GCI Update

Jesus—the True Disciple Maker

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

As we find ourselves in the season where we rehearse the earthly life and ministry of Jesus, it turns my mind toward the way Jesus equipped and developed the disciples. He used a dynamic combination of teaching and modeling to pour into their lives, and all the while wrapped into a relationship of interaction and friendship.

Jesus did not allow ministry to be a spectator sport. He used everyday opportunities to train his disciples to see and serve (“see” because people have value and worth). The feeding of the 5,000 is a marvelous narrative of how Jesus equipped his followers.

In John chapter 5, Jesus spent a lengthy session of teaching about his authority and how he is doing the work of the Father. These works testify to who he is, the Messiah. Then we read in chapter 6:

Sometime after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. John 6:1-15 NIV

Read More


And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

Ash Wednesday begins our Lenten journey to Easter. A reoccurring Easter Preparation or Lenten theme is forgiveness. We remember the words of Jesus from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” as an invitation to receive and extend forgiveness.

Perhaps your heart has a hard time embracing forgiveness. We have all been hurt or offended by someone in our lives, and the thought of forgiving them seems like an impossible task. Well, guess what? You’re right. It is an impossible task on your own. It is only through participation in the forgiveness that has already been done by God that we are able to forgive. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” he was speaking of forgiveness as well. God’s forgiveness is unconditional.

When the Father sent his one and only Son to reconcile us and bring us back into a relationship with him, Jesus took full responsibility for all our faults, failures, and sin and dealt with them on the cross, once and for all! It’s a done deal and you had absolutely nothing to do with it. There is no condemnation. There is no record of wrongs. There is only mercy, grace, and love.

As we allow these revelations to take deep root within our souls, we begin to enjoy God and revel in his sheer goodness. When we are able to “live” in the reality of the Father’s forgiveness and acceptance in Christ, our hearts are able to relax and extend grace and forgiveness to others.

Merciful God, help me experience the full weight of grace and forgiveness in my heart, so much that it simply and easily radiates out of my very being to those around me. Amen.

By Davina Winn
Assistant Pastor, Hanover, VA, US


Art of Community Weekend—Cleveland, OH, US

Dan Hulse, on the right

On January 26, 2023, Grace Communion Cleveland took part in a weekend community art event hosted by Coventry Peace Campus, along with other tenants in the building. Our congregation holds worship services each Sunday in the Coventry Peace Campus building.

The band scheduled to play cancelled a few days before, and the trio, “Half Craic’d Brothers,” stepped in to provide the musical entertainment. They are a Celtic band whose multi-talented string and bodhran player is Dan Hulse, our Hope Avenue champion.

Our members interacted with the community as the lively music filled the space. Our popcorn machine from the 1980’s era sent a wonderful aroma of fresh popcorn through the building and supplied a delicious snack for all in attendance.

Lake Erie Ink, a creative writing place for kids, and Artful Cleveland, a group of artist’s studios who also lease space in the building, held interactive workshops during the evening as well.

It was a fun evening for all who attended.

Pat Shiels
Love Avenue Champion, Cleveland, OH, US

2023 Healthy Church Challenge Launches

Click the image or here to learn more.

You’re Invited—LiLY Women’s Conference

19th Annual
LiLY Women’s Conference 

Hosted by Grace Communion Cleveland

For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:6-7

April 14-16, 2023

Embassy Suites in Beachwood, Ohio

Register today online at gccle.church/lily

If you have any questions, please email LiLYwomensministry@gmail.com

Rosa Hulse, Women’s Ministry Leader
Tamar Gray, Pastor

GCI Buzz—The 4 Es

This GCI Buzz explains the 4 Es: Engage, Equip, Empower, and Encourage. #gcibuzz

Click the image below to check out the full, printer-friendly PDF.

Shop the GCI Swag Store

GCI Gear is Here!

We are excited to announce that GCI clothing and accessories will be available as part of our Denominational Celebration! Represent our fellowship and reflect your personal style. Shop now, by clicking on the image below.

We chose the vendor for our on-demand store based on their high-quality and ethically sourced items, as well as their ability to ship internationally. However, please note that the shipping costs are per item. You can get detailed shipping information here. 

Denominational Celebration—Register Now!

Volunteer at the Denominational Celebration

Are you considering volunteering, but you have questions?

Check out our Q&A.

Q: The conference is 3+ days. Will I be expected to serve the entire time? Every session? What’s my time commitment?
A: Each shift or session is 2.5 hours or less. We ask that you choose and serve for one shift. Of course, you can choose more than one shift.

