Baptisms in GCI Netherlands

God is working among our Grace Communion congregations.

In the midst of Covid-19, our services by Zoom have attracted some 14 new people to our churches – families with children to one GCI church, and one family to our African church in Friesland.

In the meantime, we have resumed physical meetings, while still incorporating Zoom as an option every Sunday.

The joyous news is also that we had one baptism in July and three in August last week!

For our GCI congregation De Hoeksteen in Tiel (The Netherlands), this pandemic has been a time of spiritual growth. Four people were baptized in July and August 2020:

Three in a river, and one in an inflatable bath. The 4 baptized are Gratia Hopman, Monique van der Slikke and the couple David and Berdien Keulen. The ceremonies were performed by pastor couple Hans and Denise de Moei.

So God added four precious people to his kingdom! We are very thankful and praise him for this encouraging growth. We rejoice God is adding to his kingdom!

Warm regards and blessings,

Frans Danenberg
Grace Communion International Nederland en Vlaanderen

 

Baptisms in GCI Philippines

Eleven members of GC Oriental Mindoro were baptized by Pastor Bernardo “Narding” Cuizon on July 26, 2020.

The newly baptized members are: Ipan Lay-ayan, Ita Gay-ayan, Alyas Salayaw, Adones Gay-ayan, Leony Lin-iman, Asonn Gay-atan, Sima Gay-ayan, Dimi Ipoy, Yumis Lin-iman, Lalyn Yumyan, and Idong Amay.

After the baptism, with proper social distancing, the members gathered in GC Bansud service hall each to receive a sack of rice donated by Pastor Ric Sayo, Pastor Ronald Hernandez, and Pastor Pol Makahiya. The worship service ended with the blessing of the children by Pastor Narding.
Let us all welcome our new siblings in the fellowship!
“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”- Luke 15:7 (ESV)
Gemma Venus
Pastor, GCI Manila South

Requesting Prayers for Frank Espinoza

Long time GCI Elder Frank Espinoza has been diagnosed with cancer and we are requesting prayer. Frank has served the church for many years – as an employee in Pasadena and also in the Spanish-speaking area. Now serving in San Diego as an elder at Cornerstone Community Church (Lemon Grove) – a congregation of GCI. Frank’s wife Carmen also has severe health issues.

Frank was diagnosed on September 2 with stage 4 liver cancer that has spread into his lungs. He was in the hospital for only a few days and is now in a hospice house. He is receiving palliative care to deal with the pain, especially as it progresses. His wife, Carmen, has been battling Parkinson’s disease for some time and is almost bedridden at home. The family is working to make it possible for Carmen to move to the same facility where Frank is so that they can be together. Please pray for them both and also for their family as they take care of them during this difficult time.

Cards of encouragement can be sent to:

3591 Ruffin Rd Unit 127,
San Diego, CA 92123

 

Blessings,

Mark Stapleton, Pastor
Cornerstone Community Church
San Diego, California

GCIgnite 2020

Screenshot of GCIgnite participants
Content Session 2

The 2020 GCIgnite all-virtual gathering was a success, giving young adults a chance to grow and fellowship despite the postponement of this year’s denominational celebration.

Screenshot of GCIgnite participants
Breakout Session 1

With participants from around the globe, including Australia, Fiji, the Philippines, South Africa, the United States, and more. The event focused on spiritual formation and practice as key components of knowing yourself to lead yourself.

Screenshot of GCIgnite participants
Breakout Session 2

Beginning the week with welcome activities and fellowship, participants then delved into sessions led by speakers Dishon Mills and Michelle Fleming on the main themes. Breakout sessions facilitated discussions about applications of spiritual formation and practice in both their home churches and personal lives. The week concluded with a live worship session led by four amazing young adults and included a prayer session that covered the many challenges we’ve collectively faced this year.

