10 Jun

SADDLE UP FOR COWBOY CAMP MEETING

By RMCNews – Montrose, Colorado … Buckaroos! Cowboy camp meeting returns to the Uncompaghre National Forest near Silver Jack Reservoir, an hour outside of Montrose, Colorado, July 7 through 11, featuring a chance to reconnect with God while enjoying the mountains with family and friends.

Whether you arrive by horse, four-wheeler, or RV, you will instantly feel at peace in the surreal beauty that awaits and, yes, you will be unplugged from the world as the campground is located near the end of an hour-long drive on a well-maintained gravel road with no cell phone service or internet to distract you.

Refresh and reconnect with God as you enjoy seminars throughout the event featuring Dick Duerksen, Oregon Conference storycatcher and storyteller; and Nathan James, pastor of the Moab, Utah church.  Music for the gathering will be provided by Folk Mountain Gospel featuring Don and Donna Mohl.

Items to pack for the adventure include: housing (tent or camper and bedding); solar showers (no shower facilities exist at this campground, but porta potties will be available); drinking water (the nearest potable water is three miles away; food (personal meals for the week and something to share for potluck on Sabbath; camp chairs (everyone provides their own seating during tent meetings); appropriate attire (warm jackets/clothes for cool evenings and sun screen for warm, high-mountain days; it is not unusual to have rain); outdoor recreation Items (horses, ATVs, hiking boots, fishing gear, canoes, etc.

If you are bringing horses, keep in mind that you must provide a way to confine your animals, feed must be certified weed-free, and there is a creek and reservoir for water.

Also be prepared for high altitude as the campground is above 9000 feet.

Interested in more information please contact camp meeting coordinator Adam Smith by email [email protected] or visit https://cowboycampmeeting.org/

Saddle on up and enjoy a trip in time to an era where cowboys and cowgirls ruled the land.  Just remember when you arrive to greet each other with “Howdy, partner” and tip your hat.

–RMCNews; photos by Rajmund Dabrowski and Ed Barnett

10 Jun

FRANKTOWN YOUTH EXPLORE MOAB AND THE UTAH WILDERNESS

By RMCNews with Michael Luchak – Moab, Utah … Franktown church youth recently spent a weekend in the wilderness to reconnect with their Creator God and enjoy fellowship with each other.

According to Michael Luchak, associate pastor at Franktown, the trip was planned as part of the culture the church is aiming to create for their congregation. “At Franktown, we are trying to create a culture where fun, community, and spiritual growth can come together. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my weekend than rafting, rock climbing, and off roading with my youth group.”

After planning for their overnight trip to Moab which included rafting the river on Sabbath, they set off on their adventure, off-road vehicles filled with excited youth.

The group assembled under the stars for Friday worship with David Asscherick, pastor of Castle Rock church, before retiring to their tents and sleeping bags to enjoy an evening out in the middle of nowhere.

Sabbath morning found the youth rising early to make the rafting trek down the Colorado River to find a secluded peaceful spot to rest and spend time in God’s Word.  For the worship service one of the rafting guides used stories to illustrate ways God communicates with us. The favorite transportation mode down the river was a ten-person paddle board.

After spending the day on the Colorado River, it was time to explore the rocks and mountains by rock climbing and off roading.  As the sun began to set on their adventure-filled weekend, the happily exhausted youth were filled with memories of an exciting trip.

“Our physical and spiritual strength were renewed,” Luchak added.

RMCNews with Michael Luchak who is the associate pastor of Franktown chgurch; photos by Jamey Houghton

09 Jun

MHA BASEBALL EVENINGS STRIKE UP COMRADERY

By MHANews – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … The Mile High Academy sports fields came alive June 7 when third through fifth graders were joined by families and friends, to enjoy an evening of the national pastime, baseball.

The evening activities involved dads and moms helping coach students though drills while other parents watched and enjoyed the fellowship.

