GCI Update

Culture of Liberation

Joyful group of diverse young adults giving high five together outdoors
Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

In 2019, A Giant Step Forward – Toward an Emerging Culture of Liberation was published. I co-wrote this book with Rick Shallenberger and Dr. Tom Nebel.

The book was a bridge connecting the past leadership of the church under Dr. Joseph Tkach to the new era under my term as GCI President. It explained where we had come from and where we are going. By the grace of Jesus Christ, we have been on track and moving toward a culture of liberation.

The “Support – Challenge Matrix” was foundational in giving us our bearings for moving forward.

This updated matrix expands the concepts in each of the four quadrants. The quadrants of domination, abdication, and protectionism speak for themselves. They are places and spaces we have experienced, and we do not want to go back.

Let’s dig into the quadrant of liberation and capture a broader picture of where we see the Holy Spirit taking us.

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Devotional—Grounded in God’s Love

Editor’s Note: For our Ordinary Time Devotional series, you will be hearing entirely from young authors. They will be sharing their perspectives on the theme, “God is in the streets.” Enjoy reading how the next generation of emerging GCI leaders experiences God outside the walls of the Sunday church gathering.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. Matthew 6:25-29

Young woman in raincoat near lake in rainy day.

I experience God in my everyday life by practicing the 5 senses grounding technique. This is done by taking a moment to stop and pinpoint what you can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste.

I see someone holding their child’s hand as they walk; this small example of tenderness is just like that which God has for me and which I am capable of having for others. I feel the texture of a leaf that is beside me; just as God intricately designed this leaf, even more so has he intricately created me. I smell the moisture in the air of a rain shower to come; the newness of rain is a reminder of the newness that God has offered us. I hear the birds chirping to each other; just as God has provided for them, he has done this even more so for us. Last, I taste a cool glass of iced coffee and am reminded of the times I’ve shared meaningful conversations while drinking coffee with my friends. Staying tuned to these little joys is so important because God’s love for his creation is ever present. We just need to take the time to see it.

Thank you, God, that we can be reminded of your goodness in our day-to-day lives. Thank you that your love grounds us. Guide us as we further our wonderment at who you are, what you’ve done, and what you are still doing. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

By Kelly Meade Rakestraw, GCI Coach
Tallahassee, FL, US

Neighborhood Camp UK

We started planning Adventure Camp in Market Harborough, UK, a year in advance. In fact, we had a meeting during camp this year for camp next year! We spent many hours in meetings, processing forms, risk assessments, schedules, staffing, accommodation planning, kitchen prep and food shopping, getting the right equipment, technology and more. And then it’s just gone in a flash.

In that flash though – in what was a moment in time – we really did fit in a lot. The days were filled with activities such as archery, conservation, Christian Living, Lego, Zumba, tie-dye, and prayer-craft. Each activity was just an hour in length but so full, rich and joyful. The evening activities were very messy games, which included the egg smash, the flour chain, word games with alphabet spaghetti, and the foam and cheese puff challenge! We also enjoyed movie night, disco, and a campfire sing-along. Memories were made in these evenings that will last forever.

The mornings started with a worship service – engaging and interactive – introducing Jesus, for the first time to some of our kids, and reminding others how much he loves them and wants to be a part of their lives. The kids lifted their voices in worship, and some participated throughout camp with prayers. These were just moments also, but our hopes and prayers are that these small interactions with Jesus will have a deep and lasting impact on these children that will stay with them every day of their lives, as it does with us.

The feedback from the kids was very positive. The biggest request was to have a longer camp. One suggested camp could be six weeks long! However fleeting Adventure Camp may have been, we know the experiences, the opportunities, the friendships, the interactions, and the introductions have left deep impressions. The memories they have won’t be fleeting but will last a lifetime.

By Alexis Luckhoo, Administrator of Europe Office
Market Harborough, UK



Neighborhood Game Night

GCI Glendora hosted our first Neighborhood Game Night at the church facility on Saturday, August 26, between 6-8 p.m. Our purpose was to have a smaller Love Avenue event that would give everyone involved a fun, casual space to connect with each other. Families were given the option to drop in at any time.

Twenty kids, 12 parents, and 19 church volunteers participated. We offered a variety of drinks, ice cream, and pizzas for refreshments. Church volunteers provided board games, lawn games, and card games for all ages.

We intentionally planned the game night to be held four weeks after our “Heroes” Neighborhood day camp, which was held on July 29. At the end of the Neighborhood Camp, we handed game night fliers to all the families who participated at the camp. We wanted to connect with these same families again within a month of camp, instead of waiting longer until the next big neighborhood event.

