27 May


By RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … In an email to conference employees on May 25, George Crumley, vice president of finance, announced that he will transition to serve as vice president of finance for the Kentucky–Tennessee Conference. Crumley’s final day will be June 30.

Reflecting on the nine years of service to RMC, Crumley wants to be remembered as a man of Integrity. “I want to be remembered as a person who was approachable and cared about the advancement of the gospel and being a good steward of the funds entrusted to the conference.”

Ed Barnett, RMC President echoed Crumley’s desires in his own remarks. “It has been an honor to work with George Crumley over the last seven years. He is a man of integrity and has helped the Rocky Mountain Conference to achieve a healthy financial position. He understands mission and the importance of Christian education and will be sorely missed, but I know God will help our Conference find the right person to replace George. So, as we are looking to replace several people in our office, I pray that each of you will make this a priority in your prayer lives. I am so glad God is in charge of His work.”

Remarking on the decision to accept the call to the KY-TN Conference Crumley stated that it was not easy for him and his wife, Rhonda. “This has been a hard decision, but we felt that the Lord was leading us back out east at this stage in our lives.”

The unexpected news has been tough for conference treasury department staff to absorb.

“While I’m understanding the reason behind the move and happy for George and his family, I’m very sad to see him go. I have felt nothing but consistent support and encouragement from George. He has been one of my mentors here in RMC. Recently, George asked me if I’d consider making the transition from youth director to corporate treasurer, not only because George believes in me, but he took time to get to know me. I’ll miss George’s steady, caring, affirming, and strong leadership in the RMC,” Kiefer Dooley, RMC corporate treasurer said.

Others who have worked closely with Crumley over the years will remember his passion for ministry.

“I have had the privilege of working with George in two conferences, Indiana and Rocky Mountain. I have always found George to be an incredible steward of God’s treasures, and he truly has the heart of a pastor. He supports Adventist education and evangelism, and as a pastor, I can say he has never said no when I have come with a request. We may have had to adjust a little, but he always looks for ways to help us. George and Rhonda are truly faithful servants of God,” Wayne Morrison, Brighton church pastor, said.

Crumley has a deep commitment to Adventist education and our two academies, Campion and Mile High Academy.

“George has been my biggest cheerleader from the day I started. He has taught me so much and given me the tools I needed to be successful in my job and has been so supportive of me and Mile High Academy and always wants to see the best for us. I am going to miss having him a phone call away to help with whatever challenge I am facing,” Jocelyn Aalborg, vice president of finance and development at Mile High Academy, said.

“While personally disappointed that I will be losing the great working relationship that I have with George and his leadership in RMC, I am happy and excited for him on a personal level! George has a peaceful and calming effect on everyone he touches, and I have appreciated ever so much his support of Campion Academy and Christian education,” Dean Helm, vice president of finance for Campion Academy, said.

Because of Crumley’s expertise in handling RMC finances and the faithfulness of members, he will be leaving the conference with a positive financial outlook.

Crumley’s final desire for RMC members is “for us all to know and experience Christ as a personal Savior who loves us and wants us to live with Him for eternity.”

–RMCNews; photo by Rajmund Dabrowski

27 May


By Jon Roberts – Cañon City, Colorado … Before friends, extended church family, co-workers, and invited guests, John Davidson, pastor of Cañon City church district, was ordained to the gospel ministry on May 22.

Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, addressing the large crowd which had gathered to witness and support Davidson in this important ministry milestone remarked that it was a miracle Davidson was able to be there. Mallory went on to explain that just a few weeks ago, holding the service seemed impossible when Davidson’s health took a sharp decline and he was anointed.

Davidson met Karen, his partner in ministry, while attending Andrews University in 1982.  After owning and operating two businesses and being a parent to two children, Codi and John, God called them into ministry in 2006.

