20 Aug

FINANCIAL CHURCH SUPPORT INCREASED IN JULY

RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … “We are thankful to report that our total tithe and base tithe, excluding windfalls, have strengthened through the month of July,” George Crumley, RMC VP for finance, stated to the members of Rocky Mountain Conference Executive Committee August 18.

“When we looked at our June report, base tithe was down 3.92 percent compared to the prior year. The good news is that our July report showed base tithe was only down .55 percent.  Now, lest we become overly elated, it is always important to make sure we are comparing apples with apples. As we looked at that report more closely, we noted that last year, three large churches were still outstanding when we closed our remittances for the month, whereas this year those churches were in on time,”

He further explained that “if you adjust the percentage as if those churches had been in on time last year, our base tithe would be down by around 2.00 percent as opposed to .55 percent. Still, with that adjustment, we have improved by almost 2.00 percent when compared to RMC’s June report.”

Commenting on the report, Ed Barnett, RMC president, said, “I praise God for what He is doing and the faithful stewardship of our members.” Crumley echoed his words, “We very much appreciate the faithful support of each of you in returning your tithes and offerings. Not only do these gifts support the Rocky Mountain Conference, but also your local church. Additionally, because of the sharing of our tithes within the Adventist Church structure, it advances ministry throughout the world.” He expressed hope that “we can continue to have funding to advance the gospel even in these difficult times. May the Lord continue to bless each of you in the days ahead.”

Barnett reported that though “GVR was unable to conduct summer camps, 16 young people worked this summer doing projects around the camp. They also provided services for small groups using the camp facilities.”

Referring to the effect of COVID -19, he expressed “great appreciation for the challenges met by pastors, teachers and principals during this time. They need our continued support and prayers.”

Addressing the situation of churches under pandemic restrictions, Eric Nelson, RMC VP for administration, commented “that primary importance should still be placed on social distancing, cleaning churches properly, and cooperating with the mask mandates by the state of Colorado and New Mexico.”

In reference to pending Town Hall meetings currently under the COVID-19 restrictions, Barnett explained the process that will be used to “meet with the RMC church members, [though] it will not be possible to conduct area meetings” as before. “Yet we wish to comply with the requirement for annual events by receiving input and sharing reports with our conference membership.”

The plan includes recording a video presentation of the officer reports followed by addressing questions submitted by members. The video will be posted on the conference website on October 9 and may be viewed individually or shown in church meetings. Church members are encouraged to send their questions for administration to them by September 1.

The meeting of the Executive Committee concluded with a report by Lonnie Hetterle, RMC education superintendent, who shared an education update from around the Conference. He expressed appreciation for Cathy Kissner, RMC coordinator of community services and disaster relief, who obtained masks for churches and schools as well as hand sanitizer.

For the current academic year, 18 new teachers were employed within RMC, representing many school positions around the conference. For the majority of schools in our conference, Hetterle said most schools had a small drop in enrollments compared with the previous year. “Most [schools] were worried there would be a huge drop in enrollment. There was not,” he commented. Don Reeder, Campion Adventist Academy principal reported that Campion’s opening enrollment was 143 with the potential for more students to join the Academy.

–RMCNews

13 Aug

2020 – Creativity and Flexibility Required

NewsNuggets invited Brodie Philpott, head elder and Board chair of Littleton Seventh-day Adventist Church, to share his thoughts about worship during the pandemic and how church has changed in the new normal. We welcome pastors and leaders in our congregations to share their experiences with worship alternatives and innovative activities in their churches. Ed Barnett, RMC president, challenges us to consider “how we can do church better” This applies to opening up ourselves to the needs of the community and making our worship fresh, attractive, and inviting.

What is needed to thrive in 2020 is the ability to adapt quickly and pivot plans to fit the ever-changing realities of our situation.

I love plans–making plans, thinking about plans, executing well-thought-out plans, and looking back and seeing how well my plans worked out. This year, God has His own plans for us, which included some teachable moments regarding my plans and how insignificant they are.  However, God has also shown that He has a way of showing up big.

