Annual Conference Highlights
See a few highlights from the Annual Conference in Minneapolis-including a new outreach effort-and news about CIC staff changes.
Our Work in Uganda
Find out what's happening in Uganda. Aloysius Mugisa shares news of all the good things happening there though the work of CIC. The community has worked toward healing marriages, strengthening families, and sharing a radio gospel program that reaches 65,000 people a week. And employers and employees have a reason to celebrate. Hope for the Workplace seminars have changed many workplaces for the better.
A sell-out crowd of 50 including members of the Men’s and Women’s Chapters of Northern Virginia along with members of Bridgepoint recently gathered to hear former CIC board member Gail Cardwell share her faith at work testimony. Gail highlighted the importance of transforming yourself in the process of transforming the workplace and the joy of integrating your faith life with your work life.
CIC Welcomes Aloysius Mugisa
CIC welcomes Aloysius Mugisa as a full-time employee in Uganda to focus on the tremendous need there. In California, chapters share successful promotion ideas and help inspire others through the Working for Our Father series.
Let's Get Viral
Alex Soholt shares how CIC’s social media presence has taken off and describes how all of us can engage to help grow God’s kingdom and reach the next generation.
2019 Annual Conference
Get an update on the 2019 Annual Conference in Minnesota and learn how a local marketing agency is donating its time and talent to help CIC.
Alternative Ways to Support CIC
CIC member Greg Aitkens provides a helpful overview of Qualified Charitable Donations (QCD) and how they may be a smart alternative for some donors who support CIC. (Please consult with your own personal advisor before making any financial decisions.)
CIC Welcomes New Board Member
Even our Board has a fresh start. CIC welcomes Jennifer Frankenberg to the Board of Directors. Find out about our newest board member and some of the roles and responsibilities of the board.
2018 Annual Conference Highlights
Alex Soholt features highlights from the 2018 CIC Annual Conference and how our presenters strive for Work-Life Peace. Beth Bubik shares how a coworker dropping off copies of his Challenge Newsletter, led her to see an ad for our Nine to Five podcasts, and changed her life.
Lasting impact on the future of CIC
Tim Rowland shares how we can all be better stewards if we give with open hands, open hearts, and open grace. By giving our time, treasure, and talents we can have a lasting impact on the future of CIC.
Aloysius Mugisa shares the good news of how CIC is making a positive difference in the lives of hundreds of Ugandans through our programs—including Challenge Weekends, Marriage and Family workshops, and Bible studies—and the help of prayers and donations.
Inside a Working for Our Father Series
If you’ve ever considered attending or hosting a Working for Our Father series, learn more by reading about the successful series recently held by the Minnesota-South chapter. Hundreds of Christians have been inspired by the Working for Our Father series as they work toward aligning their careers to God’s mission.
Funeral Mass for CIC Co-Founder John Mooney
Over 500 people attended the funeral Mass for CIC co-founder John Mooney on May 19 in Cottonwood, AZ, including many CIC brothers and sisters. John was an inspiration to many and will be greatly missed.
CIC Honors the Memory of John Mooney
Louis Grams shares memories of his friend and CIC cofounder John Mooney who died on April 27, 2018.
Theme Announced for the 2018 Annual Conference
This year’s conference will focus on learning to live a life of peace and freedom in the Holy Spirit. We’ll explore what that means and the type of peace that results.
Nine to Five Podcast Expands
Have you tried our new podcasts yet? We now have five episodes of compelling conversations with Christians aligning their careers to God's mission for you to listen to and share at bit.ly/NinetoFive.
Nine to Five Podcast Series Launched
Our new podcast features conversations with Christians aligning their careers with God’s mission and being Christ in the workplace as well as interviews with experts in the field.
Save the Date for the 2018 Annual Conference
We are excited to announce the dates and location of the 2018 Annual Conference to be held October 5-6 at the Embassy Suites in Bloomington, MN. Click here to reserve a hotel room at our CIC group rate.
Social media helps expand CIC's reach
Alex Soholt is leading efforts to maximize the Christians in Commerce social media presence to reach a new generation and a wider audience. Find out more about how CIC is expanding its outreach on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. If you need assistance with social media, please contact Alex Soholt at email@example.com.
Parish-sponsored Working for Our Father
The Northern Virginia Men’s and Women’s Chapters were invited to lead a Working for Our Father (WFOF) Series at St. Mark Catholic Church, in Vienna, VA. As part of the fall program, the WFOF series runs through November 12.
CIC Welcomes New Employees
The Home Office would like to introduce three new employees to our staff. We welcome Sharon Teitelbaum, Steve Becker, and Alex Soholt.
Sharon Teitelbaum joined our staff in June and works part-time in our Home Office in Virginia. She will be on the Editorial Staff of the Challenge Newsletter, as well as an in-house editor, and assist with data entry and membership communications.
CIC has been developing a plan for expanding the ministry to adapt to the next generation and to access the available technologies to reach them. As part of this effort we’ve been reorganizing and adding new skills and talents.
Steve Becker began work on this front in February as a part-time employee and serves as a board member. He will assist in developing new content such as Working for Our Father. This work will include podcasts, videos, and blogs. He will also be helping to refocus our content on the workplace through our Workday Reflections, Challenge Newsletter, and development of stories from our members. Steve brings many years of experience in advertising, marketing, and brand building to this position.
Alex Soholt was brought on in August as a Communications Specialist. He is based in Minneapolis and will work closely with Steve and board member Luke Cahill to develop and apply a long-term communications strategy to reach a younger and larger audience.
2017 Annual Conference General Sessions
Our 2017 Annual Conference is an opportunity to engage in Spirit-filled worship and fellowship, and hear practical and inspired talks. “Coworkers in Christ – Being a Servant Leader,” is the theme ofthis year’s Annual Conference in Palm Springs, CA, October 20-21. God has given all brothers and sisters the ability, gifts, and talents to lead. As Coworkers in Christ, we are all part of the God’s leadership team. Our goal is for all attendees to grow in their understanding of the mission of CIC as we evolve, and take personal ownership of God in the workplace.
Christianity is the Gospel brought to lifein each of us. No matter what positions we hold, we are equipped to influence our workplaces and share our experiences in ways that are admirable and attractive. As Christians in Commerce increases our outward and generational focus, we need all members to engage in this movement. This year, the Annual Conference General Sessions will highlight our past, our current work, and the exciting future our Father is calling us to embrace. We’re introducing table-led discussions after each General Session toallow everyone to discuss the same message at thesame time.
- Featured speaker and Olympic Gold medalist in US Women’s Soccer, Julie Foudy, will kick off the conference. She will discuss ‘Leadership: It’s Not Professional, It’s Personal,’ and will be interviewed by our newest CIC Board Member, Luke Cahill. Julie is the daughter of Jim and Judy Foudy, active members in our CIC Palm Springs Men’s andWomen’s Chapters.
- Next, we will spend time with our Founding Fathers, Louis Grams, John Mooney, and Bud Rose. This ‘Founding Fathers’ Panel Discussion’ will review the original vision for CIC and will be led by current CIC President, Terry Cassell.
- Rich Preuss, CIC Chairman of the Board, will present ‘CIC: Today and Its Future’ how the Lord has called Christians in Commerce to touch lives over the past 35 years and into the 21stcentury. This only happens when each person takes personal ownership of their calling to be a leader for Christ’s mission.
- Steve Becker, CIC Board Member, will discuss ‘What’s My Part?’ He’ll challenge all attendees to ask, “What’s my role as a servant leader in our Father’s mission? What am I ‘formed’ to do? What gifts and abilities is the Spirit fostering in me? Where can I be of best useand be the most helpful?” Steve will illustrate from hisown experiences five keysto discovering the answers.
- Terry Cassell, CIC President, will conclude the conference with ‘Your Responsibility as a Coworker in Christ.’ He will encourage us to bring the message back to our CIC chapters and workplaces, and to grow in ourservant leadership.
Founding Fathers and Featured General Session Speaker
We will begin the conference by reviewing the original vision for CIC as presented by the Founding Fathers: Louis Grams, John Mooney, and Bud Rose. We will also hear talks about what the Board of Directors has discerned our call is today and where we are headed in the future.
