07 May


By Jon Roberts … This weekend, in America, we celebrate Mother’s Day.  This is a day where we can reflect on not only the mothers, grandmothers, but also the other strong courageous women who believed in us and helped guide our paths.

While for many it is also a chance to reflect and honor those who have gone to sleep awaiting the glorious day Jesus yells AWAKE, oh how I am looking forward to that day.

As I reflect on my own mother and grandmother who raised me the thought that keeps coming into my mind is I wish I had done more.

Both my mother and grandmother were strong independent women, yet they were also the first to give anyone love and compassion.  They both had the heart of Jesus in serving those around them and showing unconditional love.

They didn’t ask for anything except deep down you could tell they both wanted appreciation and love from those closest to them.  I did my best but at times I now know I could have done more.  I let my job, which often required me to work on Mother’s Day or other responsibilities, including church, come first.

In recent years I have discovered the importance of making sure my priorities are better aligned with a work-life balance.  Unfortunately, I have learned this lesson too late in life to make sure I did more for my mom and grandmother.  I know deep down they knew how much I loved them and cared.

I’m not writing this for sympathy, instead I share this in hope that those who still have time recognize and appreciate the women who gave up everything so you could have a better life.

This weekend make sure you acknowledge and do something special for those closest to you, but don’t stop there…remember and honor them every chance you get before it is too late….you won’t regret it.

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication / media assistant; photo supplied

27 Apr


By Jon Roberts – Denver, Colorado … “It’s my intention to just throw a lot [of information] at everybody, to feed them with a fire hose,” Nathan Skaife, pastor of the Grand Junction church, commented on the Lay Pastor Training in Denver, April 23 – 25 at the Rocky Mountain Conference office.

The gathering, which was the first in-person class of the year for the Denver area, included 17 individuals, many representing the ethnically diverse churches in RMC. The topics covered included covenant theology and best practices for church growth.

For Skaife, the tri-annual meetings are developed out of a love for the Scriptures and a desire to equip individuals to better serve the church and the community.

Responding to what strengths he brings to the gathering, Skaife said, “I would say passion would be one of them. [Also] the love of the Scriptures and [the desire] to help people dig deeper and have the tools to do so and equip them to do what God is calling them to do.”

Elijah Lujan, member of Colorado Springs South church, explained his attendance by saying he enjoys being able to understand the Gospel better. “I’m definitely attending so I can learn more about the Gospel and more about Jesus. When I share with others about Jesus, I’m sharing new stuff that they can understand because [the training] really makes it easier to understand than just saying big words that others may not understand.”

Skaife hopes the training will be challenging to those in attendance. “I wanted it to not only be challenging to someone. I want to push them even further [but] help them to be able to grow in their walk with the Lord,” he said.

For Emmanuel Jean, member of the Agape Haitian church, the training has given him renewed confidence.  “[It] has made me read my Bible every day and it makes me feel comfortable talking and sharing with people.”

“Having individuals play a more significant role in the church and the community is the ultimate goal of the training,” commented Skaife

“The people are going to play an even more significant role in their local churches. Many of them are preaching more often than they ever did before.  People are engaged in doing Bible studies and are engaged in soul-winning,” Skaife added.

The techniques learned are helping individuals give better sermons and Bible studies according to Augustine Sheriff, Colorado Indonesian-American Adventist Church member.  “One of the things I’ve really enjoyed is the help I gain in structuring sermons, giving Bible studies and structuring my lessons as I go.”

Many are thankful that RMC is providing the training to fill the gap of needs in our churches. “I am thankful that the conference has created a program that both trains and assists leaders and helps pastors and congregations in need, that fills the gap that arises in many of our churches,” Bill Oxenford, True Life Community church ember said.”

The next trainings will be held in Grand Junction on May 21 and in Denver on June 11.  If you are interested in joining or learning more about the program, please email Nathan Skaife at [email protected].

