When our church decided to change its name from Worldwide Church
of God (WCG) to Grace Communion International (GCI), some were puzzled. The new
name didn’t exactly roll off the tongue. We found ourselves stumbling over it,
often getting the words in the wrong order. But more to the point—what did it mean?
The name WCG may have had baggage, but it at least described what we were. But
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Grace Communion International recently held a worldwide conference in Orlando, Florida. More than 1100 members and elders from around the world spent four days together seeing old friends, renewing acquaintances, making new friends and learning more about our faithful heavenly Father and our new life in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.
It reminded me that God is in the business of building community – bringing us into a life of communion with himself and one another. That is what the gospel is all about.
God is love, and love implies a communion between persons.
Jesus Christ changes lives. He can change an organization, too. This is the story of how the Lord changed our denomination from legalism to grace. The story involves both pain and joy. Many thousands of members left the church, and our income has fallen dramatically. But thousands of other members are rejoicing with renewed zeal for their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We refer to our administrative office in Glendora, CA as our international headquarters (HQ). It has the mission, values and objectives described here.
HQ is devoted to helping GCI churches attain their God-given potential. It pursues this mission by providing theological, doctrinal,
administrative, financial and legal integrity and accountability to all U.S. churches and theological, doctrinal and spiritual leadership to administrative offices in non-U.S. regions.
Our values are the foundational principles upon which we base our
spiritual lives and pursue our mission to live and share the gospel. Those values are expressed in the following areas of emphasis, which fall into the three categories noted:
Grace Communion International,
together with its affiliated entities, takes seriously the matter of financial
stewardship and strives to abide by the highest standards of fiscal integrity.
Toward that end, the church maintains the following policies:
“Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-- not
because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for
money, but eager to serve” (1 Peter 5:2).
The Worldwide Church of God [now named Grace Communion
International]...has changed its position on numerous long-held beliefs
and practices during the
past few years. At the heart of those changes has been an acceptance
that salvation is by grace through
faith. While this was preached in the past, it was always coupled with
the message that
God owes us a reward for our works that build holy, righteous character.