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• • • OFFICE FOR REGIONAL CONFERENCE MINISTRY IN NORTH AMERICA • • •

Telling Our

Story

SUMMER 2018 www.regionalconferenceministry.com

LEADERS GATHER FOR

ORCM GRAND OPENING MEET OUR NEW PUBLISHER ............... SDA EDUCATION LASTS A LIFETIME


ADMINISTRATORS FROM ACROSS NORTH AMERICA :: Front row, left to right: Dr. William T. Cox, President, Allegheny West, Dr. Clifford Jones, President, Lake Region, Elder Henry Fordham, President, Allegheny East, Dr. Alvin Kibble, Vice President, North American Division Standing- left to right: Elder Greg Mack, President, Southeastern, Elder Byron Dulan, Regional Coordinator, North Pacific Union, Elder Roger Bernard, President, Central States, Elder Virgil Childs, Regional Coordinator, Pacific Union, Dr. G. Alexander Bryant, Executive Secretary, North American Division Not pictured: Dr. Daniel Honore ( Northeastern), and Elders Benjamin Jones ( South Central) William Winston ( South Atlantic) and Calvin Watkins( Southwest Region)


PUBLISHER’S

RCM

COMMENTARY

OFFICE FOR REGIONAL CONFERENCE MINISTRY STATEMENT OF VISION, MISSION, CORE VALUES The Office for Regional Conference Ministry has posted this document for your review and understanding. Our Statement of Vision: The Vision of Regional Conferences is to passionately embrace the second coming of Christ. Our Statement of Mission: The mission of North American Division Regional Conferences is to present the Adventist message with a primary focus to black Americans and to any and all other people groups without regard to race, culture or national origin. Our Core Values: 1. Excellence: We commit to spiritual, effective, efficient, collaborative leadership, and responsible service to God and people. 2. Respect: We follow the practice of open membership without regard to race, color, or national origin. 3. Integrity: We are above reproach in all that we do ensuring that our actions are consistent with the character of Christ. 4. Stewardship: We receive gifts from the generosity of Gods’ grace and other resources to support His ministry. 5. Preaching: We proclaim new life in Christ in public speech and action giving all glory, honor and praise to God. 6. Unity: In and with Christ as our model of service we stand in unity with the oneness of purpose, mission, structure, and goals of the church. 7. Worship: We believe that God is worthy and we gather together each Sabbath with praise, giving glory to salvation in Christ.

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My Dad’s Last Ride and His Last Legacy

later, he passed away in his house on Oakwood cannot think of a more appropriate Road. His final trip was to Oakwood College. subject for my first editorial as pubNeither my dad nor my mom ever attended lisher of Regional Voice Magazine: Oakwood. But they made countless sacrificSeventh-day Adventist education. es so that my sisters, my brother and I could. I grew up in a very traditional, When I had the privilege of serving on the old-fashioned Seventh-day AdvenOakwood Board of Trustees and was asked to tist home. My parents were absospeak for vespers at a board retreat, I told that lute believers in Seventh-day Adstory to remind them that we were more than ventist Education. Both of those childhood the trustees of a board—we were trustees of a homes were bought by my parents because dream. they had one advantage: their proximity to Oakwood and the other Seventh-day Adthe Seventh-day Adventist schools. We lived ventist schools my siblings and I attended one block away from Ramah Jr. Academy in Mr. and Mrs. Edmond did make a difference in our lives. When my Cleveland, Ohio. When my younger sister and siblings and I had children, we placed them in Seventh-day brother and I were all students at Oakwood, we moved to a Adventist schools. When our children had children, they house in Huntsville, Alabama, about a quarter of a mile away placed them in Seventh-day Adventist schools. On this comfrom what was then Oakwood College. Appropriately enough, ing Sabbath morning and every Sabbath, all of us will be in my parents bought a house on Oakwood Road. Seventh-day Adventist churches in Huntsville, Nashville, AtBut, here is the story that I think says it all: lanta and Washington, D.C. In December of 1999, my father was diagnosed with terSeventh-day Adventist schools are an important part of why minal pancreatic cancer. With the kind support of the entire my siblings and I and all of our families remain Seventh-day South Central Conference office, led then by President Joseph Adventist. No, those schools did not take the place of godly, McCoy, I was able to commute from Nashville to Huntsville to committed parents—church school is not supposed to do that. help my mother take care of my father. He had less than three Those schools weren’t perfect—and neither are their succesmonths from his diagnosis to his death. sors. Yet the fact that our schools are God’s schools (and they One day, my mother’s clothes dryer went out. I offered to get are) can never substitute for the requirement that they be one and have it delivered, but even in his terminal condition, good schools. my dad considered that to still be his reSeventh-day Adventist schools are supsponsibility. He asked me to drive him to posed to do this: Prepare children for this the appliance store to make what would life and the life to come by reinforcing be his final purchase. We arranged for what godly, committed Seventh-day Adthe delivery and we got in the car for what ventist parents teach them at home, and turned out to be my dad’s last ride. I will by reinforcing what they receive in Sevnever forget what happened next. enth-day Adventist churches. No other As we were about to turn on the street school system can do that—or can even try. that led to my parents’ home, Dad said Both my parents are gone now; they are “The sun feels good. Would you drive me resting in Jesus. But their legacy lives on. around some more?” I said, “Sure, Dad. Over these past 40 years as a Seventh-day Where would you like to go?” My dad—who Adventist pastor, I hope and pray that I knew that he was dying—said, “Take me to have been faithful to that legacy. the campus,” meaning, Oakwood’s camI think I can speak for all of our generapus. So, off to the campus we went. tions when I say how thankful I am for that We passed the Eva B. Dykes Library, legacy and the blessed difference it has Blake Center, and other buildings. Then made in all of our lives. t Dad said, “All right, I’m ready to go home Elder Dana Edmond, Mrs. Nancy now.” I pointed the car toward his house, Edmond Dudley; Mrs. Lori Edmond and we drove home. –Dana C. Edmond, Director Mathis and Mr. Duane Edmond. That was Dad’s last ride. A few weeks Office for Regional Conference Ministry REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 5


C ON TENT S •

Published by the Office for Regional Conference Ministry in the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists 7000 Adventist Boulevard Huntsville, Alabama 35896 Telephone (256) 830-5002 www.regionalconferenceministry.com

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Regional Voice Magazine • Summer 2018

CONSULTANTS PHYLLIS WARE LEE, ELAINE ALLSTON, JO ANN BUSHNER

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EDITORIAL For all correspondence and letters to the editors, write: OFFICE FOR REGIONAL CONFERENCE MINISTRY 7000 Adventist Boulevard Huntsville, Alabama 35896 or fax to (256) 830-5078 We reserve the right to publish and edit your submissions and letters.

REGIONAL CONFERENCE OFFICES

ALLEGHENY EAST CONFERENCE HENRY J. FORDHAM III, PRESIDENT LaTasha Hewitt, Communications Director P.O. Box 266 Pine Forge, PA 19548 (610) 326-4610. www.myalleghenyeast.org ALLEGHENY WEST CONFERENCE WILLIAM COX, PRESIDENT Bryant L. Smith, Communications Director 1080 Kingsmill Pkwy. Columbus, OH 43229 (614) 252-5271. www.awconf.org CENTRAL STATES CONFERENCE ROGER BERNARD, PRESIDENT Brittany Winkfield, Communications Director 3301 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, KS 66104 (913) 371-1071. www.central-states.org LAKE REGION CONFERENCE R. CLIFFORD JONES, PRESIDENT Paul Young, Communications Director 8517 South State Street Chicago, IL 60619 (773) 846-2661. www.lakeregionsda.org NORTHEASTERN CONFERENCE DANIEL LAMARTINE HONORÉ, PRESIDENT JeNean A. Lendor, Communications Director 115-50 Merrick Blvd. Jamaica, NY 11434 (718) 291-8006. www.northeastern.org NORTH PACIFIC UNION CONFERENCE BYRON DULAN, VICE PRESIDENT 5709 N. 20th Street Ridgefield, WA 98642 (360) 857-7000. www.npuc.org PACIFIC UNION CONFERENCE 2686 Townsgate Road Westlake Village, CA 91361 (805) 413-7100. www.puconline.org SOUTH ATLANTIC CONFERENCE WILLIAM L. WINSTON, PRESIDENT Carl McRoy Communications Director 294 Hamilton E. Holmes Drive, NW Atlanta, GA 30318 (404) 792-0535. www.southatlantic.org SOUTH CENTRAL CONFERENCE BENJAMIN JONES, PRESIDENT Roger Wade, Communications Director 715 Youngs Lane Nashville, TN 37207 (615) 226-6500. www.scc-adventist.org SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE GREGORY O. MACK, PRESIDENT Christopher C. Thompson, Communications Director 1701 Robie Avenue Mt. Dora, FL 32757 (352) 735-3142. www.secsda.org SOUTHWEST REGION CONFERENCE CALVIN WATKINS, PRESIDENT Taryan Ramsarran, Communications Director 2215 Lanark Avenue Dallas, TX 75203 (214) 943-4491. www.southwestregion. adventistchurchconnect.org 2018 REGIONAL DIRECTORS/COORDINATORS ROSTER Virgil Childs Director Regional Ministries Pacific Union Conference Cell: 909-225-6438 Kingsley Palmer V.P. African American Dept. Arizona Conference Cell 775-338-0858 | genx58@gmail.com Frederick Anderson Coordinator African American Ministries | Central California Conference 831-262-3838 | famar@sbcglobal.net O’Neil Madden Coordinator African American Dept | Nevada-Utah Conference Cell 702-875-5979 | pastoromadden@aol.com Dr. George King V.P. Black Ministries Southeastern California Conference (909) 202-0147 | kinggm@seccsda.org Royal Harrison Director G.L.A.R. | Southern California Conference 503-819-1498 | hroyal2@yahoo.com

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PUBLISHER DANA C. EDMOND EDITOR KYNA HINSON ASSOCIATE EDITOR BRYANT TAYLOR ART DIRECTOR/DESIGNER HOWARD I. BULLARD COPY EDITOR CLARISE J. NIXON

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PUBLISHER’S COMMENTARY

My Dad’s Last Ride and His Last Legacy Our new Publisher describes the focused determination of his parents, Mr. James and Mrs. Marcelle Edmond, to provide their four children with Seventh-day Adventist Christian education—and the lasting effects of that decision. By Dana Edmond

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CHANGING OF THE GUARD

James L. Lewis After decades of pastoral service, work as an administrator and scholar in Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership, our outgoing Publisher moves on to a working retirement. Our prayers and best wishes go with him.

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CHANGING OF THE GUARD

Dana Edmond Our incoming Director for the Office for Regional Conference Ministry in North America, and Publisher of Regional Voice Magazine has great energy and a taste for adventure. A veteran Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor and administrator, he urges us to “Take a new direction!

