20 Sep


Karrie Meyers – Highlands Ranch, Colorado … Mile High Academy (MHA) saw its youngest principal yet when Ruby, a bright and enthusiastic fourth-grade student, took charge for a memorable morning on September 14. The unique opportunity was purchased by her grandmother during MHA’s Eat, Mingle & Give annual live auction event hosted earlier in spring and allowed Ruby to enjoy an eventful morning in the shoes of MHA principal Andrew Carpenter.

Ruby’s morning kicked off with getting her Junior Principal name badge before heading to the lower school chapel where she joined her fellow students by singing songs and listening to a worship thought by Pastor Hugo Guillen. Right after chapel, and one of the highlights of her principal duties, she was allowed to pull the fire alarm for the school’s monthly drill.

“It was fun and loud,” Ruby said and quickly added she will never pull it again unless she is asked.

The adventure continued as Ruby visited the kindergarten music class then moved into the preschool/pre-kindergarten art class where she lent her artistic assistance. From art class, she proceeded back to the cafeteria where she listened in on the upper school chapel. “I liked the upper school chapel, but I didn’t know the words to their songs,” she said.

Ruby’s warm-hearted nature was evident as she read two beloved books, “Crow in the Snow” and “Fox in the Box,” to the preschool class during story time. She even got a taste of what it’s like to be interviewed by a reporter when Karrie Meyers, MHA’s marketing and development coordinator, approached her for a news article.

Throughout the morning, Ruby spread joy by waving and greeting her fellow students as she walked around campus with Mr. Carpenter. The principal team also enjoyed a Chick-Fil-A lunch, complete with chocolate milkshakes. To cap off her exciting morning, Ruby treated her class to ice cream sandwiches, celebrating her successful stint as principal.

Ruby contrasted her time at MHA and her morning as junior principal with her previous school, where she said she rarely saw her principal. Here at MHA, Ruby often encounters Mr. Carpenter, whom she admires for playing the guitar. “Mr. Carpenter plays the guitar during chapel, and I love the guitar,” she said.

Reflecting on her special morning, Ruby expressed her wish for the day to continue, adding, “’I’m having a really good time. Wish it could be all day.” However, despite her newfound junior principal role, Ruby’s dreams still revolve around becoming an artist.

Mr. Carpenter offered his praise for Ruby’s accomplishments, stating, “Ruby fulfilled her role as junior principal exceptionally well. She thoughtfully expressed her gratitude to several of our teachers through thank-you notes and warmly greeted her fellow students. While we already value Ruby and her family as integral members of our school community, her extraordinary contributions as junior principal enhanced the already wonderful atmosphere here at MHA. Congratulations, Ruby, on a job well done.”

—Karrie Meyers is the marketing and development coordinator at Mile High Academy. Photos supplied.

20 Sep


Catie Fairfield – Loveland, Colorado … Campion Academy’s Outdoor Club climbed Colorado’s highest peak, Mount Elbert, during the annual backpacking trip, September 8-10. Mount Elbert’s elevation is listed at 14,440 feet above sea level.


The club students and sponsors hiked up two miles, set up camp, and worshiped together around the campfire to open Sabbath. Jill Harlow, Outdoor Club sponsor, challenged the students to connect their experience of climbing the mountain to their spiritual walk with God and to share with others that evening. 


They spent Sabbath hiking the five miles to the summit, gaining more than 4,000 feet in elevation. The climb includes several false summits with the challenge of not being able to see the actual summit as they hiked. The students successfully reached the peak even though some struggled with altitude sickness and fatigue. 


Shawn Ferguson, senior student, explained, “We couldn’t see our goal. We were just hiking, which was hard because we didn’t know how long it would be until we got there.” 


Abigail Brown, freshmen student, reflected that this trip “was an experience like no other. I loved getting to know people more and relating God to the journey of hiking a mountain.” 


The students shared how the hike applied to their spiritual life while they relaxed around the campfire the night of summiting. Campion student Lily Testardi reflected, “When you’re on the top of the highest mountain in Colorado, you look at life very differently than when you’re in a building. Times like these just help us remember how good God is and that, if He can move the foundations of these mountains that we could barely climb, there’s really nothing that He can’t do.”


Testardi continued, “Summiting [Mount] Elbert put a lot of my worldly problems into perspective and reminded me that there’s more to life than what we’re experiencing right now, and that God is bigger than all of this. They call it a mountain top experience for a reason.” 


