22 Sep

FRAMEWORK FOR PERSONAL GROWTH DISCUSSED WITH NEW-IN-MINISTRY PASTORS

RMCNews with Mickey Mallory – Denver, Colorado … Under the theme of “Growing to Your Potential,” the two-day training event brought 18 Rocky Mountain Conference pastors to Denver, September 20-21. Several of these pastors are new to ministry in the Conference, according to Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, who convened the meeting.

The event, according to Mallory, “was designed to help pastors build a framework for personal and professional growth.”

“My hope is that every pastor who attended the training will have the tools needed to grow to their potential. A thought that kept coming up in our discussions was that if you are going to grow, you must be intentional about it,” he added.

One speaker, Mic Thurber, RMC president, shared a presentation on Family Systems, demonstrating how an understanding of the family process can aid pastors in negotiating congregational dynamics and functioning as an effective leaders.

Through presentations and discussion, pastors discovered that all church members are simultaneously involved in two distinct families whose emotional forces interlock—their biological family and their church family, brothers and sisters in Christ. The emotional process in all these systems is identical. Unresolved issues in any of them can produce symptoms in the other, and an increased understanding of each creates more effective functioning in both.

Comments from the participants testify to the value of this and similar meetings. “These two days have been very refreshing to each of us. It is good to be reminded occasionally you are not alone in the pastoral ministry. Meeting with our colleagues is encouraging and stimulating and should be done more often, ” said Daniele Fantoni from Alamosa, Colorado.

A similar comment came from J J Martinez, an associate pastor in Grand Junction. “We talked about choosing positivity and keeping our failures right next to our successes. Sometimes negativity and failure overpower the positive and all seems lost. But I was reminded that it is at that moment that we need to look at the success in our failures. Because when you see that good happens even in failure, positivity is easier to see,” he shared.

Mallory plans for the next New in Ministry Training to take place in March of 2023.

–RMCNews with Mickey Mallory. Photos by Mickey Mallory and Rajmund Dabrowski.

22 Sep

CAMPION ALUMNI REKINDLE FRIENDSHIPS

Haley Beckermeyer – Loveland, Colorado … Some 700 alumni gathered at Campion Academy, September 14-18, to go back in time, reconnect with their classmates and support their alma mater.

Kicking off the event on Wednesday, September 14, the 26th annual Reeder Golf Classic featured 62 golfers, 20 more than in previous years. More than $10,000 was raised for Campion’s counseling and mentoring program. This year’s tournament was in honor of Lance Turner, an ‘85-’86 alum and beloved community member who was known for being exceptionally supportive of his classmates and neighbors.

On Friday evening, alumni joined current students for a Vespers concert presented by Prisma, a local group of musicians.

The Sabbath church service featured Dr. Andrew Harewood, the first Adventist and African American chaplain to reach the rank of General in the US Army reserve. In addition, Campion Academy’s music ensembles performed for the first time this school year.

Following the Vespers service, the honor classes were served a meal by the senior class. After lunch in the Ad Building, honor classes spent time looking at pictures of their class, reminiscing about their school experiences, and seeing how much things have changed.

Celebrating 70 years since graduation, Betty Ready, Class of 1952, reflected on her feelings when she first came to Campion Academy. She commented, “I was just always so excited to come to Campion because it was a bigger school with more people. I was coming from a school of six or seven people.”

The students enjoyed meeting the alumni and talking about how the school has changed since they attended. “I thought it was really cool getting to meet some of the people that graduated years ago and seeing all of the many faces on campus,” commented Daneil Camas, junior at Campion Academy.

Current students got to see friends who graduated recently. Sandra Arlt, Class of 2022 commented, “It’s really cool coming back as an alumnus this year because it was fun to see all of my friends, talk to the teachers, and update everyone on my life. I really appreciate being able to come back, seeing friendly faces, and having a family to say hi to.”

On Saturday evening, the visiting alumni and students joined together to perform in a brass ensemble and a choir sing-along that featured five former choir directors, a new feature this year.

Volleyball and soccer games against Campion Academy’s varsity teams closed off the weekend. In typical fashion, the alumni defeated the current students in both games.

The livestreams of the programs are available on Campion Academy’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

–Haley Beckermeyer is a member of Campion Academy’s Student News Team. Photos from Campion Academy eNewsletter.