One exciting highlight of this year’s conference will be a session with Julie Foudy, daughter of long-time CIC members Jim and Judy Foudy from the Palm Desert chapters. Julie is a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist who has been inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame. She played on the United States women’s national soccer team from 1987–2004, founded the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy for young women, is an ESPN affiliate, and has authored a book on leadership called Choose to Matter, which focuses on everyone developing their own unique leadership skills.
Come hear what our Founding Fathers and Julie Foudy have to share with all of us!
First Co-ed Challenge Weekend Hosted in Sacramento
The Greater Sacramento co-ed pilot Challenge Weekend (CWE) was held April 28-29. It was co-sponsored with the Newman Catholic Center (NCC) Sacramento at California State University.
It all began when the men’s chapter decided to ask the Newman Center to rent their facility for the men’s projected September CWE. The director of the Newman Center asked if the weekend could be opened to their students and alumni from California State University, Sacramento (CSUS). There were concerns on our part as to how they would respond to the ecumenical aspect of CIC. Before we had a chance to voice this concern, the director asked if we could also open the weekend to the other Christian ministries at the university. And, could we make it co-ed? Further, the director wanted to hold the CWE right away rather than waiting until September. The date chosen by the Newman Center was the week before finals.
We had many bumps along the way. Due to a major obstacle, invitations were not allowed to go out until the week before the event. Through prayer, determination and hard work we managed to pull the weekend together with a total of twenty-five participants. We had six new people, five of them being students.
Jon Cassady from the CIC Home Office joined us, giving one of the talks. He commented on the fact that this was the first time we had accommodated both students and professionals, men and women, on one Challenge Weekend. The weekend also supported NCC’s request and CIC’s current focus of the new CIC Working for Our Father series (which is offered to a mixed audience). He stated this style of CWE was unique based on the university campus and environment.
Our commuter CWE began with two talks Friday night. We continued Saturday with six talks, an Emmaus Walk and finished with a Lord’s Day Celebration. The CWE talks were presented to the mixed group, and then facilitated discussion groups were gender based. The men’s CIC “band” provided wonderful praise and worship music for all to enjoy and be inspired.
The NCC has asked if we could hold another CWE and also a Working for Our Father series. We will even have one of the student participants do a talk at the next CWE!
When asked about the weekend, the participants said they enjoyed the testimonies, the talks, small group sharing, being able to share and pray with others, the singing and the co-ed format. In fact, existing CIC members expressed a desire for more opportunities for the men and women to interact.
As a result of the weekend, one new women’s Challenge Group has been started. All who attended were blessed by the weekend. God is good!
Working for Our Father: What's Next?
Our exciting new workshop, Working for Our Father (WFOF), has officially taken off! In the past seven months, chapters in Minnesota, Arizona, and Indiana have all hosted the workshop at least once, and at least one more is scheduled. All of the presentations have been delivered jointly to both men and women, and the initial feedback has been very positive and encouraging.
Luke Cahill (CIC Board of Directors) helped to design the workshop with an eye to the younger generation and was part of a pilot program in Minnesota back in September. Several participants commented to him that the WFOF workshop challenged them to expect more of themselves as Christians in the workforce. Russ Shurts is one of those participants, and confirmed that the experience “changed my attitude towards work and my career.” Another, Joe Birkholz, told us, “I was inspired to bring my faith more fully into my work.”
Christine Ziegler (South Bend/Elkhart Women’s Chapter President) attended a presentation hosted by the South/Bend Elkhart men’s and women’s chapters in January and found the videos “very compelling.” The Minnesota chapters also presented the workshop in January, which long-time CIC member Ginny DeSanto described as “relevant and meaningful.”
One theme that seemed to resonate with newcomers and long-time members alike was the need to shake off the “live to work” or “work to live” mentality. Most of the participants we spoke to said they could relate to both of these mindsets, noting it is often difficult to achieve a healthy balance.
Luke, Russ and Joe are all in their mid-thirties and part of a Challenge Group that formed out of the WFOF pilot program. Luke says many of the newcomers had no previous involvement with CIC or any other Christian outlets, and wanted to continue meeting together after the workshop had concluded.
Their experience is not unique. In South Bend, for example, the women’s chapter changed the time of one of its Challenge Group meetings in order to accommodate the schedules of some of the new women who had attended the workshop and didn’t want things to end there.
Ginny agreed with the importance of continued follow up. “I think many women would welcome (the idea), and need to process and share.”
“Sometimes it’s easy to become isolated from meaningful connections and support,” Luke added. “This is a group where we all appreciate being able to go deep, be vulnerable, and be guided in an applied and relevant way.” Joe weighed in, calling the Challenge Group sessions “very fruitful,” and telling us that he has “experienced the power of inviting the Holy Spirit into me on a more regular basis.”
So what’s next for Working for Our Father? More new Challenge Groups? More new members? Ginny called it a “no-brainer” that the program is a powerful tool for growing our ministry. Time will tell if she is right!
To learn more about WFOF or to host a workshop in your area, please visit www.cicintl.org/wfof.
Your Gift That Keeps On Giving
Many people ask how they can support Christians in Commerce (CIC) as we work together to be Christ’s presence in the workplace. We’re all familiar with the concept of time, talents, and treasure. I’d like to share a few thoughts on treasure.
There are different ways to support Christians in Commerce financially. Certainly our annual Member Gift Campaign is the financial lifeblood of CIC and most important to support. Another way to contribute is through what is called “planned giving,” or giving at the end of one’s life.
I joined CIC during a very dark period in my life. Various brothers literally took me by the hand and brought me out of the darkness and into the light of Christ.
In gratitude to these brothers and to CIC, I want this work of God to continue well beyond my lifetime. I found the easiest way to do this was to name CIC as the primary beneficiary of one of my retirement plans. The reasons I selected this approach were the following:
Easy: Simply obtain a Change of Beneficiary form from your retirement company and name Christians in Commerce as a primary or contingent beneficiary. This took me three minutes to complete.
Flexible: You can name CIC as either a primary or contingent beneficiary, and for any percentage or dollar amount.
Tax efficient: Estates/Trusts are not subject to federal taxes when funds are donated to charities (CIC).
Revocable: Your beneficiary designation can be changed at any time.
I encourage everyone to prayerfully consider making some planned gift to CIC. After praying, act. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do for the Lord today. There is no better investment we can make in life than in the building of God’s kingdom here on earth, and CIC is at the heart of this.
South Bend/Elkhart Chapters Host Working for Our Father
Vanessa Cooreman Smith
For four weeks in January, the men’s and women’s South Bend/Elkhart chapters in Indiana presented the “Working for Our Father” series. Each week, between thirty and forty participants came together for this powerful presentation to learn how much more rewarding our careers can be when we view our work as part of God’s kingdom and plan.
Talks by Christine Ziegler, Joe Cramer, Steve Smith and Rich Preuss augmented videos produced for the series. They offered insight into how God designed work to be part of our relationship with him and how the way we view that work impacts our overall happiness. The speakers encouraged us to set aside the mindset that our “work life” is something isolated from our faith and instead to view work as an opportunity to grow God’s kingdom, serve his people, and discover the new levels of fulfillment and community that this life has to offer.
Since most working adults spend more time at work than with their families, the series was extremely relevant. Small group discussions held after the video and talks each week allowed everyone to get to know one another, discuss the concepts from the series, and pray together.
While the series is now complete, the good work has just begun. At least thirteen new people joined us for the series, and many expressed interest in joining a Challenge Group. Now, new groups are forming and new relationships are being forged. It’s exciting to see what God is doing!
In Uganda we have witnessed how transforming marriages and family lives translates into transforming public and workplace lives. Healthy marriages and families produce good public servants. I would like to share about our recent ecumenical Annual Couples’ Conference that occurred from January 16-22, 2017 and was attended by 220 couples.
It was a Spirit-filled event! Fifty-seven of the couples who attended were catechists, which are lay church ministers in their respective churches. It is one of their responsibilities to prepare couples for marriage. They attended the conference both for their own personal enrichment, as well as in order to be better equipped to support the couples they serve. The catechists are the ones who provide the direct connection between the local pastors and their congregations. They were excited about what they experienced in the program and promised to mobilize other catechists to participate in CIC.
