her daughter and son-in-law, Patricia and John, along with her granddaughter Monique and her husband Adam, are active in our church here as well. We are blessed by their whole family!

Mrs. Eva Moorman’s humble spirt and active mind motivate us all to be more like her, as she so well exemplifies what it means to be like Jesus in her love and faithfulness.

 

Marty and Yvonne Davey

 

Marty Davey, Pastor
Jacksonville, FL

God’s Work in Grace Communion Trinidad & Tobago

Hello Brothers and Sisters,

Clifton and Pearl Charles

I pray you all experienced a joy filled Christmas and are safe and doing well! Last month President Greg Williams, CFO Mat Morgan and I were able to visit with Clifton and Pearl Charles in Trinidad. We were able to tour their church building and have lunch with some of their key leaders. We were not able to meet face-to-face with the brethren due to COVID restrictions. However, we were privileged to join with them for their digital worship service, then meet in small breakout rooms with various leaders and members. I am very proud and thankful for Clifton and Pearl – as well as their loving and sacrificial leaders. They are doing a great job of loving and engaging the neighborhood around their church building. They are also reaching out to the broader community by proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ and finding ways to introduce them to their Savior. Clifton has been very intentional in forming Connect Groups for church members and people leaning in from the community. They are working hard to train new leaders to share various ministry opportunities. I can’t wait to see them soar when COVID no longer limits their activities. Keep up the good work Trinidad! I know you will enjoy reading Clifton’s Update below.

I love and appreciate you all!
Mike Rasmussen– Superintendent North America and Caribbean

 


God’s Work in Grace Communion Trinidad & Tobago

End of Year Service 2018
End of Year Service 2018

As the Holy Spirit leads us from legalism to Christ and the mission of Jesus, our members are increasingly challenged and empowered to make disciples of Jesus in small disciple-making groups.  We have not experienced anything more exciting.  There are over thirty of these groups in our small but growing denomination of over 200 persons in two congregations.  These groups develop spontaneously as the Holy Spirit moves members who have caught the vision to form groups for the purpose of helping people to come to Jesus and become like Jesus.  Building genuine relationships that have transparency, vulnerability, and accountability members surrender to the lordship of Jesus in all aspects of their lives and help others to do likewise.  Prayer and fasting are vital habits in this process.

Seniors’ Social 2019

Around 2007 we realized that our members would not effectively share their faith with others unless they first become comfortable discussing and applying their faith among themselves. So, we began to preach application focused messages and encourage our members to form small discussion groups after each sermon to discus and share their personal application.  This strategy strengthens relationships with God and each other and encourages us to reach out to our families, friends, and neighborhoods.  When Covid-19 arrived, we continued this strategy on Zoom, utilizing Zoom breakout rooms with encouraging results as our congregations continue to grow both spiritually and in numbers.  During the weekdays we also hold discipleship meetings including women’s and men’s Bible Study on Zoom. Going forward we recognize the need for hybrid church formats of both in-person and online church, while maintaining the same message on each platform each Sunday to facilitate consistency.

Women’s Prayer Breakfast 2018
Women’s Prayer Breakfast 2018

Our members serve our communities around our church building by providing food, counseling, spiritual and material support, a homework center for underprivileged children in the neighborhood, a venue for community action council meetings, Mothers’ Day and Seniors’ celebrations, Life Skills training, short courses in barbering, hair braiding, and public speaking (through adapting our spokesman’s club experience).  The Ministry of National Security also partnered with us by funding various projects in its efforts to rehabilitate our high-risk neighborhood. Our church building also provides a venue for weddings, funerals, graduations, retreats, seminars, workshops, dinners, luncheons, and church camps, for which we had bookings up to 2026 before Covid-19 arrived.

Children’s Christmas Party 2009

In addition, we host children’s Christmas parties and provide personalized gifts for approximately three hundred children each year (until the pandemic).  Members of our neighborhood help us to obtain the names, sex, and ages of their children.  Many of these children also subsequently attend our vacation bible schools and Sunday schools (which are now conducted online on Saturdays because of Covid-19).  Eventually, the children’s parents may show up at church services after they are satisfied with their test drive of our church.  Members of our neighborhood also attend our special resurrection, anniversary, end of year and old year’s services.  In addition, they help us prepare for these activities, wrapping gifts, preparing meals, food hampers and gift bags for prisoners and their families as part of our involvement in Prison ministry.  They also help us protect our church property by looking out for us and alerting us to neighborhood threats.  In appreciation of our service to our neighborhood they have awarded the church a large trophy.

