15 Apr

CAMPION FRIENDSHIPS WARM UP ON THE SNOW

By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … Sunny smiles and slushy snow made for epic spring-skiing conditions for the 18 students on Campion’s annual trip to Copper Mountain.

The students spent three days skiing and snowboarding together during the four-day trip based out of Leadville. “With COVID disrupting a big part of the year, it was refreshing to get off campus and enjoy God’s creation,” Kylie Wehling, Campion junior reflected.

Coming from Kansas, Jared Marcenaro was one student who experienced skiing in Colorado for the first time. “What made the trip great for me was being able to learn and fail around friends,” Marcenaro remarked. “They always helped me back up and told me what I could do better. They also pushed me to do more difficult runs and tricks.”

The students were in agreement that the relationships formed from time spent together were the highlight of the trip. “The people who were there made the trip fun,” said Love Pickle, Campion junior. “On the slopes, we were cheering for each other, which was so ‘sick,’” she explained.

Reflecting on the adventure, Campion junior Karson Lee said, “I think the relationships between friends and even people that didn’t hang out before grew so much on the trip. I had a great time with my friends, but I also had an amazing time hanging out, laughing, and getting to know people who I hadn’t known very well before.”

Aside from skiing and snowboarding, the students spent Sabbath together in an intimate setting worshipping and studying the Bible. After church, they took in the mountain views while tubing down the local sledding hill.

The evenings were spent catching up on homework and enjoying some rowdy ping pong tournaments.

The ski trip had been rescheduled due to COVID quarantine restrictions after spring break, but even in April, Copper still had sufficient snow to keep all of the runs open, and the students appreciated the warmer-than-usual temperatures. Pickle commented, “Honestly, the fact that the weather wasn’t freezing cold was the finishing touch.”

–Jill Harlow is Campion Academy’s communication director; photos supplied

15 Apr

RMC HISPANIC WOMEN FACILITATE SEMINARS AT MAUC MINISTRY CONVENTION

By Vanessa Alarcón – Lincoln, Nebraska … Church ministries in the Mid-American Union Conference hosted their 2021 Ministries Convention March 25-28 under the theme “Trust Jesus.” Held virtually, the convention included a mosaic of presentations by ministry departments from around the Union and were presented in both English and Spanish.

Trust in Jesus “is the prayer of the Mid-American Union team, that through  the presentations and seminars, your faith in Jesus will grow,” Roger Wade, former church ministries director, shared in a welcome  letter to registered participants. “[Our prayer is that] you will be filled with the spirit of Jesus, and that you will recommit to following Him.”

The Spanish seminars were hosted by RMC Hispanic Women’s leader, Patty Rivera. Some 60 Hispanic women participated throughout the weekend. Breakout session speakers from the RMC included Vanessa Alarcón and Rochelle Lozano Pérez. Other speakers were Ruth Collins, Adly Campos and Pastor Liz Enid Polanco.

The selection of Spanish seminars ranged from local speakers to international evangelists. The weekend began with Vanessa Alarcón, licensed clinical social worker and lay pastor in the RMC, who discussed the prevalence of depression among adult women and practical ways women’s ministries can support the mental health of their church members.

Ruth Collins, recurring guest speaker for RMC Hispanic ministers, shared an inspiring talk about fear and faith. She recounted her near death experience while commuting to Glacier View Ranch in October 2018 and how the Lord protected her.

International evangelist, Adly Campos,  challenged women to surrender themselves in order to fully trust God. International singer and speaker, Liz Enid Polanco, shared how each of  us can serve as instruments to support those in crisis. Rochelle Lozano, an attorney who is also a frequent preacher for Hispanic churches in the RMC, shared an interactive workshop on emotional intelligence and faith.

“It was nice to connect with women from all over the conference,” remarked Patty Rivera. “Each speaker presented from their own expertise and unique experiences, but all were able to emphasize why it is important to trust in Jesus.”

The seminars ended with a closing dedication and re-commitment ceremony to accept the calling to follow Jesus and fully trust in him.

For future Hispanic Women’s Events for the Rocky Mountain Conference, please contact Patty Rivera at [email protected]

–Vanessa Alacron is pastor for faith engagement at Boulder Adventist Church. Photo supplied.

