01 Dec


By Airi Nomura – Loveland, Colorado … HMS Richards Adventist School’s preschool program is back and growing.

Last year, the preschool program was suspended due to the pandemic, and many families were choosing to keep their youngest children at home.

Since its reopening in August, the program has seen a steady influx of students. Currently, there is only one full-time and a few part-time openings available.

Kristie Smith, preschool director and kindergarten teacher, reflecting on the influx, said, “I see God working as we keep getting more students. We are expecting two more in the next month. We need to have a certain number of students to be able to pay for our teacher’s salaries, and the Lord just keeps sending the students that we need to have here.”

The preschool program is partly combined with the kindergarten class; the unique curriculum allows the preschoolers to learn in a fun and advanced educational environment.

“We have kids in this classroom from ages three to six. For some subjects, such as math, we separate students according to age level, but for most subjects, they are combined,” Smith said.

She also explained that the teachers can adapt the curriculum for each student’s individual needs, but the combination allows younger students to work on a higher level. “Since the preschool students are often in the same class as the kindergarten students, I am able to challenge them more as they are ready,” Smith remarked.

The HMS preschoolers and kindergartners take full advantage of their unique location on Campion Academy’s campus. They walk and explore the grounds of the campus every day, as they learn outside of the classroom.

“We do a lot of outdoor education. We are learning about different types of plants or trees, and [we] identify them by their leaves,” said Smith. “We often go on letter walks, where we go over to the church, and we get to find things that begin with the letter that we are learning about.”

When asked what she loves about the school, one of the preschoolers shared, “I like being at my desk and learning. I enjoy playing with my friends, eating lunch, and playing on our playground.”

One of the greatest needs preschool and kindergarten classrooms have is substitute teachers. If you feel you could help meet this need, please email [email protected]

–Airi Nomura is a Campion Academy senior; photo supplied

30 Nov


By Elizabeth Jureckova – Loveland, Colorado … Campion Academy’s staff didn’t shy away from the cheesy and embarrassing to provide laughter and needed stress relief before semester finals on November 20 at the Staff Talent Show.

Erin Johnson, English teacher, and Lindsey Santana, teacher and librarian, got the show started by comparing British and American English language and culture. Students enjoyed the cracking act.

The show continued with the audience being treated to the magical talents of Dean Helm, vice president of finance for Campion, aka Helmdini, in which he made props spontaneously appear and disappear and magically saved Lacy from the “lions”. The student involvement in Helmdini’s show created extra suspense and excitement among the students on stage and in the audience.

In a video episode of Miss Communication, Jill Harlow, communication director for Campion, shared some erroneous advice on communicating with teenagers, such as proper punctuation in texts, lengthy emails, and keeping up with the latest musical trends. Miss Communication even danced to ska music in her video, to the great amusement of the students.

After bringing the audience to their feet in a lively performance of an original rap song about Reeder’s mustache, McDiss (Carlos Santana) and Santana Hybrid (Molly Santana, women’s dean) made an exciting announcement: the girl’s dorm population will increase by one because they’re expecting another baby.

“The whole show was really fun and full of laughs, but my favorite part was the Santanas’ announcement,” said Jovanna, Campion student. “I’m happy for them, and it was special that we all got to be a part of that.”

During the show, Shannon Brown, guidance counselor with deadpan delivery, shared some very corny jokes with Jessica Rios, Bible teacher.

“I was nervous about my performance because I didn’t know if people would enjoy my jokes, but everyone was very supportive, so I enjoyed it very much. Overall, the talent show was well done and made for a wonderful evening,” Brown said.

The evening also featured many other stage acts such as Val Allen’s song about students’ favorite things at Campion, the pastors’ drawing contest, Clouzet’s “sheesh” harmonies, Principal Don Reeder as the puppet in a ventriloquist act led by Lonnie Hetterle, former RMC director of education who had practice with the gig with Ed Barnett former RMC president, and of course Jordan Dubini, men’s dean, who provided constant entertainment as the master of ceremonies.

The evening provided the chance to relax and enjoy some funny minutes before the students went back to studying for their semester finals.

–Elizabeth Jureckova is a Campion senior; photos supplied

30 Nov


By Love Pickle – Loveland, Colorado … After a semester of receiving anonymous gifts each Sabbath, Campion Academy girls got to meet the generous families behind the Adopt-a-Student program over a Thanksgiving fellowship meal on November 20.

Campion Church members created the Adopt-a-Student program to express their love to students by bringing them weekly heart-warming gifts and treats to church. The adopted families hid their identity until the Thanksgiving meal.