In early March, the Rocky Mountain Conference appointed two new pastors to serve the church–Andy Nash, lead pastor, and Chris Morris, pastor of worship, youth, and visitation. They joined Alise Weber, who had been serving Littleton as pastor of families and children.

Nash began his ministry at Littleton on March 20, two days after in-person worship services were suspended throughout the Conference. Because of this, Nash didn’t have an opportunity to hold his first in-person service till late May.

Being innovative, we began the pandemic weeks by holding online services from home. The worship leader would sing songs from home and then transition over to Andy’s home where he would share a message. After a few weeks of this, we began holding the online services from the church.

This continued for several weeks till we pivoted to drive-in church (stay in your cars), outdoor church (both at our church and at Mile High Academy), and finally indoor church with two services, a first for us.

We recently ended a week-long Vacation Bible School with a return to outdoor church.  Looking back, I realize that over the course of the past five months, we held church in six unique ways!

“Being adaptable in ministry in 2020 reminds me of how the early church also adapted their ministry, Pastor Nash said. “When they could no longer meet in synagogues, they met in homes. When they could no longer gather in Jerusalem, they scattered to all the world.

This adversity caused the disciples to depend more fully on Christ, and to bring the gospel to more people.”

Worship leader Russell Palmer III added, “We have definitely learned to be flexible as a worship team. One week we are in a parking lot, the next we are in a field behind the church, and the next we are doing two services inside the church. Two services is definitely a time commitment for everyone involved, but it is so worth it to be able to worship together as a corporate body again.”

“At first, it was sad for me to look out into the congregation during praise music and see everyone wearing a mask, but then I was encouraged and so blessed to hear our church singing through their masks as loud as they possibly could,” Palmer said.

In addition to the weekly services, we launched nightly family worship times online, something that we had never done before. A different family lead each night, allowing us to stay in contact with each other even though we were apart. We were able to involve many believers, including college students, worship leaders, elders, and others.  I seem to recall someone wearing Mickey Mouse ears during one of the nightly gatherings.

We received hundreds of views each night, sometimes reaching 600 to 1,000 people. I was excited to see people commenting online that hadn’t been to church in years, and new people engaging with us. I mentioned to a fellow elder that we truly seem to be a church in diaspora. Although we are not being sent out physically during the stay-at-home lockdown, we were sent out digitally, and reached more people each week than would’ve physically visited our building.

As a final example of the creativity and fellowship involved, in April, during the worst of the pandemic, we held a wedding, limited to 10 people, inside the church. However, we invited members to drive to the parking lot and honk their horns as the newly-wedded couple came out of the church. What a blessing it was to be able to share this moment with the new couple.

God has been with us on this journey which we call the “new normal”, and there will be times that I will look back on fondly (although it may take some time).

I urge us to remember that the church is the Lord’s–not ours. He is in control and knows what He is doing. He has established His church, and nothing will prevail against it. Nothing will snatch us from His hands. My advice is to do your part, be flexible, and love everyone in His name.

“I don’t think our Littleton church family will ever forget the challenges of 2020, but as we’ve worshipped together in seemingly every possible way, I think we’ve become resilient and stronger for the future.  After six different settings for worship, we’re ready for the seventh,” Nash said.

–RMCNews

11 Aug

REFLECTIONS ON THE BEIRUT EXPLOSION

Middle East and North Africa Union Mission President Richard McEdward shares his thoughts after the explosion that destroyed and damaged much of Beirut including the union headquarters and Adventist University.

Please continue to pray for the people of Lebanon.

 

***Video courtesy of Middle East and North Africa Union Mission Facebook

04 Aug

Tim McTavish Elected Chair of the CCU Board of Trustees

Lakewood, Colorado … Colorado Christian University alumnus and Newday Christian Adventist church member Tim McTavish has been elected chair of the CCU Board of Trustees.

McTavish said campus redevelopment efforts will remain a priority, coupled with growing program offerings and promoting the CCU brand in the Denver metro area and beyond.

