22 Nov

BRANDON WESTGATE TO SERVE AS RMC YOUTH DIRECTOR

RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … Brandon Westgate has accepted an invitation from the RMC Administrative Committee to serve as the new youth director for RMC. Westgate, currently a pastor in the Arkansas-Louisiana conference, will be taking over the department director position vacated by Kiefer Dooley in May when he transferred to the treasury department.

Westgate has been married to his wife, Dawn, for 35 years, and they have two grown children, Cory and Sylvia. He is anxious to relocate to RMC and enhance the ministry of the youth department.

“My wife and I are looking forward to contributing what we can to the ministry that is already taking place in RMC. I am impressed with the support from the conference administrators for continuing to develop the best youth program we can deliver.” Westgate said.

Westgate has served as pastor in many multi-church districts throughout the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference and served as their youth director and camp director at Camp Yorktown Bay for four years before returning to local church ministry.

Jessyka Dooley, assistant RMC youth director, welcomes a decision to have a youth director again. “First of all, I’m relieved! Our department has been without a director for six months. It will be amazing to have a full team in the office again. I am extremely excited that Brandon will be joining us as the new RMC youth director, Jessyka said. “He brings experience, passion, and vision to the team. As I’ve gotten to know Brandon more throughout the interview process, I have no doubt that he will fit in seamlessly with the vibe of the Rocky Mountain Conference, Glacier View Ranch, and Mills Spring Ranch, and youth ministry as a whole.”

The process of selecting the right person for the position was a long process, according to Doug Inglish, RMC vice-president of administration. “This was a long process at a difficult time of year to land a youth director, but God has led us to Brandon, and we’re really excited to have him with us.”

Brent Learned, assistant RMC youth director, is also looking forward to working with Westgate. “I am excited to have Brandon joining our team and am looking forward to the passion, experience, and fresh perspective he is bringing with him.”

Westgate, not raised a Christian, came to know Jesus and to walk with Him in his 20s after making some wrong decisions in high school which led him, in his words, “to the lowest point in my life.” He is involved in many activities that help spread the Good News that a relationship with Jesus offers.

“I have been privileged to play a spiritual leadership role in Maranatha’s mission trips for high school teens, the Ultimate Workout, since 2014. I am hopeful that we can encourage the young people in our conference to get involved in both local and international short-term mission trips as a way to potentially discover God’s calling on their life,” Westgate said.

He is looking forward to building RMC’s presence with Pathfinders and Adventurers as the youth department gears up for the International Camporee in Gillette, Wyoming in 2024. He commented, “I am a huge fan of Adventurers and Pathfinders. We will be developing new ways to help any church that wishes to have an Adventurer/Pathfinder club in their church to be able to do so. With the International Camporee coming to RMC in Gillette in a few short years, it would be amazing if we had many more clubs than we currently have to represent this amazing conference at the International Camporee.”

Westgate aspires to go beyond going through the motions in RMC when it pertains to youth ministry. “I do not wish to do ministry in a place where the status quo is all we are desiring to attain. We can be exceptional, and by God’s grace, we will be leading the North American Division with innovative approaches to capture the hearts and minds of our young people. I am also looking forward to connecting and networking with the young adults of RMC. Many times, once our youth age out of Pathfinders, they sort of feel like they don’t have a place in our church community. We need to continue to develop places for every youth and young adult to contribute their talents and develop their own unique walk with Jesus.”

Westgate has a BA in theology from Southwestern Adventist University and has a Masters in pastoral ministry from Andrew University. He enjoys working with his hands and has developed skills in home remodeling and renovation. He also likes outdoor activities like golf, disc golf, cycling, hiking, swimming and has run several half marathons, one full marathon, and has also done a few triathlons. He is an avid reader and enjoys board games. His wife, Dawn, is a registered nurse. Westgate has two grandchildren.

Westgate will be transitioning to RMC in 2022.

–RMCNews; photo supplied

04 Nov

ARMY CHAPLAIN YEPSICA MARENO COMMISIONED TO THE GOSPEL MINISTRY

RMCNews – Colorado Springs, Colorado … In front of family, friends, co-workers, and fellow soldiers, Yepisca Mareno was commissioned to the Gospel Ministry on October 30 at the Colorado Springs Central Adventist church.

