15 Feb

Every Step is for The Kids

By Sandi Adcox – Grand Junction, Colorado … Intermountain Adventist Academy’s (IAA) board chairman, Doug McCaw II, and his wife, Melinda, are passionate about helping children in the community. They live by the motto of helping kids one step at a time.

The McCaw’s are keenly aware of the need for Christian education, the need for food for school-age children, and the need to make a positive difference in children’s lives.

Out of this need, they created an organization, Elevate Kids, and partnered with IAA and Kids Aid, two local organizations that focus on children. IAA is expanding to include grades 9 and 10 next year; Kids Aid is known for the Backpack Program, which supplies food to hungry kids during the weekend gap.

In August 2020, the McCaws gained recognition by running the Colorado Trail (490 miles from Denver to Durango) in 18 days. Their adventure was documented in a movie, “Chasing the Sky,” that was seen by hundreds of community members in local theaters. Proceeds from the movie were split between IAA and Kids Aid.

What’s next for the couple? On April 10, Elevate Kids is hosting a community fun-run fundraiser to help children. This event is being planned for all levels of runners, with three distances (2.5K, 5K, and 10K) and opportunities to race for a reward or just enjoy an activity with friends and family.

“We want everyone in the community to have the opportunity to help the kids and enjoy a memorable experience. We plan to continue this fundraiser as an annual event,” said Doug.

Melinda added, “This run will be top-notch for participants and sponsors that partner with us.” The event will include professional timing, t-shirts, bibs, photographers, medals for participants, and rewards for the winners. The gathering is being recognized by the Grand Junction community as companies have begun to sponsor the upcoming event.

Church members are also donating financially to the event. “I’m always happy to support our kids.  This is a great cause,” said Karen Fishell, Grand Junction member.

If you would like to sign up for the event, please email [email protected].

–Sandi Adcox is Grand Junction Adventist Church team member with Elevate Kids Run; photo by iStock

27 Jan


RMCNews with Herbert Hernandez – Louisville, Colorado … Chapel Haven Adventist Church let the staff of Avista Adventist Hospital know that they were loved and being prayed for as the hospital reopened on January 18 by delivering snack baskets to the eleven different hospital units for associates to enjoy throughout the day.

Members gathered to assemble the baskets full of popcorn, bags of chips, fresh fruit, bread, and many other items for the staff members to enjoy. Each basket included a homemade card thanking the staff for their service to the community.

Herbert Hernandez, lead pastor at Chapel Haven, explains that the members were looking for a way to show support to their neighbors who have been through so much in the past few weeks dealing with the wildfires and their aftermath.  “As a church, we were looking for ways to extend our support to the staff for all they have gone through, and we were able to connect with Johnnathan Ward, Chaplain at Avista Adventist Hospital, and he commented that bringing baskets would be a great way to cheer the associates up.”

Hernandez added, “As the baskets were delivered on Tuesday, people were very grateful and elated to have people think of them and prepare a basket for them to enjoy.”

Donna O’Brien, a nurse who works in the nursery and NICU unit called the church to express her thankfulness, “I’m just calling to say thank you for your support and compassion through our rough time. Thank you so much for all you guys do. If we could say thank you altogether, we would. But this is one big thank you from us, and God bless.”

The staff weren’t the only ones who were blessed by this act of kindness, explains Brenda Lund, Chapel Haven member. “Our hearts were breaking along with everyone else watching those awful fires and our hospital being evacuated. We wanted to do something–anything! Chaplain Ward suggested food baskets for every unit at Avista Hospital when they re-opened. We could handle that. It was such a small thing, but it seemed to really make a difference to the hospital staff. I think we received just as much of a blessing for being able to do it as they did receiving them. God is amazing.”

The organizer of the making the baskets, Katrina Blankenship a Chapel Haven member reflected on the small act. “We seldom get the opportunity to express our appreciation for the blessings Avista brings to our community. Snack baskets are minor compared to their daily service for humanity.”

“We were blessed to be able to share with our Avista family,” Hernandez reflected.

–RMCNews with Herbert Hernandez, lead pastor at Chapel Haven Adventist Church; photos supplied

27 Jan

Five Important Ways to Help Friends Through Struggles

By Airi Nomura – Loveland, Colorado … At Campion Academy, many of the students and staff are grieving the loss of their friend, Timothy, a fellow student who recently died unexpectedly. Not only that, but teenagers, in general, are increasingly struggling with depression, anxiety, and social disconnection.

We naturally want to help uplift friends in challenging situations, but sometimes don’t know what to say or what to do for individuals who are going through a crisis of grief or mental health.

Sandy Eickmann, Licensed Professional Counselor, has been volunteering at Campion as a grief counselor over the past few weeks since Timothy’s death. She shared some important ways to support individuals dealing with grief.

1. Listen to them and validate their feelings

“Listening is probably the most important thing you can do,” reflected Eickmann. Pay attention to what your friends are going through. “It’s nice to just be there, sit with them and listen. The times in my life where I grieved the most, I don’t remember anything anybody said to encourage me. I do remember some people that cried with me.”

2. Ask what they need and be specific

It is important to know that everyone is different, and each individual needs different support or help. Instead of assuming what they want, ask them specifically what they need. Eickmann shared, “If you think you have something that would be meaningful, just ask them if that would be helpful.”

However, she advised, “The questions ‘What do you need?’ or ‘How can I help?’ can often feel too vague and difficult to answer. Sometimes people don’t have a clue what they might need, or they don’t want to ask you because they don’t want to burden you. So, it helps to come up with something specific.”

3. Check in with them

You can remind them that you care by keeping in touch and asking how they are doing. However, with some people, it can be dangerous to overcheck and not give them space when they need it. “It’s ok to get feedback from people, to say ‘Would you like me to give you a call tomorrow?’ or ‘Do you want to come and hang out with me for a while?’ to see what they want while giving them an option,” said Eickmann.

At the same time, she continued, “It needs to come as ‘Do you want to talk about it?’, not as ‘Let’s talk about it,’ or ‘I want to hear about it,’ because some people are not ready to talk about it. Pushing them to talk can actually be a problem.”

4. Give them time and freedom

“It’s a process to grieve. It’s important to give them some freedom so that they have some sense of control,” mentioned Eickmann. Some people might need their time alone, while others don’t. Know that each individual takes their own time to process. It’s important to think about what you would need if you were in their circumstance.

5. Know that not everyone has the same way to solve problems

Each person will have different reactions to coping with emotional stress. “It’s really important for people to realize and identify what the person is going through,” said Eickmann.

Some people take more time than others to overcome their challenges. “It’s very human to compare yourself and someone else because we do have a lot of things in common, but then there are always those little things that we don’t know about, so we need to be very open-handed,” explained Eickmann. You might hurt people’s feelings by telling them about your similar situation from the past when you actually meant to encourage them. Everyone is different and has different ways to grieve.

–Airi Nomura is a senior at Campion Academy; photo supplied

27 Jan

Anti-Aging Living

By Tim Arnott, M.D. — Can we slow the aging process? Is that even scientific? After six years of study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three behaviors exerted an enormous impact on mortality–not currently smoking, consuming a healthier diet (more plant-based), and moderately exercising at least 21 minutes a day. People with one of these three behaviors had a 40 percent lower risk of dying within the six-year period. Those with two out of three cut their risk of death by more than half. Those doing all three reduced their chances of dying by 82 percent. This study measured how much Vitamin C subjects had in their bloodstream. Vitamin C level is considered a good indicator of plant-food intake and was used as a marker for a healthy diet. The drop in mortality risk among those with the three healthier habits was equivalent to being 14 years younger! In other words, you could turn back the clock 14 years just by not smoking, walking 20 minutes a day, and having the highest intake of fruits and vegetables.

Why are fruits and vegetables protective against aging? The mitochondrial theory of aging suggests free radical (i.e., cellular exhaust) damage to our cells’ power source (i.e., mitochondria) leads to loss of cell energy production and deteriorating cell function over time. According to the theory, the resulting cellular injury causes aging. Aging and disease are thought of as the result of oxidation injury to the body. Not adequately neutralizing free radical exhaust is believed to cause wrinkles, to reduce memory, and age organ systems, causing these to break down as we get older. Thus, the free radical exhaust theory concludes that we’re rusting out.

Fortunately, there is hope. Eating antioxidant-rich foods will slow down this oxidative process. Statistics support this assertion. Individuals with the highest antioxidant intake have the lowest risk of colon cancer, stomach cancer, congestive heart failure, and cardiovascular disease. Interestingly enough, on average, plant foods may contain 64 times more antioxidants than animal foods.[i] Thus, eating various fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices each meal floods our body with antioxidant pigments helping to prevent stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and other age-related diseases.

Is there other anti-aging science that supports lifestyle changes? Yes, indeed. Eating more fruits and veggies and not smoking has been associated with longer protective telomeres, the caps on the tips of our chromosomes that prevent DNA from unraveling, just like the plastic tips on the ends of our shoelaces. Each time our cells divide, a bit of this cap is lost. Telomeres start shortening as soon as we’re born, and when they’re gone, we’re gone. The food we eat impacts how fast we lose our telomeres. For example, eating refined grains, soda, meat, and dairy has been linked to shortened telomeres. However, eating fruits, vegetables, and other antioxidant-rich plant food has been associated with longer telomeres and longer lives.

In addition to eating maximal amounts of fruit and vegetables, what other habits can lengthen our lives?  Dr. Alex Lief, MD at Harvard Medical School, states, “Exercise is the closest thing we have to an anti-aging pill.” Regular physical activity is a way of life for virtually every person who has reached age 100 in sound condition. Exercise is powerful medicine. All would agree that smoking is not good; however, “Not exercising has the equivalent impact on your health as smoking one-and-one-half pack of cigarettes a day.”[ii]

Have any other single habits risen to the surface in the anti-aging literature? Yes! Beans and legumes may be “the most important…predictor of survival in older people” around the globe. Researchers looked at “five cohorts in Japan, Sweden, Greece, and Australia.” Of all the foods they looked at, only one was associated with a longer lifespan across the board–eating beans! Whether it was the Japanese eating soy, Swedes eating “brown beans and peas,” or those in the Mediterranean eating “lentils, chickpeas, and white beans,” only for eating beans were the results of this study credible, consistent, and statistically significant for all the populations combined. The study showed an “8% reduction in risk of death for every 20 gram increases in daily legumes intake.” That’s just two tablespoons’ worth! So, if a can of beans is 250 grams, and you get 8% lower mortality for every 20 grams, you can see just how powerful eating beans could be.[iii]

So, other than the anti-aging power of antioxidant-rich plant foods, eating beans, non-smoking, and exercise, what other anti-aging science is out there?  Enter TOR. Target of rapamycin (TOR) is a cellular enzyme that controls cell growth and metabolism in response to nutrients, growth factors, cell energy, and stress. TOR, initially discovered in yeast, has been found in all plants, worms, flies, and mammals. The discovery of TOR led to fundamental changes in how we think about cell growth. It is not a spontaneous process that happens when nutrients are available, but rather a highly-regulated, flexible process controlled by TOR-dependent chemical pathways. Thus, TOR plays a crucial role in human growth, development, and aging, and has been implicated in diseases like cancer, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes.[iv]

How can lifestyle habits positively affect TOR? The TOR chemistry needs to be downsized or downregulated to slow the aging process. How can that be accomplished? Eating fewer calories can do it. That’s not always quickly done, however. Fortunately, a breakthrough came when scientists discovered that the benefits of dietary restriction may come not from the restriction of calories, but from the restriction of protein intake.[v] If we look at “the first comprehensive comparative meta-analysis of [dietary restriction] … the proportion of protein intake was more important for life extension than the degree of calorie restriction.”[vi] In other words, in order to reduce TOR and slow aging, just reducing protein, “without any changes in calorie level, has been shown to have similar effects as caloric restriction.”[vii] That’s good news, because “protein restriction is much less difficult to maintain than (calorie) restriction, and may be more powerful,”. Why? Because restricting protein suppresses both TOR and insulin-like growth factor one (IGF-1)–two chemical pathways that accelerate aging, and also is thought to be responsible for the “longevity and health benefits” of reducing calories.[viii]

Are all proteins created equal when it comes to anti-aging? No, some proteins are worse than others. One amino acid in particular, leucine, exerts “the greatest effect” on TOR.[ix] In fact, just cutting down on leucine may be “nearly as effective” as cutting down on all protein.[x] So, where is leucine found? It is predominantly found in animal foods: eggs, dairy, and meat, including chicken and fish, whereas plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans, have much less.[xi] “In general, lower leucine levels are only reached by restriction of animal proteins.” To reach the leucine intake provided by dairy or meat, you’d have to eat nine pounds of cabbage—that’s four big heads—or 100 apples. “These calculations exemplify the extreme differences in leucine amounts provided by [a more standard diet] in comparison to a [plant-based] diet.” [xii]

So, reducing animal protein is key to improving longevity. This may also help explain the longevity of long-lived populations like the Okinawa Japanese, who have half our mortality rate.[xiii] The traditional Okinawan diet was less than 10% protein and had practically no cholesterol because they ate almost entirely whole plant food, over 96%. Only one percent of their diet was fish, meat, eggs, and dairy-less than one percent—the equivalent of one serving of meat a month, one egg every two months.[xiv] Their longevity is surpassed only by vegetarian Adventists in Loma Linda, California, “giving (vegetarian Adventists) perhaps the highest life expectancy of any formerly described population in history.”[xv]  Now, we may be a little closer to answering the mystery as to why populations eating plant-based diets live the longest.

In summary, daily physical exercise and plant proteins, with their reduced leucine, downregulate two major drivers of aging, TOR and insulin-like growth factor one (IGF-1). All the above science simply endorses the following words, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food”[xvi], “you shall eat the herb (vegetables) of the field”[xvii], and “by the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made.[xviii] Truly, the Author of Scripture is the Author of science!

To make the journey of adopting a healthy lifestyle as painless and enjoyable as possible, Rocky Mountain Lifestyle Center is here for you. Call (303) 282-3676 any time to schedule a free discovery conversation with our physician who is board-certified in family medicine and lifestyle medicine.

— Tim Arnott M.D. is a Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine physician and is the medical director of Rocky Mountain Lifestyle Center; photo by Pexels

[i] Nutr J. 2010; 9: 3.

[ii] Indian J Plast Surg. 2008 Oct; 41(Suppl): S130–S133.

[iii] Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(2):217-20.

[iv] Transplant Proc. 2008 Dec;40(10 Suppl):S5-8.

[v] Biochem J. 2013 Jan 1;449(1):1-10.

[vi] Aging Cell. 2012 Jun;11(3):401-9.

[vii] Aging (Albany NY). 2009 Oct; 1(10): 875–880.

[viii] Science. 2010 Apr 16;328(5976):321-6.

[ix] Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2012 Aug;23(6):621-5.

[x] Trends Cell Biol. 2009 Jun;19(6):260-7.

[xi] https://nutritionfacts.org/video/caloric-restriction-vs-animal-protein-restriction/

[xii] World J Diabetes. 2012 Mar 15;3(3):38-53.

[xiii] Immun Ageing. 2012 Apr 23;9:9.

[xiv] J Am Coll Nutr. 2009 Aug;28 Suppl:500S-516S.

[xv] Arch Intern Med. 2001 Jul 9;161(13):1645-52.

[xvi] Genesis 1:29. Holy Bible, New Living Translation, ©2015 by Tyndale House Publishers.

[xvii] Genesis 3:18. The Holy Bible, New King James Version, © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc: Nashville, TN.

[xviii] Genesis 3:19. Holy Bible, New Living Translation, ©2015 by Tyndale House Publishers.

25 Jan

Campion Student uses new-found confidence in witnessing

By Campion Academy News – Loveland, Colorado … During winter break, Damaris, Campion student, was traveling back to Colorado with her family who made a short stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which had an unexpected consequence.

“We stopped at a Denny’s to get food. While we were waiting, I saw a homeless man asking for money,” remembers Damaris. Since she had spent the previous semester working as part of the literature ministries team at Campion Academy, she had gained confidence in talking to strangers about God.

“I remembered that my mom had the book “Happiness for Life” in the car, so I put money into it and gave him the book,” explained Damaris.

He said, “Thank you, but I don’t believe in God anymore,” not accepting the book.

Damaris asked, “If you don’t mind me asking, why don’t you believe in God anymore?”

The man responded, “Because my family told me that God did not exist.” He continued, “Do you believe in God?”

Damaris explained that she did.

He then asked, “Is it because your parents make you go to church, or do you go by choice?”

Damaris responded, “I go to church, and I believe in God because I always feel loved and always seem to be happier.”

She offered the book again, and this time the man welcomed it.

He asked if she knew of any churches nearby. Damaris took out her phone and searched for a nearby Seventh-day Adventist church, and she found one nearby. They parted ways, and as she went to eat with her family, Damaris prayed for the man to find a path to God.

When they had finished their meal, Damaris saw the man on her way out of the restaurant. He called out to her and said, “Thank you!”

Damaris asked, “For what?”

The man explained that while she was eating, he had gone to the church and spoken with the pastor there, and he had decided to attend Bible studies at that church.

Damaris reflected on the experience, “I felt amazing like something had just lit me up with joy. It felt so good to know that something so small that I had done had brought someone one step closer to God.”

–Campion News Team; photo supplied

25 Jan


RMCNews with Bob Reynolds – Denver, Colorado … Cowboys and cowgirls were welcomed at True Life Community Adventist Church on January 8 as the church celebrated its annual Western Sabbath.

The event, one that many members anticipate, coincides with the Western Stock Show, which takes place every year in Denver. The day is a chance to dress in appropriate outerwear that cowboys and cowgirls wore in the day. Members brought out their best country-western boots, shirts, blouses, skirts, jeans, and ties to liven up the ambiance and add color to the event.

Bob Reynolds, pastor of True Life Church, explains how Denver is connected to its Western heritage. “We try to emphasize the fact that Denver, and Colorado in general, was founded with the discovery of gold and silver. Denver has a rich history of country-western men, women, and incidents since its founding in 1858.”

One highlight that sets the Sabbath apart is that Reynolds and the TLC music coordinator, Jane Campbell, have included gospel music that fits the country-western theme for the event.

Reynolds presented a message about Denver and its colorful history. Reflecting on the history, he said, “Did you know, for instance, that downtown Denver was destroyed by fire in 1863, or that a grasshopper infestation occurred in 1875? Or that Denver was named after James Denver, the governor of the Kansas Territory, who had already resigned as governor?  Denver could have been named after the succeeding governor, whose name was Samuel Medary. Our city could well have been called “Medary, Colorado!”

Reynolds adds that Denver also became a hub for many miners who traveled further into the mountains. Denver is also known for some colorful characters like Molly Brown, Dr. Justina Ford, and Mary Elitch.