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REGIONAL NEWS

Grand Opening of the Office for Regional Conference Ministry After experiencing a fire that rendered former offices unusable, and a “temporary occupation” in other offices, the newest ORCM Headquarters welcomed visitors and leaders from North America. Text and Photography by Gianna Snell

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IN MEMORIAM

We pause once more to honor three Seventh-day Adventist leaders dedicated to God’s cause. Elder George and Mrs. Vernelle Earle died less than 48 hours apart, after 75 years of marriage. They gave more than 40 years of service. Dr. Roy Malcolm—devoted scholar, administrator, musician, husband, father, mentor and friend, offered more than 50 years of service.

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PELC HONOREES

Leaders honored at the 2017 ceremony have rendered multiple centuries of service! Coverage Coordinator Bryant Taylor

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PELC REPORT

This conference theme “Refocus,” centered on the Great Commission from Jesus found in Matthew 28. Blessings flowed through fellowship, plenaries and preaching, according to enthusiastic attendees. Text and Photography by LaTasha Hewitt

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REGIONAL NEWS

ALLEGHENY WEST Allegheny West Occupies New Conference Office Text and Photography by Bryant Smith

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REGIONAL EVANGELISM

Here’s a report of every evangelistic endeavor from Regional Conferences across North America for 2018. Reported and Compiled by Chavvah McCoy Lister

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REGIONAL NEWS

CENTRAL STATES The Park Hill Adventist Church in Denver, Colorado, was named the 2017 Church of the Year by the Colorado Gospel Music Academy and Hall of Fame, for their service to the community and spiritual contributions. By Brittany Winkfield

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REGIONAL NEWS

SOUTHEASTERN The Southeastern Conference has invested more than $1 million in their schools, to give their best to the children. By Keitha Hatcher Coverage Coordinator Christopher C. Thompson

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DANIELLE IN BABYLON Stand Up for Jesus

Dr. Joyce Bellamy of the South Central Conference knows what this means. Text and Photography by Gianna Snell Coverage Coordinator Roger Wade

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OAKWOOD UNIVERSITY

President Leslie Pollard announces a new relationship between Oakwood University and its Alumni Association.

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REGIONAL ACADEMIES

Miami Union Celebrates 100 Years By Edwin M. Silié and Shelley Garner Coverage Coordinator Christopher C. Thompson

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REGIONAL ACADEMIES

Oakwood Adventist Academy Breaks Ground For Phase III By Paul D. Nixon Photography by Ray Leftridge

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REGIONAL ACADEMIES

Oakwood Adventist Academy Team Wins in Robotics By Brandon Dent

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REGIONAL ACADEMIES

Allegheny East Students Enjoy STEM Events Coverage Coordinator LaTasha Hewitt

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A HOUSE DIVIDED, Part 2

This Millennial scholar completes his careful, contemporary look at Regional Conferences, polling Seventh-day Adventist peers and pastors, and revealing his own experiences.

Report by Joseph Smittick

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HOPE SERIES

South Atlantic Conference The Touch 10K Challenge Brings Hope in Atlanta Coverage Coordinator Carl McRoy REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 7


ORCM

ORCM

NEWS

NEWS

CHANGING of the GUARD

CHANGING of the GUARD

JAMES L. LEWIS

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t is a privilege to mark and honor the service of Elder James L. Lewis, who has worked as Director of the Office for Regional Conference Ministry (ORCM) for nearly 10 years, and Publisher for Regional Voice Magazine for eight years as well. He prepared for his career by first earning a B.A. in Theology from Oakwood College, the Master of Divinity from Andrews Theological Seminary, and later a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is also a Certified Public Accountant, and is working to complete a doctorate in Business Administration from Walden University. Before his tenure at ORCM and Regional Voice, Elder Lewis worked in the Allegheny West Conference as a pastor, as Conference Treasurer and finally as the Conference President for nine years. Joining him in his years of service is his wife of nearly 50 years, Mrs. Sharon Bradford Lewis, an educator, school principal, and college professor. They have one adult son. And now, at this juncture, Elder Lewis is leaving ORCM to launch what will certainly become a “working retirement.” He is no stranger to multiple assignments. Concurrent with his responsibilities as ORCM Director, Elder Lewis has served as: • Senior Pastor of the Gurley, Alabama, Seventh-day Adventist Church • A member of the pastoral staff at the Mt. Calvary Seventh-day Adventist Church in Huntsville • A professor in the Oakwood University School of Religion

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• A planner and coordinator of the annual Pastoral Evangelism and Leadership Council (PELC) held at Oakwood University • A designer of a series of workshops and seminars in financial management and personal and/or household budgets • A designer of more specific workshops and seminars on debt reduction His specific responsibilities for Regional Voice Magazine have also included:

Before his tenure at ORCM and Regional Voice, Elder Lewis worked in the Allegheny West Conference as a pastor, as Conference Treasurer and finally as the Conference • Live coverage of several Regional events as a reporter • Commentary and Editorials for the Regional Voice Publisher’s Page • Producer of extensive statistical reports on church and conference evangelism and growth • Coordinator of the first Regional Voice Magazine Summit, designed precisely for meetings among Regional Conference Communications Directors from across the North American Division and other Seventh-day Adventist professionals

working in the media industry Elder Lewis presided over many editorial planning sessions for this magazine, and for almost a decade, has brought steady support, ready humor and a willingness to take on a wide range of editorial and/or statistical assignments. Now he will have something of a luxury in choosing his own assignments from now on in this new phase of life. God bless you and yours, Elder Lewis. t

DANA C. EDMOND

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e welcome our new administrator Elder Dana Edmond, Director of the Office for Regional Conference Ministry and Publisher for Regional Voice Magazine. As a graduate of Oakwood College, Elder Edmond accepted his first call to the North Caribbean Conference in the St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands. There he began his career in teaching and pastoring. He later matriculated through Andrews Theological Seminary and was ordained into the Seventh-day Adventist Gospel Ministry. A seasoned veteran in Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership, Elder Edmond has served in the South Central Conference as a pastor, Conference Youth Director, and Conference Secretary. Finally, he served as the South Central Conference President for seven years. His wife and love of nearly 40 years, Mrs. Jill Robinson Edmond, has worked as a church school teacher and college professor. Elder and Mrs. Edmond have two adult children and four grandchildren. Now, he seeks to build on the solid foundation of the ORCM, and to take Regional Voice Magazine into a bold, new direction, as outlined in the following 10 points, by: • Being intentional about using social media and technology in connecting with our constituents and spreading the gospel • Re-establishing the ORCM Website to protect our brand • Working with the Regional Confer-

ence Presidents to develop an agenda for the direction of Regional Conferences and the implementation of that agenda • Establishing Web connections with every Regional Conference and other SDA institutions all over the NAD • Publishing news from every Regional Conference and West Coast entity in each Regional Voice issue • Connecting with our brothers and sisters in Africa and the Caribbean

Now, Elder Edmond seeks to build on the solid foundation of the ORCM, and to take Regional Voice Magazine into a bold, new direction. • Engaging our children, youth and young adults in a dialog on the history of Regional Conferences and why they are still viable and necessary today • Having a National Young Adult Summit where we engage our young adults in a dialog about the importance of them being full partners in ministry • Launching plans for the new ORCM Headquarters—to house the organizations under the ORCM umbrella • Producing quarterly editions of the Regional Voice that will be mainly distributed on-line

Once more, Welcome Elder Edmond. We anticipate great progress in the new direction! t

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ORCM

NEWS

ORCM Dedicates New Office Building Text and Photography by Gianna Snell

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xactly two years after an electrical fire in April 2016 that forced the Office for Regional Conference Ministry (ORCM) to vacate its small office building on the campus of Oakwood University, the ORCM held a dedication service for its brand new office suite on Thursday, April 29, 2018. ORCM had occupied its original office building since 1996, but after the fire, the ORCM operated temporarily from the Oakwood Industries building that also houses the Oakwood University radio station, WJOU, among other OU entities. Thankfully, in November 2017, ORCM moved into a new 3,000 square foot facility, located on Millennium Drive, the road that leads directly into the campus through the Oakwood West Gate entrance. “Many people don’t realize that this building is the headquarters of the regional conference work,” said Dana Edmond, director of ORCM. “I wanted the board members to see this space, but I also want them to get the vision for something greater…a facility that houses ALL of our offices: Breath of Life, Regional Voice, RCRP, ORCM, and Message Magazine.” The ORCM Board Meeting and the Regional Conference Retirement Plan (RCRP) Board Meeting are both held annually on the Thursday of Oakwood’s Alumni Weekend, so this was an opportune time to host the officers that comprise the two boards in a tour of the new facility. Despite pouring rain, two small buses brought approximately 25 guests from their meeting location at the Bradford Brooks Cleveland Leadership Center to the new office. Edmond led the Regional Conference Presidents, Vice Presidents, Secretaries and Treasurers into the conference room where they gathered along the walls of the room and viewed a live demonstration of the video conferencing feature. Following the brief demonstration, president of South Central Conference, Elder Benjamin Jones, offered a prayer of dedication for the space. After the prayer, the guests were divided into two groups and given a guided tour of the facility’s five offices, lobby area, workroom, breakroom, storage room, storm shelter, and conference room, by Elaine Allston, Assistant Director of ORCM and RCRP, and

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Jo Ann Bushner, Administrative Assistant for ORCM and RCRP. “The major benefit of this new location is that we have more space,” said Allston, who has worked for ORCM since 2002. “We even have a guest office for our board members to use when they are in Huntsville, to conduct interviews or use as a workspace.” “Our team did an excellent job with decorating the space, so the response to the open house was very positive,” said Edmond. “But the ultimate goal is to build a facility on the OU campus that properly represents who we are as regional constituents—and who God is.” t ______________________________________________________ Gianna Snell is a photojournalist who lives and works in Huntsville, Alabama.