Among the parents enjoying the evening was Dana Tikker who originated the pick-up games, and who commented on the gathering, “Monday evening was a great kick off to the summer. I really enjoyed being outside with the kids playing baseball and catching up with the families and am looking forward to more time together.”

The kids were divided into groups to work through a series of catching, hitting and base-running drills.

The gathering was made sweeter by ice cream treats distributed by MHA teachers, Denae Yuros, Sherri Francis and Taryn Clark.

It was a win for all who gathered to enjoy the interactions between classmates, friends, and families, an enjoyable event in a year where nothing has seemed normal in any aspect of life.

The third through fifth-grade baseball pickup games will continue through August 9 every Monday evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. at MHA.

–MHANews; photos supplied

08 Jun

LITTLETON CHURCH KICKS OFF YOUTH-FILLED SUMMER

By Jon Roberts – Littleton, Colorado … The RMC priority of engaging youth and young adults is more than just a catch phrase at Littleton church; it is a way of life for the multi-generational congregation.

With more than 60% percent of the church family budget going to support Mile High Academy, the church is actively involved in engaging youth and young adults during the school year.

For Alise Weber, children’s and families pastor at Littleton, the summer filled with youth events, was the only choice. “With the world opening back up, there are youth and young adults that we are seeing at church once again. I feel like this summer is a unique opportunity to re-engage, reinvest, and recommit to this special group. For those that haven’t been able to attend church services or special events, we want to let them know that they have been missed and we are here for them.”

The first gathering of the summer occurred on June 4–less than two weeks from when school let out–with a Friday Vespers at Chatfield Lake where High schoolers enjoyed an evening of swimming, water sports, food, fellowship, and worship. The weekend wouldn’t be complete without an event for the Middle schoolers, who on Sunday evening enjoyed an evening of bowling competing against Chris Morris, Littleton’s associate pastor, at Bowlero in Lone Tree.

The gatherings over the weekend were attended by individuals who don’t normally attend church events when they are offered or who are not actively involved with their schools.

The rest of the summer includes baptismal classes beginning on June 9, Vacation Bible School planned for early August, vespers throughout the summer on various weekends, and many more events.

The church is also planning an event for the entire multi-generational family, a night of joy on June 12, which will not only be a chance to fellowship with games and root beer floats, but also enjoy Hebrew dancing, and the evening will conclude with a movie to finish the current sermon series on Joseph.

Rajmund Dabrowski, RMC communication director, appreciated hearing about churches in the Conference leaving zooming events behind. He remarked that “it is great to see churches recognize what has been lost over the past year, the human interactions, hugging, hand shaking, smiling without masks. This is vital to the existence of the church. It seems we have zoomed ourselves to near death.”

Littleton congregation continues a vision of building a healthy multi-generational church while engaging youth and young adults in the church family and supporting Adventist education.

–Jon Roberts is RMC communication/media assistant; photo supplied

08 Jun

COLORADO NORTHEASTERN CAMP MEETING FOCUSES ON HOPE

RMCNews … Loveland, Colorado – A refresher on the meaning of hope was the main feature of Colorado’s Northeastern 2021 Camp Meeting, June 5-6. Karl Haffner, Vice President for Student Experience at Loma Linda University, was the speaker and the “author of a bunch of good books,” as the event’s program describes.

Haffner parsed the weekend’s theme of “We Have This Hope,” intro three topics dealing with the seasons of salvation, Scripture, which allows us to encounter the living God, and a chief topic of Adventism’s mission, the Second Coming of Christ.

Haffner is known for telling stories. “He told us stories which touch the heart,” commented Ed Barnett, Rocky Mountain Conference president for whom attending the 2021 series of camp meetings will likely be his last as he is retiring in August after seven years of leadership ministry in Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. He will take with him memories of “meeting fellow believers from 17 congregations again and again and seeing how they have been soaking in the Word. It was exciting time to see everybody,” he said.

For Haffner, being invited to this meeting was “nourishing for one’s soul, not only in coming to Colorado, but also coming to a camp meeting he has not attended in two years,” he remarked. Known for inspiring stories he told NewsNuggets that “there are not enough good stories, and I run out [of them] all the time.” The Sabbath morning sermon featured Scripture with Haffner illustrating his spiritual journey from four different family Bibles–his grandmother’s, father’s, his daughter’s, and his own. “The pages are worn out as they were so often read and studied,” he said. “Read your Bible daily,” he admonished the congregation.

The 2021 Camp Meeting weekend was attended by a somewhat smaller group of church members as the one before the the pandemic hit the world. But you could see smiling faces, people enjoying meeting their friends whom they have missed seeing and hugging for nearly two years.

“I enjoyed Haffner’s messages, especially the one on the Bible. It was powerful and inspiring,” said Don Lopes, pastor of the Northeastern district. He added that “it was so good to be together. We will continue to build up [the event] again next year.”

A similar thought was expressed by Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director. “It was great being back together again,” he commented “I am glad the area pastors didn’t give up on making this happen. It definitely was a tremendous blessing for all those who were able to attend.”

With good church music, inspiring messages, meeting friends, the NE Camp Meeting is back!

–RMCNews; photos by Joyelle Worley

07 Jun

Connect Your Church to the Community for Effective Ministry

By Jerome Hurst Collaboration is not just a buzzword these days. It is a necessity for successful ministry in today’s world. We live in a world with many challenges, a world in which everyone is looking to see how the church will respond. The truth is, community problems and issues are far too complex for any church, agency, or organization to tackle. It is imperative that the church partner with others in bringing solutions to the issues faced in the communities we serve. “Collaboration is the key that reduces the duplication of our efforts, maximizes the impact of our ministries, and strengthens the credibility of our witness for Christ.”1

The challenge, of course, is not that people are opposed to partnership in principle. Few people we have ever met would say that Christians should not work together. The messages of the Scriptures in support of practical collaboration are clear. Following is just a few:

First Corinthians 12:12, 13: “For example, the body is one unit and yet has many parts. As all the parts form one body, so it is with Christ. By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Whether we are Jewish or Greek, slave or free, God gave all of us one Spirit to drink” (GW).

Proverbs 27:17: “As one piece of iron sharpens another, so friends keep each other sharp” (ERV).

Hebrews 10:24, 25: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (ESV).

Ecclesiastes 4:9: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil” (ESV).

The real challenge is the gap between the stated values and the actual practice of Christian organizations. Unfortunately, many believe that interaction betrays their own biblical distinctiveness. I regret that more than a few of my fellow Seventh-day Adventists fall into that exclusivist mindset.

Invariably, [we] quote Ellen G. White in holding [ourselves] aloof from fellowship with the larger Christian community. It’s true that Ellen White initially was a separatist who shared the “shut door” mentality of ex-Millerite Sabbatarians. But as she matured in her theology over the years, she extended herself into connectivity with the wider Christian community.

For example, in the 1880s, Ellen White joined forces with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, a group of Protestant prohibitionists. She spoke at their rallies and even recommended that some of our best Adventist talent should work for that organization.2

She gave this additional counsel: “The Lord has His representatives in all the churches.”3 “We should unite with other people just as far as we can and not sacrifice principle.”4

“It should ever be manifest that we are reformers, but not bigots. When our laborers enter a new field, they should seek to become acquainted with the pastors of the several churches in the place. Much has been lost by neglecting to do this. If our ministers show themselves friendly and sociable . . . , it will have an excellent effect, and may give these pastors and their congregations favorable impressions of the truth.”5

“Light has been given to me that there are those with most precious talents and capabilities in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union [W.C.T.U.]. Much time and money have been absorbed among us in ways that bring no returns. Instead of this, some of our best talent should be set at work for the W.C.T.U., not as evangelists, but as those who fully appreciate the good that has been done by this body. We should seek to gain the confidence of the workers in the W.C.T.U. by harmonizing with them as far as possible.”6

I believe that the main reason we have experienced this gap between stated values and actual practice is that most Christian leaders simply do not have the hands-on skills to collaborate. In the remainder of this chapter, I will share, from my personal experience, some tools and techniques that I have used.

Before meeting with those outside our organization, there must be an understanding of self by both the leader and the church. Each leader must confirm God’s calling upon his or her life and on the ministry of the church. In order to reach our community, we, as leaders and church, must love the community. We can never reach a community that we do not love. We will never reach people whom we are unwilling to love. We must see those in the community as people whom God loves, and whom Jesus died for, not merely as potential members of our church.

Find your community’s needs

After looking at the leader and the church, consider the needs of your city and community. Some needs in your city might be obvious, such as a newspaper headline that shouts, “Local Stabbing Connected to City’s Gang Growth.” Some needs in your community may only be a whisper, such as staggering numbers of infant mortality or children suffering from lead paint poisoning. In order to connect with the community, the church members must know the community you want to help and the people groups you need to serve.

You can find information about your community by reviewing the statistical data available at the official US Census website, factfinder.census.gov. This website is filled with various levels of reports. You will find more than population data. There is information about social, economic, and housing characteristics. You can also discover data about how many people are out of work due to disability, how many are divorced, or how many people live below the poverty level, and much more. This information will assist you in the development of your outreach ministry.

Beyond the statistical data, I recommend you speak with individuals who live in the community. Be intentional about taking the time to get to know and understand the community and the people whom you are called to reach. There are simple ways to do this:

• Porch talks. Go house to house in the community and talk with the residents. You can use a survey to direct the conversation.

• Block associations or street clubs. Some communities have groups of people that meet regularly to discuss issues and solutions that pertain specifically to their locale. A representative from the church should hold membership and attend those meetings, and the church could host meetings.

• Community hot spots. Go to the places where people from the community hang out, such as barber and beauty shops, coffee shops, parks, fast-food restaurants, or diners. Just start hanging out with the people and get to know them.

 –Jerome Hurst is the senior pastor of the Ethnan Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, and the Community Service and Public Affairs and Religious Liberties director for the Allegheny West Conference; photo supplied.

This article is an excerpt from the newly available book Multiply.

This article was originally published on the NAD Ministerial website.

03 Jun

CAMPION ACADEMY CELEBRATES CLASS OF 2021

By Jill Harlow – Loveland, Colorado …At a three-day event, Campion Academy’s graduating class of 2021 celebrated their accomplishment of thriving through it all after more than a year of masking, social distancing, and switching between in-person and online classes. While attendance was limited and by-invitation only, the 29 graduates were able to continue Campion’s traditions of the tribute, Baccalaureate, class night, and Commencement in the gymnasium with a crowd of family and friends.

In a speech addressed to her classmates, class president and student chaplain Milka Mendonza-Sanchez stated, “We have all had rough patches in our personal lives, and this year may not have been our ideal senior year, but I know that on this campus we’ve been able to grow spiritually, and together we’ve learned how to keep going through the difficulties of life.”

Donavan Reeder, Campion Academy principal, commended the class as well, remarking, “I’m so proud of our students this year at Campion Academy. We threw them curve-balls left and right, and they were able to handle every pitch.”

A historically small class throughout their four years at Campion, the class of 2021 was known for their closeness, diversity, and spirituality. Mendoza-Sanchez, Class of 2021 alumni explained, “Our class is small, but I know that I can take any one of you aside and say ‘Hey, I’d like to pray with you,’ or ‘I need prayer today’ and it will happen.”

With more than half the graduates able to speak a language other than English, it was unique to hear five different languages during the Friday evening parent tribute. The class includes six international students from Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and many others from Spanish, Indonesian, and Tagalog-speaking families.

Carlos Santana, husband to head dean of women Molly Santana, and speaker for the Commencement service, explained to the students and those gathered that “this class is special; it really is. No matter what field you are going into, the class of 2021 is a class full of ministers; you are going to do beautiful, wonderful things for the glory of God.”

