19 Aug

NAVAJOS TAKE TO THE AIR WAVES

By Alan Steele and Rajmund Dabrowski – Farmington, New Mexico … Adventist church member Kyle Boyd is sensing that God has given him a special opportunity to reach out to his fellow Navajo tribal members. “Our people are desperately searching for hope,” he says. Recently, he was able to realize his dream of sharing God’s message in a very special way.

About a year ago, he heard from members at his home church in La Vida Mission of an idea to establish a radio station to reach the Navajo Nation with God’s last-day message. He immediately volunteered and discovered that the Voice of Prophecy had produced programs in Navajo many years ago. That source, with updated scripts from long ago, forms the basis of his ministry. On August 2, his voice was heard for the first time around the huge reservation, the largest in North America, and his ministry was launched.

The original dream of Navajo church members was to acquire their own radio station. However, a plan to participate in a radio license auction scheduled earlier this year was foiled by the Federal Communication Commission when the Coronavirus epidemic hit America and the auction was postponed.

They saw the postponement, though, as a mere delay, and their strategy changed to the concept of a trial run on KTNN, the most powerful station on the reservation. Thanks to numerous private donations and a sizable contribution to the project from Adventist World Radio, the group had enough funds to buy airtime on “The Voice of the Navajo Nation.”

They had no expectations for receiving feedback from listeners after their first half-hour on the air, but four listeners called for the study course that was offered. That was three weeks ago. Three programs on, five more people asked for Bible studies.

Kyle Boyd is assisted by Michael Mace, a volunteer at La Vida Mission who was previously involved with setting up a studio. He is a nine-year French missionary veteran who has worked in Adventist broadcasting internationally. He came to La Vida Mission not knowing that he was to be involved in radio ministry. “I just applied and God’s will had to be done, right? So, now I know that there was a radio behind [God’s plan], but I didn’t know that before I came.” Michael set up the studio and serves as an engineer.

Pastor Steve Gillham, director of La Vida Mission, said, “You see we have been having this dream of winning the reservation for Christ. We just kept asking ourselves here on the front lines, “What can we do?” and we talked it up when we were around others.” They got Allen Steele’s ear, and “we talked to others involved, and in God’s providence, word came from AWR [there was] interest in a Navajo station,” he shared.

The rest is history. Programs are on the air and Bible studies are being requested. La Vida Mission has increased its outreach among the Navajos.

The early surprise response has energized the program producers in their new work of preparing radio programs and follow-up that the requests have generated. To prepare programs, three church conferences with territory in the Navajo Nation agreed to make programs possible by installing small production studios where tribal members can conveniently record their radio messages.

The Rocky Mountain Conference helped fund a studio at La Vida Mission in San Juan County, New Mexico. The Arizona Conference installed a studio at the Adventist Church in Window Rock, the national capital. The Texico Conference installed a studio at its Gallup Church in the western part of the state. Holbrook Indian School in eastern Arizona also has a studio and hopes to involve students in the programs. Thanks to a weekend of training by Allen Steele, a former AWR vice-president, a dozen volunteer program producers were ready to go into action.

Until the next opportunity arrives to acquire their own station, the trial run has convinced church members that radio ministry is the best way to reach out to the huge desert expanse of their territory that straddles three states: Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

–Allan Steele with Rajmund Dabrowski; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski and Alan Steele

Pictured is Steve Gillham

 

Holbrook studio
Photo credit: Allen Steele
01 Jul

MOUNTAIN VIEWS NEW EDITION COVERS NEW NORMAL AND ADVENTISM; GOES ONLINE.

By Rajmund Dabrowski — Denver, Colorado … Now into its sixth year, Mountain Views is available online. After the Rocky Mountain Conference’ distribution of communication became Web-based, it was obvious that both publications, NewsNuggets, and Mountain Views needed to be more accessible to a wider church audience beyond RMC borders.

As the latest edition, Summer 2020, is being printed and mailed to all members of the church, the online edition provides readers with searchable archives of the magazine.

