PRAIRIE HORIZONS 2020 YEAR-END EDITION
Serving God in Challenging Times
THE MANITOBA-SASKATCHEWAN CONFERENCE OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
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Dear Friends, As I’m writing this morning, I can see several inches of snow on the ground, with the branches of most of the trees covered in a beautiful, white mantle. The world around me seems quieter now that we have the snow to deaden sound. I can see the tops of the trees swaying in the wind, but near ground level all seems calm. The snow is drifting down lightly at the moment, but the forecast is calling for blizzard conditions to develop shortly. This is quite a contrast to the lovely, warm weather we had for several days last week. I almost never see the snow without thinking of God’s wonderful promise to us, that “. . . though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. . .” — Isaiah 1:18 This puts me in a somewhat reflective mood. I think back over this year and marvel how God has seen us through eight months of a global pandemic which, right now, shows no signs of abating. We grieve at the realization that over 10,000 lives have been lost in this country alone to this deadly virus, a few of whom are personally known to us. Some individuals and families within our sisterhood of churches have been affected by the loss of jobs, and are struggling even now. At the same time, we are encouraged to know that, in Canada alone, a quarter-million people have recovered from COVID-19 thus far. Through various assistance programs offered by the government together with efforts by our members and the church at large, many have been helped through these difficult times thus far. Our heavenly Father is not the author of this calamity we’ve been experiencing, nor has He been caught unaware by it. But He is using it to wake up those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, both within and without our church. When this pandemic first began to affect us in March, I suppose every one of us couldn’t wait for things to get back to normal. Now, most of us have come to realize that we’re never going back to what was normal before. We must rely on God to lead us through uncharted waters, listening to Him, discerning His will, adapting our methods of working so as to reach, as safely as possible, the unwarned.
In addition to the pandemic, our world has seen an increasing polarization between political ideologies, and clashes between cultures and races. Nowhere has this been more starkly revealed than in our neighboring country to the south. These are indeed the most difficult times that most of us now living have ever experienced. Now it appears that a new American president has been elected, and many are hopeful that this will bring about lasting change. I hope for this as well, and pray for it, too. I pray that prayer, realizing that, while we cannot hope to see the world’s problems ever completely solved by human leaders, we need to be asking God to have the four angels hold back the winds of strife a little longer, till the last warning message shall have been given by His people, and the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads (Rev. 7:1-3). It is not difficult for Seventh-day Adventists to see, in the current state of our world, unmistakable signs that the coming of Jesus is very near. Now is the time for us to do something about that. As we determine to draw near to God, we have His promise that “He will draw near to [us].” (James 4:8). He will also fit us to carry out His final work on earth to the glory of His name. And so, waiting for this pandemic to end is much like waiting for Jesus to come—it requires persevering faith and the patience to keep holding on. Never give in! Never give up! May the good people of this conference continue to grow in their love for others, possess a spirit of intercessory prayer for one another, and an unwavering faith to hold fast till He comes!
PASTOR MICHAEL COLLINS MAN-SASK PRESIDENT
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TREASURERâ€™S REPORT Dear Friends, The year 2020 will be remembered as one filled with uncertainties and fear, but more importantly, one that highlights the goodness and power of our God. He has poured out tremendous blessings throughout this period, a few of which are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.
The overwhelming support of our faithful members. The dedication and commitment of our volunteers in all our churches. Safety in our congregations, schools, and Care Homes throughout this pandemic. The commitment of our pastors and teachers. Our successful partnership with ADRA in providing COVID-19 food baskets across our major cities. Videos designed to provide encouragement throughout the pandemic. Significant allocation of funds to our Adventist Community Services. Unbudgeted subsidies from the SDA Church in Canada (SDACC) and North American Division (NAD) for COVID-19 assistance, which was mostly allocated to our schools. Tithe donation which is on a projection to be the highest for any calendar year. Financial statements reflecting a surplus for each period of the 2020 financial year. Financial projection to be one of the best, despite the loss of mineral rights revenue we benefited from in 2019. Significant increase in Net Assets. Improved Working Capital. Successful maintenance and building projects at Camp Whitesand. Successful transition to the NAD Financial Accounting Software (AASI).
There are just too many to list. Of course, this should not overshadow the many struggles amongst us. Many have lost jobs, while some have scaled down or closed their businesses. Many are in isolation and unable to see their families, some are grieving lost loved ones, and church families are unable to fellowship as before. The struggles are real but the Lord remains in control, and so we are encouraged to keep our faith and trust in Him.
