Update from South Africa

Here is a report from GCI-Canada National Director Gary Moore concerning his recent trip to South Africa.

Wendy and I joined with Tim Maguire (GCI’s National Director for South Africa and Missions Director for Southern Africa). We presented two day-long leadership training seminars, one in the Johannesburg area and the other in the Cape Town area. We were pleased to see the continued maturity and growth in the leaders and other members. People are processing the core concepts of Trinitarian theology well and are feeling a renewed excitement in sharing the gospel from the perspective that God loves all people and that all indeed are included. They have their challenges, including lingering effects of the global recession. However, they are tackling life’s challenges with strong confidence in our Triune God’s faithfulness.

After the trip to Cape Town, we visited a church plant in the community of Westlake. The Cape Town South GCI congregation is parenting this plant in an area with significant numbers of immigrants from other parts of Africa. It is inspiring to see this initiatives.

We were also inspired to hear about Tim’s recent trips to Mozambique. He is working there with 87 churches (with a combined attendance of about 4,000) that have now joined GCI. This development testifies that we are indeed participating where God is already at work!

A combined worship service in Johannesburg with 154 in attendance:







Participants in the leadership seminar in Cape Town:

New Hope baptism service

The Sunday worship service on July 24 at New Hope Christian Fellowship (the GCI congregation in Eagle Rock, CA), was particularly joyful. Six youth and one adult were baptized! Each newly baptized person was given a baptism certificate and a white towel with the New Hope logo and the word Servant in gold lettering. The towel is a reminder that Jesus took a towel and served his disciples by washing their feet.

New Hope pastor Glen Weber and youth leader Mat Morgan baptize James Moody:









James Moody baptizes his son D’Andre:













Pastor Glen Weber (far right) stands with newly baptized members (left to right): Ttendo Williams, James Moody, D’Andre Moody, Collin Ledbetter, Stephen Hamme, Sara Garcia, Trey Carlisle, Nicolette Galvez and Angelica Galvez (Nicolette and Angelica were baptized a few weeks previously). Fourteen youth have been baptized at New Hope over the last twelve months.








In attendance to witness Sara Garcia’s baptism were five generations of her family (all have been baptized through GCI/WCG); left to right: Teresa Cruz, Nickie Vargas, Christina Garcia, Isaiah Romero, April Galvez and Nicolette Galvez.










Outreach & Church-Next Training

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As you will see from the reports in this issue of the Weekly Update, summer is a busy time for our churches and denominational ministries. Many churches are involved in community outreach, camps and mission trips. This summer the denomination is hosting training conferences around the globe. In all these activities, we seek to participate with Jesus in the ministry that he is doing in the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill the Father’s mission to the world.

Our denominational training programs help equip our members for ministry with Jesus. As an example, note the announcement in this issue concerning Church-Next Training. This event, being held in October in Glendora, CA, equips prospective church planters, church planting teams and pastors who wish to re-plant an existing church. I’ll be one of the presenters, along with Dan Rogers, Randy Bloom and others. Be sure to let Randy know right away if you are planning to attend.

Please pray for one another, for our congregations and for GCI events like our camps, mission trips and training conferences. Always remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith.

Love from my family to yours,

Joseph Tkach

Printing Weekly Update

Some Weekly Update readers wish to print out hard copies of all or part of each issue to give to others. Here’s how:

1. Go to the online version of the Weekly Update at https://update.gci.org and print from there.

2. To print just the text from the “From the President” cover letter, click on the title of the letter (below the “From the President” banner). This will take you to a webpage with just the President’s letter displayed. Print it from there.

3. All other articles in the update are viewed from the website and may be printed from there as well.

GenMin camps and missions

Great Commission Trips: Bahamas, Zambia and Malawi

Click here for a report on the work of our young GCI missionaries who recently returned from a short-term mission trip to the Bahamas. And click here for the details about another group of missionaries heading out soon to Zambia and Malawi.

Pathways camp

GenMin’s Pathways camp was held in the beautiful hills of Jackson, OH during the week of July 17- 22. Participants included 134 campers and 65 staffers. Chapel presenters were Jeff Broadnax, Mike Greider, Jason Frantz and Ben Zacharias. “Living Loved” messages were illustrated with several dramas.

Though the weather was exceptionally hot, the camp was blessed with a new addition this year – air conditioning in the “chapelteria.” And the swimming pool was well used along with the climbing wall and obstacle course. A camp highlight was a concert from Christian singer Ayiesha Woods. It was learned that her grandfather attends a GCI congregation in Bermuda.

A key focus, as in past years, was an outreach event. It was coordinated this year by Pathways staffer Carrie Smith who worked with the Jackson County Family Services Division to host 27 kids age 8-14 for a few hours at camp one day. The kids enjoyed a block party with lots of games and swimming. The love they received from the Pathways campers and staff was wonderful to behold! Lots of fun, fellowship and laughter.





Hazel Roberts ordained

GCI member Hazel Roberts was recently ordained Minister of Congregational Care at Christ Presbyterian Church (CPC) in San Leandro, CA.

Hazel’s husband, Jim, pastors One in Christ Community Church (CCC), the GCI congregation in San Leandro. CCC rents space from CPC, where Hazel has worked for twelve years as parish administrator. Among other duties, Hazel manages the use of CPC’s facilities by seven churches (including CCC), a day care center and several Boy Scout troops.