Reynolds explains that the day was special, saying “We always enjoy talking about the wild west and the part Denver played in some of those Wild West Days.”

–RMCNews with Bob Reynolds, pastor at True Life Community Adventist Church; photos supplied

24 Jan

Mental Health in Black Communities

By Advent Health — The stigma that still surrounds mental health conditions prevents many individuals from seeking help when they need it most. When one is part of a minority group, those stigmas can be even more difficult to overcome.

We’re here to help break those barriers and talk about how our Black communities in particular are affected when it comes to mental health conditions and stereotypes. Help is around the corner and should be sought out whether the condition is mental or physical. Body, mind and spirit work together to form our whole health. When one is suffering, the others are affected.

Challenges with Mental Health Care

Only one in three Black adults who need mental health care receive it. While they are more likely than Caucasian adult to report emotional distress, they report it more as physical symptoms such as back pain or headaches. They are less likely to receive consistent care, not frequently included in studies and are more likely to use emergency departments and primary care rather than going to a mental health specialist for help.

While primary care is a great place to start, it’s important to get specialized care when needed, and as soon as possible after the symptoms begin. Those who live below the poverty line are more than twice as likely to report severe emotional distress than those who are financially secure.

Barriers to Be Broken

Not only do Black Americans seek professional help less frequently, they are faced with barriers to it. Like other minorities, socioeconomic factors make treatment harder to come by with not as much access to important health and educational resources. This can lead to poorer mental health outcomes.

Since there are often untrue stereotypes about people who have mental health conditions, minorities may experience more anxiety about having a mental health condition, worrying they will be discriminated against for that reason. It makes it all the more difficult for our Black communities to discuss mental health.

It’s okay to have a mental health condition, discuss it and seek help for it.

Care You Can Trust Across Cultures

A person with mental health challenges needs consistent, quality care to get better. At AdventHealth, we provide world-class care to everyone and treat every patient with dignity. AdventHealth honor all cultures, respect all wishes and strive to meet all needs. AdventHealth builds trusting relationships between patients and providers and Extend the Healing Ministry of Christ to them and their families. If you’re suffering, visit here and reach out for care from the heart that you can trust. You are whole and deserve to feel well in body, mind, and spirit.

–Photo supplied

This article was originally published on AdventHealth’s website

20 Jan


RMCNews – Louisville, Colorado … Just three short weeks after the Marshall fire came within four feet of Avista Adventist Hospital’s oxygen tanks and covered everything inside with a thick layer of soot and ashes, the hospital reopened to serve the communities of Louisville and Superior.

Teams of professional cleaners scrubbed the hospital as maintenance workers replaced HVAC systems and air filters throughout the building. Areas were cleaned and sanitized multiple times before clearance was given that the hospital was ready to resume its mission of “extending the healing ministry of Christ by caring for those who are ill and by nurturing the health of the people in our communities.”

When Avista Adventist Hospital reopened on January 18, Colorado Governor Polis toured the site and thanked the associates for the bravery and hard work in reopening so quickly.

In an interview with radio station KOA, broadcasting live from Avista Adventist Hospital, Polis said, “It is great to see them bouncing back and reopening only three weeks after the fire when they evacuated the entire facility in just two hours.  It is actually quite remarkable.”

As the hospital reopened, associates and local pastors gathered in the lobby to pray a prayer of thanksgiving and dedication as they resumed their life-saving work.

Geoff Patterson, senior pastor at Boulder Adventist Church, explained why it was vital to be at the dedication to show support to the community. “The workers are so heroic in what they did on the day of the fire bringing everyone out of here safely, and their commitment shows that this is more than a job to them. Secondly, there is a history with the Boulder church and this institution that originally was part of what was behind the church. The health ministry built [the foundation of] what the Boulder church is to this day.”

The short service, held in the main lobby, began with chaplain Johnnathan Ward thanking the associates for their hard work to make reopening a possibility and thanked the local area pastors for being present for the associates as they navigated this disaster together.

The short ceremony also featured hospital CEO Isaac Sendros reading a poem from an associate who lost everything in the fire. In his letter to associates on January 17, Sendros said that the new city manager of Louisville had one word when he asked him what Avista could do for the city. The city manager said, “Reopen!  Avista is a pillar of hope in this community, and the fact that you are reopening as quickly as you are is sending a clear message to this community that the recovery and healing process is one step closer.”

Reflecting on having the associates back in the building, Sendros said, “It is so good to see everyone home. We’ve missed them!  A lot of people have been here working, but we are excited to have them back and our patients back.”

–RMCNews; photos courtesy of Avista Adventist Hospital and Jon Roberts

20 Jan

Special General Conference Session Delegates Approve Constitutional Amendment

By Adventist Review, and Adventist News Network — Silver Spring, Maryland … Delegates to a Special General Conference (GC) Session voted to allow the inclusion of a new section to Article V of the GC Constitution that will allow delegates to participate by digital means in a future GC Session in the event that unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances arise. The unanimous vote took place during a one-day, one-item session at the Adventist Church’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, on January 18, 2022.

The GC Constitution amendment vote would allow delegates to participate in the upcoming GC Session to take place June 6-11, 2022, even if they could not physically travel to the venue in St. Louis, Missouri, United States, because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, church leaders said.

Due to current COVID-19 travel restrictions, the delegates for the special January 18 Session were chosen using primarily individuals who currently work at the GC headquarters in Silver Spring. These delegations were approved by each division and consequently voted by the General Conference Executive Committee on September 16, 2021.

The recommended amendment, voted by the GC Session delegates, reads as follows:

Article V. Sec. 4. Generally, regular or specially called General Conference Sessions are to be held in person and onsite. However, delegates when requested by the General Conference Executive Committee may participate by means of an electronic conference or similar communications by which all persons participating can hear each other at the same time, and participation by such means shall constitute presence in person and attendance at such a meeting. Votes cast remotely shall have the same validity as if the delegates met and voted onsite.

The GC Executive Committee (EXCOM) would still have to make a decision at the appropriate time based on the current circumstances whether the GC Session would be held virtually, in person, or as a hybrid of the two.

Background to the Vote

The January 18 Special GC Session had been voted on April 13, 2021, by the members of the GC EXCOM. It was at that time that the January 18 date and the venue at the church’s headquarters were selected.

At the time, Adventist Church undersecretary Hensley Moorooven had detailed some of the factors considered in presenting this proposal. According to Moorooven, the GC Constitution stipulates that GC Sessions and all voting must take place in-person and onsite. Additionally, Article V, Section 1 of the constitution states that postponing a GC Session should not “exceed two years” beyond a regularly scheduled date. The possibility of another delay because of the ongoing worldwide impact of the pandemic would put the General Conference out of compliance with its governing document. Moorooven then had explained that amendments to the GC Constitution and Bylaws can only be done by the delegates at a regular or special GC Session. All in all, Moorooven said, the church leaders’ proposal stays within the appropriate provision of the GC Constitution and Bylaws.

In 2020, a meeting of the GC EXCOM had already voted to propose an amendment to the GC Constitution that would allow for virtual participation when specifically requested by the Executive Committee.

Based on the authority granted to it in Article V of the Constitution to reduce the total number of delegates to a GC Session for reasons of a “major crisis within the Church or international arena,” GC EXCOM had also voted on April 13 to reduce the total number of regular and at-large delegates to the January Special GC Session to 400 people for this specific meeting. The allocated quota of delegates for the GC, 13 divisions, and two attached unions was approved as well. The motion included a request that divisions unable to send their allotted quota of delegates due to travel restrictions or other reasons be allowed to reallocate their unused quota back to the GC. The GC Administrative Committee then designated these positions to individuals currently working at the GC headquarters, primarily from the divisions which shared their quota.