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Farewell Message As the treasury team transitions, we solicit your prayers and support for Christine as we are fully cognizant of many variables associated with the position, most of which have no scope for error. We are happy for the expertise she brings to the team.
wonderful relationships built and your unparalleled support. The Man-Sask Conference is now embedded in my DNA and I and my family will be forever indebted. We will continue to partner with ManSask as we journey into a new mission. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
A very special thanks to Malou, without whose help I could not have survived. Her quiet, but effective demeanor adds such great value. We praise God for her commitment and dedication to His service. We have an awesome team supported by our caring and experienced President, Pastor Mike, who provides sound insight as we struggle to effectively allocate limited resources. Thank you for having me as a part of your great and awesome team for the past 3 Â˝ years. We value the
MARLON HYLTON OUTGOING TREASURER
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arlier this year, during a time of church closures, a desire arose to reach out and help those in need in our communities and circles of influence. Many have lost jobs and are struggling to meet their basic needs as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on in our territory. Churches provide not only a community of faith but often times can also help with members’ basic needs as well. With church potlucks offering the most substantial meal for some, the question was asked, “What are these people doing now that COVID-19 had suspended potlucks?” In working with ADRA Canada, the ManitobaSaskatchewan Conference was able to develop a program to help meet this need. This program called “Bounty Bags” sought to minister to those in need of groceries and food during this difficult time. ADRA Canada was able to provide a total of $14,000 to fund this program in Saskatchewan. Each Bounty bag provided a $50 gift card and a bag of produce and bakery items for each member of the registered household. In total this program was able to help 73 families across the cities and towns of Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Warman, Martensville, Radisson, and Hanley. Four bags were also given to a local Saskatoon not-for-profit group called the Crisis Nursery which helps children and families who are experiencing difficult times.
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Led by Aleisha Mazier at the Conference office, an army of volunteers stepped up to help with shopping, packing, and distributing the Bounty bags in these communities. Amongst these volunteers were even some members of the newly formed Pathfinder Club at Living Hope SDA Church in Saskatoon. “We would like to thank everyone who helped out with the Bounty Bag program. It was very successful. Hopefully in the future we can see this program return,” Mazier states. As the pandemic continues, we hope that you can too find ways to minister in Jesus’ name to those around you in a safe manner.
SHINING TRUTH INTO THE
s we move into the winter season with its decreasing daylight hours and lengthening darkness, growing concerns over the spread of Covid-19 and resulting restrictions to control it have brought their own kind of “darkness.” Nevertheless, our Prince Albert Seventh-day Adventist Church experienced the blessing of new interests and growth this fall. Two of our families have welcomed baby boys into the church family. All are doing well. Congratulations to the Songolo and Furé families! Let’s keep them in our prayers as they strive to raise their children for Christ. During the last couple of years, one of our visitors began Bible studies with Pastor Scott Manly. After his new posting, the studies continued with Pastor Liviu Tilihoi and a few church members. Sabbath, September 5, 2020 we welcomed Bernice Milligan into our church family through baptism. Enthusiastic church members, as well as Bernice’s family, were present to support her and witness her decision to follow Jesus in a new life with Him and His welcoming family. During the last weekend in September and the first weekend in October, Pastor Liviu presented a six-part series entitled, “What is Truth?” Prior to the presentations, personal invitations were delivered to neighbouring homes, inviting people to come to the church or watch the presentation on YouTube via the church website. While few visitors attended in person, several Internet viewers requested Bible studies. We praise God for His leading, for the members who willingly participated in outreach, for those whose faith was strengthened by attending and viewing the topics presented, and for those who were willing to come to know the Lord better, and “taste and see that He is good.”
Pictured L to R: Nathan Manly, Randolph Burak, Emily Burak, Vanessa Tilihoi, Pastor Liviu Tilihoi, Jan Semchuk, Sharon Otte Sabbath, October 31, 2020, Prince Albert Church hosted a virtual tour of German sites from the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Presenters wore period costumes and shared information on the rediscovery of righteousness by faith, the 95 Theses, the Reformers’ courageous stand for truth at specific historic events, and the importance of technology for the spread of ideas and the distribution of Bibles in native languages. Viewers and those present in the church learned how the Sabbath/Sunday issue marked a turning point for deliberations at the Council of Trent, the council that launched the counter-reformation. We also considered the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Protestant roots and the importance of personal revival and reformation. Please pray and labour for God’s Holy Spirit to continue His merciful invitations to the people around us that there may be a rich harvest of souls at His coming. ERNEST SEMCHUK 2020 COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY TAMMIE BURAK 2021 COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY
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VIRTUAL COMMUNITY A
t Saskatoon Living Hope Church, we’ve been blessed with several opportunities to continue our ministries during the COVID19 pandemic. To start with, perhaps the biggest accomplishment has been our weekly Zoom Sabbath School and Church services. Since the very start, and in compliance with the recommended health protocol, we made the decision to move online. While there have been growing pains, Sabbath School and Church have both been well-attended and provide a way for our church family to stay connected, worship together, and support one another during this pandemic. We’ve even had some non-members join our services! Beyond that, we’ve also moved our Wednesday evening Prayer Meeting online. Each week several members gather to share, study, and pray. Once again, we’ve been blessed with visitors who have quickly become part of our virtual community. Additionally, Pastor Baker and other members have been able to continue Bible Studies online with interested individuals, which resulted in celebrating a socially distanced Outdoor Baptism in June for Kevin and Kim Taylor. Finally, through the volunteer efforts of several members, we’ve been able to offer an online Children’s Church once a month, a weekly Teens’ Zoom gathering, and start a local, in-person Pathfinder club. These programs have provided opportunities for the youth to stay connected to the church, and allowed them to reach out and witness to their friends by inviting them to join in. Together, all these ministries have allowed our church family to remain united in our goal of spreading the Living Hope of Christ’s soon return.