“This is an affirmation by the church of Chaplain Moreno’s call to the Gospel Ministry, which she has demonstrated by her experiences as a pastor to the Navajo and as a chaplain in the US Army, both in the Reserve and on Active Duty,” William Cork, assistant director of the North America Division Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries said.

Echoing Cork’s sentiments Mike Maldonado, lead pastor of Colorado Springs Central, reflected on the significance of this recognition by the North American Division on a female pastor’s calling.

“Hosting and participating in Chaplain Moreno’s commissioning service was one of the most special events I have had the privilege to be a part of. The fact that she is a Captain in the United States Army, and a female, makes this recognition by the NAD and RMC of greater significance,” Maldonado commented.

Moreno was grateful for the support.  “I praise the Most High because He chose a broken vessel like me to be in His service. He has fought for me! I’m grateful for the people who have supported me in this path, and the ones who tried to discourage me too have taught me that with God, everything is possible. I’m grateful for my Adventist Church and its leaders who put their vote of confidence in me,” Chaplain Mareno said.

Former director of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries at the General Conference and a Vietnam veteran, Dick Stenbakken, commenting on the service said, “It was a high privilege to see one of our Seventh-day Adventist military chaplains receive commissioned credentials from the church. It is a privilege for us to provide chaplains that can give a wide range of services for our members and others. It was especially interesting to see a female military chaplain who has developed a wide range of ministry skills, receive recognition from the church.”

Moreno has a special partner in her ministry to the Army and Native Americans–her mother.

“Moreno honored her mother, who has been her ministry partner throughout her career. Moreno’s service throughout her ministry was recognized, including being the first female to be hired by the Texico conference as well as her work with native groups,” Jade Covel, Colorado Springs associate pastor, said.

RMC administration was honored to participate in the event.

“It was an honor to have a role to play in supporting someone who provides a vital service to those who serve our country,” Doug Inglish, RMC vice president of administration, said.

“Chaplain Moreno is on fire for Jesus. Her exceptional service in the military is a testimony of her close relationship with Him. We are very grateful for Chaplain Moreno and all the chaplains that serve in our territory,” Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, stated.

Cork wishes church members to know that being a chaplain in the Army is not easy. “The work of an Army chaplain today is emotionally intense, with high rates of sexual assault and suicide. We are grateful for the support Chaplain Moreno has from the Rocky Mountain Conference and the Colorado Springs Central Church,” Cork said

Chaplain Moreno is one of 130 Seventh-day Adventist pastors serving as military chaplains today.

–RMCNews; photos by Susan Inglish

27 Oct

UNION COLLEGE HOSTS 14 ACADEMIES FOR ANNUAL FALL TOURNAMENT

RMCNews with Union College News – Lincoln, Nebraska … Students from 14 Adventist academies from four union conferences arrived on the campus of Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska for an opportunity to fellowship, make new friends, and compete against each other at the annual fall soccer and volleyball tournament.

The gathering, a much-anticipated event for sports fans, offered an additional sport this year–golf–for the high school students to showcase their athletic skills.

Due to a COVID outbreak, Campion Academy had to cancel their participation in the annual tradition that many seniors look forward to. “We were disappointed to miss the tournament,” Donavan Reeder, Campion Academy principal, said. Reflecting on the missed tournament, Campion Academy said on a Facebook post “that the students are thankful for finishing out their season with wins at home for their last games. No matter what, they will all look back on this sports season with fond memories, most especially because of the bonds of friendship built in the teams!”

Mile High Academy was able to participate in the tournament representing the Rocky Mountain Conference. The students enjoyed the time to fellowship as they competed against each other.

“The tournament was a really great experience for our boys and girls,” said Michael Camacho, MHA athletic director. “They get lots of time to bond with one another and catch up with old friends from other schools.

Camacho added, “The students fought hard through injury, weather, and sleep deprivation–their own doing–but they made us proud.”

The tournament was divided into two divisions–the Clocktower and the Thunderdome divisions.

Forest Lake Academy Panthers won the volleyball Thunderdome Division bracket and Sunnydale Adventist Academy Spartans won the soccer Thunderdome Division.

