Death of Neil Earle

Karl McNeil “Neil” Earle, beloved husband of Susan (married 49 years), died of heart failure at age 74 on December 23. He was born on February 25, 1947, in Carbonear, Newfoundland, Canada. He is also survived by his brother-in-law Tim Welch, his twin sisters Lydia Ash and Lynda O’Grady, brother-in-law Chris O’Grady, nieces, nephews, and many friends.

He held an M.A. in History from the University of Toronto and an M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Neil was a retired Church Pastor serving for 44 years in congregations across Canada and in Southern California for Grace Communion International. Members would state that he had the talent and ability to bring the teachings embedded in the Bible to our lived experiences.

For the past 12 years he taught Church History courses on-line for Grace Communion Seminary. He was recognized by all who knew him as a truly gifted, creative and innovative instructor. His students benefitted from his teaching style and thought-provoking approach.

Neil enjoyed reading widely and writing. He wrote several books and hundreds of articles for international magazines, newspapers and websites. He was an active participant in local book clubs and the Memphis C.S. Lewis Society.

Finally and most importantly Neil loved his God. His earnest desire was to reach out to the wounded and hurting, demonstrated in a practical way by participating in numerous 5K charity walks. He saw each person as a child of God.

Neil fought the good fight, kept the faith and henceforth there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness.

 

Cards may be sent to:

Mrs. Susan Earle
8774 Craddle Hill Cv
Arlington, TN 38002-4933

Welcome to the World Henry Morgan Zeng

Mat and Pam Morgan are excited to announce the birth of their first grandchild – Henry Morgan Zeng, born on October 26th weighing in at 8 pounds 3.4 ounces and 20 ½ inches long.

Mommy and Daddy (Jessica and Johnny Zeng) are over the moon. As you can see from the photo Henry is very happy and healthy modeling GCI’s Hope Swag.

Charles Taylor 30th Pastoral Anniversary

Charles and Keysha Taylor

Brothers and Sisters,

Grace Communion Miramar (FL) celebrated Pastor Charles Taylor for his 30 years of devoted pastoral ministry over the weekend. What an accomplishment worthy of honor! That kind of longevity in pastoral ministry is due to the unflinching grace and faithfulness of our Triune God. As Charles would be the first to declare, all glory to God!

Charles, thank you for your devotion of love and service to God’s beloved children in your care. There is something praiseworthy for staying the course. We salute you and give thanks to our loving Father for you.

The congregation crafted this brief but beautiful video tribute to Charles and family: 30 Years of Ministry

Whatever you do, picture Christ in the person you are doing it for; it makes such a difference when you put your heart into it. Colossians 3:24 (The Mirror Bible)

 

Anthony Mullins headshot

Anthony Mullins
Regional Director – US Southeast

GC Cleveland Celebrates New Church Home

Coventry Peace Campus is a well-known hub of activity in the community of Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

The space hosted an open house for the artists who occupy the building. Our church sponsored the jazz trio to entertain visitors as they traveled through the building. We opened our church door for visitors and we walked around, met artists, had conversations with community members, and introduced ourselves.

We are now working with the social worker of one of our middle schools and have been able to give Ten Thanksgiving gift cards to families in need of food assistance. We attached a card to let them know Jesus sees and loves them. Our Love Champion Pat Shiels toured the school and was able to see firsthand where our prayers and assistance are needed.

We are in person and on zoom learning to navigate the new technology and stay connected. We are watching and participating as the Lord expands our reach and our witness!

 

Tamar Gray

 

Tamar Gray
Pastor, Grace Communion Cleveland

2021 Celebrations

In 2021, we had many celebrations and successes that we are grateful for here at GCI Home Office. Here are a few of them:

  1. Faith Forward – We praise God for the community-building and disciple-making that has come about through a greater focus on the Faith Avenue this year. The connect groups that have formed as a result of our Faith Forward focus are actively building relationships and growing deeper in the Spirit together.
  2. Denominational Celebration – The time spent together virtually connecting with church members across the globe and spending intentional time to fellowship and share stores of Healthy Church through the Denominational Celebration was a huge praise report for us all.
  3. Healthy Church Challenges – This year we coordinated more contests and challenges than ever and were rewarded with the gift of many amazing submissions and responses from youth around the world. Connecting with GCI young members through our creative challenges has been a joy.
  4. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – We look forward to deeper understanding, reconciliation and place-sharing, and are grateful for the members of our Council of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion who graciously accepted a place in the council.
  5. Equipping New Leaders – This year many strides have been made toward equipping new leaders. From the new GCS Master of Divinity and Diplomas for Avenue Champions, to the shifting of board members, jobs created within our staff, and the whole process of planning and building MTCs, we praise God for those who have led the way and made space as well as those who have accepted the call to leadership and continue to pursue their calling.

How is your church celebrating the work of the father, son and spirit in 2021? Comment below so we can celebrate with you.