Kevin and Kim Taylor
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RYAN HALL LIVING HOPE SDA CHURCH
THURSDAY’S ARE GIRLS DAYS The Blessing of Weekly Zoom Bible Study
bout this time last year, my favourite pastor asked if I would be interested in joining a Bible study for young ladies. I gasped at the text in excitement. At Pinehouse Drive SDA Church, nothing gets the room packed full of older teens and young adults like the youth Bible study. The topics cater to the interests of the attendees, meaning nothing is off-limits. Mutual respect existed between us; in that room, you could be a pastor, beloved elder, or a regular member and still be taken seriously. I often wished they occurred more often. Every second week couldn’t come soon enough. As I began typing a response to Pastor Ashia Lennon, my heart sank. “That would be so cool,” I responded, “but I’m not in Saskatoon anymore. Otherwise, I’d be there.” For the sake of privacy, I knew it wouldn’t be filmed or live streamed, but I wondered if someone could FaceTime me during the session. Then came 2020—and with it, the rise of an obscure app called Zoom (#NotSponsored). I say the following with compassion for everybody negatively affected during this pandemic: the lockdown was a blessing in disguise. This pandemic provided a unique opportunity to define a new schedule, meaning more time to learn from God in my devotions. Also, Zoom and other online chat forums allowed us to connect, regardless of location. Being in another time zone wouldn’t exclude me from the study! Not even three weeks after lockdown began, Pr. Ashia began advertising for the young women’s Bible study. We began in Ruth chapter one, dissecting each passage and planting ourselves in the story. At the end of each study, we shared our reflections (also
known as “Aha-moments”). There was no pressure; everyone attended as their schedules allowed, and new members were encouraged to return. The only reasons I couldn’t relate to the “I don’t even know what day of the week it is anymore” tweets were because of Sabbaths and these Thursday Bible studies. Meeting with this group quickly became a highlight in my week. While the world around me was everchanging, these meetings remained consistent —so much so that I memorized the meeting code (408 114 14...). Although I live alone, the sound of many voices was heard in my home on Thursdays. Having friends I could pray with on a weekly basis made lockdown more tolerable. Eight months later, these meetings are still a blessing. My Zoom sisters and I have been through a lot together! We celebrated graduations and have seen answered prayers for jobs. We witnessed miracles, like having enough money to make it through the week and liquid-damaged laptops coming back from the dead just in time for the new semester. We share testimonies, proving to each other that God is real. Together, we recount moments where grace was shown to us, protection from evils we were naïve to, and times we wanted to give up. Every week I thank God for Pastor Ashia’s ministry and consistency—especially on the weeks when her other responsibilities all demand a piece of her. Life gets chaotic, but these Thursday Bible studies bring refreshment and peace. We are proof that Matthew 18:20 still applies to video calls. ZIN DEWA PINEHOUSE DRIVE SDA CHURCH
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IN OUR FAITH What do Joseph; Moses; Joshua and Caleb; Gideon; David and Goliath; and Jonathan and his armor bearer have in common? They were grounded in their faith. Each one’s story describes a myriad of challenges they encountered throughout their lifetimes. Still, they somehow clung to the roots of their faith. Though they lived in different eras, God remained the same powerful and majestic force across the span of time. This inspired Pastor Ricardo Mena to plan “Grounded: A Journey of Faith”. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected how we do ministry, but it hasn’t actually stopped us from ministering altogether. The reality of the virus inspired Pastor Ricardo to pivot. Using the limitations to his advantage, he created a six-part virtual series for youth and young adults. He also invited three pastoral colleagues, Alex Niculaescu, Joshua Ward, and Jerry Pinzon, to join him. As they shared their personal journeys of faith, each pastor described a time in their lives when they faced insurmountable obstacles. There were elements of rebellion, addiction, uncertainty, crises of faith and even risk of death. Together, they engaged in a lively Bible discussion, encouraging each other from scripture. Much like the Bible characters, these pastors saw God’s hand in their lives and felt His presence, especially in their struggles. He became very real to them. No longer was God a far off figure you hear about in church or in the Bible. Because of their experiences, they got to know God for themselves, discovering that He is indeed trustworthy and faithful. This intimate acquaintance with God fuels Pastor Ricardo and his friends to share the gospel. The God who rescued, protected and preserved them wants to do the same for us too. Why not invite God into your heart. Let His love take root so that you too can be grounded in your faith. SABRINA JACQUES-ROWE COMMUNICATION LEADER HENDERSON HIGHWAY SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
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HOW ARE YOU MANAGING?