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication / media assistant; photos by Jon Roberts


21 Apr


By Jon Roberts – Montrose, Colorado … In front of 200 church family members, friends, and fellow pastors, Nathan Cranson, pastor of the Montrose district, was ordained to the gospel ministry, an acknowledgement of Christ’s calling on his life.

Cranson recalls God leading his life at an early age.

“In a time of need, God reminded a three-year boy to trust in Him. At thirteen, He gladly entered into this boy’s heart. Shortly afterward, with a love and joy that could not be expressed, He planted in this boy’s heart the deep desire to share His goodness with the world,” Cranson reflected. “This boy is me and this ordination service is NOT a testimony to my faithfulness to God but rather His faithfulness to me.”

Cranson grew up in Paonia, Colorado with seven siblings and is the middle child of parents Addie and Greg Cranson. He was the first Adventist in his family, introduced to the church by his childhood friends and neighbors. After building friendships in school, Cranson recalls being invited to the “Arise” convention with David Asscherick where he was baptized. He married the love of his wife, Michelle, 2 ½ years ago and they have one four-legged child, he affirms.

David Asscherick, pastor of Castle Rock church remarked on this special occasion. “‘By their fruits, you shall know them.’ Nathan bears the fruit of having been called to the gospel ministry. Anyone with eyes to see can discern this. It was an enormous honor for me to baptize him as a teenager and then to be a part of his ordination 17 years later.”

Dean Coridan, president of the Iowa-Missouri conference, who helped Cranson begin his ministry work, introduced him at the service. Coridan was glad to be part of the service. “We are thrilled to be a part of the ordination of Nathan and Michelle. He started ministry in the IA-MO Conference and he definitely demonstrated that he had a call to ministry. The churches loved him and he exhibited skill in leading people to Christ. We were so happy to be able to participate in his ordination.”

“To have two conferences involved in Pastor Nathan Cranson’s ministerial growth and eventually his ordination is a testimony to the beauty of being a part of a world church where churches and conferences work together to provide opportunities for men and women to shine for Jesus,” Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, commented on the event.

Cranson recognizes and appreciates the many who helped make the day one he will not forget. “What a blessed moment. Surrounded by family, friends, loving church members and spiritual mentors, to recognize the faithfulness of God in my life. He has seen me through so many trials and triumphs and deserves every bit of the glory. Oh, what joy to remember that He who has begun a good work, is faithful to complete it! What an honor and a privilege is to serve the living God.”

He added, “A special thank you to everyone who shared this moment with me. Your prayers, presence, and participation were what made it so special.”

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photos by Nathan Cranson, Mickey Mallory, and Susan Inglish

15 Apr


By Jon Roberts – Alamosa, Colorado … Friends, family, and colleagues of Robert McAlpine gathered on April 10 for the ordination of Robert Alpine to the gospel ministry.

McAlpine’s mother, MaryLou, always knew her son would be a minister. “When I became an Adventist, Bob was going into second grade and he would take his Bible to school until he was asked not to bring it. I was still [practicing] Catholicism at the time. One day he purposely didn’t get on the bus to go home because he didn’t want to go to catechism [class].  When Bob got home, I made him get in the car and I took him to catechism [class]. That night he said to me, ‘Mom you know where the truth is. Why do we keep going back to the Catholic church?’”

McAlpine’s father, Duff, agreed it was natural for his son to be ordained. “It seems so natural, it really does. I’ve seen this for a long time. I’m not at all surprised.”

Members reflected on McAlpine’s approach to ministry which includes recognizing everyone as equal in God’s eye’s, regardless of gender.

“Pastor Bob has been instrumental in my spiritual journey. He has encouraged me a lot in ministry. I was ordained as an elder because of him. He saw God’s call on my life and made it happen. He has been a good ministry partner for many years,” said Winema Van Iwaarden, Alamosa elder.

Monte Vista church attendee, Sean Eubanks, commented on what McAlpine’s ministry means to him, saying, “He makes me think and challenges me to go deeper in Scripture.”