In the Clocktower Division tournament, the Hinsdale Adventist Academy Hurricanes took first place in volleyball, and North Dallas Adventist Academy Sentinels took first place in soccer.

As the students left campus, much gratitude was given to Union College staff for hosting the yearly event on their campus. “Thank you, Union! What a fantastic tournament. Truly the hosts with the most LOVE and hospitality,” Rachel Lassel commented on a Union College Facebook post about the tournament.

–RMCNews with Union College News; photos courtesy of Mile High Academy and Union College

This article was adapted from Union College’s article (https://ucollege.edu/20211023/forest-lake-and-sunnydale-top-the-fall-tournament/)

26 Oct

RESPECTING AND LOVING ONE ANOTHER EVEN THOUGH WE DISAGREE

RMCNews … The nation and the world are divided when it comes to the health crisis called COVID. The nearly two years of living with this disease that has claimed many lives, left children orphans, wrecked financial status, and cost countless jobs, have left us divided. Is there even a middle-of-the-road when it comes to this situation?

It is essential to distinguish the pandemic as a health issue, and not a spiritual one. It is also important to remember that everyone has strong beliefs, and we are called to love our brothers and sisters even when we might strongly disagree with them.

Recently NewsNuggets reached out to RMC health ministry director, Rick Mautz, to discover how the health ministry department is approaching this health crisis while remaining neutral on masks and vaccinations while respecting individual choices.

“The first point I want our members to understand is that I am the health ministry director for all of our members. I care about your health and the personal choices that you make regarding your health practices. The health ministry department and the Rocky Mountain Lifestyle Center will always try to give you the most accurate and science-based information that is available,” Rick Mautz commented.

“Personal choices and freedoms, while following the laws of the land, are vital for every member” Mautz states.

“I believe strongly in the freedom of each person to make their own health decisions, which might involve getting a vaccination or wearing a mask in public places. However, I also believe that it is our Christian duty to follow the laws of the land unless it requires us to violate a biblical principle. Civil authority is there for the protection of our community members, and according to Scripture, is to be honored, whether we agree with it or not.”

He recognizes that there will be a time when following civil laws will not be possible because it violates the Ten Commandments.

“There will come a time when civil authority will pass laws and mandates that will violate God’s laws, and we must ‘obey God rather than man.’  But to rise up against laws that do not go against God’s laws just because we disagree with them is to give unnecessary trouble before its time.”

Mautz cautions members on only researching or listening to one side. He encourages everyone to be open-minded to the viewpoints of others.

“For any issues that arise, we need to study carefully and be open-minded on each side of the issue, making a prayerful decision that you believe God would honor. Studying only one side of any issue develops tribalism, which usually makes it difficult to be kind and loving to those holding a different view. It would have been impossible for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to fall on the early church if they were not willing to listen to other views and to allow the Holy Spirit to bring about unity amid multiple views.”

Mautz believes the division the world is facing is preparing the church and God’s people for earth’s final chapter.

“The health issues we are experiencing may be a dress rehearsal for practicing these principles necessary for the latter rain and the development of a people that reflect the character of Christ. Not because we have no standards and have no opinions, but that we are willing to listen to each other and willing to change when reason and the facts lead us that way.”

As a corporate church in North America, when it comes to these issues, members have guidance. Concerning vaccinations, COVID vaccinations, as well as others, the church states that there are no religious exemptions according to the Seventh-day Adventist faith (see https://www.rmcsda.org/north-american-division-position-on-requests-for-religious-exemptions-to-vaccine-requirements/ ).

RMC has asked all pastors to follow the local, county, or state health guidelines for mask mandates, social distancing, and capacity limits.

Mautz has a standard for all members to follow on issues that might divide us, “Whether I agree with your position on health and your health practices or not, I will defend your right to your opinion.”

–RMCNews; photo courtesy of Pexels

19 Oct

MINISTRY AT THE CENTER OF MISSION FOR NEW RMC VICE PRESIDENT OF FINANCE

By RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … Darin Gottfried joined RMC as vice president of finance at the beginning of September, bringing with him more than 13 years of experience in accounting and budget management.

