GCI Update
Connecting Members & Friends of GCI
Header Banner

Prayer Request—Canfield, OH, US

On February 3, a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. The following update and prayer request is from John Dobritch, pastor of nearby GCI Canfield.

First of all, we want to thank God that no one was killed or even injured on the train or in the surrounding community. That was a miracle.

One family in our GCI Canfield church lives about a mile from the accident. The family of four, including two teenagers, had to evacuate but were taken in for three nights by another church family.

Thankfully their house was not damaged, but there is now concern for environmental damage to the community and long-term health concerns due to inhaling toxic fumes over several days. Prayers are requested for the well-being of our church members and the entire town of East Palestine, Ohio.

Retirement of Bob Miller

Join us in honoring Bob Miller, longtime pastor, who retired in January.

Congratulations, Bob and Ruth! Your faithful service and love for Jesus’ church demonstrates your generous and kind hearts. We are very grateful to you both.

Cards may be sent to:
538 River Crest Way
Helena, AL 35080

We asked Bob and Ruth to share their reflections.

From Bob:

I began listening to the World Tomorrow radio program when I was 14. As a teenager, life was confusing, and I was attracted to the dogmatism and legalism of what I was hearing. At age 16, I began attending the Radio Church of God’s “local” church – over an hour away in Pittsburgh, PA. The pastor was Jimmy Friddle. I consider him my “father in the faith.” I was immediately taken in by so many wonderful folks who made me feel so welcomed and loved.

I attended Ambassador College in Big Sandy after high school, graduating in 1969. Those were some of the best four years I have ever spent in my life. Even though our theology was flawed, I learned a lot of valuable lessons and was exposed to the Bible in ways I never would have. It was just part of my spiritual journey. Following graduation, I served as a ministerial trainee for about a year and then moved on to work five years at a USS subsidiary outside Akron, Ohio. In 1974, I met my future wife, Ruth Black, at Big Sandy. I was there to see my younger brother graduate. Still living in Akron at the time, I was getting restless and tired of Data Processing. I travelled some and ended up in Pasadena looking for work.

I was hired by the WCG’s Home Office and worked nearly 12 years – first in the Postal Department and then Publishing. I was an International Coordinator for The Plain Truth, but my primary job was coordinating the printing for many of the foreign language versions of the many booklets produced by the church. I also was involved in the printing of Herbert Armstrong’s books. In 1988, I was ordained an elder and in 1989, we had the opportunity to move to Birmingham, Alabama, as an assistant pastor. Moving across country with three small children was certainly a leap of faith, but we were warmly received by the members and began a new chapter in our lives.

I never aspired to be an elder, much less a pastor, and often felt like Jonah. I was eventually made an associate pastor and ordained a preaching elder. Little did I know the challenges that I would face after five years in Birmingham. When the changes came, I became the pastor for Birmingham and Jasper, Alabama. At one time, I was pastoring four congregations: Birmingham, Jasper, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Columbus, Mississippi. Hokes Bluff, Alabama is another church I pastored.

One of the most rewarding times in ministry came in fairly recent years. Our small congregation in Birmingham began to provide worship services for Aspire Physical Recovery Center in Hoover. That meant our attendance basically doubled, as we served the residents and guests at Aspire. They came from a variety of denominations, but we all worshipped together in peace and harmony. When COVID hit, we were no longer able to go into Aspire. So, we began having Zoom Bible studies.

About a year prior to my retirement, we began having House Church at our home, and that was also a very rewarding experience. We actually had new folks visit during this time. We loved the intimate setting, and we often had meals together following our worship service. We got to know each other on a much more intimate level.

I love our denomination. The friendships made will be long-lasting—so many precious memories over the years. We are planning to attend worship services at the church where Ruth has been employed for almost 25 years, Saint Mark United Methodist Church. Due to severe scoliosis/spinal stenosis and arthritis, my mobility is somewhat limited now. Whether or not I will see any improvement is uncertain. But I feel that my primary role in the body of Christ now will be to try and encourage others along the journey.