22 Sep

FARMINGTON SCHOOL GOES FARMING

Stephanie Gottfried with Mina Gravatt – Farmington, New Mexico … “You have to have faith to put a seed in the ground and God will do the rest,” said Mina Gravatt, head teacher at Discover Christian School.

The comment expresses Mina’s goal to make Adventist education more affordable and accessible to the families in Farmington, Aztec, and the surrounding areas in New Mexico, who want their children to study in an Adventist school.

At home one day, Mina noticed an irrigation ditch on a neighboring farmer’s property, unused and full of weeds. She knew she could find a purpose for this unused section of land and asked if she could plant some crops there. The irrigation ditch had been used to water 20 acres of land, a quarter of an acre of which Mina eyed as a potential corn field. Her goal was to sell the crops at a weekend farmers’ market in mid-August and use the funds to help her students.

It was Dane Parks, a member of the Pinon Hills Adventist Church and a son of the farmer who helped in the planting. Working with several volunteers from the Farmington and Aztec churches, the group sold hundreds of dollars worth of produce–corn, cabbage, and other vegetables. They filled the back of a truck with the produce and drove back for more.

Nearly 2,000 ears of corn were sold, according to Mark Phillips, pastor of the area Adventist congregations.

Mina commented, “Plant just one seed and that seed will multiply. Think of all the kernels of corn that one seed produced.”

–Stephanie Gottfried with Mina Gravatt. Photos by Mark Phillips.

Pictured are Dane Parks, Sharrel Fuller and Bob Fuller from Aztec, Mina Gravatt from Farmington, and Jay Bean from Aztec.

15 Sep

RETURNING TO CHURCH TO BE BAPTIZED AGAIN

Eric Nelson – Colorado Springs, Colorado … A few weeks after Eric Nelson accepted an interim pastor’s position at Colorado Springs Central church in the month of March, two soldiers from Fort Carson Army Base approached him at the conclusion of the worship service one Sabbath. They asked for Bible studies and baptism. They were quick to express that should there be a need for military involvement, they could be some of the first units called into action. Their desire was to be right with God should this take place.

Matthew Salvini was baptized as a child in the Adventist church. Going through basic training, he met Christian Wright, and they became friends. Matthew’s grandmother had given him a Bible with doctrinal helps. After hearing of Matthew’s friendship with Christian, his grandmother ordered an identical Bible so that Matthew could help Christian follow along more easily as they studied their Bibles together.

“It has been a joy to study with both men,” comments Pastor Nelson. Their journey has not been without personal challenges and tragedy that could easily have deterred them from following through with their desire to take this step of baptism. But they have persevered.

On September 10, both men were baptized at the Central church, committing their lives to God. The service was witnessed and enjoyed by over 200 church members.

May we keep those serving our military in prayer as they seek to remain faithful to God and country.

–Pastor Eric and Jerene Nelson are retired and living in Johnstown, Colorado. Photos supplied.

15 Sep

CASPER SCHOOL CELEBRATES A COMMUNITY PARENTS’ BAPTISM

Gabriela Vincent – Casper, Wyoming … For Casper Mountain Road Christian Academy (MRCA), the evening of September 13 was a special moment to witness an extraordinary testimony of God’s amazing work in the lives of their friends, Michelle and Brendon Bummer. The experience proclaimed the Bible text: “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Luke 15:7, NASB)

Frustrated with the local school system, the Bummers were encouraged by Tammy Dietz, a church member whose son attended MRCA to consider the local Adventist school. They came to see the school and registered their son.

After a few months of dropping off and picking up their son mornings and afternoons, Michelle expressed interest in Bible study. Because they have busy schedules, they invited Pastor Shayne Vincent to come to their home to share the Good News with their family and even invited many friends in a home church-type setting that has been going on for a few years.

Month after month, the Bummers grew closer and closer to Jesus until a short while ago, they both requested to be baptized by Pastor Shayne Vincent. For Gabriela and Shayne, it was one of the last momentous experiences they will have in Casper as they will be moving to a Florida congregation.

The baptism took place at Brendon’s parents’ home, which had easy access to the North Platte River. Family and friends were present to witness this important event. Many of their family members had never witnessed a baptism before. Pastor Shayne and the candidates were jokingly relieved that the river was “actually almost warm” at this time of year.

