Archive for May, 2011
by Leo Ranzolin
The salvation of young people is still utmost on the minds of former youth directors who met earlier this year for fellowship at Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center in Sebring. More than twenty retired leaders who gathered for the event have served young people for an average of 30 years. Their love and support for youth ministry is still evident by the reports shared with the group:
Responsibility of Parents
Norm Middag, former North American Division leader, presented a devotional about parents’ responsibilities to guide children’s footsteps.
Reclaiming Alumni Pathfinders
Wayne Hicks, Upper Columbia Conference Pathfinder Director, sent a document that described a plan to reclaim alumni Pathfinders. The proposal received favorable attention.
Young People in Volunteer Army
Les Rilea, National Service Coordinator and Civilian Chaplain for Southern Union Conference, reported on problems facing young people in the United States volunteer army, especially in keeping the Sabbath.
Terry Dodge, President of the Youth/Pathfinder Museum to be established in Battle Creek, Mich., gave a project status report. The hope is to settle soon on property to make this dream a reality.
The next meeting of retired youth leaders will be held in Orlando, February 26, 2012.
by Jeffrey Thompson
Six Broward County judges were honored at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Church, during an International Day service where Senior Pastor Jeffrey Thompson offered a special prayer for each of the judges.
The service commenced as members from 25 countries carried their country’s flag in a colorful parade of nations. Dr. T.A. McNeal, senior pastor of North Side Church, was the featured speaker with a sermon entitled “Minority Majority.” Infinite Praise and Emmanuel Singers provided special music.
International Day, coordinated by Beulah Shaw, culminated with an international social on Saturday evening. Attendees sampled native food from several countries of the world.
by Owen Powell
Pompano Beach Church Pathfinders, Adventurers, and Master Guides celebrated Pathfinder Weekend January 21-22. Club members conducted the Friday evening program and Sabbath activities, including the opening procession, music, children’s story, offering call, and concert.
In his sermon, “The Prodigal Father,” Freddy Rodriguez, Florida Conference Associate Director for Pathfinder, Adventurer and Youth Ministries, encouraged the Pathfinders, Adventurers, and Master Guides to find and embrace every individual and celebrate their relationship with Jesus. Rodriguez’ message was filled with stories and examples of how to be a better Christian. During lunch, Rodriguez answered questions about his work and plans for the Pathfinder and youth program in south Florida.
Additional guests who joined the celebration were members of eight Pathfinder clubs from area churches; Martha Lewis, South Central Area Coordinator; and Kathy Adams, Conference Assistant Master Guide Director.
by ANN Staff
Adventist News Network content is now available as an app for the iPhone and Android operating systems.
The newly released apps include news, photos and opinion commentaries as they are published. The apps also offer the ANN Styleguide and Glossary, which explains the rationale behind corporate news for a worldwide Christian denomination.
“Regular communication can help keep members and leaders worldwide better connected with each other as well as enhance the church’s corporate transparency to its members and the public,” said Ansel Oliver, the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s assistant Communication director for news.
The app was produced by Simple Updates, a Michigan-based developer, and is available in the iPhone App Store and the Android Market.
Users may also contact the editor or submit photos and story suggestions on the ANN website at news.adventist.org.
by Brendan White
Community Service Day at Lake City, Fla., Church on Sunday, April 17, included a controlled exercise by Columbia County Fire Department. The exercise taught children and adults how to survive if they should find themselves trapped in a burning building.
Church members invited friends from throughout the community to participate in this potentially life-saving event. Children learned how to stop, drop, and roll should they ever find themselves in a room filled with smoke. Suddenly, the room was magically filled with smoke so the students could practice what they had learned.
Paramedics and Columbia County Fire and Rescue assisted with the exercise. Trauma One team made a grand entrance with their arrival by helicopter. Officer Jackson from the Sheriff’s Department was also on hand to demonstrate training techniques for a K-9 dog.
by Herb Pritchard
I was there to see Ricky Couch baptized at a special Saturday evening vespers program along with his Ocala Church family. With a love only a mother could display, Karen Couch stepped to the pulpit and read a letter written to her towering 14-year-old son before signing off, “Little Mommy.” My heart burned in this moment that inspired me from head to toe.
As Ricky’s parents, Karen and Rick, stood arm-in-arm, Pastor Dave Swinyar dipped Ricky into the baptismal pool. As he arose, the smile on his face was met with resounding “Amens” from his church family. As an octogenarian in the congregation, I praise God for young people who, with spiritual vision, have pledged themselves for the better things of life, both now and for eternity!
Karen Couch’s Letter to Ricky
January 15, 2011
What a special occasion this is. Nineteen years ago, Daddy and I stood right here and began our life together. Six years later, we stood here and dedicated you to God. Now, 14 years after that, we stand here again to watch as you are baptized.
As a mother, my greatest desire is for you and your brothers to know God and to choose to follow His principles for life. Today is not so much a new beginning for you, but a continuation of what has been growing in you since you were a little boy. You have always had a heart for God, and it has been a joy to watch you grow and mature in your relationship with Him.