On June 5, Hazel and Jim attended a special CPC service in honor of their pastor (Hazel’s boss), who was retiring. Near the end of the service, Hazel was called forward with the announcement that she was being ordained! This was a surprise to her, and on her way up, she exclaimed, “But I’m not even a Presbyterian!” CPC’s pastor replied, “We decided not to hold that against you!” The whole congregation came forward to lay hands on Hazel. She was given an ordination certificate, a stole to wear around her neck, and a gold and silver cross necklace. The next Sunday (Pentecost), Jim was scheduled to preach at CPC and CCC. Unfortunately, he woke up ill and so Hazel, newly ordained, filled in – helping both congregations celebrate this special day that speaks to Christian unity.


Tribute to John Stott

John Stott, one of the most significant Christian leaders of the 20th century, died at age 90 on July 27.

Time Magazine named Stott alongside Nelson Mandela and Bill Gates as one of the “most influential people” of 2005. He was once described by Billy Graham as the “most respected clergyman in the world today”. Stott’s leadership of the evangelical movement helped move it from a rather narrow-minded fundamentalism after the Second World War, to the fastest growing section of global Christianity it is today.

For a memorial tribute to Stott’s life and ministry, click here.

Manhattan church outreach

Nearly 200 people from the West Harlem community of New York City joined GCI’s Manhattan Community Church (MCC) for an Independence Day celebration on Saturday, July 2. With the theme “Freedom in Christ,” MCC members served free hot dogs, hamburgers, and bottled water outside on a beautiful day in the city. Children of the community joined with the congregation in arts and crafts, and guests were invited to take free books. During the worship service that day, members of the community joined the congregation in a discussion of where Jesus is working in Harlem and what true freedom really means with Christ. This outreach was part of the congregation’s summer initiative to bring the Church to the Streets by building lasting relationships in the community.

July 27, 2011


From the President

New Weekly Update format, completion of annual external audit

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic death of Wong Tian Yu, son of our Malaysian national leader, Wong Mein Kong and his wife Chew Yeng. Mein Kong wrote on Friday, July 23:

I am writing this through the pain, grief and numbness from news that my son Tian Yu died this evening, July 22, in a plane crash while flying one of his students in Philippines. They are still searching for his body in the crash.

I will be flying to Manila tomorrow to meet up with my wife, Chew Yeng, and our daughter, Xiao Qing. They happened to be in Manila for Qing’s business trip this past week. Last Saturday, when Yeng arrived in Clark airport Tian was there to meet her. He took her on a flight Sunday morning and later accompanied her to Manila so she could stay with Qing. Yesterday (Thursday), Tian came to visit them in the hotel in Manila and stayed till this morning when he went back to his flight school to work. Then this evening the school called the hotel with the tragic news.

Please pray the Lord will give our family the strength as we go through this trying period.

Thank you for your love and concern and prayers.

Eugene Guzon wrote a beautiful tribute to Tian Yu for the GCI-Philippines website. Click here for his tribute. I hope you will take a moment to read it. Please join us in praying for the Wong family.

New Weekly Update format

This week we’ve launched our completely redesigned Weekly Update. Over the past year, our IT department has worked with the President’s Office and Church Administration to bring the Weekly Update into a cleaner, warmer and we certainly hope a more useful format.

Each new edition of the Update will include a cover message from me and have links along the left column to news from around the world, announcements, questions and answers, information from Church Administration and Development, prayer requests and updates, and other features. To read any of these, you can simply click on the links that interest you. In this way, the Weekly Update is designed to serve as a “one stop shop” for accessing GCI information and resources. We hope you find this helpful.

Besides being easier to read and providing an easy way to find information you need or are interested in, the new design will also reduce the number of email formatting problems many pastors have experienced with the Update. We will also be able to include more information and pictures in the Update without burdening those with slower Internet connections.

The Weekly Update is emailed each week to all U.S. Pastors and the International Mission Directors. It is then posted online atupdate.gci.org where anyone can read it.

If you have a need to share the Update with others, you can give them the link above, or forward your email copy to them. You can also print out the pages you want to give others. With the new format you can print only one page at a time, so you only need to print the ones you need.

We’d love to hear what’s happening in your church! If you’d like to submit material for publication in the Update, just email it to WeeklyUpdate@gci.org.

Annual external audit complete

I am pleased to report that the Grace Communion International annual external audit for 2009-2010 is complete, and that we received a clean report. Capin Crouse, a national auditing firm specializing in audits for non-profit organizations, has been the Church’s auditor since 2007. We are pleased to have them as a financial accountability partner as we strive to be good stewards of the funds we are blessed to receive in support of the gospel. The audit report is available to all members in good standing upon written request to the Treasurer’s Office at P.O. Box 5005, Glendora, CA 91740.

Remember that prayer is the battleground where we fight the good fight of faith.

Love from my family to yours,

Joseph Tkach

To send articles and photos, write to WeeklyUpdate@gci.org

Death of Jack R. Elliott

Jack R. Elliott died peacefully Sunday evening, July 24, with his wife Anne and his family at his side.

Mr. Elliott was a long-time employee of Ambassador College where he served in a number of capacities including Dean of Students and Facilities Director. He helped Herbert Armstrong develop the campus in Pasadena, CA. and founded Ambassador Club (and Spokesman’s Club), patterned after Toastmaster’s International.

After retirement, Mr. Elliott moved to Texas, where he served as an elder in the United Church of God. A memorial service was held on July 27 at the United Church of God hall in Big Sandy, Texas.