Pastor Shayne spoke about the incredible journey the Bummers have traveled since their decision to commit their lives to Christ. On a personal note, I could not help but say, “Wow, that was so moving! Being at the river was like a baptism from the old times.”

Traci Pike, MRCA’s principal, and her husband were also present, both in tears seeing Jesus work through them and the church school.

The sunset that evening was stunning, and God’s presence was felt. Following the baptism, the happy occasion was celebrated with tears of joy and a delicious dinner! We never know who God will reach through our church schools and with a simple invitation.

–Text and pictures by Gabriela Vincent, wife of pastor Shayne.

15 Sep

CAMPION STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE AT UNION

Jill Harlow – Lincoln, Nebraska … Nine Campion Academy student leaders trained with other student leaders from across the Mid-America Union during Leadership Experience at Union College, September 8.

A highlight of the workshop was the chance to get to know student leaders from other schools. “I really enjoyed being able to see all the other schools and know that we are all on a similar journey of being a leader,” reflected Ariel Patterson, junior and resident assistant at Campion.

The event kicked off with an emphasis on service, with the leaders working in community projects around Lincoln for Union College’s Project Impact Day. Over the course of four days, the students participated in leadership simulation activities and listened to advice from experienced leaders, including the Union College SA officers.

Melody Mambo, Campion senior and SA president expressed, “The thing I enjoyed most about the retreat was that we were able to understand our different strengths and weaknesses as leaders. We were able to show our abilities in activities provided by Union, and it was interesting to see how different people from each group stepped up to show their leadership qualities.”

Patterson further explained, “The weekend was full of really fun activities and challenges, and I was able to learn some valuable lessons for leadership in just a couple of days!”

–Jill Harlow is Campion Academy communication director. Photo courtesy of Union College

15 Sep

“METAL MAN” REPLICA PROMOTES NAVAJO NATION OUTREACH

VJ, Beth, and Dorie Panganiban, and team – Crownpoint, New Mexico … Dubbed as “Native Impact 2022,” the name covers simultaneous evangelistic events currently taking place throughout the Navajo Nation. They will culminate in a nightly series of Bible prophecy revival meetings, September 9-17.

“We are blessed to be a part of this great outreach initiative on the Navajo Reservation,” commented VJ Panganiban, co-director of La Vida Mission outreach.

In preparation for this outreach, to raise curiosity and create awareness for these Bible prophecy meetings, EDGAR (Every Dynasty, God Already Revealed), a 30-foot inflatable replica of the “metal man” of Daniel 2, shown in a dream to King Nebuchadnezzar, was on display at the Flea Market in Crownpoint and on NM Hwy 371. The replica went around six different sites helping to advertise the event.

“[Our aim was to] share with Bible readers the story of the world’s culmination at the end time,” VJ explained.

The presentation created different reactions among the people who saw it. “Some thought it was an idol that we advocate worshiping, while others asked what it is and what is its significance and purpose. This gave us many opportunities to share and explain the Word of God, as well as to present a springboard for inviting the public to the upcoming Bible prophecy revival meeting,” he continued.

La Vida Mission, located near Farmington, New Mexico, is an independent ministry not affiliated with the Rocky Mountain Conference.

–VJ, Beth and Dorie Panganiban are coordinators of La Vida Mission Outreach. Photos supplied.

15 Sep

CHURCH ADVENTURE FOR A CENTENARIAN IN A WHEELCHAIR

Carol Bolden with Ted Williams – Arkansas Valley, Colorado … Sabbath, August 13, dawned bright and clear with the promise of a wonderful and blessed Sabbath at the Arkansas Valley church. It was the day that the family of Forrestine Odell would pick her up at her care facility and take her to church. A wonderful pianist, she was looking forward to playing the upstairs piano one more time, a long-time dream. Having turned 100 on May 20, she wanted to play Happy Birthday on the church piano.

Forrestine Odell was born and raised in Las Animas and is a charter member of the Arkansas Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church. She lives at Bent County HealthCare Center and gets around using a wheelchair. Pastor Ted Williams, having called on her several times, coordinated with the family for her special day at church.

After the church service, she took the elevator upstairs where she played the piano while other members sang happy birthday for the August birthdays. They all had a good time celebrating, but when it was time to leave, she discovered that someone else had tried to use the elevator and got stuck on the way up, making it no longer operable. Now she was stuck. What was to be done? While most others could exit using the stairs, taking a wheelchair down the stairs was not possible.