n the midst of these uncertain times, we need to be intentional to take care of our mental, spiritual and physical health. Yes, the fallout from COVID19 has launched a period of darkness that seems to have overcome our world and our nation, but Psalm 42 reminds us that our hope lies in recalling God’s goodness to us in the past. I invite you to read it again. It’s worth the read. One thing we can take comfort in is that God is our friend in the darkness. God wants us to experience wholeness and happiness, to journey through this thing called life without burnout, without darkness, and without despair. So, my question is, “Who are you letting into your life right now to help you do life?” Men, you need other men to run with you. Women, you need other women to run with you too.
group that might help with everything from depression, to addiction, to divorce, to grief, to parenting? Are you flying solo, or are you part of a family? God wants you on a team and in community. He wants you surrounded. Friends, this is the kind of God we have. The God who knows the journey is too much for us, who knows we are weak, who knows we are just dust, who does not get mad at us when we collapse before the finish line but instead tells us to get some people around us who can support us and be an extension of the love He has for each of us. Take care of yourself. Take care of each other.
Do you have a spiritual friend, someone who is following Christ, who will encourage you to keep following Christ? Do you have a prayer partner? Do you have a mentor? Do you have someone you can talk to who will pray with you and will serve you? Have you taken advantage of a recovery
DR. DAVID BAKER PASTOR
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OF A SENIOR ACADEMY
erhaps you have been on a very long journey, so long that it seemed you would never arrive at your destination. Having arrived, you may have breathed a sigh of relief. Red River Valley Junior Academy has been on a long journey since it first opened in Winnipeg in 1901, when Elder Neil McGill converted the living room of his home at 464 Selkirk Avenue into a schoolroom. Beginning with just a handful of children, his inspiration grew. In 1924 the school officially opened and was known as â€œWinnipeg Seventh-day Adventist Academyâ€?. The school was located in the basement of the Old English Congregation Church at 290 Bannerman Avenue. This two-room school consisted of a gymnasium downstairs and the vacant lot next door as a playground. Mr. and Mrs. Alex Jewkes served as teachers of thirty-nine students from grades one through ten.
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“Resilience” is a fitting descriptor for RRVJA. The school survived through the Great Depression and through the Second World War. Staff and students contended with an old rickety school building, renowned for fluctuating temperature controls and tight spaces. In September of 1961, the school relocated to the present location at 56 Grey Street. During the 1973-74 school year, the name was changed from the “Winnipeg Seventh-day Adventist Junior Academy” to “Red River Valley Junior Academy”. Great feats can be accomplished when we, as a Christian community, whole-heartedly cooperate. This was evident in 1984 when a building committee was formed to plan for an expansion. The plans expanded the school from a three-room school to six classrooms, a library, and a kitchen. With the generous donations of Misses Mary and Georgia Neithercut and the support of the Conference-wide Adventist community, the project was successfully completed in 1985. To accommodate a spike in enrolment in 2011, a modular classroom was erected on the grounds to meet the growing demand for Seventh-day Adventist Education. Our Seventh-day Adventist community can be proud of both the milestones, as well as the community impact of RRVJA. Hundreds of students have been baptized through the years, including some from non-Adventist homes. Counted among the alumni of RRVJA are many pastors and church administrators, missionaries, and physicians, as well as hundreds of other faithful Seventh-day Adventist men and women. Some have become medical workers,
teachers, business entrepreneurs, tradespeople, fathers, and mothers. Some have moved away while others have stayed to serve God in Winnipeg. Despite the realities of the pandemic and the challenges of accommodating a growing enrolment in 2020, the school opened with a buzz of excitement this past September with an expectant 200 students and the addition of a Grade 12 program of studies. Becoming a Senior Academy places RRVJA at a strategic position as the only Seventh-day Adventist K-12 academy between Toronto and Calgary. Imagine the potential benefits for the Adventist communities of Saskatchewan and Manitoba in attracting new church workers and increasing schooling alternatives for families. While we look back and commemorate the school’s rich history and traditions, there is an urgent need to continue to brighten our future for generations to come. Realizing this need, RRVJA’s Board of Directors continues to steer the school through its strategic plan. With a sharp focus on sustaining a thriving K-12 Program, a sustained effort is being made to provide a facility that will be a symbol of pride for the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The Fundraising Committee, and the Development Steering Committee, much like their predecessors almost 50 years ago, are working arduously to plan, raise funds, and structure possibilities for facility development. Most recently, a School Rebranding Committee was organized by the RRVJA School Board. Chaired by alumna, Nicole Foster, the committee’s mandate has been to improve RRVJA’s institutional image,
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We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.
