Letter from Dr. Joseph Tkach - Aug. 2015

Date: 

August 1, 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I want to tell you the story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. They were a remarkable group of individuals who used their God-given talents to overcome tremendous adversity to build a legacy that has burned bright for more than a hundred and fifty years.

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August 2015    

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As many of you know, GCI has been through several significant changes in its history. One such event for our denomination took place just a couple of months ago. It was such an important moment, my colleagues and I even dressed up in formal academic robes and funny hats! In this letter, I’d love to tell you more about this transition.

Grace Communion Seminary (also known as “GCS”) has played a vital role in the life of our denomination for many years now. I’m pleased and grateful for the way our seminary has consistently offered sound theological education and training for those called to ministry.


The GCS Board of Directors
with President Deddo

This June, as chair of the GCS board, I had the honor of being present for the passing of the baton – an actual, beautifully handmade baton! – from president emeritus, Dr. Russell Duke, to the new incoming president of GCS, Dr. Gary Deddo. Dr. Duke has faithfully led the seminary for a number of years and has overseen the challenging accreditation process – a major step toward greater opportunities for GCS. He’s looking forward to focusing more on his teaching role at the seminary, and we’re grateful for his continued service. At the seminary board’s invitation, Dr. Deddo agreed to step into the role of president.

Here at GCI, we are committed to following the greatest commandment by loving the Lord with all our minds, as well as our hearts and souls. Training up current and future ministers is a big part of how we do that. Dr. Deddo’s expertise in the area of incarnational Trinitarian theology, his extensive experience in Christian education, and his commitment to GCS give me real confidence in the future of the seminary under his leadership. 

On the day of the ceremony, Gary mentioned something in his presidential address that really stuck with me. He said, “As the educational branch of the church, a seminary is the place where we are to pass on what we have received – and to train others to do so. And frankly, that’s all I have to offer: passing on the best of what I have been given by others. GCS is where we can do just that, in a sustained and disciplined way, especially equipping those whose calling is to lead and pastor others.” It is humbling to think that our seminary is a part of this ongoing chain of theological preparation, equipping even more believers to pass along Christian teaching.

Of course, theological training should never exist in a vacuum. Right theology should result in worship, and also inspire the spread of our life-changing gospel! GCS has a motto, “Equipping the Saints for Pastoral Ministry.” This kind of “equipping” has been of central importance to GCI throughout our history, and the growth of our seminary will only support that goal. In our commitment to equipping the saints, Dr. Deddo is eager to build on what has already been accomplished.

As we continue our legacy of providing theological training of ministers, Dr. Deddo wants to broaden the reach of our seminary resources. While continuing to offer quality educational oportunities for pastors, interns and members around the world, Dr. Deddo also hopes to expand the impact of GCS. He would like to add a Masters of Divinity to the currently available Masters of Theological Studies and Masters in Pastoral Studies and encourage connections with others outside the GCI community. We hope and pray that many more students can benefit from the high quality education offered by GCS in future years.

This is one way in which your giving to Grace Communion International is making a world-changing difference. When you give to headquarters, you help support things like our wonderful internship program, where those called to ministry are able to attend seminary in addition to receiving one-on-one guidance from an established pastor. Your giving supports our ability to provide educational resources to an international audience, along with the rich theological training of Grace Communion Seminary. Those called to ministry step out in faith, and often rely on the generosity of their church communities as they pursue the training to help effectively engage their calling. When you give to GCI, you are supporting that faithfulness to God’s call with your own.

I’m delighted to be able to tell you about this new chapter in the life of our seminary under Dr. Gary Deddo. Thank you for your faithful support of Grace Communion International as we refine and strengthen the ways in which we share the good news of the gospel.

With hope in Christ's mission,


Joseph Tkach
President – Grace Communion International

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