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Ephesus in Hattiesburg Hit by Tornado

Ephesus Pastor Sam Amfo, Jr. is fifth from left. We honor the list of many volunteers, our angels: Richie Halversen (pastor, College Drive church, Pearl, MS - Gulf States Conference [GSC]), Shane Hochstetler (Laurel Church - GSC), Jimmy Brazall (Hattiesburg Church - GSC). Also members from the Bass Academy (GSC), Hattiesburg Spanish church (Gulf States), Hattiesburg church (GSC), and Coach Rick (a contractor from Gulfport, MS [no SDA affiliation], a good Samaritan]. Pastor Sam Juedin (Soso/Laurel - South Central) came out on Tuesday. On the morning of January 21, 2017, South Mississippi counties were on alert for potential tornadic activity. In Hattiesburg, around 3:00 a.m., the University of Southern Mississippi’s tornado siren began to sound. It could be heard for about a 3-4 mile radius. Pastor, Sam Amfo Jr., D.Min. shared, “at 3:00 a.m., the church’s security system called immediately to notify me, and the head deacon, Michael Thomas that there was a problem at the church.” Alerts were steady coming in and around 4:00 – 4:30 a.m. it was reported that a tornado had touched down in West Hattiesburg. Soon after it was reported that William Carey University had been hit by an EF3 tornado. The Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church, 500 William Carey Parkway, is located about a half mile from the University and had sustained massive damage. Pastor Amfo, reported that the members of the church were safe. However, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency reported to CNN that storms shattered parts of southern Mississippi early that Saturday morning, killing at least four people and injuring more than 20 others in Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties. Our hearts were lifted to heaven for those families. Most of the top floor of our [...]

Baptisms at Camp Kulaqua

“Elder Lorenzo Shepherd, youth ministries director, South Central Conference joyfully baptizes pathfinders, (L-R): Rochelle Holston, Kennidi Tapiwa, and Kaliyah Roberts.” Excitement was in the air, as campers began to arrive at Camp Kulaqua, the Southern Union Camporee that was held in High Springs, Florida. ‘Jesus for Me’ was the Theme, and everyone anticipated a time full of activities, meeting new people, and above all, learning to know Jesus as a personal Savior. For many Pathfinders, this was their first time camping, and expectations were high. South Central was well represented as 157 campers pitched tents, learned how to cook on camp stoves, light campfires, and complete many honors that would add patches to their sashes. Roll call began every morning at 0800, followed by worships that were led by a different club each morning and evening. Conference Area Pathfinder Coordinators taught honors to numerous campers. George and Dawn Ray along with Tony Brown taught Physical Fitness. Byron Phillips taught Fire Building and Camp Cookery. Robert Harvey taught Bats, and Mrs. Geraldine Shepherd from the Allegany West Conference taught African Lore. Other fun activities included swimming, horseback riding, first aid relays, and watching the Lima Drive Kingdom Soldiers from Lexington, Kentucky compete in the Drill Competition. It was such a blessing to see Pastor Shepherd baptize Kaliyah Roberts, Rochelle Holston, and Kennedi Tapiwa. Everyone is looking forward to the time when “we can do it again!” Our next Youth and Pathfinder event will be Youth Congress in Knoxville, Tennessee, April 27-29, 2017. For more info contact the youth ministries Department, 615-226-6500.

We Value Family

The Weekend of November 4-6, 2016 was like none other; the South-Central Conference Family Life Department had its’ first “We Value Family” weekend in the Natchez/Fayette Mississippi Church District. Pastor Marcus McIntyre and First Lady, Mishiki McIntyre welcomed us with open arms. During the weekend, we conducted workshops and one-on-one counseling sessions for the members and community. The Sabbath service was outstanding with great music, food and fellowship. Sunday morning started out bright and early with the whole church engulfed Fayette, Mississippi as we launched the “We Value Family, fall festival.” It was so moving to observe everyone from the youngest to the oldest collaborating to make the festival a success. And a success it was, we passed out Steps to Christ and invites to the evangelistic meeting as cars and pedestrians passed, Pastor spoke in the town square about family and the love of Jesus, some city officials from the police and fire departments came and shared in games, hot dogs, and community camaraderie. One of the city sorority members came and we prayed for the whole city. God blessed “We Value Family” above and beyond all that we could ask or think. -D. Renee' Mobley, Ph.D., South Central director of family life ministries