including finding a new name, new symbols, and new designs--considering the school is no longer a Junior Academy (K-10). The school’s journey has no doubt been colourful. Many drivers and passengers have been involved in the almost 100-year-old journey. Whether by choice or by accident, you too, as a constituency member, parent, student or alumnus are woven into the rich tapestry of Adventist Education—whether in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, or elsewhere. Any progress made by RRVJA will only be as good as those who are willing to support our vision for the future — a growing, thriving K-12 School operating in a state of the art facility where students create meaningful lifelong bonds, get to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, and prepare for a life of useful service. The intentional commitment of the Manitoba/ Saskatchewan Adventist community is urgently needed for this vision. Prayerfully ask God to increase your desire to provide a legacy of opportunities for all children—those from our Adventist homes, as well as those from the larger community. Show your intentional commitment to the children of RRVJA by fervently praying for them, their
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families, and their teachers; by contacting the school to find out how you can be of service; and channeling your financial resources towards creating new possibilities for children and youth. A sigh of relief after a very long journey is always welcome—well, that’s until the next time you have to travel. It is reassuring that “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Though the future seems optimistic, the journey for RRVJA will never be complete until the Gospel Commission is fulfilled. May we renew our commitment to support the newest Senior Academy in Canada as it plays its evangelistic role in preparing boys and girls for Jesus’ return.
IAN MIGHTY PRINCIPAL RED RIVER VALLEY JR. ACADEMY
YOUNG CHEFS WITH A
has inspired three young girls to showcase their culinary talents in baking cakes and cookies for the congregants’ dessert at Fellowship lunches every Sabbath. Michelle “Mimi” Moyo, Mariah Kamera and Tamara Makinde have been using their talents in baking to share the love of God in a meaningful way. Mariah has gone on to take orders for her range of baked goods and has been faithfully returning her Tithe from the proceeds.
Matthew 19:14 reminds us of the words of Jesus when He said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”(NIV).
Bakani and Paula are also part of a group of young children in our group who have created a recipe book titled, “Young Chefs with a Mission”. The proceeds from the book’s sales, once published will go towards community initiatives. The compilation
MELVIN BARTLEY PASTOR IQALUIT, NU
he year 2020 has presented some challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this difficulty, the SDA Group in Iqaluit continues to witness the amazing hand of God in the lives of its members and most importantly, its young children. Bakani Ndlovu (10) and Paula Mathema (9) stepped out in faith and requested to be baptized. It was indeed a praiseworthy moment to see young people choose a relationship with Christ. They have shown a level of maturity beyond their years. They are currently dedicating two hours a week to Baptism classes. When they do get baptized, they will be the first individuals to be baptized in the Iqaluit SDA group.
We will continue to invest our time and resources in drawing our children to God as they are the leaders of tomorrow.
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CAMP MEETING 2020
V I R T U A L LY
amp Meeting is a favorite ManitobaSaskatchewan Conference event. Each summer, the grounds at Camp Whitesand buzz with activity, as hundreds of attendees share nine days of spiritual retreat in nature with fellow believers from across the region.
more people could attend and even participate this year, because there was little to no travel required; a toll-free phone line offered an audio connection for those without internet access; and potential discomforts like heat, rain, and mosquitoes were not an issue this year.
As COVID-19 crept into our Conference, many plans changed suddenly. Since most events were cancelled, including Camp Meeting 2020, several shifted to online experiences. Therefore, new plans for Camp Meeting were made and then it was announced we would gather together for Virtual Camp Meeting – a first for us!
Guest presenters included Doctors Richard and Jo Ann Davidson, professors at Andrews University, who addressed the topic “Storm Proofing Your Faith”. We were also thrilled to be part of history as Elder G. Alexander Bryant spoke for our Sabbath church service time. This event was his first as newly appointed President of the North American Division.
A big question for organizers was: how do we capture the essence of Camp Meeting while physically apart?
