26 Jan


RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … In the month of January, several RMC congregations joined with scores of churches around the world in the “10 Days of Prayer” event. Church members were challenged to focus on the love of God, surrendering to Him, and focusing on the Holy Spirit to fill hearts with God’s love.

Some church members may be asking:  What’s the big deal about praying with others?

For Randy Bell, Brighton church member, the answer was clear, “I’m a software engineer. Part of the reason I chose this career is because I don’t HAVE to do presentations. For some reason this year, the Holy Spirit nudged me to lead out a night during the 10 Days of Prayer. So, I told the pastor I’d help.”

“I was given night two about God’s love, which also included the story of the prodigal son.  Great, I thought, I’ve heard that story a thousand times. How can God do anything new with it? But when I began to really ask God to show Himself to me, and when I led out and we began to pray that night, I sensed the Holy Spirit connecting with the people as we prayed together. When we were done, I texted the pastor to ask if he had any more nights available to lead out. I told him, ‘I just can’t explain it–-that was cool! Can it happen again?’” Randy added.

Campion church prayer coordinator, Tenisha Tavares, shared how it impacted the members of her church. “When asked on the last night what had changed in their life during the past ten days, many said it motivated them to have a deeper prayer life. They experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit during the time we had together and wanted to continue that outpouring in their personal devotional time with God.”

If you didn’t have the opportunity to experience 10 Days of Prayer during January, you can still participate. The resources can be found at www.tendaysofprayer.org and are available throughout the year.

–RMCNews; photos supplied

21 Jan


RMCNews with Campion pastoral team – Loveland, Colorado … The Campion church pastors put the Bible verse “Build your house on the rock” into action by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity during the month of December.

Campion ministers invested not only in words, but committed themselves to lead with action. Collectively, they served on the board of the local House of Neighborly Services, the faith committee of Habitat for Humanity, and as chaplains for the local police department. At least once a year, as part of the team’s advance planning, they take a day to grab tool belts and gloves and lend their energy toward building a house with Habitat for Humanity.

These community connections are important for the outreach of the church.

In the opinion of Nestor Soriano, evangelism and worship pastor, the hard work of assisting in construction is worth it. “What a blessing it is to know that through my little efforts, I made a difference for a family in need.”

It’s not just about the studs and sheetrock, but about the family who will receive the home, explained Michael Morss, discipleship pastor. “It’s always a privilege to partner with Habitat for Humanity and to pray, while working, that God blesses the family that receives this home.”

Micheal Goetz, senior pastor, comments that taking a day to build a home is part of their mission. “The Campion church is the combination of two parishes, campus and community. With that, two of the essential activities of our team include interaction with our students and participation in a local organization. Individually, we look for ways that express our gifts and passions.”

-RMCNews with the Campion pastoral team; photo supplied

12 Jan


By RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … Imagine coming home from church one evening and to find the words BOP A** N***A sprayed-painted on your house. This is exactly what Pastor Oshaine Wynter discovered this past Sabbath, January 9.

Wynter, a resident of Aurora, Colorado is the pastor of New Community Church in Denver and Boston Street church in Aurora. Both are within the Central States Conference, a sister region to Rocky Mountain Conference.

Concerning the scary experience, Wynter said the whole situation has “been disappointing and sickening.” He further recalls the fear he felt when he saw those freshly-painted words on his garage, knowing his wife, 6-month-old, and 2-year-old were just feet away in the house.

The pictures posted on Facebook received swift comments of denunciation for the hate-filled words that Wynter and his family endured.

Commenting on the Facebook post, saying, “Bro, I’m so sorry your wife, children, and yourself had to endure this terrible racist thing. Bro, please be safe and keep your family safe. This is unacceptable.”

Another posted, “No excuse for this cruelty! Prayers for your safety and for a repentant heart for the perpetrators.”

After seeing the horrific picture on Facebook, Jessyka Dooley, RMC assistant youth director said, “This really makes my blood boil. My heart goes out to Oshaine and his family. May we surround them with love in both our words and actions during this time.”

The police, notified of the event, confirmed to Wynter that hate speech in Aurora has been sharply increasing since the U.S. election in November.

Commenting on the racial attack, Ed Barnett, RMC President said, “I am just appalled that racism is so apparent today in Denver. It just blows my mind.”

The Central States Conference Vice-President of Administration, Cryston Josiah echoed Barnett’s comment, saying “He has our love and support fully.  We do not condone attacks against him or anyone else.”

