05 Aug


By RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … For the first time in two years, pastors and teachers flocked to Denver to spend three days enhancing their educational and ministerial skills while making connections and rekindling old bonds at the bi-yearly joint pastor and teacher convention.

The atmosphere on Sunday evening was electrified with laughter and hugs as colleagues escaped their square boxes on the screen for in-person fellowship. The common theme overheard, in the multiple circles of friendship was, “It is good to be back”.

“It was wonderful to be back in person with my teacher friends and the pastors! It is often very isolating to teach in a one-teacher school and so to be able to get together and collaborate and socialize always helps to boost my spirit. We spent a lot of our free time with each other and visited and laughed together,” Traci Pike, teacher at Mountain Road Christian Academy in Casper, Wyoming, enthusiastically expressed.

The gathering began with worship and praise music led by a trio of pastors. The excitement of worshipping as one community filled the air in the church sanctuary. The evening concluded after a short worship talk by Claudio Consuegra, NAD family ministries director, with a special service to recognize and appreciate the hard work Ed Barnett, RMC president, has accomplished in the last seven and half years. Barnett, who will be retiring at the end of August, was holding back tears as the pastors and teachers encircled him to sing “Friends” and lay hands on Barnett in a special dedication prayer service as he begins the next chapter in his life.

“It was moving to be prayed over by our pastors and teachers. What an honor to have worked for the last seven and half years in the Rocky Mountain Conference,” Ed Barnett, RMC president said.

Monday, 110 pastors and teachers arrived at the meeting location to find themselves sitting at assigned tables, combining educators and pastors, for a day-long workshop on working together for the mission of the church and school with Pam Consuegra, NAD family ministry director. The first instruction for the morning was received with blank stares and a look of puzzlement as to what to do, when everyone in the room was asked to put away their cell phones and laptops and not utilize them until lunch—a whole three hours disconnected from the world.

“I’m so proud of the Rocky Mountain Conference for making the connection and unity between the pastors and teachers a priority.  Seeing both groups come together for worship and enrichment was inspiring,” Chris Morris, associate pastor at Littleton, commented.

To conclude the three-day event, pastors and teachers separated to focus on specific workshops to enhance their skills.

For Pike, the leadership workshop was very helpful. “I think that meeting with the other principals/administrators was most helpful for me. The challenges that arise with the “principal hat” are different than the “teacher hat.” It was good to see that even the bigger schools in our conference have the same struggles that our little schools do and I think that Diane Harris [RMC director of education] and Paul Negrete [RMC associate director of education] are trying to bring us all together as one team with a common vision.”

Morris led a workshop to help educators discover their Enneagram personality traits and the challenges and success of each type. “It was a privilege to facilitate the Enneagram workshop for the RMC educators. Learning their giftedness and the giftedness of their colleagues can go a long way in strengthening synergy and trust within their respective schools,” Morris stated.

Pike was appreciative of the Enneagram workshop. “The part that stuck with me the most was learning about the Enneagram workshop. I have done temperament tests, spiritual gifts tests, etc., many times in the past, but to go into detail about what motivates the various types of people was eye-opening.”

Teachers were thankful for RMC’s leadership in planning this time together. “Diane Harris and Paul Negrete charged the teachers to keep their passion for teaching at the very center of their thoughts every school day. ‘Why is it a privilege to be a teacher? Because you are an Adventist teacher; you are extraordinary. You are called by God!  We are here to bring one more student to the Tree of Life.’ The room was filled with teachers who are on fire for God, and inspiring stories were shared to show us why we do what we do,” Jodie Aakko, Brighton Adventist Academy headteacher said.

Pike is leaving Denver with a renewed energy and peace of mind that the conference is in good hands. “I came to these meetings with a sense of trepidation because of all of the changes that are taking place in personnel/leadership at the conference office. I left with a feeling of peace and hope as we move forward. I am excited to go into this new year with new knowledge and with confidence in our leadership and in the Lord whom we all serve!”

–RMCNews; photos by Jon Roberts

Claudio Consuegra
03 Aug


By RMCNews with Alise Weber – Littleton, Colorado … Women and girls of all generations from Littleton Adventist Church gathered at Arts on Fire in Highlands Ranch for an evening of creative expression through pottery making.

The event, part of innovation at Littleton to grow a healthy church by building relationships among members, drew 50 female participants of all ages. It was a chance for mothers and daughters to grow closer and make memories that they will cherish for a long time to come.

