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You’re Invited—LiLY Women’s Conference

19th Annual
LiLY Women’s Conference

Hosted by Grace Communion Cleveland

For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:6-7

April 14-16, 2023

Embassy Suites in Beachwood, Ohio

Register today online at gccle.church/lily

If you have any questions, please email LiLYwomensministry@gmail.com

Rosa Hulse, Women’s Ministry Leader
Tamar Gray, Pastor

Primary Worship Days & Seasons

Here is a list of the primary worship days and seasons in the Western Christian worship calendar. Some churches celebrate all of these, others only some. GCI asks its congregations to celebrate (as a minimum) the days/seasons of Advent, Christmas, Holy Week and Easter.

  • Advent Season—spanning the four Sundays prior to Christmas. This season focuses on Jesus’ ultimate return and looks forward to the Incarnation.
  • Christmas Season—beginning with Christmas Day on December 25 and continuing through January 5. This season focuses on the Incarnation, which includes Jesus’ birth, the worship of the shepherds, and the worship of Simeon and Anna.
  • Epiphany Season—beginning with the day of Epiphany on January 6 and continuing to the day before Ash Wednesday—the season includes the Baptism of our Lord (the Sunday after the Epiphany) and Transfiguration Sunday (the Sunday before Ash Wednesday). This season focuses on Jesus being the light of the world, sharing the story of the Magi from the East, and the story of the transfiguration.
  • Preparation for Easter—beginning with Ash Wednesday and continuing through Holy Saturday (thus overlapping Holy Week). This season focuses on Jesus’ ministry and his journey to the cross.
  • Holy Week
    • Passion (Palm) Sunday (Jesus’ triumphant entry and his lament over Jerusalem)
    • Maundy Thursday (The last supper with his disciples, the new commandment to love as he loves, and the promise of the Holy Spirit.)
    • Good Friday (Jesus’ death and burial)
    • Holy Saturday (A day of reflection of Jesus in the tomb and the hope of the resurrection. Often considered a day of recommitment.)
  • Easter Season—beginning with Easter Sunday and continuing to Pentecost, including two special celebrations:
    • Easter Sunday—celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.
    • The Ascension of our Lord—40 days after Easter Sunday (Jesus’ promise to always be with us (Matthew 28), and our inclusion in his ascension.
  • Day of Pentecost (Jesus sends the Holy Spirit and begins the New Testament church.)
  • Ordinary Time—the period following Pentecost until Advent Season, including three special celebrations: (Walking with Jesus – sharing his love and life with others in mission and ministry.)
    • Holy Trinity Sunday—the Sunday following Pentecost (Jesus, as part of the Holy Trinity.)
    • All Saints Day—held the weekend after Halloween (We are all included in Jesus’ plan of salvation.)
    • Christ the King Sunday—the Sunday before Advent Season begins. (Jesus reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.)

Introducing Our New CFO

Rose Marie Hamrick is a native South Carolinian. Her parents began attending Worldwide Church of God the year she was born. She literally grew up in the fellowship that has transformed to be Grace Communion International. She grew up working in her family business which taught her a strong work ethic.

Rose has served GCI as an elder since 2015 and previously served as a deaconess since 2007. Rose has been privileged to serve her local congregation in various roles including treasurer, leadership committee, women’s ministry chairperson, advisory council, youth coordinator and choir member. This is where she developed her love for serving others.

Rose earned a Master of Science degree in Business Management from Southern Wesleyan University. She is an administrative management professional with a 25-year career in a corporate environment. Rose’s experience is both broad and varied in office, budget, project and facilities management, financial reporting, business development, human resources, payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, marketing, legal and real estate. This is where she has developed her business acumen.

Rose’s family includes her two adult children, her son and daughter, a daughter-in-law and three beautiful grandsons. She enjoys reading, spending time with family and traveling.

Rose has a heart for service. She looks forward to serving GCI in support of the Gospel of Jesus in her role as Chief Financial Officer of Grace Communion International.

LiLY Women’s Conference

18th Annual
LiLY Women’s Conference

“Faith in Action”
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

We are excited to be in person this year!