To help simplify the planning, the schedule was condensed into two days, allowing for just a taste of familiar camp meeting elements. Henderson Highway Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba was selected as the host venue. A well-crafted set was
Undeterred, the team focused on the benefits rather than the limitations. Some of these benefits included:
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CAMP MEETING 2020
built and decorated, reminding viewers that this wasn’t your typical Sabbath. There were virtual, interactive Sabbath School classes for all ages. An online host welcomed prayer request submissions all weekend long. Sabbath afternoon included workshops on pandemic-relevant topics such as stewardship and mental health and a concert finale. A special highlight of the weekend was a video compilation with representation of nearly all 44 districts of the Conference. It was a delight to be able to see so many members from around our Conference, even those from Nunavut who don’t usually get to be a part of our Camp Meetings. Though the weekend was a blessing to many, we would like to share one heartwarming moment with you. Discouraged, a viewer left a prayer request in the comment section during the live feed. This
person was struggling and felt uncertain of God’s presence in their life. In addition to the moderator’s written prayer in the comments, a second viewer left a reply of encouragement and promises from scripture. What a beautiful moment of our community coming together to support each other even at a distance. The successful weekend was full of such blessings. We look forward to more virtual events in the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference in 2021 and beyond. Though we may not know what lies ahead, we can trust that God is always with us. SABRINA JACQUES-ROWE COMMUNICATION LEADER HENDERSON HIGHWAY SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
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SEEING THE POSSIBILITIES F irst of all, I want to thank our entire Women’s Ministry committee for their willingness to serve and support this important ministry. Each member has been a great blessing. This year has been a year of challenges and uncertainties. However, we know that God is in control and we must continue to pray and to be faithful to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Due to the unprecedented circumstances that we have been experiencing, the original plans of the Women’s Ministry committee had to change from a personal, face to face setting to two virtual presentations. On September 27th the first virtual event took place from our host church, Living Hope in Saskatoon. Debbie Ashworth, the Family Ministries Director for the conference, presented on the theme of “Prayer, Praise, & Possibilities”. She focused on the thought that “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family!” In a world where things may seem impossible, God gives us the tools to do the possible! She emphasized the importance of family relationships, family worship, spending quality time together, and focusing on Jesus being the center of each one of these. We are thankful for Debbie and her willingness to serve. On November 1, 2020 we had our second presentation with the theme of “Young Women of Faith Today”. Pastor Ashia Lennon, a Pastor from Pinehouse Drive SDA Church, was our presenter and spoke to us on Moses and his journey of faith - from
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infancy to adulthood and then God’s call from the burning bush for him to be the leader of the children of Israel. We looked at how Moses’ faith and trust in God grew as he went through his life as a leader for the Lord. Again, we appreciate Pastor Ashia for sharing and her willingness to serve Jesus and her community. We too are called to do service for Jesus and though it may be a lesser or a larger job, we must open our hearts to that call and go forward to do His bidding. Time is of the essence! He is coming soon, and we must work while we can to share the gospel to others. “When our eyes are divinely anointed by the Holy Spirit, we see possibilities where others only see difficulties.” (3rd Qu. SDA Sabbath School Quarterly, 2020, p.112) May God Bless you all as you continue to do His will!
FRAN GORBENKO MAN/SASK WOMEN’S MINISTRY DIRECTOR
NOT THE NORM M
arch 19, 2020 will be a day that students, teachers, and education administration will not soon forget. Schools were closed along with every other business, church, and non-essential facilities per government regulations. A new way of education for teachers and students began through on-line education. All the teachers and school administration of our conference’s four SDA schools jumped into, what was called, Crisis On-line Education. I am so proud of how our teachers and administration took to going on-line and finished the school year off in June. There were missed programs and graduations were either postponed or done virtually. Summer of 2020 was spent getting ready for the 2020-2021 school year that was to be Face to Face. Principals were required to make and submit to the Manitoba and Saskatchewan Governments, along with the Education Department of our conference, reopening plans. These documents were then reviewed and changed as recommended. New meanings were given to words that were used
regularly in the past such as Cohorts (a classroom group of students that stay together throughout the day and this year), Bubble (this would be the entire school), and Distancing (6 feet or more apart). Before the students entered the schools, new equipment had to be installed – sanitization stations, shields, and separation partitions; a protocol had to be developed to report a possible case of COVID; classes had to be adjusted and moved to other classrooms; increased time had to be planned for janitors’ work as more cleaning needed to be done; classroom desks had to be rearranged so students would be meeting the regulation about distancing; teachers and administration had to work together to rearrange how students entered and exited the school; bus seating had to be planned; recess and lunch times had to be staggered; parents had to be informed about the masks being used during the day by everyone; and restrictions had to be defined as to who can enter the school (This has been limited to staff and students.). Parents and guardians were informed to reach out through email and phone to talk with school personnel. Both provincial governments provided all schools with masks
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for the students and staff to use throughout the day.
to watch in the comfort of their homes.
The teachers attended two training sessions during the summer about how to present on-line education. They were preparing to be on-line but are now happy to be face to face with the students, as are the students.
Curtis-Horne Christian School (CHCS) is providing each student with a gratitude journal that allows the students to track their social and emotional health. They too have purchased Chrome Books for the students to use. Staff and students are making a special package to be shared with the seniors in their churches.