“What sets CCU apart is our excellence and our commitment to the integration of faith and learning,” McTavish said. “We need to ensure that we are constantly investing in all aspects of our mission to provide Christ-centered higher education transforming students to impact the world with grace and truth.”

“Tim is no stranger to CCU — he is a champion for the University. He is an alumnus, an affiliate faculty member, and a parent of three CCU students. He has exceptional vision, and has made a tremendous impact as one of our long-serving board members,” said CCU President Donald W. Sweeting.

“We’re at a pivotal point in the history of CCU,” McTavish said. “We’re well-positioned with exceptional leadership under President Sweeting and his Cabinet, increasing philanthropic and donor engagement, a beautiful campus, and substantial interest and growth in our in-seat and online offerings to learn at CCU.”

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in management from Pacific Union College, McTavish holds an MBA from Colorado Christian University. He and his wife, Pam, reside in Parker, Colorado. They have three children, David, Katie, and Laura.

–Colorado Christian University press release; photo supplied

23 Jul

RMC CHURCH MEETS CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION IN THE NEW NORMAL

Rocky Mountain Conference Officers comment on how the church fared in the past six months and they share their hopes for the church’s new normal.

 

Ed Barnett, RMC president

Incredible changes have taken place in our Conference in the last four months. They are such changes that will require us to take a new look at how we do church. From a leadership perspective, this offers an opportunity for our Conference and the church itself to carefully and prayerfully look at how we can do church better as we move forward.

In the era of “new normal,” all our congregations have engaged in embracing technology and virtual worship. Looking into the future, we expect to continue live streaming worship services in all churches. It is amazing to see the number of hits some of our churches are getting.

In the last few months, the church mission, including our traditional evangelistic outreach, experienced a pause in many of our plans, but also received a boost with a variety of new methods. Over the years, we have talked about innovation. Now, we are not to engage in the “tried and true,” but must continue to update and retool using new technology and social media to reach thousands of people versus the low numbers we were reaching in the past. And there is more. To effectively reach our publics, we need to rethink the content of our preaching and teaching. Jesus has to be the center of our churches, homes and message.

In recent months, we have been seen an increased interaction with our neighbors as we have responded to their many needs – both physical and spiritual. It is vital that we refocus our public presence and strategize ways to best meet the needs of our communities while sharing Jesus and His love.

Among the biggest challenges in our Conference is the effect of the pandemic on our schools. There will be the required readjustment in how educational programs meet the cognitive, social, and spiritual needs of our students, besides also meeting the financial obligations.

From a management perspective, we must continue to hold more meetings via the Internet versus spending thousands of dollars traveling our vast territory of Colorado, Wyoming and the Northern part of New Mexico. Our new circumstances are calling us to rethink how we conduct large gatherings, including Town Halls and Camp Meetings.

 

Eric Nelson, RMC VP for administration

Adventist churches within RMC have been challenged to accommodate the health orders of their counties and states, as has the whole country. The goal continues to be maintaining the safety of our members while carrying on ministry by the local church. How creative our churches have become during this time. There have been added burdens of setting up safeguards to keep distance, masks and safety protocols to ensure that we have a safe environment for our church members to gather even in a limited manner. Some have taken to worshiping outdoors weather permitting allows since there is more space and attendance can be increased. All of these scenarios create challenges for our churches and for their worship.

Many of our pastors, at the beginning of the outbreak, were conducting evangelistic or outreach services. They had to switch nimbly to an on-line format. In some cases, their attendance increased. In the same manner, some have seen more people attending their online worship than were attending when they met in the sanctuary. We praise the Lord for the resources of computer and internet that provide tools that can meet this challenge. Thankfully, restrictions did not stop a number of baptisms, and new methods are already being mission effective, such as giving Bible studies by phone or online.

All churches will continue to adjust to the restrictive health challenges they are working under. In some cases, that means continuing to offer multiple services or live-streaming or the use of a format that reaches those not comfortable attending in person due to health, age or preference. Ways are being explored to develop or maintain personal interaction and contact with these individuals beyond a short contact by computer. Ministry is challenged to connect under these circumstances.

