Alberta Adventis News June 2020

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ALBERTAADVENTIST.CA/AAN

Reflecting the Shepherd JUNE 2020 EDITION

To Be Like Jesus Walk With Me Virtual Communion Reflecting The Shepherd Schedule


Highlights

To be like Jesus:

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Discipleship and Biblical Spirituality in the 21st Century

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n this five-part series, we will be exploring the meaning and method of discipleship and biblical spirituality in ancient times and ask ourselves how we might live better lives as modern disciples of Jesus.

Alberta Adventist News is a print and digital media publication of the Alberta Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Communication Director/Editor Eric Ollila; C Communication unless otherwise noted. Submission Guidelines: albertaadventist.ca/aan; Submissions: aan@albertaadventist.ca

Elected Officials/President Gary Hodder; Secretary/VP for Administration Wayne Williams; Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer Keith Richter; Board Members/EXCOM: Gary Hodder— Curtis Letniak, Lara Melashenko, Japheth Ndhlovu, Terri Proud, Melanie Semchuk, Middin Galve-Sumiller, Deborah Silva, Sheldon Trenchuk, Griffin Webster. Departmental Directors/M Resources Officer Jennifer Williams; Education Superintendent Ronda Ziakris; Planned Giving & Trust Services/Philanthropy Director Lynn Mc Dowell; Foothills Camp Director Tr Director Llew Werner. ALBERTA CONFERENCE OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH Address: 5816 Highway 2A, Lacombe, AB, T4L2G5. Office Hours: Monday-Thursday: 8:30 Facebook: ABAdventist, Instagram: ABAdventist, Website: albertaadventist.ca


JUNE 2020 EDITION 04 Message from the President 06 From the Editor 08 Devotional

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16 Department News 22 Education News 24 Reflecting the Shepherd General Info 28 Church News 41 In Memory

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42 Means & Meaning

08 Love is Not Rude. It seems that the enemy has been

on a mission to rob humans of our ability to express our own beliefs without demeaning or belittling others. Read Elise's experience as she handled cyber bullying with love and respect.

14 Walk With Me. We are in an unprecedented time of walking

together, both out of fear and necessity. With very little warning, our schools, churches, families and students have been thrown into a time of crisis. How do we not let this crisis go to waste? We will let this be a time when we hold one another’s hands firmly and pledge, by God’s love and grace, to keep walking each other home.

Co-Editors Jenny Nickel & John Simon; Graphic Design Mishell Raedeke/omnidesign.ca; Photo attribution: Alberta Adventist

—chair, Wayne Williams, Keith Richter, Benjamin Arias, Miguel Brown, Norman Ewing, Massiel Davila-Ferrer, Vicky Ford, Rayette Hetland, inisterial & Evangelism Director George Ali; Sabbath School, Children's and Personal Ministries Director Olaf Clausen; Human oy McQueen; Youth Director Lyle Notice; Communication/IT/Media Director Eric Ollila; Risk Management/Project Development a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone: (403) 342-5044, Fax: (403) 775-4482 Email: info@ albertaadventist.ca SOCIAL MEDIA Twitter: ABAdventist,


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

REVIVAL IN A PANDEMIC

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hen my middle son was about five years old, my family and I visited the Tyrel Museum in Drumheller. It is a fascinating place to visit, to see all those imposing skeletal remains of prehistoric creatures. As we were visiting that day, we noticed a special feature was offered that afternoon. You could go on a dig with the scientists, and be taken out by bus to the excavation site. Our son was at a time in his life when he was enamored by dinosaurs, and really wanted to go. Although reluctant to send him, we finally agreed. We were there to pick him up at the designated time, and he came off the bus with a plaster cast of his find for the day — a baby dinosaur. His excitement was palpable. He told us that “dead bones can speak to us.” This incident reminds me of the story found in Ezekiel 37:1-5: “1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man,

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to virtual meetings. Many people feel that their hearts, their faith, and their trust is dried out. They feel like they are residents in the valley God can restore of bones. There have been us to life even so many disappointments, when things seem heartaches, days alone, desperate." and hospital bedsides. God reassured the people of Ezekiel’s day with these can these bones live?” I said, words, “I will put breath in “Sovereign Lord, you alone you, and you will come to life. know.” The context of this Then you will know that I am passage is that the nation of the Lord.” In just a few years, Israel is in captivity in Babylon. God would bring his people It seemed that their national home to the Promised Land. identity was gone forever and He would restore all things that the people would never and make all things new. return to the promised land. God promises the same The purpose of this vision/ for us. This pandemic will miracle was to inspire the come to an end, and our faith people with hope. God can will take us through. We restore us to life even when will worship together again, things seem desperate. As sing the songs of victory and I write this, we are in the rejoice in God’s salvation. middle of the Covid19 God will make these dry pandemic. There are over bones live once more. 50,000 cases in Canada, and we just recorded 3,000 deaths. Many people have lost their employment, schools are closed, and we are unsure of the way forward. As “church people,” we are feeling the impact of this pandemic in a personal Gary Hodder way. Our churches are President Alberta Conference closed, and we are limited


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FROM THE EDITOR

Crisis and Character The COVID-19 crisis has provided us with a unique opportunity in character development. Let's do a personal assessment of our own lives and join together in a renewed commitment to reflect Christ.

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t has been said, “crisis reveals character.” If that is true, then us living in the year 2020 have had the opportunity (perhaps unlike any generation before) to observe and witness every shade and hue of character in existence in the world today — all on public display being played out for everyone to see in the media. Consider the countless stories that have come out of individuals and groups who have dedicated their time and lives to meet the challenges and needs of others during this crisis to help make life easier. Ponder the numerous frontline workers who risk their lives and health to

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ensure people get critical care and services or the caring actions that people of all ages have demonstrated in giving a smile and joy to those who are lonely or desperate. Think of those individuals who have been working to bring destruction, damage, deception, death, loss of freedoms and human rights, violence, rioting and looting. There it is, all before us. If you’ve watched the news, you’ve witnessed the extreme contrast between good and evil. You’ve seen the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness, faithfulness and unfaithfulness, between lawfulness and lawlessness.

Character is being revealed. The capacity of individuals and how they behave in courageous, inspiring, charitable ways under the holy and pure influence of God and His Spirit is remarkable. Contrasted with how desperate, dark, and frenzied people behave under the spell, infatuation and control of Satan is standing before us in the starkest, transparent, graphic ways ever. The Alberta Conference Administration recently made the decision to proceed forward with a Virtual Camp Meeting this year. The theme: Reflecting the Shepherd. I cannot think


If you've watched the news, or any media recently, you've witnessed the extreme contrast between good and evil. Character is being revealed." of a more appropriate topic than this one for this time. As Christians, and more importantly, as Seventh-day Adventists, our ultimate goal is to be like Christ. We want to be imbued by His Spirit, we

want to demonstrate a godly character, we want to shine as bright lights in a dark world spreading the faith, hope, love, and fruits of the Spirit. This year, even though we are physically separated due to COVID-19, we can be joined together in a shared desire to reflect Christ…the Shepherd of our souls. I hope this issue of our AAN magazine provides encouragement to each of you. Perhaps seeing the different ways your fellow brothers and sisters have responded to this crisis will give you hope. Additionally, I hope that this issue will encourage you to join us for the Alberta Conference Virtual Camp

Meeting 2020: Reflecting the Shepherd. It’s going to be an excellent time to spend with God and family and to virtually join in worship with your brothers and sisters across Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Hope to see you there (virtually)! God bless.

