GCN Founder Donald McGilchrist (1937-2019)


Donald McGilchrist—known as a theologian, eloquent communicator, gifted administrator, caring friend and devoted family man—passed away on July 2 at the age of 81.

A British citizen and graduate of Oxford University, Donald was a GCN founder, board member, and lead author of eight GCN books.

Some of Donald’s closest friends and colleagues had this to say about him: “His life and work reflected a servant who often had greater abilities than those he served,” said GCN board member Jerry White. Jim Petersen, also a GCN board member, said, “There was a lot about him that could have made him proud, but he was a humble man.”

Donald married his wife, Jeanie, on May 18, 1963. His daughters, Lindsey and Alison, said their parents had a profound love for each other. Prior to her death in 2013, Jeanie struggled with a long-term illness. Donald cared for her daily, including putting on her makeup each day after she was stricken with blindness.

Donald rarely missed the school and sporting events of his three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Every day (except Wednesdays) he would pick up his great-granddaughter, Eleese (11), at school and take her back to his house to do her homework. That dedication forged a beautiful friendship between them. Near the end of his life, while in pain and in a wheelchair, he was determined to attend the first football game of his five-year-old great-grandson, McKeon. His two grandsons, Andrew and Ian, considered Donald to be their father as he helped Lindsey raise the boys after she became a single mother.

Donald was born in England in 1937, just as the terrors of World War II were beginning to unfold. His father moved the McGilchrist family to Scotland to take refuge from the worst fighting of the war. As a young adult, Donald was accepted at Oxford University where he completed a triple major in politics, philosophy and economics—the equivalent of a master’s degree—while playing high-level rugby.

After college, Donald went on to work for British Rail. During his tenure, he successfully reorganized the nation’s train scheduling system. This monumental accomplishment positioned him as the youngest regional manager British Rail ever had. Many in the company saw him as the top candidate to lead British Rail in its entirety. To the surprise of everyone, he made it clear he did not want the job, citing his desire to preserve his time with family.

Donald is survived by his two daughters, Alison McGilchrist and Lindsey Deason; his grandchildren, Andrew McGilchrist, Ian Deason, and Holleigh Deason; and five great-grandchildren, Ian (who died at age nine months), Eleese (11), Danicka (10), McKeon (5) and Lachlan (1).

GCN Publishes "One Another"

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Here is a memoir written for our increasingly impersonal, lonely, and distrustful age. Author Ken Lottis demonstrates that it is possible to develop strong, intimate, long-term friendships in the midst of stressful professional demands.

One Another—written with humor, spiritual insight, and transparency—will inspire readers to live and work for what matters most: the people in our lives. You can purchase the book in print and digital formats from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

In the mid-1960s, Ken and his college friend, Jim Petersen, along with their wives and small children, embarked on a surprising Brazilian adventure. Moving from the United States to Brazil, they settled in the southern city of Curitiba during an era of deep political and social turmoil.

Overcoming false suspicions that they were CIA agents, Ken and Jim began to develop friendships with university students. They presented the students with an authentic opportunity to think about life’s biggest questions and to strengthen friendships within the context of normal Brazilian routines. Gradually, these relationships extended organically to include classmates, hometown sweethearts, and relatives.

What emerged—and continues today—is a simple but powerful expression of friendship and faith. The Brazilians taught them that our deepest human needs are best served when we love one another and live for God in daily life.

One Another will fill your mind with ideas for how to invest in your relationships and deepen your faith in God without religious structures.

GCN Launches the First My IPO Conference

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Over Labor Day weekend, Global Commerce Network launched its first My IPO event with 13 young men who are beginning their professional careers. My IPO (my initial public offering) is a program designed to support, equip and encourage young professionals as they transition from college into their professions.

Most young people finish their educations well-prepared within the context of their specific areas of study. However, schools and colleges often don't help them develop in other areas that are foundational for long-term personal growth and professional success. My IPO is set up to fill that gap.

