Pueblo's Daystar School Engages in "Largest Learning Campaign » "I liked the Hour of Code because you could create and be creative," said Audra Bennet, 5th-grader at Daystar. Daystar students completed the Hour of Code on December 7 to celebrate Computer Science Education Week. The Hour of Code is the largest learning campaign in history. In one hour, students (and teachers) can learn that computer science is fun, easy, and accessible at all ages. Each student received a certificate of completion and the fun of knowing that they were joined by more than 185,000 classrooms around the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNiECaVMStY&feature=youtu.be
. Why the importance? The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be one million unfilled jobs for programmers in the U.S. by 2020.
"They were very excited to learn and many of them have now declared they want to be programmers," comments Michelle Velbis, principal.
"I liked the Hour of Code because you could customize and create games. I like that you have to use your mind and technology to do computer programming," said 6th-grader, Pedro Crisosto. [Text and photo by Michelle Velbis]
Humanitarian Award Presented to Global Health Initiative's Greg Hodgson » In recognition of his exemplary international humanitarian service, Greg Hodgson, director of the Global Health Initiative, was presented with the annual Avista Adventist Hospital Humanitarian Award. Established several years ago, the award was presented on December 6 by Dennis Barts, CEO of the Louisville-based health institution.
Hodgson, who returned from a visit to Haiti a day before, accepted the award "in recognition of the efforts of scores of volunteers, physicians and medical professionals who devote their time and resources and for their commitment to the service of the healing ministry of Christ . . and we are thankful for their commitment."
Hodgson noted that the occasion coincides with the Christmas Season when "we remember the gift of Christ and help those who cannot repay us, and that's the Spirit of Christmas," Hodgson said.
Hodgson's recognition came as a surprise, he said. The 2015 award comes in the 10th year of Global Health Initiative's activities in Peru, Rwanda, Nepal and Haiti. Every year, dozens of volunteers from Colorado-based Centura Health hospitals donate their skills, time and resources to provide services in countries with an acute need of health services.
Denis Barts, who is also involved with providing administrative support to a GHI project at Clinica Adventista Ana Stahl located on the shores of the Amazon River in Iquitos, Peru, saw Greg Hodgson in action and said that Greg is "recognized for his calming presence" as he coordinates a program requiring management skills in, at times, difficult circumstances and with a variety of personalities engaged in each project. [Rajmund Dabrowski; photo by Brittany McLachlan]
RMC Reading Plan for 2016 Announced » Over the past several years, the leadership of the Rocky Mountain Conference has encouraged the church members to join together in a focused reading plan. "For 2016, we are encouraging all of our members to join in reading through two books by Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages and Christian Service," said Eric Nelson, vice president for administration.
"The Desire of Ages was selected because, other than the Bible, there is no better book, in our view, that can help us appreciate who Jesus Christ was and is," Nelson said. "Surely all of us, whether new Christians or longtime followers of Christ, can benefit by reading this book and recommitting our lives to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Because 'there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved' (Acts 4:12),'" he commented.
According to Nelson, the second book, Christian Service, was chosen because, as Seventh-day Adventist Christians, we believe in the soon return of our Lord Jesus. "As we wait for His Second Coming, we have a message to share and a service to render to the world. We must serve others in word and action, not to gain favor with God, but to bless those we come in contact with," Nelson explained.
Nelson added that Jesus, in His own words, said, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."
"We are to be of service in our world," Nelson added.
It is hoped that this reading plan will stimulate the minds and become a topic of conversation during the upcoming New Year, 2016.
Baptisms and Tithe Are Up, RMC Executive Committee » Baptisms are up throughout the conference, RMC president Ed Barnett reported to the Executive Committee October 8. "We can rejoice that reports show 183 more baptisms by the third quarter over last year's similar period. Our Hispanic congregations are leading out," he said.
At its last meeting in 2015, the Rocky Mountain Conference also reviewed the report of the church's financial health for the current year and considered a preliminary budget for 2016. "We can be grateful to God for the faithfulness of our church members. At the end of October, the conference base tithe is up by 3.56 percent and RMC Advance is up by 9.6 percent," reported George Crumley, vice president for finance. RMC Advance offering covers funding projects in evangelism, youth ministry and education.
Barnett also informed the committee about the RMC administrative team visiting each district in Wyoming in one week in October. "Our intent was to visit with our churches and ministers, present seminars and encourage our believers. Wyoming is one of the states within our conference. It was important for us to be aware of the church's well-being there," he commented.