While regulations and restrictions were implemented within the Conference, several churches welcomed new pastors in Colorado and Wyoming during the beginnings of the Covid-19 challenge. Some districts were divided and absorbed into other districts as an efficiency and cost-saving measure.

But the mission of RMC has not changed, even though methods are new and different. Innovation and creativity are welcome, as is the flexibility shown by our members and pastors. They have stepped up to this challenge in a large measure and are striving to do their utmost to carry on the mission to “Know Christ and make Him fully known” to church members and their communities.

 

George Crumley, RMC VP for finance

Who would have thought back in February that a virus spreading overseas could so quickly spread to our country and completely change the way we worship, work, recreate, and socialize? Because of its impact, it has left collateral damage that continues to affect the church, society, and the economy.

Because of current uncertainties, it is difficult for our schools to project what will happen in the fall and thus feel comfortable with their future budgets. The result is a natural financial conservatism which is appropriate, given the circumstances. This is just one of the many challenges our schools are facing.

Within the Conference, our base tithe has been down by a bit over three per cent so far this year. Because of this, we have frozen all hiring for new positions within the conference, voted not to provide the July 1 cost-of-living pay increase for employees and are emphasizing careful management of departmental expenditures. We are thankful at this stage that the tithe decrease is not lower, and we are grateful to our members for being faithful even in the face of uncertainty. So, we also appreciate our schools being conservatively watchful as we proceed through this year and budget in the fall for next year.

Through all of this, we can be thankful. Because of technology, we have continued to worship together, learn together, work together, socialize together and return our tithes and offerings to support the mission. None of this could have been done very easily just a few years ago.

We can all look forward to being back together for prayer, study, learning, working and socializing. I have been reminded through all of this, of the importance of our freedoms, God-given freedoms we should never take for granted.

–RMCNews

01 Jul

PRESTIGIOUS AWARD FOR DR. MARK B. JOHNSON

Boulder, Colorado … Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Executive Director of Jefferson County Public Health, was presented with the American College of Preventive Medicine’s Distinguished Service Award at their annual meeting on Friday, June 26. The award comes after his more than 30 years in membership and service of the ACPM. See the full story here.

Referred to as a “public health icon,” in September 2019 Dr. Johnson, won the Lifetime Achievement Award from Public Health of the Rockies. Among Johnson’s achievements in his role as a public health expert was helping to write and pass the Colorado Public Health Act in 2008, ensuring that “core public health services are available to every person in Colorado.”

Commenting for NewsNuggets, Johnson said, “I feel extremely fortunate that my Boards of Health during my tenure have encouraged and supported my work with my medical specialty society as well as our state public health and medical organizations. This has allowed me to keep up with what is going on and be involved in these fields both at the state level and nationally.”

Together with the Boulder Adventist Church, where Johnson serves as its Vision Board chair and is a popular lay preacher and facilitator in The Journey Connect Group, and the Rocky Mountain Conference, we join Dr. Johnson in celebrating his achievement in sharing a health vision affecting our daily life in Colorado and beyond.

He is married to Diane and they have two adult children and three granddaughters. They live in Louisville, Colorado.

–RMCNews with Becky De Oliveira

26 Sep

Chaplain Carol Turk Receives an ACI Board Certification

RMCNews –Chaplain Carol Turk, MA, BCC, was recognized, September 17, as a Board Certified Chaplain by Adventist Chaplaincy Institute. “This milestone recognizes your achievements and competency as a professional chaplain. We are grateful for your ministry as a chaplain, and your service to the wider church, and pray for God’s continued blessings,” wrote William J. Cork, assistant director of North American Division Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries.

A member of the Campion Seventh-day Adventist Church, and a commissioned minister, Chaplain Carol was member of RMC Executive Committee for many years, and was recently voted as RMC representative on the NAD Executive Committee. She also represents the Mid- American Union Conference on the Advent Health’s Corporate Board and is also Board certified with the Association of Professional Chaplains. She currently serves as chaplain at Denver Health Medical Center.