Eric Ollila

Communication/IT/Media Director Alberta Conference


DEVOTIONAL

By Elise Harboldt

Creative Writer at Light Bearers

LOVE IS

NOT RUDE M

y heart sank as I checked my Facebook notifications. I had commented about emotions I was feeling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While I’m confident of God’s goodness, I’m still very concerned about how the pandemic will impact people around the globe. That’s why it stung a little to read this reply from a complete stranger: “You’re weak,” he said. He might be right, but I didn’t understand why it was necessary to say. I don’t want to expend valuable emotional energy being offended. It was a very minor comment, and “love keeps no record of wrongs.” I’m not sharing this to garner

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sympathy or hold a grudge, but simply to illustrate a point. Rudeness causes pain, tearing people down rather than building them up. Scripture reminds us: “Love is not rude…” (1 Corinthians 13:5, NCV). Our culture has become increasingly polarized, opinionated, and rude. If you turn on the news or read a politically or socially charged debate on social media, you will likely sense thick hostility in the air. It seems that the enemy has been on a mission to rob humans of our ability to express our own beliefs without demeaning or belittling others. The word rude can be defined multiple ways. It can mean “offensively impolite or ill-mannered,” “ignorant and uneducated,” or “primitive, lacking subtlety or sophistication”


The only person who was never rude is Jesus… (Google Dictionary). These definitions indicate that rudeness makes us less noble and less human than we were created to be. Most of us can recall times when we’ve been rude, as well as when we’ve been hurt by rudeness. The only person who was never rude is Jesus: “He exercised the greatest tact, and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul.” The quote goes on to say that even when Jesus had to confront people, he never resorted to

rudeness: “He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice… Every soul was precious in His eyes,” (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 353). As we dialogue with those around us, let’s ask ourselves: “Does the way I’m speaking reveal that I believe every soul is precious?” By rejecting the impulse to be rude, we can become more noble, more human, and ultimately — more like Jesus. This article was first published at lightbearers.org/ blog/love-matters-most-part-5/ and it is published in the Alberta Adventist News in its entirety. JUNE 2020

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FEATURE

PART

I

TO BE LIKE

Discipleship and Biblical Spiritualit

In this five-part series, we will be exploring the meaning and method of disciple in ancient times and ask ourselves how we might live better lives as modern dis

Study as Worship: Of Talmidim and Chaverim

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rom the time of Ezra, the priest and scribe, the Jewish people instituted synagogues as houses of assembly that were led by sages (see Nehemiah 8:1–8) in the Old Testament era and by rabbis (see John 3:2) in the New Testament era. Their purpose was a noble one: to ensure that future generations of God’s people

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would, through systematic and regular study, never again put the nation at risk of exile by turning to other gods out of ignorance and foolishness. Consequently, outside of worship at the Temple, synagogues were established throughout the land for the instruction of the people in holiness to God. By Jesus’ day, Ezra’s

synagogal system was well established, and there is evidence that young and old alike regularly received instruction in Hebrew letters, reading, the study of Torah (the five books of Moses), and the worship of God. Even today, in synagogues around the world, these same traditions of study and worship continue to be


E JESUS:

ty in the 21st Century

eship and biblical spirituality sciples of Jesus. By Olaf Clausen

Sabbath School, Children’s, and Personal Ministries Director

practiced, albeit in modified forms. The sunagoge (Greek for “assembly,” transliterated today as “synagogue”) — the forerunner of the church (from the Greek ekklesia, “congregation”) — was primarily a place of study. This is attested today by one of the modern terms for synagogue, shul, the Yiddish form of the Germanic schule,

meaning “school.” Rabbinic literature tells us that the synagogue was primarily a place of study until the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. Thereafter, prayer and good works were substituted for the sacrifices and offerings no longer available to the Jewish people. Simply reading the Bible became an act of worship, something that

is ironically overlooked in contemporary Christianity today with the ready availability of God’s Word. With this background, we can dispel the oft-repeated myth that Jesus’ disciples were simple, ignorant, and unlettered labourers. Most certainly they could read Scripture and had committed much of it to memory from a very young age. That this is so is attested by Jesus’ capable recitation of the haftarah (prophets’ portion) of the Sabbath reading in Nazareth found in Luke 4:16–20. In the Judaism of Jesus’ day, this preparation in the synagogue was preliminary to the hope that a child might be asked to become a disciple of a prestigious rabbi, a great honour and hardship for a family. The study of the Torah was considered to be the highest calling of a Jew, so much so that rich families JUNE 2020

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FEATURE

Today, as in Jesus’ day, study and prayer must be central to our worship if we are to remain grounded in our faith. At a time when the Word is so readily at hand and yet so often overlooked, it is critical that we do not make the same mistake as did the pre-exile Israelites." would contend to marry their daughters to even the poorest of rabbis. From this we discern the great importance and value of lifelong study to preserving the faith in the Jewish community at the cost of much hardship for common families. To lose an able-bodied son to a lifetime of study was a great sacrifice for these agricultural families, and yet it was done happily to secure the community’s spiritual future. Those young Jewish men who showed promise were invited to become talmidim (Hebrew, “students” or 12

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“disciples”) of a rabbi after completing a secondary course of study and memorization of large portions of the remainder of the Hebrew Bible (the OT). Perhaps even a great rabbi like Gamaliel would accept them as a talmid — a disciple! To be a disciple was more than simply a student. Talmidim lived with their rabbi and studied his every action, memorized his every word, and emulated his routine, character, and disposition. To be a talmid of a rabbi was to dedicate your all to him, even before your loyalty to your

family. In a sense, the rabbi became like a father to these disciples. The talmidim were typically divided into chavruta (Hebrew, from chaverim, “companions”), which were groups of two-to-five disciples gathered to read, analyse, and debate passages of Scripture, much in the way we conduct Sabbath Schools today. When the talmidim had advanced to the point where they had sufficiently matured and emulated their rabbi, the rabbi would invite them to make more disciples for his school. In this context, we can begin to see how the disciples of Jesus related to Him. They certainly perceived Him as their rabbi (see Mark 9:5; 11:21; John 1:38, 49) and eagerly sought to emulate Him and spread His teachings abroad. While the general populace viewed Jesus as a rabbi (see Mark 10:51), the