In addition to myself and Oliva (my wife), there were nine couples who facilitated with the talks and discussions and another ten who worked in hospitality and the kitchen. It was a very expensive program to feed so many, and very tiring as well, but we all found it to be deeply fulfilling. We were so blessed and happy to see the Lord healing marriages and families in such a mighty way!
It was a very blessed program. The Catholic bishop of the Fort Portal diocese visited us and addressed the congregation. A day before the end of the program, thirteen of the couples solemnized their unions by being married in the church. Of these couples, seven had had no intention of marrying prior to the conference, but after listening to the talks, they made an instant decision to wed while there.
Some of the couples who came to this conference were separated and living apart. As a result of the conference, they reunited and went home together.
The testimonies shared with us at the end of the conference were so many that I could not record all of them! Here are a few:
“I feel guilty that I reversed the scripture by leaving most of the work to my wife and only helping her some of the time. Now I know I should do most of the work, for she was created to be my helper, and not the reverse.”
“My marriage has been hell because I have been very selfish... I did not care about the feelings of my wife. In seeking pleasure for myself, I have been hurting her and being hurt by her in return. From now on, I will always take care not to do what hurts her emotions.”
“Romans 12:21 is going to guide my life and my relationship with my husband. I will strive not to let evil defeat good, but will instead defeat evil with goodness. I have always paid my husband with the same currency for every hurt he brings me and this has been escalating hostilities between us. From today on I will pay hate with love.”
“I want to repent for speaking to my children evil about their father. Though he has not been treating us well, I will never again tell our children his failures because this made them hate him. I will try to clear his image among our children.”
“After learning that marriage is a covenant between a man, a woman and God, I realized I was living in a rebellion against God by living in an illicit marriage. I told my husband we should not return home rebellious as we had come. Fortunately my husband was of the same mind as I, and we instantly decided to wed. Long live CIC!”
2017 CIC Board of Directors
Members of the CIC Board of Directors who served during the 2016 calendar year included Terry Cassell, Steve Becker, Kirby Falkenberg, Art Klaum, Dan Kuplic, Rich Preuss and Dan Trevino.
Kirby, who served on the board for nine years, and as Chairman of the Board for four of those years, will be stepping down from this role. We would like to thank him for his service in this capacity, as well as for his efforts as our liaison to the Uganda chapters and our Women’s Chapters Advisory Board. Kirby has been a faithful member of CIC since 1993. He is being replaced by Rich Preuss as the new Chairman of the Board.
We are happy to welcome two new additions to the board for 2017! Both Luke Cahill and Gail Cardwell have accepted the invitation to serve as board members for a term of one year.
To provide some background, experienced CIC board members serve a three year term of office, while members new to the board serve for a one year period of time. When that year is complete, and after prayer and discussion by both parties, a determination is reached as to whether the member should continue the term for two additional years.
The responsibilities of our board include:
- Meetings four times a year
- Monthly conference calls
- Setting the overall strategy for the growth of our ministry
- Approving and implementing new projects
- Serving as the Steering Committee for the Annual Conference
Below are short biographies for both Luke and Gail. Biographies of our existing board members can be found HERE.
LUKE CAHILL has been active in CIC for close to a year. He was recruited by Steve Becker to lead a pro-bono research project to help CIC better understand the next generation and was inspired to stay involved. By his own admission his participation has already had a life-changing impact on him. He is the Managing Principal of a market research company, REAL Insight. His company fields custom research projects for Fortune 500 clients, including General Mills, Pepsico, and Johnson & Johnson.
Luke received his bachelor’s in business from the University of Minnesota-Morris and MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. In addition to his work with CIC, he volunteers as a business mentor to seventh graders in a low income school in Minneapolis.
Luke and his wife of almost ten years, Angela, live in Eagan, MN. They have four young sons: Lachlan, Torin, Callum, and Beccan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GAIL CARDWELL is currently serving as President of the Northern Virginia (NOVA) Women’s Chapter and will be the first woman to serve CIC as a board member. She has been a CIC member for seven years, having been introduced to the ministry by Terry Cassell and Therese McNichol, and has since spoken at several CIC Annual Conferences. In addition to her CIC volunteer activities, she was one of five women to launch a start-up nonprofit, Suited for Change. Gail also volunteers as a scripture teacher, ministering to seventh and eighth grade girls.
Gail has been employed in the financial services sector for over twenty years and is in the process of becoming a college planning consultant. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in International Economics from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in City Planning from Harvard University.
Working for Our Father: New, Impactful Workshop Series Unveiled
The new Working for Our Father workshop was introduced at the 2016 Annual Conference. Several of the videos were played both at the leaders’ workshop as well as the general sessions. The workshop is designed to assist baptized Christians in integrating their work life into their Christian faith.
Written and produced to impact all age groups, particularly the next generation (25 to 45 yearolds), this series utilizes professionally developed, engaging videos that have captured the imagination of attendees, opening up to them a world of possibilities in working for their Father by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Working for Our Father shows how Christians can align their careers with God’s mission. It can be jointly presented to men and women. It can also be done in either one four-hour session or over four separate gatherings.
There are four presentations:
- Accepting the Father's Gift of Work
- Triumphing Over Toil, Trials, and Temptations
- Aligning Your Career to God’s Mission
- Operating in the Fruit of the Spirit
A personal sharing precedes each of four presentations. This is a personal story that illustrates the theme of the presentation.
Engaging videos are direct and to the point. They use music, dramatic visuals, and animated text to underscore a Christian perspective on work. The program emphasizes the core messages and content of the calling to be Christ in the workplace.
Personal reflections follow the videos and last five minutes. The participants are asked to remain seated and quietly follow the suggested exercise. During this time they should prayerfully consider what they heard while listening for the Lord to show them how it applies to them personally.
A personal and practical application is encouraged through a facilitated discussion group. The first question comes out of the reflection and encourages individuals to engage and apply the content with others. The facilitators assigned to each group are there to ensure participants apply the content to their situations and listen.
The last discussion ends with video and reflection inviting attendees to be open to more of the Holy Spirit being released in their lives. This approach is done with respect to the individual and in whatever way they are most comfortable.
Information and materials can be obtained from the CIC Home Office.
View the preview video at https://vimeo.com/195507168.
2016 Annual Conference
The CIC Annual Conference was held on October 14-15, 2016 in the Palm Springs, CA area. It was our first time at this breathtaking location, and a record number of 180 people were in attendance! Glory to God!
Prior to the weekend, we conducted our very first pre-conference VIP Luncheon, comprised of local Coachella Valley city officials, business and faith community leaders, and local media contacts.
This groundbreaking event was hosted by Christians in Commerce (CIC) President Terry Cassell along with the local men’s and women’s chapter leaders. Terry spoke about the mission and purpose of CIC and how it serves the local communities where we have a presence.
Cathedral City Mayor Stanley E. Henry and Palm Springs Mayor Rob Moon we among those in attendance. We were blessed to pray with Mayor Moon for him and the local community as they mourned the recent loss of two police officers on Oct. 8, 2016. The video is on our CIC website and posted on our CIC YouTube channel.
The conference itself was heavily supported by the local chapters, who offered hospitality to those who couldn’t secure hotel rooms and provided transportation and meals for many members not from the area.
Here are some quotes from a few of those who attended:
“The spiritual community of this conference brought a true feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood and created a unity I did not feel in previous conferences.”
“I feel there is a resurgence brewing in the growth and enthusiasm within our membership. The new video presentation (Working for Our Father) was extremely moving and well thought out.”
“Incredible speakers, stories, content and Emmaus Walk. Working for Our Father is a game changer. My passion and commitment to CIC is renewed.”
“The most important take away for me was the message that we all need to step up to the plate more with the younger people, as well as those who are drifting in the wind. We have a mission of bringing Christ to wherever we are, and we need to take it more seriously. There was a strong message of more prayer time and meditation to absorb the gifts of the Holy Spirit and spread the Gospel.”
For those of you who were not able to be with us this year, we hope to see you in 2017!
Women's Chapters Advisory Board Welcomes Catherine Pingel!
Catherine is a member of the South Bend/Elkhart Women’s Chapter where she currently serves on the Service Council. She credits her first exposure to Christians in Commerce to her former boss, and current CIC member, Jim Ganther (current Tampa Men’s Chapter President).