Faith, a junior, expressed, “It was super fun meeting my adopted family. I wanted to see a face behind the person who gave me gifts.”

At the special gathering, students had the chance to share their appreciation for their adoptive families.

“My adopted family was the Kasts, and I had no idea. It was very nice to get to know and talk with my adoptive family while eating lunch together. I am glad I could thank them because their gifts always made my day,” Airi, senior, said.

The program has impacted many students through small acts of kindness by the Campion Church members.

The Campion Academy boys are looking forward to experiencing the Adopt-a-Student program next semester.

–Love Pickle is a senior at Campion Academy; photos supplied

30 Nov


By Agape Hammond – Parker, Colorado … Through a collaborative partnership, Parker Adventist Hospital and Newday Adventist church provided Thanksgiving meal boxes to 120 families in need in the Parker, Colorado community.

Newday Adventist Church has lots to be thankful for this season. On Saturday, November 20, Newday held their first-ever ThankFULL Free Farmer’s Market, a partnership between Parker Adventist Hospital and Newday.

The ThankFULL Free Farmer’s Market began after Lisa Cardinal, executive pastor at Newday, witnessed the need at the summer food giveaways.

“The number of people coming to get the fruits and veggies kept increasing. We knew the holidays would be difficult,” Cardinal said. This need, along with the partnership Newday has with Parker Adventist Hospital, drove the idea forward.

And so, the project grew. From an idea to more than 120 complete meals, including turkey, for families that otherwise might not have had Thanksgiving this year.

The look on people’s faces as they picked up their boxes of stuffing, canned yams, cranberry sauce, and of course, the big turkey, was evidence that the project was appreciated and valued by the community. It wasn’t just the people receiving the food who were blessed, but those around them as well. “You are helping so many people here; we are so grateful,” commented one community member.

Remarking on the event, Katrina White, a volunteer at Newday, said, “Our mission is to impact the community in such a positive way that if we [Newday] were no longer here, people would notice our absence.”

Milvia Lee, Newday church attendee who helped coordinate the event, loved that the whole church participated, “Everyone used their gifts in different ways. I like being able to contribute to my church.”

There is a real sense of community when Newday Adventist Church and Parker Adventist Hospital get together to help. It was a group effort with eight small groups contributing food and packing 40 of the boxes, Parker Adventist Hospital packing 90 boxes, and many others in the church loading and handing out the boxes.

–Agape Hammond is director of social media and communications at Newday Adventist Church; photos supplied

29 Nov


RMCNews with Dorie Panganiban – Farmington, New Mexico … La Vida Mission is thankful for the two large donations of food, supplies, and household items received in November to distribute to the Navajo Reservation.

The first donation included 26 pallets of items from the Partnership with Native Americans organization. The items included assorted food and groceries, hundreds of cases of bottled water, personal care items, personal protection equipment, cleaning supplies, and essential household commodities.

La Vida Mission staff and volunteers prepared boxes and bags from the donated items to give to 200 families at the November 19 drive-through Thanksgiving giveaway.

Dorie Panganiban, La Vida Mission office manager, expressed gratitude for the donations, saying, “Thank you, Partnership with Native Americans, for always supporting us in all our community outreach programs and initiatives and for making this possible.”

A week after receiving the considerable donation for the Navajo community family, another wave of donations arrived from the annual RMC La Vida Mission supply drive.

The annual drive, organized by Cathy Kissner, RMC Adventist Community Service director, allows churches in RMC to donate items to help with the operation of La Vida Mission.

Items ranged from office and school supplies, assorted food and groceries for the cafeteria and dorms, health, hygiene and personal care items, laundry and cleaning supplies including paper products like napkins, toilet paper, and paper towels, clothes and bedroom articles, furniture and appliances and other miscellaneous items.

“Words are inadequate to express our gratitude and thanks to Mike and Cathy Kissner, the administration of Rocky Mountain Conference, and our awesome brothers and sisters from the different churches in the conference for supporting this project and initiative,” Panganiban said

RMC members can continue to support the work of La Vida Mission by donating items throughout the year by ordering through Amazon. Please use the following address for donations:

La Vida Mission Annual Drive
700 County Road 7730 Lake Valley
Crownpoint, NM 87313

To view a video of the Thanksgiving drive-through give away, please click here https://vimeo.com/651177536

–RMCNews with Dorie Panganiban is La Vida Mission office manager; photos supplied

29 Nov


By Gabriela Vincent – Casper, Wyoming … The Casper, Wyoming church family gathered on November 21 for fun and fellowship, and to outbid each other for their desired baked goods at the annual baked goods sale.

A tradition looked forward to by many; the sale is designed to help raise funds to support Mountain Road Christian Academy (MRCA). By the end of the sale, more than $3500 had been raised, many items having a winning bid of $200 or more.

One of the most popular items was a rhubarb crisp donated for auction by MRCA principal Traci Pike. The item caused a bidding war between Shayne Vincent, pastor of the Casper district, and the Current family. Vincent was continually outbid and was disappointed when he lost the final bid.  What he didn’t know was that the Currents were purchasing the crisp for him. He was pleasantly surprised when they handed him the dessert.

“This tastes exactly like my grandma’s rhubarb crisp,” Vincent said after tasting it.

Fried mushrooms, fried cauliflower, nachos, hot dogs, and other concessions for the extravaganza were prepared by the Gage family, Liz Cornett and family, and Lyla McDonald.

The Casper Adventist Church is grateful for the generous donations of friends and church family at their annual baked goods sale and appreciates the volunteers who baked the delicious desserts as well as those who purchased them.

–Gabriela Vincent is the wife of Shayne Vincent, lead pastor of the Casper, Wyoming district; photos supplied.

29 Nov

Building a better Union COLLEGE

By Ryan Teller – Lincoln, Nebraska … Big changes came to Union College this past year, with renovations to several areas of campus bringing improvement to the learning and living experiences of Union students.

Rees Hall

This summer, Maranatha volunteers installed new flooring, cabinets, and windows in another 27 rooms in the east wing of Rees Hall—bringing the total to 63 of 170 sleeping rooms in the women’s residence. Renovations began in summer 2019 with 34 rooms on the third and fourth floors, where mainly freshmen and sophomores live. Summer 2021 brought renovations to the first and second floors.

“Normally the east wing has been an area that the ladies avoided, and they would want to stay on the west wing,” said Emily Patterson, one of the women’s deans “Our east wing is completely full right now, and that is a first-ever in all my years here.”

The dorm renovations have a great impact on students, making them feel safer and more at home in their living space. “They’re sleeping, hanging out with their friends, and studying in the dorm rooms—that’s where they spend the majority of their time on campus, so it’s really important they have a nice place to stay,” Patterson said

Arlyse Wash, a junior transfer student who worked on the renovations this summer, is happy with the finished dorm rooms. “When I first saw them, they were definitely older and not the best in terms of the floors and walls,” she said. “Now I’m very happy to be living in my room, and since the renovations, no one has lived there except for me. The color of the floors and the cabinets really give it a modern feel. It’s completely different, and I love the upgrade.”

AdventHealth Innovation Classroom

Thanks to a generous gift from AdventHealth, one of the business classrooms on the third floor of the Everett Dick Building has been renovated into the AdventHealth Innovation Classroom. Plant Services installed new carpet and windows as well as new tables and chairs arranged in pods rather than rows to create flexible workspaces. Eight smart touchscreen TVs were also installed to enhance student engagement. Finishing touches are in progress, meant to represent Union’s brand and enhance the interactive potential of the classroom.

“Before, the layout made it really difficult to see the board from the back of the room. If you were sitting at the front, there was more pressure to answer questions, but in the back of the room it was easier to zone out and disengage,” said Shelby Jongema, a junior business administration major. “I think it’s a better environment now. I can see my classmates better, so it’s better for collaboration and group discussion. It’s easier to feel engaged even when you’re at the back of the room.”

“I think that we’ve found quite a few more learners in this room when the technology is used,” said Jodie Trana, one of Union’s business professors. The smart TVs allow multiple students to work on the same device, making collaboration on group projects and class activities much easier. “I think that as much as possible we need to keep up with what’s going on in the real world. We need to be able to provide the kind of technology and the type of experiences that they’re going to get outside this classroom.”

“From their first year on, we want to get students involved in the classroom. We want them to start working in teams,” Trana said. New teaching techniques are designed to provide students with necessary collaboration skills employers are looking for. “I hope having this classroom, where it’s set up for group work and group activity, is going to lead to that collaboration. And we believe that collaboration leads to innovation, and that’s going to help make them successful.”

Student Success Center

Last school year, Union launched the Student Success Center thanks to funding from a U.S. Department of Education Title III Grant. The grant provides funding for higher education schools to invest in resources and infrastructure to better aid at-risk students.

The new center for academic and coaching resources is now housed in a renovated section of the library. “We wanted to have a one-stop shop for student and academic resources. Students can come in here and we can help with any questions they have and provide them with any service they need. And if we don’t have what they need here, we know where to send them,” said director Taryn Rouse. Student Success provides life coaching, tutoring and academic assistance, career coaching and disability services.

“Prior to being in this building together, three of us were downstairs in the Career Center, three other coaches were in the old Teaching Learning Center. Student Services was downstairs,” Rouse explained. “We were in three different areas, which is not conducive to functioning as a team or for students to know where we are.”

Now, Student Success is thriving and serving students more effectively—including providing a life coach for all first-year and transfer students to better prepare them for their time in college. “Getting students engaged academically with activities and with each other is just one of the biggest keys to their success,” Rouse said.

Rouse especially emphasized that the Student Success Center is open to all students, no matter their background or their level of need. “Any student who wants to come in for help, we’ll talk to them,” Rouse said. “The Student Success area is for everybody. We are here for all students on campus, not just freshmen. This is what we care about, and it’s what students are owed. It’s our mission.”

Prescott Hall

Plant Services renovated the Prescott Hall lobby last summer, repainting the walls and redoing the ceiling tiles and lights. The biggest project was removing the old student workers’ desk in the lobby and replacing it with a brick one in a new location.

“It looks significantly better, we’re excited about it. We really needed the facelift,” said Daniel Force, one of the men’s deans. “We’re happy for the residents to have something new, and we hope we can continue to have more improvements in the dorm.” In the future, he hopes to renovate the rooms in Prescott along with installing an announcement monitor in the lobby. “We just want to keep making Prescott Hall a better place to live.”

Student Center

After the Student Success Center opened last year in the library, renovations began on what used to be the Teaching Learning Center to become a new home for the Student Life team. Student Life is responsible for overseeing many activities and services offered at Union, such as varsity athletics, residence hall management, Student Association activities, and more.

Currently the primary Student Life office is located on the first floor of the Everett Dick Administration Building. However, several of the staff are scattered around campus. The new offices renovated by Plant Services will provide a central location for the entire team. Kim Canine, vice president for Student Life, also believes moving the team into the Student Center will help her goal to turn the center along with the entire Don Love Building Atrium into a hub of student activity—which would include the library, new Student Success Center and Campus Store.

“The renovation will help us provide better services to our students and enhance their experience beyond the classroom,” she explained.

–Ryan Teller is public relations and marketing director for Union College; photos supplied

This article was originally published on the Union College website

22 Nov


RMCNews – Denver, Colorado … Brandon Westgate has accepted an invitation from the RMC Administrative Committee to serve as the new youth director for RMC. Westgate, currently a pastor in the Arkansas-Louisiana conference, will be taking over the department director position vacated by Kiefer Dooley in May when he transferred to the treasury department.

Westgate has been married to his wife, Dawn, for 35 years, and they have two grown children, Cory and Sylvia. He is anxious to relocate to RMC and enhance the ministry of the youth department.

“My wife and I are looking forward to contributing what we can to the ministry that is already taking place in RMC. I am impressed with the support from the conference administrators for continuing to develop the best youth program we can deliver.” Westgate said.

Westgate has served as pastor in many multi-church districts throughout the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference and served as their youth director and camp director at Camp Yorktown Bay for four years before returning to local church ministry.

Jessyka Dooley, assistant RMC youth director, welcomes a decision to have a youth director again. “First of all, I’m relieved! Our department has been without a director for six months. It will be amazing to have a full team in the office again. I am extremely excited that Brandon will be joining us as the new RMC youth director, Jessyka said. “He brings experience, passion, and vision to the team. As I’ve gotten to know Brandon more throughout the interview process, I have no doubt that he will fit in seamlessly with the vibe of the Rocky Mountain Conference, Glacier View Ranch, and Mills Spring Ranch, and youth ministry as a whole.”

The process of selecting the right person for the position was a long process, according to Doug Inglish, RMC vice-president of administration. “This was a long process at a difficult time of year to land a youth director, but God has led us to Brandon, and we’re really excited to have him with us.”

Brent Learned, assistant RMC youth director, is also looking forward to working with Westgate. “I am excited to have Brandon joining our team and am looking forward to the passion, experience, and fresh perspective he is bringing with him.”

Westgate, not raised a Christian, came to know Jesus and to walk with Him in his 20s after making some wrong decisions in high school which led him, in his words, “to the lowest point in my life.” He is involved in many activities that help spread the Good News that a relationship with Jesus offers.