Feedback from Delegates and Leaders

During the January 18 Session, and after GC secretary Erton Köhler read and moved the amendment to Article V of the GC Constitution, several delegates approached one of the two microphones placed in the auditorium to weigh in on the motion proposed.

Murray Carson, a delegate representing the South Pacific Division, commented that in general, he agreed with what was being proposed. “It’s good to be able to vote remotely,” he said. “What I would like to present is that the part that’s being [changed] is fairly straightforward, fairly layman in nature. The part that we are inserting is more of a legalese.… I don’t particularly appreciate that…. [But] I think this is good for right now.”

GC education director Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, on the other hand, said she appreciated the solution found, given the circumstances. “Things are going to get worse as we get to the end of time. This allows us to stay organized as we move forward,” she said.

After the vote and on the sidelines of the January 18 Session, GC executive secretary Erton Köhler commented how he felt after the vote. “I was impressed by the strong support the delegates gave to the motion,” he said. “In situations like these, it is usual to get different opinions, but we received just a few observations. This shows to me that the church is united for mission.”

Köhler explained that the issue at hand was rather technical, unrelated to doctrinal or philosophical issues. “Still, it was important to approve it; otherwise, the work of the church may be hindered,” he said. “From the unanimous vote it was clear that delegates want the church to move forward.”

According to him, the vote also showed that the Adventist Church understands the times it’s living in. “I saw in delegates a clear interest in adapting our structure and processes, in making adjustments that may help the church to streamline its operations,” Köhler said.

GC general counsel Karnik Doukmetzian also weighed in on the January 18 Special GC Session, explaining the importance of the vote taken. “The vote to amend was significant in that it makes provision for the future in case meetings of the General Conference Session cannot be held in person to allow for individuals to be ‘present,’” Doukmetzian said. “World conditions may not allow for delegates to travel to be present in person, and this provision allows those delegates to participate and represent their territories even if they cannot physically travel to the site of the session.”

Doukmetzian explained that worldwide representation is important for a GC Session. Accordingly, “this provision will allow this to occur regardless of conditions which would prohibit travel or attendance,” he said.

–Adventist Review, and Adventist News Network; photo supplied

This article was originally published on the Adventist Review website

20 Jan

RMC commits to further counseling services for students

By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado …The Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) administrative board recently voted to financially support continued access to Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) for students and staff at Campion Academy.

Over the past two weeks, LPCs Sandy Eickmann and Kathy Aiken have volunteered their services to meet the needs of students and staff processing the grief of losing their friend, Timothy. However, Campion’s administration has recognized that the need for counselors will continue, not only for the immediate crisis, but for the growing mental health challenges facing teens in recent years.

RMC Educational Superintendent Diane Harris explained that after the need was brought to the conference administrators, they were “100 percent in support of making sure that all Campion students and staff had access to LPC’s.”

RMC voted to provide up to 10 hours of counseling services for any student or staff for the duration of this school year. Campion Academy is actively seeking to contract with a Christian LPC to start working with students immediately.

Women’s head dean Molly Santana commented, “Counseling is something we have needed on campus for a long time, so it is definitely a positive that it will be continuing. We want our students to know that we understand that the past two years have been unprecedented, causing feelings and experiences that haven’t been easy to deal with. We want them to have the support they need.”

Campion Academy students are not immune to the mental health issues that have sky-rocketed in teens in recent years. In October of 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry released a joint statement declaring the mental health crisis affecting children and adolescents a “National State of Emergency.”* In their statement, they advocate for more attention and funding to meet mental health needs of youth.

“We are so grateful to the Rocky Mountain Conference for filling this need at Campion Academy,” comments Principal Donavan Reeder. “Adventist Education not only seeks to give students academic knowledge but provide support for whole-person health: spiritual, physical, intellectual and social-emotional. Access to counselors will provide an important tool for our school to support students’ positive social-emotional health.”

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


1 2 3