Catherine is the oldest of seven children and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. She currently works as a commercial real estate broker and property manager in South Bend, IN. She is active on the Trinity School at Greenlawn Alumni Committee and serves in other capacities in the People of Praise Christian community.
Coachella Valley Business & Leaders Pre-Conference Luncheon
The 2016 Annual Conference Marketing Team, comprised of local Coachella Valley and Orange County men’s and women’s chapters, discussed the concept of informing the local business community about the mission and purpose of Christians in Commerce prior to this year’s Annual Conference.
To help get the word out, Peter Richardson (Palm Springs Men’s Chapter) visited with his longtime friend, Cathedral City Mayor Stanley E. Henry, who is also a retired Chief of Police, and invited him to attend our first CIC Annual Conference in Cathedral City. Mayor Henry accepted Peter’s invitation, and will be extending a welcome to our conference attendees on Friday, October 14th!
This meeting led to other local CIC members inviting additional civic, governmental, business, and church leaders from the Coachella Valley to an introductory luncheon on Tuesday the 11th at the Annual Conference host hotel to meet with CIC President Terry Cassell, as well as some of CIC’s other leaders, and to share with them about our Christian workplace ministry.
Salinas Valley Men's Chapter Annual Barbeque Fundraiser
Clem Richardson & Al Parolini
The Salinas Valley Men’s Chapter held its 20th annual barbeque fundraiser at Royal Oaks Park on August 27th. Over fifty CIC members and their families and friends attended the “Family Picnic”, as they have come to call it. The event took place on a mild Saturday afternoon. Jon Cassady joined them from the CIC Home Office in Northern Virginia.
“It was a great afternoon of fellowship with the Salinas brothers and their families. The food was awesome! Mike Komenda wouldn’t even share his secret rub or barbeque sauce recipes!”
As has been the practice for the past several years, Mike McNama and his crew, which included Mike Campos, Mike Komenda and John Oberto, barbequed and prepared the excellent meal - ribs, chicken, rice, bread and a big salad, with strawberry shortcake for dessert.
Many items were donated for the fundraiser by various individuals and organizations, allowing the chapter to raise approximately $3,000.00. The funds will be used to provide scholarships to Challenge Weekend attendees and to finalize the chapter’s pledge to the home office in support of the fine work they perform both nationally and internationally in expanding the Lord’s kingdom.
In short, it was an excellent venue for families to gather together, celebrate a great meal and support the Lord’s kingdom in the marketplace!
Santa Cruz 12th Annual Barbeque Fundraiser
The men’s and women’s Santa Cruz chapters hosted their annual barbeque fundraiser on Saturday, August 27th. It was held at beautiful Shaffer Park in Santa Cruz in a natural setting amongst towering redwood trees.
There was a great turnout of over 125 people this year and a wonderful mix of regular CIC members and invited guests. Probably about 25% of the turnout was made up of first-time attendees. Many guests were getting their first exposure to CIC, and I think we made a very good impression!
We also made a special effort to reach out to past CIC members and ended up seeing five men we hadn’t heard from in quite a while. Steve Bogner, a professional Bocce Ball player who is also one of our newest members, gave Bocce lessons and organized a Bocce tournament for the event.
There were plenty of children’s activities as well. We had a record number of children this year. One family had four generations represented! There was very spirited bidding at the silent auction this year, and it was a lot of fun. Between the auction items, ticket sales, and other donations, we brought in about $5,000.00.
2016 Annual Conference Workshops
As you begin planning your trip to this year’s CIC Annual Conference, here’s a brief summary of each workshop. You will have an opportunity to attend each one.
- Personal Mission: Fulfilling My Call and Vocation in the Workplace Each of us is called to live out our own story - with friends and family, and in the workplace. How can we best serve God through our labor and embrace the vocation he has given to each of us?
- Being a Difference-Maker: Equipping the Laborers Learn about some practical tools that can help you make an impact on your workplace and the world around you. These insights will help prepare you to embrace the opportunities God presents to you in all areas of life.
- Commerce and Culture: Dealing with the Workplace Culture Fifty percent of our waking hours are spent in the workplace; yet, it is where we are most likely to leave our faith at the door. As a result, faith tends to be a minimal influence in our business decisions and working relationships. How can we change this and impact our work culture?
- Exercising Religious Freedom in the Workplace and Everyday Gatherings Religion in the American workplace is among the most contentious and difficult areas for employees and employers to navigate. This workshop, conducted by two lawyers, will focus on what we are and aren’t allowed to say as a Christian in the workplace.
Prescott Valley Commuter Weekend
God is good, for sure! At the invitation of William Judd and Lifepointe Church in Prescott Valley, AZ, the Scottsdale Men’s Chapter hosted a Commuter Challenge Weekend this past April 29-May 1. Of the thirty-three total attendees, twenty-four were attending their first CIC activity. These twenty-four new attendees were a testament of the impact William is having on these men’s lives. William is a mortgage broker and the Men’s Ministry Director at Lifepointe Church. At the invitation of Jon Denny, William attended his first Challenge Weekend about three years ago.
When asked about the weekend, William responded that he “fell in love with Jesus and all mankind, no matter how much my flesh or mind wanted to dislike or ignore someone.” During William’s second Challenge Weekend last year, we discussed doing a weekend for his church, which is located over 100 miles outside the Scottsdale area. Several months later William discussed the idea with his pastor and received his permission, and the weekend was borne.
Music was provided by both the Lifepointe band and our Scottsdale brothers. Lives were changed, including one man accepting Jesus Christ for the first time in his life and another man rediscovering love in his marriage. Sunday we reconvened on the second floor of an RV shop, and we were joined by the proprietor, Danny. Danny participated in Talk 7, and a couple of us then discussed it with him in a small group.
We left with an invitation from Danny to return. On Monday we decided to hold the first Prescott Valley Chapter meeting on Wednesday at 6:30 A.M. at Danny’s. We had to send invitations out before we even had confirmation from Danny. When we finally connected with Danny, he not only said yes, he offered us our own set of keys to make it easy for us to get in for our meetings. Praise God!
The Prescott Valley Challenge Group is off to a strong start, with nine men attending the first meeting and ten attending the second.
When we say God opens doors, we mean it!
Launch of New Annual Conference Website
After months of hard work and dedication from members and staff, we are pleased to announce the launch of this brand-new website in support of our Annual Conference. This new website launch complements our current Christians in Commerce website and may be viewed now at www.cicconf.com.
The goal of this new website is to provide an easier, more interactive way to learn about our Annual Conference for our members and visitors. Specifically, it will fulfill the following ministry needs:
- Engage existing members
- Increase the number of registrations for the conference
- Reach new audiences via the internet (Millennials, Generation X’ers, and Baby Boomers)
- Inform people about the conference
- Provide answers to common questions about the conference
- Help fuel an ongoing conversation
- Build community-based messaging
ExxonMobil Employees Embrace Christ in the Workplace Message
“God calls Christians to be his presence in the workplace,” Bill Dalgetty told 220 ExxonMobil employees gathered over their lunch hour at the company’s worldwide operating headquarters in Houston, Texas on May 4th.
Dalgetty, who worked for Mobil for thirty-eight years, was invited to speak at the closing session of an Alpha program that had been conducted weekly since February on the company’s new 300-acre campus. “I was amazed at the number of employees involved in the Alpha program, as well as various Bible studies and prayer meetings that take place weekly before work or over the noon hour,” Dalgetty said. “They have organized themselves as the Christian Community at ExxonMobil with a website at www.ccemhc.com to communicate with one another and provide additional support.”
Dalgetty’s talk was essentially the message of CIC and its mission, as well as the book, Hope for the Workplace – Christ in You, which Dalgetty authored in 2013:
- Understand that your work is important to God and is part of his plan for creation.
- Accept God’s offer to dwell in you and seek the release of the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Be God’s presence, bringing love, integrity, and excellence to the people and circumstances of your work.
In addition to this sizable Christian group in Houston, there are prayer groups and Bible studies in various ExxonMobil facilities around the world that culminate in a worldwide video conference prayer meeting each October with all of these groups praying for each other and the company.
“As I wrapped up my remarks and looked out over a packed room,” Dalgetty said, “I referenced the quote from Billy Graham, ‘I believe that one of the next great moves of God is going to be through believers in the workplace.’ This word,” I said, “is being fulfilled through you today.”