rabbis themselves did not. For them, one could only become a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi and profusely quoting those rabbis who had gone before them as their authority. Rabbi Jesus was unusual in that He never quoted the rabbinic tradition as authority and was often confronted for it (see Matthew 21:23). Instead, Jesus quoted Scripture and appealed to His Father and Himself as authority (see 5:38–48), and in this way, He departed from the norm both for Himself and His talmidim, so much so that He bade His followers not to call themselves “rabbi.” How strange! However, that’s a story for the last instalment of this series. For almost two centuries, Seventh-day Adventists have referred to themselves as the people of the Book. We have prided ourselves on

our thorough knowledge of the Bible and its profound teachings for humanity. Yet, during the past several decades, studies show that attendance at Sabbath School and family devotions have been dropping precipitously. I suspect our biblical literacy is dropping as well. Today, as in Jesus’ day, study and prayer must be central to our worship if we are to remain grounded in our faith. At a time when the Word is so readily at hand and yet so often overlooked, it is critical that we do not make the same mistake as did the pre-exile Israelites. As we sense the challenges ahead for our community in these difficult times, perhaps it’s time to restore the study of the Word as the centrepiece of our worship and call on God to breathe new life into our Sabbath Schools. Perhaps

it’s time to recommit our lives to emulating our great Rabbi, Jesus the Messiah. Join me next time for Part 2 of our exploration of biblical discipleship, entitled Sin and Repentance: Broken on the Rock. Pr. Olaf Clausen, MA is the Alberta Conference Director of Sabbath School, Children’s, and Personal Ministries. He is a specialist in Judeo-Christianity for the SDA Church in Canada and North American Division Jewish Ministries.

Olaf Clausen

Sabbath School, Children’s, and Personal Ministries Director

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FEATURE

Walk with Me "We are in an unprecedented time of walking together, both out of fear and necessity. With very little warning, our schools, churches, families and students have been thrown into a time of crisis. How do we not let this crisis go to waste? We will let this be a time when we hold one another’s hands firmly and pledge, by God’s love and grace, to keep walking each other home."

I

recently listened to a podcast in which the humorous presenter was encouraging her audience with quips and strategies about coping during this time of pandemic crisis. She is a psychologist with a specific passion for educators. So much of what she said caught my attention. However, she ended her segment with a phrase that seemed to jump through the computer and land in my heart: “My friends, we are on this planet just walking each other home.” Walking each other home! What a beautiful sentiment! As I write this article, we are eight weeks into the COVID-19 crisis, an unprecedented time of walking together, both out of fear and

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By Ronda Ziakris

Education Director, Alberta Conference

necessity; eight weeks since terms such as “social distancing,” “self-isolation,” “quarantine,” and “flatten the curve” have become part of our everyday vernacular; eight weeks since Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, has become a household name as she gives the updates regarding how many new cases of this disease have been confirmed; eight weeks since the announcement that education could no longer take place in brick-and-mortar schools, causing the life of teachers, parents, and students


to take a significant pivot unlike any other that our generation has seen or experienced. Finally, it has also been in these eight weeks that I have witnessed grace, love, resilience, and strength to the extent that I would not have believed possible. Alberta Adventist educators had to transition from the conventional methods of education delivery to using video conferencing technology that was unfamiliar and intimidating. They were asked to continue their ministry of education in ways that were daunting. However, continue this ministry they did. Today, teachers continue to share unique lessons, inspiring worships, and heartfelt prayer sessions with their students. Schools are holding spiritually focused assemblies and Week of Prayer meetings through this same video-conferencing technology. Teachers are committed to staying connected to their students, walking with them through this time of disruption and uncertainty. One of the main purposes of Paul writing to the Ephesians was that he expected this community of believers to walk (there’s that word again) in accordance with their heavenly calling: “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1, NIV). Adventist educators, under normal circumstances, live out this calling every day in their classrooms. However, during these extraordinary times, when they have been asked to minister to their students in equally extraordinary ways, they have truly exemplified that they are indeed worthy of this calling. The parents and students in our Adventist schools have also demonstrated a God-given

strength and patience while enduring their own disruptions during this COVID-19 crisis. I particularly want to thank the parents who continue to keep their children in our Adventist schools, many at a sacrificial cost. I am grateful that they have continued to support with their prayers and also commit to helping their children learn at home, all while balancing the demands of the health and safety of everyone. Students continue to be engaged, despite having their learning severely disrupted and having to learn through this distance-learning classroom setting. Instructions such as “Turn on your microphone,” “Mute your microphone,” “Comment in the chat box,” and “Turn on your webcam” have become their new narrative. Sadly, our students are having to miss out on friend time, birthday parties, and playdates, just to name a few. Students, you are remarkable! We miss you, and thank you. Rahm Emanuel, former Mayor of Chicago, is credited with the saying, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” Although none of us would ask for a crisis, I believe it wise for us to heed the advice this quote implies. With very little warning, our schools, churches, families, and students have been thrown into a time of crisis. How will we not let this go to waste? It is my hope and prayer that, as stated by the witty psychologist, we will let this be a time when we hold one another’s hands firmly and pledge, by God’s love and grace, to keep walking each other home.

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DEPARTMENT

NEWS

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eremiah recounts God challenging us to call on Him and open space for Him to respond in great and unsearchable ways (Jeremiah 33:3.) On April 21, 2020, from 6 am to 6:30 pm we called on God. People from around the Alberta Conference were praying. Two events happened simultaneously that day. First of all, every church in the Conference was invited to participate in and then assigned a one-hour timeslot to have prayers covering Alberta throughout the day. Simultaneously, there was a video conference call taking place with different people leading out each hour, and thus opening space for people to give praises and lift-up requests to God. Precious brothers and sisters in Christ came together from all around Alberta to seek God and His kingdom. It was a time of encouragement and 16

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Alberta Conference Day of Fasting & Prayer

connection in a deep and meaningful way. I had feedback from 16 churches who participated in the local hour of prayer, and the comments unanimously indicated it was a positive experience in which people could see God’s hand. Over 230 people participated in prayer that day. Due to COVID-19, we are very restricted in our ability to socialize and gather together, but we do not need to feel isolated. God is with us every moment of the day. Praise the Lord for technological advancements that allow us to speak to and see each other, although separated by great distances. Geographically spread out from the far north to the far south of the province, we were together in Christ, united in our intent to seek Him and His righteousness, asking for His intervention globally and personally.


Passages of Scripture were shared to encourage us to trust in God and His faithfulness. Many of these came from the book of Psalms, with Psalm 91 being a hot favourite, closely followed by Psalm 46. Near the end of the day, someone shared a passage that I found very encouraging - II Chronicles 20:17 tells us “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.” As we get closer to the Second Coming of Jesus, we

Due to COVID-19, we are very restricted in our ability to socialize and gather together, but we do not need to feel isolated. know that conditions will worsen in society, in nature, in politics, and dangers will increase. However, we do not need to be afraid! God is with us and for us. He will deliver us. Our part is to stand firm in our faith in Christ, and do whatever He

DEPARTMENT NEWS

calls us to do, no matter how scary. We hold onto God, trusting in His salvation with the knowledge that soon this will all be over, and we will live for eternity with Jesus. My prayer is that as we wait for the Lord to return, we will fix our eyes on Jesus. Seek Him and His kingdom, pray without ceasing and share Him with everyone we can, so that they, too, can experience His radical, extravagant love. Thank you so much to everyone who participated in prayer on April 21, 2020. Keep praying! — Submitted by Pastor Honey Todd, Prayer Ministries Coordinator for the Alberta Conference

Book your appointment by July 2 to give instructions for a no-cost will. See details in the Means & Meaning section.