Fall Revival Blessings at Emmanuel in Mobile

By Joyce Sampson-Robinson; Photographer: Purethought Photography As years continue to end and our Lord has not returned, Emmanuel Seventh-day Adventists, Mobile Alabama, continue the mission of sounding the cry of His eminent return. During the month of November 2016, men and women “Rooted in Christ” presented the “‘Good News for Difficult Times’ Fall Revival” to the local community and church family at Emmanuel. The ladies, who are the silent backbone of Emmanuel, led the way, October 29th to the fourth of November. Nightly speakers included, Bonnie Hawkins-Jordan, Bryana Austin, Lillie Minor, Dorothy Simms, and Debra Goodloe. Sabbath, November fifth, Sonja Crayton, Treasurer, South Central Conference, was the final jewel that excelled the ladies to the highest pinnacle. The men were strengthened by more seasoned speakers, November 6th through November 12th, with heart throbbing messages by Elder Michael Harpe, from South Central Conference and Pastor James Norman from Montgomery, Alabama. Sabbath, Family and Friends Day, November 19th was the grand finale of the fall revival with our own shepherd speaking, Pastor Harold Goodloe. Special guests included, “United Bodies of Christ Choir,” of South Mississippi and local guest, LaToya Bradshaw of the Nazaree Full Gospel Church of Mobile. They helped to make the day a success. The highlight of the day was the baptism of 24 souls into the church family. They were supported by the presence of their families, the church family, and the Bible Workers, Melsadies House of Orlando, Florida and Debra Goodloe of Mobile, who helped labor for decisions diligently during the series. The blessings continued as 5 more souls were baptized November 26th and 2 more December 4th. The year 2016 ended on a heavenly high with a Sabbath celebration that was seasoned [...]

Dr. Alfred (Al) Charles Sharpton, Jr.: “Empowering through the Storm”

By Dr. Ramona L. Hyman; Photographer (All pictures)-David Stewart, Jr. Called by God at the age of four to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, Alfred (Al) Charles Sharpton, Jr., D.D. has spent his life in service as a Christian preacher and activist sacredly committed to “selfless leadership” and service. He is an American Civil Rights Activist, Minister, and host of Politics Nation with Al Sharpton. On January 29, 2017, inspired by the visionary ministry of the Oakwood University Church Senior Pastor, Carlton P. Byrd, D.Min., the Huntsville community experienced this humble symbol of Christian witness in the public square with a special visit by Dr. Sharpton as he offered the keynote sermonic address to commemorate the beginning of Black History month in a special community forum sponsored by the church. The forum was attended by a myriad of people from the Huntsville community, including members of the Oakwood University Church and Oakwood University; area ministers and their congregations; and political leaders. Representative Laura Hall applauded Dr. Byrd for sponsoring socially uplifting and unifying programs for the Huntsville community. Oakwood University’s Vice President of Academic Administration, Karen Benn-Marshall, Ed.D., welcomed Dr. Sharpton on behalf of the university. Reflecting upon the “times in which we live,” Sharpton’s poignant message was grounded in Matthew 8. In his message entitled, “How to Ride through a Storm,” Sharpton reminded the congregation that “fear and faith” cannot exist at the same time. He said, “. . . we’ve been through storms before.” The climax of Sharpton’s sermon was a soul-stirring testimony honoring the woman whom he calls his “bedrock”—his mother. Dr. Sharpton has lived on both sides of the American economic ladder. He has known poverty. Sharpton’s mother modeled before [...]