Screenshot of GCIgnite participants
Worship Session

We are grateful for all the hard work and prayers from the GCNext Team and individuals in the home office over the past few months that made GCIgnite possible.

The 2020 GCIgnite gathering provided a great opportunity for participants to connect, grow and worship, and we’re looking forward to next year’s in-person event that will coincide with the Denominational Celebration!

 

Written by: The GCNext Team

GCI Burundi Building Progress

 

Warm greetings from GCI Burundi in Jesus’ name and hope this report finds you well!

The future construction site.

GCI Burundi Church members, in general, are doing well. Like other countries, Burundi also has affected by COVID -19. The Burundi government announced 250 cases and some sanitary measures have been taken, but the church activities continue.

As we recognized that many members around the world are not gathering together, on March 26, all congregations of GCI Burundi took a time of fasting to seek God’s protection of our GCI Family members around the world and to ask God to inspire researchers as they look for getting medicine for COVID-19. We also began rethinking how our congregation could take extra precautions while meeting.

Due to added safety measures, we have begun to plan various construction projects, including restrooms, a baptismal, a new pastor’s office, and finishing paving the inside of the church hall. Please join us in praying for a successful construction process and completion.

Yours Faithfully,
Dr. Eugene Sibomana
Burundi National Director & Carama, Burundi Pastor

Update from our Members Affected by Hurricane Laura

Following the wake of Hurricane Laura, our Southeastern USA Regional Director, Anthony Mullins, and US Superintendent, Michael Rasmussen reached out to members of GCI congregations who were in the path of the storm. Their updates are below.

Your prayers are much appreciated.

I’ve talked to all but one of our church members, and all are okay. My sister and I suffered no home damage My sister experienced a section of fence damage due to downed tree limbs. We lost electricity for a few days. We had a generator that saved our food and powered an air conditioner/fan and lights. Sunday, August 30, news reports listed 18 deaths from storm-related causes. One half were caused by the improper use of generators. A family of five was among the nine. I believe that all the other deaths were due to trees falling on houses. Today, (Monday, August 31) we are under a heat advisory [105 degrees in some areas] from 9 am to 8 pm which adds to the misery for those without electricity.

The two church families in the Lake Charles area suffered only carport damage. I’ve not been able to contact the church member who lives across the lake in Sulphur. Her home phone does nothing when dialed and her cell goes to voice mail.

We all feel blessed that the storm was not as destructive as had been predicted.

Richard Young
Facilitator – Lake Charles, Louisiana


James Scales, our Facilitator for the Beaumont, Texas church is fine and staying with his daughter due to power outages.

All the members are safe and did not sustain major damage from the storm, but some are still without power.

Your prayers are appreciated.

Louis Stambaugh
Treasurer – Beaumont, Texas

Feeding Children During the Pandemic

Our friends in the Atlanta GCI congregation are up to good work in their neighborhood again! Under Pastor Charles Young’s leadership, the church is participating in the City of South Fulton’s Summer Food Program. Twice each week the church delivers meals to 85 children who might otherwise go hungry during the pandemic.

This practical ministry reminds me of what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Well done, Church!

Anthony Mullins headshot

 

Anthony Mullins
GCI Regional Director, Southeast

Sharing the Gospel in NYC

The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly hard on our city and congregation. All of us have been strained to our limits, yet remain strong in our unity and potential for renewed witness. As we continue to support those who lost loved ones, we are praising God for the lessons learned and committed to reopening and “rebirthing” our congregation to more fully embody the gospel.

During this transition time, we prayerfully embrace our identity as children of God and the Body of Christ and ask where we can be most effective with the Spirit. We need to examine our own hearts first, while not being afraid to embrace the “obligations” our calling, first by showing demonstratively what a diverse and unified congregation active in the community shows about Kingdom living and who Jesus is—awkwardly at times, but intentionally and fearlessly. Our congregation shows that diversity works; a place where racism has no place actually works. The effects of racism and other systemic sins may hold people down, realizing no one is held down in the economy of Jesus and these issues will be changed permanently only in the heart of the Word made flesh.