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 11


ORCM

NEWS

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REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 13


IN MEMORIAM and internationally, to: West Africa, Fiji, Toronto, and various camp meetings. And even after they retired to Huntsville, the trips continued. Their eternal, 75 year marriage and ministry bond came to a bittersweet end on the morning of Friday, March 23, 2018, when Vernelle Elaine Earle fell asleep in Jesus. Then, on Sunday morning, March 25, 2018, just 46 hours after his sweetie pie, “Sister Honey,” took her rest, he was satisfied he had honored the promise he made more than 75 years before, to always take care of Vernelle. Then George Roland Earle took his rest. We may be sad now, but we are also rejoicing as we celebrate the love of a lifetime shared by the Earles, who leave son, Reginald Bertrand Earle, daughter, Chrissa Janel Earle Farrell (Dion), grandchildren Danel Duvai Roland and Aidan Veronica Lael, great nephew Alphonso Mitchell (Ozzie), nephew Marvin Earle (Diane), nieces Fay Hobbs, Paula Wright (Eddie), Dorothy Burnette, Caddie Howell, and a host of great nieces, nephews, friends and associates. t

Elder George R. Earle 1918 - 2018

Mrs. Vernelle Rogers Earle 1922 - 2018

The Love Story

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eorge Roland Earle was born on February 14, 1918, to Louis B. and Alice Earle in Mill Spring, North Carolina, the second youngest of seven siblings. When George was 3 years old, the Earle family moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where they remained until they migrated to Rochester, New York. While in St. Petersburg, the Earle family joined the Elim Seventh-day Adventist Church, where George also attended elementary school. Upon completion of the eighth grade in 1936, George made his way to Huntsville, Alabama, to attend high school at Oakwood, and then college. While a student, George served in the United States Army. Vernelle Elaine Rogers was born on August 2, 1922 to Gus and Lucy Rogers in Morton, Mississippi. Although she had five other siblings, she was closest to her two sisters, LaDelle and Ollie. Vernelle’s mother Lucy passed away when Vernelle was 3 years old, and after spending her early years being raised by her father and aunts, she moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to live with her cousins, Elder and Mrs. Otis Trotter. Vernelle attended Manual Training High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma, graduating in 1941 with her classmate, Lee Paschal. After graduation, Vernelle made her way to Huntsville to attend Oakwood. Not long after arriving on campus, she met George. The story was often told that when he asked her to be his ‘special friend’, she let him know, in no uncertain terms, that she was there for books, not boys. Although Vernelle was indeed there for books, she did get the boy, too. After a two-year courtship, George and Vernelle were married on January 10, 1943, in Birmingham, Alabama, while George was stationed at Ft. McClellan. After years in the military and many days of conflict due to his refusal to bear arms, God intervened in a court marshal and he was honorably discharged. The couple moved to Los Angeles for a short time when George considered a career in acting, and during that time, their son Reginald was born. At the urging of Lee Paschal and his wife, George gave up his acting pursuits to return to Oakwood College. In 1948, after George graduated, their lives would forever be intertwined with ministry. Soon thereafter, his 40-plus years of ministry began. A brief pastoral assignment in Fayetteville, North Carolina,

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Dr. Roy E. Malcolm 1934 - 2018 which lasted for approximately 6 months, came before George received a call to come to the Northeastern Conference to pastor. His first assignment was the New Rochelle church, followed by Linden Boulevard, Bethel, and City Tabernacle. During these years, George and Vernelle worked hand in hand to edify all members of their congregations, from the oldest senior citizen, to the youngest child. Not only did Vernelle work with the children to put on various programs featuring them, she was an educator, and served as Principal of the Bethel SDA School. Vernelle had a special bond with children, even until the very end. In 1967, after serving in pastoral ministry for 19 years, the Earles were elected to lead Northeastern Conference, where they served faithfully and fairly for the next 18 and a half years, until George’s retirement. It was also during this time that, in 1968, their daughter, Chrissa Janel, joined the family. Their tenure at the helm of Northeastern Conference enabled them to reach, and have an impact, on many lives. George always took the time to shake hands with everyone he came in contact with. Regardless of age, gender, or status, he would ask people their names, and learn a little bit about them. Vernelle would do likewise, always complimenting everyone.

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uring the Northeastern years, George worked to ensure that young ministers, as well as some older ones, had the chance to serve. Vernelle also played a part in this at times by convincing George of certain qualities she saw in these young men that would make them an asset to ministry. In addition, they planned many trips for the senior citizens, but people of all ages went on these trips. They knew that a trip planned by Vernelle, with George as the entertainment, with his stories and jokes, was guaranteed to be the most wonderful experience ever in life. The Earles hosted trips both nationally

A Life of Dignity, Kindness and Service

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oy Enford Malcolm, the eighth of twelve children, was born on December 12, 1934, in the St. Elizabeth parish on the island of Jamaica. As he grew, the quiet sparkle in his eyes reflected genius, intelligence, sharp wit and infectious, hilarious humor. An unassuming demeanor masked his boundless artistry, creativity, implacable focus and determination, along with God’s gifts of leadership, teaching and musicianship. These gifts would all prove useful as he matriculated through his early years of schooling in Jamaica, then as a young man as he transitioned to Kingsway College in Canada and Andrews University for undergraduate and graduate degrees. After these studies he accepted a call to become principal of the Bermuda Institute. During his tenure, he carefully cultivated a class of students to prepare for and attend Oakwood College—and they did. He also made the crucial decision to marry the love of his life, Edrene Deshield, forming a bond that endured nearly 50 years. The year 1968 marked the start of their union and the beginning of his tenure at Oakwood College. God blessed them with five beautiful children, as he faithfully served five presidents. In 1974, he would

complete his doctoral studies at The Ohio State University while still serving at Oakwood. Dr. Malcolm retired July 1, 2012, after nearly 51 years of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Christian education, beginning with the East Jamaica Conference and the Bermuda Conference. For 44 years, he served Oakwood University with distinction as a faculty member, Registrar, Dean of Administration, Commencement coordinator, Academic Vice President, Dean of College Relations, Aeolians’ manager and publisher. He also served the Huntsville community as chairperson for Huntsville’s annual city-wide American Education Week celebration. His name is synonymous with the bi-annual Festival of Spirituals. He revived the program in 1996, and it has become a highlight of Huntsville’s musical community calendar. Even after retirement, Dr. Malcolm continued part-time teaching at the University and was working to publish several books at the time of his death. He died April 29, 2018, and leaves to mourn his wife Edrene, daughter Chanel Fubler (Dale), son Royce (Kelli), daughter Charene Carrington (Norman), son Peter, and daughter, Charea Malcolm; two adopted daughters; five grandchildren; two adopted grandsons, three brothers, one sister, one aunt, godson Lloyd Mallory, best friends Dr. Lance Shand and Dr. Sherman Cox and their families; the Gunn, Pyfrom, Wilson and Pullins families, along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Dr. Malcolm was a gifted man, and one of his most endearing gifts was an unfailing kindness. He was kind to all of us. He hosted guests from around the world. He quietly mentored scores of administrators, hundreds of faculty and staff members, and thousands of students with his gentle, God-given wisdom. He was God-given as well, and may God rest his soul until Resurrection Day. t REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 15


PELC

NEWS

2017 HONOREES Coverage Coordinator Bryant Taylor

DR . ALFRED BOOKER DR . HAROLD LEE ELDER EFRAIN POLOCHE ELDER CARL ROGERS ELDER ROBERT LISTER MS. PATRECIA LANGLEY

Dr. Bryant Taylor, D.Min., the Associate Editor of Regional Voice Magazine, coordinated coverage of the 2017 PELC Honorees Ceremony. 16 | REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018

PHOTOS BY TRULY BLESSED PHOTOGRAPHY

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 17


PELC

REPORT

COMMISSION FOCUSED:

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By LaTasha Hewit t undreds of pastors and church leaders gathered for the 38th annual Pastoral and Evangelism Leadership Conference (PELC) held December 3-6, 2017, at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. The conference, themed “Refocus,” centered on a return to the Great Commission from Jesus. “Our goal was to refocus on the principles of discipleship as we sought to emulate the church found in Matthew 28,” shares Dr. Jesse Wilson, PELC chair. There are various reasons why attendees come to PELC each year. For some it’s the messages and seminars. Others come for the fellowship and resources. “The best part of PELC to me was the

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2017

fellowship. It was a time to connect with old friendships and exchange information. It was also a time to meet new acquaintances and celebrate being a part of this great work. The sermons allowed me to reflect on my calling and rededicate myself to my calling to ministry,” says Richard Sylvester, a pastor in the Lake Region Conference. “I enjoyed the plenaries and preaching,” shares Lola Moore-Johnston, a pastor in the Potomac Conference. “The presenters did an excellent job of charging attendees to leave the conference and pursue tangible outcomes in our churches and consciousness. I particularly enjoyed our non-Adventist guests, Drs. Freddie Haynes and Claybon Lea, who expanded our scope of our call to the work of ministry.” The Line-Up The 4-day conference is always packed with activity. This year, it began with an

awards ceremony that recognized selected individuals for their years of dedication to ministry and evangelism. The 2017 honorees included Alfred Booker, Patrecia Langley, Robert Lister, Carl Rogers, Efrain Poloche, and Harold Lee. A major portion of the conference were the inspirational morning, midday and evening sermons. Featured speakers included Debleaire Snell, Gina Brown, Freddie Haynes III, Claybon Lea, Roger Bernard, Nicardo Delahaye and Cedric Belcher. In addition to these sermons, attendees also enjoyed “super seminars” with topics such as “Preparing Your Church for Evangelism and Growth” and “Mobilizing Millennial Activists.” Other components of the event included “Power Points” where organizations like AARP and church ministry leaders gave updates and useful resources. Also, during the regional conference presidents’ report, REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 19


PELC 2017

REPORT William Cox, president of the Allegheny West Conference, provided an update on the Regional Retirement Plan and the strategy to sustain it. The conference ended with “Boot Camps,” intensive sessions covering topics such as “Social Justice and the Local Church” and “How to Plant and Grow Churches.” Other Programs Running concurrently to the main PELC programming are the Spouses and Hispanic sessions. The spouses met in the Wade Hall Chapel. “We help ministerial spouses acquire tools they need to better themselves in their area of service and allow them to share their gifts, talents, and expertise with each other,” shares Shirley Benton, ministerial spouses’ coordinator. This year the group wanted to leave a lasting impact by reaching out to the Huntsville community. They were able to present gifts to the single-parent assistance program at Oakwood University, New Beginnings, providing parents toiletries, toothpaste, and other basic items to meet their needs.

T

he Spanish Ministries attendees met in the Bradford Cleveland Brooks Leadership Center. They not only shared resources and messages, but they also rejoiced in what God has accomplished through the Spanish work. “Just as heaven rejoices over one soul that repents, so we rejoiced in celebration of over 3,000 souls that were plucked from the edges of hell’s fire,” says Ramon Escalante, a pastor in the Allegheny East Conference. New This Year New to PELC in 2017 was the Bible Instructors Certification Track. This joined the Chaplains Track, which has become a popular feature. The elders and deacons’ sessions were held a couple of days before PELC officially started. “We recognize that nothing is going to happen if we don’t invest in local leadership,” says Wilson. Although PELC continues to expand, it will remain true to its primary audience: pastors. Looking Ahead This year, PELC will be held December 2-5, 2018. During the weekend leading up to the conference, PELC will welcome a music and worshippers’ component entitled “The Gathering of Worshippers.” Stay connected to all PELC events and offerings by visiting their website, www.pastorsleadership.org t _________________________________________________________________________________ LaTasha Hewitt is Communication Director for the Allegheny East Conference.

