We Are GCI Series – Pastor Profile – Anthony Walton

We Are GCI Series is a collection of videos where various GCI leaders and members are highlighted.
In this episode, GCI Pastor, Anthony Walton, shares a little about himself with why he likes to serve in GCI and how his guilty pleasure has zero guilt.

GCI Photo Contest Winners

Congratulations to our winning photographers: Matthew Arquero, Lucas James Malmkar, and Laura Griffin Hayden!

1st Place - Matthew Arquero
1st place – Matthew Arquero
2nd place - Lucas Malmkar
2nd place – Lucas Malmkar
3rd place - Laura Hayden
3rd place – Laura Hayden
To view more photos from the contest, click on the image above.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our first GCI Photo Contest. Stay connected for future contests and events!

Regional Celebration Registration

Making plans for summer? Don’t miss out on registration for the Southeast Celebration.

In 2019, GCI will host Regional Celebrations in the USA:

  • June 7 – 9: Central – Dallas, TX
  • June 21 – 23: Southeast – Charlotte, NC
  • September 27 – 29: North Central – Noblesville, IN
  • October 25 – 27:  East – Ocean City, MD

Click the image below to for more information and registration options.
Regional Celebrations 2019 Banner


LiLY Women’s Conference

LiLY logoThe Women of Edgehill Community Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio would like to invite you to their 16th Annual LiLY (Living Life for You) Conference “Joy Intact,” held April 26th-28th, 2019 at the Embassy Suites in Beachwood, Ohio.

This is a weekend filled with wonderful worship, inspired speakers, lots of laughs and simply enjoying the presence of the Lord.  The conference is attended by a diverse group of women and teens (Bonfire Sessions for ages 13-17) from every stage on their journey. We come from different churches and denominations.  We are about meeting at the feet of Jesus and making him known.

We keep the registration prices low, meals are included, and you can fill your suite with up to six women to cut the cost of the hotel.  This is a great opportunity for you, your family or group of friends to come together and share a weekend in Christ with no judgment or expectations.

Follow the link for more information. http://www.edgehillcc.org/lily

Tamar Gray, Assistant Pastor
Edgehill Community Church
Cleveland, Heights Ohio

ACCM Intensive Course at Celebration West

This follow-up article was written by Anthony Mullins, GCI National Coordinator in charge of developing Pastoral Residents, Interns and Coaching. Anthony led an ACCM Intensive course on Christian Leadership directly following the Regional Celebration West on April 8 and 9.

We concluded the Portland intensive with ten credit students and one audit.  It was a highly participatory atmosphere with rich interaction.  I focused our time on the Christology of our Leader, Servant-Leadership, Team-Based Leadership, Coaching, Healthy Pastoral Leadership in the Community, and Formation.

I began the teaching by stating my motivation; they would all become a little better in their ministerial calling.  What excites me is ten of the eleven participants requested to have a GCI-certified coach as a result of the class.  It’s outstanding to know they will have the guidance, perspective, and accountability that comes with coaching, going forward.  Several of them are currently working on a Ministry Action Plan.

The participants were highly complimentary of the depth of the workbook material.  Well done ACCM team!

GCI Site Searchability

In an effort to make our resources more accessible, we have added a search feature in GCI.org that allows you to search all of our sites at the same time, including Equipper, Update, and Resources.GCI.org.

As shown in the image below, to search a keyword or phrase, click on the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner of the page. A search bar will open, and you can type into it, revealing relevant resources and articles from our database. Please refer to the following image for a visual guide.


Devotional – Peace Be With You

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).

In what is commonly known as the “farewell discourse,” Jesus tells his followers what they should expect to transpire in the near future. But he tells them—as well as his followers in the 21st century, to not be discouraged, for he will give them Comforter, who will dwell with them (verses 16-17). The “peace” he mentions is a rendering of Shalom, which was used as a greeting and as a farewell. But more than a greeting it gives a sense of wholeness or completeness.

This Shalom/Peace was again mentioned by Jesus when he appeared to his disciples behind the locked doors after his crucifixion. He then breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit (John 20:19-22).

Like those disciples, we are often confronted by stress, fear or simply overwhelmed by our day-to-day lives. That’s when we need to turn those moments over to the Holy Spirit, and live in this Shalom/Peace. It is that shalom/peace that wraps around us like a young child wrapped up tightly in her baby blanket when the night is cold or she is in need of comforting.

Prayer: Jesus and Spirit, help us to give our stresses and fears over to you. Surround us with your wholeness and may we feel your comfort to be able to weather the storms of life.  


By Bill Hall, National Director – Canada

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Greg and Susan Williams

When I recently toured the Holy Land nothing was more striking and mind-expanding than standing on the Mount of Olives and imagining the myriad of thoughts racing through the mind of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem in the final week of his earthly ministry.

He expressed this poignant lament – “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37 ESV).

Jesus expresses tremendous sorrow that Israel continually rejects God’s call for repentance and refuses to embrace the Kingdom of God. Even more personal is their rejection of him as their promised, true Messiah – even as he intermingled with them, displaying miraculous acts of incredible kindness, revealing to them the deep teachings of God, and sharing gracefully in all aspects of life.

The metaphor used by Matthew likens the Godhead to a mother hen (a rare biblical use of a feminine image for God). The image of a mother hen whose intent is to gather, nurture and protect her offspring. It fits well with Jesus’s words about his impending crucifixion – “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32 ESV). Uniting all people to himself – in a relationship of total forgiveness and pure love – was his purpose then and for all time.