RETIRED EDUCATORS MEET TO SUPPORT CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

AMARAE, the Association of Memphis Area Retired Adventist Educators, a group of over twenty who met recently in Memphis, Tennessee. Back row (l-r): Brenda Renfro, Celeste Bell, Marylene Johnson, Elizabeth Perkins, Glenna Gilbreath, Marjorie Lowe, Goldie Harrell, Luch Gholston, Minnie Folsom, Charlie Folsom, Ph.D., Ocie Yates, Beverly Becton, Larry Dandridge, Annette Dandridge, Brenda Cowan, J. Philip Williams, Ed.D Front row (l-r): Valeria Montague, Arnette Montague, Lois Pointer, Elizabeth Martin, Myrtharyne Powell, Sonya Jackson / Photographer: Charlie Folsom, Ph.D. The Association of Memphis Area Retired Adventist Educators (AMARAE), a group of over twenty, met recently in Memphis, Tennessee. They were feted and encouraged to give increased support for the ministry of Alcy Seventh-day Adventist Junior Academy. A joyous luncheon held October 2, 2016 which linked educators from six South Central Conference churches in Memphis. While several of the educators taught in the Adventist school system, and some at Alcy SDA Junior Academy, there were also many in attendance who share experience in other private schools as well as the public-school system. J. Philip Williams, Ed.D. current Alcy SDA Junior Academy principal, conceived of the event and asked Brenda Cowan, former principal to help organize it. Cowan said, “It was very encouraging to see all but one of the invitees in attendance. The room was filled with over 400 years (20 people x 20+ years) of educational experience—Awesome!” Williams seized the opportunity to honor and celebrate the work of the teachers with a community service medallion. A meal, games, and musical entertainment rendered the gathering memorable. However, the occasion delivered up more than just fellowship. Plans for an ongoing organization of retired teachers was laid. Several retirees made generous commitments to give volunteer service to [...]

We Value Family

The Weekend of November 4-6, 2016 was like none other; the South-Central Conference Family Life Department had its’ first “We Value Family” weekend in the Natchez/Fayette Mississippi Church District. Pastor Marcus McIntyre and First Lady, Mishiki McIntyre welcomed us with open arms. During the weekend, we conducted workshops and one-on-one counseling sessions for the members and community. The Sabbath service was outstanding with great music, food and fellowship. Sunday morning started out bright and early with the whole church engulfed Fayette, Mississippi as we launched the “We Value Family, fall festival.” It was so moving to observe everyone from the youngest to the oldest collaborating to make the festival a success. And a success it was, we passed out Steps to Christ and invites to the evangelistic meeting as cars and pedestrians passed, Pastor spoke in the town square about family and the love of Jesus, some city officials from the police and fire departments came and shared in games, hot dogs, and community camaraderie. One of the city sorority members came and we prayed for the whole city. God blessed “We Value Family” above and beyond all that we could ask or think.  

“Moss Point Shall Live & Not Die”

The Ebenezer Church declares “Moss Point shall live and NOT die!” In spite of the rain, 150+ persons showed-up at The Moss Point Mississippi community service ministry event which included fun and games for the children. On Sunday, August 21st, we shared the 2nd Annual City-wide Fest! We gave school supplies for youth and Disaster Starter Kits for Special Needs children. Our South Central Conference community services co-director, Lillie Buckingham, and disability ministries director, Nettie Henderson where there with their booths and shared a myriad of resources with the community that day. This event had shared support of city officials: Mayor Billy Broomfield, Economic Development Director Susan White, Aldermen Houston Cunningham, Community Development Director, Kathy Keaton, Police Chief Art McClung, Superintendent Shannon Vincent, Fire Chief Tommie Posey, and other guests included many local pastors who offered their support. The week of August 21 – 27, 2016 was filled with activity as nightly services began on Sunday and continued to the following Sabbath. Prentice Sorrells, pastor, Harvest Seventh-day Adventist Church, Harvest, Alabama preached Spirit-breathed messages echoing the theme, “Moss Point Shall Live and Not Die.” Church members were inspired and reminded that Jesus has a specific desire to see those in Moss Point abundantly blessed and filled with His power. In addition to the blessed services, the Lord increased His kingdom with 3 decisions for baptism. Candidates Alice Jefferson, Sheila Scott, and David Patton were the fruits of the harvest. They studied the Amazing Facts Bible Study course and were later baptized by Pastor David K. Jones, DD.

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