April 22-24, 2022

Embassy Suites in Beachwood, Ohio

Registration Fee:

$75 / $85 – Take advantage of our early bird pricing of $75 and register by April 1, 2022. The registration fee covers the meeting facilities, speakers, conference bag filled with goodies, plus lunch and dinner on Saturday.

Teen Bonfire Session – Registration for ages 13-17 is at a discounted rate of $50.00. Tammy Mason Johnson will again lead our teen sessions. Young ladies will explore the theme scripture and learn how it applies to their lives.

Register today online at gccle.church/lily

If not registering online, mail your registration fee and make checks payable to:

Grace Communion Cleveland
4499 Canterbury Road
North Olmsted, Ohio 44070

Please include your name, address, phone number, emergency contact name & address, and indicate whether or not you are staying for the Saturday night dinner.

Hotel Reservation/Cost:

Embassy Suites, 3775 Park East Drive, Beachwood, Ohio 44122

Overnight hotel rate is $124 per night, per suite, 4-person room (total with tax is about $291 for both nights – breakfast & manager’s reception included).

Registration Link: Embassy Suites Beachwood Hotel Reservations

Guests can also call 800-317-1960 or (216) 765-8066. Tell the hotel you are with the LiLY Women’s Conference (group code: “GCC”).

Deadline for hotel reservations at the special rate is April 1, 2022.

If you have any questions, please email LiLYwomensministry@gmail.com

Know that we are praying for you and look forward to how God will move this year.

Rosa Hulse
Women’s Ministry Leader
Hosted by Grace Communion Cleveland
Pastor Tamar Gray

Pastor Tom Melear

The short video below looks at the ministry of Tom Melear who pastors GCI’s Las Vegas, NV, congregation while working full-time as a hospice chaplain and grief counselor. On October 1, 2017, Tom was on duty when victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting began arriving at area hospitals. He was able to participate with Jesus in helping many who were going through terrible trauma.

On YouTube at https://youtu.be/S8hMGV7B40E.

What about “the problem of evil”?

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Joseph and Tammy Tkach
Joseph and Tammy Tkach

People turn away from belief in God for many reasons, but one of the most prevalent is “the problem of evil”—what theologian Peter Kreeft calls “the greatest test of faith, the greatest temptation to unbelief.”

Agnostics and atheists often use the problem of evil as their go-to argument to either doubt or deny the existence of God. Their claim is that the co-existence of evil and God is either unlikely (agnostics) or impossible (atheists). This line of reasoning goes back as far as the Greek philosopher Epicurus (c. 300 BC), who made the following statement that, in the late 1700s, was picked up and popularized by Scottish philosopher David Hume:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

David Hume
(public domain)
(public domain)

Epicurus, and Hume after him, were painting a less-than-godly picture of God. I don’t have room here for a comprehensive reply (what theologians call a theodicy), but I do want to point out that this line of reasoning doesn’t come close to being a knock-down argument against the existence of a good God. As pointed out by many Christian apologists, the existence of evil in the world, rather than disproving God’s existence, proves just the opposite, as I’ll now explain.

Evil necessitates goodness

The observation that evil is an objective feature within our world is a double-edged sword that cuts agnostics and atheists much more deeply than it cuts theists. To argue that the presence of evil in the world disproves the existence of God, one must affirm that evil actually exists. It follows that there must be an absolute standard of goodness that defines evil as being evil. One simply cannot form a logical concept of evil without appealing to an ultimate standard of goodness. This leads to a huge dilemma in that it raises the question of the source of this standard. Said another way, if evil is the opposite of good, how do we determine what is good? And where does that understanding come from?

We are told in the book of Genesis that the world was created good, not evil. Yet, Genesis also tells of the fall of humankind—a fall caused by evil and resulting in evil. Because of evil, this world is not the best it can be. Thus the problem of evil points to a departure from the way things ought to be. If things are not the way they ought to be, then there must be a way they should be. If there is a way they should be, there must be a transcendent design, plan, and purpose for the way it should be, and if so, there must be a transcendent being (God) who authored that plan. If there is no God, then there is no way things ought to be, and hence there is no evil. All this might sound a bit confusing, but it’s not. It’s a carefully constructed line of logic.