“I have been privileged to play a spiritual leadership role in Maranatha’s mission trips for high school teens, the Ultimate Workout, since 2014. I am hopeful that we can encourage the young people in our conference to get involved in both local and international short-term mission trips as a way to potentially discover God’s calling on their life,” Westgate said.

He is looking forward to building RMC’s presence with Pathfinders and Adventurers as the youth department gears up for the International Camporee in Gillette, Wyoming in 2024. He commented, “I am a huge fan of Adventurers and Pathfinders. We will be developing new ways to help any church that wishes to have an Adventurer/Pathfinder club in their church to be able to do so. With the International Camporee coming to RMC in Gillette in a few short years, it would be amazing if we had many more clubs than we currently have to represent this amazing conference at the International Camporee.”

Westgate aspires to go beyond going through the motions in RMC when it pertains to youth ministry. “I do not wish to do ministry in a place where the status quo is all we are desiring to attain. We can be exceptional, and by God’s grace, we will be leading the North American Division with innovative approaches to capture the hearts and minds of our young people. I am also looking forward to connecting and networking with the young adults of RMC. Many times, once our youth age out of Pathfinders, they sort of feel like they don’t have a place in our church community. We need to continue to develop places for every youth and young adult to contribute their talents and develop their own unique walk with Jesus.”

Westgate has a BA in theology from Southwestern Adventist University and has a Masters in pastoral ministry from Andrew University. He enjoys working with his hands and has developed skills in home remodeling and renovation. He also likes outdoor activities like golf, disc golf, cycling, hiking, swimming and has run several half marathons, one full marathon, and has also done a few triathlons. He is an avid reader and enjoys board games. His wife, Dawn, is a registered nurse. Westgate has two grandchildren.

Westgate will be transitioning to RMC in 2022.

–RMCNews; photo supplied

18 Nov


RMCNews with Betty Soper – Delta, Colorado … Delta Adventist School students spent Veteran’s Day fellowshipping with four local veterans, learning about their experiences.

Students welcomed the heroes to their school and presented them each with a quilt provided by the Quilts of Valor organization. The homemade quilts are a unique way to thank the veterans for their service, sacrifice, and valor.

The four honored veterans were Harry Lloyd, John Harold, Daniel Tilelli, and Robert Goodrich.

Students took turns handing the quilts to the men who served the nation.  Some were timid, giving the quilts to the heroes with downcast eyes, while others were in awe, looking up at the men who served.

After the ceremony of presenting the quilts, the four veterans and students enjoyed lunch and the chance to build relationships through conversation.

–RMCNews with Betty Soper, Delta Adventist church membership clerk; photos by Jodie Gage.


18 Nov


RMCNews with Mickey Mallory – Overland Park, Kansas … The Mid-America Union Conference welcomed 42 pastors who are new in ministry, meaning those who haven’t been ordained or commissioned, to a special weekend, November 10–13, with fellowship, relationships, inspiration, and encouragement.

The retreat in Overland Park, Kansas featured guest speaker Charles Tapp, Potomac Conference president, and worship and praise music led by the Central States Conference praise and worship team.

Mikey Archibeque, Denver South Adventist church associate pastor, was thankful for the opportunity to make new connections. “The New in Ministry Retreat was great for connecting with pastors from around MAUC. It was good seeing old friends and making new ones. It is nice to have connections and friendships in ministry because ministry can be lonely sometimes.”

He added, “It was good to hear Tapp’s perspective and wisdom on living in and guiding a community. His perspective on the way that we relate to our churches, as pastors, will stick with me for a long time.”

Jade Covel, Colorado Springs Central Adventist church associate pastor, found the seminars helpful. “The MAUC New in Ministry retreat was very beneficial to me. Charles Tapp gave presentations that reminded me of my call to ministry and that I am not perfect, and that not being perfect is okay. I also got to know some other new pastors in the Union, and I look forward to continuing the friendships started there.”

Many saw the fellowship at the retreat as refreshing “I really enjoyed the time we had to visit with others from other conferences and the time we spent with each other at the meal on Friday,” Lester Bentley, pastor of the Gillette, Wyoming district, said.

Others believe the weekend will help them in the pastoral ministry. “I found this retreat to be a true blessing offering great advice and encouragement that I will carry with me into ministry,” Jeff Pike, pastor of the Riverton, Wyoming district, stated.

The retreat is an important step to invest in the new pastors.

“The first years of ministry are very formative, and it is very important that we expose our new pastors to things that can help them succeed in ministry and life for many years to come,” Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director, said.

–RMCNews with Mickey Mallory, RMC ministerial director; photos supplied

1 2 3 4