So, they called 911. The rescue volunteers who arrived were extremely helpful, lifting her into a special chair to carry her down the stairs. She handled it with aplomb, grinning all the way. Her dream came true with a very unexpected twist. All in all, it was a wonderful and blessed Sabbath. And, no worries, the person stuck in the elevator was also rescued.

–Carol Bolden with Ted Williams. Photo supplied

15 Sep

COMMENTARY: THE FUTURE IS NOW

By Brandon Westgate … The more I work with young people, the more impressed I become with their desire to know God. Many are trying to figure out how God fits in their lives, and how that translates to their involvement in the local church. As I dialogue with older adults in local churches, I am also impressed that they acknowledge the challenges of being a young person today. They tell me how they pray for the youth and how they desire for our young people to grow in their walk with God. Yet, I have noticed that the ones who are the most encouraging and supportive of our youth can sometimes say things that, while on the surface can sound helpful, are in fact, not so helpful.

One of those statements is, “The youth are the future of our church.” While this statement seems super supportive of our young people, often the youth do not hear what I am sure the well-intentioned speaker intended. You see, when you say that the youth are “the future…” what our youth sometimes hear is that you see them, but they are not important right now. They may feel seen in the present, but they do not feel presently engaged, because as was said, they are the future. So, what they are hearing you say to them is:

“Hey, we see you, but you are not important yet.”

“We see you, but we are not going to mentor you right now.”

“We want to give you a shout-out, but we are not ready to give you a seat at the table.”

Yes, I know that is not what they intend to say, but that is often what is heard.

The other negative about using this particular statement is that it can have a pacifying effect on the corporate church. When the church body hears, “The youth are the future…” it can cause the brethren to think, “The youth are here, and at some future point in time, we will need to engage them.” This is perhaps one of the culprits in the loss of our youth in local church settings. When youth are present, that is the time to engage them, mentor them, equip them, and empower them. If we do not do these things, the youth will find somewhere else to go where someone will invest in their lives. So, what does that look like?

Engaging a young person can look like taking an intentional few minutes every time you see them and engaging them in conversation. Build that relationship by engaging with them outside of the church as well. Get to know them and their friends. As that friendship develops, mentor them into a church ministry position, or connect them with another person who can mentor them into a ministry position. Equip them with the information and encouragement they need to do the particular ministry in which they have an interest. Empower them by acknowledging their ministry and its impact in your church. Give them a seat at the church board where they can have a voice and a vote (By the way, If you think that your board meetings are no place for a young person to be, then I would strongly suggest that you reconsider the format of your board meetings!). Let them plan and execute the worship service. Encourage them to do a service project outside the walls of the church building.

The thrust of what I am trying to say is simply this: The young people in your church are the church of today. They are the present-day church. If we do not interact with them in positive ways today, they will not be part of any future church scenario because they will not continue to desire to be in a place where their presence may be acknowledged, but their skills, talents, and abilities are not being utilized. Remember, this church was started by young adults. For reference, in 1844, James White was 23 years old, Ellen White was 17 years old, and J.N. Andrews was just 15 years old!

Young people can and will accomplish amazing things if we will engage them today.

–Brandon Westgate is RMC youth director. Photo by Zac Durant on Unspash.

08 Sep

RMC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REVIEWS CONSTITUENCY OUTCOMES

RMCNews – Denver, Colorado …  Ten days after the 2022 Constituency Session, RMC Executive Committee met for its orientation meeting, August 30.

At the outset of the business meeting, Mic Thurber, RMC president, who was reelected by the session, welcomed new members placed on the committee during the constituency meeting.

Thurber gave an orientation to the new members explaining how the committee functions and how to relate to actions the committee takes, as well as how to share what was voted without identifying committee members’ specific comments. Members of the committee “always feel free to have a thorough discussion,” he said. He also spoke about Executive Session and what type of items we will process there and the need for strict confidentiality.

Since it was the first meeting of the newly elected committee, he took time to review the constituency meeting itself. “As this was meant to be a brief time to review it [the Constituency], I told the committee that we’d take more time in future meetings to discuss ways we can suggest to the by-laws committee how to improve things for the next constituency meeting,” Thurber explained.