20 | REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018

Singing Amidst History Students in Southern Adventist University’s elite chamber choir find unexpected inspiration while on tour. By Natalie Boonstra

T

his spring Southern Adventist University’s I Cantori Chamber Choir had a spontaneous opportunity to fellowship in song with civil rights icons Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. The ensemble, directed by Gennevieve Brown-Kibble, was wrapping up a weekend tour and planned to visit the museum before heading back to Southern. Knowing it was only a few days before the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, the group obtained permission to sing a few songs on the lawn near the Lorraine Motel, the site where King was killed. As they got positioned, they noticed that a television crew was interviewing Jackson and Young not far away. A CNN field producer asked the choir to wait until the interview was over before proceeding in song. The group waited patiently, hoping they might catch a closer glimpse of the two well-known activists when they walked by. When the field producer gave Kibble the “all clear,” she led the choir in singing “We Shall Overcome.” Kibble looked back toward the interview site just in time to see Jackson wipe tears from his face. Despite what appeared to be concerns from their security personnel, Jackson and Young left the path and joined the choir on the lawn to sing in their midst. The men stayed with the group for two more songs and then asked them to sing “We Shall Overcome” again—an anthem of the civil rights movement.

Cameras and reporters descended on the group, but Jackson and Young kept their focus on the choir, Jackson calling out each line of the song, his voice reverberating with conviction. “We were there for such a time as this,” Kibble said. “The fact that we could sing such a powerful song of the civil rights movement at that time was a rich experience.” In a social media post following the encounter, Jackson said, “We were moved to tears when a Southern Adventist University … choir sang ‘We Shall Overcome’ across the street from the Lorraine Motel.” The I Cantori members were also in awe of the experience. Once back at Southern, the group spent a class period discussing and reflecting on the impact Jackson, Young, and King had on the course of history. “When we found out that CNN was interviewing Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young, it took our breaths away,” said Brenda Osorio-Dure, senior nursing major and I Cantori member. “These are revolutionaries. They marched side-by-side with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They are the reason why our multiracial choir can sing together today.”

Natalie Boonstra is a freshman public relations major at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee.


t

REGIONAL

NEWS

[ ALLEGHENY WEST ]

Allegheny West Occupies New Conference Office By Bryant Smith

T

he Allegheny West Conference has a new a home, and it’s big! Purchased in February 2014, President William Cox and his team had their sights set on moving from their old building to a newer, larger facility to fit the vision and growth of the conference. This 21,600 square foot structure is located in the business district of the Polaris area in Columbus, Ohio. It is nestled quietly among other businesses and hotels. After the sale of their former headquarters, conference administrators and staff members officially moved into their new facility on March 1, 2018. They have been getting settled since then. This new center of operations boasts 32 rooms, including four conference rooms, a chapel, two dining areas, a workout facility, a communication studio, and a fully functional kitchen—a significant upgrade from the old structure that the conference occupied for the past 50 years.

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“We are proud of our new home, and we know that this is an outpouring of God’s blessings,” says President Cox. The new conference headquarters provides a venue for seminars, workshops, and special events to take place there for Allegheny West administrators, departmental leaders and pastors, as well as constituents. Allegheny West is on the move and the future looks bright. t ________________________________

Bryant Smith, M.Div., is Communications Director for the Allegheny West Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He has also completed the Clinical Pastoral Education course and is endorsed by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists as a Chaplain in Healthcare.

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 23


REGIONAL CONFERENCE

EVANGELISM EFFORTS

Allegheny East Conference n October 2018 North Philadelphia SDA Church, Philadelphia, PA Guest Speaker, Dr. Carlton P. Byrd

South Central Conference n Fall 2018 Six meetings scheduled in the conference, including evangelism efforts on the Gulf Coast (Pensacola, FL and Mobile, AL)

Allegheny West Conference n Planning and praying for 1,000 souls this year

n Ongoing At least 5 meetings scheduled throughout the year, including meetings for Latino Ministries by Pastor Dorian Melo, Multicultural Ministries Director Southeastern Conference n Spring 2018

Central States Conference n Spring 2018 Tabernacle of Praise, St. Louis, MO Pastor Claval Hunter n

March 30, 2018 - April 28, 2018 Reach KC – Kansas City, KS A joint initiative between It Is Written Ministries and three conferences – Central States Conference, Iowa-Missouri Conference and Kansas-Nebraska Conference Guest Speaker – John Bradshaw, It Is Written Ministries

n

June 17-30, 2018 New Life SDA Church, Minneapolis, MN Evangelistic effort focused on building smaller churches Guest Speakers, Elder Roger Bernard (President) and Elder Cryston Josiah (VP of Administration)

Lake Region Conference March – October 2018 n Evangelism continues to be the mission of Lake Region Conference, whose conference-wide theme for the year is, “Saved to Serve” n There are already 50 meetings scheduled throughout the conference n Some of the meetings scheduled are: “Love Never Fails,” “Together,” “Friend of God,” “Let’s Talk Revelation” and “Let’s Talk Family Nuggets” n 2018 is “The Year of Youth & Young Adults” for Lake Region and additional funds have been earmarked for youth and young adults to be engaged in evangelism Northeastern Conference

n

Target of 3,000 souls this year

n March 2018 Northeastern Conference pastors participated in the Atlantic Union Conference’s 1-week evangelism initiative in the Dominican Republic. n April 2018 Northeastern Conference pastors participated in the Atlantic Union Conference’s 1-week evangelism initiative in Haiti.

Lighthouse SDA Church, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Dr. Donald Burden, Pastor) 3-week Evangelistic Crusade, Guest Speaker, Elder Shian O’Connor (President of Cayman Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventists), and Musical Guest, Samantha Grady, a Junior who was wounded during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.

Nine pastors from Jamaica, W.I., preached separate revivals in the Southeastern territory at local churches in Pompano, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Miami, Avon Park and St. Augustine, FL. These pastors came as part of a multi-year mission exchange project with the Central Jamaica Conference.

Hispanic Ministries is in the process of developing several church plants in Pompano, Tampa and Ft. Myers, FL. Hispanic Ministries Director, Roger Alvarez, ran a 1-week revival to help strengthen the plant project in Pompano, FL. The Sheeler Oaks Church in Apopka, FL held a revival featuring Evangelist Alejandro Bullion.

n Upcoming Tampa, FL area churches & Breath of Life Ministries to hold a revival with plans for a church plant Southwest Region Conference n Summer 2018

At least 29 churches in Southwest Region Conference are holding meetings this summer.

Louisiana New Orleans (Ephesus SDA Church and New Life SDA Church) Baton Rouge Texas Houston (ongoing evangelism at Fondren SDA Church)

n May 6 - 12, 2018 Queensboro Temple, Queens Village, NY Pastor Raymond Alcock The Gospel Renaissance Revival Guest Speaker, Dr. Ainsworth E. Joseph

Dallas area (City Temple SDA Church, Faith Temple SDA Church, Agape SDA Church, Penuel SDA Church and Mosier Valley SDA Church)

n May 19-26,2018 Pastors from the South Caribbean Conference will preach in Northeastern Conference churches as a part of an exchange program started last year

Texarkana

n September 2018 Three to five pastors from Northeastern will preach in South Caribbean Conference churches to complete the exchange program cycle

South Atlantic Conference n

March 17 - April 14, 2018 Hope Tabernacle Church, Snellville, GA Pastor Frank Harrell Guest Speaker, Dr. Ron Smith (Southern Union President)

South Central Conference n

Spring 2018 11 meetings scheduled throughout the conference, including meetings in large and small churches, as well as multicultural evangelism initiatives (Central Knoxville Korean SDA Church in Knoxville, TN and Horeb Haitian SDA Church in Louisville, KY)

Fort Worth area (Grace Temple SDA Church, Forest Hill SDA Church) Arlington (All Nations SDA Church)

Oklahoma Oklahoma City (Voice of Hope) Arkansas Little Rock (Shiloh SDA Church) Hispanic Ministries The following Spanish churches will be involved in evangelism efforts this summer: Central Regional Spanish Church, Maranatha Spanish SDA Church, La Esperanza SDA Church, Sugar Land Spanish SDA Church, Round Rock SDA Church, Elgin Spanish SDA Church, La Roca SDA Church, El Faro SDA Church, El Paso East Spanish SDA Church, La Gran Esperanza SDA Church, Arlington Ebenezer SDA Church, Rogers Spanish SDA Church, Los Peregrinos SDA Church, Waco Spanish SDA Church and Lufkin Spanish SDA Church.

Chavvah M. Lister is a freelance reporter and writer living with her family in Tennessee. She is also a graduate in Communication from Oakwood University.

n Summer 2018 4 meetings scheduled throughout the conference, including a field school meeting, Imagine Nashville (Nashville, TN) and a New Members Initiative at Campmeeting (Huntsville, AL)

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REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 25


t

REGIONAL

[ CENTRAL STATES ]

REGIONAL

NEWS

NEWS

Park Hill Named 2017 Church of the Year By Brittany Winkfield

T

he Park Hill Adventist Church in Denver, Colorado, was named the 2017 Church of the Year by the Colorado Gospel Music Academy and Hall of Fame in recognition of the church’s sustained distinguished community service and spiritual contribution to Colorado. The award was presented at the 47th Annual Colorado Gospel Music Academy and Hall of Fame Awards Celebration at New Hope Baptist Church in February 2018. The Colorado Gospel Music Academy and Hall of Fame was founded to recognize accomplishments and contributions of individuals and organizations that have been true soldiers and faithful community servants in Colorado. The ministries and accomplishments of the Denver Park Hill Church in 2017, which factored into the committee’s selection, include: • Creating a Back to School tutorial preparation boot camp for middle schoolers, and providing pre-SAT tutoring hosted by children’s ministry and Cherelyn Napue’s Club Z • Hosting a Martin Luther King Jr. Day Interfaith Celebration • Initiating barbershop health screenings for African American men and families • Hosting community discussions

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Southeastern Conference Invests $1 Million Plus in Schools By Keitha Hatcher

O Pastor Robert L. Davis and wife Denise accept the award for the Park Hill Church, which was named the 2017 Church of the Year at the 47th Annual Colorado Gospel Music Academy and Hall of Fame Awards Celebration at New Hope Baptist Church on February 11, 2018.

around biased policing and the Denver Police Department use of force policy • Organizing and hosting the first ever Park Hill Interfaith Community Fest, uniting Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths to promote community unity, economic empowerment and holistic health • Distributing food and clothing weekly for low-income families • Activating two Safe Haven initiatives that provided spiritual and emotional support for Park Hill after two tragic gun violence episodes • Holding a domestic violence awareness vigil at the City and County building