Being ordained brings mixed emotions for McAlpine. “I really appreciate the recognition of the church that God has called and I wish that the church recognized all callings equally.”

For the ministry charge presentation, Mic Thurber, ministry director for Mid-America Union Conference, recognized the mixed emotions McAlpine was experiencing as he quoted the apostle Paul, “Everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.”

Former Alamosa district pastor, Jim Moon, also addressed equality during the ordination message, touching on the idea that “ordination is affirming God’s call to the ministry.”

“We are just affirming what God has chosen and so it seems like a simple thing, but to those who feel like that, we are not affirming that can seem like a weird thing and to those who are being affirmed, like you and me. Wow, we are being affirmed but what about them.”

A neighboring Christian church, which shares a parking lot with the Alamosa church on Sunday, showed their appreciation to McAlpine by thanking him publicly for the friendship and support the two pastors have developed over the years.

During the ordination prayer, RMC president, Ed Barnett, extended a welcome and invitation to the neighboring pastor, Jeron Parkins, of Living Water Bible Fellowship to join other ministers on the platform to lay hands on Robert and his wife Sarah as they ordained the couple and their ministry.

There were frequent smiles of joy on the faces of members of the participating congregation who saw how the McAlpine family was an integral part of the ceremony. All five children were excited to be present, the smallest sitting on Bob’s and Sarah’s laps, enjoying this special day.

At the conclusion of the service, Bob Alpine commented: “I’m very thankful that the Conference supports me, and that the local congregations support me, and most importantly that Jesus has led us here and has blessed our ministry. I would also like to thank Jim Moon who brought me here and made me the unpaid associate. He is a big part of the reason I’m in pastoral ministry today. I especially want to thank my parents, and most of all my wife and my family, Without their support, it wouldn’t be possible for me to be in this position.”

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski and Jon Roberts

07 Apr


By Jon Roberts – Denver, Colorado … After a multitude of events were cancelled over the last year due to the pandemic, signs of hope are emerging as summer events are being planned and discussed.

Some of the events missed last year were RMC camp meetings. This year, the hope is that they will be back in person and plans are moving forward toward that possibility.  It may look and feel a little different from previous camp meetings.

The first camp meeting on the calendar is the NE Colorado camp meeting scheduled for June 4 – 5 at Campion Academy. The featured speaker is Pavel Goia, editor of Ministry Magazine.

Cowboy camp meeting comes next on July 7 – 11 in the Uncompaghre National Forest near Silver Jack Reservoir. Nathan James, pastor of Moab, Utah church, along with Dick Duerksen, will speak and music will be provided by Folk Mountain Gospel.

Immediately following Cowboy camp meeting, attention shifts northward to Wyoming for the Wyoming camp meeting scheduled July 14 – 18 at Mills Spring Ranch. Tom Lemon, general vice-president of the General Conference, is the featured speaker.

After Wyoming, Western Slope camp meeting will conclude the 2021 camp meetings. Planned for August 4 – 8 at Mountaintop Retreat camp grounds located in Montrose, it will feature Joe Kidder, professor of Pastoral Theology and Discipleship at the Theological Seminary at Andrews University.

The RMC Administrative team is praying as they look forward to the camp meeting season, and hoping for normality as we emerge from the stranglehold COVID has had on the region.

Continue to read NewsNuggets for more information on camp meetings as it comes available. All in-person events will follow the strictest COVID precautions and may need to be rescheduled if COVID guidelines curtail in-person gatherings.

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski

24 Mar


By Jon Roberts – Littleton, Colorado … Neither snow nor a pandemic would stop the Littleton church from gathering to celebrate a founding member’s 102nd birthday.

Some 30 members congregated in the church parking lot on Tuesday, March 23, to form a car parade and drive by the home of their beloved member, Lucile Claridge, who has been homebound since the pandemic engulfed the region.