“In the fall of 2006, our church held a Revelation seminar. They began at a neutral location where I was involved with information and security. When the seminar transitioned to the church and I was not needed at the entrance, I was able to take part in the remainder of the seminar. As I sat and listened evening after evening, I can remember saying to myself, and to God, “I can do more.” I believe this was the Holy Spirit talking to me and calling me to be a laborer for Him. The Lord was changing me and transforming me into being willing to be used by Him. Would I be willing to go if asked? Yes! If was asked to go speak, I would go. If I was asked to help, I would help.”

Remarking on Davidson’s work, Tina Pearsall, Cañon City Adventist Community Services assistant, simply stated, “He has done everything we needed.”

Pearsall related an incident which she had witnessed a few days earlier as Davidson returned to the campus after an absence due to his medical condition. “He was here for the school bonfire awards night and the children saw him and started screaming, ‘Pastor John!”’ They came running over to him, but stayed six feet away to ensure he didn’t get sick anymore.  We’re waiting impatiently for him to come back full time.”

Louis Torres, assistant to the presidents for evangelism of AWR, explained the history of ordination and the great responsibility that comes with it during the ordination address.  He explained that being ordained was like a wedding.

Ed Barnett, RMC president, invited all the ordained and commissioned ministers in attendance to surround the Davidsons to not only support them in ordination, but to pray that physical healing occurs.

For Davidson, being ordained means, “being confirmed by your co-laborers in spreading the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” He added, “I never actually thought I would be ordained. The Lord was going to use me here and there and I was going to do what the Lord was asking me to do.  Ordination was never on my radar.  This was a surprise and it will be a blessing.”

Davidson says he is thankful to the leadership at the conference for recognizing his ministry. “I am thankful the Lord has opened the door for me to serve in the Rocky Mountain Conference. Thank you, RMC leadership, for the opportunity to labor with all of you in this conference, but most importantly, for Jesus.”

The service ended with Davidson and his wife kissing in response to the crowd shouting ‘Kiss her’, in reference to the wedding analogy.

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

27 May


By MHA News– Highlands Ranch, Colorado … “Some have a story; [but] we made history [as the] Class of 2021,” commented Casey Brady, Mile High Academy graduate, reflecting on the year they just experienced.

Everything looked almost normal in the Mile High Academy gymnasium on May 23 for the capstone event to celebrate the Class of 2021: rows of folding chairs, a balloon arch at the head of a raised walkway, tri-fold boards showing a pictorial history of each senior. But it was hard to not overlook the limited seating assigned to senior families, tickets required for entrance, and the occasional face mask.

The joy of the day, ending the year in an almost-normal-world, made it easy to overlook these inconveniences.

“After a hard and challenging year due to COVID, I was so grateful the kids were able to have their full four-day graduation! I think it was a perfect weekend to end their difficult senior year! Class of 2021, ‘Congratulations! We love you guys more than you know,’” Mara Espinosa, member of Denver South church and mother of a graduate said.

As the graduates marched in, the excitement was palpable. Although arrayed in the traditional caps and gowns, each student was able to personalize their look whether with a lei of money or flowers, a favorite saying on their mortarboard, medals or cords showing academic achievement, or a stole representing their origins. Arms were raised in exhilaration and feet danced for joy as the teenagers took that long-awaited march to their diplomas and the end of their high school career.

Over and over again, throughout the Commencement service, it was made clear that this was a tightly-knit class who genuinely cares about one another. They are also resilient–after this school year, they didn’t really have a choice.

Lisa Venteicher, upper school science teacher, class sponsor, and MHA’s 2021 Teacher of the Year shared, “This year was a challenging year for the seniors. They missed out on many traditional things that happen senior year, such as all of the school music and tournament trips that we go on. Through it all, this group of seniors has risen above the challenges to still be leaders on campus and to make the most of every opportunity. Because of the challenges this year’s seniors faced, they have become more resilient and flexible people.”

There was never any question this class would be celebrated, but with constantly changing COVID protocols, it was hard to plan ahead. “We did everything in our power to give these kids the most normal graduation that we could,” shared Brenda Rodie, vice principal of operations. “Thankfully, restrictions were loosened, and we were able to go ahead with the traditional ceremonies.”

–MHA News; photos by Amy Rasco and Jocelyn Aalborg

27 May


By RMCNews with Amy Croissant — Greeley, Colorado … Rod Bieber, member of Adventure Church in Greeley, is reaching farmers and ranchers on the radio with the message of hope in a 59-second spot called “Seedtime & Harvest”.

Bieber, involved in radio evangelism for more than 30 years, began this outreach out of his caring for the specific spiritual needs of isolated rural folk. He realized that the lifestyles of farmers and ranchers are much different and more independent than urban dwellers, which give them an opposite mindset.

With zero radio experience when he began his ministry, a friend of Bieber connected him with a local radio station owner in North Dakota where they were living at the time. Because of his lack of experience, the radio station owner suggested that Bieber record twenty, just-under-60-second-spots. Even though he had some doubts about his abilities, he completed this task and it became an instant success.

Over the years, Bieber has connected with many Adventist-owned radio stations as well as other Christian and public radio outlets, including Sirius XM radio. It’s estimated that 200,000 to 400,000 people listen on a regular basis.

To hear Bieber tune in Monday through Friday shortly before noon on Sirius XM channel 147.

–RMCNews with Amy Croissant; photo supplied

27 May


By Carol Silva – Loveland, Colorado … Following vespers on May 21, Campion Academy students participated in a Campion tradition called Friendship Commitment, also known as “Cry Night”. They gathered on Center Campus to talk with friends and apologize for misunderstandings, ending the year without grudges and in peace. It was also a chance to say goodbye to seniors and wish them luck in the next chapter of their lives.

At the event, Nancy Meszaros, chaplain, handed out white carnations to the students, which they could give to one another, symbolizing peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

“I didn’t even know I had anything to cry about until cry night came along,” Brianna Bell, Campion junior, said.

The atmosphere during the Friendship Commitment was filled with the joy of restarting friendships and an end to tension between some students. Dominick Maldonado, Campion senior, shared, “I really enjoy Cry Night because it happens at the end of the school year, and students have the chance to tie up loose ends and leave with a clean slate. You don’t want to end the school year with grudges, and [you] don’t want someone to hold a grudge against you. It is meaningful to a lot of people because you’re able to mend those relationships you once had.”

The event was filled with friends and teachers connecting and expressing how much they impacted each other’s lives personally and on the campus. Keziah Paduli, Campion sophomore, expressed, “Cry Night was honestly one of my favorite nights of this whole year. It started off really awkward and I didn’t know what to do or say to anyone. But I had talks with people that I didn’t even know I had tension with, and I’m thankful that I got the chance to clear the air. I also got to tell some people here at Campion how much I appreciate them and how much of an impact they have made on my life.”

At the end of the meeting, Meszaros led out in the most important part of the evening–a time for reconciliation with God.

Nelly Salinas, Campion senior, explained that the evening helped her recognize that she needed to reconnect with God; “I had been asking God for signs about my future, and when He would give them to me, I would brush them off and keep asking for something different. I had been ignoring Him and yet would complain of others ignoring me. I realized that I needed to sit down and pray alone, so I could stop ignoring Him.”

–Carol Silva is a Campion senior

25 May


By Amy Thompson – Denver, Colorado … Caregivers at Centura – Porter Adventist Hospital know that serving their communities goes far beyond treating patients who come to their facilities seeking care. Reaching out to connect with their patients, neighbors and communities and advocate for all aspects of their wellbeing—mind, body and spirit—is a vital part of delivering whole health care.

Located in Denver, Colorado, Porter Adventist serves a diverse range of communities, from affluent neighborhoods to underserved areas of the city in which crime, gang activity, substance abuse and domestic violence are common. Many in these communities’ struggle with hunger, unemployment, access to health care and access to behavioral health services. Recognizing the inherent worth of every life, Porter Adventist and local community partners advocate for the people of these communities and provide preventive services that address crucial issues at their roots.

“We are committed to identifying the immediate, actual needs of the people we serve and working together with others in our communities to make a real and lasting impact in those areas,” said Jim Feldbush, director of Mission Integration at Porter Adventist. “Working with the county health department, we have discovered that mental health and food security are two of the biggest needs in our communities, and we partner with local organizations who are the experts in meeting those needs to help them facilitate their work.”

Prevention and intervention

A long-standing partnership with Denver Inner City Parish (DCIP) has helped to provide for those in need for the past 60 years, including hunger relief, education and employment programming, senior care and spiritual support. Through his collaboration with DCIP, Feldbush forged a new partnership with Leo Alirez, a dynamic community leader who uses DCIP as home base for work that is transforming lives in the neighborhoods around Porter Adventist.

A former gang member, Alirez spent three years incarcerated, where he successfully completed a substance abuse rehabilitation program and vowed to start a new life. He now holds a bachelor’s degree in addictions, a Ph.D. in human services, is a Certified Addictions Counselor and licensed with the National Gang Crime Research Center. For the past three years, he has served on Denver’s Crime Prevention and Control Commission, working to prevent criminal behavior and leading a team that intervenes when violence erupts, connecting both victims and perpetrators with ongoing services and support.

At the core of Alirez’s life-changing work is Life-Line Colorado, a nonprofit he founded with the goal of assisting at-risk individuals in finding love, acceptance and safety. Life-Line Colorado provides a broad array of services to youth and adults, including counseling, mentoring, case management, substance abuse treatment, gang disengagement, life skills education and job readiness training. Many of Alirez’s caseworkers are themselves former gang members whom he has helped to change the path of their own lives, and they are now working to lead others down a similar path of healing and renewal.

Behavioral health has long been a priority for Porter Adventist, which offers both inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services. Efforts like those of Life-Line Colorado are a vital part of that work, helping build connections with community members Porter Adventist might not otherwise be able to reach and in many cases providing support before they reach a point of crisis.

“The children who live in these neighborhoods may go through more in a single day than many of us have to worry about in a lifetime, and there’s a direct connection between those stressors—childhood trauma, abuse, hunger, broken homes, losing a parent, being recruited into gangs—and mental health,” Feldbush said. “Our partnership with Leo helps relieve some of these stresses, teaches coping strategies and life skills to help break the cycle, and ultimately facilitates healing.”

For the past five years, Porter Adventist has collaborated with Life-Line Colorado to sustain these prevention and intervention efforts. This partnership has included simple events which, planned and timed strategically, can have a big impact. For example, all-night youth lock-ins featuring basketball tournaments and video games are held on dates like Halloween and New Year’s Eve, when gang activity is particularly high, and provide safety, community and a network of support including life skills education and leadership training for youth who are at high risk of being recruited by gangs. Similarly, a boxing league engages youth and young adults and teaches them to channel their anger and aggression and build discipline to help them find healing, stability and hope.

“It takes a community effort to change the community. We can’t do this by ourselves. None of us could on our own,” Feldbush said. “It’s incredible to know there are so many others who are working together toward our shared goal. When many organizations partner together, we can make real change happen.”

— Amy Thompson, writer for Centura Health; photo supplied

This article was originally published in Outlook Magazine

25 May


By Karrie Meyers — Highlands Ranch, Colorado …“Will you choose to be the best picture of Jesus you can be?” asked Chris Morris, Littleton associate pastor, of Mile High Academy’s (MHA) eighth-grade graduates during their Oscar-themed graduation service on May 19.

Surrounded by family and friends, the ten graduates celebrated their achievements amidst smiles, laughter and tears. The families were welcomed by graduate Devon who thanked the parents “for all your love and support for these eighth graders. We could not have done it without your help.”

Through tributes, parents were recognized for their patience and love, coming to athletic events, supporting decisions, and for helping draw the students closer to God. Teachers and coaches were also acknowledged for their role-model support and hard work in providing an athletic program despite the middle school not having an official season.

The class selected Joshua 1:9 as their class verse, which led to them welcoming Pastor Morris as commencement speaker. He inspired the students to remember they are leaders and that “God rarely asks the leaders to do things within their capabilities.” He reminded them that God hasn’t called his leaders to fit in but to stand out, making Jesus the director in their lives.

Class president Jack reflected on the class and memories they made this year. “I’ve been so thankful to be a part of this class, and I think it’s been a great year – masks and all. So many people have had a part in making it such a great year, like our teachers who have been outstanding role models in supporting us through the ups and downs of the pandemic.”

“This has been a unique year,” explained Walter Weber, eighth-grade sponsor and middle school teacher. “We were never sure when a student would have to go remote due to family illness, making it difficult for teachers to teach [both] in-person and remote students at the same time. But this class resiliently faced and embraced the challenges. They are amazing individuals who will do great things in upper school. Speaking for the entire middle school teaching staff, we are so proud of them.”

In addition to the acknowledgement of their academic success, each graduate received a $500 upper school tuition scholarship.

The class presented a gift to the school. Now featured on the gym’s press box is Psalm 119:32 and the MHA Mustang logo. The verse was a favorite at MHA’s previous campus location and the class wanted to make it a part of MHA history once again.

The class appreciates their middle school memories while anxiously looking forward to the next chapter. Wyatt said he will miss the sports and his middle school friends, but is looking forward to making new friends. Max said a favorite memory he will forever take with him was the MHA mission trip to Uganda when he was in the sixth grade. “There’ve never been enough words to describe that amazing experience.” He will also miss playing on the small hoops on the school’s playground.

The eighth-grade graduating ceremony is available on MHA’s website at www.milehighacademy.org/2021-8-graduation/.

–Karrie Meyers communication director for Mile High Academy; photos by Dog Daze Photo and Kurt Fesler

25 May

Brighton Adventist Academy CELEBRATES THE CLASS OF 2021

By Jodie Aakko – Brighton, Colorado …”Hi Mom, I made it!” seemed to be the catchphrase among the Brighton Adventist Academy graduates at their graduation ceremony on May 19.

The evening served up the standard fare of diplomas, balloons, photographs, cake, and punch, yet a BAA graduation is much more. Teachers took time to acknowledge the students’ shining qualities and expressed their love and admiration for each graduate. Wayne Morrison, pastor of Brighton church encouraged the each student to go forth and be God’s disciple, since they have soundly learned that they are a child of God.

Addressing the graduates, Molly Santana, member of the Brighton church and commencement co-speaker said, “You have met some challenges to get where you are today. The pandemic has made you stronger, and you are a better person because you persevered,”

Carlos Santana, member of the Brighton church and commencement co-speaker highlighted his wife’s charge to the class by saying, “Don’t forget that God loves you no matter what, and with God, you can do anything. In the same way that God has helped me, He will help you.”

Students also shared testimonies of gratitude to their parents, teachers, and friends for making it possible for them to reach this milestone.

The class selected Joshua 1:9 as their Scripture verse. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

BAA administration has one final message for the graduating class of 2021: “Well done, Students. Choose strength and courage always. God has chosen you to do His work. Go. Be everything for God.”

Among those receiving their diplomas included Shaun Alexander, Omar Castaneda, Hannah Lechleitner, Felipe Quintana Baca, Nathaniel Ramirez, and Vashty Segovia Santos.

–Jodie Aakko is the principal of Brighton Adventist Academy; photo courtesy of Brighton Adventist Academy Facebook page.