Transitioning from the Kansas-Nebraska Conference where he served as vice president of finance for the last six years, getting to know the members of RMC is a priority for Gottfried in the coming months.  He wants to fellowship and socialize with the congregations. “I want to get to know people and spend time with them on Sabbath,” remarked Gottfried.

“I’m hoping I can see what works and get an understanding because I know the Western slope, the Front Range, and Wyoming–they’re all going to do ministry differently. It’s finding out the best way to [support them financially] in each of those areas, whether that’s schools, pastors, or evangelism.”

Ministry is at the center of Gottfried’s mission and focus. “My intent as treasurer is to set aside reserves as required by the North American Division, and then everything after that should be spent for what it is given for. We’re not here to hold tithe money. We’re here to spend tithe for what its purpose is, and that’s ministry happening in the conference. Every penny that comes in beyond what we have to keep in reserves by policy needs to be spent in ministry. My goal is always to find the best way to do ministry in our conference, and that looks different everywhere.”

The new treasurer is going through piles of documents left for him by George Crumley, former RMC vice president of finance. It will take him a while to grasp the treasury needs of the Conference. But what gives Gottfried hope is RMC’s long history of being fiscally responsible in not only building up reserves but also in the spending of available funds to support ministry building on the foundation George Crumley left.

He is concerned about many issues affecting the members of RMC and the country as a whole.

“Times are changing, laws as far as employment get harder every year, tithe often struggles to keep up with inflation. And that’s always a concern as well as how we can continue to do the same ministry when the value of the dollar is decreasing.”

However, the main concern for Gottfried is how to get the best ministry out of funds. “What works on the Front Range may not work in Wyoming. How do we adjust and reach those areas? How do we interact with those different cultures and meet them where they are.”

He wants members to know that the conference is doing well financially, considering the challenging situation the country is going through. “Tithe is up 13.83% over last year; Rocky Mountain Conference Advance is up 4.93% for the first time in four years. I want to say thank you for generously supporting RMC and the ministry that is happening,” Gottfried said.

–RMCNews; photo by Jon Roberts

14 Oct

RMC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETS NEW PRESIDENT AND TREASURER

RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … It was a special day for members of the Rocky Mountain Conference Executive Committee during their bi-monthly meeting October 12 as they met RMC’s new leaders, Mic Thurber, president, and Darin Gottfried, vice president of finance.

Thurber expressed his joy at meeting members of the Committee and shared the challenges that he and his wife Jana met while relocating from Lincoln, Nebraska to Denver. In the President’s report, Thurber took the opportunity to update the Committee on his immediate plans for settling into his new position.

“I don’t have a regular report because I am yet to get acquainted with the Rocky Mountain Conference family,” Thurber said.

As anticipated, the meeting’s agenda centered on the state of finances in RMC. Gottfried, the new treasurer, presented his first report “after a few weeks on the job.” The Financial report indicated a strong position, with base tithe increasing 13.16 % over last year. Gottfried also expressed that local church giving has increased in the majority of RMC churches.

“We have 80.87 days of operation in cash reserves, which is 132.02% of recommended levels under current North American Division (NAD) guidelines, but they are expected to change in 2022. The reserves would be 66.08% under the new system, and the plan is to gradually increase to meet the new guidelines,” Gottfried reported. In conclusion, he commented that despite difficult pandemic time, “the Lord has blessed his church in both the returned tithe and the offerings.”

The Administrative report was presented by Doug Inglish, vice president of administration. He shared information about pastoral openings recently filled in The Adventure (Ricky Melendez), Castle Rock (Edrey Santos), and Campion (Leandro Bizama, assistant pastor). The search is ongoing for senior pastors at Alamosa, Piñon Hills, and an associate pastor at LifeSource.

Inglish informed the Committee of the upcoming Town Hall meetings, though exact times are still to be determined pending approval from the host churches.

Nov 20 – Casper, Wyoming
Nov 21 – Grand Junction
Dec 8 – LifeSource
Dec 11 – Colorado Springs
Dec 12 – Campion

Diane Harris, RMC director of education presented a report indicating a strong increase of students in schools at all levels. There are 21 schools in RMC including three preschools, with 829 students enrolled in the current school year. Harris remarked that enrollment is up 13% over last year. She also stated that RMC is being appointed by the NAD as a regional hub for teaching new grading methodologies.