For safety reasons, Wynter and his family moved from their home, but the damage has been done to the community. Wynter said there is a new level of fearfulness among church members.

RMC pastors, from Littleton and Franktown, helped the Wynter family relocate on Sunday. The RMC youth department has also reached out to Pastor Wynter with the offer to assist with any needs his family may have in the aftermath of this crime.

Wynter believes that, “the type of fear you experience here [in the United States] you don’t experience anywhere else.”

The police continue to investigate this hate crime.

Josiah added, “that they have a lot of members [in the Central States Conference] who experience racism and he [Wynter] is strong and resilient against racism.”

Barnett added that following a successful gathering sponsored by the Littleton and Denver Park Hill Churches in October 2020, “the Rocky Mountain Conference continues to explore and hold conversations on how we can take a stand against racial injustice and promote solidarity among the ethnically-diverse population that both conferences serve.”

–RMCNews; photo from Oshaine Wynter Facebook.

12 Jan


RMCNews – General Conference World Session scheduled for this June 2021 in Indianapolis has been postponed till 2022, Adventist News Network reported this morning, January 12, on Twitter.

Church leaders cited the ongoing pandemic situation for the decision to move the GC session till June 2022.

This marks the second postponement of the Session.

GC policy states a Session can only be postponed twice.

07 Jan


Ed Barnett, RMC president

Year 2020 helped me confirm that there is no status quo, neither in the world, nor in our church. We see change taking place everywhere around the globe. As we move forward, I believe all of us must take our relationship with Jesus more seriously. We can observe that more of our fellow brothers and sisters are realizing the same truth.

This makes me think that the greatest days for the Seventh-day Adventist Church are right in front of us. Each of us has a part to play in sharing Jesus wherever we go, not only in words, but in the way we live our lives. Some of the long-established values of Christianity need to be visible like never before, be it honesty, kindness, gentleness, genuine love for our neighbors, or being friends who are not trying to win people into the baptismal tank but let them see-–with the help of the Holy Spirit–-what Christ is really like.

These days, Christianity is not thought of as highly as it once was. But we have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those around us. I believe we will see that happening. That is what I imagine our members doing as we move into 2021 and beyond.

I praise God for the wake-up call He has given us. Let’s be known as the most loving, kind people in our communities!

Eric Nelson, RMC VP for administration

In the past 12 months, there has been a settling into whatever the new norm is for each individual.  For some, it has grounded them more deeply in their commitment to the Lord and the Adventist Church. For others, there has been a deepening divide, loss of contact, diminishing connection with the church where they hold membership and have attended in the past. It will be an ongoing effort to re-engage many in the church during 2021. That will be the greatest challenge in 2021. How do we reach and incorporate, re-engage many of our members? How can we re-ignite their spiritual fire? We have the challenge of doing all we can to make worship and fellowship so interesting and meaningful, that they would not want to miss out.

There is no going back to the way it used to be! We are using so many tools that we didn’t know how to use in years gone by. We have tools to conduct meetings more efficiently. We have new methods by which to reach out to a broader demographic than those who previously came into our worship centers. Pastors are sharing with me that twice as many are attending worship (in person and on-line) than have attended in past years. How can we connect with those who are joining remotely? How can we discover who and where they are? This is a very exciting problem.

I personally look forward to fellowshipping in church, shaking hands, singing full-voiced without a mask. I look forward to fellowship meals and [maskless] face-to-face conversations. I look forward to seeing faces and smiles I recognize, faces that I haven’t seen for some time.

George Crumley, VP for treasury

Prophet Haggai (chapter 1) talks about the people saying the time had not come to rebuild the house of the Lord. They had become discouraged by opposition in the past and had grown indifferent to the importance of the work. In their indifference, they focused on their personal comforts and security while God’s house lay in ruins.

Through the prophet, God said that because they were focused on their desires instead of God’s work, they were suffering. To paraphrase, God said that they are planting and not getting much of a harvest. They were eating, but were not satisfied and their wages disappeared as if they were putting them in pockets filled with holes. God commanded them to take up His work and then He did an amazing thing. He motivated them to do that work. In the NLT, we read that God sparked enthusiasm in the leaders and the people, and they started to work on the house of the Lord.