For some, it was a multi-generational gathering. “My family is so grateful for the community Littleton church has provided for us.  We had four generations at Arts on Fire–great-grandma, Nana, myself, and my daughter. It was so much fun to spend time together and to be around friends as well.  Looking at our finished products will bring back memories that will last a lifetime,” Amanda Kolibu, Littleton church member commented.

Mothers and daughters gathered with friends around tables to begin their creative designs.  The easy part was choosing which pottery piece to work on.  Next, the decisions were endless and involved multitudes of paint colors and crafty items to decorate with their own personal flair.

Reflecting on the evening, Alise Weber, children’s and family pastor at Littleton commented, “I was so impressed with all the artists in our church, including our younger artists!”

The relationship-building continues later this month as the men and boys prepare for a father and son backpacking weekend excursion in the picturesque Colorado mountains.

–RMCNews with Alise Weber; photos supplied

30 Jul


RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … Meeting in a special executive session on July 28, the Rocky Mountain Conference Executive Committee extended an invitation to Mic Thurber to serve as president of the Rocky Mountain Conference, replacing Ed Barnett who will be retiring at the end of August.

No stranger to RMC, Thurber has served as the ministerial director for the Mid-America Union Conference since 2013. Mic is the brother of former RMC president Gary Thurber. He and his wife are prayerfully considering this invitation and are expected to respond to the nomination within days.

Hubert Morel Jr., Mid-America Union Conference executive secretary, who chaired the nominating committee on July 28, asked the church to present the nominee in their prayers, and ask for God’s guidance in Thurber’s decision.

Morel thanked the Executive Committee members for their hard work. “I was very impressed by the way the Executive Committee functioned in selecting or recommending the person they want as their leader, Mic Thurber.”

Wayne Morrison, pastor of Brighton church and RMC Executive Member commented on the nomination process. “It always impresses me how as a committee we seek God’s heart, ask for His will, and He always is faithful. As we looked at the candidates, many were very qualified individuals, I again was amazed at how God narrowed the search until we felt God had raised one name, ‘for such a time as this.’”

Mic Thurber was born in Collegedale, Tennessee, when his parents were students at Southern Missionary College.   Mic met his partner in ministry, Jana, 45 years ago and has worked closely together ever since. They have three children and three grandchildren.  Prior to coming Mid-America Union Conference, he served as pastor of the Keene, Texas church. He was also the ministerial director for the Southeastern California Conference, pastor at Pacific Union College church and Calimesa Adventist church in California.  Thurber also taught Bible and music at Sunnydale Academy in Missouri and Mount Pisgah Academy in North Carolina, his alma matter.

–RMCNews; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski

29 Jul


RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … Working together to win kids for Christ is the theme for the upcoming Rocky Mountain Conference pastor and teacher convention.

The gathering is important at this time as RMC continues to push forward, regardless of the challenges that our churches and schools have dealt with over the past year.

For RMC leadership, building healthy churches and schools in RMC is what makes this an important meeting. President Ed Barnett commented, “We have always felt that pastors and teachers are the key to our conference. So, every few years, we try to have them meet together so we can build the team and the camaraderie among our workers. I believe that it is a blessing for our mission in the Rocky Mountain Conference.”

Commenting on the importance of this event, Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, explained it is about reaching all, especially the youth, with the Good News and the hope Jesus provides. “Since we have traditionally called our schools “church schools”, it is important that both pastors and teachers have the opportunity to dialogue on how they can work together to reach kids for Christ.”

Mallory added that this gathering is especially important in RMC territory, “because Jesus, in Matthew 28:19, calls for us to “make disciples of ALL nations” including children.

Diane Harris, RMC director of education, is hoping that this annual gathering of teachers will be enhanced by holding the event jointly with the pastors.  For Paul Negrete, assistant director of education for RMC, this will be his first chance to interact with the teachers since joining RMC on July 1.

The meeting will be held August 1 through August 3 with NAD family ministries directors Pam and Claudio Consuegra as the keynote presenters. It is expected of all pastors to attend.  Mallory foresees that nearly all pastors will join in person, with 55 expected to attend. It is anticipated that teachers of the nearly 20 RMC schools will attend the event.

Barnett is asking for RMC church members to keep these meetings in prayer and ask for the Holy Spirit to lead the gathering.