• Joining as members and providing leadership for the Youth Violence Prevention Center-Denver Key Leader Advisory Board • Supporting initiatives for reform in the Denver Police Department data collection, jail overcrowding, addressing effects of Denver’s gentrification and other activities to improve Park Hill. t _______________________________________ Brittany Winkfield is Communication Director for the Central States Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

ne aspect of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) mission-focused strategy is to grow the kingdom by giving our best for our youth and children. In order to do so, SEC has renewed its commitment to providing our schools with valuable resources to make them top-quality institutions. The SEC administration set a goal to establish a fully funded education endowment of $1 million. In less than two years since it’s official

The goal is to pour valuable resources into education. establishment, the endowment is nearly fully funded with $1,012,069 raised to date. With only $87,930 to be raised, SEC administrators anticipate that the endowment will be fully funded by 2019. Mrs. Nicole Brisé, a retired educator, stated, “From the first day the idea was presented by Elder Paul, then Superintendent of Education, she and her husband began to donate $5

from their paychecks every month. That was more than 30 years ago, until her retirement. Her husband still gives $5 from his paycheck every month. The funds were for the improvement of the schools, and she is passionate about SDA Christian education.” SEC is also “putting their money where their mouth is” by funding expanded professional development and teacher certification training. SEC educators have participated in CRISS, ESE, and ESOL trainings, with the goal of equipping educators to teach to students’ individual learning styles and needs. SEC also prides itself in that SEC teachers continue to maintain 100% teacher certification. This distinction assists in securing funding for the annual summer teacher training institute that provides continuing education opportunities for conference teachers. This year, SEC has also increased benefits for locally-funded teachers, including a cost of living allowance, a healthcare assistance plan, and tuition subsidies for dependents. The goal is to pour valuable resources into education. Within the past year, $400,000 has been

allocated for renovations to Miami Union Academy. Also, SEC began purchasing smart boards for every SEC school. Each school has also received a $5,000 grant towards physical plant improvements. An additional special grant is also available to each school towards new outdoor signage. Recently, a special planning committee was organized by the SEC K-12 board to plan a major reorganization of the conference school district. Local schools, churches, and administrators are working together to strategize for the future of education in SEC. The children are the future of our church. SEC is making a substantive investment to ensure that they are well-equipped to meet those future challenges. t ____________________________________________________ Keitha Hatcher, MBA, is Administrative Assistant to the Communication and Technology and Human Resources Departments for the Southeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

____________________________________________________ Christopher C. Thompson, D. Min., the Communication and Technology Director for the Southeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, coordinated this coverage

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 27


t

REGIONAL

[ CENTRAL STATES ]

REGIONAL

NEWS

NEWS

Park Hill Named 2017 Church of the Year By Brittany Winkfield

T

he Park Hill Adventist Church in Denver, Colorado, was named the 2017 Church of the Year by the Colorado Gospel Music Academy and Hall of Fame in recognition of the church’s sustained distinguished community service and spiritual contribution to Colorado. The award was presented at the 47th Annual Colorado Gospel Music Academy and Hall of Fame Awards Celebration at New Hope Baptist Church in February 2018. The Colorado Gospel Music Academy and Hall of Fame was founded to recognize accomplishments and contributions of individuals and organizations that have been true soldiers and faithful community servants in Colorado. The ministries and accomplishments of the Denver Park Hill Church in 2017, which factored into the committee’s selection, include: • Creating a Back to School tutorial preparation boot camp for middle schoolers, and providing pre-SAT tutoring hosted by children’s ministry and Cherelyn Napue’s Club Z • Hosting a Martin Luther King Jr. Day Interfaith Celebration • Initiating barbershop health screenings for African American men and families • Hosting community discussions

28 | REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018

Southeastern Conference Invests $1 Million Plus in Schools By Keitha Hatcher

O Pastor Robert L. Davis and wife Denise accept the award for the Park Hill Church, which was named the 2017 Church of the Year at the 47th Annual Colorado Gospel Music Academy and Hall of Fame Awards Celebration at New Hope Baptist Church on February 11, 2018.

around biased policing and the Denver Police Department use of force policy • Organizing and hosting the first ever Park Hill Interfaith Community Fest, uniting Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths to promote community unity, economic empowerment and holistic health • Distributing food and clothing weekly for low-income families • Activating two Safe Haven initiatives that provided spiritual and emotional support for Park Hill after two tragic gun violence episodes • Holding a domestic violence awareness vigil at the City and County building

• Joining as members and providing leadership for the Youth Violence Prevention Center-Denver Key Leader Advisory Board • Supporting initiatives for reform in the Denver Police Department data collection, jail overcrowding, addressing effects of Denver’s gentrification and other activities to improve Park Hill. t _______________________________________ Brittany Winkfield is Communication Director for the Central States Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

ne aspect of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) mission-focused strategy is to grow the kingdom by giving our best for our youth and children. In order to do so, SEC has renewed its commitment to providing our schools with valuable resources to make them top-quality institutions. The SEC administration set a goal to establish a fully funded education endowment of $1 million. In less than two years since it’s official

The goal is to pour valuable resources into education. establishment, the endowment is nearly fully funded with $1,012,069 raised to date. With only $87,930 to be raised, SEC administrators anticipate that the endowment will be fully funded by 2019. Mrs. Nicole Brisé, a retired educator, stated, “From the first day the idea was presented by Elder Paul, then Superintendent of Education, she and her husband began to donate $5

from their paychecks every month. That was more than 30 years ago, until her retirement. Her husband still gives $5 from his paycheck every month. The funds were for the improvement of the schools, and she is passionate about SDA Christian education.” SEC is also “putting their money where their mouth is” by funding expanded professional development and teacher certification training. SEC educators have participated in CRISS, ESE, and ESOL trainings, with the goal of equipping educators to teach to students’ individual learning styles and needs. SEC also prides itself in that SEC teachers continue to maintain 100% teacher certification. This distinction assists in securing funding for the annual summer teacher training institute that provides continuing education opportunities for conference teachers. This year, SEC has also increased benefits for locally-funded teachers, including a cost of living allowance, a healthcare assistance plan, and tuition subsidies for dependents. The goal is to pour valuable resources into education. Within the past year, $400,000 has been

allocated for renovations to Miami Union Academy. Also, SEC began purchasing smart boards for every SEC school. Each school has also received a $5,000 grant towards physical plant improvements. An additional special grant is also available to each school towards new outdoor signage. Recently, a special planning committee was organized by the SEC K-12 board to plan a major reorganization of the conference school district. Local schools, churches, and administrators are working together to strategize for the future of education in SEC. The children are the future of our church. SEC is making a substantive investment to ensure that they are well-equipped to meet those future challenges. t ____________________________________________________ Keitha Hatcher, MBA, is Administrative Assistant to the Communication and Technology and Human Resources Departments for the Southeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

____________________________________________________ Christopher C. Thompson, D. Min., the Communication and Technology Director for the Southeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, coordinated this coverage

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 29


t

DANIELLE IN

BABYLON

[ SOUTH CENTRAL ]

STAND UP FOR

JESUS!

By Gianna Snell Editor’s Note: Although this feature falls under our heading of Regional News, the story also exemplifies the spirit of Daniel in Babylon, who refused to compromise his stance for God. Thousands of years later, that devotion is still alive in this “Danielle.” Read on!

J

oyce Bellamy remembers starting each day of her childhood with family worship. She was taught the importance of keeping her word, and also witnessed the blessings of keeping the Sabbath holy. She had little idea that those principles would one day be tested. In the spring of 2017, Joyce L. Bellamy, DDS, was hired as the solo-practicing dentist at Bryant Dental’s Huntsville location. When she took over the practice in early 2017, she requested a 4-day workweek so that her Fridays would be free for Sabbath preparation. Her employers and staff knew about her Adventism and how strongly she felt about the Sabbath. In January 2018, Bellamy attended the first Marquee Dental Partners (MDP) Conference in Destin, Florida. She had been notified several months earlier that as one of their newest dentists in the firm, she had earned an award that would be presented to her during the conference. When she found out that the award ceremony was on Friday night, she knew this conflicted with her beliefs. Although Joyce knew what she had to do, she admits that it wasn’t an easy decision. “The human side of me was like, ‘Absolutely! I want to be there.’ I knew how hard we worked,” said Joyce, who took over the failing two-day a week practice and turned it into a full time four-day a week office in a matter of months. “And I knew I had to be consistent. If I refrain from doing work and anything affiliated with my job during the Sabbath, then I had to refrain from being honored…because it’s affiliated with my job.”

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t

Joyce Bellamy remembers starting each day of her childhood with family worship. She was taught the importance of keeping her word, and also witnessed the blessings of keeping the Sabbath holy.

During the ceremony, Joyce spent quiet time in her hotel room and relied on God to keep her strong. Unbeknownst to Joyce, Fred Ward, the Chief Operational Officer (COO) of MDP was speaking with the Alabama regional director of MDP, Sydney Keown, about having a private ceremony for Dr. Bellamy in her office. If her beliefs kept her from being honored publically, they would bring the award directly to her. On Thursday, February 1, 2018, the COO, Regional Director, and CEO, Jim Usdan, travelled from Nashville to Huntsville just to present Joyce with the Bright Beginnings Award for excellence in her first year with the company. Joyce felt honored that the administrators of her company would drive all that way to do this. Surrounded by her husband, Michael Bellamy, mother, Nanetta Pressley, and grandmother, Nannie Joiner, along with office staff and friends, Joyce humbly accepted the award, then was quick to point out that God is who makes Bryant Dental of Huntsville, “rock star good.” t _____________________________________________________________________ Gianna Snell is a photojournalist who lives and works in Huntsville, Alabama. _____________________________________________________________________ Roger Wade, Communication Director for the South Central Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, sponsored this coverage.

Top: Joyce L. Bellamy, DDS, recipient with her Bright Beginnings Award for Excellence in her practice. Top Right: Michael and Joyce Bellamy, moments after the private award ceremony Bottom Right: Fred Ward, Chief Operational Officer of Marquee Dental Partners, (MDP) Sydney Keown, Regional Director of MDP, Joyce Bellamy, and Jim Usdan, Chief Executive Officer of MDP

PHOTOGRAPHY BY GIANNA SNELL

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 29


OAKWOOD UNIVERSITY

Letter from the

Oakwood University President

GOD First! Dear Alumni and supporters of Oakwood University, Thank you for all your support of Oakwood University through the years. Every Easter we gather together to meet our friends and loved ones at the Von Braun Center and on campus. We engage in warm exchange of nostalgia and appreciation for each other and our dear OU. This past alumni weekend was no different, filled with inspirational worship, memorable fellowship, and multiple class reunions. Oakwood University desires a closer and more direct relationship with our alumni to make a concerted effort to further the mission and advancement offer university in our most recent board meeting, the unanimous action of the board was to maximize this relationship by creating a structure that brings our University closer to our thousands of faithful alumni. After much prayerful consideration, on Monday April 16, the Oakwood University Board of Trustees voted to terminate the relationship with Oakwood University Alumni Association (OUAA). This vote was taken regretfully, but resolutely, in the interest of protecting the accreditation status of our University and our donors’ confidence in the integrity of our philanthropic responsibilities. We understand that we must be transparent about the decision of the Board and the painful events leading up to it. Thus, we will host another Facebook Live conversation this Thursday evening intended to provide you with accurate information, because “an informed people are easy to lead, and impossible to enslave!” The Board further authorized our University to create a new, collaborative, integrated alumni program within our University, with a fresh emphasis on developing direct relationships between our University and our Alumni and supporters. This new alumni organization will bridge the gap between the university and its generations of students--some of them our forebears, others millennials, Gen Yers, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, Baby Busters, and all those in between. We believe that this new alumni structure will serve the traditions and future of our university with more accountability and transparency by connecting donors directly to our university. You will hear more about that in the weeks to come. Please know that this new alumni connection will be fully aligned with the operations, accreditation guidelines, and strategic priorities of the University. It will maximize the impact that our valued Alumni can have on our University and its students. This new alumni program will increase the number of donors who are giving directly to our university, which is good news to funders who wish to know that their donation is invested in their own institution and that Oakwood University is protecting the integrity of their gifts. We are sincerely grateful for the service, time and talent given by the members of the OUAA and their love for our University and students. Oakwood University Alumni and friends can share concerns and ask questions by emailing alumniquestions@oakwood.edu. We are excited to see how God will lead in the future as we work together for His glory and for the students of Oakwood University. You are invited to join us on Thursday, April 19 at 6:00 p.m. CST for the President’s Facebook Live Conversation. Respectfully,

Leslie N. Pollard, Ph.D, D.Min., MBA President of Oakwood University Office of the President presidentsoffice@oakwood.edu

7000 Adventist Boulevard, NW Huntsville, Alabama 35896 256.726.7336 • Fax 256.726.8334 W W W. o A k W o o d . e d u

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REGIONAL

NEWS

t

[ SOUTHEASTERN ]

100 years of Excellence in Adventist Education By Edwin M. Silié and Shelley Garner

T

he Bethany Seventh-day Adventist Church was established in the Overtown area of Miami, Florida, more than 100 years ago. Bethany members were determined to provide the youth of the community with a quality alternative to public school education that would reflect the values of the church. In 1917, a school was established on 14th Street and NW Fourth Avenue in Overtown, which they named the Bethany Academy. The school began in a section of the Bethany Church with 40 students ranging from grades one through eight. Years later, the church relocated to NW 50th Street and 25th Avenue in Brownsville. Bethany Academy, which had outgrown its church accommodations, moved to a building across the street from the church. In 1963, the Bethany Academy became a constituent school, and the name was changed to Miami Union Academy (MUA). A few years later, ninth and tenth grades were added, and by 1980, the enrollment had climbed to 400 students. This increase in enrollment demanded a larger facility. Through prayer, persistent effort and a positive attitude, a location was identified, and the move was made to a larger facility, called the Mueller Building in Allapatah. The Allapatah location was shared with another school and church.

32 | REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018

This place met the needs of the school for a few years, but then the physical condition of the building and the environment began to deteriorate. The school board felt that it was time to purchase a school home; a permanent place for Miami Union Academy. In 1988, the move was made to a two-story building on Okeechobee Road in the city of Hialeah Garden, where, under the leadership of Dr. Rupert Ryan, the school opened all 12 grades. And finally, in 1997 a purchase was made which enabled MUA to offer education for students from age two through the twelfth grade. Over the past 20 years, MUA has continued to grow and change to meet the varied needs of the community. Today, Miami Union Academy continues to seek ways to add a much-needed gymnasium to the already excellent academic and spiritual program it provides.

G

eographically, the school is located in the North Miami Area, but students have come from as far north as West Palm Beach and as far south as Homestead, covering an area of almost 110 miles. In addition, MUA reflects the general population of South Florida, accommodating students from the Haitian and Hispanic communities, as well as several islands of the Caribbean and West Indies. This year, the Miami Union family marks 100 years that will culminate in a special weekend. The celebration will take place June 8-10, 2018. The Mi-

ami Union Academy family will celebrate the historic accomplishments of the institution. They will also continue to provide opportunities for partnerships to strengthen the future legacy of Miami Union. For more information regarding the 100 year celebration, how to participate, donate or attend, contact Edwin M. Silié, Principal, or Joseph Butts, Alumni President. You may email: info@muasda. org or telephone: (305) 953-9907. t __________________________________________________________ Edwin M. Silié, M.Ed., Principal of Miami Union Academy, and Shelley Gardner, B.S., an English teacher at Miami Union Academy, collaborated to complete this joint report

__________________________________________________________ Christopher C. Thompson, D. Min., the Communication and Technology Director for the Southeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, coordinated this coverage.

Background photography byGaetano Cessati

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 33


REGIONAL ACADEMIES K-12

t

[ OAKWOOD ADVENTIST ACADEMY ]

BREAKING GROUND FOR

PHASE THREE

Officials prepare to break ground. From left to right: Mr. Gabriel Madrid II (student),Miss Christyn Byrd (student), Mr. Albert Dudley, Mr. Charles Dudley, Councilman Will Culver, Pastor John Nixon, Ms. Sonja Crayton, Dr. David Grandison, Pastor Alfonzo Greene, III, Dr. Everett Roper, Pastor Alex Bryant, Pastor Michael Ross, Pastor Benjamin Jones, Pastor Edmund Julius, Pastor Carlton Byrd, Mr. Sean Williams, Mr. Gabriel Madrid, Mr. Paul Nixon, Dr. Leslie Pollard, Pastor Willie Taylor, Elder Johnny Holliday, Dr. Ron Smith, Pastor Paul Goodridge, Elder Dana Edmond, Mrs. Kristine Harding, Pastor Rupert Bushner, Jr., Ms. Audree Johnson, Elder T. Marshall Kelly

By Paul D. Nixon

O

n Friday, March 30, 2018, Oakwood Adventist Academy (OAA) broke ground on its new Academy building that will house grades 9 – 12. It was a day the Oakwood community had been awaiting for years. It will be remembered as a great day in OAA history, not only because of its significance to the Oakwood community, but also because of its significance to larger Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) and African American communities. Dr. Rupert Bushner, Senior Pastor of the Mt. Calvary SDA Church, offered a prayer of thankfulness to God, stating, “We are our ancestors’ wildest dream.” Indeed, one can imagine the humbling sense of gratefulness that an OAA student’s forefather might feel if he could only see how far God has brought His school. The ceremony was a small, elegant event to commemorate the milestone. Students and school employees, local pastors, conference and union officials, and dignitaries from the local area government mingled together. Will Culver, Councilman for District 5 of Huntsville, presented

34 | REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018

congratulatory remarks, as did Elder G. Alexander Bryant, the Executive Secretary of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. Also offering words of congratulations and encouragement were President of the Southern Union, Dr. Ron Smith, and two representatives from the South Central Conference, President Benjamin Jones and Superintendent Johnny Holliday. In his brief remarks, Oakwood University President Dr. Leslie Pollard referenced the worldwide hit film Black Panther when he folded his arms across his chest with his fists closed and said, “Oakwood Academy Forever.” Many program participants noted this was a celebration for the entire Oakwood community. In addition to the dignitaries who offered congratulations, the Oakwood University Church Pathfinder Club opened the program with a Posting of Colors, the School Board Chair Dr. Everett Roper and OAA Principal Mr. Gabriel Madrid gave welcomes, the high school choir sang under the direction of Mr. Justin Jordan, and the occasion was contextualized by the Chair of the Building Committee and Senior Pastor of the Oakwood University Church, Dr. Carlton Byrd. KPS Group Architect Kristine Hard-

Dr. Everett Roper, School Board Chair, extends a welcome.

ing gave a brief overview of the building. The building plans call for 11 classrooms, including a collaboration space that will have clear walls and three science labs, one each for Chemistry, Biology, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), as well as an Administrative suite. The building will be located across the parking lot from the elementary school, adjacent to the 28,000-square foot Multi-Educational Complex (MEC) that holds the cafeteria, the gymnasium, and four middle school classrooms. Mrs. Harding assured the small crowd that the new building will be positioned symmetrically relative to the two existing buildings. Many individuals who were instrumental in bringing OAA to this point were given a shovel to participate in the actual breaking of ground on the building site, PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAY LEFTRIDGE

Leaders dig in - (left to right) Pastor Greene, Pastor Ross, Pastor Julius, Pastor Byrd, Pastor Goodridge, Pastor Taylor, and Pastor Bushner

Dr. David Grandison, Dr. Roper, and OAA alumnus, longtime supporter, former Bible teacher and OAA Principal Mr. Gabriel Madrid and Dr. Carlton chaplain, Elder T. MarByrd stand united to start this construction. shall Kelly. It is difficult to say Mr. Justin Jordan directs the high school choir. when the idea of a new events, one thing is certain: Friday, March high school building first enincluding two student representatives tered the landscape of plans for the school. 30, 2018, will be remembered as the date on which the realization of a long-awaited and the President of the Home and School Some trace the concept back to Phase 2, dream began to come to fruition. Association, Ms. Audree Johnson. To con- when OAA began construction on the Dr. Bushner had it right when he prayed, clude the ceremony, Principal Madrid pre- MEC. Some go further back to Phase 1, sented a small gold commemorative shovel when the Eric C. Ward Building, the build- “We are our ancestors’ wildest dream.” The groundbreaking ceremony serves to seven individuals in recognition of their ing in which students in grades K-6 reinvaluable contributions that brought ceive their education, was renovated. Some as evidence that God is still making the dreams for Oakwood Adventist Academy a OAA to this point. Those receiving the go back even further and say that the J.T. reality. t commemoratives were: Former SCC PresStafford Building, the building in which _______________________________________________________________ ident Dana Edmond, President Benjamin the high school is currently housed, was Jones, SCC Treasurer Sonya Crayton, never intended to be a permanent home in Paul D. Nixon, M.A., is Vice Principal of Oakwood Adventist Academy. Pastor Byrd, former School Board Chair the first place. Whatever the timeline of REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 35


t

REGIONAL ACADEMIES K-12

[ OAKWOOD ADVENTIST ACADEMY ]

OAA Places First and

Third at Southern Challenge for

Robotics

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By Brandon Dent

n March 25, 2018, the robotics team from Oakwood Adventist Academy (OAA) won first place in one category and third place in another in the Southern Challenge – an annual tournament held at Southern Adventist University. The tournament features LEGO robotics and research projects presented by middle and high school students. This was OAA’s first time participating in the Southern Challenge. The Southern Challenge is a member of the Adventist Robotics League (ARL), a consortium of Seventh-day Adventist educators that sponsor and promote classroom learning through robotics. ARL is a full partner of FIRST LEGO League and uses the latter’s materials, rules and challenges in tournaments. While the Southern Challenge targets Adventist schools throughout the Southern Union, 2018 participants came from as far away as Hinsdale, Illinois. The challenge has three levels of competition – robot missions, scientific research, and a core values presentation. The theme for this year’s challenge was Hydrodynamics, which required teams to program robots to solve water-related problems. These problems were as-

sociated with the process of locating, transporting, using and disposing water. Teams also had to conduct research to identify their own problem and recommend a viable solution. Additionally, teams were required to share their research with at least two professionals and include the latter’s responses in their final research report. All teams presented their research at the Southern Challenge before a panel of judges who followed the presentations with tough questions, requiring students to defend the integrity of their research. The last area of competition required teams to present on the core values of First Lego League: We are a team. We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors. We know our coaches and mentors don’t have all the answers; we learn together. We honor the spirit of friendly competition. What we discover is more important than what we win. We share our experiences with others. The OAA team was led by its coach, high school math and physics teacher Mr. Brandon Dent. The team’s assistant coaches are Vaughan Mountain and Oak-

wood University student Kaiana Lewis. The team is made up of the following students from grades four to eight: James Davis Gabriel Madrid II Vaughan Mountain II Azaria Reed Michael Richie Jasmyn Vanterpool Jordon Vanterpool Ajanae Vidal Jadyn Vidal The OAA team chose to research the problem of high soil salinity from irrigation and its detrimental effects on produce. This international problem that threatens global food supplies was introduced to the team by James Davis. The team’s research identified several reasons why salt collects in irrigation water and how the evaporation of water from the surface of the earth causes salt to collect around the roots of plants and produce. The team’s research identified leaching and proper drainage as a viable solution that flushes salt away from plant roots. The implementation of their solution included setting an optimal irrigation schedule for typical weather conditions and using sensors to detect excess rain or arid conditions to cancel or initiate additional water cycles as needed. The team shared their research with several professors of biological, environmental and agricultural sciences from Oakwood University and Alabama A & M University. They also shared their research with a professional engineer and a post-doctoral scholar of geriatric medicine from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Several of the professionals who reviewed the research commended the team for selecting a topic with significant humanitarian and global implications. They were also impressed with the scholarship demonstrated in the team’s research. After the OAA team presented their research, they were asked several challenging questions that extended beyond the reported scope of their research. The OAA team impressed the judges by being able to answer all of the questions they were asked. The team also competed in the Core Values presentation which had three components: The entire team was required to stand on a blanket and find a way to turn it over

while all members remained on the blanket. This exercise was a surprise element designed to test the students’ sense of teamwork and “break the ice” before the formal presentation. The OAA team set a record by completing this task with the fastest time.

Front (L to R): Ajanae Vidal, Gabriel Madrid II, Michael Richie, Jordon Vanterpool, Jasmyn Vanterpool, Vaughan Mountain II. Back (L to R): Coach Brandon Dent, James Davis, Jadyn Vidal, Azaria Reed, Assistant Coach Vaughan Mountain

The OAA team with their medals and awards.

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The OAA team participating in the blanket challenge. They finished this challenge with the fastest time of any team at the competition.

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he team had to design a core values poster that presented all the ways they exhibited the First Lego League core values throughout their entire robotics education and research experience. OAA Principal Gabriel Madrid volunteered to guide the team through the process of identifying and organizing content for the poster. Gabriel Madrid II and Jasmyn Vanterpool designed final posters, and team members presented the content of their poster at the competition. The team had to recap the details of their research project. Since the team had already been judged for their research, they did not bring their presentation materials to the Core Values competition but was able to present their research a second time from memory. Each component was followed by several questions from judges to authenticate the team’s efforts and their ability to present in a scholarly manner. At the end of the competition, the OAA team, in the company of approximately 25 teams, received first place for their Core Values presentation and third place for their Research Project. This team of elementary and middle school students earned these distinctions while competing against many high school students. The competition is particularly challenging for new teams who often feel they are not ready to compete. This year several new teams dropped out in the final weeks leading up to the competition. The OAA team had similar ideas as the competition approached, but giving up is not in their DNA. The team did their best and God did the rest! t ____________________________________________________ Brandon Dent, teaches math and physics, and is the Oakwood Adventist Academy Robotics Coach.

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 37


REGIONAL ACADEMIES K-12

t

[ ALLEGHENY EAST CONFERENCE ]

AEC Schools Emphasize STEM Coverage By LaTasha Hewitt

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he 2017-2018 school year has proven to be one with a strong Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) focus for Allegheny East Conference’s 12 schools. Even though the conference-wide STEM fair is held annually, many students engaged in activities outside of the classroom to cultivate their interests. Students from the Jessie R. Wagner Adventist School (JRW) in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, and Pine Forge Academy (PFA), who both started robotics clubs in their schools, recently participated in the National Society of Black Engineers Convention in Pittsburgh. Two teams from JRW participated in the FIRST LEGO League Junior Robotics Showcase and five PFA students were exposed to career possibilities in the engineering field. “It was fun engaging with the judges and other robotics teams,” says fourth-grader Nicholas Cooper. All seven JRW students received medals for participating and the school received a $5,000 grant to support their robotics program. Future goals include forming additional teams, recruiting more volunteers and hosting their FIRST LEGO league tournament. As part of an ongoing partnership, TE Connectivity, a technology company that designs and manufactures connectivity, sponsored five PFA students to attend the convention. TE members explained various aspects of the convention, from exhibitions to robot construction. TE also sponsored the building of a

All seven JRW students received medals ......................................................................... for participating and the school received ....................................................................... a $5,000 grant to support their robotics ..................................................................... program. ...............

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SCENIC PHOTOGRAPHY BY VIVEK KUMAR

Students and sponsors from G. E. Peters and Calvary schools attend a STEM symposium in Washington, D.C.

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 39


REGIONAL ACADEMIES K-12

STEM Space on the grounds of PFA. Students from the Calvary Adventist School in Newport News, Virginia, DuPont Park School in Washington, D.C, and G. E. Peters (GEP) in Hyattsville, Maryland, were able to attend the X-STEM USA Science and Engineering Festival, held at the Washington Convention Center in the District of Columbia. The festival’s website states that X-STEM is a “day-long extreme STEM symposium for middle through high school students, featuring interactive presentations to empower and inspire kids about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” “Our students enjoyed [X-STEM] and wished they could have stayed longer,” says Myrna James, vice principal of GEP. t _______________________________________________ LaTasha Hewitt is Communication Director for the Allegheny East Conference.

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PFA students were sponsored by the TE Connectivity company to attend the National Society of Black Engineers Convention. Pictured with TE Connectivity employees are students Joshua Perkins, Demario Martin, Errol McKain, Marcel Mattox, and Cole Mattox.

JRW students robotic team member presented their projects at the National Society of Black Engineers Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From left to right, Jayanti Williams (grade 4), Omara Hewitt (grade 3), Nicolas Cooper (grade 4), JeChaun Pottinger (grade 4), Jenna Pottinger (grade 1), Dontae Kelly (grade 1), and Kayden Hewitt (grade 1).

Third-grader Omara Hewitt and fourth-grader Nicolas Cooper, JRW robotic team members, present their projects during the FIRST LEGO League Junior Robotics Showcase.

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 41


MILLENNIALS

A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF

CANNOT STAND Editor’s Note: In our last issue for Fall 2017, this author offered a well-reasoned and well-documented discourse on how racial and cultural differences have impacted Seventh-day Adventist conferences and churches from our historical past to our present time. This concluding piece surveys church leaders and more young scholars willing to examine ideas to keep building a living, vibrant Church.

A

seasoned Hispanic pastor in the state conferences also has perspective on the issue. He grew up deeply rooted in the Adventist church during the 1960s because his father was a pastor. Like African Americans, the Hispanics also faced much prejudice within the Church. He recalls the pressure on Hispanics to join African Americans during the early formation of the regional conferences. Many did, while others were unsure of how successful the regional conferences would become. His father especially felt this pressure. He was a very gifted pastor and with his vision and charisma, he could have easily worked at the conference office. Despite his obvious talents, most Caucasians at the time were not open to the idea of a Hispanic man in leadership. Yet in spite of the prejudice he faced in the state conferences, he chose to stay. After witnessing the struggle his father faced in ministry, he was prepared for the prejudice he knew he would face as a pastor and he was determined to embrace diversity. He currently serves as a chaplain in an Adventist hospital, but previously he served as a chaplain in the Air Force for a Caucasian Protestant church and three African American Gospel churches. He has also pastored a Spanish church, a Caucasian church, a Native American church, and most recently, a multicultural church. From those experiences, he has learned that people tend to stay consistent with their culture as far as worship

42 | REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018

Part 2

style in the Adventist Church. Personally, he loves to sing hymns, yet he is still able to respect many other forms of worship. Jessica Connor,* a biracial Japanese and Caucasian student at Andrews University who was cited in Part 1 of this series, has this perspective. She attends two churches, Pioneer Memorial Church and New Life Church. Pioneer Memorial Church is the official church of Andrews University and is quite diverse, with a conservative worship style commonly found in most Caucasian churches. New Life Church is the local African American church near Andrews, with a very expressive and fervent worship style. Although she has her preferences, growing up experiencing several styles of worship (that extended to Ghana within a missionary family) has allowed Connor to appreciate all styles of worship. “I don’t care much for ‘Contemporary Christian’ styles of music and electric guitars, but I’ve seen some people who are so moved by the music and praising God and I would never want that experience to be taken away from them.” The chaplain’s views are contrary to those of Connor. He sees no value in having the option to worship separately. He describes Heaven as the ultimate melting pot and believes each church should reflect that diversity on earth.

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rom pastoring at the multicultural church, he has learned a lot and has established three keys he feels are essential to achieving this unity. Like Mia Lindsey, another young scholar cited in Part 1 of this series, he believes that youth will be the main instigators for this change. “I see a wonderful generation of youth that is more accepting than any before…. You are the generation

that will hate sin but love the sinner.” He believes that youth who have grown up in diverse environments are especially crucial to this process because they can serve as bridges to close the gaps between the churches. He also believes that all members, young and old, must come to take on an attitude of humility. Each and every one of us must embrace the mindset that we as Christians are in the church to serve others, not to be catered to. Lastly, he believes that more than anything, we need to pray for God to change our hearts. We all have experiences that feed into our prejudices, and it will take God’s healing for us to be able to move past that. “The love of Jesus will create in us a desire to get to know each other, to trust each other and to spend time with each other.” Another pastor, who would like to remain anonymous, also has a perspective on these matters. He is an African American pastor of the Central States Conference, which is a regional conference. He recalls how he felt initially when he first discovered the segregation in the Adventist church as a new 19-year-old convert. Initially he was infuriated. He couldn’t believe something as diabolical as racism could have such a stronghold in God’s church. Unsurprisingly, he too saw a stark difference between the races in their style of worship. He noticed that the African American style of worship seemed to center more around open expression towards

Both worship style and racial differences play an equal role in the separation of the church. In many ways, people’s worship styles are a large part of their culture and to lose that would be to lose a piece of who they are. God, while Caucasian style of worship seemed to focus more on reverence and tranquility. Similar to Connor, he shares the viewpoint that values having the option to worship separately. He recognizes that everyone is different, and that people want to be able to worship in a place where they feel comfortable and where they are accepted. However, he does hope that one day we will all be able to worship in our different ways under one roof.