A COVID-19 MEASURE

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DEPARTMENT NEWS

#ONETEAM 21-day Devotional Challenge!

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he Alberta Adventurers Ministry leaders completed the #ONETEAM 21-day devotional challenge. The leadership values, principles, and necessity of working together as #ONETEAM were very timely and appropriate to learn and practice at this time. The

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challenges were done using our directors’ Facebook group, and at the end of the 21 days, we had the honor of hearing from our NAD Youth Directors and two of the authors of the book, #ONETEAMCHALLENGE, a 21 Day Devotional. Pr. Armando Miranda, Jr. and Vandeon Griffin came to us

online to share the Word of the Lord. We were blessed, encouraged and inspired by these amazing men who have such a passion for youth ministries and have embraced the power of technology and social media to keep reaching out and preaching the gospel. — Submitted by Janeth L. Vasquez


DEPARTMENT NEWS

CHURCH FAMILY BUDGET 2019

CHURCH FAMILY BUDGET 2020

Puzzled About Church Budget

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he Sylvan Lake Church has developed a “puzzling approach” to raising church budget funds. Each year, after the budget is voted, a puzzle is used to keep track of how steady those funds are coming in. Two identical puzzles are assembled (in case pieces get lost), and a spreadsheet determines the amount to be applied to each piece. That amount is recorded on each puzzle piece and also traced

onto a display board. Church members then select puzzle pieces reflecting the amounts they choose, and as they bring their offerings from month to month, they also deposit the corresponding piece into the church envelope, and that piece is displayed on the board. Pictured above to the left is the puzzle we nearly completed in 2019. On the right is the puzzle we have in 2020 and how far we had advanced before we

closed for the Coronavirus guidelines. Many pieces are ready to be included when we update what has been received since then. The church members like this approach and check the puzzle week by week to see how we are advancing. The use of the puzzles has resulted in a 17% increase in giving toward the church family budget as people work to see a complete picture emerge by the end of the year.

—Submitted by Bill Spangler, Pastor JUNE 2020

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DEPARTMENT NEWS

Microsoft 365 in Churches

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icrosoft Office 365 is a powerful resource just waiting to be used to its full potential within the Alberta Conference. MS Office 365 is the standard cloud-based software solution provided to all office and pastoral staff in the Alberta Conference. In addition to staff, churches within the Conference can request additional access to a MS 365 subscription for their local leaders.1 What possibilities exist in the local church with Microsoft Office 365? What benefits could it provide? Here are just a few: 1. Communicate, collaborate, and improve productivity 2 2. Manage meetings 3 3. Collaborate on files with Outlook,

Pastor Doe established a Microsoft Team, called "Church Board." Pastor Doe and the Clerk/Board Secretary use the MS Team site and its corresponding Sharepoint location to store and access essential board documents including meeting minutes, OneDrive, Word, Excel, agendas, quotes, proposals, PowerPoint, OneNote, departmental and treasury SharePoint, Microsoft reports, and other data relevant Teams, and others 4 to monthly Board discussions. 4. Record meetings The Church Board members to capture audio, appreciate the MS Team video, and screen because they can reference sharing activity. related Board documents 5. Keep shared files for their monthly meetings, in a single, secure from the cloud. Pastor Doe location that everyone and the Clerk love this setup can access because they know the Board 6. Stay connected from Members can reference any location with chats, materials from anywhere they meetings, and calls. have an Internet connection. Pastor Doe and the Board rests Here are two examples assured that the documents of how Churches have and data are stored securely. used MS Office 365: Additionally, with SharePoint, the Clerk can Example 1: Storing digitize and store current and Files for Church Board historical church records. With Pastor John Doe of XYZ powerful search tools included, Church has MS Office any documents the Clerk needs 365 set up for each of to reference may be located the Board Members. with a few clicks on the keypad.

Some charges may apply. Microsoft Modern Workplace Training https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-and-organize-teams-ea9aa9c2-ae29-44ca-b8384424b4daa44d?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US 3 Microsoft Modern Workplace Training https://support.office.com/en-us/article/manage-meetings-69aefc02-b58c-4066-811c-d1b71dd2c552?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US 4 Ibid. 1 2

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DEPARTMENT NEWS

ZOOM Example 2: Easy Worship Announcement Loop Sample Church1 set up all its departmental leaders with a free Microsoft 365 E1 subscription. The church also set up a shared folder where each department can place announcements. Each week, when the Visual Media Technician sets up the Sabbath morning announcements slide show to project on the screen, all that is required is to open the shared folder/file, then copy/ paste all the announcements into the slideshow. It takes about 10 minutes or less per week. The Visual Media Technician loves this setup because he doesn't have to spend time tracking down emails, or retyping handwritten notes. The pastor and department leaders love the structure because they can add announcements in the shared folder on the fly, and the Visual Tech will get them immediately. If you're interested in getting MS 365 for your church, contact the Alberta Conference IT Department. We will be happy to assist you.

Integration with Microsoft 365

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ome congregations and all of the Alberta Conference schools have expressed a preference for Zoom and its platform's user experience for video conferencing. In response, the Alberta Conference IT Department has been collaborating with the North American Division and Zoom in providing a more secure Zoom experience by integrating it with the Alberta Conference's Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise solution. If your church uses Zoom and wants to take advantage of the improved security a Microsoft 365 Enterprise + Zoom integration provides, please contact the Alberta Conference IT Department. We will be happy to help you get set up.

— Written by Eric Ollila Communication/IT/ Media Director, Alberta Conference

— Written by Eric Ollila Communication/IT/Media Director, Alberta Conference JUNE 2020

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EDUCATION NEWS

RISING ABOVE C MANS and Its Friend

No one saw how COVID-19 would change everyday life. Certainly, no o n courage, creativity, and heroism that everyday people would demonst

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owhere was this more evident than when Jamie Smith drove two hours by herself in 40-below weather to deliver computers so students of Mamawi Atosketan Native School (MANS) could continue classes at home. “She really didn’t want to get her picture taken because she said her husband did all the work refurbishing them,” said Principal Gail Wilton, the only person at the school after the province mandated that all Alberta schools close their doors and find a way to deliver education electronically for the rest of the year. The challenge was compounded by the lack of computers in the homes of many students and, in some cases, the complete absence of Internet services. “Jamie and her husband definitely went above and beyond what we could have expected by donating three laptops and a tablet,” explained Wilton. “As we are trying to get our students transitioned into an online method of education, this particular donation could not have come at a better time. Their generosity is greatly appreciated.” Smith, who manages External Affairs Medical Spa in St. Albert, in addition to mothering two sons adopted from the foster system, knows how important school and teacher contact had been for the kids

Gary Smith worked several hours on this project to provide students with an electronic device so they can continue their studies.

