30 Sep


By David Klemm … Fruita, Colorado -Ten men from the Fruita and Grand Junction Seventh-day Adventist churches gathered for fun and fellowship on a beautiful fall day at James Robb State Park in Fruita, Colorado.  Five early arrivals rode bikes from the park to the end of Riverfront trail, which ends about four miles shy of Utah.  A wonderful and relatively easy ride, the last several hundred yards is a leg-burning, steep climb to the top.

Back at the park after the ride, the entire group gathered, while some of the old fellows played a game of pick-up football and showed surprising arm strength and catching skills.

“At the foot of the Bookcliffs mountain range by the mighty Colorado River, it was pleasant to hang out with guys we haven’t seen in recent months and enjoy a relaxed schedule,” commented David Klemm from Grand Junction.

The group discussed what should be pursued as hands-on service projects.  Several options were discussed, including benefiting food pantries and the local hospice. The group agreed to put our “shoulders to the gospel plow” as soon as possible.

“Even though social distancing was necessary, the fresh air and laughter lifted our spirits. We were truly blessed to have this time together,” David Klemm added.

–David Klemm is a member of the Grand Junction Church; photos supplied.

29 Sep

Pueblo moves evangelism online

By Anton Kapusi – Pueblo, Colorado … The Pueblo Church refocused their evangelism outreach, to social media and beyond.

COVID has brought a new normal of social distancing, masked faces, and has introduced a gap between not only people, but families, church members, and all kinds of relationships.

The question our faith community is facing is how to continue the gospel work when we can’t mingle physically, and when there is a limit to how many can attend meetings. The Pueblo Church developed a plan to hold evangelistic meetings by going online to increase their sphere of influence.

“(We) jumped on the opportunity that presented itself back in May 2020 to conduct online evangelistic outreach by MaxLife Events run by the Outreach Ministries of the Oregon Conference,” Anton Kapusi, Pueblo First pastor, said.

The first online series, “Leading from Your Pain” by John Boston began September 18, and has generated 451 interests in Pueblo, after just three presentations.

“In Pueblo, we have our work cut for us. There was never such a great interest expressed to any event that the church has organized in the past. It is amazing what a timely subject and targeted advertisements can do in our time and culture,” Kapusi said.

Pueblo church plans to hold more of these mini online evangelism meetings.  In October, Unchained: Hope and Healing from Addiction, with Pastor Richie Halversen and “Revelation of Love: Bible Prophecy Seminar,” with David Machado are planned.

“What will be the final impact of these series on Pueblo, only heaven knows. But we at Pueblo First are determined by God’s grace to embrace as many as possible,” Kapusi concluded.

–Anton Kapusi is pastor of Pueblo First Church in Pueblo, Colorado

29 Sep

Campion students experience backpacking for the first time

By Bentlee Barry – Loveland, Colorado … Students experienced Colorado’s mountainous art, God created, on their annual back packing trip, several of the fifteen students for the first time.

“It was a lot of fun and I definitely would go again. I was going in blind and had no idea what to expect. Using the restroom in the forest was definitely a challenge I had to overcome since I’m from Kansas and there are no mountains,” Jared Marcenaro, Campion junior, said.  “It was cool to see first-hand how huge the mountains really are. I now understand the significance of the phrase that God moves mountains because he really is so strong and powerful.”

The excursion taught the students to adapt to the ever-changing weather conditions in the mountains when their trip had to be quickly rescheduled because of snow, and then the location had to be changed due to a nearby forest fire.

The students hiked some fifteen miles in the vast outdoors, which included visiting Coney Lake in Colorado, camping by a river, and the highlight of the trip, witnessing a moose near camp.

“It was a lot more fun than I expected. The hike was hard, but the view and sense of satisfaction made it worth it. I was exhausted and my legs hurt a lot, but my friends were there and everyone helped each other out,” Airi Nomura, Campion junior, said. “I definitely want to go on another one, but maybe the hike could be a bit shorter and the days a bit longer.”

The experience was memorable for the students and the staff who sponsored the weekend away.

“I love doing outdoor activities and getting away from the rush and stress of life. I am able to grow and reconnect with God, and I love introducing students to that experience as well,” Jill Harlow, backpacking faculty sponsor, said.

–Bentlee Barry is a senior at Campion Academy; photo by Jill Harlow

29 Sep

Community distribution center formed at Pueblo First

By Delbit Hayden – Pueblo, Colorado … The Pueblo area had the opportunity to help families in need by providing free baby diapers from the State of Colorado, but there was still a need for a distribution center and a team to lead the efforts.

Members of Pueblo First church offered their building as a place to receive and store the truckload of diapers and the Pueblo First Adventist Community Service (ACS) team began developing the distribution process.

In August, the first shipment of eight pallets, stacked six feet high, was unloaded at Pueblo First.  Within weeks, the ACS team had distributed the diapers to many local charities including: Corporate Care, Casa De Pueblo, Catholic Charities, Los Pobres, YWCA, Kids Crossing, Salvation Army, Kidsville, All About Kids, Head Start, and Cañon City ACS.

After the first eight pallets of goods were passed out, another truckload arrived and the process of distribution began again.

The members are waiting on the next shipment to hand out to the new friends they have made in the various organizations throughout the area helping those in need.

–Delbit Hayden is Pueblo First ACS director; photo supplied.

28 Sep


Grand Junction, Colorado … The sanctuary doctrine was the focus of a recent lay pastor’s training weekend held at the Grand Junction Church.

The purpose of the training was not to make “pastors” but to help people hear what God is calling them to do and to give them the tools and resources that they need to do it. Each training weekend includes a practical ministry topic and a theological focus.

The practical ministry focus goal for the weekend was for every attendee to give a short sermon. Then, each had an opportunity to share something positive that the speaker did in their preparation and their delivery of the message.

“(I) enjoyed the opportunity to ‘practice’ our presentation. I learned logical, as well as more specific hints on how to successfully speak to groups,” Sandi Adcox, lay pastor trainee, said

Through studying the sanctuary truth, the gathering discovered how God revealed Himself and the plan of salvation through the sanctuary and learned about many of the deeper things of God and the distance He is willing to go to save His people.

Sandy Carosella, another lay pastor trainee, said that this training was, “So very revealing [of] things we have always heard, but not to this depth or detail. It was so very exciting. I can’t get enough.”

The Denver cohort of lay pastor training met at Denver South on September 11 – 13 for their training, where 19 had gathered.

“In the past I was preaching many sermons. But this training really taught me how to prepare and organize including the layout of sermons. To preach effectively the word of God in the church or the community,” Jones Tuufuli, lay pastor trainee from Colorado Springs, said.

–Grand Junction newsletter; photo supplied

28 Sep

Church Member Visitation: Global Trends

By The General Conference Office of Archives and Statistics — Silver Spring, Maryland … It was written about the early Christian believers: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. . . . Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42–47).2

The Adventist Church uses Christ’s method to minister to those outside the church. But how good are we in ministering to our own members?

A Pastor’s Responsibility?

The Global Church Member Survey 2017-2018 (GCMS) asked members how often in the last 12 months they had received a visit from their pastor. The largest group of respondents (38 percent) reported that they had never received such a visit. Another quarter (25 percent) reported one or two pastoral visits in the last year. Twelve percent reported such a visit every quarter, and another 25 percent had received a pastor’s visit once a month or more often.

When the survey results were cross-tabulated, they showed that members who had not attended church in the last 12 months were least likely to receive pastoral visits. Members who attended church every week were most likely to receive frequent (weekly) visits from their pastor. These findings point to a lack of tender pastoral care of non regular churchgoers.

