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Recent Executive Committee Actions

1. Treasury Update: Mrs. Sonja Crayton has been voted to serve as South Central’s newest Treasurer and Administrative Officer. Sonja holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a B.S. degree in Accounting from Oakwood University. She has served the South Central Conference for over 20 years as Business Intern, ABC Manager, Senior Accountant, Assistant Treasurer/Auditor/Controller, Associate Treasurer, and now serves as Interim Under Treasurer. Her primary responsibilities include: • Accounting and Financial Statements • Budget Management • Church Auditing • Plant Fund Management • Housing • Supplemental Retirement Accounting Sonja is married to Maurice and they have two children (a 15 and a 12 year old). She loves the Lord and enjoys traveling, bowling and resting. Mrs. Crayton is very dedicated to her husband and children, and works hard to keep up with all of the family activities and appointments. Sonja’s favorite saying is "Honor God Where You Are." 2. Pastoral Assignments: Cleveland/Indianola, MS District - Pastor John Brooks Florence/Courtland, AL District - Pastor Donell Morgan Associate, Hillcrest, Nashville, TN - Pastor Dana Edmond

SOUL impacts souls in Jackson Mississippi

Spreading Our Unconditional Love or SOUL, as it is affectionately known, is an outreach ministry of the South Jackson Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. This ministry does exactly what its name implies, spreads Jesus’ unconditional love. How is this accomplished? The ministry has sub-sections which work together to meet several basic human needs. First, is “Loads of Love” or LOL, a ministry dedicated to ensuring that community members have access to clean clothes; LOL, pays for resident’s laundry as they arrive at random laundromats throughout the city. In addition to free laundry, residents receive laundry detergents for their next trip to the laundromat. “Helping Hands,” affectionately known to young adventurers as the highest class in the club, provides hygiene packs also known as “blessing bags” to homeless residents. Bags include: toiletries, hand sanitizer, socks, washcloth, a snack and a bottle of water. “Sole to SOUL,” is a sneaker ministry, providing brand name sneakers to homeless men, ensuring that they have quality shoes to wear. “Fill with a Meal,” is our most famous ministry, feeding homeless communities with a hot meal on Saturday mornings. Meals are fed in parks where the homeless often populate. Starting in 2017, SOUL will expand its ministries to add sections primarily focusing on women and children in addition to those listed above. We solicit your prayers as we move forward. -Vita Johny, ministry coordinator Wife of Elder Philip Johny, pastor of South Jackson and Canton, Mississippi Churches

Love Your Neighbor

Philadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church in Pulaski, Tennessee is a small congregation where Pastor Michael Anthony Harpe and wife, Selita Harpe, serve. The church is known in the community for its blue doors, but the members of the church have been praying for the Holy Spirit’s help to live up to its name, “Philadelphia,” which means “Brotherly Love.” On Saturday, October 29, 2016, we hosted a community day for our neighbors in the Washington Heights community across the street from our church. We provided free blood pressure/glucose checks and chair massages. And gave away free socks, clothes for babies, toddlers, women and men, including canned soup and applesauce. The kids enjoyed, popcorn, snacks, water and juice drinks. We distributed health information, truth filled literature and prayed individually with many participants. A good number of people came out and took advantage of our ministry. We fellowshipped, made new friends in the community, and shared “Brotherly Love.” We thank the leaders: community services (Linda Jones) and health ministries (Bill and Louise Daniels). Also, kudos to the medical volunteers, members, helpers, and Washington Heights management for partnering with us. Please keep us in prayer as we continue to allow the Holy Spirit to use us. --Brenda Armster, Church Clerk

An Open Letter From Dan Jackson to Female Pastors in the North American Division

My Dear Sisters-in-Christ — My Colleagues, I am sending out this brief note to encourage you today. Be strong in the strength of Christ our Lord. Human hands and hearts will fail you, but He is strong for you. Yesterday at General Conference headquarters, the Annual Council voted to implement a process to deal with policy non-compliance issues at all levels of the church. We do not know, at this point, what the impact of this will be on the NAD. I invite you pray that the Holy Spirit will guide the church during this period. Having said this, I want to give you the assurance that the vote yesterday did not affect your status as a pastor. Furthermore, as stated in our press release yesterday, the North American Division remains committed to empower and establish our women in pastoral ministry. We will not give up on this ideal and goal. We are grateful to God for your committed service to Him. I recognize that there may be, in the coming days, significant rumor mongering and conspiracy theories that predict dire outcomes, etc.  My encouragement to you is to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. My dear sisters, God will work things out in His time. His purposes will succeed. Please keep holding on. God bless each of you. Your brother and colleague, Daniel R. Jackson President, North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

General Conference Executive Committee Votes Process Document to Handle Non-Compliance of Policy

October 11, 2016 Silver Spring, Maryland Leadership of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Executive Committee, at their Annual Council, voted this afternoon to approve a document titled Unity in Mission: Procedures in Church Reconciliation, which examines the need for procedures that the church can follow when an administrative body fails to follow “biblical principles as expressed in the Fundamental Beliefs, voted actions, or working policies of the Church”.The Executive Committee is made up of church leadership representing the entire world church, lay members from the 13 world divisions and institutional leadership. After a lengthy discussion from the floor, the document was accepted by a vote of 169 to 122. Discussion of the document began with an introduction by General Conference President Ted N.C. Wilson, who introduced the topic of reconciliation by the church body when a disagreement exists. Wilson reminded the committee members that Ellen G. White referred to the “General Conference Executive Committee, when in session, as a group with authority”, and urged members to vote the approval of the recommended document. Mike Ryan, special assistant to the General Conference president, described the reasoning behind the creation of the document and urgent need for its approval. Ryan referred to the assumption that many people will have in relating the document to the issue of Women’s Ordination and the recent vote on regional approval  of women’s ordination that was taken last summer in San Antonio, Texas at the 2015 General Conference Session. He then clarified that the document can refer to many different situations when entities don’t abide by voted policy. Discussion on the document from the floor of the General Conference auditorium resulted in many different statements both in favor of and in [...]