From Ruth:

When Bob and I were married and living in California, we would never have imagined leaving headquarters and going out into the “field.” Bob was working in Publishing, and I had just been hired in Mail Processing. Our children would all have been at Imperial Schools that fall, and I could begin working part-time. In July that year, 1989, we had taken a visit back to South Carolina to see my family. It was hot and humid, and when we returned, someone asked about our trip. I said it was fine, but I never wanted to live in that part of the country again! Wouldn’t you know it? That next week we got notice that we would be going to Birmingham, Alabama.

So back to the hot and humid South we went! At the time, we were told we would likely be there for three to five years. We’re still here more than 33 years later! But what a marvelous opportunity to serve God’s people for all those years! Following the changes, I began a women’s discipleship class as we navigated all of the doctrinal changes. I found that studying the book of Acts was extremely helpful. Eventually, I began giving sermons on occasion.

About 25 years ago, I began working at Saint Mark United Methodist Church. All that we were learning made working there a wonderful experience. I found that my work as a pastor’s wife equipped me well for the many roles I fill at Saint Mark. While my primary job is managing the church office, I have also taught Bible studies, helped plan weddings and funerals, assisted the pastors with their work, managed church publications, and helped in many other ways. Everything I did previously helped prepare me to serve both our local congregations and the amazing Saint Mark church family.

My plans are to continue working at Saint Mark for the foreseeable future. Bob’s limited mobility means that we won’t be doing a lot of traveling, but we hope to be able to have a ministry of encouragement for all those we can continue to serve. I see Bob transitioning into lots of “online” activity – connecting with many old friends and making new ones via Facebook and email exchanges. We love our time together at home, reading inspiring books together, and continuing to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior.

Farewell to Mat Morgan, Retiring CFO

“Following God’s lead has never been boring or easy, but it has always been filled with an overall sense of peace and joy that can only be explained through God’s presence along the way.” –Mat Morgan




Join us in congratulating Mat on his retirement! We are very grateful for his good and faithful service.

Mat is an elder who has worked for GCI and GCS in various capacities for more than 40 years. He has worked closely with the last four GCI presidents and has served on the Board for many of these years. After receiving his MBA in 1994, he worked in both the legal and financial areas and has been in his current position as Chief Financial Officer since 2005. He is married to Pam, GCI’s Operations Coordinator. Together they have two children, Mathew (wife, Natalie) and Jessica (husband, Johnny) and two grandchildren.

He considers it a privilege to have worked for the church during some challenging years of transition because he has seen God’s hand in the journey at every stage and has “served with some of the most wonderful people in the world.” He looks forward to what God has in store for GCI in the years ahead.

Read on, as Mat’s coworkers pay tribute to him.

“It has been a pleasure and privilege to work for Mat these many years. Never a dull day! I wish him the same busy schedule in his retirement, only with an itinerary of grandkids, fishing, hiking—and not too many difficult questions to ponder—even from a grandchild!”
–Cheryl Corson, HR & Risk Manager, Board Secretary, Executive Assistant to the CFO

“I have had the great privilege of working with Mat for the past two years. He has been an excellent leader because he has sought first to be a follower of Christ. It is the love of Christ, his love for him in return, and his compassionate care for God’s people that compels him to serve. I am incredibly thankful to Mat for all of the faithful work he has contributed over the years. Mat’s willingness to participate in Jesus’ ministry has directly impacted my ability to be where I am, serve where I do, witness where God is at work in this moment, and anticipate the future he is leading us towards.

Thank you Mat for the gift you have been to all of us throughout GCI. May you experience abundant blessings and joy in this season ahead of you.”
–Cara Garrity, Development Coordinator

“Mat has been such a blessing to our denomination. He helped guide us through some of the darkest times of our transition from legalism into grace. My heart always ached that a man with such a huge heart was put in such a difficult position—but I am extremely grateful for him and his heart.

Mat is one of the most faithful, godly men I have ever had the privilege to work alongside. Mat is the real deal. What you see with Mat—is who he is. He is faithful and consistently striving to be the best follower of Jesus he can possibly be. He works behind the scenes with great humility, constantly pointing people to Jesus and not to himself.”
–Mike Rasmussen, Superintendent, North America & Caribbean and Regional Director, Central US

“Mat Morgan has been the consummate steward on behalf of GCI for the past quarter century. I came alongside Mat in 2014 as Superintendent of US & Mexico. Mat and I sat through many meetings together over the past decade, with follow-up meetings to decipher what we heard and to determine what seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us. And we then executed many projects together (some more difficult and complex than others).

