The following report is from Heber Ticas, District Pastor of Spanish speaking congregations in Southern California. It concerns the starting of a new church in Los Angeles as a satellite congregation of Comunion De Gracia, the GCI congregation that Heber pastors in San Fernando, CA.
Over the last three months God’s grace has been evident, as we have seen traction in the development of our new satellite church. God has blessed us with a dedicated leadership team that includes the Panamenos and Palacios families. Tony and Becky Panameno are talented musicians, and Enoc and Lourdes Palacios have pastoral experience. Enoc is a great preacher and Lourdes has worked with the Awana children’s ministry program for many years. These two couples have embraced our vision for kingdom expansion through church planting. They have joined with Jose Felipe Escalante and David Chicas (both from my district) in getting acquainted with my congregation and thus acquiring our “spiritual DNA.” Since our focus group in Los Angeles is similar to that of our “mother” church in San Fernando, we hope to replicate the good things that we have done in and through the mother.
Altogether, seven families have committed to the new satellite church: four recruited from outside my congregation and three from within. I have also given the green light to another three families that are attending in San Fernando, but live closer to the new satellite. Overall, we plan to launch with about 50-70 people in attendance (including six families that will be involved for only six months to help give us critical mass).
Our first preview worship service will be held on August 28 and a second one on September 25. On October 23, we plan an official launch with a grand opening service. Two small groups are already up and running in the focus group area, and are bearing fruit. A third one about 10 miles further south includes a family that already commutes to the San Fernando church. Our seven committed families are also in conversation with their unchurched friends and families living within a 15 mile radius.
We continue to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all that we do, and ask others to join us in prayer.
Camp Connections, a GCI-Canada camp, just completed its sixth year. This year the camp had two sessions, held at Providence Point, in Lanark, Ontario. Campers come from Ontario, Quebec and New York.
The camp welcomed Pastor Dennis Lawrence for a couple of days. Dennis (pictured at far right), who co-directs the camp with his wife Lynn Lawrence, was unable to attend full time due to health issues.
The camp’s creative staff invented several fun activities. One was a “clue” game where the theme was that the Ontario Camping Association was coming to do their inspection and the “Director” felt the best way to pass was to have questionable campers disappear! It was great fun. However, the most enjoyed activity was the camp chapels, featuring a wonderful worship band. Chapel messages followed the “Living Loved” curriculum developed by GCI-USA Generations Ministries. Each camp session ended with a banquet, awards ceremony and bonfire. Special recognition was made of the loss this year of one of our strongest camp supporters, John Ferlatte.
The following update concerning Marj Friddle is from her husband Jim:
Marj went in for a routine colonoscopy Monday, August 15. The doctor found a colon mass just above the appendix. This was a shock since there were no symptoms of a problem.
She was immediately hospitalized and scheduled for surgery on Tuesday. The doctor removed more than a foot of her colon plus her appendix and was well pleased with the outcome of the operation. She was in ICU until Friday night when she was moved to a room. She was placed on solid food on Sunday evening. I stayed with her most of the time she was in the hospital.
Marj was released from the hospital on Tuesday, August 23. We got the pathology report right before leaving. IT IS GOOD NEWS! The mass was definitely colon cancer and it was contained in the part of the colon which was removed. The surgeon removed 12 lymph nodes and all were clear! His recommendation is that no further treatment is needed. He also recommends another colonoscopy in one year and contact with an oncologist in case he might want to do blood work or other tests during the coming year.
We love all of you deeply and appreciate your prayers, love, concern, cards and e-mails.
Cards may be sent to:
Mrs. Marjorie Friddle 7404 Stillwater Dr Bayonet Point, FL 34667-2293
Last week I was in Ottawa, Canada, for two conferences. Pastor Bill Rabey did a super job coordinating both.
First was the International Mission Developers’ Conference, attended by 25 elders and wives from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, North and South America (see picture below). We discussed the advance of the gospel through GCI in many nations of the world.
Following that was the Canadian National Conference for pastors and elders and spouses. It was led by Canadian director Gary Moore and included presentations on Trinitarian Theology from Dr. Elmer Colyer (his presentations will eventually be placed on our website). In a church service after the conference, we ordained Fraser Henderson as an elder. It was particularly special because his parents, who had attended the Canadian conference, were present.