—Catie Fairfield, Campion Student News Team. Photos by Catie Fairfield and Erik Stenbakken.

14 Sep


By Annette Treat

“We have a visitor today!” Excitement charged through the classroom like a bolt of lightning. Who was it? When would they be here? The students awaited the visitor with eager anticipation.

Before the visitor* arrived, Mrs. Annette Treat told her students a little bit about him; like where he was from, that he worked for the church, and that he wrote stories about people who lived their lives for Jesus and how Jesus touched their lives. She also told her students that he was traveling many, many miles to come and visit them, especially them. She taught them how to welcome him when he arrived, how to listen respectfully while he spoke, and how to thank him for coming.

The children were delighted when he arrived with snacks in hand for each one of them! He explained how he had stopped by the health food store and purposefully chosen healthy snacks to bring them. He even had a variety for the children to pick from.

While the children enjoyed the snacks, The visitor told them a story. He told them about where he was from and about the people there. He told them about the importance of being truthful and being YOU! Most of all, he told them to remember that their behavior is being watched by others. That even their parents, teachers, and friends are watching them and forming an opinion about what kind of person they are. He wanted the children to understand how important it is to lead by example. Others will know you by your behavior, what kind of person you are.

Before leaving, Mr. Dabrowski had a special prayer with the teachers and students, praying specifically for them. He lingered a bit longer and chatted easily with them before moving on with his day.

The love that the visitor showed to the students and teachers at SonShine Academy that day will last until his next visit. The genuine desire to spend time with them and share Jesus with them was seen and felt by all. “Mr. Dabrowski, I think we know what kind of person you are!”

—Annette Treat is the head teacher at SonShine Academy in Worland, Wyoming. Photo provided.

*Rajmund Dabrowski traveled to SonShine Academy, which was a joy to him.

14 Sep


Logan Earles – Littleton, Colorado … The Liberty Bell Cross Country Race was hosted by Heritage High School in Littleton, Colorado, September 9. Schools came from all over the state to participate in this 18-event race. Cars lined the roads for miles as spectators cheered on their favorite racers.

This was not a normal Sabbath for the Littleton Seventh-day Adventist Church. Situated just down the road from the starting line, Littleton Church had hundreds of visitors at their doorstep! When God brings people to your door, what do you do? You serve them. Littleton Church recognized that God was giving them an opportunity to do something great.

Early that morning, twelve church members beat the traffic and gathered out front armed with water bottles and a friendly smile. Their mission was to make sure nobody passed by the church thirsty. Shortly after the races started, they discovered another need was for easily accessible restrooms, so they opened the church and invited people in.

Throughout the morning, the volunteers struck up a conversation with hundreds of people while giving them water. Some had heard of the church while others didn’t know it was even there. One individual was thankful to discover an Adventist church so close by. She told the volunteers that she had grown up Adventist and was looking to reconnect with the Church. Praise God for His divine appointments!

Another thankful individual expressed that she was struggling to get over an illness. Prompted by the Spirit, a group gathered around and prayed over their new acquaintance. They prayed for continued healing and praised God for her ability to be there to support her granddaughter.

“Handing out water seems so simple,” said associate pastor Logan Earles as he reflected on the day. “The setup was quick and easy, but the impact is huge.” After three hours of cheering and handing out water bottles, the race was over, and the spectators and racers went home. Soon the parking lot filled again as the Littleton Church reopened its doors to those coming to worship God.

Although it may have seemed inconvenient to shift the service time, all who volunteered enjoyed their time. Littleton Seventh-day Adventist Church had to be flexible in their service schedule, but they found that, because of this, they were able to be part of their community in a larger way. Members are already looking forward to how God will bring more opportunities to their door.

—Logan Earles is the associate pastor at the Littleton Seventh-day Adventist Church. Photos by Tricia Treft and Steffanie Newkirk.

13 Sep


Sue Nelson – Ward, Colorado … This year’s “Leadership Convention Weekend,” as it is known to the Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) Adventurer and Pathfinder leaders, was held at Glacier View Ranch (GVR), September 8-10. It is a weekend of fellowship, training, and spiritual uplifting.

Godfrey Miranda, lead pastor at Littleton Seventh-day Adventist Church, was the speaker for the convention and talked about “Learning to Lead – Joshua’s Runway to Strong Leadership.” Pastor Godfrey ended his message with the Pathfinder Aim: The Advent Message (what) to all the world (who) in my generation (when).

Kathy Walker, RMC club ministries training coordinator, commented, “The Pathfinder and Adventurer directors, counselors, TLT’s (Teen Leadership Training), and their families that came to leadership [convention] this fall at Glacier View Ranch were treated to great food, fellowship, and a variety of learning experiences. Counselor and Master Guide classes were offered as well as ever popular classes on how to teach honors when they go back to their clubs.”

Kathy continued, “Many thanks to the Coordinators and volunteer teachers that helped teach the classes, and a shout out to our RMC youth director, Brandon Westgate, and Brent Learned, RMC assistant youth director, who shared important topics with our Teens and TLT’s Sabbath morning!”

On Sabbath morning, Vanessa Alarcón, elder at Boulder Adventist Church, and Joanna Rivera, member of Denver Hispanic Adventist Church, presented an engaging and mandatory class on Child Safety Guidelines. They also covered the Sterling Volunteers background check that is required of all volunteers who work with children’s ministry.

The annual business meeting was held on Saturday night and included voting on an updated Constitution, which is done every five years.

Following Pastor Godfrey’s message on Sunday morning, the youth pinning service recognized club members who served the program for the number of years.  Attendees received many give-a-ways thanks to the GVR camp store and AdventSource, who came from Lincoln, Nebraska, with many resources. All council coordinators were also recognized as this club ministry could not function without them!

“Leadership weekend is about coming together to learn and share experiences. We grow in knowledge from our seasoned Adventurer leaders, and we learn new ways to reach our little ones. There isn’t a greater blessing than being able to put in practice the biblical teaching: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6),” remarked Cinthya Miranda, RMC Adventurer coordinator.

—Sue Nelson is the RMC club ministries executive coordinator. Photos supplied.

11 Sep


Rubén Rivera – Denver, Colorado … The Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) Hispanic Camp Meeting assembled at Glacier View Ranch in Ward, Colorado, September 1-3. The Camp Meeting is the largest group who visits Glacier View Ranch with around 500 participants attending this event.

Every year the organizers face several challenges to accommodate the growing group in the lodge, cabins, RVs, campers, and Sabbath day visitors, which is a “good challenge.”

The topic for this year was “perspectives, challenges, and mission for the church in the end times.” The main speaker was Dr. Antonio Rosario, a retired minister, who encouraged and inspired the participants to serve and live faithfully during this time. His wife, Wanda Rosario, sang after each of her husband’s presentations.

Dr. Rosario remarked, “I am impressed by the beautiful spirit of the attendees expressed in our meetings and the very good team of pastors that the Rocky Mountain Conference has. Sandra Santos, a volunteer from the children’s program mentioned, ‘It’s very exciting to see many people here, and I feel very grateful to serve and share the love of God to our children’.”

Three other programs and services convened simultaneously. Cesia Alvarado-Zemleduch, a writer, educator, and children’s speaker from the Central California Conference, was the main guest speaker for the children’s program. Pastors Mario and Natali Alvarado from the Utah-Nevada Conference provided the youth program. The adult program was provided by Pastor Samuel Aponte, an international preacher and singer, and praised the Lord and shared deep messages.

One of the most fulfilling experiences was that eight precious souls that dedicated their life to Jesus through baptism. Pastor Frank Wilson, lead pastor of the Aurora, Denver, and Westminster Hispanic churches and Carbon Valley Adventist Company, and Pastor David Rodriguez, lead pastor of the Boulder and Brighton Hispanic and El Refugio churches, performed the ceremony.

Manuel Rocha, attendee and member of the Denver South Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church, expressed, “My wife and I recognize the real value and experience of being here.”

The roughly 500 participants that attended this event enjoyed fellowship, good food, worship, and, especially, had a deep personal encounter with the Lord.

—Rubén Rivera is the RMC Hispanic Ministries coordinator. Photos by Daniel Gonzalez.

07 Sep


Diane Harris – Denver, Colorado … The Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) K-12 Board of Education met to discuss the future of Adventist education within the conference on September 5.

The K-12 board meets twice a year and constitutes a group of committed members that include pastors, laity, school board chairs, elementary and secondary principals, and conference leadership. The goal is to create a positive impact that works in harmony with the mission and vision of RMC Administration.

