Kerry Magruder Ordination

On Sunday, February 9, we had the privilege of ordaining Dr. Kerry Magruder during our worship service at GC Surrey Hills, Oklahoma.

Dr. Magruder serves as Chair of the History of Science Collections, Associate Professor of Bibliography and as Associate Professor of the History of Science at Oklahoma University (OU) in Norman, Oklahoma. Kerry joined the faculty at Grace Communion Seminary this semester and is currently teaching our class on Trinitarian Perspectives on Faith and Science.

Kerry and his wife Candace have been a part of our congregation in Oklahoma City the past three years. We are excited to have them as part of our church and seminary families and look forward to gleaning from Kerry’s education and experience.

He deeply loves God and is especially gifted at explaining the beauty and depths of Incarnational Trinitarian theology.

Michael D. Rasmussen
Superintendent, North America & Caribbean
Regional Director, Central US

Carolyn Cooley Ordination

Carolyn Cooley was ordained as an elder and commissioned as an Assistant Pastor in Grace Communion Fayetteville (North Carolina) on Sunday, February 23, in front of a large gathering of family and friends.

Those friends included GCI pastors and members from congregations in Raleigh, Wilson, Hickory and Wilmington, North Carolina. Carolyn’s husband, Pastor Billy Cooley, led the ordination ceremony and invited all ordained elders to the stage to participate in laying on of hands and prayer. This celebration brought particular joy to acknowledge the Holy Spirit’s good nurturing work with, in and through Carolyn.

 

Anthony Mullins
GCI Regional Director, Southeast
Pastor, Grace Communion Hickory
Podcast Host, GC Podcast and Gospel Reverb

GC Cleveland Outreach

In early March, before quarantines were set in place, Grace Communion Cleveland Men’s Ministry Team went to the City of Life Mission to serve a meal. Our church purchased the ingredients and the men prepared and served the meal with the assistance of the kitchen staff. They served two groups of about 50 people. We look forward to what is next for our Cleveland, Ohio men’s group.

We are also celebrating partnering with Fairfax Elementary School in our church community to provide a meal for another shelter we support. Church members did the cooking. The teachers and staff donated $211 to provide a St. Patrick’s Day meal of corn beef, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and dessert for about 50 women and children who live in the shelter.

We are praying for our next steps and for all that is done. To God be the glory!

Tamar Gray
Pastor
Grace Communion Cleveland

GC Urdaneta Celebrates its Golden Anniversary

The following article was originally published on the GCI Philippines website. Click here to view the original article.

Like gold, Grace Communion Urdaneta has proven its malleability as it withstood challenges and embraced victories leading to the celebration of its 50th founding anniversary March 1, 2020. True to its theme “Celebrating God’s faithfulness: Past, Present, and Beyond”, our congregation in Urdaneta (Philippines) gave all the glory not on its ability to adapt nor its resilience but on God’s faithfulness to the church.

The 142 participants coming from seven congregations all over Luzon: Manila, Cabanatuan, Binmaley-Mangaldan-Lingayen, San Carlos, Curva, Santo Rosario, and Baguio, together with the host church enjoyed the bright sunshine, scenery and sun-warmed sand as they joyously commemorated the founding at PTA Beach Resort, San Fabian, Pangasinan.

The festivity started with praising the Lord through hymn singing followed by a short devotional from one of the District Directors of Northern Luzon, Pastor Adonis Caguioa, emphasizing that the Father rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferring us into the kingdom through the Son with whom we have redemption. He emphasized the continued faithfulness of the Lord in the church’s spiritual journey.

The National Director and Asia Superintendent, Dr. Eugene Guzon, delivered the message focusing on the faithfulness of our Lord who is at work in our lives and the church from the very beginning up until now as we continue to participate in his work. A short message of gratefulness was given by Grace Communion Urdaneta Senior Pastor, Dr. Napoleon Meimban, which then led to the commemoration of the Lord’s Supper.

To encourage the church and to attest to God’s faithfulness, Abraham Ortiguero, son of the late pastor Pedro Ortiguero, gave a testimony on how the church started and his journey through the transition. Antonio Beatriz, a pioneering member of GC Urdaneta and now a member of GC Pampanga, also shared his experiences when he was still with the congregation, with some anecdotes making the members laugh.

Brief meeting of pastors and pastoral team members during the anniversary.

Catching-up, fellowship, and numerous chuckles accentuated lunchtime as everyone shared a sumptuous buffet. A brief meeting of the pastoral teams of the different congregations present came about after lunch to keep everyone updated on the direction of the church. Dr. Eugene Guzon facilitated the meeting.

Baptized during the 50th church anniversary namely Richelle Condrillon and Chantal S. Bolisay of Grace Communion Cabanatuan, and Brian Torio of Grace Commmunion Binmaley.