Injustice necessitates justice

C.S. Lewis championed this logic. In Mere Christianity, he shares how he had been an atheist, due largely to the presence of evil, cruelty and injustice in the world. However, the more he pondered his atheism, the more he saw clearly that the concept of injustice was dependent on an absolute concept of justice. Justice necessitates a just Someone who is beyond humanity and has the authority to shape created reality and promulgate the rules that define justice within that reality. Moreover, he came to see that the origin of evil is not God the Creator, but the creatures, who falling into the temptation to distrust God, chose to sin.

C.S. Lewis (source)

Lewis came to see that if humans were the source of what is good and evil, they could not be objective since they were subject to change. Further, he deduced that one group of humans may pronounce verdicts on others as to what is right and wrong, but then the other group would impose their own version of right and wrong. Then the question would have to be asked as to what authority stands behind these competing versions of right and wrong? Where is the objective standard when what is unacceptable in one culture is deemed permissible in another? We see this dilemma at work throughout the world, often (unfortunately) in the name of religion and other ideologies.

The bottom line is this: if no ultimate creator and moral lawgiver exists, there can be no objective standard of goodness. And if there is no objective standard of goodness, how can anyone discover this to be the case? Lewis made this point with an illustration: “If there were no light in the universe, and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never have known that it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.”

Our personal and good God overcomes evil

Only if there is a personal and good God who is opposed to evil does it make sense to lodge a complaint against evil or make an appeal to have something done about it. Were there no such God, there would be no one to appeal to and no basis for thinking that what we call good and evil is anything more than our personal preference (which we would label “good”) being in conflict with someone else’s personal preference (which we would label “evil”). In that case, there would be no such thing as objective evil, and thus nothing really to complain about, and certainly no one to complain to. Things would simply be the way they are, call them what you like.

God the Father by Conegliano (1515). (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
God the Father by Conegliano (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Only by believing in a personal and good God do we have grounds to object to evil, and Someone to appeal to for its eradication. Having the conviction that there is a real problem of evil and hoping that evil will, one day, be undone and everything put right, serves as a good reason to believe that a personal and good God exists.

Though evil lingers, God is with us and we have hope

Evil exists—the evidence is all over the news. We’ve experienced evil and know its destruction. But we also know that God did not leave us in our fallen state. As I pointed out in a Weekly Update article a couple of weeks ago, God was not surprised by the fall. He did not need to revert to a plan B, for he had already set in motion his one plan to overcome evil, and that plan is Jesus Christ and the atonement. Through Christ, God overcame evil by his authentic love, and he had his plan in place from the foundation of the world. In the cross and resurrection of Jesus we see that evil will not have the last word. Evil has no future because of what God, in Christ, has done.

Do you yearn for a God who confirms that there is evil, who graciously takes responsibility for it, who is committed to doing something about it, and who will make everything right in the end? If so, I’ve got good news for you—that’s exactly who the God revealed in Jesus Christ is.

Though we live in a time Paul calls “the present evil age” (Galatians 1:4), God has not abandoned you, nor left you without hope. [1] God reassures us all that he is with us, having broken through to us in the here-and-now, and therefore giving us the blessing of experiencing the “firstfruits” (Romans 8:23) of the “age to come” (Luke 18:30)—a “deposit” (Ephesians 1:13-14) of the goodness of God’s rule and reign as it will be in the fullness of his kingdom.

Today, by God’s grace, we embody through our life together in the church, the signs of God’s kingdom. The triune God, living in us, enables us to taste, even now, the relationships he originally designed for us to enjoy in communion with God and one another—true life never-ending and without evil. Yes, we have our struggles on this side of glory, yet we are comforted knowing that God is with us—his love lives in us at all times through Christ—by his Word and Spirit. As Scripture assures, “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Grateful to our good God who has overcome evil,
Joseph Tkach

[1] For another Weekly Update letter on the hope that is ours despite the presence of evil in the world, click here.

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