Mat and I have different personalities, and yet those differences proved to be complimentary and a benefit for the denomination. We have been a good team and brothers throughout it all. The brotherhood will continue beyond active employment.”
–Greg Williams, President


Prayer Guide—February 2023

“The first kernel of wisdom to start with is to let our dependence and trust in God permeate all our worries of today.” ― C.S. Lewis

Join us in prayer this month as we thank Father, Son and Spirit for the way they move in and through our fellowship of believers. Click the link below to download the February Prayer Guide and check out what’s happening in our churches around the world. #WeAreGCI #FellowshipOfBelievers


Prayer for Melissa Nolan

Melissa Nolan is a GCI elder and facilitator of the fellowship group in Clearwater, FL, US. Melissa had a cancerous brain tumor removed three months ago. She underwent a second surgery to treat infection on January 19.

The cancer has spread to both her lungs but cannot be treated until her overall condition can be stabilized. She is in the critical care unit of at Tampa General Hospital. She and her husband, Gerald, would appreciate your prayers.

Prayer Guide—January 2023

“As to the ‘state of the world’ if we have time to hope and fear about it, we certainly have time to pray.” ―C.S. Lewis

Join us in prayer this month as we thank our triune God for another year of lessons and blessings to come. Click the link on the image below to download the January Prayer Guide and check out what’s happening in our fellowships around the world. #WeAreGCI


Never miss a day by receiving this Prayer Guide straight to your email inbox before the first of the month! Sign up here.

Guided Prayers

Join us in these communal Christmas Week Prayers, taken from the December Prayer Guide. Never miss a day by receiving our monthly Prayer Guide straight to your email inbox before the first of the month! Sign up here.

Wednesday, December 21

Read Luke 2:1-7.

In the hustle and bustle of many traveling to their hometowns for the census, Joseph and Mary found and made space for Jesus to be born in a stable. It is easy to be distracted by busyness, broken relationships, or blind ambitions – these take up space in our hearts and minds. Take time to reflect and pray today: “What is crowding Christ out of my heart this Advent season, and how can I begin to surrender it?” Let us make room for all Christ has to offer us.

Thursday, December 22

Read Luke 1:67-46.

After giving up hope on having a child, Zechariah is filled with the Spirit after the birth of his son John the Baptist, who would continue to prophesy the long-awaited Messiah. We also live in times that seem like God’s promises and faithfulness to us are far off or delayed, but we can rest assured that we have a God who is working for the good of all of humanity, and always will! Take some time to reflect on how you have seen the Spirit move in your life this year. Like Zechariah, turn your reflections into a prayer of thanksgiving to our loving God.

Friday, December 23

Lectio Divina. Slowly read Isaiah 9:6- 7 two or three times.

Read the passage one more time. What word or phrase sticks out to you? Mediate on this word or phrase.

God has been speaking to you through his word. Now respond to him.

Saturday, December 24—Christmas Eve

On the eve of the birth of Christ, may we be filled with wonder at the hope we have in Jesus. May we experience peace, knowing you are our Emmanuel. We ask for your hope, joy, and love to fill us afresh.

Sunday, December 25—Christmas

Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus, hope for the world. We are grateful for a God who is faithful in all things and is faithful in coming to us. We cry out for a fresh awareness of who you are. We choose by faith to make the “good news of great joy” a reality in our own lives so that your light in our lives points others to you this Christmas. We know that peace on earth can only come when hearts find peace with you.

Prayer Guide—November 2022

“Prayer is the natural outgushing of a soul in communion with Jesus. Just as the leaf and the fruit will come out of the vine-branch without any conscious effort on the part of the branch, but simply because of its living union with the stem, so prayer buds, and blossoms, and fruits out of souls abiding in Jesus.” ― Charles Spurgeon

Join us in prayer this month as we thank God for including us in his good work. Click the image below to download the November Prayer Guide and check out what’s happening in our fellowships around the world. #WeAreGCI

Death of Alice Tkach

Retired President, Joe Tkach, shared the following note about his mother. We join the Tkach family in their grief and in their hope of resurrection.