The current issue is dealing with a “contemporary mega” issue facing the world, including the religious milieu. We ask ourselves, what will be the new normal for our church, for each church member, for the church’s mission and ministry?

Not that the MV history is significant at this stage, but it should be noted that prior to 2015, there was only one edition of the magazine edited by Mark Bond. Today, the content has expanded, presenting a mosaic of subjects written by some of the best authors and thinkers in contemporary Adventism.

The challenge for the magazine was expressed by Ed Barnett, RMC president, who envisioned providing quality reading for church members. “We must go beyond in the way we do church. We must be a thinking church,” he said.

Last week, Barnett commented on this new stage for Mountain Views. “Our editors have done a marvelous job putting out the magazine for several years. Over time, we have had readers, even out of our conference, asking for a subscription. It is a magazine that really makes you think about some of the latest challenges we are facing as Seventh-day Adventists. We are now bringing out archives of previous issues, making the magazine available to many more readers,” he commented.

Ron Johnson, a member of Grand Junction Church sent a request: “This Authentic Adventism issue with multiple articles on being real is excellent and I would like to share the entire issue with folks outside of RMC. Can I purchase additional copies, perhaps as many as a dozen?” Another church member from Delta Church wrote that a group of members at her church is discussing Mountain Views articles in a church group. Can you send us a few extra copies? she requested.

This is exactly why we are serious about providing our fellow believers with additional reading, besides other denominational literature. We are not only about affirmation of our beliefs, but also taking us beyond into what the church pioneers challenged the fledgling denomination through present truth. Our contemporary world is challenging us, and we need to display a “thinking” faith.

“This is such a fun magazine to work on. The articles deal with current issues in the real world, inviting a fresh, contemporary design that I hope I manage to achieve!” commented Becky De Oliveira, designer and writer. “I can’t think of another conference-sponsored magazine that makes such an effort to engage thinking Christians in faith-centered discussions,” she added.

Often, the work of those who are busy behind the scenes is not thought about. It takes creativity, imagination, and boldness to put each issue together. Prayer is essential, as well as receiving critiques and affirmation.

The editorial credit goes to church leaders and you – the readers! We are grateful to Carol Bolden, who continues to assist us with editing, and to Jon Roberts, who is making sure we are online, as well as to our expert professional printers, Seminars Unlimited.

Above all, our gratitude goes to the Master Communicator whose inspiration leads us to take life seriously and make our faith, hope and life rich with meaning.

–Rajmund Dabrowski is editor of Mountain Views; in a selfie photo pictured are Becky De Oliveira and Rajmund Dabrowski

To view the Summer 2020 issue please click here.

26 Sep

New Lay Pastors are Trained to Have Fresh Focus in Church Ministry

By Rajmund Dabrowski — Denver, Colorado…“They will be called a Denver Cohort,” said Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director. Twenty-two local church leaders signed up for training to become lay pastors and met at the Rocky Mountain Conference office, September 20-22.

“Equipping men and women to serve along side their pastor will be a tremendous blessing to the local church. It will allow more ministry to take place, which will translate into more people’s lives impacted for Christ,” commented Mallory.

Nate Skaife, lead pastor at the Grand Junction Church, was the instructor of this first training event. He started teaching lay pastors in 2012 while he was ministering in the Wisconsin Church. In the words of Wilton Helm, from Aspen Park, Pastor Skaife’s training “exemplified good teaching and coaching techniques while doing the presentation.”

The next Colorado training session is planned for Grand Junction on the Western Slope, October 4-6. There are six training classes before each participant receives certification. Outside of class time, there are assignments to be completed before a candidate receives a completion of training diploma.

It became obvious that the registered candidates for training expressed their appreciation to be a part of this new initiative of the Rocky Mountain Conference. “Great training, “ said Bill Oxenford from True Life Community congregation in Littleton. “It was wonderful to be engaged with so many like-minded church workers who love Jesus and are so willing to serve him and seek those who are looking for truth,” he added.