GCN offers its extensive theological research on the meaning of work, workplace relationships, and economics to the My IPO participants. By broadening horizons about the profound spiritual meaning of work, these theological perspectives are vital in our materialist modern era, which offers us a lot to live with but very little to live for. During the most recent event, prominent writers and business leaders discussed the theological roots of innovation, entrepreneurship, calling and vocation, and the importance of strong character.

In addition to theology, this My IPO event included a site visit to a local business start-up. During the visit, the company owner shared his powerful story of what it takes to develop a business from an idea into a reality. The participants also saw first-hand how a business can bring well-being, or shalom, to an entire community. We also heard from a renowned artist, who spoke on creativity, risk, perseverance, and relationships in the workplace.

The My IPO group also learned about time management skills from a Fortune 500 executive coach and author. We toured lower downtown Denver, an area that had been dilapidated but is now a thriving center of cultural life—thanks to entrepreneurs. Rounding out our program was business leader Dan Woodridge who spoke on “How to Thrive in the New Economy.”

My IPO is designed to be small—not more than 15 participants. This enables each person's specific questions to be addressed. Friendships develop and strengthen. Perhaps some will go on to work with each other, including in their own business start-ups. GCN leaders will provide ongoing support, mentoring and networking for those who attend.

For more information on this program, you can visit the My IPO page on this website.

GCN Contracts with PMMI to Expand Health Care Access to Ghana

We at Global Commerce Network believe that entrepreneurs can and should innovate products and services that serve people. Primary Mobile Med International is on the front lines of doing just that. Based in Topeka, Kansas, this business is equipped to expand low-cost, high quality health-care access to millions of underserved people in Ghana.

GCN, an NGO with 501(c)3 non-profit status since 1994, has had a long relationship with PMMI. We have contracted with PMMI to implement GCN’s Ghana Health Care Initiative. As GCN’s vendor, PMMI will be using its mobile medical clinics (MMCs) in Ghana to provide standardized health screenings in coordination with the Ghana Health Service. PMMI has established a contract with Ghana's Ministry of Health to place up to 3000 MMCs in Ghana, in urban and rural areas.

This is a game-changer, not only for millions of people who will now have access to health care, but also for Ghanaian and international health-care researchers.

PMMI has developed a proprietary electronic medical records system (EMR) that is simple to use, even in places like Africa. The EMR is installed in each medical container, which opens the doors to multiple possibilities for patient care and health-care research.

Patients will be registered into the system and receive an ID card with their unique patient identifier. Once registered into the system, they will be screened for hypertension, diabetes, general vision wellness, hepatitis B & C, neurological identifiers, TB, and environmental risks. Medical professionals will be able to communicate electronically with patients—to send appropriate reminders and manage follow-up care.

To strengthen GCN’s Ghana Health Care Initiative, PMMI is also coordinating efforts with distinguished professors, two universities, physicians, and other health-care organizations.
With the implementation of the screening program in Ghana, PMMI will help deliver the necessary preventative care, resulting in measurable outcomes that in turn can be shared with medical research facilities, global health reporting agencies, and government health officials.

PMMI's CEO, Tom Petersen, says that GCN played a vital role in shaping PMMI's business culture and ultimate goals. GCN and our scriptural foundations for business inspired him to develop products and services that benefit communities and underserved populations. 

Laurie Garrett, a Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations, has worked with Petersen to turn the initial MMC idea into a cost-effective, practical solution for offering basic health care services without the high cost and time required to build brick-and-mortar clinics.

Working with Dr. Edith Clarke, a leading physician in Ghana, as well as other African doctors at Mayo Clinic and in Africa, Petersen last year set up multiple MMCs in the heart of Ghana’s bustling capital, Accra. Immediately, the five mobile clinics positioned strategically together gave health-care access to thousands of men and women, right in the industrial complex where they work.

For more information about how to help fund this initiative, write to: