25 Aug


By Sue Nelson – Ward, Colorado … Nearly 200 Pathfinders and staff attended the 2022 Pathfinder Camporee held at Glacier View Ranch August 4-7. The theme was “Through the Storm” and the stage was decorated with a boat “in the storm.” Each club campsite was graded on how well their campsite demonstrated the theme in their unique entrance, cooking area, campsite, uniforms, and having their flags in order. The top campsites received medals.

“It was incredible to see the commitment and dedication of our Pathfinder clubs. They demonstrated kindness and graciousness towards one another as they engaged in a variety of activities. I am super impressed by our leadership staff and am grateful that I had the opportunity to mix it up with our Pathfinders,” said Brandon Westgate, RMC youth director. The speaker for the event, he brought thought-provoking messages to the kids at vespers and during the church service.

Clemente Lopez, Jr. from the Aurora Las Aguilas club and RMC senior teen rep, encouraged involvement in the Pathfinder Bible Experience study. Jodie Gage, Pathfinder co-coordinator commented: “I am so proud of our teen rep and the awesome job he did giving Sabbath school this morning.”

Praise music was led by different RMC teen representatives–Carter Smith (Grand Valley Prospectors), Yamiley Gonzalez (Aurora Las Aguilas) and Hannah Lechleitner (Louisville Miners). Contributing to special music were three Pathfinders–Travis Plack (Longmont Thunder), Isabel Doffing and Abby Shull (Golden Mighty Warriors of the Cross).

Friday morning activities included crafts and honors, such as tug-o-war, march & drill, wind chimes, star study, table tennis, soccer, and shelter building. In the afternoon during the Camporee, each club participated in lashing a raft meant to float their director on the lake! The rain didn’t affect that activity, as most directors either sank to the bottom of the lake (waist deep) or got wet anyway! Medals were awarded for “floatability” and “creativity.” Jodie Gage commented, that “even though it rained, I enjoyed how excited the Pathfinders and staff were building rafts and trying to float them.”

The Orienteering courses (easy, medium, and hard) involved the Pathfinders on Sabbath afternoon and sent the Pathfinders on Orienteering courses led by Dwight Laubscher, Pathfinder co-coordinator.

During Saturday night’s “Afterglow,” the teens, led by teen coordinators Roberto and Adriana Mira, enjoyed playing loud games in the teen tent and Capture the Flag outdoors in the dark, using glow sticks around their necks or on their wrists/ankles.

For morning and evening flag raising and lowering, the clubs were given an opportunity to put together a “color guard” of six Pathfinders. Practicing ahead of time, they learned about the steps in folding a flag and raising it properly.

–Sue Nelson is Club Ministries executive coordinator. Photos supplied.

25 Aug


Sue Nelson – Denver, Colorado … In preparation for the 2024 International Pathfinder Camporee, 22 delegates from the RMC club ministries joined on August 15 with visitors from Texas, Florida, and other states, in one of the summer tours to Gillette, Wyoming. Tours are being given in cooperation with the Center for Youth Evangelism, camporee organizers.

Ron Whitehead, the center’s director said, “It was great to see so many RMC club ministry lay leaders at the August 15, 2022, public tour. This will be the third time that RMC has hosted an NAD or International camporee. Those three camporees include 1985 (Camp Hale); 1994 (Dare to Care); and 2024 (Believe the Promise). Everyone is invited to one of the five tours in 2023.”

The Camporee, better known as the “Oshkosh Camporee,” comes to Gillette, Wyoming, right in our Rocky Mountain Conference territory. “How exciting it is to think of our Conference ‘hosting the world’ with an anticipated 60,000 Pathfinders,” said Sue Nelson, RMC club ministries executive coordinator.

These tours are giving us an insight into the possibilities that are being opened due to this move. “The town of Gillette is opening its arms to all needed to host a camporee of this size, and we in return, are showing them the love Pathfinders have for Jesus,” Nelson added.

The Rocky Mountain Pathfinder staff have already been scheduled to be part of the 2023 and 2024 4thof July parades in Gillette. The town knows about the thousands of Pathfinders who will be coming as they have videos of past camporees but have not seen any of them in person. “We aim to rectify that, as we set out to make this opportunity an outreach into the community,” Nelson said

The next tour is being planned for Monday, September 12, 2022. It is free to anyone who wants to participate, including lunch. There will also be five more tours in 2023. For more information, contact Sue Nelson at [email protected] Sign up with 22,000 other BTP International Camporee newsletter subscribers at camporee.org.

–Sue Nelson is RMC club ministries executive coordinator. Photo supplied.

25 Aug


Ruben Balaguer – Greeley, Colorado … An outreach program based on the Book of Revelation was conducted at the Greeley Hispanic church August 6 to 13. Twelve visitors attended the meetings. “Several individuals are now taking Bible studies with members of the church,” said Pastor Balaguer, who conducted the outreach.

“After each presentation, attendees received a syllabus covering the topic of the evening. The meeting concluded with the baptism of Abner Hernández. Abner made his decision convinced that he wants to serve the Lord, not just become a member of the church. He said, “I know that I can do much more for the Lord now using my talents in the church for him”. Six more persons made decisions to be baptized as well.

For attending church members, the outreach was a refresher in understanding the messages of the Book of Revelation.

“After each presentation, those who attended left revived and with the desire to return the next evening. The most surprising thing for them was to learn so much more about the main character of the Book of Revelation–Jesus,” Balaguer commented.

–Ruben Balaguer is pastor of the Hispanic Greeley Adventist Church. Photos suppled.

23 Aug


By Brenda Dickerson with Rajmund Dabrowski – Denver, Colorado … Delegates to the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists second quinquennial session met on Aug. 21, 2022, for the purpose of electing leadership, receiving reports, and conducting other church business. Five-hundred-ten registered delegates representing local Adventist churches in Wyoming, Colorado, and part of New Mexico convened at LifeSource Adventist Fellowship in Denver, Colorado, under the theme “Longing, Loving, Leading.”

After due consideration, delegates voted by a strong majority to elect Mic Thurber as president, Doug Inglish as vice president for administration, and Darin Gottfried as vice president for finance for the next five years.

Praise, prayers, and procedures

During the devotional time that followed the musical praise, conference president Mic Thurber explored the Longing, Loving, Leading theme by referencing Jesus’ words: “‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.’ The quality and focus of our longings inform how well we love one another,” said Thurber.

His specific challenge to the delegates as local leaders was to “Be faithful and be alert for opportunities to speak into someone’s life…Let’s say gracious words that will bring hope, restoration, and grace.”

As the session was called to order, president Mic Thurber offered explanatory remarks regarding the procedures of the day. Thurber urged decorum and the following of standard procedures. “The purpose of procedures is to let the minority have their say, and to let the majority have their way,” said Thurber.

The General Conference Rules of Order, sixth edition, was followed diligently under the watchful eye of Darrell Huenergardt, MAUC legal counsel, who was voted by the delegates to serve as parliamentarian for the session.

Several motions made from the floor by delegates, passed, adding additional items to the day’s agenda including allowance for discussion of the composition of RMC’s Nominating Committee and Executive Committee, to be addressed in the bylaws. Other additional items were more representation from minority churches on committees and allocation of financial resources to Hispanic youth ministries.

One of the most celebrated votes was accepting nine new churches and companies established in 2017 into the sisterhood of RMC churches.

The auditor’s report was presented by Paula Aughenbaugh, representing the General Conference Auditing Service. Their unconsolidated financial statement received an “unmodified” opinion, the best possible opinion that can be given.

Election of officers and committees

A motion to refer the report for president back to the Nominating Committee was defeated by approximately a two-thirds majority. The vote for president was 71% in support of Mic Thurber to serve as president for the coming quinquennium. Following the vote Thurber said, “We are honored to serve, not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit. Thank you so much for your trust.”

After 64% voted against sending back the report for vice president for administration, 68% of delegates voted in favor of Doug Inglish for vice president for administration. “Thank you for your confidence. I’d also like to say a word of thanks to my predecessor Eric Nelson for his guidance,” said Inglish.

Darrin Gottfried was elected by 97% to serve as vice president for finance. “This is a very exciting conference to work in. I’m looking forward to finding ways we can grow as a conference,” Gottfried said.

After a haystack lunch hosted by local Pathfinders, delegates resumed the business session by approving the Nominating Committee reports recommending names for the following committees: Constitution and Bylaws Committee, Executive Committee, Education Committee, and Property and Trust Committee.

Ordination of men and women pastors

Hubert J. Morel Jr., vice president of administration for the Mid-America Union Conference, gave introductory remarks prefacing the ordination discussion. Morel reminded delegates of the fact that the Adventist Church is comprised of nearly 22 million members around the globe. Yet we are all called to the same mission of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. Morel then gave some historical background from the Adventist Church’s actions in the 1920s to the 1970s regarding the role of women in gospel ministry. “What do we do in our own territory about this of women’s ordination?” Morel asked.

The motion brought to delegates was: “The Rocky Mountain Conference may submit names of all qualified men and women for ordination to the Mid-America Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.”

Nine delegates immediately stood to speak at the “Against” microphone, while 13 lined up for the “Pro” microphone. Others joined both lines, but time did not allow for everyone to speak since the body voted against extending the time frame

In summary, the arguments focused on words and phrases such as equality, gender confusion, headship theology, church authority, the Holy Spirit’s calling on pastors, generational and cultural divides, financial ramifications, the role of missions, allowing women to attend seminary, the three angels’ messages in social equality, opposing the world church’s vote, following the voice of God, church levels and structure, competition, recognition, rejection, ordination at baptism, striking ordination completely, insubordination, angels tabulating the results of voting devices, Old Testament offerings, preaching for God, gender role clarification, circumcision as a rite, the message being sent to youth, compliance, rebellion and anarchy, biased presentations, fact versus opinion, divisions in the church, respect, women who followed Jesus, complementary roles, definition of ordination, biblical examples of “laying on of hands,” the role of women in ministry, definition of “harmony,” delegation of authority, fundamentalism, Ellen White, traditions, equal pay for equal work, policy vs doctrine, Theology of Ordination Study Committee, discrimination, God’s best choices for us, scriptural authority, variances (exceptions) to policy.

Fifty-nine percent of delegates voted in favor of the motion.

A lengthy discussion followed regarding protecting personal convictions toward women’s ordination and that they should not be used in a discriminatory manner for hiring, firing or prevention of promotion for employees within the Rocky Mountain Conference. The body voted to refer this to the RMC Executive Committee.

For Brooke Melendez, associate pastor from The Adventure Church in Greeley, Colorado, attending the RMC constituency session was her first in the conference. She remarked that August 21 “was a day I have been waiting for [for] seven years–since I became a pastor in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.”

She added, “however, I continue to hold heavy in my heart my female colleagues & friends in other conferences and unions who continue to serve in a different reality. I am praying and waiting with great anticipation for the day that I’m able to attend their ordination services and see them receive the full recognition from their church for what God has already called and ordained them to do.”

Bylaws discussion and changes

As delegates reviewed a 17-page-front-and-back document outlining the bylaws, several minor editorial changes were voted as a block. All changes to the bylaws require a two-thirds majority vote. Additional changes clarified wording and intent. Substantive changes were voted on individually. The wording regarding relationships between various levels of the Adventist Church was discussed several times throughout the day. Several items were referred to the bylaws committee for further revisions.

President Thurber thanked delegates for the consistent decorum exhibited by all who spoke, even as the hours passed.

Remarking on the “very full day” of deliberations, Dr. Mark Johnson, a delegate from Boulder, Colorado said that “attending the RMC Constituency Meeting this year was a bittersweet experience.  It was nice to see old classmates and fellow church members from the past, but disturbing, and somewhat alarming, to find that our basic beliefs and views on truth have become so divergent.  While the meeting was cordial and amicable, for the most part, the underlying tensions and religious zeal occasionally broke through.  Unfortunately, as one delegate brought to our attention, the intensity seemed to be based on both theological interpretation and civic political fervor.”

Leaving the quinquennial meeting, Johnson commented that “the great challenge for the leaders will be holding the church together in some semblance of unity, given such fundamental diversity among the members.”

Samantha Nelson from Clark, Wyoming, commented on the length of the meeting. “I wish the meeting had not taken so very long and that some of the agenda items that were added could have been sent in advance to be addressed and dealt with prior to reaching the body for a vote. Many of them failed because there was so much going on and people were exhausted. All in all, things went well, and we have much work to do moving forward.”

That notwithstanding, random comments overheard in the church lobby as delegates were eager to go home, indicated that they seemed to be in a great mood and happy to be there. After all, each such convocation allows friends to meet friends whenever such events allow them to come together. “I wish we could meet more often,” one delegate from Colorado remarked.

Ron Price, a delegate from Farmington, New Mexico, summed up his experience at the session. He said, “I was well impressed with the overall tenor of the conversations, some of which verged on being debates. While many held strong values and beliefs, these seemed, for the most part, to be subjugated to the overreaching presence of love for our Lord and each other.”

–Brenda Dickerson is OUTLOOK editor and Rajmund Dabrowski is RMC communication director. Photos by Rajmund Dabrowski.

18 Aug


As we come up to a very important day in the life of our conference, I am calling on each of us to engage in serious time in prayer. We need the Lord’s sweet Spirit to refresh and ready us to make important decisions together carefully, cheerfully, and graciously.

One of my favorite Psalms (139) says, You have searched me Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

Why, if He knows us so completely and intimately, should we even bother to tell Him what’s on our minds? Because when we engage our great God on His ground of Word and prayer, something happens between you and Him that can only happen there. You cannot enter that holy ground and not come away a new creature!

All of us have our opinions and preferences, and the Lord knows those very well, because we’ve been thinking them and sharing them a lot in recent days. So, He knows what we are thinking. But now, it is time to come before the Lord with a humble heart and spirit, and ask Him that His preferences will reign, and to ask His Spirit to fill us in such a way that we will know that the Spirit has been present and that we have followed His promptings. So please pray for our constituency gathering. A lot. And then let us rest in what He will do in and through us not just on this coming Sunday, but all our days awaiting His glorious return.

-Mic Thurber, Rocky Mountain Conference president

18 Aug


Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado … Campion Academy welcomed 125 students to campus with worship, games, and handshakes on Sunday, August 14.

Donning black plastic trash bags and downcast faces, the Student Association (SA) officers kicked off the event by transforming into bright and energetic leaders, introducing the theme for the school year: ‘Renewed’. After leading worship songs, Spiritual Vice-President Tiffany Mogaka shared insights on how God can renew each of our lives.

Students were then divided into their class groups for classic competitions such as a human knot and hula-hoop pass. Toby Quillin, returning sophomore, mentioned, “The games were a really good way to get to know our classes better, both for those returning and those joining for the first time. The friendly competition really brought all of us closer together.”

For the main event, students and staff members lined up to shake hands and introduce themselves. Ana Segawa, a new senior student, hadn’t experienced this type of welcome at a school before. “As a new student coming from Brazil, it can be very intimidating to go to a boarding school in a different country, but the handshakes were a great icebreaker and a nice way of getting to know the other students and staff,” she explained. “I got to meet amazing people and the whole experience made me feel very welcome.”

The evening ended with a prayer of dedication from Pastor Micheal Goetz and a round of high fives for Principal Don Reeder.

Four-year senior, Haley Beckermeyer, still found herself caught up in the excitement and positivity that Handshake brings to the start of the year. She reflected, “I am excited to watch the school grow closer as a student body and closer to God throughout this year.”

–Jill Harlow, communication director; photo by Campion Academy Newsletter

18 Aug


Ardis Stenbakken – Loveland, Colorado … Enditnow, the Seventh-day Adventist program to stop abuse in all its forms, is listed on the world church calendar for the fourth Sabbath of August; it is observed worldwide.

When Women’s Ministries began, and even before it became a full church department, Rose Otis, the first director, chose six challenge issues women around the world face: abuse, poverty, health, illiteracy, mentoring, and workload. But in many parts of the world, no one wanted to talk about abuse, and even refused to admit that it could happen in the church.

In 2001, when all church ministry directors at the division level met with their counterparts at the General Conference to lay plans, the 13 Women’s Ministries division directors met with Ardis Stenbakken, GC WM director, to discuss what could be done about abuse. The women decided to ask the church leadership to designate a specific Sabbath as the Abuse Prevention Emphasis Sabbath. The Annual Council that year voted to place it on the world church calendar. It broke the silence. Around the world, Women’s Ministries started talking about the issue in sermons, seminars, brochures, parades, and schools, and lobbying governments.

In 2010, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), under the leadership of Chuck Sandefur, asked that ADRA partner with Women’s Ministries as abuse is a major problem that ADRA faces in its work. At that time, the name of the program was changed to enditnow. When new leadership took over ADRA, they dissolved the partnership, yet Women’s Ministries continues to promote enditnow as abuse still happens in and out of the church. In fact, statistics indicate that the numbers are about the same for the church as for society as a whole.

The Campion Church Women’s Ministries, under the leadership of Jeanette Fortner, planned and observed the enditnow worship service on Sabbath, August 6 with a special service and an afternoon seminar. This was planned in cooperation with Family Ministries, led by Sandy Eickmann.

Referring to the topic chosen for the day, Ardis Stenbakken, author of this report, said, “Almost all abuse is the result of a power issue.” The presenters were Campion Church members, Sandy Eickmann, Master of Arts, Master of Public Health, and a licensed professional counselor who worked closely for 15 years with Dawson County domestic violence in Montana and treated abuse victims; and Mark Herber, JD, managing member of the law firm of Flanders, Elsberg, Herber & Dunn, in Longmont. Mark graduated with a BA in Criminal Justice in 1997 and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in 2000. Herber has prosecuted and defended to trial criminal abuse cases in Oklahoma and Colorado courts. These two worked together presenting the abuse and power topic to Campion Academy students earlier in the year, and it was felt that church members needed to hear the same information.

Eickmann has reported that response has been very positive with such comments as, “I needed to hear this,” and “Our church needed to hear this.” One woman who was unable to attend in person, watched the service later from the church archives and reported that she “bawled all the way through,” it touched her life so directly. A non-member wrote, “I just want to thank you for the excellent presentation today. I am sure many people learned things they did not know. . . a wonderful opportunity to increase awareness.”

One young adult woman wrote to the Women’s Ministries team, “I want to thank you for being one of the coordinators of the EndItNow Sabbath at church. Today’s service was very helpful, Christ-centered, and needed in our church and community! I appreciated the clear message sent out from the church! I have seen that pretty much everyone (me included) will be/has been abused by someone at some time, and so the different types of abuse need to be talked about so people know what to do. If abuse is ignored in our church and community, super events hosted by our church and detailed sermons cannot fully reach the pain abuse has brought to people and heal it (which is, yes, ultimately, Jesus’ work).”

–Ardis Stenbakken is a member of the Campion Church; she is involved with Women’s and Family Ministries and leads Communications. Photo was by Catherine Chamberlain.

18 Aug


Matt Hasty – Loveland, Colorado … Nicholas Hold, one of three theology majors on the Literature Ministry team, began his summer knocking on doors in Powell, Wyoming. One of the first people he met was an individual known in the neighborhood. Learning that Nick was a Seventh-day Adventist, he commented on how he appreciates the Adventist view of prophecy, and that he had heard of the Great Controversy and wanted to read it. He gave a higher-than-expected donation for the book.