At the heart of our mission is the commitment to grow our schools, not just in numbers but in the depth of learning experiences. This means working to provide opportunities to help students grow in mind, body, and spirit and build on the principles of Adventist education.

Professional development emerged as a vital focus during the meeting. The board believes that by investing in the educators, they invest in the future of the students. They are committed to nurturing the talents of the teachers and providing them with the tools and training they need to excel in their roles. This idea is based on the research that the most significant factor in influencing student achievement is whether students are given a clear purpose and can understand their learning journey.

The committee heard from RMC educators Jessica Gleason, a teacher from Mile High Academy, Rachel Fetroe, a teacher from Vista Ridge Academy, and Marsha Bartulec, principal at Vista Ridge Academy, about how professional development has influenced their leadership and teaching. Through collaboration and mentorship, the goal is to foster a sense of community among the teachers, strengthening schools and promoting collective excellence.

Diane Harris, RMC superintendent of education, remarked, “As we closed the meeting, we shared that 60% of our students do not identify as Seventh-day Adventists. What a wonderful opportunity to partner with our churches to reach these families to share the blessing of our message. Together, we can continue to work towards accomplishing the Three Angels Message as we build bridges within our communities.”

—Diane Harris is the RMC superintendent of education. Photo supplied.

07 Sep


Catie Fairfield – Loveland, Colorado … The Campion Academy senior students continued the tradition of bonding as a class while surviving in the woods at Glacier View Ranch in Ward, Colorado, August 30 – September 3.

They hiked into the wilderness with their gear and set up their shelters using only natural materials, ropes, and tarps. The students were blessed not to contend with bad weather as it was mostly warm and sunny for the trip.

The students went without their phones, allowing them to find entertainment through conversations and games. “It was really nice seeing the students interact with each other and talk because kids normally don’t sit there and talk as much as they used to,” remarked Amy Kluchesky, senior class sponsor.

During the days, the students had to use communication, leadership, and patience to complete group activities, including a trust fall off a rock. Senior student Natanya Razafindrabes shared that this was her favorite memory of the trip because “during the trust fall, we were all connected and really bonding since we literally had to trust our classmates to catch us.”

On Friday evening, many students shared their testimonies around the campfire. “I was able to see God during these testimonies no matter who told them, even if they were struggling with understanding God. I saw how God would take care of and communicate with each person,” reminisced senior class president Seth Harmon.

Many students felt that they grew closer with one another over the trip. Dwayne Rey, senior student, commented, “We’ve gotten more comfortable with each other and we’re able to be vulnerable, which makes our relationships stronger. We got to know more about each other’s opinions and how we handle things. We were able to see things from each other’s perspective, which makes it possible for us to grow.”

The attending Campion staff also noted how well the class connected. Sue Helm, senior class sponsor, reflected, “The girls and guys bonded by spending time and playing games together. I think they definitely bonded during the trust fall. That was a huge, huge one. These kinds of activities connected them as a class because they had to work together. They had to understand each other’s feelings, what each one was going through, and what he or she needed at the time.”

The students held a communion service and class elections on Saturday night. They returned to campus on Sunday stronger as a class.

—Catie Fairfield, Campion Academy Student News Team. Photos by Dean Helm.

07 Sep


Wayne Surls – Denver, Colorado … When we hear the three letters “T-L-C” together, we might think of “tender loving care.” These letters also translate into “True Life Community,” a Seventh-day Adventist Church in southwest Denver, Colorado. There may be some who have not heard of True-Life Community Church, but it has been in the area for about a decade.

It’s a contemporary Seventh-day Adventist fellowship that has several different ministries and is very involved in church and community activities. There are four zoom calls for prayer. One is called “Prayer and Text,” and anyone, not just members of TLC Church, can participate.

There is a ministry to help the homeless called “The Encouragement Basket” and another called “The Thanks Basket.” There’s a Women’s Ministry and a Men’s Ministry and Christmas for Kids. There is also a zoom Bible Study of which everyone is invited to join. And there is Jude’s Basinet Ministry, which has grown into a large community service, that provides items mothers need to care for a new baby.

But the ministry to highlight right now is the annual Seven Hours of Prayer. This will take place this year at the church on September 16 from 2:00-9:00 p.m. There will be a blessing for all who attend, and TLC Church extends an invitation to anyone who wishes to participate. No one is obligated to stay the entire length of time, and you may come and go at your convenience.