Bill Dalgetty served as president of CIC from 1999 to 2008 and chairman of the board from 2009 to 2012.
Christians in Commerce Uganda Update
The Christians in Commerce (CIC) Home Office recently sent a team of five individuals to Uganda from May 16-28, 2016 to visit the Men’s and Women’s Chapters and presented to approximately 6,200 Ugandan brothers and sisters in eight villages. The team included three of the Home Office staff: Terry Cassell, Jon Cassady and Therese McNichol, and also Alanna Crimmins and Randy Raciti. They were extremely blessed by the local Ugandans’ hospitality and reception in the various villages, as well as the love and service they experienced on the part of the CIC Service Council. The sessions were promoted and supported by the Uganda CIC Service Council, which consists of twenty men and women and contains representatives from most of the villages where CIC has a chapter.
The team had the honor of beginning their trip with a visit to Bishop Robert of the Fort Portal Catholic Diocese. Bishop Robert is the person who first invited CIC to come to Uganda and begin CIC chapters and he continues to support the work of CIC today. Another highlight of the trip was when CIC President Terry Cassell had the opportunity to speak on the chapter’s weekly live radio broadcast. Terry’s message was on the topic of hope and the show was hosted by Aloysius Mugisa, CIC Uganda Men’s Chapter President.
A complete summary and write up is available in the Christians in Commerce Uganda Update insert.
Fresno State University Outreach
Lucy Vasquez and Sophia Norman
After years of working together in education, the Lord reconnected us through Christians in Commerce. Due to our professional backgrounds, it was a natural desire of ours to reach young believers through the framework of CIC’s mission. The passion we share for young people has gradually grown into a calling. When we learned about the remarkable works God was doing with the CIC campus club at Arizona State, he inspired us to plant this seed in Fresno. However, we knew it was vital to wait on the Lord.
After years of waiting, the Lord sent us and Peter Arnold, President of the Fresno Men’s Chapter, to Fresno Pacific University, where we sought out Dr. Angulus Wilson, Director of Spiritual Formation, for guidance. He embraced our mission and proposed building a partnership, challenging his student leaders to work as CIC apprentices and to reach out to believers at Fresno State University, a secular campus. Dr. Wilson connected us to a Fresno State stakeholder, Dr. Francine Oputa, and helped us gain sponsorship from their Faculty/ Staff Christian Fellowship.
The Fresno Men’s and Women’s Chapters are currently working with both universities to host a launch event on Fresno State’s campus in the fall, where our apprentices will be introducing the CIC mission. At this event, our goal is to recruit at least twenty-five students in order to establish ourselves as an official campus club. We ask for your support by praying strategically for the Lord to go before us, preparing the way for us to reach out to our young brothers and sisters in Christ.
2016 Annual Conference Planning Committee
In February, twelve members from our Southern California Men’s and Women’s Chapters, along with the CIC home office, established the 2016 Annual Conference Planning Committee. Through the establishment of this local presence, these members are preparing to communicate with local chapter “Annual Conference Champions” to encourage attendance in Palm Springs, CA this coming October 14-15.
The desire is to promote our Annual Conference to multiple audiences, such as past attendees, current and past members (along with spouses), friends of CIC, children or grandchildren, peers at the workplace, friends from church or in other ministries, and those who have no awareness of Christians in Commerce.
One of the first items discussed was collecting “What the CIC Annual Conference Meant to Me” statements, which we can use in our marketing and messaging for the conference.
Palm Springs and the Palm Desert area (Coachella Valley) are such beautiful destinations that the planning team is considering offering some pre- and postconference tourist venues. Look forward to receiving more information regarding our Annual Conference.
Please contact Jon Cassady (email@example.com), CIC home office, or Peter Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Palm Springs Men’s Chapter, who has agreed to serve as the team lead, if you have any thoughts or questions.
Start making your reservations now. We are looking forward to seeing you in Palm Springs in October!
Northern Virginia Seminar
The Northern Virginia men’s and women’s chapters sponsored a seminar entitled “Doing the Right Thing in Business and Government” on February 2, 2016 at Maggiano’s Little Italy in McLean, VA. The seminar had 103 people registered.
The speakers included Mark Lytle, Assistant U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Bill Colegrove, CEO of aspenhome™ Furniture and Furniture Values International.
Mr. Lytle described the impact of corruption on society, how otherwise good people get involved, and what people can do to avoid being ensnared in corruption themselves. One of the highlights was a video of the actual transfer of $100,000 from an undercover agent to Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson at the Pentagon City Mall.
Mr. Colegrove shared how his commitment to Jesus Christ guided major decisions made by his company in recent years. He concluded that better ethical outcomes take place when people are motivated to do the right thing as a result of their relationship with and commitment to Jesus Christ, in contrast to relying only on a regimen of rules and consequences.
Here is some of the feedback from those who attended:
“I gained a good understanding regarding the criminal justice process and a better understanding of the importance of being ethical and having a Christ-like approach in the workplace."
“I was impressed by Bill Colegrove’s trust in prayer to face an almost insurmountable situation.”
“My key takeaway was the importance of building bonds with other believers who are committed to serving and representing Christ in the workplace.”
“Don’t be afraid to do the right—the ethical—thing.”
“Not only were the speakers good, the time of fellowship with other Christian business people was simply outstanding.”
Gilroy/Morgan Hill Young Women's Group
Success! The official kickoff of the WCIC Young Women’s Group in the Gilroy/Morgan Hill Chapter was all that I imagined!
Over the past few months, I’ve felt a calling to put together a group for working women and mothers, ages 25-50. Although there is a strong sisterhood among the WCIC members, I felt that I didn’t always relate to what other sisters were talking about, be it retirement life in Christ or fond memories of grandchildren. So I prayed, asking God how we could get WCIC to start a Young Women’s Group.
I discussed the idea with our wonderful chapter president, Diane McGinty, and she welcomed it with open arms. Diane and her husband, Kevin, mentored me and guided me through every step. I got the word out through my WCIC sisters, emails, flyers, our Facebook page, and I invited people in my neighborhood.
With God’s grace and many prayers, four women attended our first Young Women’s Group. I was overjoyed as these wonderful women shared their gratitude for this meeting. One woman said, “I was praying to God just the other day about opening my home for my church to do prayer, and then you literally knocked on my door. I knew my prayers were answered!” Another woman, whom I just met that night, had been asking God to show her a way to get closer to him and to learn how to pray with ease and grace. So we knew God was with us in these answered prayers.
I’m so grateful that God put this on my heart. I’m looking forward to an exciting year and the success of this group.
All glory to God!
2016 Annual Christians in Commerce Conference Dates and Location Announced
The 2016 Annual Christians in Commerce Conference will be held on October 14-15 in the Palm Springs area at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Golf Resort, Palm Springs Area, Cathedral City, CA.
More information to follow. Mark your calendars!
WCIC Board Welcomes Sharon Rose!
The Women’s CIC Board of Directors is pleased to welcome Sharon Rose!
Sharon was a witness to the writing of the first Challenge Weekend as her husband, Bud, along with CIC’s two other founders, Louis Grams and John Mooney, drafted the weekend in an upper room above Mooney’s shoe store in 1983. Sharon was a speaker for the Women’s Track at CIC Annual Conferences prior to the formation of Women’s Christians in Commerce. She is a member of the recently-established WCIC-South Bend/Elkhart Chapter, where she currently serves on the Service Council.
Sharon has a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN, and was blessed in so many ways in her career teaching second grade. She has been a women’s leader and done pastoral work in the People of Praise, a charismatic, ecumenical, Christian covenant community, of which she and Bud have been members since 1972. They have been married for 54 years and the Lord has given them a treasure in their 6 children, their spouses, and 30 awesome grandchildren!
Sharon can be reached at email@example.com. Welcome Sharon.
CIC Board Welcomes Dan Trevino!
The CIC Board of Directors is excited to welcome Dan Trevino!
Dan and his wife Karen live in Chandler, Arizona and have been married for 34 years. Together they have three adult children and one granddaughter.
Dan has been a member of the Mesa Chapter for 19 years, where he has served in various leadership capacities, including Service Council Secretary and Treasurer, as well as Challenge Weekend Administrator. He is co-founder of MicroBlend Paint, a paint technology company, and is also a former board president and current board member of Paz de Cristo Community Outreach Center, serving the poor and homeless.