Members usually celebrate Lucile’s birthday in person, but the question facing Alise Weber, Littleton’s children and family ministry pastor, was how to safely celebrate a 102nd birthday during COVID.  “I had realized that Lucile was turning 102 soon, but didn’t know how to celebrate her during this pandemic. Lucile hasn’t been at church since the Covid-19 pandemic began. It was another member who thought of a car parade and once that was suggested, I knew it was the perfect thing to do and the planning began.”

Long-time Littleton member Charlie Phillips came to celebrate because Lucile has been so generous to others in the church. “She and her husband helped a lot of people over the years. There was a young man who came here from Guam and they helped him through college. They have always helped with La Vida Mission.”

For Kelly Waller, Cradle Roll teacher at Littleton and life-long member, Lucile is a friend and a devoted Cradle Roll volunteer. “I have known Lucile since I was a child, and she has always been a bright spot in our church! She has always had a smile, a kind word, and a willingness to help. I want to be like Miss Lucy when I grow up.”

When not volunteering in the Cradle Roll Department, she can be seen giving encouragement to fellow members.

“I have been at Littleton Church for about 3 1/2 years and, during that time, Lucile has shown great love to our family. She has sent birthday cards to my girls and really encouraged me when I was new to the position of children’s ministry leader,” Weber said.

Lucile expressed her gratitude to her beloved church family. “I was so overjoyed and happy when the cars started coming by and waving and honking their horns. Thank you so much. I love you.”

Weber added, “There is something very special about having a centenarian in the congregation.  Everybody at Littleton loves Lucile.”

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photos by Andy Nash

11 Mar


By Jon Roberts – Denver, Colorado … One year ago, packed schedules and the daily busyness of life came to a screeching halt. Overnight, basements became offices, kitchen tables became classrooms, and going on vacation meant walking around the neighborhood.

What began as a few weeks of an “I can do this” attitude quickly turned into months of isolation, stress, and, for many, loneliness. With the pandemic end finally in sight, our way of life has changed permanently, and the lessons learned from the pandemic will last long after COVID is eliminated.

For Alise Weber, associate pastor at the Littleton church, keeping life simple is her new normal. “Living more simply is something I hope to keep,” she said. “We are home together more, playing games, cooking together, family worships, and enjoying more quality family time overall.”

Spending more time as a family is also important to Sandy Hodgson, principal at Vista Ridge Academy. “As a family, we love ‘eating in’ together and playing games, so we have been blessed to continue those traditions during the pandemic.”

While others have enjoyed the calendar being free of events.

“I have not minded this past year. My husband had to cancel his travel which meant we had more time at home, getting some projects done. I like being home! But I do miss getting together personally with my family, my friends, my Sabbath School class, and my church family,” Ardis Stenbakken, Campion church communication director and former world church women’s ministry director.

But for James Murdoch, associate pastor of the Boulder church, maintaining an online presence of worship is the lesson learned. “I think we will always need to keep an element of our online presence going after the pandemic ends due to all of the connections we have made outside of our territory in Colorado. While nothing compares to the community created in-person, Zoom has shown us that our kingdom footprint has more impact beyond our four walls if we are willing to continue using this digital component of our ministry.”

Ron Price, Farmington’s Pinon Hills church leader echoed Murdoch’s statement. “I’m sure Zoom meetings are here to stay, as will, hopefully, the increased handwashing and added emphasis on health.”

For some, changes in their personal and worship life are not the only lessons that will be applied in a post-Covid era. “I am not missing a ‘too-busy’ schedule. I will continue to be intentional when scheduling future appointments and activities,” Brenda Dickerson, communication director for Mid-America Union Conference said.

Michelle Velbis, principal at Springs Adventist Academy, also wants to keep the slower pace of life. “At first, I didn’t like the slower pace. But now I can’t imagine going back to the breakneck pace of pre-Covid. I can be more mindful and present with my family and I enjoy the intimate and simple interactions.”

The onset of the pandemic has made some reflect on their lives and their schedules.