Elder Interaction

Church members were also asked how often in the last year they had received a visit from a church elder. The results were similar to visits by a pastor. Two out of five (41 percent) respondents had never received a visit from an elder, while 23 percent reported an elder visiting once or twice in the last year. Ten percent reported that an elder had visited their home approximately once a quarter, and again, 25 percent had enjoyed visits from a church elder once a month or more often.

When the results were cross-tabulated, they revealed similar results to the frequency of pastoral visits. Those who had not attended church in the last 12 months were least likely to receive a visit from an elder, while members who attended church every week were most likely to receive such visits, specifically on a weekly basis.

These numbers are cause for concern. They reveal that church leaders do not appear to be reaching out to those who have stepped away from the church or are not regular attenders/regularly involved. It is vital that church leaders connect with all their members, especially those who are no longer active. After all, Jesus said,“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick: I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

Our Duty to Each Other

How do members do when it comes to interacting with each other? Are they doing better about visiting each other, visiting more frequently than pastors and/or elders?

The number of those who had not received a visit from fellow church members in the last year was almost twice as low as those never having been visited by an elder (21 percent). Another quarter (26 percent) reported having received one or two such visits once or twice a year, and 13 percent had received a visit from a church member at least once a quarter in the last year. A large number (40 percent) had also received such visits once a month or more often.

When we examine the structure of the New Testament church and review the letters written by the apostles Peter, Paul, and John, we see again and again how important it is to be in Christian community with each other. We also see that there is great spiritual power when believers come together in the name of Christ.

Members who had not attended church in the last 12 months were again the least-visited category of members when the numbers were cross-tabulated. It appears that church members were also keen to engage in community with those who were actively involved, perhaps neglecting those who had fallen by the wayside or were outside the church’s four walls. It might also be that local churches do not have information about those who have stopped attending services.

Based on the results of the 2017-2018 GCMS, local church leaders should be challenged to be aware of what is happening in the lives of their members and visit them more frequently; similarly, church members should be challenged to visit and fellowship with each other more often.

While this may seem difficult to do during a global pandemic, it may be time to consider more creative ways of interacting. Scheduling a Zoom hangout, small-group meeting, or FaceTime call; getting together for a physically distanced picnic or chat; even sending handwritten notes can all be great ways to remind members that they are valued. Such interactions will likely result in bringing members back inside the four walls of the church when the pandemic has passed.

Jesus said, A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”(John 13:3435). We demonstrate our love for one another when we create opportunities to intentionally interact with one another.

For more information on 2017-2018 Global Church Member Survey (GCMS), visit www.adventistresearch.org/blog/2020/09/global-trends-church-member-visitation.

1 Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry.
2 Bible texts are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright ã 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
***This article was originally published on the Adventist Review website
24 Sep


By Samantha Nelson

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we   should be called the sons [daughters] of God…” 1 John 3:1(a) KJV

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be royalty? Have you ever watched documentaries about the queens and kings of England or other countries and pondered what life would be like in the royal palace? I enjoy learning about history from these types of documentaries, but confess that I have never spent much time wondering about palace life myself—other than desiring to visit the family castles—although perhaps I need to ponder it more.

Recently, as I was researching the maternal side of my family tree, I discovered that I am a descendant of several kings and other nobility from England. There were also knights who served with King Richard the Lionhearted during the Crusades and many other prominent noblemen associated with my ancestors. This discovery caused me to feel excited that I had such an interesting pedigree and that I am part of a royal bloodline.

However, that fascination and sense of excitement soon waned as it dawned on me that I have always been a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I don’t need to wonder what life in a castle in England would be like as the daughter of kings. I need to ponder what life is like here, and in eternity, as the daughter of THE KING!

Addressing my Christian sisters and brothers, how about you? What’s your perspective? Do you recognize your value as a daughter or a son of the King? Do you realize that you are part of “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”? (1 Peter 2:9) Do you comprehend what it means to be a daughter or son of God, to know truth, to have power through Christ to conquer evil and overcome sin? It’s a powerful truth!

It all seems too much to comprehend sometimes and so, my friends, I would encourage you to join me in spending more time contemplating our Father’s great love for us as His daughters and His sons, His special children, His chosen heirs. Truly, we are blessed beyond measure by God’s infinite and matchless love for us. And, with that in mind, being a daughter of earthly king pales by comparison, for we have a palace in Heaven with our Father the King!

Samantha Nelson is a pastor’s wife who loves serving alongside her husband Steve. She is also the CEO of The Hope of Survivors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting victims of clergy sexual abuse and providing educational seminars to clergy of all faiths.

24 Sep


By Jayce Treat – Loveland, Colorado … Students were “illuminated” after the performance from Campion Academy’s newly-formed drama class on September 16 during their weekly chapel.

Campion Academy’s drama class, Illuminated, wrote and constructed the play, which was about trusting God amidst tough circumstances.

It’s been a year of many disasters and disappointments, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and Illuminated wanted to convey the message that through it all, God is with us and will always listen to us.

“I think the most important message we wanted to get across was to always communicate with God no matter what,” Sami Hodges, Campion senior and lead actress, said. “I wanted the audience to understand that even though there are so many distractions, if they are able to keep connected with God, whether it’s through prayer or a spiritual conversation with a friend, it will make it much easier to navigate through life knowing He is always by our side.”

The drama students represented emotional struggles in the play with words, including “fear” and “anxiety”, on black boxes. During the climax of the play, Jesus, portrayed by Francisco Cortez Echeverria, knocked away the boxes piled around the stage.

“The most important aspect of the play to me was the symbolism,” Daniel Garcia-Mencia, Campion junior, said. “With the struggles that teenagers and adults alike may be going through, especially with all the chaos that is around us, we just have to trust in God and know He’ll be there to guide us through it all.”

Jayce Treat is a senior at Campion Academy; photos by Bentlee Barry

24 Sep


***Editor’s Note: Southern Adventist University students participated in honoring Constitution Week by holding a spoken-word contest, September 22.  Two poems are published with author’s permission.*** 

***Editor’s Note: The following poem won the grand prize***

They are thankful for the freedom of speech yet they do not want me to speak

Some will call this a “Post-racial” society.
This is a false narrative.
So I give you this simple imperative. Listen.

When I was young, I thought that my skin was disgusting
And if you had been there with me discussing what is attractive
You would have seen slavery’s impact is still in me

I found the darkness of my skin repulsive.
And while those with lighter tones were given strength in their bones
By tv shows that showed heroes who looked like them
Being told that they were owed everything in this world

It made them impulsive.

But they say that if I’m not doing anything wrong,
Things aren’t really that bleak
They are thankful for the freedom of speech yet they do not want me to speak

I was taught to fear.
My parents didn’t let me touch things in the store
Because they knew that no matter how nice our clothes
My skin would make people think I was poor
And thought whatever my fingers touched was no longer yours
But had been stolen by me.

But they say that if I’m not doing anything wrong,
Things aren’t really that bleak
They are thankful for the freedom of speech yet they do not want me to speak

I was taught to fear
“Sit over here” my parents told me one evening
I was young back then and just wanted apple juice
But all I got was the bitter truth
“TJ we need to talk to you about police”

See those with different skin tend to grow up thinking that the police are in service of them
But my parents told me to make myself appear thin and small
Because cops sometimes see us as muscular and tall, animalistic
So they taught me to withdraw
To say “Yes sir” and keep my hands where they could be seen
To talk slow, polite, and kind, so I could be seen as a human
But they say that if I’m not doing anything wrong,
Things aren’t really that bleak
They are thankful for the freedom of speech yet they do not want me to speak

I was taught to fear
That my friends, teachers, and peers might just be racist
That my friends would ask me to “Say this” and compare my voice to the black people on TV
That my teachers would gloss over the history of my people to talk about more inbred Western royalty
That my peers would touch my hair without asking, a scruffy stray dog they found in the street
Even the word microaggressions, minimizes the things you do in my vicinity

