13 May


RMCNews with Devon Osbourne Jr. – Fort Collins, Colorado … How do you say farewell to a teacher who had been teaching at the same school for over 19 years? You throw a surprise party and name a gymnasium after them.

This is exactly what the Fort Collins church did on May 1, celebrating the ministry of Dennis Breese. The celebration was preplanned to be a surprise part of education Sabbath service.

Dennis Breese were honored with several tributes by current and former students and was also awarded a plaque for his outstanding contributions to Christian education by the Rocky Mountain Conference education director, Diane Harris.

Dennis Breese recalls the special service, “I have been to several education day services during the past 19 years and expected this one would be just like all of the others I had attended. Wow, was I surprised!

“Even though I saw some of my former students and their parents at church, it really didn’t dawn on me as to what was happening until the bulletin was put up on the monitor and I saw that the names of two of my former students who were there to share their memories of their time in my class. Their comments brought joy, laughter, and tears to my eyes. It was a very touching and moving experience that I’m sure I will always remember and cherish.”

Keiko Breese echoed her husbands’ comments. “What a wonderful and unexpected surprise it was for us! I couldn’t believe what had happened! I couldn’t believe that this program was planned and kept secret from us for such a long time! This was the most memorable day of my life during my 19 years of service at the Fort Collins Christian School.”

The service highlighted Christian education, including a rendition of “It Is Well With My Soul” by the Fort Collins Christian School handbell choir. The school currently has 31 students enrolled.

After the celebration there was still one surprise for Dennis Breese.

“The biggest surprise was saved until last when we were taken to the entrance of the gymnasium and held in suspense for several minutes with no idea about what was happening,” Dennis commented.

“Finally, we were asked to remove the cover of something hanging on the wall. We were both stunned and overwhelmed to find our name on a plaque dedicating the gym to us—the Breese Gymnatorium!. It was a truly amazing day that we will never forget,” he added.

Former RMC education director, Lonnie Hetterle, was honored to be asked to share in the tribute program. “It is a privilege and an honor for me to recognize Dennis and Keiko Breese. Over the last 19 years I have been so impressed with the dedication and passion they have shown. They have demonstrated a humble love for Jesus, for His church, and especially for God’s children. Their creativity and love for each child has enabled them to create a wonderfully safe and nurturing environment. They consistently strive to meet the unique needs of each student and family,” Hetterle said.

Hetterle also commented that the naming of gymnasium ensures that the Breeses will be remembered for a long time. “In officially naming the gymnasium the ‘Breese Gymnatorium’ we know that their legacy will live on not only in the lives of the families and students they have impacted for eternity but also as people enter the beautiful structure,” Hetterle stated.

— RMCNews with Devon Osbourne Jr. who is the school board chair for the Fort Collins church; photos by Milcah Theodor

13 May


By Amelia Eno — Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Mile High Academy students, over the past several weeks have spent time focusing on growing a closer relationship with Jesus during FOCUS weeks.

FOCUS Weeks is a special time at MHA where the school has a chance to bond while reflecting and refocusing on Jesus.

Elementary students got to hear fun stories and worships from Jose St. Phard, Newday lead pastor, Chris Morris, Littleton associate pastor, and Seth Day, LifeSource co-pastor.

“There are so many amazing voices in children’s ministry, we didn’t want to pick just one speaker. The kids really loved them!” Rebecca Berg, MHA chaplain and upper school teacher said.

Students learned more about MHA theme this year “Rooted In Christ” and the CHERISH core values while singing and worshiping with their friends. Pastor Day put a fun twist on Bible stories by turning into a character named “Scooter.” They also participated in several faith-building activities.

Middle School and upper school held their FOCUS week at a later time due to classes having to be remote learning. David Asscherick, Castle Rock pastor spoke about what it meant to be “Rooted In Christ,” to have deep roots, and where to put those roots.

Through the analogy of a tree, students learned about growing even in the hardships. “FOCUS week reminded me that where I’m rooted really matters,” Noah, MHA sophomore said.

Despite the difficult year with COVID and the challenges brought on by the pandemic, MHA’s students found joy in spending time with their classmates while knowing Christ is the center of their school.

–Amelia Eno is a sophomore at Mile High Academy; photos supplied.

12 May

Exhibition of Learning Nights at Vista Ridge Academy

By Marsha Bartulec  — Erie, Colorado … From seed germination to saving our planet, and Rube Goldberg machines to self-exploration, learning is happening at Vista Ridge Academy. Students confidently explained their work in video presentations as each classroom held a virtual Exhibition of Learning Night for their family and friends.

Exhibition Nights are a great way to see Vista Ridge Academy’s real-world, “project-based learning” curriculum in action.

The third and fourth grade classroom published a book together of their endangered animals. Each student illustrated a picture of their endangered animal and wrote a report for the book.

Third grader, Hugh, enjoyed recording his presentation for his classroom’s “Animal Showtime.”

“I pretended to snorkel of the shores of California and shared facts about endangered vaquitas. Vaquitas are a porpoise, a little smaller than a dolphin, and there are only ten left in the wild,” Hugh said.

The fifth and sixth grade classroom learned about Rube Goldberg, an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. Goldberg is best known for his popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets performing simple tasks in an indirect and overly complicated way, also known as Rube Goldberg machines.

Sixth grade, Lilly, enjoyed building a Rube Goldberg machine with her partner. After three weeks and about an hour or two a day Lilly’s team had success with their machine.

“The task we chose was to put toothpaste on a toothbrush. We used duct tape and cardboard to make ramps, dominoes, and string. I learned by trial and error and that it will not work on the first try,” Lilly, commented.

Exhibitions are an important component of project-based learning and assessment and provide a comprehensive view of each student’s knowledge and mastery of essential skills and content standards.

Click below to watch each classrooms Exhibition of Learning.

Preschool & Pre-K: Seed Germination


Kindergarten: Taking Care of our Planet, in honor of Earth Day


First and second grade: Review of Old Testament Bible Stories and Memory Verses


Third and fourth grade: The Animal Showtime – Endangered Animals


Fifth and sixth grade: Rube Goldberg Machines


Seventh and eighth grade: World History Final Projects


–Marsha Bartulec is the Vice Principal of Administration at Vista Ridge Academy; photo supplied.

11 May


By Mickey Mallory — Loveland, Colorado … A group of fourteen high school students gathered on May 5 at Campion church to sit down and discuss and ask questions about full time church ministry in the future.

The meeting, called Next Gen Pastors was an innovative initiative by the North America Division, in an attempt to recruit young people for full-time church ministry.

Students appreciated the willingness of ministers, both current and retired, to take the time and talk with them.

Campion Academy senior Jayden Anggormas shared that “it was an eye-opening experience and I enjoyed it very much. It was amazing to receive advice from other Pastors and it continued to motivate me to pursue ministry. I would love to see more involvement in years to come. It reminds me that God will put people in my life to help me pursue His work.”

Shelby Waller, Campion Academy junior also appreciated the helpful discussion. “The Next Gen Pastor’s meeting was really helpful to me. It helped me realize that there are lots of pastors that are willing to mentor me and walk beside me. This meeting really encouraged me to go forward in my goal to become a chaplain because I know that both God and a pastor, can and will be by my side the whole time.”

The panel involved the Campion church pastors, Dick Stenbakken, retired military chaplain, and Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director.  Students asked questions which included: How do you know you are called to full-time ministry; What can you do right now to help prepare for a life calling; What schooling do you need to prepare for full-time ministry; and how do you go about finding a ministry position once you are done with your education.

For Campion lead pastor Micheal Goetz, he was encouraged by the student’s questions. He remarked, “It was surreal for me to see 14 high school students come to have their questions answered about serving God in some kind of full-time ministry. It was for me in high school when a pastor took a moment one Wednesday evening to answer my questions that I first thought the service of a pastor could be God’s calling on me. To be at a place to pass it on was humbling.”

Beginning next school year, the dream is to provide ongoing support for students who feel called to full-time ministry at Campion church. They would involve not only meetings with guest presenters, but also job training where students would be given the chance to experiment with the gifts that God has given them.

If you know of a high school student who is interested in full-time ministry and would benefit from future Next Gen Meetings, please email Pastor Micheal Goetz at [email protected]

–Mickey Mallory is RMC ministerial director; photos supplied

11 May


By RMCNews with Lillian Clopine – Farmington, New Mexico … The Piñon Hills Seventh-day Adventist church in Farmington, New Mexico will be hosting The Wall That Heals, a three-quarter sized replica of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall in September.

Church members view this event to reach out to the community in a meaningful approach by serving and working with them. They hope that lives will be touched, and the love of Jesus visible to all who may attend.

The event is a way to reflect and honor veterans as many of them continue to deal with difficult memories and experiences or have loved ones that have struggled with the impact the Vietnam War had on their lives.

The Wall That Heals, is traveling exhibit which honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U. S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War and it bears the names of more than fifty-eight thousand men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Commenting about the church’s involvement in hosting the exhibit in Farmington, Pastor Wayne Gayton said: “This is a real opportunity to share the healing power of Christ’s love and to honor those who gave their all for the gift of Freedom.”

The 53-foot trailer that transports The Wall That Heals will transform to become a mobile Education Center. The exterior of the trailer features a timeline of “The War and The Wall” and provides additional information regarding the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Additional exhibits will give visitors a better understanding of the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the collection of items left at The Wall.

Local displays will include:

  • Hometown Heroes – Photos of service members on The Wall who list their home of record from the local area will be displayed.
  • In Memory Honor Roll – Photos of Vietnam veterans from New Mexico who returned home and later died of Vietnam-related illnesses and have been honored through the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s In Memory

Piñon Hills will also be holding a prayer breakfast for community leaders. Dick Stenbakken, Ed. D., a veteran, and Chaplain (Colonel) U S Army, Retired, will be a featured speaker. He commented that “it is both important and essential for the Seventh-day Adventist church to be involved with community projects and programs.

“When we do so, we follow the example of Christ and His Ministry of Presence. ‘Being there’ tells the community that we care, and we are part of the community, not just disinterested observers.”

Members will be serving as committee leaders and volunteering during the event. Lillian Clopine, Chairperson for The Wall That Heals explains, “Community members will have the opportunity to meet and interact with church members.  We will be praying that the Holy Spirit will guide us through this process and that the event will honor God and touch lives, and that the attendees will come to better know the source of all healing – Jesus Christ.”

She added, “I am humbled we have been afforded this opportunity to serve our community and to touch lives with love and kindness by following our Lord’s example.”

The exhibit, will be located on the San Juan College athletic fields, will be open beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 9th to the public through 2:00 pm Sunday, September 12th. Admission is free and visitors can visit the wall anytime day or night.

To learn more about this event please email [email protected]

— RMCNews with Lillian Clopine is Chairperson for The Wall That Heals and a member of Piñon Hills Adventist church; photo supplied


11 May


RMCNews with Frank Wilson – Denver, Colorado … The Las Aguilas Pathfinder club from Aurora Hispanic Church is celebrating their first-place finish at the NAD Pathfinder Bible Experience (PBE) division finals.

Pathfinder clubs across North America gathered virtually on April 16th and 17th to test their Bible knowledge at NAD PBE Division Finals.

According to the NAD website the event, called Bible Bowl by some, includes, “teams of six club members study a book of the Bible (alternating Old Testament and New Testament), memorizing large portions of God’s word.”

Pastor Frank Wilson, pastor of Aurora Hispanic church commented on the dedication of the pathfinder club to dig deep in God’s Word.  “The hard work and dedication in studying the Bible constantly in season, and out of season, resulted in achieving such a wonderful award.”

The event was described by Wilson as a four-part series. “The competition first began at the church level, then the conference, moving on to the union, and finally the national level or the North America Division.”

The winning teams are construed as “extreme students of the Bible and in most cases memorize chapters and, in some cases, the entire book(s).”

Reflecting on the event Kiefer Dooley, RMC former youth director, has the hope that the trivia games and preparation for the PBE helps build a deeper relationship with Jesus.  “Our hope is that the Bible knowledge they retained for a first-place finish is not just trivia, or facts learned for a trophy but is a conduit to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.”

The Aurora Hispanic Pathfinder team consisted of Clementito Martinez, Luis Torres, Sabutita Jambuny,Alan Martinez, Chavy de la Cruz and Katrin Juárez; who studied the Scriptures passionately along with the club directors.

Wilson also commented on the multiple individuals who assisted the team behind the scenes. “[Those] who worked behind the scenes training and preparing our young people for the Bible Bowl was Clemente Martinez and Judith Martinez (directors of the Pathfinder’s Club) who’s dedication was constant.”

Clemente Martinez was proud of the team winning and humbly stated that everything was done only for the glory and honor of God.

The Books of the Bible clubs had to study this year was Hebrews, James, 1st Peter, and 2nd Peter.

–RMCNews with Frank Wilson, pastor of Aurora Hispanic church; photo by Frank Wilson

10 May


RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … In the past few months there have been several Conference office employee transitions as well as retirements which have involved position changes or new responsibilities.

Doug Inglish, vice-president of administration welcomes the changes and the positive impact it will have on the conference.  “Changes in personnel bring new perspectives. It doesn’t always change policies or practices, but it at least causes a fresh look at what we do and how we do it, and to ask if it can be improved,” Inglish said.

“Some things might change, but even the things that stay the same can be done with greater confidence because we reviewed them and decided we are already on the right course,” Inglish added.

The individuals who are changing roles or assuming new responsibilities are:


Chanelle Watson was selected by the Planned Giving and Trust Services department to fill the position of assistant director vacating the position as an administrative assistant to the RMC administration.

Chanelle brings to her new position a background in law with a law degree from the University of Buckingham, England. She also has experience working with the legal team of Adventist Risk Management with identifying and managing risk for the conference and local entities.

Chanelle assumed these new responsibilities effective March 12.



Brittany will be leaving the Rocky Mountain Conference on May 14.  She served as corporate treasurer for asset management.

She has accepted a position with the public school system up in the Brighton area and will help work with the accounting department that oversees a number of public schools.  RMC is grateful for her service in the Treasury and Trust Department for the last 5 1/2 years. She has made a significant contribution in our non-operating accounting through streamlining processes, accurate records and understandable reporting.



Kiefer Dooley has accepted the position as Association Treasurer.

He leaves his position as youth director through which he has put in place positive initiatives that have been a blessing to youth throughout this conference and beyond.

Kiefer brings to his new position strong management skills having worked with both Glacier View Ranch and the summer programming budgets.  Additionally, he has training in accounting and other business areas as a result of his undergraduate training which will be well utilized in his new position.

Kiefer assumed these new responsibilities on May 10. He will continue to provide some assistance with GVR this year.



Michel has accepted the position of RMC’s Internal Auditor and began his duties on January 18, 2021.

Michel obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Metropolitan State University in Denver.  He comes to RMC with extensive customer service experience, inventory management and safety requirement fulfillment.

In April Michel also assumed the responsibility of insurance management coordinator.


07 May


By Jon Roberts … This weekend, in America, we celebrate Mother’s Day.  This is a day where we can reflect on not only the mothers, grandmothers, but also the other strong courageous women who believed in us and helped guide our paths.

While for many it is also a chance to reflect and honor those who have gone to sleep awaiting the glorious day Jesus yells AWAKE, oh how I am looking forward to that day.

As I reflect on my own mother and grandmother who raised me the thought that keeps coming into my mind is I wish I had done more.

Both my mother and grandmother were strong independent women, yet they were also the first to give anyone love and compassion.  They both had the heart of Jesus in serving those around them and showing unconditional love.

They didn’t ask for anything except deep down you could tell they both wanted appreciation and love from those closest to them.  I did my best but at times I now know I could have done more.  I let my job, which often required me to work on Mother’s Day or other responsibilities, including church, come first.