2021 Year in Review

As we look back on 2021, we celebrate the ways Father, Son, and Spirit moved in and among us. Together we moved forward developing and building healthy Faith Avenues. We celebrate the ways our fellowship grew in our walk with Jesus, as well as with one another. Below are the resources and praise reports that were accessed the most this year. Check them out if you missed them, or would like a review:

  1. Denominational Celebration Videos Available Now! – GCI Update – Check out our Main Sessions with stories of hope, revealing how the Spirit is moving in our fellowship, workshops for the Hope Avenue, and worship services with members from across generations and around the globe.
  2. Transitions in Leadership – GCI Update – Features the historic leadership transitions of our GCI Board and leadership with GCS.
  3. Avenue Resources | Grace Communion International Resources (gci.org) – Our digital toolbox with resources specific to each Avenue.
  4. Faith Forward – GCI Equipper – Equipper article setting our theme for 2021.
  5. The Role of the Faith Avenue Champion w/ David Borum | Grace Communion International Resources (gci.org) – GC Podcast episode discussing the role of the Faith Avenue Champion.
  6. The National Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – GCI Update – An article introducing the members of our DEI council in the US.
  7. We Are GCI: Michelle Fleming – GCI Update – An interview discussing the purpose for GCI Media content, and an overview of the theme Faith Forward and resources that were be rolled out in 2021.
  8. GCI Buzz: The 3 Ministry Avenues – GCI Update – a new tool where we recap GCI buzzwords and terminology. This month’s GCI Buzz explains the 3 GCI Ministry Avenues: Love, Hope, and Faith.
  9. Church Hack: Stages of Faith Discipleship – GCI Equipper – This Church Hack outlines the stages of faith and can be a helpful tool in identifying the challenges and beliefs about God that members of your connect group are working through.
  10. On Being | Grace Communion International Resources (gci.org) – An interactive connect group curriculum, designed for biblically-based, dynamic discussions around being a disciple.

 

GCI Healthy Church Challenge Winners

The votes have been counted and our winners of the Healthy Church Challenge are here! Congratulations and thank you to all who sent in submissions and supported our GCI youth through the voting process. Please click the names below the video for links to the winning submissions.

1st Place:
Daniel – Ghana (15-17)
Makayla, Ziva and youth – Ghana (11-14)
Margaret and Zayne – Fiji (8-10)

2nd Place:
Noelle and Ignite Youth – Columbus, OH (15-17)
Alexandra, Helena and Tracy – Kenockee, MI (11-14)
Jeremine, Naa and Ethan – Ghana (8-10)

3rd Place:
Sam and Lily – Mooroolbark, VIC, Australia (11-14)
Mogau – Polokwane, SA (8-10)

GCI Latin America Leadership Meetings

Healthy Pastors = Healthy Churches

From November 12 to 14, a meeting of Latin American and Spanish speaking USA churches’ pastors was held in Mexico City.

The meeting was led by Heber Ticas, Superintendent for Latin America and the Spanish-speaking churches in USA.

Pastors appreciated the fact that the focus of the meeting was on the healthy pastor. Hawthorne, CA, Pastor Manuel Ochoa did an excellent job setting the scene for the weekend. He shared some aspects of his 45-year experience as a pastor: from going through theological changes, broken relationships, discouragement and fear, and durability in ministry. This exposed the need for pastoral care and at the same time gave a sense of unity and empathy and marked the common denominator of what pastoral ministry is. We need to pay more attention to the individual needs of pastors! The union that we achieved will help us make the journey and not feel isolated.

Heber Ticas provided training on some of the GCI Tool Kit and together with his wife, Xochilt, shared some talks about pastoral and family health.

One of the highlights of the meeting was that we were able to advance the vision of Healthy Churches. Hector and Paulina Barrero showed visuals of what the structure of the three avenues looks like in the church of Bogotá, Colombia, which helped us to see how to move the structure from theory to practice.

We also had a sample of how this Team-based-Pastor-Led model is working in the Mexico City congregation. The champions of the Avenue of Hope, Yessi and Gustavo, showed us photographs of what the services and the loving atmosphere look like. These counts were very motivating for the pastors of the rest of the focus churches.

Heber and the regional directors, Héctor Barrero (Central and South America) and Luis Soto (Mexico) spoke about the fact that we share the same history, we have theological and ecclesiastical unity.

We also managed to advance our vision forward. This has to be our main focus for a better future. In Heber Ticas´words, “The Lord has given us vision and we in the power of the Spirit need to develop strategies, and the Lord will give us growth. If we walk together, the rest of the church will walk together.”

It was a great blessing to have this time to get to know each other, have some social activities, learn and pray together. At the end, we shared Communion.

In Christ,
Selena Venegas, Elder, Guadalajara, Mexico

 

Who Attended the Event?