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JUNE 2020


EDUCATION NEWS

OVID-19: s Respond

ne foresaw the rate.

in her care. She’d been impressed not only during her visits to MANS, but also by the reports given by her boss, Bridge Campaign honorary chair Larry Wilkins, and his ongoing Jamie Smith dedication to the work dropping off the refurbished of MANS. Jamie and items at MANS. her husband, who picks up and refurbishes used computers, felt that if they could help kids and teachers who wanted to keep going despite COVID-19, it would be worth the long drive in bitter cold. The sacrifice was not lost on Principal Wilton. “This is a time in our world where everyone is struggling with COVID-19 and how to best take care of themselves and their families,” she observed. Yet in the midst of all that, the St. Albert couple was more than happy to help in any way that was needed. Four families now had access to classes! For the teachers, the new challenges were met with prayer, much peer support, and great creativity. Weekly staff meetings now became daily events of sharing and encouragement. Despite the hands-on nature of building construction, for example, the class that was to start days after the physical shut down went ahead online, with CTS teacher and high school vice principal Mike Willing turning into both

video producer and “star” of his own broadcast. Students happily tuned in to watch Willing, a one-man construction “crew,” going through the steps of building a mini-barn that will be the centre of MANS’ new animal husbandry venture when students physically return. COVID-19 not only brought staff closer together in new ways; it also brought an opportunity for MANS, as a representative of Adventist Education, to demonstrate that it cares for the Maskwacis community as a whole. MANS was invited to contribute to a multi-school effort to provide critical food to the most vulnerable after Maskwacis was declared a state-of-emergency area, and ADRA came through with a grant that allowed MANS to contribute and model the biblical values they teach kids every day. By working together (the meaning of “Mamawi Atosketan” in Cree), MANS staff, ADRA, and friends like the Smiths are making the difficult COVID experience a time when kindness, selfless actions, and reliance on our heavenly Father can make an impact that will not be soon forgotten. — Submitted by Lynn McDowell, Director of Planned Giving | Philanthropy Alberta Conference JUNE 2020

Alberta Adventist News

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JULY 1

Join us for this first uniqu Alberta Conference of the Se For all the online meetings please go to


17-25

ue event organized by the eventh-day Adventist Church o albertaadventist.ca/virtualcm2020

There's something for the young too!

VIRTUAL YOUTH CAMP MEETING


FRIDAY 17

SABBATH 18

SUNDAY 19

7-8 AM

MONDAY 20

Daily Disciples - Pasto

8-9 AM Be Humble

10:00 -11:00 AM

Be Pure in Heart

Be a Peacemaker

Sabbath School Adult Gary Hodder

11:00-12:00 AM Youth Lawel Natufe 12:00-12:30 PM 1:00 - 2:00 PM 3:00-4:00 PM

6:00-7:00 PM

Burman U Prayer to Begin Camp Meeting Be a Safe Space for the Marginalized

Reflecting The Terrance Horrell

Ghena Girleanu

James Wesley

7:00-8:00 PM

Be St Kingsley Moyo

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Alberta Adventist News

David Guzman

JUNE 2020

Derek Richter

Roberson Dorelus

Bryan SaintLouis


JULY 17-25 TUESDAY 21

WEDNESDAY 22

THURSDAY 23

FRIDAY 24

SABBATH 25

Be Fearless

Be Accepting

Be Intentionally Loving

ors Ted and Sandra Deer and Team Members Morning Prayer Be Fully Dependent on God

Speak Life!

Education Children's Hour

Sabbath School Adult John Murley Youth Matthew Piersanti

Noon Prayer Time Dialogue with Debbie Conference Concert

e Shepherd Adult Evening Meeting Moises Ruiz

Anthony Kern

Rudy Alvir

Joseph Batiancila

David Hamstra

Jordane Smith

Daniel Madden

Paul Antunes

Adam Bially

till Youth Evening Meeting Ted Deer

JUNE 2020

Alberta Adventist News

27


EDUCATION NEWS

The Holy Spirit and Random Acts of Kindness! The past few weeks have been challenging for students, parents, and teachers. Mixed among the challenges are many examples of random acts of kindness. Galatians 5:22 (NIV) states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is … kindness …”

A

short while ago one of our students was experiencing some trouble as they did not have access at home to a computer to enable them to continue with their studies. Immediately, one of our Educational Assistants, Mrs. Carmen Rodriguez said, “we have an extra computer at home that I could loan to

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the family.” Later that day the problem was solved. Then a few more families stated that they had a need for a laptop to continue with their studies. Our IT Resources Director, Mr. Travis Hinzman came into the school on his own time and configured 6-8 older laptops, tested them, and got them working to allow

Google Classroom and Zoom to work from home for several families in need. These acts of kindness represent evidence to us that the Holy Spirit is still active during the time of the Coronavirus Pandemic. But, there is more! A few days ago, an individual from the Calgary Central Church, with no children


EDUCATION NEWS at the school, called me out of the blue and advised me he felt impressed to donate a new Google Chromebook to the school for a worthy student. “I don’t want anything in return for this, but just felt impressed to make a contribution at this point in time.” I would like to thank Vic Fitch, Travis Hinzman and Carmen Rodriguez and the others out there that have exercised faith in action through random acts of kindness.

I don’t want anything in return for this, but just felt impressed to make a contribution at this point in time.” Like I have stated many times before, the Holy Spirit is very active at Chinook Winds Adventist Academy and, although the enemy may have halted our ‘brick and mortar’ school for a short while, the Holy Spirit has not forgotten our students, parents, teachers or significant others who allow us to exercise faith during this time of challenge. Thanks, from the Teachers and Staff at CWAA! — Submitted by Bruce Fillier, Principal Chinook Winds Adventist Academy

College Heights Children’s Ministries

T

he College Heights SDA Children’s Ministries team has implemented new initiatives in the face of COVID-19 to continue offering worship materials for kids and encourage family worship. Technology is being used extensively to bring the worship experience closer to home and encourage one of the main objectives of this approach: a personal and real connection with Jesus. A Facebook group was made for posting ideas, videos, documents, songs, and activities for the Cradle Roll, Kindergarten, Primary A/B, and Junior divisions. Volunteers narrate Bible stories, division leaders make felt-board videos that show the lesson for the day, and others propose challenges and puzzles to stretch the kids’ thinking. Packages that include Sabbath School quarterlies, Guide, Little Friend, or Primary Adventure magazines, and crafts with instructions have been made available. These materials can either be mailed to the individuals on request or picked up in the church foyer. Any questions may be addressed to the Children’s Ministries Facebook page, either by searching “College Heights Children’s Ministries” or through the following link bit.ly/kidschsdaFB — Submitted by Mildred Weiss, College Heights SDA Church, Children’s Ministries Coordinator

Packages carefully put together with magazines, crafts and instructionals to keep expanding our kid's thinking and relationship with Christ. JUNE 2020

Alberta Adventist News

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EDUCATION NEWS

EDUCATION AT THE MICRO-SCHOOLS DURING COVID-19

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he staff at the MicroSchools have been working diligently to learn how to best provide Adventist education in an online setting. They willingly took on the role of students as they learned how to use programs such as Zoom and Google Classroom. While the school buildings are empty and teachers miss interacting with their students in the classroom, many positives have come out of remote learning:

30

It is a blessing to have daily worship with the students in their homes. This

provides an opportunity for parents and younger siblings to join in this time of praise and prayer. •

Through Zoom, students can still see the faces of classmates and teachers and know that they are supported and loved.