Most of us can attest that, at times, our focus has been in the wrong areas. We’ve been out chasing rabbits at the expense of God’s work and have been left empty and impoverished. But as we enter this new year, what an opportunity we have to recommit to moving God’s work forward by being lights that shine to those around us. God is willing and ready through His Spirit to fill us with the same enthusiasm with which He filled the people of Judah years ago. Now, that is a neat thought!

06 Jan


By RMCNews – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … After 27 years, the Mile High Academy bus, which has carried many students and faculty to multiple events, has left campus for the final time.

The bus quit working in August and according to MHA, parts have become non-existent and the knowledgeable service mechanic retired, selling not only his shop but also comparable spare-part busses. Based on the uphill challenge for the bus, the administration decided it was time to sell MHA’s iconic transportation mode.

Reflecting on the quintessential bus, Brian Howard, upper school teacher, said, “It was a way to get where we were going, but it was also much more than that. It was a safe place to hang out. It was a place to learn new and interesting things about our friends and colleagues as we talked while rolling along. It was a place to learn new games. It was a place where friendships were made and strengthened.”

Upon hearing the news of “Blue’s” final trip, alumni began posting memories on Facebook.

“So long, Old Blue. The stories you could tell. A piece of MHA history is gone on [to] the bus farm in the sky,” Amy Rasco, MHA alumnus commented.

Greg Shick, another MHA alumnus, recalled his in-school suspension resulting from the bus, “I got ISS (in-school suspension) for locking Marcus Smittick in the cargo hold of that bus.”

A committee has started researching several gently-used buses and is working on finding the right one for MHA.

–This article was adapted from an article which originally appeared on Mile High Academy’s website; photo supplied

06 Jan

10 Days of Prayer 2021 – Seeking Revival

The Rocky Mountain Conference prayer ministries team would like to invite RMC members to join them over the next 10 days, January 6 – 16, at 6:30 a.m., 12 noon, and 6:30 p.m. for prayer.

Also Mid-America Union Conference will host a virtual inspirational gathering each night at 6:00 p.m.

For more information please click here.

23 Dec


RMCNews – Littleton, Colorado … On a cold, snowy morning, a small gathering assembled, with others joining virtually, to say farewell to RMC education director Lonnie Hetterle.

Hetterle, who leaves his position on December 31 after spending more than 25 years in RMC education, was at first not keen on having a farewell celebration, but later accepted that many individuals wanted to acknowledge his hard work over the years.

Making the planning of the party difficult was the fact that the party was for Hetterle. As Pat Chapman, education assistant, commented, “Lonnie and I usually do these [retirement celebrations] together. I do all the prep work and he is this great, funny host.”

The program included well wishes via video from many who couldn’t be in attendance due to the ongoing pandemic.

Addressing the gathering from Poland, Rajmund Dabrowski, RMC communication director, advised Hetterle to combine his retirement and education skills by spending time with and teaching his grandchildren.

During the presentations, Hetterle’s children approached the front where he sat, or joined via video, to encourage their father and to provide gifts of items he could use during his newly-found availability of time. One gift included rubber gloves, baby wipes, and a package of diapers to use while Hetterle takes care of his youngest granddaughter.  Hetterle wasn’t impressed with the gift as one of his most disliked duties is changing diapers.

Gifts from various schools lead to laughter from all when Don Reeder presented Hetterle with a Campion Academy letter jacket and Hetterle responded, “Should I wear this to Mile High school board meeting?”

Taking time to add their appreciation for the many years of service were members of RMC administration with Eric Nelson welcoming the viewers, George Crumley providing a financial retirement gift, and Ed Barnett closing the program by providing Hetterle with a list of items to keep people amused during retirement.

Commenting on the event, Crumley, VP of finance said, “It is hard to say good-by to Lonnie Hetterle who has served in his role as Educational Superintendent for more than 20 years. He has brought energy, innovation, and service to his position and is loved by many. I was able to participate in a beautifully prepared farewell for Lonnie at the Littleton Church, where schools provided videos of affirmation, family shared amusing stories about Lonnie, and the rest had the opportunity to express our deep appreciation for his years of service. Lonnie will be greatly missed, but the good news is that he is staying in our conference and I know that he will still be involved in serving, for that is who he is.”

Commenting online, Kiefer Dooley, RMC youth director wrote, “Lonnie! I’m sending well wishes on behalf of the whole Youth Department for a retirement full of purpose as you connect deeper with family, friends, and community. Thank you for all of the hard work you’ve poured into ensuring our RMC schools provide professional, academic, and Jesus-centered education. And, for always being a support to our departments projects and initiatives.”