Our desire is to establish and form trusting relationships with the families in our neighborhood to show and share the love of Jesus. We believe that we are blessed to be a blessing in the world and our local contexts, and we look forward to continuing our neighborhood game nights on a regular rhythm in 2024!

By Jillian Morrison, Associate Pastor
Glendora, CA, US

Prayer Guide—October 2023

“Sometimes that’s what prayer is — simply inviting God to join us where we actually are, not because he isn’t already here but because inviting him reminds us it’s true.” – Emily P. Freeman


Let’s come together in the spirit of unity and lift our hearts in prayer. Click here or the image below to download this month’s prayer guide.

Kaoma Wedding

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

I want to share the exciting news of Kalengule Kaoma’s wedding to Musaba Mapulanga, as written below by Regional Director of West Africa, Emanuel Okai of Accra, Ghana.

In most parts of modern Africa, marriage is an important rite of passage in the life of the community. Marriage involves the community in an intimately intricate manner, not easily understood by people of other cultures. Marriage is not just a legally sanctioned agreement between a consenting adult male and female; but a process of building enduring relationship between two families and / or ethnic groups. As a result, many negotiations, meetings, and ceremonies take place between the families of the bride and groom long before the glittering lights of a church wedding ceremony. Typically, there are three stages of marriage in modern African countries like Zambia and Ghana – the traditional, legal, and Christian rites.

The recent marriage between Pastor Kalengule Kaoma and Deaconess Musaba Mapulanga that was climaxed by a church wedding that I officiated was no exception. In the last few months, Kalengule (KK), together with some significant members of his family, had gone to the home of Musaba to ask for her hand in marriage. A few ceremonies were conducted before he was traditionally recognized as the husband of Musaba.

To document the marriage status with the government, the couple attended a short legal ceremony in the office of Marriage Registrar at the Lusaka City Council on Friday 1 September 2023. The lady who was the Marriage Officer schooled the couple about their marital rights, duties, and responsibilities under the Ordinance of Marriage. The signing of the marriage certificate was witnessed by a few dozen members of both families and some church members. Dressed in an immaculate blue suit, KK was united to his darling Musaba, who wore a golden orange dress with a black jacket. After the long journey, one could see the relief and joy in the faces of Kalengule and Musaba during the photo session that took place on the lawns of the City Council.

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Meet Jerome Ellard

“Seeing people make relational connections excites me – connections with God, with each other, and with our neighbors here in Big Sandy, Texas. I am excited about the possibilities!”

Check out this month’s GCI Profile to get to know Pastor Jerome Ellard, of Grace Communion Big Sandy.

To read his full profile, click here or the image below.

All Saints’ Day Remembrance

The U.S. Southeast Region will host an All Saints’ Day Remembrance on Wednesday, November 1, 8-9 p.m. EST via Zoom, and you are invited. Linda Rex, SE Region Support Team Member, is coordinating the remembrance; please see her note below. Feel free to invite members from your congregation or fellowship group to participate. You can read more about GCI’s Worship Calendar here: GCI Worship Calendar

Zoom link for All Saints’ Day Remembrance: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82532935278

Yours in Christ,
Anthony Mullins

On November 1, 2023, the SE Region will be hosting a Zoom remembrance at 8 p.m. EST to observe All Saints’ Day. We would like this to be a time where we can reflect on the reality that we were created for life, not for death, and pause to remember for a moment with gratitude those who have died in the faith. I would love to have you participate by sending me a photo and short remembrance (100 words or less) of someone you would like to be included in this observance. Here is an example.

If you would like to share a remembrance, please email it by October 10.  lrexnhgn@att.net

All God’s best to you,
Linda Rex
GCI SE Regional Support Team Member

Pastor Appreciation Month

 But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Hands holding cake with colorful rainbow letters spelling thank you

October is National Clergy Appreciation Month in the U.S. It’s a time set aside to recognize the contributions and service of pastors and all other clergy members. Within Clergy Appreciation Month is Pastor Appreciation Day on October 8. It is a special Sunday that congregations can dedicate to honoring their pastoral families for their sacrificial dedication.

It’s always a good day to show gratitude to our pastors or pastoral team members, but this date offers a specific space to let them know that we see their hard work and we appreciate their deep love toward the bride of Christ.

How will you say thank you this year?

GCI Swag Store Is Closing Soon

Get your GCI gear while it lasts!

GCI clothing and accessories will only be available for purchase through October 31.

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.