In recent years I have discovered the importance of making sure my priorities are better aligned with a work-life balance.  Unfortunately, I have learned this lesson too late in life to make sure I did more for my mom and grandmother.  I know deep down they knew how much I loved them and cared.

I’m not writing this for sympathy, instead I share this in hope that those who still have time recognize and appreciate the women who gave up everything so you could have a better life.

This weekend make sure you acknowledge and do something special for those closest to you, but don’t stop there…remember and honor them every chance you get before it is too late….you won’t regret it.

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

06 May

Commentary: Honor Our Teachers

By Diane Harris… Back in 1944, political and educational leaders began discussions for a day to honor teachers.  In 1953, Eleanor Roosevelt persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day.  It has since grown to encompass a week of honoring teachers who have committed to touching the lives of children all over this country.

We are blessed in Rocky Mountain Conference to have incredible teachers who have stepped up to the challenges of teaching in this year of the pandemic.  They spent last summer preparing their classrooms to be COVID ready to receive their students for the 2020-2021 school year.  Each school had to follow the guidelines of their counties.

They were creative and came up with plastic separations to allow students to study safely together and still see the teacher and feel part of the classroom, and devised ways to social distance, keep masks on or off depending if they were inside or out.

Procedures were developed to put into place for temperature taking, in-person learning, virtual school and a mixture of both.  They also made extensive plans to sanitize and keep their rooms and students safe.  Most importantly, RMC teachers reached out to each child daily whether in person or Zoom to make sure that they knew they were loved and cared for and connected to their community.

So, now as we come to the end of our school year, and this Teacher Appreciation week, we want to honor the teachers of Rocky Mountain Conference, who without hesitation or complaint, took such diligent care of our kids through this school year.  Because of their commitment, preparation and creativity, our students are thriving and continuing to see examples of Jesus every day.

“A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.” ~Mustafa Kemal Ataturk~

“Teachers have three loves:  love of learning, love of learners and the love of bringing the first two together.” ~Unknown~

–Diane Harris is RMC director of education; photo by Vista Ridge Academy Facebook

06 May

Campion church adopts students, showering them with blessings

By Campion News – Loveland, Colorado … In a school year filled with reduced interactions, Campion church members took the initiative to connect with academy students by surprising them with the adopt-a-student program during the second semester.

Church members volunteered to randomly select students to bless with small gifts, such as favorite snacks, homemade goodies, and more, each week after church.

“It was the highlight of my week to go to church and see a gift waiting for me there,” said Campion sophomore Faith Evert. “I also liked that it was anonymous so it always kept me wondering and looking around the church to guess who had me.”

The church members’ small, yet thoughtful, gifts made a big impact on students. Jared Marcenaro, Campion junior, commented, “My adoptive family gave me my very first evening devotional and now because of them I am growing spiritually.”

The adopt-a-student program was created by a church Grow Group which hosted events to engage students with members throughout the year.

A leader of the group, Codi Jahn, expressed, “At the beginning of the school year, I felt disconnected from the Campion students. Usually our paths cross in church, but with COVID restrictions in place, I never saw any of them! I wanted to do something to let them know how valuable they were [are] to our church and that ultimately this campus is here because of them: this is THEIR church.”

Students shared the sentiment. “In previous years, I felt there always seemed to be this type of separation from the church and the school. It didn’t feel like we were truly connecting, at least until this year,” said Campion senior Mark Zelaya. “My favorite part of this program is really feeling that connection and feeling that someone in the church actually cares for you.”

Throughout the year, the group hosted events such as meals and game nights. The program culminated last Sunday, May 2, with brunch, inviting the families to introduce themselves to their adopted students.

Jenny Gann, Campion nurse helped to create the program. “I really enjoyed hearing students talk about how excited they were to meet the families who adopted them,” Gann reflected. “The meet and greet we had on Sunday, was a really fun way for our students and church members to get to know each other a little bit better, and [to] hopefully make some more connections, and build relationships.”

“It was really heartwarming to see faculty from the church actually care about students from Campion,” concluded Jayden Anggormas, Campion senior. “I would love for them to continue the program for next year and years to come.”

–Campion News; photos supplied