In today's world of online resources, there is so much available to enhance student learning. Many companies have provided free accessibility to videos, educational games,

pdf editors, and other creative learning apps. Increased family time has been a blessing for many. There is extra time for families to play together and generally slow down and reconnect with each other.

Teachers and families are working together as a team to develop the mind, body, and heart of every child. Together, we are educating for eternity. —Submitted by Jai Dubyna, Administrator for Micro- Schools AB SDA Conference

The staff at Sylvan Meadows Adventist School miss having their students in the classroom - Jai Dubyna, Karel Blankenfeldt, Skyla McCreery, and Kalee VanWart.


PACES FAMILY SPOTLIGHT HOME EDUCATION PROGRAM

“PACeS aknowledges and supports our ideology that education is more than what you can learn from a textbook” We learned about PACeS through word of mouth and casual conversations with PACeS administration. As a young Seventh-day Adventist family, it has always been important to us to give our children an Adventist Christian education. When our oldest two boys were very young, we moved to Alberta’s beautiful Peace County. What a blessing PACeS has been in the fact that it allows us to live anywhere and yet still have the Christian support in educating our children! PACeS acknowledges and supports our ideology that education is more than what you can learn from a textbook. W E I C H FA M I LY It’s about character development, hands-on education, real-life experiences, and the time invested in learning responsibility and self-discipline. Homeschool education, while very intimidating at first, has proved to be one of the greatest gifts we

have given to our family as a whole. We have enjoyed researching curricula and gleaning from those who have gone before us. After two years with PACeS, our oldest son presses on into grade two, while the younger boys join in with their own little age-appropriate “textbooks.” Homeschooling with PACeS has given us much peace and confidence in our decision to educate our children at home. We should mention, amid all the upheaval that has come with our current pandemic situation, much of our daily routine and activities have remained unaffected. As parents of four small children, we are ever reminded of the great responsibility in raising these precious lives as “arrows in the hand of a warrior”... storing up our treasures in heaven one garden lesson at a time. We are thankful to PACeS for helping make it easy for us. — Danielle Weich

Now Accepting Applications 2020-2021 School Year

PACESCANADA.ORG • PHONE: 403.848.3165 • OFFICE@PACESCANADA.ORG


CHURCH NEWS

College Heights SDA Church Launches a "Virtual" Helpline

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he College Heights SDA Church has launched a free helpline that allows for more "connection" in this time of need. When you call the toll-free number [+1(844) 844-8248], a friendly voice (after clarifying that this is not an emergency or medical advice line) guides the caller through a simple menu of options: to simply chat with someone (if feeling lonely), to request grocery or medication pickup, to have someone pray with you, to talk with a pastor, or to speak with a certified counselor. Who answers the calls? College Heights SDA members! From listening, praying, and

helping pick up groceries to technical assistance for accessing the Internet and the church’s live-streamed worship service, ten people have volunteered their time and efforts to make this helpline a reality. How does the system work? The system, based entirely on the “cloud” (on the Internet), connects telephony with computers and personal devices, allowing people to communicate over the phone using what is called "unified communications," where the system "follows" the volunteers wherever they are, making it easier to reach them. Is there a monetary cost to

this system? Yes, but thanks to a generous donation by a CHSDA family, the costs of the first year are covered. Is the system available 24/7? You can call at any time, but the volunteers work on the line from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you call outside of these hours and leave your contact information in a voicemail, they will be more than happy to call you back on the next available day. What's been the biggest challenge so far? For now, the biggest problem is that we don't get enough calls! — Submitted by Adrian Schmidt, Elder at College Heights SDA Church

Calling College Heights SDA Church...

+1(844) 844-8248

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Alberta Adventist News

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CHURCH NEWS

On behalf of Cornerstone Community Church, Pastor Donald Wright presented monetary donations as well as gloves and masks to representatives of Calgary Charities.

Cornerstone Community SDA Church COVID-19 Donations

I

n response to COVID-19, the Community Service Department of the Cornerstone Community Seventh-day Adventist Church in Calgary, AB is showing kindness by giving monetary donations as well as gloves and masks to The Mustard Seed, Drop-in Centre, and Calgary Food Bank. We recognize that these organizations go above and beyond the call of duty, and we are grateful for the service they provide in helping those in need, especially at this time with COVID-19. — Submitted by Pastor Donald Wright JUNE 2020

Alberta Adventist News

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CHURCH NEWS

Pastor Anthony Kern holding the communion pack.

Virtual Communion Airdrie/Beiseker Church first online service

O

n Sabbath, April 11th, the Airdrie and Beiseker Churches celebrated their first online communion service. For one month, like many churches, Airdrie and Beiseker have been holding combined church services via the Zoom app. On this Sabbath, special communion packs, each with a small amount of grape juice and an embedded wafer in the top seal of the juice container, were used to carry out this service.

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Alberta Adventist News

JUNE 2020

Pastor Anthony Kern led out with Beiseker and Airdrie elders, Howard Hixt and Joel Adesina, who each offered a prayer over the emblems. According to Pastor Anthony, the idea for holding communion using these packs had been discussed while the churches were still open as a means of promoting good hygiene and social distancing. However, soon after the packs were ordered, the Alberta Government banned gatherings of over

50 people, thus forcing the online meetings instead. The church members were polled regarding their interest in a home version of communion, and their reply was a very enthusiastic “yes.” Over a twoweek period prior to the April 11th service, Pastor Anthony, with help from Beiseker’s head deacon, Ewalt Lang, delivered just over 100 packs to the church members’ doorsteps. “I remembered how my parents, who are part of a large Anabaptist church, once


used these packs in their church’s service. Knowing the current situation that we are in could go on for some time, I Googled ‘communion packs’ and was able to order them from Amazon,” recalled Pastor Anthony. In the weeks since online church services first began, the total number of participating devices during the Lord’s Supper was the highest yet: 87 at the time, with many of those devices being watched by couples and families as well. Participants were also offered the recipe for making their own communion bread, and some chose this option rather than the packet. The Lord’s Supper was followed with an invitation for church members to wash the feet of those in their own household. For members who were at home alone, Pastor Anthony led out in a devotional reading that allowed members to picture Jesus washing their feet as He had once done for the disciples.