“In some respects, Covid has produced welcome changes. I was scheduled to attend a couple of conferences which had to go virtual, saving me time and travel costs. Another positive change is that my wife and I are more health and cleanliness-conscious than perhaps we were before,” Price commented.

Rocky Mountain Conference churches and schools have grown due to the commitment of many to reach the community during challenging times.

“We have actually increased in numbers this year because we have been able to stay open,” explained Velbis. “Parents are looking for schools where they can get personalized instruction. We have also started a family chapel every week and that has been a real blessing to our families, many who have not attended church for quite a while,” Velbis said.

Hodgson added, “Our school has seen stability in enrollment and an increase in support and appreciation from our families with all the precautions we have taken to keep their children safe and continue in-person learning.”

For corporate worship, the simple act of gathering together is now a blessing many enjoy instead of taking it for granted.

“We have begun to rethink how to build and maintain community in ways that we may not have before. What used to be a habit of coming together on the Sabbath, has been rejuvenated to help us understand how good it is to gather together to worship,” Murdoch commented.

For some, the rigid structure of church has given way to flexibility.

“I think overall people have had to adjust to constantly-changing circumstances. This has lent itself to less rigidity and opened a pathway for more creative ways of doing things that maybe would not have been thought of before,” Weber added.

For others, the simple act of coming together for communion has been a blessing.

“However, the greater joy for me was when we had the communion service and about 130 individuals partook either in person or at home by having the symbols and the message of hope delivered to them by the elders and the deacons. I believe that was the greatest success when once again all the active members felt part of the whole, the body of Christ, Anton Kapusi, pastor of Pueblo church said.

For many this is a year they are looking forward saying goodbye to. “So, as we leave this year behind, I am hoping as we can get together, we will  all be more aware and reach out to friends and church family members who may be missing for whatever reason. I want to be able to enjoy worshiping and socializing with all of them,” Stenbakken commented.

While many changes have taken place over the past year, there are some changes that will have eternal effects on individual lives.

“I have also been able to strengthen and invest in my relationship with my Savior. I have rediscovered my ‘first love’ experience and hunger for His word and presence in my life like never before,” Velbis commented.

–Jon Roberts is RMC media/communication assistant; photo by Jamie Ginsberg on Unsplash

01 Mar


By Jon Roberts – Denver, Colorado … Almost a year ago, our way of life was interrupted by a pandemic which has caused us to rethink the way we handle routine items. Instead of going to King Soopers or Safeway for groceries, we now have them delivered to our front door or we pick them up in the parking lot.

For many church members, their way of returning tithes and offerings has also had to adapt and change since March 2020. Individuals either mail their donations to the church office (which can take days or weeks to arrive with our uncertain mail system) or they can donate through AdventistGiving.org, a fast, secure, and safe way to donate.

AdventistGiving is an app which can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Android Market and is also available online at adventistgiving.org. It allows donations to be made safely to your church using a credit/debit card or electronic check for either a one-time donation or recurring donations.

For some members, it has been a game changer for their financial routine.

“I resisted online giving for quite some time. It just seemed to be untrustworthy, cold, impersonal, etc. Now it has become a joyful experience. I get an endorphin rush as I hit the submit button knowing that I have been a “cheerful giver.” The convenience and time-saving factors are just gravy. Give it a try. You may just get hooked on giving online like I have,” said Ron Price, Piñon Hills church member and a member of the RMC executive committee.

AdventistGiving is a free resource that requires very little set-up time for church treasurers and other users of the tool.

George Crumley, RMC vice-president of finance explains the history of the AdventistGiving program and the impact it has had during the ongoing state of medical emergency the country has been under. “AdventistGiving was in place well before the pandemic hit us in North America. I believe that was providential and it has provided a secure, easy and effective way for our members to return their tithes and offerings during a time when we have not been able to worship together as easily as in the past.”

“Even though AdventistGiving was in place before the pandemic, it has been during COVID that we have seen utilization increase dramatically throughout the conference as more churches have come on board and more members have started using it.  We now have 71 churches who are active users.”