The Committee voted to set up a new application process for the churches formerly in partnership with Denver ACS in order to receive their share of the funds left when the center closed. This also includes a policy governing how the funds are to be used.

The date for the RMC Constituency Session was set for August 21, 2022, it will be held at Mile High Academy.

The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for December 7.

–RMCNews

30 Sep

MOUNTAIN VIEWS: IMAGINING TOMORROW TODAY

RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … “When I look at the Adventism of the future, I see Jesus.  I see a church that has fully embraced Him and fully embraced His Gospel,” Shawn Brace writes in his latest article for Mountain Views.

The fall issue, which is scheduled to start arriving in your mailbox next week, focuses on the topic of Adventism and Imagination.  What will Adventism look like in 5, 10, or 40 years?  What is our hope for the future?

The editors are hoping to stir conversation and a reevaluation of one’s self-identity in the Adventist faith. “We are a people of hope, walking always into the future. Imagination helps. When I close my eyes and look toward the Second Coming of Jesus, I turn my thoughts into a world of wonder–what it will be like in the future Jesus promised?” comments Rajmund Dabrowski, editor.

Mountain Views features, among others, include, “The Seventh-day Adventist Church in 2040”; “Jesus: The Future of Adventism”; “Imagine Transforming”; and a conversation with Doug Inglish, RMC vice president of administration, and his daughter Chelsea Inglish titled “We Know Our Ultimate Future.”

This is also the last issue of Mountain Views under the editorial leadership of Ed Barnett, RMC president who retired at the end of August.  The editors of Mountain Views look forward to working with new RMC president Mic Thurber on the next issue.

If you are not receiving the magazine, please update your mailing address or subscribe for free here.

On the Back Page we are challenged: “God gave you brains. Use them.” Read Mountain Views.

–RMCNews; photo supplied

22 Sep

NEW PRINCIPAL, ANDREW CARPENTER, AIMS AT JOINT COLLABORATION BETWEEN MHA AND RMC SCHOOLS

RMCNews – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … “We’re all working together; we all have a common goal,” Andrew Carpenter, the new principal at Mile High Academy, remarked on the collaboration he would like to accomplish among Mile High Academy, front-range churches, Campion Academy, and other schools in RMC.

Born and raised in Tennessee and graduated from Madison Academy outside of Nashville, Tennessee, he is aware of the benefits of Adventist education. Carpenter is married with a two-year-old daughter, which occupies his time when he is not at MHA. After graduating from Southern Adventist University, he began his career as chaplain at San Gabriel Academy in Southern California before being offered the position of vice-principal, where he served under the leadership of Paul Negrete the past few years before accepting the call to be the principal at MHA.

Carpenter, by joining MHA, opens the academy’s new chapter of leadership. He would like to continue to build on the innovative programs and introduce systems that would help support what the school has accomplished while continuing to move forward with best practices. “One of the big innovations is real-world learning, sometimes called project-based learning, which is a great tool for education, teaching kids relevant and authentic experiences,” Carpenter comments, adding “and getting [the students] involved in how the skills and content they’re learning in the classroom interact in the world they are living in.”

Collaboration between area churches and MHA is encouraging to Carpenter.  “We have great pastoral support, not from just our constituent churches, but also from pastors outside of our constituency who have been very supportive of the school and working to help us see how we can partner together because it’s a blessing for their ministry as well as ours to be able to minister to the families of kids.”

He adds, “I think the more we invite everybody to be a part of what’s happening in our ministries, as we partner together, the stronger our ministry becomes. I think we need to talk about how we can continue to partner together. How can we sync our calendars, our programming to benefit each other and not just for the sake of benefit, but so we can be more effective in what we’re trying to accomplish here in the Denver Metro area?”

Carpenter’s mission for MHA goes beyond preparing the students for academic success but includes equipping them to advance God’s Kingdom. “The mission is helping to prepare our young people to be active participants in Christianity and to be part of the great commission within the Adventist context, helping to train and prepare them by partnering with our churches. We are developing a program based on brain and science research, our biblical worldview combined with our historical understanding of where Adventist education came from and the counsels of Ellen White.”