I know from your studying of the Bible that you believe God is love, and everything He does is because He is love. I am glad you are learning to think for yourself and that you understand God wants us to reason and think things through for ourselves rather than just accept what someone tells us to be truth. Be settled in the truth you know, but never be satisfied that you know all truth. God is infinite, so our knowledge and understanding of Him will always be growing. How you know Him today is only one point on a line that will continue for eternity. Always be willing to learn and grow as the Holy Spirit leads you.
As you stand in the water this evening, I will be standing here with you, not only to support you in your decision to allow God to do His transforming work in you, but also to reaffirm my own decision.
Well, I can’t believe it has been almost 15 years since I first held you in my arms. A huge, tiny little baby, and now you are taller than me. How did we get this far so fast?! I enjoy our talks and conversations. You have some deep insights into things and I learn from you. I love when you make me laugh. I am proud of you, and I look forward to seeing what else God has in store for you.
I love you with all my heart,
Your “Little Mommy”
by Sandra Doran
Twelve people entered the waters of baptism at Kress Memorial Church in Winter Park, Fla., at the conclusion of a six-week evangelistic series held by Lester Pratt, Florida Conference evangelist. Each candidate was clearly brought to the congregation by a series of unique miracles.
Helen Wright lived across the street and began attending Dinner at Kress on Wednesday evenings. Shortly afterward, she was joined by her children and grandchildren, and it wasn’t long before they decided to attend church. Today, the family takes up two pews each Sabbath, and three of Helen’s grandchildren are attending school at Orlando Junior Academy.
Carmen Castro was originally a member of a church renting from Kress Memorial on Sunday mornings. She slipped into her customary pew on a Saturday instead of Sunday one week, determined to find out what the seventh-day Sabbath was all about. After a few weeks, she joined a Sabbath School class and requested Bible studies. Her friend, José Candelario, joined her at church two weeks later, and they began earnestly studying the Bible. Within a month, José was reunited with his three teenage sons who enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to join their father at church. When the evangelistic campaign began, Carmen, José, and his three boys attended every evening, and all five were baptized.
A few months before the meetings, Mauri Barnett and his girlfriend, Kyla Riordan, became convicted of the Sabbath. They both began observing Sabbath along with Kyla’s son and two daughters and Mauri’s son and daughter. After finding Kress Memorial’s online church service, they tuned in one Saturday to Pastor Eric Doran’s sermon on Sabbath observance.
“It’s like he was speaking directly to us,” said Mauri. “We changed our way of worshiping that very day. We started getting out into nature, spending time with the children, and pointing out God’s hand in creation.”
After receiving a flyer in the mail, the two families attended the evangelistic series. The two eldest children were baptized, and they will be joined soon by Mauri and Kyla who plan to marry.
Elizee Daniel and Judith Gopie also decided to marry as a result of their commitment to Christ. Elizee reconnected with his Adventist background and Judith was baptized.
Aric Patrick discovered the meetings when he received a flyer in the mail.
Raoul Campoverde, the brother of a church member, had been taking Bible studies from Bible worker Mike Shellong.
Liz Clifton heard about the scheduled baptism at the meetings from Shellong. Due to terminal cancer plaguing her life with uncertainty, she earnestly requested permission to immediately join the baptismal group. Pastor Doran consented and Liz was baptized on Sabbath evening. “This is the best decision I have ever made,” she said. “The water feels wonderful. I know I am in God’s hands. I can feel His peace all around me.”
The congregation was moved to tears and then broke into applause. Liz came out of the water with a glow of radiance, all thoughts of cancer held in abeyance for the moment, delighted to be sealed with God’s people.
Two months later, Pastor Doran performed Liz’s funeral service, followed by a dinner provided by the Kress Memorial Church family. Liz’s witness lives on through the spiritual interest of her daughters. Meanwhile, Kress Memorial continues reaching out in the community with more baptisms planned.
submitted by André Van Heerden
For the past year, churches in north Florida have operated Mercy Network of Clay County, a ministry that provides assistance to many homeless families with children. Mercy Network group homes have been open for more than two months to assist these families with temporary accommodations, and the ministry is gathering support to open three additional homes. Orange Cove Church is a member of Mercy Network, and Pastor André Van Heerden was elected as president.
Jacksonville’s First Coast News recently produced a six-minute feature story about the ministry. Watch the video below, or use this link to watch on First Coast News’ web page.
by Amanda Martin
Adventist Contact was designed to introduce compatible and single Seventh-day Adventists. The need for this service arose from the number of men and women who were marrying outside of the Church and leaving their Adventist heritage.
In 1974, Adventist Contact was a new, innovative instrument to introduce couples who would not have ordinarily met. Since its inception, hundreds of individuals have married and found happiness as husbands and wives—some of whom in their eighties and nineties. Such is the story of Ron Bryant and Claire Breaux, the third couple to meet and marry through Adventist Contact.
Ron lived in Michigan and Claire lived in Louisiana. Ron didn’t know what a Cajun was, and Claire didn’t like cold weather, so only God could have brought them together. They were introduced through Adventist Contact, and its comprehensive profile helped them get better acquainted before meeting in early 1975. They married in August the same year.
Today, as Ron and Claire give back to God by attending and volunteering at Forest Lake Church, Apopka, Fla., they look back with no regrets for their prayerful decisions to join Adventist Contact. They are strong advocates for this matching ministry which serves only unmarried Seventh-day Adventists age 18 and older.
Adventist Contact information can be found at www.adventistcontact.com