This year, there will be a change in the format of the program. Ten rooms will be set up for those with special prayer burdens. There will be one for those who have concerns for someone who is in the military, will have a certain dangerous deployment, or more. There will be rooms for those who have concerns about children or health issues or with the unity of in the church. Another will be reserved to learn lessons from the Garden of Gethsemane. There will also be space for those who want to pray about events surrounding the Second Coming of Christ or those with concerns for a revival in the church.

Please come and join us to share in the blessing of seven hours of prayer!

—Wayne Surls attends True Life Community Seventh-day Adventist Church. Photo by Unsplash.

07 Sep


By Dr. Bryant Taylor

When churches closed their physical doors in early 2020, churchgoers were understanding and appreciative of the forward-thinking, care, and concern of pastors and church administrators. After a few weeks, both groups became concerned about the decision to close the doors. Pastors and ministries became worried because they were not sure if there would be financial support for the church. In fact, according to Barna Group, there was a 58% increase in financial giving.

Churchgoers became concerned because they wondered if the doors would ever open again. Within a few weeks of closing, there was a loud outcry to open the church, and reasons ranged from if the Lord be with us what virus should we fear, to the separation of church and state has been eroded, and now the state is determining if the church will be open or not. Emotions were high, as evident by the fiery, opinionated post on social media. The overwhelming thought was that as soon as the doors opened, the church would fill with overjoyed members.

Church administrators and pastoral teams quickly formed Covid task forces to give insight and develop plans to re-enter the church. Church staff utilized RSVP systems, as well as check-in procedures. With the expectation of many people clamoring to go back into the sanctuary, many added another service. However, the anticipated mad rush was just a trickle. The expected numbers and people groups just were not there to substantiate the written and voiced desire to be physically present in the sanctuary. People didn’t show up, for various reasons: health & safety, crowd adverse, comfort of their own space. Interestingly, Barna Group also reports that there were 72% more viewers of the online services.

The pandemic enlightened the understanding of many to something that was always evident: the church is not the building; it is not restricted, defined, nor limited to its physical structure. It did not take long before people realized that they did not have to sit on a pew or in a chair inside of a building with others to receive the blessings of God. They did not have to physically be present to have a worship experience and to feel the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. In large metropolitan areas where there are multiple churches, the idea of church-hopping is a known phenomenon. However, Covid expanded and magnified the notion of church hopping.

In this virtual space, a churchgoer could attend any number of services. They could experience multiple worship services in various cities simultaneously. Viewers would go to one church for the engaging children’s ministry, click to another tab, and wave their hands in response to the music from a different worship service. Click again, listen to the dramatic introduction, click to hear the profound social, theological implications of the scripture, click to hear the energetic close of the sermon, click to listen to the tear-inducing song that closed another service. There are many worship options: conservative, traditional, liberal, mundane, lively, anthems, spirituals, gospels, Christian hip hop, and more. The choice of teaching or preaching; doctrines, life situations, socially conscious, you name it, is available, and people gravitated to the various styles that ministered to their lives.

The pandemic also taught us that the Sabbath truly is a day of rest, as the Sabbath was made “FOR” humanity. Families began to go to state parks, the beach, the mountains. They discovered hiking and started to fall in love with nature. Some spent the sabbath hours in service to others: delivering meals, volunteering at community outreach organizations, or closing the Sabbath by just sitting in the front yard singing to a member who was in the house listening through the window.

This peaceful, easy-going Sabbath became a highlight in the lives of many churchgoers. The most successful ministries adapted and adopted their service to accommodate their online audience.

The program was sometimes shortened to as little as 45 minutes; the children’s ministry section was enhanced and targeted to children; it was not an adult story told to children; the best musical groups were selected. The combination of rest and relaxation Church/worship on demand, the discovery, exploration, and love of nature caused many not to rush back to the building when the doors opened. From this we can see another shocking realization: “41% of Black churchgoers favor a hybrid church future.”

The older members will still dress in their Sabbath best, sit in the family room and join the service for the comfort of their home; young families will continue to attend, just not weekly, they may attend two weeks, and the other two weeks they will spend in service to others and nature outings with the family.

The church doors are open, the pews and chairs may not be filled, but the church is not empty.

—Dr. Bryant Taylor serves as communication director of the Southern Union Conference. Republished by permission from North American Division ministerial department newsletter.