 

14 Apr

eAdventist – Technology for Churches

By Brian Ford – Columbia, Maryland … [EDITOR’S NOTE: One goal of RMC leadership in 2021 is to improve the accuracy of our church membership lists and to ensure that all members receive the latest news through NewsNuggets, Mountain Views, and Outlook magazine.]

eAdventist is the software used by church clerks all across North America for church membership records and transfers since its launch in 2002. What you may not know is that eAdventist is also a “church management” tool that your pastor and church can use to serve and communicate with the church congregation.

If you receive Outlook magazine or Mountain Views, the mailing address is provided by eAdventist. To make a change or correction to your address, just ask your church clerk. If you’re a “snowbird” that prefers to spend the winter in a warmer climate, your church clerk can enter an “alternate” address to ensure you still receive the latest news from RMC.

Another benefit of eAdventist is its ability to create a church photo directory. You can easily save family photos to create a color “photo” section and provide a one-click report for the “contact info” section. This also makes it easy for your church clerk (pastor, secretary) to print a fresh copy of the “contact info” section for ministry leaders or the ministry placement committee.

In 2020, even the smallest churches realized the value of text messaging for keeping a church family connected. The local church can create messaging lists on eAdventist to send email and text messages. You can also create a messaging list for ministry teams serving the community through the church. Best of all, eAdventist provides this service at no cost to the church.

Finally, myEADVENTIST is a new, mobile-friendly app for members that is currently in “beta” testing and very close to release. It provides an online church directory, allowing each member to see and update their family information and subscriptions. It will also include “tools” that the church can enable for church officers. For example, the “attendance” role will enable deacons or worship coordinators to record attendance.

Get answers to any questions about eAdventist by emailing the eAdventist team at [email protected] or checking out https://eadventistnews.com.

–Brian Ford is Assistant Director, Software Developer for eAdventist; photos supplied

 

myEADVENTIST sample
myEADVENTIST sample
14 Apr

MHA COMMUNITY EATS, MINGLES & GIVES DURING ANNUAL BENEFIT AUCTION

By MHA News – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … “We were blessed to be able to hold the annual auction event, and it was exciting to be a part of something so “normal,” remarked Brodie Philpott, Mile High Academy (MHA) board chair and parent, on the yearly Eat, Mingle & Give fundraiser

On Sunday, April 11, some 70 MHA community members and friends converged at Topgolf Centennial for the school’s 20th annual benefit auction.

For the second year, parent Chase Aalborg emceed the live auction portion, which included handmade items by students and classes. The school provided a virtual attendance option, which allowed several families to “attend” the live auction and bid on items via Zoom. Participants were greeted by Andrew Carpenter, MHA’s incoming principal, who shared a laugh with alumnus and former Mustang basketball player Matt Gal. The auction resulted in donations totaling more than $55,000 towards the school’s annual fund.

The afternoon at Topgolf kicked off with ten bays filled with attendees enjoying more than two hours of unlimited golf while others viewed the silent auction items and fellowshipped together. The crowd also enjoyed a dinner which included TopGolf’s famous donuts.

CRUMBL Cookies, who recently opened a franchise a few blocks from MHA, donated a four-pack of cookies and CRUMBL swag to the event. “Here at CRUMBL [Cookies] we strive to serve our community. It’s just what we do and how we give back,” said store manager Debbie Christensen.

Attendees were glad to experience a normal event again. “It’s been so long since we could eat or mingle together that I gave a little extra just out of thankfulness – shh, don’t tell my wife!

COVID has made socializing a little more difficult, but it was nice to spend time with other parents in my daughter’s class, and get to know them better.  And, of course, it is great being able to support such a worthy cause–ensuring every child who wants an Adventist education can attend MHA, regardless of cost,” Philpott said.

Students also enjoyed the evening.  “I had so much fun,” said Tessa, MHA sophomore. “It was really exciting to see people competing. I love when people are still bidding to the last minute. My favorite part was spending time with my family and golfing. And the food was delicious.”