24 May


By MHA News – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Amidst smiles, waves, and swinging tassels, 14 Mile High Academy kindergarteners stood tall as they marched into the gym toward their future as first graders on May 18.

Those gathered, online and in-person, for this special event, were welcomed by the students followed by a prayer thanking God for “our families and our kindergarten graduation.”

A lively rendition of The Butterfly Song brought smiles and many broke into laughter as students read their parent tributes, which included words of love for their family members, thankfulness that their family feeds them, does the dishes and laundry, reads books, plays with them, and helps them when they’re hurt.

Together, the students sang the song Growing in Jesus with lyrics expressing how the graduates were learning to love all God’s children, how they were trusting in Jesus, becoming a friend of Jesus, and how Jesus is growing in them.

After receiving their certificates and moving the tassels on their caps, they recited a humorous poem about completing kindergarten and being in first grade. Alissa Armendariz, kindergarten teacher, shared her pride in the class by mentioning challenges they’ve faced and how they’ve overcome.

“It has been a difficult and challenging year for us all,” said Armendariz. “Among the many COVID related challenges was teaching students to form proper letter sounds while wearing a mask. The students learned well even with the many classroom differences, and we worked together to make this year a success. I am so thankful the students could be together with their friends most of the school year and am so proud of this graduating class.”

Before walking out the door, the graduates were already focused on summer plans. Jack said he was grateful Armendariz was his teacher and will miss her, but is looking forward to first grade after a summer of “playing with my new volleyball net, going camping, riding on my dirt bike and playing at the pool.”

Devyn really liked her teacher too and enjoyed being in her class. This summer she is “going on some trips, playing in the pool and having fun being with my family.”

The ceremony concluded with attendees reciting the following prayer, a slightly edited version Armendariz prayed before they left campus each day: “May God bless you and keep you as you go out from here today. May He bring you back safely next year. Remember you are loved, you are special, and you are worthy.”

To watch the kindergarten graduation ceremony, visit www.milehighacademy.org/2021-kindergarten-graduation/.

–MHA News; photos supplied

24 May


By Jon Roberts – Cañon City, Colorado … Hundreds gathered for the first Southeast Colorado camp meeting, May 19 – May 21, at the Cañon City Adventist church. The theme, “The Healing Presence of Jesus,” focused on putting the love of Jesus first in personal life.

John Davidson, pastor of Cañon City church district, began the Sabbath services by declaring: “It’s a miracle I’m standing here this morning.” Davidson who has been battling health issues, went on to say, “It’s a miracle you are here today,” referencing that the event had to be cancelled last year due to the pandemic. He thanked the many individuals who took over the planning and coordinating of the event when his health declined.

For Pueblo First church member, RJ Vigil, having a church filled with many children was the highlight of the weekend.  “I really enjoyed [seeing] how many people were here.  It was amazing to see the church this full. That’s the most children I’ve seen at the children’s story before.  I also liked the praise and worship music, but I’m biased since the team is from my church.”

For some, camp meeting was a new experience. “This is my first camp meeting and I know it is not like camp meetings of old, but it is amazing the number of people coming from all over, especially the Arkansas Valley.  It’s encouraging and exciting,” enthused Sandy Shute, Colorado Springs Central church member.

The meetings featured Ron Kelly, pastor of Village Adventist church in Berrien Springs, Michigan. His messages focused on the healing touch of Jesus, and centered on the modern family and larger church relationships. Kelly accepted the invitation to speak at the gathering because of a deep pastoral friendship with Davidson.

Other presenters included Louis Torres, assistant to the president for evangelism of Adventist World Radio, who shared his conversion and life testimony. The audience also listened to the musical talents of Angel Award winner, Vonda Beerman.

The highlight of the gatherings for Cañon City members was also witnessing the ordination of their pastor, John Davidson.

Next year’s camp meeting is already being discussed and planned.

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

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