If you would like to get to know Dan better, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome aboard, Dan!
Orange County 10th Annual CIC Barbecue
The Orange County Chapters held their 10th Annual CIC Barbecue on August 26th. It was a truly special time and a joyful celebration.
There were three chapters involved and a total of 64 attendees. Along with the Orange County Chapter and the newly-formed Mission Viejo Chapter, we were especially proud to welcome the WCIC-Orange County Chapter, spearheaded by Jennifer Frankenberg.
Our Annual CIC Barbecue, started by Paul Finorio (now in Palm Desert), has always been a blessed social event. This year was no exception, and we enjoyed lots of good food and plenty of time for sharing.
Just a week prior we had been deeply saddened by the loss of a great brother in Christ, Tom Drennen, a long-time member who lived a fruitful 91 years. His valuable contributions and historical biblical insights were greatly anticipated by our Challenge Group every week.
During the barbecue, fellow CIC member and violinist virtuoso Louis Portillo performed a special tribute to Tom that he had composed especially for the event. Louis also shared briefly about Tom’s life and performed the hymn "Before The Throne of God". After the tribute there were tears of joy; the Holy Spirit was truly present. Tom’s wonderful wife Patricia and two daughters were able to attend and experience the performance.
God is good!
Recently, we held two conferences in the same month, both of which were a great success!
The first took place August 20th-23rd. We held it in the town of Fort Portal. We asked a priest to lead this weekend, which was attended mainly by people who work with government and NGOs. He gave us the go-ahead saying, “You have come to give me a hand in my own work, how dare I refuse help?”
So, we started inviting individuals to the weekend. We would reach out to them personally or call them on the phone. In the end, we had 32 attendees.
At the end of the weekend many people gave testimonies as to how they had been touched. One man said, “I do not remember when I last attended a spiritual function apart from going to church on Sunday. And I can't imagine how CIC came to think of inviting me to this weekend. God must have decided to go after me, his lost sheep.”
Our second conference was held in a place called Kamwenge. It ran from August 27th-30th. The word of God was powerfully proclaimed and the Holy Spirit was mightily present. Miracles of healing and deliverance were worked. About 1,800 people attended this second conference. Praise God!
Greater Sacramento Challenge Weekend
The Greater Sacramento Chapter held its most recent Challenge Weekend from August 28th-29th. There were a total of 28 attendees present, 8 of whom were first-timers.
It was clear from the men’s feedback that they greatly valued the fellowship they shared during the event. One brother commented that the best part of the weekend for him was “the group discussions, which allowed me to share my feelings.” Several others expressed that the sharings and personal stories had deepened their faith and brought them closer together, with one participant remarking how much he appreciated “connecting with like-minded brothers”.
The talks were also a home-run! Attendees described them as “excellent”, “heart-felt”, and “very personable”, expressing admiration for the speakers themselves as well.
Just one day after the weekend ended, one of the new attendees was in a restaurant with his family. Out of nowhere, a man walked up to him and said, “My grandmother just died.” With that, the stranger walked away. Instead of being put off by the man's strange behavior, the new CIC brother went after him and prayed with him in front of the entire restaurant. He said he never would have done this prior to the Challenge Weekend.
One brother summed it all up when he said, “After this weekend, I feel challenged to be a better Christian at work, at home, and in society.” After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
CIC Vision, Mission, Core Values Refined
Stirred by Louis Grams’ exhortation at last year’s Annual Conference, the Board of Directors decided to better focus and clarify the call we have been given. The Board is announcing the refinements it has made to the CIC Vision, Mission and Values statements in time for this year’s conference.
“The changes have two goals in mind,” stated Terry Cassell, president. “First, we ask that the chapters read these at the beginning of their meetings. The new wording is designed to be clearer, more focused and easier to understand when read.
“Secondly, we are trying to reach the young professionals and want something that not only appeals to the head, but to the heart. This doesn’t change our mission, only clarifies it.”
These changes came about with input and approval from the CIC founders: Louis Grams, John Mooney and Bud Rose. Bill Dalgetty, past president, was also extremely instrumental in drafting the final version.
The new Vision statement is “Being Christ in the workplace.”
The new Mission statement is “To encourage and equip Christians to be God’s presence in the workplace by the power of the Holy Spirit, exercising faith, integrity, and excellence.”
We also refined four core Values:
- Growing and being transformed in Jesus Christ
- Manifesting the gifts of the Holy Spirit
- Building strong brotherhood and sisterhood
- Serving God and expanding his Kingdom in all aspects of our lives
“The Vision, Mission and Values are a compass pointing to a common cause of which we are all a part,” Terry emphasized. “They should be easy to remember and frame our daily lives at work.”
WCIC-Fresno Challenge Weekend
The WCIC-Fresno Challenge Weekend took place May 29-30, 2015 at St. Anthony Retreat Center. Of our seventeen participants, seven were making their first Challenge Weekend.
When asked about their expectations for the weekend, the retreatants’ comments included: to foster a closer walk with God, to boost personal growth, to receive new revelations for a deeper conversion, to get away from distractions and stay focused on God, and to navigate through a “spiritual business model”.
The retreat provided practical tools for deepening our relationships with Jesus in order to become his presence in our marketplace. The desires expressed at the opening of the weekend were fulfilled through the strong presence of the Holy Spirit.
We returned home full of the Lord’s peace and joy, confident that the gifts and fruits of the Spirit would aid us in any future challenges.
These are some comments written by attendees at the end of the retreat:
- "My faith in God was strengthened."
- "I understand that I have to be bolder for the Lord."
- "I saw the light of Christ shine through the women present at the retreat! I leave with strength and a readiness to face my life challenges."
- "(I found) peace spiritually and emotionally; realizing how to find refuge in God; knowing that I can overcome the struggles in my daily life."
- "God revealed to me areas in my life that he wants to help me work on (and) showed me direction for my life."
Uganda Youth Conference
We recently concluded a three-day Youth Conference with the theme Do Not Be Ashamed of Proclaiming Christ. We bless the name of the Lord for thisvery successful ministry!
Our last Youth Conference in December attracted 800 young people. Three teenagers later approached me and requested that a conference be held in their area to help the youth who could not afford to travel to where the current Youth Conferences are held. I agreed somewhat hesitantly, and a local conference took place May 14–17, 2015.
As always, we used our radio program to promote the event. We also visited churches and spoke to congregations. Currently we do not have any CIC Challenge Groups in that area, but hundreds of people listen to our evangelical radio shows. Many of the youth readily accepted our invitation, and many parents promised to send their children.
On Thursday, May 14th, a three-man team started an eighty-mile journey to the conference venue, arriving at 10 AM. The leaders told the team we were expecting about 70 teenagers. As of that evening, 78 youth had registered. The following day, starting very early in the morning, more and more young people began flocking in, and by that evening we had registered 193 teenagers!
While blessed by the increase in attendance and delighted with the turnout, we were not at all prepared for this number. We engaged with the local leaders, who hurried to secure more supplies.
Interestingly, some parents camewith their children and stayed to participatein the Youth Conference. They said they wanted to hear what their children were learning. These parents were very happy with the team and thanked them profusely.
Many teenagers gave moving testimonies at the end of the conference. Here are just a few of their statements:
"I am going to make dad and mum my best friends so that they will bless me and support me."
"I will not waste time any more. I am going to plant two thousand eucalyptus trees by the end of this year."
"I have learned a lot in this conference that has disproved what I have been hearing from my friends. In fact, most of my friends have been giving me misleading information."
Glory to God the Most High!
Monterey Challenge Weekend
The Monterey Chapter Challenge Weekend that took place May 15th-17th was a great success! There were 23 men in attendance, 5 of whom were there for the first time. Among the guests were two men from the Salinas Chapter, as well as three brothers who came all the way from Idaho who are interested in starting a chapter in their area.
The men shared that they especially enjoyed being prayed over and receiving the Holy Spirit. They also commented on the dynamic group discussions and the openness of the other participants. The speakers were likewise highly regarded and praised for their talents and “inspiring talks”.
The Holy Spirit was truly present from start to finish!