The event was made possible through donations from businesses, organizations, and through contributions from the MHA community. Donated items included overnight stays at Great Wolf Lodge and Durango’s famous Strater Hotel, family entertainment venues, golfing packages to several area country clubs, gift certificates to various restaurants, and homemade treats.

The 2021 event sponsors included AdventHealth University, Highlands Ranch Smiles, Out of Breath Sports, and the Rocky Mountain Conference.

“Thank you to everyone who attended, sponsored, supported and donated to the auction,” said Jocelyn Aalborg, vice principal of finance and development. “We continue to be humbled by the doors God opens for our school. It was through answered prayer that He allowed our school and community to be able to come together during this unique time for an evening of fun and laughter while supporting our school.”

–MHA News; photos supplied

Handmade chess and tic-tac-toe sets by the seventh-grade class for the live auction

08 Apr

WATCHING RESURRECTION THROUGH CAR WINDOWS

By Ryan Bell – Loveland, Colorado … Campion students celebrated Easter weekend by participating in the annual Campion Easter pageant which community members usually experience as a walk through the streets of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus’ life and ministry.

This year, out of an abundance of caution, no spectators were allowed at the event. Instead, the play was redesigned to be a drive-through experience.

Reflecting on the performance portion of the event, student director Brianna Bell commented, “What I enjoyed the most was seeing how hard the students worked to put on this event. You could tell that they were definitely doing this for God.”

Produced by Erin Johnson and Nancy Meszaros, the entire student body was involved in representing different aspects of the life of Christ including His birth, baptism, some of His miracles, the Last Supper, Gethsemane, the trial before Pilate, His crucifixion, and the Resurrection. Students in Johnson’s drama class composed and directed each scene.

The drive-thru display attracted some 100 vehicles which saw glimpses of the scenes as they witnessed Jesus’ life from birth to Resurrection.

The student who portrayed Jesus was greatly affected by the experience. “Every time I had to be lifted up on the cross, I thought about the actual pain Jesus went through because of how much He loves us. I have so much more appreciation for Him now more than ever.”

Erin Johnson, director of the Resurrection scene remarked, “I saw a lot of smiling faces as they drove away from the campus. We hope that the experience was a reminder that Jesus has risen and that He is coming back. Who wouldn’t be happy knowing that?”

–Ryan Bell is a senior at Campion; photos supplied

08 Apr

COMMENTARY: BULLYING—JUST DON’T!

By Samantha Nelson … Bullying—we have all heard the ugly word and, at some time, many of us have either observed it happening, been the victim of it, or perhaps even been the perpetrator of it. Bullying is an aggressive means of control and intimidation. As ugly as the word sounds though, the effects of bullying can be deadly, as studies have shown that youth who are bullied are twice as likely to commit suicide.

Remember the supposedly encouraging antidote we learned as kids? “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me”? Well, my friends, words can—and do—hurt. Sometimes they cause more harm and lasting damage than a broken bone that eventually heals. Kids can be mean. Words can affect a person for a lifetime. Sometimes bullying is because a child is just a mean child but, often, that child is a bully because they are being bullied or abused or may be experiencing some other type of emotional or physical trauma (i.e., parental divorce, homelessness, etc.). This does not excuse their behavior; however, it does provide a glimpse into some of the reasons children behave in inappropriate or even harmful or dangerous ways.

While bullying is widespread among all age groups, and looks a little different within each, none seems to be more prevalent than in our schools. Not just in public schools, but even in our Christian schools. And, yes, I’m sad to say, even in our Adventist schools.

I was not raised in a Christian home and I attended public schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade. One of my earliest recollections of bullying was when I was in 2nd grade. I had broken my leg walking my dog and had to wear a full leg cast and use crutches. One of the boys in my class thought it was funny to take my crutches away at recess so I could not get around. I was left sitting on the sidewalk, unable to return to class when the bell rang and fearful of being in trouble for being late. This ended when my friend and neighbor, a few grades higher than me, walked across the playground and reprimanded the boy and brought my crutches back to me. That was a nice thing to do and represents one way we can help stop bullying—by taking action when we see someone in need of help. It may mean informing the teacher or a parent about what is happening. It may mean being a friend to a vulnerable student.