The core mission, according to Carpenter, comes down to character development for the students. He takes this value directly from the book Education by Ellen White, who encourages teaching the students about the joy of service in this life and for eternity. “That’s going to be a huge component of what we do because that’s the mission of our church. The other component is, as our new [Conference] president, Mic Thurber, begins that we look at his mission and vision for Rocky Mountain Conference and see how Mile High can help collaborate with that vision.  We are all working together, and we all have a common goal. We’re looking at how we can help to support our churches and our conference with our young people completing that mission.”

Carpenter is anxious to build a strong relationship between Campion and Mile High Academy.  “I call Don Reeder frequently and ask him how Campion is doing.  I would love to collaborate with them on outdoor activities and mission projects.  I know we play sports together, which is great.  There’s a healthy relationship there, but I would love for our students to spend time together.  I would like to see prayer conferences with our academies.  I think bringing our academies together would help us realize that we are working toward the same goals and mission.”

He adds that the question he bases his leadership on is, “If Mile High can improve in one area, how do we help the school in Farmington improve, and how does the school in Farmington help Mile High improve? When we’re talking about the mission and vision for education, specifically in the Rocky Mountain Conference, how do we begin to affect more than just ourselves with what we’re doing?”

“We need to be collaborating not just with Campion, but also with Brighton, Vista Ridge, our school in Casper, and others.  I’m impressed with our teachers in Wyoming.  They’re amazing educators.  They have some tough challenges out there by themselves, but they’re working together.”  That’s a tremendous example of collaboration, according to Carpenter.  He adds that when we are focused just on ourselves, we will miss the mark, but if we continue to collaborate together, Rocky Mountain Conference education will be great.

According to Carpenter, the call to MHA was about doing more than doing a job only at Mile High but also changing the wider community. “We want to do something greater than [with] just ourselves at Mile High Academy and affect the whole conference, union, and division.” This mindset set forth by Diane Harris, RMC education director, made Carpenter want to join Rocky Mountain Conference as principal at Mile High Academy.

–RMCNews; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski

13 Sep

MISSION FOCUS, HISPANIC GROWTH, AND EQUALITY IN CALLING TO MINISTRY AT CENTER OF MID-AMERICA UNION CONSTITUENCY MEETING

RMCNews – Lincoln, Nebraska … Under the theme Yes, Lord!, the 9th quinquennial session of the Mid-America Union Conference, September 12,  256 delegates voted 82% to 18% to allow conferences to submit female pastors to the union for ordination. Mid-America Union Conference joins the Pacific Union Conference and the Columbia Union Conference to become the third union in the North American Division to ordain women.

At the outset of the meeting, delegates re-elected Gary Thurber to serve as Mid-America Union Conference president. Dr. Herbet Morel Jr. was elected as vice president of administration; David VandeVere, treasurer of the Potomac Conference, was invited to join MAUC as vice-president of finance.

MAUC department directors elected for the next quinquennium, were Brenda Dickerson, communication director; Roberto Correa, disabilities director; LouAnn Howard, education director; Raylene Jones, human resources director; Robert Correa, multi-language and Hispanic director; and Nancy Buxton, women’s ministry director.

The session began with a devotional thought by G. Alexander Bryant, North American Division president. Bryant challenged the delegates, saying, “Don’t let your heart become overwhelmed and don’t let yourself get too stressed out with things happening in the world and the church … especially the church.” He added, “Jesus is interested in our mental health. Whatever is happening in this life, it is temporary. It’s not the final chapter. Let not your heart be troubled because Jesus is going to win!”

Changes to the by-laws, a regular maintenance item, became a topic of much discussion on whether or not to enlarge the MAUC Executive Committee from 35 to 38 members to ensure more voices are heard. Hispanic delegates spoke about the representation of this growing membership base within MAUC on the Executive Committee. One delegate expressed, “We would like to have a voice”. Gary Thurber explained that they recognize the importance of Hispanic ministries in MAUC and the conferences choose who will sit on the Union Executive Committee, and as part of recognizing the fastest growing membership base in the territory, the delegates voted the first Hispanic director of the Union.