The participants were coached in how to conduct conversations. This role playing was then critiqued. In the words of Emmanuel Jean, from Agape Haitian, “My biggest take away from this training was the discussion and interaction among the peers. This training will help me to be the brighter light on the lives of my church members and the people of my community that could be facing darkness in their spiritual lives.”

Commenting on the reason to become a trained lay pastor, Mark Royer from Trinidad, concluded with a question: “If I am not motivated and dedicated how can I expect my church to be so?”

In Denver, the next training session is planned for January 31 – February 2, 2020.

Rajmund Dabrowski with Mickey Mallory; photos by Mickey Mallory

27 Aug

Boulder Adventist Church Continues Its 140-year Legacy

By Rajmund Dabrowski — Boulder, Colorado…Boulder Adventist Church recently marked its 140-year anniversary. Displayed on a wall of the lower floor of the church, between Connect Group classrooms, is a plaque commemorating part of the history of Boulder Adventist Church. It states that the church was organized in 1879 and its congregation was meeting first in the home of Henry Pierce at 905 Arapaho. It was on August 2, 1879 that makes the Boulder congregation the oldest to be organized in Colorado. 

The first church building was constructed a year later at the southeast corner of Broadway and Mapleton. The congregation moved to a brick structure at 7th and Highland in 1898. The present church was built in 1949 on the southeast corner of the original Boulder-Colorado Sanitarium and Hospital property. The ceremony for laying the cornerstone was attended by several hundred people. 

Settled by the early prospectors in an attractive area of the Rockies, and what today is known as Wild West, the region was frequently visited by the early Adventist pioneers and over the years, the Adventist community became known for health-related activities, as well as its educational presence. The early denominational pioneers held numerous outreach activities, and Ellen G. White spoke at a temperance rally.

The work of one unnamed man in Montrose, combined with established congregations in Boulder, Longmont (1880), and Denver (circa 1880), and the presence of James and Ellen White, who held the first formal series of Adventist meetings in the history of Colorado, as well as setting up a personal summer retreat in the state in 1872, led to the 1882 establishment of the Colorado Conference.

The Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia details when the church was established in Boulder. “At Boulder on Aug 2, 1879, a church of 26 was organized – the first in Colorado – and a Sabbath school of 40. At St. Vrain a church of 13 was formed in October,” (p. 330).

Involved in leading a fledgling church organization, with James White being president of the General Conference, the Whites, an itinerant missionary couple, were present in Boulder on August 2, 1879 the day when the church was organized. “The Whites returned to Colorado in the summer of 1879 following a mule drive by wagon train from Dallas, Texas. They were in Boulder when the Seventh-day Adventist church was organized on August 2,” (See: Del L. Johnson, in: Denis Fortin and Jerry Moon, The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia, p. 726).

The church has continued to develop over time, changing quite dramatically in terms of the demographics of the congregation and the focus of the ministry. Gary Nowlan, who joined the Boulder congregation in the 1960, notes “how things changed from many members living close enough they walked to church to now when very few members even live in Boulder. I’ve been a member long enough to see the evolution of the church service from very formal to very contemporary.”  

Commenting on the 140 years of the church, its community influence – healthful living, medical work, education – and the evolution of the church’s presence, Gary says, “In my view, there is a core of persons who have been members for many years and who are very loyal to the Boulder Church.” 

Gary notes the resiliency of Adventist Boulderians. “That core of believers, joined by many others, is willing to adapt to changing times. We may not always like the changes but are willing to accept them for the sake of a flourishing church. A church needs young people and children to flourish. If the changes help to attract young adults and children, we are willing to accept the changes,” Gary adds.

For Gary, and others in the congregation, the continuum of the church is a reflection of the mission-oriented pioneers, many of whom were young and engaged in making the world a better place. “I believe this attitude toward young people and children has been an important part of the character of the Boulder Church during the time I have been a member.”

Reflecting on the 140th anniversary, there are many reasons for maintaining and enhancing the presence of Seventh-day Adventism in the important city of Boulder and not many, if any, for abandoning it.

Rajmund Dabrowski, text and photos