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hen looking back at these perspectives voiced by both pastors and members from state and regional conferences, they seem to agree on many things. They all expressed that the current state of affairs is counterproductive—in one way or another. How will we ever be able to worship together in Heaven as a family when we’ve never been able to agree on earth? They also all agreed that the biggest way for us to bridge our worship and ethnic differences is for us to build relationships with each other that reach outside of the sanctuary. While they all agreed on these points, they were unable to come to a consensus on what unity should look like. Connor felt that it was okay to have individual churches that worshipped separately as long as they welcome everyone, while the chaplain seemed to think that all churches should be melting pots for different races and worship styles. Despite their various views on what unity should look like, none of them offered practical steps we could use to begin to move towards this unity. Like Lindsey, I have grown up caught

between both worlds. I attended a black church in the regional conference, while I went to a primarily white Seventh-day Adventist school. I found that many of my peers were completely oblivious to the fact that separate black conferences existed before I came. Being as young as I was, I didn’t completely understand that our churches were part of two completely separate structures, but as I got older I noticed the subtle negative connotations that arose when I spoke about my church. It was not just the race of my church that tipped off some white peers, but also our form of worship was foreign to them. And some actually expressed that they viewed our forms of expression as illegitimate worship. And yes, some in my own church had similar, unflattering views about my school. These church members were wellaware of the existence of the white church structure, but they viewed their worship as too solemn and their practices as too liberal. Because I was growing up in both worlds, I was able to see the value of both cultures. I also saw the fallacies that each church believed about the other. Both worship style and racial differences play an equal role in the separation of the church. In many ways, people’s worship styles are a large part of their culture and to lose that would be to lose a piece of who they are. For example, the African American people were enslaved for hundreds of years, and because of that they were in many ways suppressed and subdued. As a result of that suppression, a subdued form of worship did not appeal to them. In many ways, the African American people lived out the freedoms they wished for through their worship. This is exemplified by their exclamations of gratitude and their joyful dances. Likewise, I believe other cultures have similar histories that play into why they embrace the form of worship they do. Ultimately, we shouldn’t completely ignore our differences, but we also shouldn’t let those

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 43


please see our Spring 2017 issue of Regional Voice online at wwwregionalconferenceministry.com

_____________________________________ Millennial Scholar Joseph Smittick researched these concepts to complete an Oakwood University Freshman Composition course taught by Dr. Kem Roper during Spring semester 2017. You may find Part 1 of this series in the Fall 2017 Regional Voice Magazine.

________________________________________________________ Works Cited

It has become clear to me that the best way for us to worship together is by first fellowshipping together. differences keep us from embracing our brothers and sisters in Christ.

I

n order to foster unity, we have to foster cross-cultural relationships. When the movement for racial awareness and equality was sparked at Andrews University, one of my Hispanic friends from academy reached out to me. He was shaken up by the events that had taken place because he strongly disagreed with the African Americans on campus. We were able to have an honest and open dialogue about the racial tensions within our church, and while we may not have come to a total consensus, we were able to see the validity in each other’s perspectives. This genuine sharing of ideas was only made possible because of the friendship that we share. Whether or not we disagree on matters of opinion within the church, at the end of the day I would be honored to worship beside him and I believe he would say the same because of the friendship we’ve built outside of the sanctuary. Now I seek to understand how we can unite as one without neglecting our cultural differences. More specifically, how can we create church environments that encourage meaningful relationships that

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cross ethnic and worship barriers? It has become clear to me that the best way for us to worship together is by first fellowshipping together. When we build genuine friendships with each other outside of the church setting, we become more willing to accept perspectives that are different from our own. One possible way to facilitate these relationships is to host annual or semiannual social events between nearby regional and state conference churches and schools. Because I attend Oakwood University, I would like to see this be done at a local level. I think it would be an enriching experience if students from Southern University and Oakwood University came together once a year for something as simple as a big multicultural potluck. Friendships are best built over food. Students from America, Japan, China, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Jamaica, Haiti, and many other countries would be able share a piece of their culture in the form of food while building lifelong bonds. While this may seem like a small solution for a problem that has persisted for decades, small steps like this will lay the foundation for a brighter future. t _________________________________________________________ *For full coverage of the #ItIsTimeAU story,

Andrews University Student Association. “A Forum on State and Regional Conferences.” YouTube, uploaded by weareAUSA, 8 March 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2-ilg2utEc. Accessed 27 March 2017 Anonymous African American pastor. Personal interview. 5 April 2017 Anonymous Hispanic pastor. Personal interview. 4 April 2017 Baker, Benjamin. African American Seventh-day Adventist Timeline:1863-1899, blacksdahistory.org. node Accessed 28 March 2017 Baker, Benjamin. Crucial Moments: Twelve Defining Events in Black Adventist History, Review & Herald Publishing 1 May 2005. Pp. 118-124 *Connor, Jessica. Personal interview. 5 April 2017 (Name changed to protect identity). Lindsey, Mia. “Separate, but United? The Conundrum of Race-based Conferences”. Spectrum Magazine, Adventist Forum, 15 Nov. 2012, spectrummagazine.org/article/ mia-lindsey/2012/11/15/separate-united-conundrum-race-based-conferences. Accessed 27 March 2017. “It Is Time AU.” YouTube, uploaded by Garrison Hayes, 18 February 2017, https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=lpskBk0fp4o.

FAQs

Office for Regional Conference Ministry www.regionalconferenceministry.com

________________________________________________________ Works Consulted

What is the Office for Regional Conference Ministry? Established in 1996, the Office for Regional Conference Ministry (ORCM) coordinates presenting the passion and urgency of the Third Angel’s Message, primarily to urban and under-represented communities in the North American Division (NAD). More specifically the ORCM, headquartered at Oakwood University, Huntsville, Alabama, USA, provides guidance, influence and advocacy for Regional Ministry throughout the United States; it also provides the follow-through to the shared vision of the Regional Leadership for the advancement of the gospel and imminent return of Jesus Christ.

Baker, Delbert W. Telling The Story: An Anthology on the Development of the Black SDA Work, Black Caucus of SDA Administrators, Mar. 1996. documents.adventistarchives.org/Books/ TTS1996.pdf. Accessed 27 March 2017. Banfield, Warren S. “Race Relations: How Far Have Adventists Come,” Telling The Story: An Anthology on the Development of the Black SDA Work, Adventist Review, 1990, pp. 5/6-5/6 “United for Mission: One Hundred and Fifty Years.” Adventist.org, 18 Sep. 2013, http:// www.adventist.org/en/information/history/ article/go/-/united-for-mission-one-hundred-and-fifty-years/. Accessed 28 March 2017

Which SDA institutions affiliate with the ORCM? At the core of the ORCM are nine Regional Conferences and the Bermuda Conference, the Regional Directors of the Pacific and the North Pacific Unions, as well as Oakwood University, Message and Regional Voice magazines, the Annual Pastoral and Evangelism Leadership Conference, the Bradford-Cleveland-Brooks Leadership Center, the Breath of Life telecast, BAYDA

(Black Adventist Youth Directors Association) and the Regional Conference Retirement Plan. What is a Regional Conference? Regional Conferences are similar in organizational structure to all other NAD conferences. However, a 1944 General Conference vote established Black-administered Regional Conferences. At that time, the catalyst for their formation was the segregationist policies, which, unfortunately, have had a lasting impact on American life. Yet, Regional Conferences have emerged as important leaders in the church’s mission in the United States. How do Regional Conferences benefit the SDA Church? Regional Conferences benefit North America and the world church in several ways, namely: • The North American church has experienced exponential growth to such an extent that the ratio of “minority” membership in the church is significantly higher than that in the general US population. • Through the Annual Pastoral and Evangelism Leadership Conference, Regional Conferences hold the SDA Church’s largest annual professional

growth seminar for pastors, and • Based upon our membership, evangelistic growth and tithing contributions, if one were to ask for a comparison, the Regional Work would rank as the NAD’s second largest union and the SDA Church’s fourth largest division. Now that segregation is illegal in the United States, do we still need Regional Conferences? Yes. Regional Conferences were established to fulfill a unique need in the church’s overall mission. Government policies have indeed changed, but sociological realities in America remind us constantly that the need for which Regional Conferences were formed is still very urgent in the 21st century. Are Regional Conferences just for African Americans? No. Regional Conference membership includes not only African Americans, but actually 123 non-Black congregations (Korean, Brazilian, Portuguese, Asian, African, Indonesian and Latino, for example)—thus, sharing the everlasting gospel with “every nation, kindred, tongue and people.” t

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 45


HOPE SERIES

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[ SOUTH ATLANTIC CONFERENCE ]

THE

TOUCH 10K

CHALLENGE BRINGS HOPE IN By Carl McRoy

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he Atlanta Maranatha Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Atlantic Conference recently participated in a Touch 10K Challenge Event. This is a joint initiative of the Regional Conference Personal Ministries Leaders and Publishing Directors from across the North American Division. The idea is very simple--we’re challenging every church to touch at least 10,000 people in their communities this year with any outreach activity. The touches could come in the form of Pathfinders raking leaves for seniors, church school students visiting nursing homes, young adults paying for people’s laundry at laundromats, health ministry leaders conducting fairs and blood pressure screenings, prayer ministry leaders mobilizing members to go out and pray with people, family ministries leaders conducting relationship seminars—the list goes on! One of my favorites, distribution of MESSAGE Magazine, foremost Sev-

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ATLANTA

enth-day Adventist Evangelistic tool, took place in the last few weeks. On May 5, Pastor Sherwin Jack, Elder William Floyd (Personal Ministries leader), and Monica Bynum (Publishing Secretary), organized and motivated the Atlanta Maranatha Church to share approximately 1,400 Message Magazine copies with the community in just one hour. Some members ran out of magazines, but still didn’t want to stop. They shared a lot of joyful testimonies with one another afterwards, and they’re looking forward to doing it again soon—filling this community with the MESSAGE of hope! t ________________________________________ Carl McRoy, Director of the Publishing and Communications Departments of South Atlantic Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, coordinated this coverage.

The idea is very simple—we’re challenging every church to touch at least 10,000 people in their communities this year with any outreach activity. ATL ANTA BACKGROUND PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSICA FURTNEY

REGIONAL VOICE | Summer 2018 47

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