Union College presented a report showing the healthy growth in enrollment and financial stability. The college representatives also showed that they have 25 million dollars in reserve for student aid.  A new feature of the college campus drew the attention of many in the audience when they presented plans to build the AdventHealth Fitness Complex in the next few years.

The final agenda item was the issue of pastoral credentialing. The topic, as expected, drew strong convictions from both sides of the issue.

“We are not here to debate women’s ordination. We are going to debate the policy,” Gary Thurber, MAUC president said at the onset of the lively hour discussion for women’s ordination in the MAUC territory. Thurber addressed the delegates stating they are called by God. “We are God’s Elijahs. We are the ones called for this territory.”

Mic Thurber, the new RMC president addressed the delegates on this issue by saying, “My personal support for this motion has been formed by 18 years of serving alongside educated, gifted, and called women to pastoral ministry. In the three churches I served as senior pastor, one or more female associate pastors each demonstrated the fruits of ministry over and over again.”

Dick Stenbakken, RMC delegate rose to the microphone to express his opinion. “I think as Adventists we talk a lot about mission, and we should. And I think we should not limit who can serve in it. We talk about present truth and I think the present truth is to ordain women along with men because it helps the mission of the church.”

Bryant spoke on the challenges he sees. “I personally stand in support of women’s ordination, but am challenged by this motion.” He said that this action doesn’t make women equal in the Seventh-day Adventist church. “Let’s ask the Lord for wisdom because this might help this particular situation but doesn’t help the entire issue. There has to be a way that we, as a church, figure out our way through this and keep pressing until we can get total equality.”

In conclusion, 256 delegates voted 82% to 18% to allow conferences to submit female pastors to the union for ordination making it one of the largest margins in favor of ordaining women to the Gospel Ministry.

Commenting on the historic vote, Doug Inglish, RMC vice president of administration, said. “The vote today means conferences can decide whether or not to submit female pastor names to the union for ordination.”

Those chosen to represent the Rocky Mountain Conference on the Mid-America Union Conference Executive Committee were Mic Thurber, RMC president; Darin Gottfried, RMC vice president of finance; Wayne Morrison, pastor of Brighton church; and two at-large members Carol Turk and Sam Miller.

Voted to serve on the Union College association board to represent RMC was Darin Gottfried, and serving on the Union by-laws committee is Mary Lynn Green, RMC trust and planned giving director.

Closing the session, Gary Thurber challenged the delegates to “keep our arms around each other and when we go from this place, we will send a message to our churches that the Mid-America Union Conference is Seventh-day Adventist to its very core and loves the world church and is thankful to be a part of it.”

He also stated that he is grateful for each female pastor in the Mid-America Union. “I hope more than anything today they know how important they are to our mission and that their pastoral leadership is vital to our territory.”

–RMCNews; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski and Outlook Magazine

09 Sep

“I work for you,” says the new RMC president during the first office meeting

RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … “To you, this is another staff meeting, but to me, this is a big deal,” Mic Thurber said to the conference office staff at the beginning of their monthly meeting, September 7.

Meeting the staff officially for the first time, Thurber chaired the meeting.  After a worship thought by Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, the new president began by sharing how he is eager to start his ministry in the RMC territory.

Thurber stated that when new leadership arrives, there is often anxiety among the staff concerned about how this change will affect them.  Thurber explained his leadership style comes down to “I work for you,” referring to the fact he is not a micro-manager.

He said he has a pastor’s heart and sees his role as president to be the office staff senior pastor. “I’m still a pastor,” commented Thurber.

The staff was able to meet for the first time Darin Gottfried, RMC vice-president for finance.  Gottfried shared how he is looking forward to getting settled in their new home in a few weeks and looking forward to getting to know the staff and church members.

Jana Thurber, the new RMC women’s and prayer ministries director attended the meeting and meet the staff.  Jana also explained she is looking forward to also filling a new position of ministerial spousal support.

Several staff expressed their joy in welcoming Thurber and Gottfried while appreciating Doug Inglish, vice-president for administration, for his maintaining the RMC ship these past few weeks.

The meeting closed with a renewed emphasis by Thurber explaining evangelism in RMC starts in our community by being loving and caring neighbors.

–RMCNews; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski and Jon Roberts

1 2 3 9