Another instance of bullying also occurred during 2nd grade. There was another boy who constantly picked on me. He’d pull my hair, knock things out of my hands, and call me names. My teacher did nothing. I told my parents what was happening. My stepfather, bless his heart, had grown up boxing and defending himself in physical ways. He decided the answer was to teach me to punch the boy back when he hit me or bothered me. Fighting was not an appealing solution to me and, to my recollection, I never resorted to hitting the boy back. The school year ended and I don’t think I saw him again. The important lesson here is that, while defending yourself may be necessary at times, violence is generally not the answer.  

Time passed and my junior year of high school became a time of bullying in a different way. I was 16 years old, 5’7” tall and only weighed 75 pounds. The abuse I endured at home led me to become a perfectionist and anorexic in an attempt to control the only things I could in my life—my straight-A report cards and my food intake. I was starving myself to death. Because I left for school early in the morning and worked after school, I was able to avoid nearly all regular mealtimes and, therefore, actual meals.

When the popular song, “We Are the World,” was released in 1985 by USA for Africa as a charity single to combat famine in Africa, I didn’t think anything in particular about it, but some of the other students did. I woke up one morning to my alarm clock radio playing the song with a special announcement that it had been dedicated to me. I was shocked. When I walked into the school building that day, I found hand drawn posters of me as a stick figure—calling me the Ethiopian poster child—with nickels taped to them attached to the lockers and hall walls. It was embarrassing, to say the least, and made me feel ashamed of myself as a human being. Between the abuse at home and the bullying at school, I began to self-harm and plan my suicide (that story is too long for this brief article).

While these instances occurred in public schools, since becoming a school board chair of our local Adventist school, I have become acutely aware of bullying within our own supposedly “safe” schools. There are students who pick on each other, call each other names, pull hair, hit, kick, etc. It’s something that is not tolerated, thankfully, and parents are often the recipients of a discussion about their child’s inappropriate behavior toward others. We, as Christians, as Seventh-day Adventists, as adults, and as representatives of our heavenly Father on Earth, must do all we can to prevent and stop bullying when it’s taking place. A child’s life—or even an adult’s—may be at stake.

Additional Resources:

http://www.columbiaunion.org/content/underscore-combating-bullying-how-can-we-help-helpless

https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/get-help-now

https://www.meganmeierfoundation.org/statistics

–Samantha Nelson is a pastor’s wife who serves alongside her husband, Steve, in NW Wyoming. She is co-founder and CEO of The Hope of Survivors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting victims of clergy sexual abuse and providing educational seminars.  to clergy of all faiths. She and Steve love traveling, hiking in the mountains, and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. Photo supplied.

1.Hinduja, Sameer & Patchin, Justin. (2018). Connecting Adolescent Suicide to the Severity of Bullying and Cyberbullying. Journal of School Violence. 18. 1-14. 10.1080/15388220.2018.1492417.

07 Apr

2021 CAMP MEETINGS BEING PLANNED AND DISCUSSED

By Jon Roberts – Denver, Colorado … After a multitude of events were cancelled over the last year due to the pandemic, signs of hope are emerging as summer events are being planned and discussed.

Some of the events missed last year were RMC camp meetings. This year, the hope is that they will be back in person and plans are moving forward toward that possibility.  It may look and feel a little different from previous camp meetings.

The first camp meeting on the calendar is the NE Colorado camp meeting scheduled for June 4 – 5 at Campion Academy. The featured speaker is Pavel Goia, editor of Ministry Magazine.

Cowboy camp meeting comes next on July 7 – 11 in the Uncompaghre National Forest near Silver Jack Reservoir. Nathan James, pastor of Moab, Utah church, along with Dick Duerksen, will speak and music will be provided by Folk Mountain Gospel.

Immediately following Cowboy camp meeting, attention shifts northward to Wyoming for the Wyoming camp meeting scheduled July 14 – 18 at Mills Spring Ranch. Tom Lemon, general vice-president of the General Conference, is the featured speaker.

After Wyoming, Western Slope camp meeting will conclude the 2021 camp meetings. Planned for August 4 – 8 at Mountaintop Retreat camp grounds located in Montrose, it will feature Joe Kidder, professor of Pastoral Theology and Discipleship at the Theological Seminary at Andrews University.