September 8 was the first day of school with students. Teachers came in the prior week allowing extra time for them to become familiar with new routines required by COVID-19 protocols. This school year we have 14 full time teachers, 2 half time teachers, 8 EA’s and 4 teaching principals within our four schools. Completed registration by the second week of October, as reported to the SDACC and Provincial Governments, had a total of 272 students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 for the 2020-2021 school year. This is down 25 students from the 20192020 school year. There are new initiatives at all our schools. Rosthern Christian School’s (RCS) School Board purchased Chrome Books for the students to use in case they had to do on-line education. They are being used to enhance learning in the classroom at this time. A wide screen TV also was purchased to enhance learning by using many on-line programs to share with the students. Riverside Christian School (RSCS) was hoping to add 4 classrooms to the existing school building this past summer. These haven’t made it yet due to COVID delays. They have also purchased Chrome Books for use in school and if they are to go on-line. The annual Christmas concert will be online this year in accordance with the COVID-19 guidelines. All parts of the concert will be prerecorded and then the link will be sent out for all
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Red River Valley Junior Academy (RRVJA) is continuing to fundraise for a new school building as they need more room. A rebranding process is happening to rename the school – the reveal date is scheduled for the end of February 2021. I am thankful for the dedicated teachers, educational assistants, and principals that are not only providing the students with an education but helping each one to grow in their personal relationships with Jesus. Please continue to keep all the administration, staff, teachers, students, and their families in your prayers during this time.
CORINNE LINDBERG EDUCATION DIRECTOR
TALENTS FOR THE LORD W hat a difference this year has made for everyone. Returning to the office from my maternity leave, I was hit with the realization that ministry was changing rapidly and there was not a clear end to these changes in sight.
With Camp Whitesand being a part of my life for the last 15 straight summers, up until my maternity leave, it was hard to not open the camp to our campers this summer. We had a theme being planned, and it was coming together nicely, and we even had a group of staff hired, so we had hoped to see the ministry of summer camp be a success. Despite having to stop these plans, the camp continued to be worked by volunteers and pastors during this off season. Committee 101 has been active on the campground this summer. With work bees starting in the spring, a faithful crew of volunteers and pastors went to the camp to diligently work on the construction of the new fourplex cabin that has replaced Cabin 8. This fall saw the completion of the interior with baseboards, window casings, and doors. The half-bathroom in each room has its fixtures and a new septic tank was installed just before the snow hit. The final plumbing of these half bathrooms will be completed in the spring. The Conference and Committee 101 also invested in having the floors in the newest buildings finished with a beautiful epoxy. The newest washroom block, Endeavor building, the Gwen Bader Learning
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Center, and the new 4-plex cabin all received this finishing touch. It looks very nice and we can’t wait to have the pitter patter of children’s feet running all over them once again. Be sure to check out our Man-Sask Conference FaceBook page for a video tour of all these highlights. Camp Whitesand also saw the installation of a new High Ropes course at the camp. We are very excited to see this project come to life after dreaming about a new course for years. Though the Conference has moved in faith for this installation, this project has a significant cost, so we continue to ask you to prayerfully consider donating to this fund. Our hope is that in future, we will be able to add even more obstacles onto this course. This is just the beginning of our challenge course at Camp Whitesand. Thank you to all who have already given so graciously to this project. In light of the current pandemic, the youth department put together some virtual events. We celebrated how talented our young people in the Conference are with a virtual talent show called “Never Alone”. We had some beautiful submissions come in, and you can check out the winners in a video on our Man-Sask Youth FaceBook page. We also had a virtual week of prayer take place called “As Jesus Walked” where we focused on learning how Jesus walked and dealt with social justice in His time. From this, it is my hope that each one of us can learn to walk as Jesus walked in our own lives, here and
now. We had great speakers for this event such as Pastors James Black, Ben Lindquist, Chanda Nunes, and others. These videos are still available as well on our FaceBook page. While it is true that life has changed and we don’t know when “normal” will return, I just want to take the opportunity to say how proud of our young people I am. During these trying times, I have seen many young people step up and take action in their communities to use their skills of video, photography, and music to continue to reach out to people. Their resilience and creativity during this time of chaos is to be commended. Keep up the good work! Your talents and voice and skills are needed now more than ever, young people. “Don’t say you’re too young,” the Lord answered. “If I tell you to go and speak to someone, then go! And when I tell you what to say, don’t leave out a word! I promise to be with you and keep you safe, so don’t be afraid.” Jeremiah 1:7, 8
SANDRA WALL YOUTH & COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR
PRESS RELEASE Camp Meeting 2021 There is a strong desire among our members and our Administration to be able to hold our 2021 camp meeting in person, however, with all the uncertainty in the world and talks of social distancing requirements extending further into the future it presents challenges in planning for next summer. With this in mind, the Board of Directors voted on Sunday, November 29, 2020 to plan for a Virtual Camp Meeting from July 8 to 11, 2021 but in such a way that if restrictions are lifted, it would be able to be held in person at Camp Whitesand. So far, the following speakers have agreed to join us either virtually or in-person, depending on any restrictions that are in place next July: Gerald and Chantal Klingbeil, William Cork and Homer Trecartin. We are looking forward to hearing the message presented by these
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and other speakers as we come together for worship from July 8 to 11, 2021. May God bless us and keep us until then.
