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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My father, Dean Williams, provided my first link to GCI (formerly WCG). While serving as a lay pastor in a small Advent Christian church in Dana, NC, dad began studying WCG literature. Then in 1974, he contracted Ankylosing Spondylitis, a crippling form of rheumatoid arthritis that caused his vertebrae to begin fusing, resulting in terrible pain. As a result, he was bedridden for a year. He used that time to study WCG’s 58-lesson Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course.
Though lacking formal Bible training, my dad had always been a dedicated student of the Bible. So, after completing the Correspondence Course, he had many questions. In 1975, he contacted WCG headquarters in Pasadena, CA, and was put in contact with Hugh Wilson, the WCG pastor nearest our home. When the two met, my dad wanted to discuss the book of Romans. My dad’s contention was that in Romans, grace wins out over law. Pastor Wilson countered with WCG’s belief that God’s law was still in force since the church lives in the time between the old and new covenants (with the new not fully in force until Jesus returns).
Acquiescing to Hugh’s argument, dad led my family in leaving the Christian Advent church to become Sabbath-keeping WCG members. Every Saturday we would travel 30 miles to attend WCG church services in Asheville, NC. This meant that I was taken out of the normal routine of a 17-year-old who had been active in school life as a three-sport athlete. Instead, I became an active participant in WCG’s Youth Opportunities United (YOU) activities, driving across state lines to attend family weekends in places I had never visited before. I excelled in YOU track and field competitions, going from regional to tri-regional events, and then to the 1978 YOU national track meet in Pasadena, CA. I was then invited to attend a National Youth Leadership weekend in Pasadena. These activities solidified my desire to attend Ambassador College. There I met a co-ed named Susan Lang. We attended Ambassador from 1979 to 1983, and we were married in 1984.
In October of 1986 I was ordained an elder in WCG and by the summer of 1987, Susan and I, with our new-born twins Glenn and Garrett, were on our way to Denver, CO, where I served as an Associate Pastor. There we crossed paths again with Hugh Wilson who was now the pastor of WCG’s congregation in nearby Fort Collins. Hugh and his wife Linda went above and beyond in making us (a couple with new-born twins!) feel accepted into ministry. We are still grateful for the wonderful way they treated us.
Fast-forwarding now in the story, by 1996 WCG had fully embraced the biblical teaching that the new covenant was fully in force with Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension. This means that the church is under grace, not law. That year I once again crossed paths with Hugh Wilson. Being a likeable and humble man, he said, “Greg, I guess your dad won that argument we had about the book of Romans!” We had a good chuckle, and when I shared the story with my dad, his heart was warmed.
My dad was a huge admirer of Fanny Crosby. Though becoming blind shortly following birth, she composed over 8,000 Christian hymns! Fanny’s lyrics testify to a believer who, despite physical blindness, saw Jesus with clear, strong eyes of faith. Her hymn, “Blessed Assurance,” was my dad’s favourite. Its first line proclaims a great truth: “Blessed assurance Jesus is mine!” The chorus then adds, “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long.”
My dad’s journey, from grace to law, then back to grace, is also my story ¬— one with a conclusion that is the testimony of all believers: Jesus is mine, and I am his.
Praising my Saviour, all the day long,
GCI Vice President
Adventure Camp 2018
by Geoff Sole
The 45th Adventure Camp took place at the Sir John Lowther Activity Centre, Kettering from the 24th to the 28th of August 2018. In total 60: 9 crèche children, 20 children/young teenagers, 6 older teenage trainee staff and 25 staff members. A worship service was held every morning and a bedtime story (with a Christian message) read every evening.
On Saturday we went to stately Boughton House (see picture) for a picnic and visited their impressive armoury, memory exhibition and beautiful gardens. The children also visited Twywell Church which has African animals and African slaves intricately carved onto the wooden backs of the choir stalls. This is because in the mid-1800’s the minister at Twywell, Horace Waller, went as a missionary to Africa to help David Livingstone in his efforts to spread Christianity and to help end slavery. On Saturday we also visited Rushden Splash Leisure Centre to go swimming.
Adventure Camp daytime activities included: Archery, Balloons, Balls & Bubbles (big), Candle-making, Christian Living, Climbing Tower, Craft (hand painting mugs), First Aid, Fitness, Hockey, Obstacle Course, Orienteering, Pedal-karts and Tunnels. Evening activities included: Camp-fire songs, Quiz, Memory games, Messy games, Movie night (Jungle Book), Saxophone recital, SEP presentation, Team-building games and Wooden games
Various activity certificates were awarded to the children Tuesday lunchtime. The best Junior Camper Certificate was awarded to Lydia Williams and the best Senior Camper Certificate was awarded to Callum Silcox.
Help for Uganda
by Geoff Sole
Uganda was called the ‘Pearl of Africa’ by Sir Winston Churchill. It is endowed with significant natural resources, including ample fertile land, (usually) regular rainfall and rich mineral deposits. Some have thought that it could not only feed itself, but several other African countries as well, if it were managed wisely. The Ugandan economy has great potential. However, chronic political instability and erratic economic management has produced a record of persistent economic decline. This has left Uganda among the world’s poorest and least-developed countries.
In 2008 the Ugandan government introduced a rule that Church denominations needed to have a building to be able to renew their registration. Consequently, the UK and Irish members financed a new Church building in Tororo, which is also used as a school.
Ten years later, the GCI National Leader, William Wilberforce Othieno, has written that the Tororo congregation and school children are in need of the following: Additional Land (the current playground is chronically overcrowded); Bibles (20); Cups (200); Cutlery; Desks (40 new ones and repair of old ones); First Aid Kit (1, large); Kitchen Building (new, as current kitchen has ‘weak’ mud bricks); Kitchen Utensils; Mowing Machine (1); Plates (200); Printer/Photocopier/Scanner (1); Saucepans (2, very large); Sound Equipment; Toilet Cubicles (4 extra ones as currently there are just two holes in the ground for over 200 people); Water Storage Containers (2, very large); Ugandan GCI Annual Conference (the next one requires financial support). All these needs come to about £5,000.
Currently in Uganda there are about 250 GCI members with approximately 400 children in about eight congregations. There is one annual youth camp.
Thank you very much to all those who contributed to the Uganda Appeal Day at Well End, Borehamwood on the 12th of August. Nearly £3,000 has been raised, and Mr James Henderson has approved covering the rest of the cost involved out of our central church funds.
Thank you so much for your support of and prayers for our church in Uganda.
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