The RMC Administrative team is praying as they look forward to the camp meeting season, and hoping for normality as we emerge from the stranglehold COVID has had on the region.

Continue to read NewsNuggets for more information on camp meetings as it comes available. All in-person events will follow the strictest COVID precautions and may need to be rescheduled if COVID guidelines curtail in-person gatherings.

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski

07 Apr

ACS responds to Boulder tragedy

RMCNews with Cathy Kissner – Boulder, Colorado … Responding to the tragedy which took place in mid-March in Boulder, Adventist Community Services was asked by the City of Boulder to provide spiritual care counseling for victims or residents who need to discuss the events they witnessed or that happened within their city.

Answering the request, four RMC members, trained in spiritual care counseling, immediately reacted.

For Mickey Mallory, one of the counselors who responded, the experience is one he will not soon forget.

“When I received crisis care training in the summer of 2019, the thought never crossed my mind that someday I might be used to assist with crisis care counseling after a mass shooting. I thought maybe [I would help with] a fire or tornado, but never anything like what just happened in Boulder,” Mallory said.

The team of counselors, including Rick Mautz, Mickey Mallory, and Larry and Bev Brandt, was happy to share the love of Jesus with those who were hurting because of an evil and senseless act of violence.

“While I did not have any direct involvement with any of the victims, I did allow one of them to use my laptop computer in order to sign up for financial assistance. Just to know I could help in such a small way made me feel very grateful,” Mallory commented.

Mallory added that the experience was one of unity among all agencies working toward the common goal of showing the love of Jesus. “To be given the opportunity to partner with agencies from around the state of Colorado like the Red Cross, was a tremendous privilege. It reminded me that sometimes tragedy has a way of bringing people from various organizations together for a common cause.”

If you are interested in training to be a spiritual care counselor for future disasters, please contact Cathy Kissner at: [email protected] or 970-201-3799.

–RMCNews with Cathy Kissner, RMC Adventist Community Services director; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski

07 Apr

BARNETT TO RETIRE AT THE END OF AUGUST

RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … “What I will miss is the people,” Ed Barnett said.

The conference office staff was stunned and is still absorbing the news of the announcement made by Ed Barnett, RMC president. On April 6, at the end of their first in-person staff meeting of 2021 Barnett told his staff he is planning to retire on August 31.

Barnett met his partner in ministry, Shirley, while at Pioneer Valley Academy, but their ministry together didn’t begin until February 1979 when they graduated from Atlantic Union College. “She was an RN and I had a theology degree,” he reminisced. After 42 years, Shirley still looks forward to traveling to do ministry together. The Barnetts plan to move to Florida in September to spend more time with their children and grandchildren and when possible, continue his pastoral ministry.

Barnett has served in several conferences in many ministerial positions, including the Minnesota Conference as president. His introduction to the Rocky Mountain Conference began when he served as the senior pastor of Denver South church in the early 2000s, and as RMC president since 2014.

Barnett says he feels comfortable retiring knowing the Rocky Mountain Conference is strong and will continue to advance God’s Kingdom. He often points out to being blessed by God with “generosity of our members as they continue to build the mission of the church.”

“I would like to think that our members know they have been loved and we have tried to do everything we could to help our schools and churches care for people.”  Barnett would like his legacy to be the knowledge he encouraged on how to grow healthy churches and have open conversations in the church about the quality of Christian life, “where Jesus is at the center of all we do.”  Barnett said what is the most important for our churches is bring back our missing members.

Gary Thurber, Mid-America Union Conference president and former RMC president, commented on Barnett’s decision to retire:

“Ed Barnett is one of those rare people who, no matter what task he has to do, excels. People of RMC have first-hand experience in watching him as a pastor as he skillfully and lovingly led the Denver South church for many years,” Thurber said.

“Ed also has a gift as an administrator. Everyone who worked for Ed both in Minnesota and RMC when he served as president, loved him because of his wisdom, kindness, and passion for mission,” Thurber added. “He will be missed greatly by our Mid-America Union team here in Lincoln and I know [he will be missed] even more by the friends he has made in RMC. We wish Ed and Shirley much joy in this next step of their journey.”