Q: Do I have to create my own lessons / curriculum?
A: No. We will provide a lesson and activity with all supplies for your session.

Q: How many other adults will I be with?
A: Depending on the age group, you will be with at least two other volunteers during your shift.

Q: Can I request which age group I help with? If I’d rather serve with teens, can I request that?
A: Absolutely. On the sign up, you will see that the shifts are organized by grade/age and times. You can pick any open slot.

Have additional questions or want to volunteer? Please send an email to home.office@gci.org 

Farewell to Mat Morgan, Retiring CFO

“Following God’s lead has never been boring or easy, but it has always been filled with an overall sense of peace and joy that can only be explained through God’s presence along the way.” –Mat Morgan




Join us in congratulating Mat on his retirement! We are very grateful for his good and faithful service.

Mat is an elder who has worked for GCI and GCS in various capacities for more than 40 years. He has worked closely with the last four GCI presidents and has served on the Board for many of these years. After receiving his MBA in 1994, he worked in both the legal and financial areas and has been in his current position as Chief Financial Officer since 2005. He is married to Pam, GCI’s Operations Coordinator. Together they have two children, Mathew (wife, Natalie) and Jessica (husband, Johnny) and two grandchildren.

He considers it a privilege to have worked for the church during some challenging years of transition because he has seen God’s hand in the journey at every stage and has “served with some of the most wonderful people in the world.” He looks forward to what God has in store for GCI in the years ahead.

Read on, as Mat’s coworkers pay tribute to him.

“It has been a pleasure and privilege to work for Mat these many years. Never a dull day! I wish him the same busy schedule in his retirement, only with an itinerary of grandkids, fishing, hiking—and not too many difficult questions to ponder—even from a grandchild!”
–Cheryl Corson, HR & Risk Manager, Board Secretary, Executive Assistant to the CFO

“I have had the great privilege of working with Mat for the past two years. He has been an excellent leader because he has sought first to be a follower of Christ. It is the love of Christ, his love for him in return, and his compassionate care for God’s people that compels him to serve. I am incredibly thankful to Mat for all of the faithful work he has contributed over the years. Mat’s willingness to participate in Jesus’ ministry has directly impacted my ability to be where I am, serve where I do, witness where God is at work in this moment, and anticipate the future he is leading us towards.

Thank you Mat for the gift you have been to all of us throughout GCI. May you experience abundant blessings and joy in this season ahead of you.”
–Cara Garrity, Development Coordinator

“Mat has been such a blessing to our denomination. He helped guide us through some of the darkest times of our transition from legalism into grace. My heart always ached that a man with such a huge heart was put in such a difficult position—but I am extremely grateful for him and his heart.

Mat is one of the most faithful, godly men I have ever had the privilege to work alongside. Mat is the real deal. What you see with Mat—is who he is. He is faithful and consistently striving to be the best follower of Jesus he can possibly be. He works behind the scenes with great humility, constantly pointing people to Jesus and not to himself.”
–Mike Rasmussen, Superintendent, North America & Caribbean and Regional Director, Central US

“Mat Morgan has been the consummate steward on behalf of GCI for the past quarter century. I came alongside Mat in 2014 as Superintendent of US & Mexico. Mat and I sat through many meetings together over the past decade, with follow-up meetings to decipher what we heard and to determine what seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us. And we then executed many projects together (some more difficult and complex than others).

Mat and I have different personalities, and yet those differences proved to be complimentary and a benefit for the denomination. We have been a good team and brothers throughout it all. The brotherhood will continue beyond active employment.”
–Greg Williams, President


Retirement of Bob Miller

Join us in honoring Bob Miller, longtime pastor, who retired in January.

Congratulations, Bob and Ruth! Your faithful service and love for Jesus’ church demonstrates your generous and kind hearts. We are very grateful to you both.

Cards may be sent to:
538 River Crest Way
Helena, AL 35080

We asked Bob and Ruth to share their reflections.

From Bob:

I began listening to the World Tomorrow radio program when I was 14. As a teenager, life was confusing, and I was attracted to the dogmatism and legalism of what I was hearing. At age 16, I began attending the Radio Church of God’s “local” church – over an hour away in Pittsburgh, PA. The pastor was Jimmy Friddle. I consider him my “father in the faith.” I was immediately taken in by so many wonderful folks who made me feel so welcomed and loved.