Reflecting on the event, Hetterle said, “In this world we strive to make a difference and to have a purpose in our lives.  Sometimes it is less obvious that we are having an impact on those in our sphere of influence, but the positive affirmation [I received] was so very gratifying and touched my heart. The tears were always just below the surface and I am glad I was able to turn away a few times.”

Hetterle went on to thank the many who made the event possible. “I cannot begin to thank Pat Chapman enough for organizing and being the M.C. and providing the meal afterwards. I must also mention Littleton Church for graciously opening their doors and Jon Roberts for working his digital mastery to help this all come together. The entire team at RMC is phenomenal and kudos to my much beloved fellow workers in the Education Department.  Everyone in my CHERISHED team is exemplary in every way.”

“Remain faithful” are Hetterle’s final words to RMC teachers, pastors, and members. “The kindness shown by several of the schools, teachers and pastors has been touching and please know that you on the front line of this Great Controversy will always remain in my heart and prayers. As we remain faithful in these closing days of this earth’s history, I know that His strength and guidance will be there as each one of us prepares our hearts and our ministry to others to soon celebrate together in that earth made new.”

–RMCNews; photos by Ed Barnett

17 Dec


As the year 2020 comes to end, it would be an understatement to say that we will not miss it. As a church family–-young and old–-we have had a mosaic of experiences, including bewilderment and frustration, laced with sadness and doubts.

But all of us were also adjusting to a carousel of worship options, creating Zoom communities, engaging in technological creativity, and discovering, for some, that we live in a community that invites us to practice our Christianity by helping the vulnerable, the poor, and the needy–-all beyond being “one day Christians.”

And we learned in 2020 about a need to rely on Jesus much, much more, wishing He would return now! At RMC, we especially noted that Christian stewardship lives on, even in these trying times.

NewsNuggets editors asked several randomly-selected church members, educators, and ministers in RMC to share their memorable moments or experiences during 2020, personally, and as believers. Here is a selection, perhaps a mirror of your own experiences.

May the Lord of our lives give us patience, forbearance, victories, and compassion in the year to come as we trust in Him and His leading in 2021.

Pastor Steve Schwartz, Delta, Colorado

Life is not put-on hold by a pandemic, and neither is God. I will apply this learning when the pandemic is history.”

 Dorie Panganiban, La Vida Mission, New Mexico

“In our experience here at La Vida Mission during this pandemic, I have seen first-hand a repeat of the story of the five loaves and two fishes and its blessing to thousands. God miraculously multiplies our few bags of rice, beans and flour to bless hundreds and hundreds of Navajo families in the community.”

Ellie King, age 9, Estes Park, Colorado

“I got to celebrate my birthday with some of my favorite people!”

Anderson King, age 6, Estes Park, Colorado

“This year was hard, but I still got to see my cousins.”

Samantha Nelson, Cody, Wyoming

Personally, I will mostly remember the discouragement that I could not meet my new niece born in February, that–-for the first time in 15 years since we left CA–-I would not be able to return to visit family this year, that I nearly lost my husband to COVID-19 and pneumonia, and that I struggled with several health issues myself. On a positive note, I will always remember how wonderful it is to share love and hugs with family, church members and friends.

As a pastor’s wife, it’s been difficult to not be able to offer the in-person support that people need. Texts, calls and emails are helpful, but sometimes people just need a hug or to see the love and care expressed on your face.

Principal Sandy Hodgson, Erie, Colorado

On a personal note, not only was this a year of the fear of the unknown, but also [the year] of cooking, game playing, neighborhood walks, and Zoom!

As an Adventist educator, let me say this was a year of being creative with remote learning and being overjoyed with a return to in-person learning.

Natasha Gibson, Denver, Colorado, a junior nursing student at Union College.

2020 has been an interesting year for me. My friends and I were not able to connect like we did in the past. Nonetheless, we found creative ways to stay connected. 2020 also taught me how to be resilient and push forward in everything that I do.

Being an Adventist during this time hasn’t really affected me. As the Bible tells us, things will get worse before Christ comes and I truly believe this. Therefore, as an Adventist during this pandemic, I simply rely on my faith to carry me throughout each day.