Barnett also reported about the ongoing pastor evaluations within the conference territory, meeting with each minister for one hour. He also reported that "preaching in each church throughout the RMC this year was a goal for our office staff. All but two churches had someone from the office preach in their church last year."
The committee also welcomed a report that the Adventist Book Center (ABC) shows a profit by the end of October. Commenting on the ABC performance, Eric Nelson, vice president for administration, said that, "Over the past few years, we have wanted and hoped for the success of the Adventist Book Center. Recognizing the ministry and mission work that it provides for our members and churches, many church members in the conference have asked, "Is the ABC making it?"
Only a few stores in the United States, including the Denver ABC, were profitable while owned and operated by Pacific Press until recently. When the Rocky Mountain Conference made the decision two years ago to keep it operational, the concern was that it would be successful and not be a drain on the conference budget.
Nelson added that, "The report from the Executive Committee is a wonderful affirmation that it is making it financially and this is thanks to the support and purchases made by our local members and churches. We are thankful to God for this good news," Nelson said. [Text and photo by Rajmund Dabrowski]
Indonesian Church Pastor Ordained » Purasa Marpaung, pastor of the Rocky Mountain Indonesian Church in Denver, was ordained to the gospel ministry on Saturday, December 5. Officiating at the ordination were Ed Barnett, RMC president; Eric Nelson, vice president for administration; and Craig Carr, ministerial director. "It was a celebration that only Indonesians can prepare," said Ed Barnett. "The church is vibrant and they know how to serve their community," he added. Born in Indonesia, Pastor Marpaung, who serves a 106-member congregation, holds a business degree from Indonesia. After emigrating to the United States, he studied theology at Pacific Union College and Andrews University Theological Seminary where he graduated with a Masters of Divinity degree. His ministry took him back to California where eh served as a lay minister, assistant pastor and interim pastor of All National Seventh-day Adventist Church in Elk Grove. He is married to Ester Suwarso and they have three children, Mark, George, and Rachel.
Purasa Marpaung will serve his current congregation as part-time minister while he is completing a dissertation for Doctor of Ministry at Andrews University. According to stated ministerial goals, Pastor Purasa aims to "support family units in and out of the church and to inspire the development of every person's spiritual vision leading them to full devotion to Jesus Christ." [RMC News]
Gifts from Sheridan to Aid Children Abroad » Forty-one shoeboxes filled with an assortment of items for either boys or girls are heading to children overseas, thanks to Clara Pooley (15) and sister Rebecca (13) who are overseeing Operation Christmas Child for the second year at the Sheridan Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Clara and Rebecca are also involved in the Binding Broken Hearts Prison Ministry, music ministry, Salvation Army bell ringers, the food pantry and homeless shelter and also assist their parents, Rob and Aimee Pooley, caring for foster children. Both girls have been homeschooled for eight years.
"Our church values the talents of these youth and their devotion to God," comments Diane Larkins, a Sheridan Church member. [Diane Larkin]
This editorial by Daniel R. Jackson, president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, was published in the Huffington Post on December 9, 2015. Adventists Respond to the Call to Care for Refugees »
To close the door to refugees cannot be an option. To "welcome" them by marking them with shame and suspicion is unacceptable.
To incite fear based on prejudice is irresponsible.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are compelled to welcome ALL who are seeking refuge.
Throughout the Bible, God instructs mankind to welcome strangers and treat them as equals -- with love, care and respect. Furthermore, in Matthew 25, Jesus raised the bar and says we should treat strangers much better than ourselves. We are to treat them as we would treat God.
As Christians, we believe God calls upon us to act, not just in word, but in deed. We are to take care of the least of these. These are the hungry, thirsty, sick, the poor, prisoners, and strangers -- refugees. We are to care for them without condition. There simply is no other option.
Historically, the United States has welcomed strangers looking for a better life onto its shores. I myself am a stranger in your land.
I have come not seeking refuge, but to lead the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, which is part of the Christian family of churches.
Our religious community, like this country, is made rich by its diversity. In fact, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the most racially and ethnically diverse religious group in the United States.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is responding and meeting the needs of refugees. Adventist Development and Relief Agency, the humanitarian arm of the church, has collected more than 25 tons of relief supplies in Macedonia for Syrian refugees. Here in the United States, our church has an established ministry that assists refugees seeking a better life for their families. Our Refugee Ministries team is ready to assist Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
I have seen the plight of the displaced first hand. In 2008, my wife and I traveled to Nakuru, Kenya to volunteer in a camp that housed some 16,000 of the nearly 600,000 people displaced internally by the deadly violence that followed disputed elections. We provided assistance to mothers and their newborn babies. We spoke to many who shared stories of fear and spoke of their desperate struggle to survive -- people looking for a better life.
During my five years as a guest in this country, I have been made to feel welcome by nearly every American I have encountered. I, however, hail from your neighbor to the north, Canada. I was not seeking refuge or escaping an unstable government as are many who are fleeing Syria to seek a better life.
We all know that this country was built by immigrants and has always answered the call to take in those who seek refuge, security, and a better life. Emma Lazarus best describes the principle of American hospitality in her poem, New Colossus. Her words are forever memorialized on a plaque inside the pedestal of that symbol of liberty and welcome:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
Some of the leaders of this country want to close that golden door to refugees from Syria and Iraq who are desperately trying to save their families' lives. The overheated rhetoric by leaders and presidential candidates is planting seeds of fear.
Some are calling for refuge to be offered to Christians -- and not those who are strangers. Others are saying we need to close the door altogether to those from countries and religions they feel may harbor or breed terrorists.
Make no mistake, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America unequivocally condemns the terrorist actions of extremists that claimed innocent lives in Paris, Beirut, Iraq, Mali and other places around the world. We mourn with and pray for the families of all victims of these senseless crimes against humanity.
Resorting to violence in the name of God or Allah is wrong.
But to deny innocent women, children, and men who are fleeing war, hunger, and disease refuge because of fear and prejudice is just as wrong.
This does not mean that the doors are left wide open. tHis country has the right to defend itself from radical militants who wish to bring terror to its shores. And refugees from Syria and Iraq must already pass through a stringent process to enter this country.
So what has changed?
Fear. Fear is closing the golden door.
The families who seek refuge from war-torn countries in the Middle East, whether they are Christian or Muslim, are children of God created in His image. They are our brothers and sisters and we must provide them refuge without discrimination.
This nation, if it is to follow the principles upon which it was founded, needs to heed the call to not just welcome strangers, but to love them, care for them, and protect them.
We must stop the rhetoric of hate and fear.
We must stop dividing ourselves by who and how we worship.
As but a stranger in your land, I ask that you not close the golden door -- the door that offers sanctuary and the possibility of a new life to strangers in far greater need.
NOW AVAILABLE ON THE WEB!
Campion Church Candlelight Christmas » This Christmas candlelight celebration is a spiritual time to reflect on our Savior's birth through the reading of the Christmas story and music that points us to our Savior's gift of Himself. Hear music from elementary and academy students, the men's chorus and other church members at 7 p.m. December 11. Program followed by a light reception.
Campion Academy Christmas Concert » Presented at 7 p.m., December 12, this secular Christmas concert features popular Christmas favorites from throughout the years by Chorale, Koinonia, handbells and orchestra.
Boulder Church Christmas Cantata » Reserve your tickets now for the Boulder Church annual Christmas Cantata at 2:30 p.m., December 12. It will feature Joy Pepper Choplin's One Silent Night, a Christmas Ballad of Love and Joy, directed by Becky Carlisle and featuring musicians from the Boulder Adventist Church and the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church. Although admission is by ticket only, tickets are FREE and are available by registering online. Another performance will be held at 10 a.m., December 13 at the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, 10785 Melody Drive, Northglenn, Colorado 80234.
Eden Valley Church » You are invited to "The Christmas Tree", a special music and sing-a-long program by Morris Venden at 5 p.m. December 12, at Eden Valley Church, 9325 World Mission Drive, Loveland, CO 80538. Refreshments will follow the program.
ACS Community LIFT is accepting applications for a part-time (32 hrs/wk, M-Th) Medical Assistant at its Denver location. Applicants must have at least two years experience working in a medical clinic, hospital, doctor's office or other health care setting. For a complete job description and application, visit http://www.rmcsda.org/hr-medical-assistant.
The Rocky Mountain Conference is currently accepting applications for a part-time (20 hours per week, M-Th) Assistant to help out in its Treasury Department. To learn more about this position and how to apply, please visit: http://www.rmcsda.org/hr-treasury-assistant.
The Rocky Mountain Conference has an immediate opening for a full-time Field Representative/Stewardship Coordinator in its Planned Giving and Trust Services Department. This position serves the Conference by visiting and fulfilling requests for assistance in estate planning, including information gathering and execution of documents. For more information about this position and how to apply, please visit http://www.rmcsda.org/hr-field-representativestewardship-coordinator.
FROM THE EDITOR
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Knowing Christ and Making Him Fully Known