But they say that if I’m not doing anything wrong,
Things aren’t really that bleak
They are thankful for the freedom of speech, yet they do not want me to speak

I was taught to fear
When Kaepernick was shunned for speaking his truth
What does that teach a youth?
Because if a man can lose his job over a red, white, and blue symbol
Then why would I try to ever peaceably assemble
Cause even Keap and other famous people of color have enough money and a platform that nothing can hurt them
But I have always lived in the South
With family old enough to remember Jim Crow
So, when they say “post racial” because of what they think they know
I remember my grandpa’s story of his nice new yellow truck
In the prime of his life, in a stroke of luck

He managed to afford this vehicle but got rid of it when KKK members painted it red

But they say that if I’m not doing anything wrong,
Things aren’t really that bleak
They are thankful for the freedom of speech yet they do not want me to speak

I was taught to fear
My mom wanted to cry when I went to several protests early this year
She was worried about the money when I transferred to Tennessee
But also scared to hear my name on the phone
Scared to see my name become a hashtag
With only bones and reporters wondering if I was in a gang
Would that be my legacy
So when I got tear gassed and I couldn’t see
I wondered what they would say of me.

Would people from my past offer defense or attacks?
With my past picked apart
My mistakes on full blast, every good deed worthless because all they would smell is the trash
I blinked out the tears, fire on my eyes and skin
Vulnerable in the face of their riot gear
I was taught to fear
Sam Cooke ringing in my ear

But can I wait on change one more year
My eyes still burning, I am not welcome here
And I can see Bob Dylan asking
How many years can some people exist

Before they’re allowed to be free?
Through half-closed lids, I almost run into the street
Marvin Gaye asks me What’s Going On
And I don’t really know

But I know that I can’t operate with fear
Though shaking I exercise my freedom of speech right now
I know there is a cost to these words in my reputation
But that is a price I am willing to pay

–TJ Simmons is a junior Religious Education major at Southern Adventist University


 From Sea to Spoken Sea

I see that there’s a place for you and me
A place from sea to shining sea
A place where we can be free

To believe what we want without fear or a thought
Of what could happen tomorrow if we share our own possibilities
Because it’s possible that through my own speech, I can change the course of history-
-has shown we must continue to speak to be free
And it’s hard to imagine a life without the ability to speak to one’s own family

My family, yeah, they’re so proud of me for using my voice to speak up about reality
Because life isn’t always easy even when you’re free
Free to speak up about what is tough, yeah, that’s a big responsibility
It’s all part of an exchange
It’s your choice to use your voice to make a difference and be brave

Some people fight with weapons other people fight with words, but we are equally protected by the second and the —
First time I understood what it meant to be free was when I met someone from a different country
No, they weren’t allowed to do so many things that I have always done and never viewed as a luxury
Which is the ability to share your thoughts on a policy and not worry about being killed
And I want to make it clear that this is more than a fear; this is a reality for people who didn’t live in this place like you and me
A place from sea to shining sea
A place where we can be free

–Christina Coston is a senior at Southern Adventist University studying Communication and International Studies with an emphasis in Spanish. She is also the copy editor for the Southern Accent and is editor for BizTech News



23 Sep


By Delbert Hayden – Pueblo, Colorado … After hearing the news of a fire destroying an apartment complex on August 4, along with the livelihood of many of their neighbors, Pueblo First Church members came to the rescue.

Joining forces with Southern Colorado Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster, the Pueblo First Adventist Community Services team, led by Delbert and Kathy Hayden, and the Angels of Kindness, Pueblo First’s homeless ministry, developed a plan to feed the nine families displaced by fire while their homes were rebuilt.

Church members cooked and delivered pre-packaged hot meals to the families every Saturday at the hotel where they were housed while waiting for their apartments to be rebuilt. These meals have included prepackaged salads and lasagna and supplement the box of food the families receive weekly.

Delbert Hayden is Pueblo First ACS DR leader; photos supplied

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