Karla Klemm, Grand Junction, Colorado

“In 2020 I have learned, as I work in public health, that I am stronger than I realize.  Having to take on an additional role of coordination in the COVID pandemic, I am thankful for the experience it provided me. Creative ways to worship have “risen to the top” in my interaction with the Adventist church. New online venues are appreciated and hopefully, we will learn to integrate these practices into the future.”

Ed Barnett, RMC president

“The thing that struck me most was how much I miss the fellowship of family, friends, fellow employees and our church family. The other thing that really has hit home is that we have no idea what will happen tomorrow. We need to rely on Jesus every day for direction. I have always known that, but it has become more sharply focused.”

Diane Johnson, Louisville, Colorado

2020 finds me with “compassion fatigue,” and with dismay with my fellow humans who deny a few simple requests to keep others safe. I am one of the healthcare workers who is tired and frustrated. 2020 seems to be–for many people–the year of “I’ll do whatever I want.” That’s what I see online with those in church who disregard guidelines. Sad, in my view.

What keeps me going are worship services, even on Zoom, and Boulder’s connect group which kept me grounded and hopeful…”

Pastor Bob McAlpine, Alamosa, Colorado

I learned that digital/virtual church is also a real church and that digital/virtual community is real community. I will always remember seeing people interact online during a worship service back in July and realizing that they were having a meaningful experience of God and others even though they weren’t present in the church building.

Ron Johnson, Grand Junction, Colorado

During the virus, we have been impressed and inspired by how friends and church members reach out and support those who are homebound making sure their needs are met. And we realize more how important singing hymns and praise music and fellowship is to worship. Without these activities, worship is incomplete and leaves us half satisfied spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

It is a blessing that my wife, Linda, can play the piano at home to enable us to worship with singing.

Pastor Micheal Getz, Campion, Loveland, Colorado

For me as a pastor, it was watching the parking lot fill up on the first night of a drive-in vespers–the community longing to spend time together and worship even if it’s just cars in a parking lot.

On a personal level, I will remember the ache in my heart when my kids tried to understand a sickness that would close their park.

Ron Price, Farmington, New Mexico

I believe I will look back one day and see this time as a preparation practice run for what I will be experiencing then. As bad as it has been, I believe God’s Word is clear that life will get far more difficult before it gets eternally better.

Pastor Shayne Vincent Mason, Casper, Wyoming

While Casper creatively rose to the challenge of remaining open for most of 2020, it has also been a journey into the realities of Ecclesiastes. The Lord has re-awakened our awareness that this world is only temporary, and that He truly will return. The beautiful truth found in losing the illusions of control is that we learn to, “cast all of our cares upon Jesus.”

–photo by iStock

09 Dec


RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … Diane Harris will become Rocky Mountain Conference director of education effective January 1, 2021. The RMC executive committee meeting on December 8 via Zoom voted unanimously to accept the RMC Administrative Committee’s recommendation of the appointment of Harris to replace Lonnie Hetterle, who is retiring at the end of the month after serving more than 25  years in RMC education.

Harris brings 20 plus years’ experience in education, having served as RMC’s associate superintendent since 2003. Prior to joining the education department, Harris taught second grade at Mile High Academy.

Education has always been a passion for Harris and she is excited about the opportunity ahead of her.

“The Rocky Mountain Conference is blessed with incredibly talented teachers who strive to show their students Jesus. I am so blessed to continue to work alongside them,” Harris said.

Outgoing superintendent Lonnie Hetterle said, “Harris is not only an expert in Adventist education, but also has a God-given ability to understand and to care for people of all ages. She is a licensed counselor and has a passion for all of God’s people, but especially for children and young people.”

“She has a tender and compassionate spirit and yet has the ability to have difficult conversations when necessary. Diane Harris has the confidence of the teachers and has the vision to lead our schools into the future. She is a consummate professional. I am so very pleased to welcome her to her new role and know that she will be a blessing to the Rocky Mountain Conference for years to come,” Hetterle concluded

Jesus at the center of the education experience will continue to be top priority for Harris.

“Together we can move forward in the effort to educate the children of Rocky Mountain Conference and, more importantly, make sure that each student gets to know Jesus,” Harris said.

RMC President Ed Barnett, commenting on the new role Harris will assume in 2021, said, “We couldn’t be more excited about Diane accepting the position as our new education director. She has been trained for twenty years to step into this new position. I believe she will continue to be a blessing to the Rocky Mountain Conference.”


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