WCIC-Phoenix Challenge Weekend
Over the weekend of May 1-3, 18 women (8 team members, 9 newcomers, and 1 past attendee) traveled from Phoenix to enjoy the cooler temperatures of Pine, Arizona for a weekend at the Breath of Life Retreat Center. From the moment our cars entered the circular driveway, life slowed down to “Pine Time.”
Hosts Candy and Jim Bridges provided an unrivaled brand of hospitality, pampering guests with delicious homecooked meals in their spacious two story home adorned with images and scripture passages glorifying God. The spiritual ambiance extended into the garden where, beneath the shade of a variety of trees, women sat on benches, in rocking chairs or suspended swings to read or chat in small groups. The back yard, equipped with food and water troughs, encouraged the local wildlife, including elk and deer, to wander onto the property.
The women arrived over the course of the afternoon. Some chose to hike, some took advantage of the onsite massage therapist, and others shared conversations on the deck by the warmth of the outdoor fireplace.
Part of the beauty of a Challenge Weekend is the familiar nature of each talk as dictated by the standard topics and customary scripture passages. However, each time I participate in a weekend, I am in awe of what God has done with the hearts and minds of the speakers! We were so blessed by the chance to rediscover God’s plan for our lives and get to know him through the personal witness of the different speakers.
I know my life was changed on this weekend. I am already anticipating my next opportunity to return to Breath of Life and experience the beauty and wisdom of God. I was equally invigorated to return to Phoenix with a renewed passion for the mission of Christians in Commerce – “to encourage and equip Christians to live the life of Christ by releasing the power of the Holy Spirit” that dwells within each of us!
Uganda Couples' Weekend of Recollection
We held a weekend of spiritual recollection for couples the last week of April. Two months earlier we had approached the pastor of that area and suggested the idea to him. He readily accepted and said, "I know you in CIC have very good staff for our couples and we would be inviting you often if it were not for financial limitations."
So, we went to our service council and set the program. We assigned each other responsibilities and allocated the talks. Four of us went two days early to assist the local team in setting up. Everything was set when the rest of us joined them on Thursday evening. Participants started arriving that same day and by Friday morning there were 25 couples.
Among the talks were: The Vision and Mission of CIC, The Divine Purpose of Marriage and Family, Psychological Differences Between Men and Women, Culture vs. the Gospel on Marriage and Family, Domestic Violence, and Couple Communication.
Even the pastor attended the event. In a speech he said, "The church has been blessed with an asset: CIC. This is the program we need to salvage the institutions of marriage and family, without which we have no church."
Many people gave exciting testimonies. One man said, "I did not know the relationship between God and marriage and never knew that marital harmony glorifies God. I have also learned that my happiness is so much hinged to my marital harmony. I am going to do all I can to live in peace with my wife so that I can live happily.”
Blessed be God, the program was a big success!
WCIC-Palm Desert Day of Renewal
April 11th was the WCIC-Palm Desert Chapter’s Day of Renewal. Held at Sacred Heart Church in Palm Desert, we had over 30 women in attendance!
Mary Anne Merwin, who has been teaching God’s word for over 40 years, led us in a day of reflection, fellowship and conversation with Jesus. "Walk and Talk with Jesus” was the theme of the day.
Along with two presentations from Mary Anne, we each took time alone with Jesus and then shared our thoughts and feelings in a small group setting.
We enjoyed lunch together and drew even closer as a group. Those new to WCIC were invited to join us each Tuesday evening at 7:00. Praise God for a blessed time together!
Womens' Santa Cruz & Monterey Chapters' CWE
The Challenge Weekend sponsored by the WCIC-Santa Cruz and WCIC-Monterey chapters February 28 – March 1 was fantastic in every way! Twenty-six women attended and there were many first-timers. The two-day format worked beautifully.
We knew that the WCIC-Santa Cruz Chapter meets every Wednesday morning, and it was good to learn that the WCIC-Monterey Chapter has 6-7 women meeting faithfully from 7-8 a.m. every Tuesday.
Another special aspect of this CWE was that the future daughter-in-law of one of our members was able to attend. I told her she and her husband should come to our conference in October and encouraged her to invite friends to start a Challenge Group. She was able to think of of one person right away!
One of my favorite take-aways from the recent WCIC Board meeting was the unity and relationship building that are developing among the WCIC chapters. We intend to formalize a strong prayer covering for all of the WCIC Challenge Weekends. God is so good!
WCIC-Fresno Service Council Retreat
The first WCIC-Fresno Service Council retreat was held from January 30 – February 1. It was important to us that we begin in prayer and preparation for the coming year. The retreat had a twofold purpose: To recommit to our daily appointments with God and to deepen our relationships as sisters in Christ.
As a Service Council we are challenged to lead by exercising personal accountability while setting a Christlike example. The weekend allowed us to quiet our spirits to hear and see God while together experiencing a conversion of heart.
We traveled 145 miles to Morro Bay, located along the central coast. It was a perfect quiet setting for reflection and meditation.
We opened Saturday morning with 30 minutes of prayer. The rest of the day was spent in reflection and discussion on how our lives are given to us moment by moment by God; how we in turn respond moment by moment in the midst of ordinary events. The book Moment by Moment: A Retreat in Everyday Life (Carol Ann Smith and Eugene F. Merz) was our retreat program. The structure is reflective of an Ignatian retreat, utilizing a variety of prayer experiences to encourage a conversion of heart and mind that allows the participant to follow Jesus with greater faith, love, and freedom.
I applied the book as a one-dayretreat by using the first four Moments (days), condensing each into a 90 minute segment. My purpose was to use the experience as an example of how to continue the retreat at home as we went about the ordinary routines of daily life.
We began Sunday with prayer from Scripture and the devotional Jesus Calling (Sarah Young). We became reflective, and a discussion ensued that continued for well over an hour. Praise God!
Reviving the WCIC-South Bend/Elkhart Chapter
On March 6th, women from the North (Michigan), South (Indiana), East (Northern Virginia) and West (Arizona) joined together for the WCIC-South Bend/Elkhart Chapter’s inaugural Challenge Weekend. We held our weekend at Ancilla College in Donaldson, IN at a lovely retreat center. It was SO delightful to have temperatures that were above freezing! We hadn’t seen that for a long time.
There were six team members and three participants, but honestly, for almost all of us, it was a new experience. We heard the talks, experienced the flow of the weekend, and did an Emmaus Walk for the first time… together. The Lord moved powerfully as we prayed with one another for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Our conversation at Lord’s Day was rich, and I experienced it as a promise for our future.
We had our first meeting the following Tuesday at 6:45 a.m. at a local coffee shop. After fortifying ourselves with caffeine, we discussed what it meant to be a good Challenge Group participant. We clarified the differences between chapter and Challenge Group meetings. We also discussed that day’s Workday Email Reflection. We eagerly anticipated the day we can break into two Challenge Groups, one of them NOT starting at 6:45 a.m.!
While we still don’t have all the details nailed down, it is clear that we are all genuinely committed to working together to make Christ more present in the marketplace. I look forward to continuing to rebuild the WCIC-South Bend/Elkhart Chapter with these women!
Santa Cruz Planning Retreat
When he first agreed to serve as Santa Cruz Chapter President, Keith Rushing says, “I felt I didn't know where we stood as a chapter. We were doing a lot of different activities whose purposes were not clear to me. I decided to find out.”
Keith felt that in order for the chapter to accomplish the vision and mission of CIC, they needed to start afresh with the “who, what, how, when and why” of the ministry. So, he sent a questionnaire to all the members and invited them to attend two planning sessions. He designated several topics for dialogue, which he shared with the chapter a few days before the first meeting. The objective was to develop a strategy for growth by examining past conduct and defining goals for the future.
“The support of the men was off-the-charts wonderful!” Keith said. “The input I received from them was so good and refreshing - I learned a great deal. Afterward, I felt I had a pretty good handle on where we were and where we needed to go. I think our biggest hurdles have to do with our identity and the way we are perceived by the local community.” He went on to explain that for the most part, the chapter has been seen as a parish men’s group associated with the church where they meet. After this planning retreat, the men are eager to take steps towards clarifying their identity as a chapter of CIC.
Santa Cruz member Luke Leonard summed it up by saying, “Through Keith's leadership, we are focused on integrating CIC's vision, mission, and values with a realization that 'lives of service speak a language of faith that is far more persuasive than words'.”