–RMCNews; photo supplied

21 Jul


RMCNews – Montrose, Colorado … “We are really happy to be back in person,” Nate Skaife, pastor of the Grand Junction church enthusiastically expressed, regarding the return of Western Slope camp meeting. The 7th annual gathering will convene at Mountaintop Retreat in Montrose, Colorado on August 4.

“Love of God” is the theme of the four-day event. Western Slope pastors will begin the meetings with morning worship, followed by afternoon seminars by Dr Joseph Kidder, professor of Pastoral Theology and Discipleship at Andrews University. Also speaking in the afternoon will be Gary Force, pastor of the Durango district. Kidder will conclude the evening with a message about worship and principles that help develop a deeper relationship with God.

The event will provide time to not only grow spiritually, but also experience God in nature by offering an expanded range of outdoor excursions.  A sampling of these adventurous endeavors includes a zip line experience, swimming, tubing, boating, hiking, and other water events.

On Friday and Sabbath, musical appetites will be filled with performances by the Kings Heralds, according to Skaife.  They will also provide a musical concert on Sabbath afternoon.

First-time visitors to the event will experience a beautiful place to camp along with fellowship and a chance to rekindle or establish new connections.

The gathering is crucial at this time, according to Skaife. “We [the organizers] believe that it is crucial to come together and worship and praise God for what He has done. You can do it by yourself, but it is not the same as doing it in a group.”

Skaife added it is his desire that everyone will leave the camp meeting with a deeper walk with Jesus.

To register for the Western Slope camp meeting please visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdWdAyrSxzvkTFOj-VShG3iXPd3GJFRKAL5SRXbQk6marlMgA/viewform

For more information please visit: https://www.facebook.com/SDAWSCM

–RMCNews; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski

Western Slope Camp Meeting 2019

Western Slope Camp Meeting 2019

15 Jul


By RMCNews– Casper, Wyoming … Wyoming camp meeting reconvened on June 13 to an opening night of attendees focused on what was failing from the sky rather than on the speaker. Hail coated the grounds of Mills Spring Ranch in one-inch piles.

Tom Lemon, vice president for the world church, began the gathering on Tuesday evening by inviting the early group of campers to join him on a journey of being fearless of God’s power. He tied in examples of God’s creation power which engenders a respectful fear toward God.

The first full day, Wednesday, began with MSR socked in a layer of dense fog and drizzle, and with temperatures in the low 50’s; but those gathered were not going to the let the wild swing of weather dampen their joy at being back on top of Casper Mountain.

“People are excited to be back because being at home they have missed the connections with their church family. This is the highlight of the year for Wyoming,” Steve Nelson, pastor of the Cody district said.

The theme “Fearless” features presentations on how to live a life of respect for God without fear.  The morning devotions. led by Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, began with the example of David, who faced Goliath without fear because he trusted in God to protect him.

Later in the morning, Doug Inglish, RMC vice president, continued the meetings with a discussion on how everyone stands on the shoulders of others or are themselves the shoulders of others to stand on, illustrating that individual in the church need not be filled with fear, for they are not alone.

The afternoon offered four seminars on various topics, including health, photography, rock climbing, and fly fishing or individuals could choose to explore the picturesque scenery that MSR has to offer. The seminar on fly fishing, presented by Dr. Arnie Sybrant, was very popular among outdoor enthusiasts. “I didn’t know anything about fly fishing until the classroom seminar. Now I know almost everything about fly fishing,” Shayne Vincent, pastor of Casper district expressed.

Attending Wyoming camp meeting for the first time, you can expect the following according to Vincent.  “Relaxation, nature, quiet, good services, and stars at night.”

For church members in the region, it’s not too late to experience the fellowship, fun, and culture Wyoming has to offer. The meetings continue through Sabbath, July 17, at MSR, located on top of Casper Mountain.

–RMCNews; photos by Jon Roberts, Samantha Nelson, and Rajmund Dabrowski

01 Jul


By RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … On June 25, the RMC Administrative Committee extended an invitation to Darin Gottfried to serve as vice president of finance, replacing George Crumley who left RMC on June 30 to serve in the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference.

“Darin has spent the last nine years in the Kansas-Nebraska Conference. He has done a tremendous job there and I know God will use him in a mighty way here in our Conference,” Ed Barnett, RMC president, said. “George Crumley,  as of July 1 no longer in RMC, has been such a blessing and we will miss him.”