For some, the change may not come easy; however, the benefits and rewards will become evident shortly after the first use of AdventistGiving.

“I think our faithful members will continue to be faithful. They may need just a bit of time to adjust to giving in a way other than placing funds in an offering plate. That is not an option now. But I know they will find a way. One great option is AdventistGiving, an online mechanism that makes it easy to continue giving through a person’s own local church straight from their bank account, debit card, or credit card,” explained Randy Robinson, treasurer for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.

AdventistGiving also gives family members, friends and visitors an easy way to donate to the church and their mission no matter if they live 5 miles or 5000 miles away from the church.

Go to www.adventistgiving.org and enter your church name to start one of the easiest and safest ways to donate. If you discover that your church is not signed up for this free resource, ask your pastor, head elder, or treasurer to sign up immediately for the tool to allow for free, easy, and secure donations to be made via credit/debit card or electronic check.

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photos supplied

27 Jan


By Jon Roberts – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Sixth graders at Mile High Academy are quickly learning that doing laundry and putting it away is not just a chore at home, but the way to receive an “A” in their Life Skills class.

During the first unit of the class, students each washed four loads of laundry, folded the clothes and put them away and successfully ironed one dress shirt.

Life Skills teacher, Christina Hernandez, explains the class content: “Students are taught to use the washer and dryer that are at the school and run a load for the athletics department. Their “homework” is to complete four [more] loads by washing, drying, folding, and putting away laundry for their family. They learn how to iron a button-down dress shirt in class. They each bring (or I supply) a shirt to practice on. They will then have a test that shows their skills in ironing.”

The class, however, has had some surprises, according Hernandez. “The funniest reaction I’ve seen this year is that students had no idea that the iron uses water and causes vapor to come out.”

Even with the surprises, the class is well received.

“Some students really enjoy this unit as it is hands on. They also like the fact that they are earning their “laundering” patch for Pathfinders,” Hernandez said.

While students appreciate the unit on laundry, they are keen to the responsibility that comes with learning this skill.

Brodie Philpott, parent of sixth grader, commented “One of the drawbacks [of the Life Skills class] is now she [his daughter] has to do her own laundry, and she knows that she doesn’t want to buy clothes that she has to iron!”

Students are looking forward to the next unit when they will learn how to cook. For some, it may be a class on how to be a contestant on the popular Food Network show “Worst Cooks in America.”

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photo supplied

11 Jan


By Jon Roberts – Littleton, Colorado … On the very evening, January 6, when the political divisions in America grew into an unsuccessful coup at the United States Capital, some 30 members, including a ten-year-old and several teenagers came together for the first Wednesday night prayer meeting at the Littleton church.

Lead pastor Andy Nash, in opening remarks, addressed the events of the day, “We didn’t plan for our first prayer meeting to be on a day that was so painful for our country, but Jesus is our King and we want to pray for soft hearts and unity for our country and church.”

One church member shared how thankful they were to have a Wednesday night gathering, stating, “It is a blessing for our family to come and worship.” Church members welcomed the Wednesday gathering and expressed an interest in having such meetings continue into the future.

The meeting was planned to coincide with a new sermon series on Revelation stemming from a desire by Andy and Cindy Nash to spend time together with members and groups. Andy added, “It is harder [to gather together] in homes right now, but this is a beautiful house of God and it allows us a chance to space out.”

Following a devotional thought by Cindy Nash, individuals were given the chance to share reflections and prayer requests.

Following the prayer time, Andy Nash shifted the focus of the meeting in preparation for the new Revelation sermon series, which began the following Sabbath.

The congregation enjoyed a ten-minute clip from a Bible series detailing the disciples’ work of spreading the gospel to Asia. The clip ended on the small island of Patmos.

The Revelation sermon series, along with the Wednesday night gatherings, will continue for the next ten weeks, in person and online. Nash invites anyone wishing to dig deeper into Revelation to join the gatherings online at the Littleton Church Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LittletonSDA

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photo supplied