The Conference Session It is the goal of the current Administration and Board of Directors to serve the members of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference in accordance with God’s leading and the previously voted bylaws. The Board of Directors meet on Sunday, November 29 and after serious consideration and consultation with the SDACC and review of legal advice it was decided to defer the Man-Sask Conference session until the spring of 2022 with the provision that plans will be made to hold a virtual session at that time if public health measures continue to prevent the session to be held in person.
FROM THE CONFERENCE
FACE TO FACE
there was no texting, no social media, no instant means to communicate at a distance. Through all of these changes, talking to a person beside you was always available and nothing quite compared to it. However, in recent events, this precious connection is becoming harder to have. There are hurdles to meeting with a friend or family member in person these days. For the safety of others, we are encouraged to keep our social bubbles small. To this extent, we may have not been able to meet with family who live far away or even sit together in church to worship with one another once a week. It seems that all we have right now are phone calls, zoom video chats or texting. Face to face time with friends and loved ones is now a precious commodity. Face to face communication is wonderful and God knew this when He created us humans. From the beginning, His desire was to walk and talk with us, just as He did with Adam and Eve in the garden so long ago. Sin took away that connection between the Creator and His creation. But not forever. To be able to have just the chance to meet with you and me face to face again, Jesus came to Earth and died. What a sacrifice! What a gift. God’s desire to walk and talk with you and me has not diminished. He has been waiting for thousands of years to be able to commune with you in such a manner. Do you know He is aching for the day He can meet with you face to face? This time of social separation helps me to just scratch the surface of understanding God’s longing to be with me in person.
he means to communicate in our world have always been evolving. Think back to when letter writing was an art and the best way to talk with a loved one far away; or when long distance phone calls were expensive, so you restricted how many times you called and the time when you talked; or when chatting on the internet was difficult as you had to dial in and hope that your friends would be online too. Remember back to a time when
As we head into the holiday season and remember the birth of Jesus, my prayer is that you will not let His sacrifice be lost in the presents and glittering decorations. I’m sure the Lord is counting down the days to when we all can meet with Him face to face in the New Jerusalem. I long for that day as well. But until that time comes, let us not lose hope and remember that our Lord is still just a prayer away. SANDRA WALL YOUTH & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
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MY COVID EXPERIENCE
“COVID-19 really put a halt on my life. In-person classes, work, hanging out with friends; all of these things were affected by the ongoing pandemic. But within the church, moving our ministries online has kept me busy! Within our music ministry, this unprecedented time has given us youth and young adults opportunities to dive into online praise and worship videos and learn more about the technological aspects of worship! It has been a blessing in disguise to be able to learn how to film and edit praise and worship sets each week, for the online services. It started out as a small group of 5, creating video praise sets each week. By the grace of God, we were able to see growth over the past few months in the way we produce praise and worship content for the church, and now we have different small groups within our church who are always willing to film videos for church services. The changes have really opened our eyes to the different definitions of worship, and the importance of fellowship with other individuals in such a trying time.” RYAN ACOSTA 4TH YEAR BIOLOGY
“During my time in quarantine, I’m finding myself missing things that I never thought I would ever miss. One of those being church, and I have to say Saturday has a whole new meaning now that it is spent at home…Fortunately, my church has been doing service online, Friday night AY, bible studies, and lessons studies that really help make Saturday feel like we are all together again…Its uplifting and encouraging to see that even apart, my church family is there for me.” ROPA CHAYA 1ST YEAR
Young people from across our Conference are learning how to navigate this pandemic. Here some share perspectives of their COVID-19 experience especially with their local churches. “Zoom has been a total blessing to our group. We hold multiple bible studies throughout the week, and social “gatherings” for the youth where we worship, have devotionals and host games nights…The many programs that technology gives us access to, help keep our church alive. Just because the devil tries to stop us from gathering in person, doesn’t mean that God won’t help find a way to bring us together and help us grow stronger and more united as a family. You have God on your side. Reach out to Him and He will open a way for your church to thrive.” -ELINA SCHWARZ 2ND YEAR SPEECH PATHOLOGY
“My church found a way to bring back a sense of normalcy amongst all that is going on. Something that we all want to feel during these hard times…Every Sabbath morning begins with a zoom meeting for Sabbath School and the church service on YouTube for divine service. This brought back a sense of normality into my family’s and my life, being able to worship with our church family even though it may not be in person. We can take one day out of the week where we can focus on God and the many blessings He has given us and forget about our current situation.” REKHA WHITTAKER 3RD YEAR BIOLOGY
PUBLISHED BY THE COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT OF THE MANITOBA-SASKATCHEWAN CONFERENCE OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH EDITOR - Sandra Wall | DESIGNER - Kenny Roger Taer 1004 Victoria Ave, Saskatoon, SK S7N 0Z8 | (306) 244-9700 | email@example.com
Join us in taking a look at what has been happening in the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference of SDAs in the last half of 2020. Be encouraged...
Published on Dec 9, 2020
Join us in taking a look at what has been happening in the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference of SDAs in the last half of 2020. Be encouraged...