Gottfried accepted the invitation on June 28 and says he is “excited about joining the team in Rocky Mountain. You have a great group of people there that I am looking forward to working with and getting to know better. I hope that I can support and help grow the Conference as much as possible.” He will assume his responsibilities at RMC on September 1

Most recently, he served as vice president of finance for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference during the last five years, after being an associate treasurer for the same Conference, business manager for Wisconsin Academy, and working at Fletch Adventist Hospital in North Carolina.

Doug Inglish, vice president of administration, is looking forward to working alongside Gottfried. “We are very excited that Darin has accepted this call. We believe that he not only has the skill set we are looking for, but the mission-minded approach that matches the Rocky Mountain Conference.”

Born and raised in North Dakota, Darin Gottfried is no stranger to the Rocky Mountain area, where he spent many weekends exploring the scenery of the region.

He is a graduate of Union College where he met his ministry partner, Stephanie. She is familiar with RMC as an alumna of Campion Academy and her parents reside in Monument, Colorado.

The Gottfrieds have two four-legged children, including a Great Dane named Berg and a German Wirehaired Pointer named Otto. Stephanie commented that “[we] have not been able to start a human family of our own, so our dogs are our kids.”

In his spare time, Darin enjoys photography, traveling, camping, and working on cars.  He is also expanding his vocabulary by learning the German language.

Gottfried’s hope at RMC is “that as treasurer, he is able to help maintain a healthy and financially-stable Conference and to use the money that has been entrusted with us in the most effective manner, so that the church can grow and share the love of Jesus with every person in our territory.”

He further expressed his interest in “getting to know the members and employees of the Rocky Mountain Conference, learning their stories, and finding ways of supporting the ministry in every area.”

“Getting to travel the beautiful territory of the Rocky Mountain Conference is an added bonus,” he added.

–RMCNews; photo by Stephanie Gottfried

01 Jul


By RMCNews – Montrose, Colorado … The Montrose Hispanic Company was accepted into the Seventh-day Adventist sisterhood of churches on Sabbath, June 26, with the young adults of the congregation rushing to the front to be first to sign the charter membership books.

One hundred gathered in the Montrose Adventist English church sanctuary for this special occasion marking five years since the group was formed.

Ruben Balaguer, pastor of the Grand Junction Hispanic district, recalls for those assembled the passion he and his family had for planting this Hispanic church.

“With the dream of starting a group or church, we arrived in Montrose in April 2010. We had the desire to know small towns because we no longer wanted to live in the city. Settling in Montrose, we saw a lot of potential to start a group. We proposed to our pastor the plan to start a branch in Montrose but he told us that it was not possible.”

That wasn’t the end of the story Balaguer adds, “He [the pastor] asked us to keep praying until finally, our dream came true. One Saturday, Pastor Mike Shannon encouraged us to begin to realize our wish. A few weeks later our prayers were beginning to be answered as gatherings were planned and held. The meetings began with Horacio Gomez, Marina Guillen, the Magaña family, the Espinoza Chavez family, the Espinoza Venzor family and my family.”

The afternoon inauguration included musical performances by various members and guests, enhancing the service.  One musical selection was performed by the youth choir of the church called “Generacion Escogida” which means “Chosen Generation”.

Ed Barnett, during what will most likely be the last time he attends a formal church inauguration as RMC president, was presented a plaque by the Hispanic area churches thanking him for his service.

Commenting on the event Barnett remarked, “It was a tremendous afternoon celebrating our Montrose Hispanic Company becoming a church. What a sweet spirit and talented church family they have. The musical selections were powerful.  I was impressed by how many young people are charter members.  I want to thank all of the pastors that made this possible. It is nice seeing our Rocky Mountain Conference adding another church to our ranks.”

Doug Inglish, vice president of administration presided over the signing of the charter membership book and reflected on that moment saying, “It is so impressive that the first people to step forward to sign the charter roll for the church were the youngest members. It is a sign of a healthy church whose young people take ownership.”

For the charter members, this was the moment they have been waiting for.

“This is a dream made true and what we have to value is the beautiful group of young people that we have,” Abimael Chavez, Montrose Hispanic elder commented. “They are the future leaders of our church and we have to support them always!”

Dennis Magaña, head elder of Montrose Hispanic also commented on being part of history, “Our commitment and duty to God remains the same: to go and make disciples by bringing them to the feet of Jesus. For this we need, today more than ever, the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill our mission.”

Pastor Balaguer is excited to be part of this growing church. “It’s a big blessing for me to be a part of the history of the growing Hispanic church,” he said.

The charter roll of Montrose Hispanic includes 37 individuals and a few more who were unable to attend the special event, will sign the charter in next few Sabbaths.

