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We are delighted to report two recent elder ordinations and a pastor commissioning.

  • Gary Glenister of the South Wales (UK) congregation and Nestor Guspodarchuk of the Winnepeg (Canada) congregation were recently ordained as elders.
  • Lynn Lawrence

    With the unanimous support of the elders and other congregational leaders, Lynn Lawrence was commissioned as the new pastor of the Montreal (Canada) English-speaking congregation. Since Lynn’s husband Dennis retired due to disability, Lynn has worked closely with District Superintendent Bill Rabey and the congregation’s elders in doing the bulk of the pastoral work.


Birth of Ethan Mills

Kathy Miller with her new grandchild Ethan

Bill and Kathy Miller are happy to announce the arrival of their first grandchild, Ethan Benjamin Mills, born on October 30 to Jamin and Elizabeth (Miller) Mills. All are happy and doing well.

Bill is the senior pastor of Christian Family Fellowship, the GCI congregation that meets in Kenmore, WA.




Wichita 50th anniversary

GCI’s Wichita, Kansas congregation is planning its 50th anniversary to be held on December 4, 2011 at their regular meeting place – Youth Horizons, 1601 East Douglas, Wichita, KS. The celebration will begin with a worship service at 10:30 a.m., followed by a very nice meal with special presentations. There is no cost for attending. For information, contact Ross or Rhonda Hays:

  • Mail: 14613 SW 180th St, Rose Hill, KS 67133
  • Telephone: (316) 776-0484
  • Email: r2s2@prodigy.net


Legal briefing: involvement by churches in political activity

This briefing from the Legal Department concerns how the denomination or local churches may or may not legally become involved in political or election activities.

Although the 2012 presidential elections are more than a year away, the media is currently abuzz with talk about the various potential candidates and the primaries for the major parties, which are only a few months from starting. In every election season, this one included, the IRS issues guidelines and cautions for churches about what is permissible and impermissible in regard to political involvement (mostly impermissible!). Often, other groups, including in previous years the National Association of Evangelicals, issue long, detailed reports explaining where the legal “line” is separating the permissible from the impermissible. It is important for churches to avoid any impermissible political involvement, since violating the law in this area can bring serious penalties upon a church, including the complete loss of its tax-exempt status.

Although the law regarding involvement of churches in political matters forbids most such activities, some very few political expressions or actions are allowed, under narrow circumstances. However, notwithstanding any narrow or slight activities that might be allowed under the law, it is the policy of the denomination that its local churches are not to engage in any political activities or statements whatsoever. This policy is based on two over arching principles:

1) The law is complicated and even lawyers can and do argue about how it might apply in any given case, which means staying completely out of the political field is the only safe course.

2) The Denomination simply does not believe that local pastors or church leaders should be trying to influence local members or the community at large about whom they should support or what political view or position they should take.

In light of this strict “nonpolitical activity” policy, pastors and church leaders should refrain from all such activities, including refraining from statements in sermons suggesting one political party is better, more Christian, more in line with the Bible, etc. than the other. Neither should any leader praise or condemn either party, any candidate, or any current office holder, including the current president, for things done, said, or not done or unsaid. While it is plain that some issues that face our society are issues about which Christians care, no one in the congregation should feel that he or she is being pushed or pulled by the Church or its leaders to support or vote for or against any party or candidate. Indeed, the congregation should not really be able to discern the pastor or other church leader’s political positions from their public statements. Their public statements should not include political content at all.

In short, our sermons, teachings and community involvement projects should be strictly about the gospel and not about politics. To be clear, our policy is not to be “politically neutral.” Our policy is, instead, to be “apolitical,” meaning “without politics” at all. It can be helpful for our pastors and leaders to state this policy of being “without politics” and “without political content” to the congregation from time to time so that our members understand our policy. If members wish to be politically active in some way, they are of course free to pursue such activities on their own or through affiliations with political groups, but not through the denomination or its local churches. We do not forbid political activism, per se. We only forbid political activism sponsored and endorsed by the church.

It is not always easy for a pastor to clearly separate his “personal” life from his “professional” life. The two are almost inextricably intertwined in a listener’s mind. For this reason, even in a situation where views about a political candidate or position might accidentally or inadvertently come up, church leaders should make it absolutely clear that their political thoughts are personal to them and are not in any way an official representation of the denomination. It should be understood that it would be a violation of the church leader’s responsibilities to the congregation and the denomination, not to mention a violation of the laws protecting churches from the government and protecting the government from churches to deliberately endorse or promote a particular candidate or issue from the pulpit or in any other way in their official capacity as a representative of the church.

Crossing Borders, shoebox outreach

Crossing Borders of GCI Generations Ministries is a mission outreach that travels to Mexico twice each year: for a week in the summer for a variety of mission activities, and for a weekend in the winter to deliver shoeboxes packed with gifts for children.

There is much instability in Mexico right now, making it difficult for the majority of the people to live normal lives, providing for their families in peace. In these trying conditions, it is important that the love of Jesus continue to be spoken and demonstrated. One way to do so is through the Crossing Borders shoebox outreach.

Now is a good time to consider involving your church, school club, women’s group, community service club, youth group, neighbors, friends and family to collect items, pack them into shoeboxes, and let Crossing Borders hand-deliver them to children and families in Mexico. The trip will take place December 9-11, so we need to receive your shoeboxes before then.

For details about what to put in the boxes and how to pack them, go to http://www.cbmission.org/ and click on the Shoebox Ministry tab.

P.S. The trip into Mexico to deliver the shoeboxes is open to anyone. It’s a great opportunity to get a taste of cross-cultural mission work. If you have questions, email info@cbmission.org or call Lee Berger at 903-746-4463.

58: The Film

NAE (The National Association of Evangelicals) has announced the October premier of the film 58:. It’s an inspiring story of how the global church is joining together to end extreme poverty in the world by 2035.

NAE is partnering with 58: to provide complimentary DVD screening kits for churches and organizations. You can learn more, and watch the film trailer at http://www.live58.org/thefilm/.