For lifelong friend and ministry partner, Brighton church pastor Wayne Morrison, Barnett’s passion for leadership will be missed. “I have had the privilege of working with Ed in two conferences and he truly is a godly leader. Ed is able to be both a friend and a leader, always encouraging, and a steady example of leaning into Jesus. Some may think of golf as his passion, but more than golf [his passion is] evangelism, Christian education, and sharing the love of Jesus in all aspects of church and social interactions! Ed, congratulations, my friend, you will be missed!”

For Diane Harris, newly appointed RMC director of education, she is having a hard time adjusting to the news, “every time I think about it I start crying.”

“Harris adds, “I have known Ed for many years.  As my pastor, he dedicated my oldest daughter, then baptized her many years later. As my conference president, he has been an incredible supporter of Adventist education and his leadership and ministry will be greatly missed.”

Barnett’s leadership and friendship are valued by many, including Rajmund Dabrowski, RMC communication director, who Barnett asked to serve in RMC in 2015 after his retirement from ministry and move to the Rocky Mountain  Conference.

“What will stay with me after Ed retires, is his honesty, openness, and total commitment to the Good News of Jesus Christ. He inspired me by his reaction to every issue of the RMC quarterly magazine Mountain Views and often said, ‘Keep the conversation going. There is no topic off limits in this church.’”

The authentic love and kindness he displayed will be remembered by many co-workers.  Following the announcement, many left the meeting stunned and trying to understand what will come next. Jessyka Dooley, assistant youth director, is refusing to accept the news. For them [the youth department], Barnett’s legacy means support in bringing youth to the leadership positions in the conference and in the churches.

“Ed is going to be deeply missed! Our youth ministry team has been lucky to serve in a conference where the president is so incredibly supportive of relevant ministry,” Jessyka Dooley, expressed.  “Ed goes above and beyond as a leader because he truly cares for the people he serves in the Rocky Mountain Conference. I’m truly thankful to have worked with, and even gotten to play a round of golf with, the one and only Ed Barnett!”

One of Barnett’s final messages to RMC members is a message that has been at the foundation of his life ministry. “Jesus is coming soon! Make Jesus the center of who you are and how you fulfill His mission,” Barnett said.

The RMC Executive Committee will be meeting with Thurber over the next several months to pray and begin the search for Barnett’s replacement.

–RMCNews; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski

06 Apr

COLORADO SPRINGS CENTRAL CELEBRATE COMMUNION WITH HOMELESS

RMCNews with Brenda Maldonado – Colorado Springs, Colorado … Some 20 Colorado Springs Central members spent Easter in the community making more than 200 breakfast burritos, putting together hygiene gift bags, giving donations, and going out to deliver the gifts to the homeless.

The congregation has built relationships with the homeless community and now they call each other friends and look forward to each visit.

Brenda Maldonado commented on the experience of getting to know the community: “Every recipient was so grateful for the gifts of food and toiletries. So many, after saying ‘Thank you,’ followed with, ‘God bless you’. Many know us and our church now, but some always ask where we are from.”

Because the group was celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus, Mike Maldonado, Colorado Springs Central pastor, provided communion for those in the homeless community who desired it. Many did want communion and were pleasantly surprised that a pastor would come out to pray for them and then serve them the emblems of the body and blood of Christ. “So many love God, but feel that the church would not want them there,” explained Brenda Maldonado

One member described the scene saying, “It was such a beautiful moment, witnessing [them] take part in the body and blood of Christ. Nothing brings more happiness when tears of joy come because of Jesus,” Ruth Lagos said.

Mike Maldonado commented that celebrating communion was a highlight for him. “Handing out communion,” he said, “was one of the highlights of my 30 years in ministry. Nothing compares to offering the body and blood of Christ to those marginalized by the church and society. I never felt closer to Jesus than when handing out communion on Easter morning to the homeless.”

The members spent time fellowshipping with those in the homeless camp including a man named Justin who visited the church the week before.

Colorado Springs Central makes sandwiches and puts together 125 lunches every Sabbath for the homeless, and delivers them after second service.

–RMCNews with Brenda Maldonado, Colorado Springs Central member; photo courtesy of Mike Maldonado Facebook

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