Next door, Nick met a family who knew their neighbor. Introducing them to the Great Controversy, he mentioned that their neighbor had just got it. “Well, if [he] wants to read this book, then we should get all of your books!” they remarked.

For Nick, meeting this individual in the first few minutes of knocking on doors in Powell was no coincidence. God led his team leader to drop the canvassers at the right place at the right time to make an impact on that community for eternity! Close to 500 books were shared, sales largely impacted by the influence of one man.

This was just one testimony of many during the summer canvassing program in Colorado and Wyoming. The result of the weeks between June 5 and August 1 was not only literature being shared, but our canvassers met several former church members and local pastors are now giving them Bible studies.

This summer, our nineteen literature evangelists distributed about fourteen thousand pounds of books, and yes, we had sore backs at times. They knocked on around 200,000 doors. Considering the average family size of 3.15 persons, we could say we reached an audience of 630,000 people. We might not know the true impact of our canvassing this summer, but we heard that in Laramie, Wyoming, a young man skate-boarded up to the church asking for Bible studies and expressing a desire to keep the Sabbath! In his hand was one of the books that our students left with him.

Arguably the greatest impact of the literature ministry program is what it does to our own young people. One of the team members, Jacob Rodriguez, was rebaptized last weekend. Three others, including the parent of one of our students, have started studying toward the same decision.

Bayli Graybill, commenting on her experience this summer said, “This program was a growing experience in my social life, physical life, and especially in my spiritual life. I was challenged in a good way to be bold with my faith and not afraid of my fears.”

Thank you to our amazing Rocky Mountain Conference churches in Colorado and Wyoming where our team worked this year, for their support of our young people. Your food, your homes, your prayers and even that stack of water bottles you hand delivered while we were knocking on doors, encouraged us to keep at our work of bringing the gospel to the people! Thank you, RMC!

–Matt Hasty is RMC literature ministry director. Photos supplied.

17 Aug


Jana Thurber – Denver, Colorado … “Prayer is the breath of the soul,” states Ellen White in Steps to Christ. There is no closer connection we may forge with our heavenly Father and Jesus than when we spend time in prayer with Them.

On August 26 and 27, Rocky Mountain Conference Prayer Ministries will be sponsoring a prayer summit weekend hosted by LifeSource Adventist Fellowship in Denver. The meetings will be held at 7 pm, Friday, 11 am, and 3 pm, Sabbath, and presented by Rick and Cindy Mercer from the Oklahoma Conference.

The Mercers have a powerful story of how the power of prayer was experienced in their lives as it proved more powerful than addictions and family issues that would likely have broken up their marriage were it not for praying big and experiencing prayer’s power.

As they share their story, along with practical applications for praying big, you will be inspired to deepen your own prayer life so that God may more powerfully take root in your life and provide you with the power to face your own life issues.

The meetings will be streamed live during the weekend and will also be available via streaming if you’d like to use the meetings in your church at another time. So even if you can’t attend in person, you’ll still be able to view the meetings either as they are happening or later.

For more information about the meetings, go to the RMC web page: Prayer Ministries – Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (rmcsda.org)LifeSource Adventist Fellowship – YouTube

–Jana Thurber is RMC prayer ministry director. Photo by Peter Law on Unsplash

17 Aug


Ruben Balaguer – Greeley, Colorado … Greeley Hispanic Church, celebrated baptism of Carolina De Leon Garcia and Pedro Lopez Perez, who gave their lives to Jesus during an outdoor worship, Saturday, July 16, at the Jackson Lake Camping Site, an hour drive from Greeley.

Two years ago, Carolina and Pedro started dating. Carolina became a missionary to Pedro, giving him Bible studies. For a baptism service they were joined by more than 50 church members and guests, 20 of whom were Pedro’s relatives, members of another Christian denomination.

“It was a great day of joy and celebration for the Greeley Hispanic Church,” said Pastor Balaguer.

–Ruben Balaguer is pastor of the Greeley Hispanic Adventist Church. Photos supplied.