I attended Ambassador College in Big Sandy after high school, graduating in 1969. Those were some of the best four years I have ever spent in my life. Even though our theology was flawed, I learned a lot of valuable lessons and was exposed to the Bible in ways I never would have. It was just part of my spiritual journey. Following graduation, I served as a ministerial trainee for about a year and then moved on to work five years at a USS subsidiary outside Akron, Ohio. In 1974, I met my future wife, Ruth Black, at Big Sandy. I was there to see my younger brother graduate. Still living in Akron at the time, I was getting restless and tired of Data Processing. I travelled some and ended up in Pasadena looking for work.

I was hired by the WCG’s Home Office and worked nearly 12 years – first in the Postal Department and then Publishing. I was an International Coordinator for The Plain Truth, but my primary job was coordinating the printing for many of the foreign language versions of the many booklets produced by the church. I also was involved in the printing of Herbert Armstrong’s books. In 1988, I was ordained an elder and in 1989, we had the opportunity to move to Birmingham, Alabama, as an assistant pastor. Moving across country with three small children was certainly a leap of faith, but we were warmly received by the members and began a new chapter in our lives.

I never aspired to be an elder, much less a pastor, and often felt like Jonah. I was eventually made an associate pastor and ordained a preaching elder. Little did I know the challenges that I would face after five years in Birmingham. When the changes came, I became the pastor for Birmingham and Jasper, Alabama. At one time, I was pastoring four congregations: Birmingham, Jasper, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Columbus, Mississippi. Hokes Bluff, Alabama is another church I pastored.

One of the most rewarding times in ministry came in fairly recent years. Our small congregation in Birmingham began to provide worship services for Aspire Physical Recovery Center in Hoover. That meant our attendance basically doubled, as we served the residents and guests at Aspire. They came from a variety of denominations, but we all worshipped together in peace and harmony. When COVID hit, we were no longer able to go into Aspire. So, we began having Zoom Bible studies.

About a year prior to my retirement, we began having House Church at our home, and that was also a very rewarding experience. We actually had new folks visit during this time. We loved the intimate setting, and we often had meals together following our worship service. We got to know each other on a much more intimate level.

I love our denomination. The friendships made will be long-lasting—so many precious memories over the years. We are planning to attend worship services at the church where Ruth has been employed for almost 25 years, Saint Mark United Methodist Church.  Due to severe scoliosis/spinal stenosis and arthritis, my mobility is somewhat limited now. Whether or not I will see any improvement is uncertain. But I feel that my primary role in the body of Christ now will be to try and encourage others along the journey.

From Ruth:

When Bob and I were married and living in California, we would never have imagined leaving headquarters and going out into the “field.” Bob was working in Publishing, and I had just been hired in Mail Processing. Our children would all have been at Imperial Schools that fall, and I could begin working part-time. In July that year, 1989, we had taken a visit back to South Carolina to see my family. It was hot and humid, and when we returned, someone asked about our trip. I said it was fine, but I never wanted to live in that part of the country again! Wouldn’t you know it? That next week we got notice that we would be going to Birmingham, Alabama.

So back to the hot and humid South we went! At the time, we were told we would likely be there for three to five years. We’re still here more than 33 years later! But what a marvelous opportunity to serve God’s people for all those years! Following the changes, I began a women’s discipleship class as we navigated all of the doctrinal changes. I found that studying the book of Acts was extremely helpful. Eventually, I began giving sermons on occasion.

About 25 years ago, I began working at Saint Mark United Methodist Church. All that we were learning made working there a wonderful experience. I found that my work as a pastor’s wife equipped me well for the many roles I fill at Saint Mark. While my primary job is managing the church office, I have also taught Bible studies, helped plan weddings and funerals, assisted the pastors with their work, managed church publications, and helped in many other ways. Everything I did previously helped prepare me to serve both our local congregations and the amazing Saint Mark church family.

My plans are to continue working at Saint Mark for the foreseeable future. Bob’s limited mobility means that we won’t be doing a lot of traveling, but we hope to be able to have a ministry of encouragement for all those we can continue to serve.  I see Bob transitioning into lots of “online” activity – connecting with many old friends and making new ones via Facebook and email exchanges. We love our time together at home, reading inspiring books together, and continuing to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior.

Prayer Request—Canfield, OH, US

On February 3, a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. The following update and prayer request is from John Dobritch, pastor of nearby GCI Canfield.

First of all, we want to thank God that no one was killed or even injured on the train or in the surrounding community. That was a miracle.

One family in our GCI Canfield church lives about a mile from the accident. The family of four, including two teenagers, had to evacuate but were taken in for three nights by another church family.

Thankfully their house was not damaged, but there is now concern for environmental damage to the community and long-term health concerns due to inhaling toxic fumes over several days. Prayers are requested for the well-being of our church members and the entire town of East Palestine, Ohio.