Commenting on her road to this newest recognition, she said that, “this achievement could not have been made without Dick Stenbakken [former director of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries] mentoring me and cheering me on. He has gone to bat for me several times and flattened several barriers in my path. I am forever grateful for his help and the help which Larry Roth [retired chaplain and field representative for ACM] and Bill Cork have given me. In addition, the Rocky Mountain Conference has supported me in several different ways.”

“Thank you to all of you and to ACM for the chance to serve in the way God has called me,” she added.

–RMCNews

27 Aug

Increase in Tithe Reported; Plans Presented for “Total Health” Center in Denver at RMC Executive Committee

RMCNews — Denver, Colorado… Summer months in the Rocky Mountain Conference did not slow down church activities. Reporting on past and current developments, Ed Barnett, RMC president, informed the members of the RMC executive committee, August 20, of his personal involvement with the largest to-date Pathfinder Camporee at Oshkosh, with more than 55,000 pathfinders participating.

“Not only that our conference young people were well represented, and we had nearly 600 of them there, but it was exciting to mingle with and meet participants from 100 countries,” he said. Over 1,300 baptisms became the most memorable feature of the camporee, next to old friendships revived and new friendships made.
Barnett also said that this year’s camp meeting season is coming to conclusion with the Hispanic Camp Meeting at Glacier View Ranch on August 30-September 2. “These meetings are important for hundreds of our church members who are being enriched spiritually and socially,” he said.

In his report, Barnett welcomed Becca Brown who has joined the Communication Department after Carol Bolden “decided to enjoy her retirement” after many years as a member of the RMC office staff. For Fritz Krieger, pastor of Montrose, the committee meeting was last as its member. He is retiring by the end of August.
George Crumley, RMC VP for finance, reported that RMC’s total tithe through the month of July was $10,162,765, a 9.10% increase over the prior year. “The major reason for such a strong tithe is that we have received unanticipated tithe, which we call windfall tithe. Even though our tithe has had a good increase so far in 2019, our RMC Advance offerings are down by 13.89%. This is an important offering to support because it provides money for many areas that we cannot use tithe for,” Crumley said. “Because of the increase in tithe so far this year we have a good bottom line increase. This allows us to provide for areas of ministry that are critical” to our mission, he added.

The committee expressed gratitude the Lord for the Mile High Academy debt reduction from cash and pledges that were reported in NewsNuggets on July 12. “A number of committed individuals worked together to make this a reality which we are deeply grateful for,” Crumley commented.

As the Adventist Book Center winds down operations, the committee voted to move ahead in the first part of 2020 with a “Total Health, Support and Resource Center” which will be housed in the space that the ABC will vacate. This will be a ministry where health coaching, seminars, training, and screenings can be presented. The proposed center will be run by volunteers and overseen by Rick Mautz, RMC health director. “We are hoping this will be a great blessing to our community and the conference as a whole,” Crumley said.

Eric Nelson, RMC VP for administration, informed the committee about an ongoing search for church and district pastoral needs for Craig/Steamboat, Montrose, Denver-South, Eden Valley congregations. The following pastoral positions were filled:
– Gillette district welcomes Lester Bentley,
– Canon City welcomes John Davidson,
– Arkansas Valley/Lamar welcomes Ted Williams,
– Boulder welcomes Jennifer Ogden, and
– Franktown is to welcome Michael Luchak as an associate pastor in the month of December.

The committee voted Don Lopes and Milos Tomic to be recommended to Mid-American Union Conference for ordination.

RMC education superintendent, Lonnie Hetterle presented a report on the developments in the area of RMC education. New teachers are being welcomed in several school locations. All teaching and school administration staff attended an annual three-day in-service Teacher’s Convention held at LifeSource Adventist Fellowship church in Denver. He affirmed that Mile High & Campion Academies are beginning the new academic year with strong enrollment. He also shared that three schools – Pueblo, Durango and Glenwood Springs – will not be operating this coming year. However, these churches have the vision to open again soon to minister to young people in their area.

The committee was also informed that 140 years ago, on August 2, 1879, a Seventh-day Adventist congregation was established in Boulder, first in the state of Colorado, just four years before the Colorado Conference was organized.