  1. Heber and Xóchilt Ticas, Los Ángeles, California
  2. José Luis and Esperanza Escalante, and Manuel Ochoa, Hawthorne, California
  3. Enoc and Lourdes Palacios, Los Ángeles, California
  4. Carlos and Margarita Duarte, California
  5. Gildardo and Karina de la Rosa, California
  6. Mario y Marina Saenz, Monterrey, México
  7. Rigoberto and Esthela Pantoja,Tamaulipas, México
  8. Silvano and Martha Rojas, Tlaxcala, México
  9. José Luis and Reginalda Seba, Tlaxcala, México
  10. Natanael and Valery Cruz, and Rosario Cervantes, México City
  11. Héctor and Paulina Barrero, Bogotá Colombia
  12. Ruth Nieves, Piura, Perú
  13. Joel and Dania Alemán, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
  14. Sonia and Luis Vengoechea, Barranquilla, Colombia

What does healthy church and leadership look like in their specific congregations?

“A healthy church is one that sets its eyes on Jesus as its Lord and joins the work that he is already doing on earth and shares the good news of him by embracing others and leading them to him through service so that we can walk together with faith, hope and love. -Ruth Nieves, Piura, Perú

“A healthy church is one that is growing in knowledge, in numbers, but above all in grace and love internally and externally. It is being equipped and prepared for the future, as we await an eternal inheritance. He who began the work in us will continue to perfect it every day until the end of the world.”–Silvano and Martha Rojas, Tlaxcala, México

“The healthy church celebrates its salvation, grows in the knowledge of Christ and shares its faith guided by the Holy Spirit.”-Héctor and Paulina Barrero, Bogotá, Colombia

“The healthy church is fearless, it is focused on Jesus Christ, and loves its neighbor.”-Rigoberto and Esthela Pantoja, Tamaulipas, México

“The healthy church is organized and has a sound doctrine. In addition, it is focused on Jesus Christ and worship. Its members are loving and make the visitor feel at home. The church spreads the gospel.”-Xóchilt Ticas, Los Ángeles, California

“The healthy church is one in Christ and embraces the structure of the avenues of love, faith, and hope led by people who in turn lead others in various ministries for building the body of Christ and sharing the gospel with others.” -Mario Saenz, Monterrey, México

“The healthy church is having a vision. It is to live the avenues with commitment and satisfaction for the improvement of the work.”-José Luis and Regina Seba, Tlaxcala, México

2021 U.S. Planning Meetings

Hello Brothers and Sisters,

Even during COVID, it’s important we continue to seek God for his direction and continue to plan and strategize as we see the Holy Spirit leading. We cannot pause and wait for COVID to die completely to be about the Father’s business. Jesus hasn’t stopped his ministry of leading and loving, and neither should we. We may need to think outside our old ways of doing things and remain flexible, but we need to keep moving forward as best we can.

In November, leaders from across the nation gathered in Oklahoma City, OK, for our 2021 U.S. Planning Meetings. Those attending included Greg Williams (President), Mathew Morgan (Chief Financial Officer), Pam Morgan (Operations Coordinator), Michelle Fleming (Media Director), Cara Garrity (Development Coordinator), Dishon Mills (GenMin Director and pastor), Jeff Broadnax (East Regional Director), Anthony Mullins (Southeast Regional Director), Rick Shallenberger (North Central Regional Director, Tim Sitterley (West Regional Director and myself (North America and Caribbean Superintendent).

We gathered to pray and evaluate how things have been progressing within the United States and how we can be more effective in casting GCI’s vision and strategies of Team Based/Pastor Led, Love Faith and Hope Avenues, etc. We discussed how we can come alongside our dedicated pastors and fellowship group facilitators to provide the high support and high challenge as well as the tools to make their jobs as easy and clear as possible. Discussions included events for 2022, including Love Avenue training and tools, a development and resource catalog for GCI leaders, 2023 Denominational Celebration, and what our congregations will look like in the future as “hybrid” congregations who not only host face-to-face worship services, but also live digital worship services for their online members.

We discussed how we can better love and disciple our online members beyond just providing a weekly online service. Many of these challenges will take more than a couple days of meetings, and we don’t have all the answers, but we are confident the Holy Spirit knows exactly how we can best “be his church” in the months and years to come. If we keep our hearts and minds open to his lead, we will find his way forward. God is very faithful!

As part of being the church we took one afternoon to do some physical work in the Ministry Training Center in Surrey Hills. We swept floors, helped install new lights and picked up trash around the property. This is something that the constructions company pays someone to do each week. By pitching in and doing these things we saved money that can be put to use in better ways in the new building. We all got a bit dirty but we were so glad to be able to participate in what is happening in the build.

I want to thank all who gathered for these meetings, but I also want to thank all our pastors and fellowship group facilitators who have been faithful for many years and even decades for being flexible and creative in how to be the church during this pandemic and as we move forward.

I love and appreciate you all!

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