Santa Cruz-Salinas Valley Challenge Weekend & Evening of Renewal
On November 14th, twenty men arrived to spend two days listening, meditation and sharing at the beautiful Mission San Antonio de Padua.
Equally gathered from the Santa Cruz and Salinas chapters, with one arriving from Gilroy, each of these men brought their personal stories, hopes, dreams, and a genuine desire to grow in their spirituality. At the closing ceremony, five first-time attendees shared their original concerns, their progress and amazement, as never before had they shared with men who were so open, of such deep spirituality, and who demonstrated such a level of love and acceptance.
Led by Chuck Fratangelo, the team spent six weeks prior to the weekend meeting, praying and discerning the Lord's will as they accepted their individual presentation assignments and began the process of developing their personal stories.
Locating a musician to join the team proved to be the greatest obstacle and when all else failed, the team went a cappella. After spending Saturday singing together, the group harmonized almost perfectly!
On November 25th, most of the attendees reunited to re-kindle their spirits. Sharing pizza, salad and fruit, the room was filled with a consistent roar of voices, as each table talked, laughed and ate.
We are a very blessed group of men who are walking with the Lord!
Uganda 2015 Couples' Weekend
For the last five years, our men’s and women’s chapters have been doing an annual week-long marriage and family renewal conference for couples every January.
When we started in 2010, there were only 25 couples. This past January, 135 couples attended our fifth annual conference. Praise God!
We used our contact people in different locations to publicize the event. We also used our most effective tool, the radio. About half of the couples who came have not been involved with CIC, but were devoted listeners of our evangelical radio talk shows.
The participants were divided into four classes depending on the number of times they had attended the conference in the past. Most of the instruction materials we use in these conferences are obtained from the CIC Offices. We put this material into the local context.
The participants were very evidently moved and transformed by all the activities at the conference. These activities included talks, general group discussions, male group discussions, female group discussions, praise and worship, couple time, and reviews of past activities.
At this conference, four couples who had lived together for a very long time legitimized their marriages and were married at a wedding feast on Saturday evening. What a colorful celebration it was!
On the last day, many couples testified how they had been transformed by the conference. One man said, “I have been a very poor listener to my wife. I did not believe she had something constructive to tell me. Now I have learned to listen to her and I will always sit down when she wants to talk to me.” This man’s wife said amidst tears that for the first time in their twelve-year marriage, her husband had asked her for forgiveness.
One woman confessed that she had sacrificed her marriage at the altar of church mission: “I have been more concerned about church work than my marriage and family. I have now changed my attitude; my marriage should come first, for that is what builds the church,” she said.
Phoenix Area HFTW Seminar: A Huge Success!
On Novenber 15th, the Phoenix Area men's and women's chapters hosted 135 attendees at their first Hope For The Workplace Seminar in many years. The seminar was funded largely by Grand Canyon University, The Fruth Group, a couple anonymous donors, and over 20 table sponsors. Thank you so very much! The seminar could not have been so far reaching without the financial support of our donors and those individuals who worked tirelessly to bring a NEW Hope For The Workplace Seminar to the guests attending.
This seminar was different from those of the past. Bill Dalgetty and Jon Cassady spent months updating and revising the seminar talks, making each one more relevant to the challenges men and women face in today's business environment. Stories from Bill Dalgetty’s book, Hope For The Workplace – Christ In You, were the catalyst for sharings from him and our two other speakers, Brad Prose and Jennifer Ellis. Video testimonies from current CIC members punctuated each talk and our speakers' engaging personalities shone through as they shared their own stories around the focus of each talk.
Garrett Riley, the Seminar Manager and acting Emcee, did a wonderful job of welcoming our guests, inviting each table to spend time becoming acquainted before the talks began. His simple invitation changed the dynamic of the room very quickly. Our three speakers presented in a manner that immediately drew participants into lively discussions filled with laughter and even occasional tears. Patrice Klaum led everyone in a beautiful prayer before lunch.
After Bill Dalgetty's talk, "Work - Ordained by God, Corrupted by Us", quite a few participants shared that they had a new perspective on work. They had never considered that work was ordained by God PRIOR to the fall of man. One person shared that she would no longer look at her job as drudgery. Another individual told the group that he had a renewed respect for his role at work.
Next, Brad Prose presented the talk, "Christ in You - the Hope for the Workplace". Participants discussed God sending his son, Jesus, to show us how to live out our daily lives in conjunction with God's Holy Spirit. Brad shared the importance of a daily appointment with God in order to develop a deeper relationship with him. Brad introduced the concept of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. One person confided that some of what Brad introduced was new to him and that he would have to contemplate on what he had heard.
Following Jennifer Ellis’ talk, "Bringing Hope to Your Workplace", participants had a better understanding of how God's kingdom is here and now. Jennifer did a marvelous job of tying all three talks together. She cited four key ingredients to bringing hope into each of our workplaces: developing a friendship with Jesus, seeking the release of the Holy Spirit, seeking God's will in everything, and allowing God to work through you. Jennifer's animated talk definitely caught the attention of the Millennials at the seminar. They were overheard saying that she had “made sense” to them.
As mentioned earlier, Grand Canyon University was a major sponsor of the seminar. They were very gracious hosts, providing the perfect location, delicious food, a very welcoming banquet staff and a servant's heart to every CIC member and guest.
In addition, The Fruth Group and an anonymous donor generously donated copies of Hope For The Workplace – Christ In You, to everyone in attendance.
Across the board, I have not heard a single negative comment from any of the participants. I would highly recommend holding another Hope For The Workplace Seminar in the not-too-distant future. The fruits of the Holy Spirit and God's grace are flooding the Phoenix Area because we took on the challenge, faced down the evil one's attempts to undermine the event, and followed it through to completion!
CIC Co-Founder Expands On Our Mission
CIC co-founder Louis Grams and his wife Nancy were able to attend this year’s Annual Conference. A highlight of Louis’ visit was a heartfelt sharing he gave at the Leaders Workshop on Thursday afternoon. He encouraged everyone to pursue CIC’s unique call to rescue and restore creation in the workplace.
“For this very reason,” Louie shared, “in 1983, John Mooney, Bud Rose and I came together to found Christians in Commerce. We were responding to a prophetic word that challenged us to form a company of people who would integrate the life of Christ into their workplaces, and to do it in ways that would transform the marketplace.”
He went on to share that this is what “Stewards of Creation”, the seventh talk on the Challenge Weekend, is about. This talk is meant to be a concentrated explanation of the mission of Christians in Commerce as the Lord first gave it to the founders.
All of the talks on the weekend are in preparation for this one talk. Other talks help introduce attendees to Jesus, baptize them in the Holy Spirit, and encourage them to pray and live good and holy lives.
“While all this and more is essential,” Louie emphasized, “the goal for each of us in Christians in Commerce is to expand the Kingdom of God by being Christ in the marketplace.”
“Much of our mission centers around the way we relate and work with each other,” he continued. “But it’s critical to recognize that our mission includes all of the material world itself.”
“The way we use, care for, protect, restore, heal and transform the material world is an important part of our vocation.
“Let us help men and women to become influencers of marketplace policies and practices. Let us do this so that, increasingly, the world of business, commerce, service and education will be oriented toward bettering the world we live in, bettering the lives of all who live in this world, and coming more and more to reflect the fullness of life as God created it.
“Our mission has to do with rescuing God’s creation for his honor and glory. He invites each of us to join together in making it happen… and making it happen in each of our workplaces.
“Jesus is looking for men and women of action. Being Christ in the marketplace means acting as Christ, doing what he wants to do there.”
“This is why Christians in Commerce exists,” Louie concluded. “Let us expand his Kingdom of love, rescue his creation and restore it together.”
South Bend/Elkhart Corn Roast & Raffle
The South Bend/Elkhart Chapter held our annual corn roast and raffle drawing on Friday, August 1st. It was hosted by John and Dee Kallamani at their home in the Jimtown area. We had beautiful weather and guests brought a dish to share. We had sweet corn roasted on the grill. There were about 30 men, women and children in attendance. We even had a special impromptu live auction of a 1 lb. jar of natural honey provided from our own beekeeper, Brett Roberts! We always have a good time pulling the names of the raffle winners for coveted ND football tickets and many other donated prizes. We sang a few praise songs together to celebrate the summer.