Before diving into the nearby beach to enjoy the waves, the participants took part in a group photo to memorialize the event. And to cap the glorious occasion, three were baptized: Richelle Condrillon and Chantal S. Bolisay of Grace Communion Cabanatuan, and Brian Torio of Grace Communion Binmaley.

It was a golden moment for everyone witnessing the celebration knowing it is the Lord’s faithfulness that made the church reach 50 years and will make the church reach beyond.

By Rachelle Flores Garcia

Joy

“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. ”

2 Corinthians 8:1-3 NIV

Incomprehensible

What is joy? Is it the same as happiness? I have found that joy, such as God gives, is first of all incomprehensible. It is like a spring with an inexhaustible source, an invisible source.

Happiness often depends on our circumstances, while joy does not. It is therefore not strange to find people in the most deplorable situations still having incomprehensible joy!

An example from the Bible is Paul and Silas while they were in prison. They were found praying and singing when they had every reason to be in despair.

An example that often astounds me is that of church members in Africa. Most of them live in devastating circumstances! It is said that we (Africans) sing when we’re happy, we sing when we’re sad and we sing any other time in between! They suffer outwardly, but they have this inexplicable joy and generosity! They give whatever they have. Their joy always goes with generosity, singing and dancing.

A fruit of the Holy Spirit

This joy is also a fruit of the Spirit, as we read in Galatians. Remember the joy in your heart when you first came to Christ? The joy of the first love! Such joy can never be generated by our own wills, as attested by the scripture below:

“You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”

1 Thessalonians 1:6 NIV

Prayer

Father, thank you for the joy that comes from the Spirit. We live in a corrupt world full of suffering and pain. Carry us as we continue living in this world, and guide us as we wait on your coming to liberate us from this world of sin and death. In Jesus’ name, amen!

 

Margaret Musekwa

 

 

By Margaret Musekwa
South Africa

Living Our Mission

GCI President, Dr. Greg Williams, gives an update on Grace Communion International. He talks about our mission as a denomination and shares the three basic ideas of how we can be more intentional in living out our shared mission.

Video Transcript

Living Our Mission

The mission of Grace Communion International is still “Living and Sharing the Gospel.” Healthy Churches and Healthy Christians participate in this mission.

GCI’s belief in the Incarnational Trinitarian Theology informs us that all are included in the love and life of Jesus. The Apostle Paul told the Corinth church that when Christ died, we all died, and we cannot look at other people in a worldly way outside the spilled blood of Jesus (my paraphrase of II Corinthians 5:14-16).

This beautiful, inclusive theology fuels our mission of Living and Sharing the Gospel. So how are we doing in connecting with neighbors and co-workers who don’t look like us or embrace Christian values? I have three basic ideas of how we can be more intentional in living out our shared mission.

  1. Be interested before being interesting.

My neighbor Skip is so very good at this. Professionally, he is a chiropractor and he must’ve really paid attention the day they taught tableside manner. These doctors are told to listen to their patients like they are the only ones in the world that matter. Good advice for us.

Here are a few other questions to consider. Who is this person you are encountering? What is their story? What makes them tick? Truly listening and being interested is one of the strongest displays of love there is. Be interested before being interesting.

  1. Be genuine and engaging.

The person you are interacting with is the beloved child of God and Jesus died for him or her; being mindful of this value is a gamechanger. Realize that people can discern authenticity. Are we treating them respectfully and valuing them as a person?

Remember that sharing the gospel is not a church project; it is personal. It truly is the second great command from Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves. People know when we are real and genuine.

  1. Take a posture of hospitality and openness

Hospitality is fueled by the love of Jesus operating in you and through you. No matter the sin issue of your neighbor, the authentic love of Jesus can appease the lost soul. If you can extend love in tangible ways, maybe there is hope for a God in heaven whose motivation is love?

 

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 (NRSVA)

 

It is the unfailing love of Jesus that brings about forgiveness, restoration, and meaning for living. It is the only fuel that will drive our mission forward. May we be a church actively living and sharing the gospel, and especially in this season that we celebrate our risen Lord!

I am Greg Williams updating you about the life of the church.

 

2020 Denominational Celebration Announcement

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the postponement of the 2020 Denominational Celebration in Charlotte. We have deliberated among the Managers, sought counsel from our Superintendents, and been in constant prayer. So, in the best interest of our global family, we have determined that postponing the gathering to July 2021 is the right thing to do.

We have included a letter from Pam Morgan, Operations Coordinator, explaining the details for all who have registered and the procedures for getting your refund. We are extremely grateful to the 900 plus people who registered early and displayed enormous enthusiasm about coming together to celebrate the hope we have in our Lord Jesus. Please hold onto that enthusiasm and we will celebrate with exuberance in 2021.
To give you further input as to why we have made this hard decision, allow me to share insights from three of our Superintendents.