This issue of Weekly Update includes the following:
A very moving video that tells the story of the 87 congregations in Mozambique, Africa that have recently affiliated with us.
Information about the commissioning of a new GCI pastor in the Philippines.
The launch of a new website for GCI Church Multiplication Ministries.
We have a number of urgent prayer requests this week. First, please pray for the family and friends of Angelica Recendiz. Her son Hector Espinoza, who committed his life to Christ at our Southern California camp, was killed a few days ago in a gang-related shooting (click here for details). Please also pray for the friends and family of Fred Bailey, one of our retired pastors. I was saddened to learn of his death (click here for details). And please pray for Marj Friddle, wife of retired pastor Jim Friddle. Marj entered the hospital this week to be treated for colon cancer (click here for details). Also click here for a corrected address for Jana (Kissee) Jones (we’re praying for her healing from thyroid cancer).
You’ll note in some of the posts that comments appear from Weekly Update readers. You may comment on any of the posts by using the “ADD A COMMENT” feature below each one. Comments are posted at the discretion of the moderator. To comment on my cover letter, click on the letter heading at the top of the page. That will take you to the Weekly Update blog, where comments may be posted.
Let us join in prayer with those who grieve and suffer, as well as with those who rejoice. And let us pray for God’s direction and power in all aspects of the gospel work to which we are called. Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith.
Love from my family to yours,
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Randy Bloom, director of GCI Church Multiplication Ministries (CMM) announced last week the launching of CMM’s new website. The web address is the same as the old CMM website: http://cmm.gci.org/.
The new site provides a wide array of resources useful to church planters and to congregations and church districts that want to actively support the starting of new GCI churches. Many of the resources posted on the site are also useful in ministries within established churches. Check it out!
Retired GCI pastor, C. Fred Bailey, died at age 70 on August 3 at his home in Southaven, MS. The cause of death was apparently heart failure.
Fred was born on July 26, 1941. He graduated from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA in 1973. Upon graduation, he married Diane Yoho. They entered the field ministry as a trainee couple in June of that year, serving in the Oakland and San Francisco, CA churches. In 1974 they transferred to Nashville, TN. They served their first full pastorate in Evansville, IN. They also pastored in Springfield, MO and Richmond, VA. Fred retired in 2004. Fred’s wife, Diane, preceded him in death in 2006. Fred and Diane ministered capably and faithfully in all the church areas where they served. They were respected and loved by all who knew them.
Marj Friddle, wife of GCI retired pastor Jim Friddle, had surgery this week to treat colon cancer. Her doctor told her that the cancer in her colon is apparently related to the breast cancer she battled in 2001. Please pray for Marj’s healing and for encouragement for Jim and the rest of the family. Cards and notes can be sent to:
Marj Friddle 7404 Stillwater Dr Bayonet Point, FL 34667-2293
Higher Ground, the GCI Generations Ministries camp in Swannanoa, NC just celebrated its 10th anniversary with a camp session that included 145 campers and 70 staff. The camp theme was “Oasis”, with chapel messages focused on how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are an Oasis of Love, Family, Friendship, Life, Light and Safety. The emphasis was on God’s love and purpose for all humanity, and how we first Belong, then Believe, and then Become. Here are a few quotes from participants:
“This was, by far, the greatest week of the year. I’m going to be telling Higher Ground stories for years to come!”
“From the first chapel, I knew this was going to be different. The message was clear and carried throughout the whole week – God loves you…NO MATTER WHAT!”
There were several memorable activities this year. One was a camp-side game of capture the flag. Another, involving the boys, was to watch Pastor Bill Winn working a forge – pounding red-hot metal into the shape of a sword. Sparks flew and burned brightly against the dark night as the boys remained completely silent. As the flames died down and the steel cooled, Pastor Bill recounted what the Holy Spirit did in shaping Jesus “blow by blow” during his earthly life and ministry. He then told them of a similar work the Spirit is now doing in their lives – shaping them into the fullness of what God has made them to be in Christ.
Enrollment for Higher Ground in 2012 is already full, though a waiting list is being kept.