Sanders’ Celebrate 50 Blessed Years

Arthur and Dorothy Sanders celebrated their 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary with a renewal of wedding vows and reception on July 10, 2016. The celebration was at 3:00 p.m. at the Embassy Suite Conference Center in Montgomery, Alabama.  Officiating ministers included Dr. Sylister J. Jackson, Pastor Marion Johnson, Jr. and Pastor Jeffery L. Watson. Their journey began in 1960, over fifty years ago. After they met, they developed a friendship which led to six years of dating and courtship. During these six years, they pursued their education in different cities, but still continued to develop their relationship by writing letters, telephone calls, and visiting each other.  Dorothy attended Oakwood University in Huntsville Alabama.  Arthur attended Wenonah Vocational Technical School in Birmingham, Alabama. During this time, their relationship became much more than friendship and dating. They realized they were meant to be together. On July 10, 1966 in Montgomery, Alabama, they were united in holy matrimony in the presence of God, family and friends. After fifty years, they celebrated their union and renewed their love and commitment to each other.  They have surrendered their lives to God and His service. They testify that God has remained at the center of their marriage and He has blessed them beyond measure. His blessings include two wonderful children (Andrea and Kelvin), family and friends, health prosperity, and an undying love for each other and Him.  The journey continues.

First Church – Homecoming 2016, Oct. 14, 2016

The First SDA Church in Huntsville will be celebrating “Homecoming 2016” beginning Friday evening, October 14, at 6:00 pm with a vesper Singspiration entitled “Hymns at Sunset” coordinated by Cleveland “Murphy” Wilson director of the inspirational choir. The weekend continues on Sabbath morning with Sabbath school at 9:00 am with the lesson being taught as a whole. The morning’s message will be delivered by former church pastor and newly elected South Central Conference President, Benjamin Jones. Sabbath evening, First Church will present “Keys to the Kingdom” a duo piano concert featuring seven renowned keyboard artists: Shelton Kilby, Gale Murphy, Adrian Westney, Jr., Michael Andrews, Nancy Dudley, Wayne Bucknor and Brian Jones. The concert will begin at 6:00 p.m. and will include sacred and classical pieces. Music from several of the artist will be featured throughout the day’s services. The concert is free to the public. A love offering will be taken during the concert. For more information, call 256-852-8360. First Church Homecoming 2016 First Seventh-day Adventist Church 1303 Evangel Drive, Huntsville, Alabama 35816

South Central Treasury Transitions

We give them their flowers while they can see, hear, and feel them. Leave well wishes in the comment section--- On behalf of President Benjamin Jones: We say farewell to two of our workers who have accepted positions in other fields. Mrs. Merkita Mosley, South Central treasurer, has accepted the call to South Atlantic Conference, Decatur, Georgia, as Treasurer. She has served South Central very well during her tenure. Also Mrs. Jennifer Bennett, undertreasurer, has accepted a position with Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. The same is true for Jennifer; good servant, great worker. We say, Well Done thou good and faithful servants. As both enter their new responsibilities, we will miss them; we wish them well, and pray for their success. Pray with President Jones and the executive committee as they petition the Lord and choose persons to fill these positions.

Oakwood Church Holds Ground Breaking Ceremony for New Family Life Center

Oakwood University Church Holds Ground Breaking Ceremony for New Family Life Center “A Beacon of Light for Families” “Turn to your neighbor and say, ‘It’s going to happen.’”  With these words, Carlton P. Byrd, D.Min., Senior Pastor of the Oakwood University Church (OUC), welcomed OUC members, South Central Conference administrators, and Huntsville, AL city leaders and residents to the Ground Breaking Ceremony for OUC’s new Family Life Center on September 4, 2016. After more than 30 years of hopes and dreams discussed, then deferred, construction for OUC’s Family Life Center is now underway.  “You’ve needed this facility for more than a decade,” acknowledged Benjamin Jones, South Central Conference President. “But you, on purpose, made a decision that before you built a family life center for yourself, you’d build a school for your children.  I thank you all for that sacrifice.” For the families that make up the community and the church, the 22,000 square foot center will include a gymnasium and walking track; classrooms for seminars and workshops; specified space for the church’s Pathfinder Club; and designated rooms for the church’s Adventist Community Service ministry including a food pantry and clothing distribution area. The enormous impact this new facility will have on families was a constant theme throughout the ceremony.  “Having this facility to specifically minister to the diverse families that make up our church and community is just exciting,” stated Belvia Matthews, Ph.D., co-director of Family Life ministries at the OUC.  Huntsville Mayor, Tommy Battle, added, “When you build families, you build communities; and when you build communities, you build better cities.” The family life center is slated to be completed by September, 2017, which is 40 years to the month and year when [...]

Funeral Notice for Mrs. Mary O’Garro