“The Denominational Celebration is about four months from now. In between, some countries will hit their peak of coronavirus infection while some will be at the tail end of infections and others will have just recovered. The global bell curve will cover all of us to one degree and another. What will follow, as you know, are the effects of this aftermath. There are too many uncertainties with this rapid spread of Covid-19. With the current situation, attendance for the July 2020 Denominational Celebration will be negatively affected. Therefore, calling off 2020 celebration to July 2021 has more probability for Covid-19 to have run its full course. Your hard work with Home Office managers is appreciated.” – Kalengule Kaoma, Superintendent Africa

“Today we have entered our Church fast here, and our love and prayers are with you and the Home Office, trusting He will guide you in all things. It’s just a month ago that you and Susan were in Australia, and all the members were so encouraged by your presence and your messages of love, faith and hope – the grace of Jesus. We did not realise what was ahead at that time, but more than ever before, as the normalities of life are being stripped away with the uncertainties and ever-increasing restrictions over our lives, we hold on to the assurance of where our lives are anchored, in the love, faith and hope we find in Him, the true Vine – can’t help thinking of how we are all attached across many miles, and one in spirit in Christ. Since my last update, the number of infections has almost tripled, and we see the beginnings of the spike in Australia now. Travel bans are in place indefinitely, with estimates ranging from anywhere up to 6 months for things to be cleared. It’s difficult to pin a timeframe, but we are praying for God’s intervention and our prayers are with you all, for His love, guidance and protection as we face these challenges together.” – Daphne Sidney, Superintendent Australasia

“Some years ago, we had to cancel an All-African conference on short notice due to a threat related to terrorism. Many of our delegates had saved their own money in order to buy their airline tickets and were not able to get a partial or a full refund. The estimate at the time was that maybe as much as $40,000 had been lost collectively in airfares for African delegates. I don’t know where everyone is re whether tickets are bought already or not, but, perhaps, the more notice given, the greater the likelihood of some kind of refund; or, if tickets not bought yet, then not much spent internationally so far? Just to say that since the last update, the situation in Europe has intensified, and a complete lockdown is planned in some areas for up to three months at least. This makes advance planning of any sort extremely difficult.” – James Henderson, Superintendent Europe

These accounts paint a very clear picture that the responsible decision is to postpone. In my thinking, how could this gathering be a true, impactful celebration if so many of our international brothers and sisters were unable to participate? Therefore, we will continue to plan for an amazing, inspirational denominational event with the caveat that it will take place in July 2021 and the expectation that we can meet as a collective family.

We apologize for any inconveniences this has caused you, and we appreciate your patience. Thank you for your prayers and your faithful support during this long season of challenge, and may we all continue to rest in the assurance we have in Jesus.

Greg Williams
President Grace Communion International

 

Click here for refund information

Servant Leaders Commissioned

From left to right: Rosie Cummings, Anthony M. Castro, Barbara Leatherman, Troy Roark, Walter Leatherman, and Dean Hesting

On February 23, Living Grace Fellowship in Kansas City, Missouri had the privilege of commissioning six servant leaders into ministry service in a special worship service centered around reflecting the servant leadership of Jesus.,

Anthony M. Castro, Barbara Leatherman and Troy Roark were commissioned into service as our Hope, Faith, and Love Venue Champions, respectively, along with Walter Leatherman (Youth Ministry), Dean Hesting (Men’s Ministry) and Rosie Cummings (Worship Director). Rosie began attending over a year ago as a result of our congregation’s neighborhood engagement efforts. She is very excited to answer this calling in her life.

We also took a moment to recognize our Advisory Council, bringing them before the congregation to show who they are and explain their roles. We introduced a newly appointed member of the council, Leila Ross, one of our amazing teens, who was very excited to be included in this team.

This time of celebration was followed by our annual Chili Cook-Off and fellowship meal, which showcased five delicious entries. It was won by Susie Cunningham, sister of our new Men’s Ministry leader, Dean Hesting.

GC Cleveland Outreach

Grace Communion Cleveland had a community Care Package Outreach Give-A-Way on February 23, 2020. 16 bags were distributed to a nearby apartment building for those who had made a request. Paper towels, soup, crackers, jelly, peanut butter, and more non-perishable items were delivered by our Men’s Ministry team to those who had a need.

All items were supplied by members of the church. We are excited that more people in the building have requested to be added to our list. This project was an extension of our Thanksgiving Meals outreach we had in November. We are looking forward to what is next in the community as we watch God continue to move.

Tamar Gray
Pastor
Grace Communion Cleveland