Balaguer, addressing the participating congregation, expressed thanks to their parent church, Olathe Hispanic, for supporting them and providing prayers; the Montrose Adventist English Church for use of their space and unconditional support; and to the Rocky Mountain Conference for supporting the members in this project.

Balaguer concluded with a challenge to the members, “Today, as on that first day we gathered here, our commitment and duty to our God remains the same: to go and make disciples, bringing them to the feet of Christ and uniting them to the church through baptism. Maranatha! Christ is coming.”

–RMCNews; photos by Susan Inglish

24 Jun


By RMCNews – Arvada, Colorado … On June 22, an Arvada police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty.

The church sign, expressing support and prayer for the officer, the officer’s family, the Arvada police, and the community said simply, “Praying for the Arvada PD.”

Pastor Gordon Anic recounts an interaction with a community member while he was putting up the sign. “Some guy [who] was jogging by [the church], stopped and said, ‘Thank you for putting that up, I work for the Arvada police department as a cop.’”

A church member attending the Arvada congregation described the tragedy as not only affecting the community, but the church also. “Our hearts are joined with the grieving families who lost their loved ones in the shooting at Olde Towne Arvada. Our community has suffered a great blow in the loss of innocent people,” Patricia Armijo, said. According to media reports, the shooting took lives of three people, the officer, a passer-by, and the shooter.

Members of the Arvada church continue to pray for healing in the community after this tragic event.

–RMCNews; photo by Miloš Tomic

17 Jun


RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … Much anticipated meeting of the Rocky Mountain Conference Executive Committee, June 15, considered candidates for the office of RMC president and RMC vice president for finance. Gary Thurber, president of Mid-America Union Conference who formerly was also president of RMC, chaired the Executive Session. The committee members voted to return in special session on July 21, 2021, to continue the selection process for a new president. The members also voted authority for the administration to proceed hiring a candidate whose name was presented to the committee for vice president for finance.

During what was his last RMC financial report to the Committee, George Crumley, vice president for finance, said that total tithe is up 16.13% and base tithe is up 17.32% over 2020 fiscal year.  “This is a very strong start for the year.  Even when we compare with April year-to-date in 2019, we still have a strong gain.”

Additionally, he shared the April Financial Report. The RMC YTD increase is well ahead of budget. Also, “we were able to vote to release capital funding to three different churches, Fort Collins, Alamosa, and Campion, that have been on a waiting list for a release of funds for a number of months based on requests they had made in the past,” reported Crumley, who is moving as vice president for finance for the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference at the end of June.

Several adjustments to the makeup of church districts were voted during the first part of the committee. These will include Pagosa Springs moving into Alamosa and Monte Vista district as of September 1; similarly, Durango church will be moving into Cortez District, and as of December 1, Nucla will be under care of new associate pastor in Grand Junction. The status of Dove Creek church is being reviewed. Colorado Indonesian-American Church and First Denver Indonesian district will be served by their own pastors.

Doug Inglish, vice president for administration, reported that The Adventure church is seeking a lead pastor, as well as Campion church has an opening for an associate pastor. Two new ministers were hired for the Indonesian congregations – Widy Gara as half time pastor of First Denver Indonesian church as of June 1, and Paraban Lim as pastor of Colorado Indonesian-American Church as of September 1.

Three candidates were approved for ordination – Mark Bridgment from The Adventure Church, Jani Pungus from Arvada Indonesian company, and Tim Jones from Twin Peaks and Mountain View churches. These names will be forwarded for approval by the Mid-America Union Conference.

The committee voted the following resolution, that “Employees of RMC who are asked to serve on the boards of non-conference supportive ministries, such as but not limited to La Vida Mission, VOP, Eden Valley, etc., do so as individuals and not because they hold specific positions at RMC.”

The committee also voted to accept the retirements of Debbie Ashton, Ed Barnett, Dennis Bresee, Gayla Groenweg, Gary Force, Wayne Gayton, and Yorum Tumbartante.

Ed Barnett, who will retire at the end of August, and may have attended the Executive Committee for the last time as RMC president, commented: “The Conference has been blessed with an Executive Committee that has thoughtfully, prayerfully thought through each decision that had been made over the last four years. There has always been a Christian Spirit in the room. I believe this committee is the best I have ever worked with. It’s my prayer that God will continue to bless the Rocky Mountain Conference.”

–RMCNews; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski

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