During Commencement, representatives from Union College presented the graduates with a total of $576,000 in scholarships. The highest award, the Presidential Scholarship, valued at $46,000, was awarded to both Tiffany Dien and Samantha Hodges.

While it poured rain outside, the ceremony was capped-off with an indoor reception filled with joyous tears, celebratory hugs, and many photos.

–Jill Harlow is communication director for Campion Academy; photos supplied

03 Jun

GROWING A HEALTHY CHURCH IN CHEYENNE

By Paulette Yaple – Cheyenne, Wyoming … What are the characteristics of a healthy, growing church?

This is the question Cheyenne church members have been asking over the last few months as they have been examining ways to engage in the RMC priority of “growing healthy churches.”

According to NADEI (North American Division Evangelism Institute) the aspects of a healthy church are effective structures, empowering leadership, gift-oriented ministry, holistic small groups, inspiring worship, loving relationships, need-oriented evangelism, and passionate spirituality.

The first step for the Cheyenne church was to identify the areas that needed to improve.  To accomplish this, Bill Nixon, pastor of Cheyenne church and 29 members took the NADEI Natural Church Development Survey.  After filling out the survey, the leadership team at Cheyenne formed an assessment committee to evaluate the results and shared them with church membership. The lowest score–empowering leadership–will be focused on first.

The next step was to conduct a focus group session with church members who were asked to write three reasons the church scored low in empowering leadership. The members chose a category or cluster to place it under: participation, training, relational cooperation, support, spiritual gifts, outreach, conflict resolution, administration, accountability, communication and legalism.

In the next few weeks, the assessment committee will evaluate the responses and determine “smart objectives” to establish measurable goals. The results, including the list of goals, will be shared and every member can choose one of three areas they wish to focus on. There will be two more meetings during the year to provide updates and address issues. After one year, the church will take the survey again to see if they have improved in empowering leadership. Then they will tackle the next weakest area.

This program gives numerical values of the church’s status illustrating areas where improvement can be made with church input and support. The NADEI program is a thorough, well-structured program according to a committee member. Another individual, commenting on the program said, if followed, it will help the church become a healthy, growing church.

If you are interested in using the Natural Church Development program in your church, you can contact NADEI at (269) 471-8303.

— Paulette Yaple is the communication director for the Cheyenne church; photo supplied

01 Jun

VOLUNTEERS READY GVR FOR SUMMER CAMP 2021

RMCNews – Ward, Colorado … Volunteers from the Campion church spent Memorial Day assisting Glacier View Ranch in building 19 picnic tables to use during the upcoming summer camp.

The picnic tables, a new addition to GVR, will meet the restrictions still in place due to the pandemic for summer camp programs in the State of Colorado.

Dan Hansen, RMC camp ministries director was thankful for the extra help. “We couldn’t have done this without these wonderful people and we are so grateful for their love of the Lord and Glacier View Ranch. Thank you so much.”

Parent, Andrea Vinci Rogers commented on the volunteers’ willingness to serve, “My child can’t wait for camp! Thanks so much.”

The team from Campion included Kent Kast, Jamie Autrey, Neil and Naomi Sigler, and Bob and Kathy Aitken.

The newly-built tables will be used by cohorts to maintain the required social distancing for the time being and in the future “we will always continue to use them (weather permitting) because it gets everyone outside more for meals and really captures the beauty of camp in the Rocky Mountains,” according to Jessyka Dooley, assistant youth director.

Summer camp at Glacier View Ranch begins on June 20.

–RMCNews; photos courtesy of Glacier View Ranch Facebook page.

01 Jun

Helping Your Child Navigate Unhealthy Relationships

By AdventHealth — Growing up is hard. Most everyone who has been through adolescence would agree that being a teenager has its ups and downs. When we look at the mental health of our kids, their friendships and relationships play important roles. Unhealthy friendships can lower your child’s self-esteem, cause irrational behaviors and lead to misunderstandings, but they can also be learning opportunities when handled appropriately.

With this in mind, we asked Dr. Elizondo Vega , our adolescent medicine physician, to explain what parents can be on the lookout for when it comes to who their children are spending time with — both in person and online.

Is there a pattern when it comes to where unhealthy relationships are forming?

“The newest pattern that we are seeing is that of online friendships. Technology has been such as blessing, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, for allowing teens to stay connected.  Healthy friendships can be maintained by technology, particularly when using real-time face-to-face communication platforms, like FaceTime,” Dr. Elizondo Vega explains.

However, some teens are gravitating towards various messaging apps, usually because of a common interest such as art or video games, where they ultimately end up networking with strangers.

“Parents can try to facilitate opportunities for their kids to connect with peers in the local community through school, sports, religious organizations or other youth development activities to possibly avert some of the potential negative consequences associated with online relationships.”

Parents can also try to limit screen time and their child’s phone use. What works for one family may not work for another, but setting a cutoff time for electronics could be a good place to start, such as no phones or computers/tablets after 8 pm. It’s also important to keep tabs on what your child has access to online. For the appropriate age groups, parental control features on smart phone apps may come in handy.

What warning signs of an unhealthy relationship should parents be watching for?

“One red flag that a relationship may be unhealthy is if your child’s friend is too controlling, not allowing your child to befriend others and monopolizing your child’s time.”

While it is normal, particularly for younger adolescents, to have someone they call a “best” friend, it is still important that each child in the relationship have the freedom to spend time with others and pursue their own interests, as well as the opportunity to spend time alone or with family.

“Other red flags that your child may be in an unhealthy relationship might include peers using your child for their own benefit (invitations, tickets, popularity) or regularly making fun of or criticizing your child.”

With romantic relationships, what warning signs should parents be watching for?

“In romantic relationships, it is also critical to ensure that the significant other is not attempting to monopolize your teen’s time. While the two may be ‘head over heels’ for one another and want to spend a lot of time together, a romantic partner that gets angry if your teen spends time with others or exhibits jealousy regularly are likely signs of an unhealthy romantic relationship.”

Similarly, if your teen’s significant other is monitoring your teen’s phone activity or whereabouts constantly, this may be a sign of an unhealthy relationship that could even lead to intimate partner violence.

“Another general good rule of thumb is to ensure that your teen only dates others who are very close in age, perhaps within a one-to-two-year age difference, at most. There are just too many developmental differences between an early adolescent and a late adolescent that could result in misunderstanding, undue pressure or power differentials.”

There’s more information about promoting healthy teen relationships provided here by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In what ways can negative relationships impact a child’s mental health?

“Unhealthy relationships can lead to a lot of self-doubt but can also be opportunities for growth. These are the sorts of life stressors that help children learn to set their own standards for self-worth, as opposed to allowing themselves to be defined by others.”

“Regular communication and oversight by parents and other trusted adults can help ensure that children and teens navigate the complexities of unhealthy relationships safely while learning from the experiences. While each person needs to protect themselves from the emotional fallout of unhealthy relationships, these sorts of life experiences are also opportunities to practice grace, compassion and forgiveness.”

Keep the door of communication open so your child feels comfortable sharing with you, whether it’s something positive or not. Remember to ask questions about friends, their plans, who they will be with, etc. Depending on your child’s age, you could ask them to text or call you when they get to their destination, notify you if plans change, and set a curfew.

While some relationships need to be severed for the physical and/or emotional safety of a child or teen, sometimes relationships can be repaired by learning to see things from someone else’s perspective, giving people a second chance, having open communication and realizing that someone who is being hurtful may be going through something themselves.

Getting to know your child’s friends and who they spend time with can help you to stay aware of their surroundings. “One of the best things you can do to understand and support your child’s friendships is to connect with the parents of their friends. This way, you can all feel more comfortable knowing who they are spending their time with.”

Support for Your Child

At AdventHealth for Children, we’re here to support you and your family through every stage of your child’s life. For mental health resources, visit RaceForMentalHealth.com. To learn more about the services we offer, please visit AdventHealth for Children.

–photo supplied

This article was originally published on AdventHealth website