What did Jesus see from the Mount of Olives that day? Perhaps the temple, the center of worship, with people scurrying about from court to court attending to daily sacrifices? Did he envision through his eyes of deity the days of old with Abraham bringing Isaac to the altar for slaughter? Or was he looking forward in time, to the scenes I saw of the crowds gathered at the Western Wall in a cacophony of prayer? I believe it was all of the above, and more.

From our vantage point on the Mount of Olives we located the movement of Jesus from the area of the Last Supper and upper room from the south of the city, down into the Garden of Gethsemane in the Kidron Valley (the garden of “thy will be done”). It was in the garden where Jesus was arrested. He was then taken back to the south of the city to the house of Caiaphas the high priest, where he was tried by the Sanhedrin. There he was, beaten and spent part of the night in a cold, dark dungeon beneath the house. On Friday morning he was sent to Pontius Pilate at the Antonia Fortress on the north side of the temple mount; then he was bounced back to Herod at his palace in the city, and then back to Pilate before he was taken outside the city wall to hang on the cross from noon until 3:00 pm.

We could take in the geography of the events from the Last Supper, the kangaroo trial, the agony and eventual execution of Jesus from our vantage point on the Mount of Olives, and yet our view didn’t compare to what Jesus must have taken in from that same spot. The moment of his melting heart for Jerusalem signaled his passion and the salvific events that would unfold. Our moment at the mount was a restored heart that signaled our strong, uncontrollable emotion for acceptance – to embrace and worship the Jesus that has been drawing us all along.

May your Holy Week services and your celebration of Easter join your heart even closer to the one who conquered death and the grave, and who continues to draw all people to himself.

Celebrating the Life of Al Barr

Allan Wallace Barr was born May 21, 1944, in Dayton, Ohio to Wallace and Josie Barr. Al became a member of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) in 1963. He began his ministerial education at Ambassador College, Pasadena, California, graduating in 1970. Al met his future bride Edna Munson in 1965 in Big Sandy, TX. They were married in 1968. From this union five children were born; Joanna Elizabeth, Susanna Marie, Jonathan Allan, Leeanna Rosa, and Pamela Julianna.

Al’s first ministerial assignment was as Assistant Pastor of the St. Louis, Missouri congregation of WCG 1970-1976. The first church he served as Pastor was in Chicago, Illinois, from 1977-1984, moving then to Miami, Florida, serving as Pastor from 1984-1993. From 1993-1997 he served as pastor of the Atlanta, Georgia congregation. In 1997 Al was promoted to Regional Pastor, serving until 2006. In 2006 Al and Edna moved to New York City, where he served as Pastor to two churches in New York. He retired from pastoral ministry in 2011, when his health began to decline. He and Edna returned to Atlanta after he retired. Al returned to employment with Douglas County Public Schools as a substitute teacher in 2017 and worked with children at South Fulton Christian Center.

Al loved Jesus; he loved ministry, and he was especially passionate about youth ministry. He was an active member of the Atlanta church, serving in both the children’s and youth ministries. He was a man of deep faith, courage, strength, and determination; always willing to serve when called upon. His smile was never brighter than while watching his wife and daughters singing and praising God.

Al was preceded in death by his parents, one brother and one of his beloved daughters, Susanna Marie Barr. He leaves to cherish his memory his loving and devoted wife of 50 years, Mrs. Edna Barr, along with three daughters and one son, four grandchildren, a host of nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends and a GCI church family who loved him and will miss him dearly.

Pastor Allan Wallace Barr was a mentor to a number of current GCI pastors. His legacy of faithful service for the kingdom will have an eternal impact.

A private memorial service was held for Pastor Al Barr on Monday, March 25, 2019. Details regarding a celebration of life service will be made available after the plans are finalized.

Cards may be sent to:

Mrs. Edna Barr
782 Britt Road SW
Mableton, GA 30126

Honoring the Lives of Don & Sue Lawson

We regretfully pass on to you the death of Don Lawson. The following tribute was written by GCI National Director Mike Rasmussen.

Sue and Don Lawson
Sue and Don Lawson

It is with a heavy heart I write this tribute for one of the greatest couples I have ever known. On Friday, March 22, 2019 Don Lawson, longtime mentor, friend and servant of God, went home to be with our Lord and also with his late wife Sue. Don and Sue met, when Sue was only 15 and they have been married pretty much ever since and they rarely left one another’s side during those 60+ years.

Don and Sue had a love affair which lasted for more than six-decades and the past few years had been extremely difficult for both of them.  It was always Don’s prayer he would live long enough to hold Sue’s hand when she passed and Don managed to hang on long enough to do that very thing. He was holding Sue’s hand when she died a little over a month ago on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

Sue began to have various health issues, even though most of her internal organs were doing well. The challenge for Sue was the onset of dementia/Alzheimer’s.  It got to the point where Don had no choice, but to put Sue in a nearby Memory Care facility, which about killed him. Don would go and see Sue faithfully, even though most of the time, Sue no longer remembered who he was. Don would still spend time each day talking with Sue and holding her hand, hoping for that moment when she would remember and give him that smile, he loved so much.

Don had major health challenges as well.  He had a hip replacement surgery many years ago, but it never quite healed properly. He suffered from crippling arthritis and he also encountered liver problems, which required dialysis three times a week, each session lasting up to six-hours long. Don was also battling cancer throughout his body.

Don was born in 1936 in a small town in the Eastern part of Oklahoma.  It was a tough time, as the Dust Bowl was just coming to an end as well as the Great Depression. Don played a major part in my being in Pastoral Ministry these past 21+ years and I am sure many others can say the same thing. He was a great mentor and served in congregations across the United States for more than 40-years.

Don and Sue were deeply loved by many and they both impacted many people lives.  They will be greatly missed!