Our mom, Alice Elaine Tkach, was four months shy of turning 93 and lived a full life. She loved God, church, and family. She was the youngest child of Angelo and Lura Apostolou, born near Gary, Indiana in January 1930. She passed peacefully in her sleep on October 2, after praying with my youngest sister Jennifer.

We are comforted with the knowledge that she has now burst into eternity in the full realization of sitting in heavenly places with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Of course, my family and friends already miss her, but we feel the total joy she now fully realizes in Christ.

She is survived by her three children, Joseph Tkach II (Tamara), Tanya Horchak (Doug), and Jennifer Raica (Ricard) as well as her grandchildren; Joseph III and Lapio Tkach, Stephanie and Evan Green, Christine and Jeremy Sehler, Gregory and Sandy Horchak, Rebecca and Michael Gutierrez, Janelle and Chad Tracy, Joseph and Ebony Butler, Jonathan and Melisa Butler, Jessica and Ryan Sheehan; and great grandchildren: Dorian Sehler, Zoe Sehler, Camilo Guterriez, Halen Tracy, Bodhi Tracy, Oliver Butler and Riley Butler.

Cards may be sent to:

Grace Communion International
3120 Whitehall Park Drive
Charlotte, NC 28273
Attention: Tkach Family




Retirement of Tim Snyder

I’m honored to share that Pastor Tim Snyder retired in September. Thank you, Tim and MaryAnn, for your faithfulness and for your sacrificial love for more than five decades! We love you and appreciate you more than words can ever express!

Mike Rasmussen, Central Regional Director

We ask Tim to share his story with Update. Congratulations!

MaryAnn grew up in the Chicago area under the tutelage of Dean Blackwell and those he trained. Her father was a local elder; her mother’s ministry was hospitality, especially to the members. From high school in Joliet, IL, she went directly to Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA.

I grew up in western North Carolina in the Appalachian area known as the Great Smoky Mountains. I received a distinct calling to ministry in the first grade, but gradually disregarded it until it returned in my freshman year of studies in Aerospace Engineering at NC State University, funded in part under a grant from NASA. I transferred to Ambassador College, Big Sandy, TX after two years in engineering. I try to follow space exploration, physics, and math to this day.

MaryAnn and I met on the “Big Dig” in 1971. As all students were assigned to specific project areas (called “holes”) for archaeological excavation, we were among the “leftovers” from the three campuses and were the last assigned. Our little group was truly international and fun-filled every hot and dusty day. It couldn’t have been better. MaryAnn and I married in 1972 after graduation.

MaryAnn and I have served in northwest Arkansas (wonderful people, stories and memories), northern Florida (great citrus and marvelous people), eastern North Carolina (serving some of the members I remembered and enjoyed from my time at NC State), West Virginia (intelligent and engaging members, and where our daughter was born), Chicago area churches (exciting times and people from all walks of life), Michigan (adapting to the challenges of rapidly evolving technologies), and finally Denver and Colorado Springs, CO (wonderfully talented members who helped adopt and adapt to all the changes in the church, technology, and society).

We have found the saints of God varied, engaging, and sometimes temperamental (but aren’t we all?) – their lives of faith in trials and joys always inspiring and uplifting; their endurance in life’s challenges well beyond those of the most accomplished public figures. God’s children are always humbling to know and behold. We count them among our greatest blessings in life!

While MaryAnn still works at the executive level of Lockheed Martin (ironic, since that was where I had hoped to develop my Aerospace career), we look forward to more international and domestic travel, new culinary delights at home, renewed engagement for me in Radio Controlled Aircraft building and flying (meaning more community involvement), renewed opportunities for entertaining at home, photography, videography, reading, writing, the Arts, community involvement (public speaking for me), some wide-ranging college classes and more.

We eagerly anticipate the gathering of all saints at Christ’s return, opening the real-time avenue of renewing relationships, exchanging stories, making new eternal friends and seeing the hidden potential of all mankind and nature finally beginning to be realized.

“Thank you” to our sisters, brothers, and friends around the world for their acceptance and encouragement. With God all things are possible!

Tim Snyder