The next meeting of executive the first committee is planned for October 8.

RMCNews; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski

21 Aug

Prayers and Donations Keep Worland’s SonShine Academy Open

RMCNews — Worland, Colorado… Traci Pike is a member of the Casper Church and had been praying with SonShine Academy teacher, Annette Treat, for some time. She knew of the very real struggle for a small Seventh-day Adventist church to fund and operate a school.

The Worland Seventh-day Adventist Church has approximately 50 members with only about 20 attending each week. Only by God’s grace and providing has the church been able to operate a school for the past 30 years. The perpetual question of, “how will the school be able to remain open?” always appears each year in the spring. By the end of each school year, the school has gone so far in the red, that from a human standpoint, the school should close. However, the few church members remain strong and faithful. God hears their pleas and provides in mysterious ways each year.

This summer Traci felt impressed to make an appeal from the pulpit at Wyoming Camp Meeting for SonShine Academy. As soon as she arrived in Casper, she found Pastor Steve and Samantha Nelson, a pastoral team of the Worland Seventh-day Adventist Church. She told them what the Lord had placed upon her heart. Their hearts were moved, and they helped Traci by self-addressing envelopes with the school’s name and creating pledge sheets for people to fill out.

For four days, Traci made an appeal before the Wyoming Camp Meeting gathering for SonShine Academy. Hearts were moved, and pledge cards were filled out and turned in. Even after Camp Meeting was over, SonShine Academy continued to receive pledge cards in the mail.

“Our church family has been moved beyond words”, said AnnetteTreat. “Because so many individuals listened and responded to the Lord’s call, SonShine Academy has been able to keep its doors open and witnessing to the children and families in our community. We went from being thousands of dollars in the red to having a zero balance to begin the school year. Currently, only two of the nine students enrolled in the school are Seventh-day Adventists. We have one parent who is currently on studying to be baptized. We are so grateful to the people who have given from their hearts!” she commented.

Steve Nelson expressed appreciation for Traci’s initiative and what she has accomplished. He commented that the SonShine Academy “has struggled for several years to raise funds for the school’s operation. We are grateful and excited to have the school budget to guarantee its operation.”

Gratitude goes to Traci and sister-churches in the Big Horn Basin, who have given sacrificially to SonShine Academy. “Above all, we are grateful to the Lord. He is good and faithful to those who serve Him!” Annette said.

RMCNews with Annette Treat; text and photo

20 Aug

RMC Pathfinders Among the Largest Group From the Region

RMCNews — Oshkosh Pathfinder Camporee was definitely a feature of the 2019 summer in the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. Under a theme “Chosen” it brought 55,000 young people from throughout North America and 100 countries, making it one of the largest gatherings of the church.
Among them was the second-largest contingent of Pathfinders from Rocky Mountain Conference, a part of Mid-American Union Conference. RMC had 581 attendees and was three participants less than Minnesota Conference.
Consider this short report as a teaser of more to come in the next days and weeks. Reporting from Oshkosh was Christine Register Hill. Considered by some the RMC Pathfinder Queen, they form a team to beat together with Papa Don King, her Pathfinder husband. She wrote on her Facebook page, “we have been busy from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.”
Baptisms were likely the biggest feature of this mega youth camp meeting. Jamie Mira, a Pathfinder from Denver South Hispanic, was among the over 1,300 baptized at Oshkosh. Her parents have been Pathfinder Area Coordinators for many years. Her older sister, Betsy, is one of RMC teen reps and she was baptized at the previous Oshkosh Camporee.
“Jamie has been like a granddaughter to us since she was born. She loves Papa Don so much, and he was honored to baptize her. Also, one of the RMC Pathfinders was baptized by her grandfather and many were baptized by their fathers, Christine said.
According to Kiefer Dooley, RMC youth director, there were 15 Pathfinders baptized from among the RMC participants.
Watch this space for more reports from Oshkosh.
RMC News with Christine Hill and Kiefer Dooley; photos by OUTLOOK MAGAZINE and Christine Hill.
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