As we waited for a return to “normal” meetings, we looked into the community and renewed our commitment to come alongside “people of peace” already doing the work of justice and restoration in the community. We talked with and made contributions of funds and materials (and later volunteers) to a non-profit, the River Fund, right in our Richmond Hill community that focuses on anti-poverty initiatives, which seeks to help families especially now in the period of confusion and layoffs, schools closed and the resulting despair. They want to battle poverty on the frontline with both individual needs and supporting the family as a whole. We found that they have an effective model to fight poverty in the City to help break the multi-generational cycle of poverty where people may be trapped. Our donations included items they were in great need of during the crisis: surgical masks, sanitizers, feminine products, and pet food, among other items. Our team, led by Florence Emerole, also gathered donations from neighborhood businesses in the effort.

Most important for us is that they welcome our involvement as a church, which could have been an issue for organizations that receive public funding. We were able to contribute communion kits, for example. We realize and they realize that we cannot “end poverty” by ourselves in the community. But we can bring gospel action and hopefully discipleship to those being served here. What this group helped us realize (“opened our eyes”) is the effects of poverty beyond what is officially related. More in the community suffer from poverty, material hardship, work-limiting health issues, and lack of access to resources due to language and immigration more than we realized and beyond the official statistics.

 

By John Newsom
Pastor, GCI New York City

Staten Island Congregation Begins ASL Bible

With help from God, the Home Office, and jumping through many hoops, Hands for Christ Community Church in Staten Island, NY, is excited to get our license from Biblica (publishers of the NIV Bible) giving us permission to translate the Bible into American Sign Language (ASL).

Now we can start the inner works of producing the books of the bible bit by bit. Once the book is finished, we will upload it to our website for the Deaf Community to read and gain an understanding of what the Word has to say to them.

 

GCI Home Office – Who Serves the Church?

Some have asked “Who works at the Home Office?” The Home Office staff is comprised of both remote and on-site employees. Every Monday morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time the Home Office employees gather via Zoom and in person.

The Home Office remote employees are Jeff Broadnax, Gary Deddo, Cara Garrity, Glenn Gordon, Mike Morrison, Anthony Mullins, Mike Rasmussen, Rick Shallenberger, Tim Sitterley and Russell Duke (part-time). Our Home Office onsite employees are Cheryl Corson, Evelyn Dailey, Reuel Enerio, Michelle Fleming, Georgia McKinnon, Lance McKinnon, Robert Meade, Bret Miller, Mat Morgan, Pam Morgan, Charlotte Rakestraw, Connie White, Greg Williams, Susan Williams, David Mckinnon (on-call) and Desiree McKinnon (on-call).

During our Monday morning meeting, we update one another about things that took place over the weekend and what will be happening in the coming week. We have a joke for the week (sometimes it doesn’t seem as funny to some as it does to others), but the most important thing we do is pray. We pray for the coming week, our GCI members, pastors, leaders, and world leaders.

During Covid-19 our on-site employees have had to work from home for several weeks, so our Zoom call has grown from 9 to 22 as our on-site Home Office employees join via Zoom.

In July, I decided we needed to have a fun contest. I had everyone take a picture of their office at home and send it to me. I asked everyone to be creative and not to put themselves in the photo. I then sent a pdf of the pictures to everyone to guess whose desk each picture was. We have some very creative people at the Home Office. Scattered throughout this article are some of those photos. Susan Williams won the contest (she only missed 2) and last place went to Rick Shallenberger (he missed 14).

The Home Office staff is here to serve you, whether we work in Charlotte or remotely. If you are ever in the Charlotte neighborhood look us up and we would love to give you a tour of the Home Office.

2 Corinthians 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. (KJV)

 

Pam Morgan
Operations Coordinator (Home Office onsite)