With this being the first meeting with newly appointed committee members, considerable time was spent on Conference finances. The focus was more on “how we have gotten to where we are, how funds are used and can be used, and how we work within North American Division Policy to best fund ministry in the Rocky Mountain Conference,” Darin Gottfried, RMC vice president for finance, presented.

He commented after the meeting, “it was an interactive time where members were able to ask a lot of questions, which was enjoyable for me as the treasurer. It is great to see members interested in the finances and where we are going as a church and it makes me excited to see what this committee can do over the next five years.”

Gottfried gave updates on how conference income and expenses are doing in relation to our budget for the first six months of 2022.  More than nine million dollars in tithe has come into the conference for half of the year with gross tithe being up 2.36% over 2021.

Base tithe, which excludes any one-time windfall tithes and is used as a basis for the following year’s budget, is down by 1.84% from last year. With inflation being at a 40-year high, time was spent discussing what this means as the Conference builds a budget for 2023 and tries to keep up with fast-growing expenses.

Giving to RMC Advance has decreased by about 8% from last year. “I am hoping that this offering can grow as it goes to help in many needed areas.”

“At present, the Conference is sitting in a very good financial position,” Gottfried said. “We have a gain through the month of June due to several positions not being filled. Our gain is expanded by receiving over 600k in donations that were not anticipated through our budget. This Conference has been blessed and I continue to thank God for our members’ amazing commitment and support as we move forward,” he concluded.

The committee considered suggestions for improving the Constituency Session. These suggestions included education for pastors on the meeting’s process, providing methods for delegates to add motions or agenda items before the meeting is called to order, and expanding the representation of Hispanic members.

The committee voted to fill its existing vacancies by inviting Randy Fuelly (lay person SW Region) and Anton Kapusi (pastor SE Region).  An additional opening was presented because of the resignation of Stephanie Melendez, a lay representative from Fairplay, Colorado, and the committee gave an enabling action to the administration to ask Ana Alvarez from the Colorado Springs Hispanic Church. She accepted the position.

Doug Inglish, RMC vice-president for administration stated that “those names are being withheld until we can communicate with them to determine which is able to accept the position.” This supports the action of the Constituency Session to bring another member from a Hispanic church onto the committee. During the meeting, Linda Kelly’s resignation was announced. The RMC administration will research suggestions for another lay person to serve on the committee from Wyoming.

As is required after a constituency session, all employee credentials were voted, with a correction for Lisa Cardinal, whose credential was changed from ‘commissioned’ to ‘ordained’. The committee also approved recommendation to the Mid-America Union Conference for the ordination of Pastor Nathaniel Gamble.

The Administrative Committee and the K-12 Board were given a delegated authority for the next quinquennium, and the Campion Academy Board was named and delegated authority for the next quinquennium.

The appointment of Departmental Directors for the quinquennium will take place after the administration has had time to research and make recommendations.

A subcommittee was appointed to craft a policy for recommendation to the committee regarding the treatment of employees who personally disagree with the new RMC policy regarding the ordination of women. Until such policy is adopted the committee approved the administrations suggestions for how it will relate to such employees:

  • No worker will lose his or her job because of their personal view on women’s ordination.
  • No pressure will be brought to bear from administration for a worker to change his or her view on women’s ordination.
  • No worker will be kept from any normal advancement opportunities because of their personal view on women’s ordination
  • No potential worker who is otherwise appropriate for a given position when coming into our conference will be denied it by conference administration based on their view on women’s ordination
  • Attendance and participation in fellow pastors’ ordinations has always been voluntary in Rocky Mountain Conference. That practice will continue.

Diane Harris, RMC director of education, shared an encouraging report about the state of education in the Conference. She said that all 17 teacher openings, including six at Mile High Academy, have been filled. Presently, 80 teachers are serving 836 students in RMC’s 18 schools.

Following the committee deliberations which ended in mid-afternoon, Vanessa Alarcon, a committee member from Boulder since February 2022, shared her reflection: “As a millennial in our church, it’s been an incredible opportunity to represent part of our lay membership in complex decision-making.  No matter the amount of questions or comments the committee has, I have appreciated the administration’s commitment to address it all.

I wish more of our constituency could see how much prayer and careful consideration goes on behind-the-scenes,” she commented.

The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for October 11.

–RMCNews

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