Mothers’ Day 2019
Mothers’ Day 2019

In 2006 we joined the Trinidad & Tobago Council of Evangelical Churches and Prison Fellowship of Trinidad & Tobago.  This began our involvement in the ministries of the wider body of Christ.  For many years afterwards, their executive meetings were held at our church building, as well as training sessions for the national prison fellowship volunteers.  Approximately twenty members of our congregations are involved in prison ministry, providing various classes and courses such as, starting a small business, women of integrity, floral arrangements, music, balloon craft, Mathematics and English, character development, leadership development, and evangelism and discipleship training to prison inmates.  Covid-19 has disrupted all of these in person activities.  However, the Holy Spirit continues to challenge us to be the church wherever we are, bringing the fragrance of Christ into all aspects of our society.

By Clifton Charles – Pastor Trinidad and Tobago

Healthy Church Challenge Team

If you were inspired by the youth participation in the Healthy Church Challenge (you can see the results here if you missed it) join me in giving a big shout out to the volunteer Healthy Church Challenge team! These talented leaders worked together to coordinate everything from the design and promotion of the challenge to the collection of challenge entries, monitoring of votes, and announcement of challenge winners. Thank you for making the Healthy Church Challenge possible! It is a blessing to invest in emerging generations alongside you.

Cara Garrity
GCI Development Coordinator

 


Charissa Panuve GCI Fiji

Where do you call home? Fiji

I feel like I connect with the Faith Avenue the most with the community building aspect. I love meeting people and sharing testimonies and stories and I think the Great Commission is such a great honour to be a part of and I enjoy being able to plant a seed that will hopefully someday grow in someone’s heart

Favorite Activity: If it’s not swimming, it’ll be sleeping or eating 😂

 


Ria Guzon GC Crossway (Philippines)

Where do you call home? Sunny Philippines ☀️

What I really love about the concept of having a Healthy Church is the intentional strengthening of our community through relationship building across all age groups— all are heard and represented.  Having a healthy Faith Avenue encourages members to participate as they are equipped and nurtured in the process.

Favorite Activity: I’m an introvert, so I find my own space in watching re-runs of FRIENDS, and a bag of Cheetos jalapeño all for myself. 🙂

 


Cairo Mills Grace Communion Church

Where do you call home? Charlotte

The Hope Avenue connects with me the most because of its collaborative nature in how we worship. It promotes inclusion of people into the church so no one is excluded from feeling loved.

Favorite Activity: Soccer and wrestling!

 

 

Meet Margaret Cohen

“As a mother of two and grandmother of five, I have deep affection, respect, and empathy across each generation and the rich contribution that each age group, from the very youngest to the most senior, is able to make to the life of the church. I know that truly growing together in Christ is vital to a healthy and relevant church.” Check out this month’s GCI Profile to get to know Margaret Cohen, an Elder in our Carina, Australia congregation. To read her full profile, click the image below.

You’re Included Video Series

You’re Included is a video series dedicated to exploring inclusive trinitarian theology. In each episode we interview a different theologian and discuss their understanding and experience in participating with Christ in this relationship we are all invited into. To watch the series, go to https://www.gci.org/videos/youre-included/

 

Devotional – You Are Blessed

Matthew 5:1-12

Amid the difficulties of everyday life, and the many pressing circumstances that we often face, it becomes a challenge to attain and receive God’s blessings. As a child, I remember my mother often saying that the Lord’s blessings were new every day. I am not sure about you, but I often wondered if his blessings skipped me way too often. Others would say that you need to find his blessings daily, but the reality is that in Christ we are blessed regardless of what we think or hear from others.

Every day we are presented with fresh and new opportunities to experience the outpouring of God’s love, compassion, and blessings. Even when we are clouded by the many circumstances that create tension and strain our spiritual health, behind those clouds, his love and mercy are always present and slowly penetrating through. I eventually understood that his blessings were not contingent on my thoughts and actions. His blessings are attained as his kingdom shines on all our lives.

In and through Christ, God’s kingdom is present, and the blessing of the kingdom belongs to us as we are wrapped up into the life of the Father, Son, and Spirit. I love how the Message Bible asserts the realities of his blessings and shatters those clouds that limit us from receiving the life and blessing of the kingdom.

“3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. “You’re blessed when you care. “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right.  “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. 10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution”. 

Prayer: Most loving God, thank you for including me in your love and life. Please help me shatter the clouds that prohibit me from seeing the reality of who I am and how blessed I am. Please give the contentment that I seek to live the kingdom life today, and to share it with others. Amen!

 

By Heber Ticas
Superintendent of Latin America &
National Coordinator for Church Multiplication