Special Offering

JULY

25 Divine Sabbath Service Virtual Camp Meeting 2020

...and Save a Bundle for our Kids Summers at Foothills Camp make great memories, but the weather is brutal on our equipment. A simple pole structure of Recycled Camp Roofing Metal will: • •

Airdrie and Beiseker Churches had already considered using individual communion packs.

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, Seventh-day Adventists everywhere are finding new ways to connect and worship together. While they may not be together physically, the Spirit of the Lord is joining hearts in a greater fulfillment of Jesus’ words than ever before: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20, NKJV). —Submitted by Les Miller, Assistant Communications Secretary, Airdrie Church

• •

Add 15-20% to the life and value of essential equipment Save thousands of dollars in maintenance costs and downtime Improve grounds maintenance Pay for itself in 5 years but last for 40+ years

Estimated saving over 10 years: $100,000

The Blue Box Machine Shop JUNE 2020

Alberta Adventist News

35


CHURCH NEWS

Zooming for the Community

T

he doors to all Alberta schools have been closed since March 16 due to COVID-19, yet teachers have been finding ways to instruct, engage, and teach. As the school counselor at Mamawi Atosketan Native School (MANS), my mandate is to find ways to support our students during this crisis. Kelly Karius, another counselor working in Maskwacis, contacted me after seeing one of the videos on the Mamawi Atosketan Native School Counseling Department Facebook page. She suggested we work together and provide a live, online presentation for Maskwacis students. The idea sounded intimidating, though interesting. After taking a few days to pray and think it over, we met online to plan a presentation. We wanted to help the youth of Maskwacis cope with the effects of isolation and stress, and do it in a way that offered them a chance to socialize a little with friends they aren’t able to see now. Ms. Karius suggested using the framework of the Seven Sacred Teachings common to all First Nations: Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Wisdom, Humility, and Truth. 36

Alberta Adventist News

JUNE 2020

We advertised the “event,” and on April 28, we were joined online by seven Maskwacis community youth. We had a great discussion, though we didn’t get around to playing the online games we had planned. Students who are usually reserved and quiet in classrooms were comfortable talking and sharing in the virtual setting. The “reviews” have been very positive, and we are planning to make this a weekly meeting. An especially surprising outcome of our presentation is that one of our usually reserved and quiet students, all on her own, took the initiative to create a private Facebook group for MANS students and staff “for checking up on each other, chatting, and sharing things and updates about our school and such.” We are now being referred to as Kelly2! The U.S. Marines’ slogan is to improvise, adapt, and overcome. God is providing the means to improvise and the ability to adapt, and He will overcome. The support of your prayers will help us reach and support more Maskwacis youth. — Submitted by Kelly Stickle, Guidance Counselor, Mamawi Atosketan Native School


REFLECTIONS NEWS A DREAM COMES HOLIDAY TRUECHURCH

Catch up with Jade at Virtual Camp Meeting Sabbath School July 18th albertaadventist.ca/virtualcm2020

“I want to go to Burman University for a biology major so I can pursue a medical degree.” Jade, MANS Honor Student Class of 2020

People who believe in you make you believe in yourself. When students like Jade read about the Schafer Family and the scholarship they recently established at MANS to help graduates attend Burman, a seed is planted. They can see themselves in the story  and at Burman — and a life they never thought possible.

MANS Scholarships You can Make a Difference Too

MAMAWI ATOSKETAN NATIVE SCHOOL albertaadventist.ca

To donate to MANS scholarships, contact Lynn McDowell (403) 342-5044 x 233 lmcdowell@albertaadventist.ca Alberta Conference 5816 Hwy 2A, Lacombe, AB T4L 2G5


CHURCH NEWS

Okotoks Seventh-day Adventist Church Doing Well During COVID-19

T

he church has been doing its very best to keep meeting through internet communications. Prayer meeting is being held over the internet on Thursdays. Zoom has been efficient for the church serice, and the attendance has been good for both the Sabbath service and prayer meetings. The only difficulty we have encountered has been with song services causing issues for participants, but a number of options to resolve this are being considered. To be able to get together and see each other is a wonderful experience. We need each other during this stressful time, to know and see that we are doing well. A few of our members were missing due to having the virus but we praise God that they are on the mend. An emergency board meeting was called to discuss ways to assist the communities of Okotoks and High River in this difficult time of fear and uncertainty. The project for these towns was started almost immediately by purchasing products and medicines to build up the immune system and fight the coronavirus. In addition, one of Mrs. White's books was added to each parcel as well. People known to have the virus were

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Alberta Adventist News

JUNE 2020

One houndred parcels were given to people having the virus in Okotoks, High River and South Calgary area. We are praying that the Holy Spirit will speak to their hearts through the books delivered to them.

Vitamin C needed to have a strong immunity to help fight the virus.

Contents of the parcel included ginger, lemon, and tylenol.


CHURCH NEWS

People known to have the virus were asked for permission and offered a parcel and permission was requested to deliver it. They gladly accepted it. No one refused so far." offered a parcel and permission was requested to deliver it to them. They gladly accepted our offer and no one has refused so far. The parcel included a short letter by Dr. Lady Jane Padilla, who represented the Okotoks Church, offering help in facing the current uncertainties and fears. She offered suggestions to have confidence in facing the unseen enemy by using the principles of the NEWSTART health program that have shown to be immune-enhancing. At prayer meeting, we have been studying Last Day Events by Sister Ellen White. Brothers and sisters, we are so close to Jesus' coming. Let us remember that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof” (Psalm 46:1–3, KJV). May God be with us all. — Submitted by Ria Schurig, Communication Director Okotoks Seventh-day Adventist Church

Honk if you're happy! H

Inspiring kids Diego and Daysha Diaz, Lily Kristian.

oping to lift up the mood and spark some positivity during this trying time, several kids tried out an idea they had seen online. Standing by one of the main roads in Red Deer with balloons and a poster that read "Honk if you are Happy," they aimed to get at least 1,000 honks and in a couple of days, they reached their goal! Positivity and hope are contagious. We will never know how many of those drivers were having a bad day but honked anyway to not let the kids down, and by doing so, they also experienced some joy and happiness. — Submitted by Janeth L. Vasquez

JUNE 2020

Alberta Adventist News

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CHURCH NEWS

Churches Embrace Innovation and Creativity During COVID-19

I

've often heard our pastors mention how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the church to implement long-overdue innovations. I couldn't agree more! The current lockdown has brought out talent and creativity previously hidden and unknown among our members. Pastors and members have stepped up to the plate with innovative teaching methods and the cutting-edge usage of technology. Videoconferencing technology has been embraced in conducting the business of the church, and in some cases, completely new ministries have been birthed from this crisis. Another unexpected surprise has been the visitors that have “shown up” for many of our services from places as far as the US and even Africa! It has been said many times that church is not the building; it is the people who make up the church. Perhaps this pandemic will help us refocus on reaching out to the world beyond our walls. At Edmonton Central, some of the creative ideas that we have implemented since the lockdown started include:

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Alberta Adventist News

JUNE 2020

• • • • • •

A daily “Minute Motivation” video message from our pastors via Facebook Zoom prayer meetings for adults and a youth “Power Up” meeting on Wednesdays A children's department weekly video and newsletter An enhanced YouTube streaming worship experience and interactive Zoom Sabbath School A Sabbath afternoon virtual Pastor’s study class A weekly virtual workout session


CHURCH NEWS

Church members joining prayer meetings, motivational minutes, connecting virtually and spiritually. Technology proves to be a great tool when used purposefully. God has opened up new and exciting windows to share His grace and peace with a hungering and desperate world, and He has promised to walk with us to the end. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” ( Joshua 1:9, NIV). —Submitted by Chifuka Chundu, Community Outreach Coordinator at the Edmonton Central Seventh-day Adventist Church

IN MEMORY Collins Falesau May 13, 2020

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t is with great sadness I share that my husband, Collins Falesau, passed away on Wednesday, May 13, due to complications from a serious leg infection. He was in Fiji at the time of his passing and was buried there, in his favourite place on his beach. He will be greatly missed by many family and friends. —Dorothy Vlug Falesau

JUNE 2020

Alberta Adventist News

41


MEANS & MEANING

The Elephant in the Room:

COVID-19 and WILLS NOW

WILLS NOW, The Conference’s new COVID-19 initiative, is providing quick connection with Adventist lawyers and no-cost wills BY LYNN McDOWELL

I

n my lifetime, there has never been a socially accepted time to bring up — do we dare say it — death. Funerals are occasions where we face it, but we really don’t want to talk or think about it, and the focus is on other things, like the life and good deeds of the loved one, the hope we have of meeting again. But in March, the unspoken agreement to not talk about possible imminent death changed. Suddenly politicians were citing alarming statistics and Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Deena Hinshaw, became a fashion icon as she delivered dire news of a lethal virus. Even young people — especially young people — began making will appointments in droves (see DID YOU KNOW box for poll statistics). Given my personal experience in 2018 with family passing away in rapid succession

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JUNE 2020

(some without wills), I realized that one of the most practical things the Conference could do to prevent more stress and future pain for families facing COVID-19 was to help families by making well-drafted wills possible for any member who needs one. And so at the end of March in the face of COVID-19, the Conference announced WILLS NOW — a joint effort with Adventist lawyers Shelley Smith (Edmonton) and Loney Ziakris (Lacombe) to ensure every member has a proper will. At no cost. No joke. Especially not a lawyer joke.

How WILLS NOW Works There has never been a requirement that members include the Conference as a


MEANS & MEANING

beneficiary when working with me in the will process. I take instructions initially, but each will is independently drafted by a lawyer in private practice who directly interfaces with the member as their client. The lawyers charge $300 per couple, $200 per individual when members give their will instructions through the Planned Giving Director. Upon submitting proof of payment to the Director of Planned Giving (ie: a receipt), members can recover the entire cost of their wills from the Conference.

Why Free Wills Now? Since 2013, Wills@Camp makes no-cost wills available at Foothills Camp during camp meeting. But how to care to an entire, far-flung Conference family facing an unprecedented life-  threatening virus? When I called on Adventist lawyers and asked them whether they could reduce their fees for a time, without hesitation they lowered them to the Conference reimbursement rate At this writing, the statistics on members participating in WILLS NOW fits the trend seen by lawyers across Canada: a big increase among young couples. Many have young children that are driving their concern. And the feedback is positive: Because our faith

is central to who we are, we are finding comfort in connecting and working with professionals who understand our faith and values. All WILLS NOW participants have expressed gratitude.

How Long will WILLS NOW Continue? With camp meeting going virtual this year and COVID-19 uncertainty still in the air, the WILLS NOW team unanimously agreed to extend the initiative to the end of July.* Details on getting started can be clicked through from the Conference website landing page: albertaadventist.ca. Death is never going to be an easy topic, but WILLS NOW is a chance to connect with an Adventist lawyer who understands where you’re coming from without cost being a concern. We’re here to help, no matter what’s in your pocket.

take you directly to the Wills Now event page. There you will find more detail along with stepby-step instructions and essential information. The Planned Giving page of the Conference website has several other useful resources in its “Wills” link including Wills for Changing Lives.

DID YOU KNOW? In a recent poll, almost 70% of Canadian lawyer respondents report that they’re getting a lot more or somewhat more estate planning business since the pandemic struck. Of those folks making a new will, 65% of the activity is being undertaken by individuals under 60 years of age.

Getting Started Will instructions must be given in an phone appointment with Lynn McDowell. • Call by July 2 to arrange your appointment time (403) 342-5044 x 233. • At albertaadventist.ca, click on “Wills Now” in the Conference landing page banner. This will

Lynn McDowell, JD, CSPG

Director of Planned Giving | Philanthropy Alberta Conference (403) 342-5044, ext. 233

JUNE 2020

Alberta Adventist News

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A Guaranteed

Life Income

from the Alberta Conference

When investment return rates are low, being a senior can be a big benefit. If you’re • Age 65+ • Have $10,000+ that you would like to eventually invest in church work You could receive a monthly or yearly income that is equivalent to better-than-market interest!

Investment or Contract? Any annuity from a charitable organization is a contract. The Alberta Conference Charitable Gift Annuity guarantees you a fixed monthly or annual income that never changes, even if you live to be 150 years old. Changing or Fixed Interest Rate? Interest really isn’t a factor and isn’t part of an annuity contract. There is a monthly payout amount, which never varies. Commercial or Charitable Gift Annuity? Annuities can be purchased from an insurance company (commercial or from various charities (charitable gift). One Life or Two? Spouses can have payments to go continuously for both their lives, but it is possible to have a contract that covers only one life or a second individual who is not a spouse. US or Canadian Charitable Gift Annuity? While many US charities will contract with Canadians and provide a tax receipt, a US receipt is not recognized by Canada Revenue Agency. Only Canadian charities specifically licenced to offer charitable gift annuities can provide a receipt recognized by CRA for charitable deduction purposes. RRSP or Annuity? Money withdrawn from a Registered Retirement Saving Plan (RRSP) is 100% taxable. Annuity payments, depending on personal factors, can be 70-100% tax-free. General or Restricted Gift? If there are funds left for the charity to use, Alberta Conference policy is to use them as the donor says in the agreement that creates the annuity. Seniors of the Church rejoice! You can make a bigger difference than you may have thought with a guaranteed life income Charitable Gift Annuity.

Lynn McDowell, JD, CSPG

Director of Planned Giving | Philanthropy Alberta Conference (403) 342-5044, ext. 233