Last time, we began our discussion on what is our theme for our conference this year: The Time is Now! This theme centers around one of the two imperatives for our conference (I shall talk about that other imperative once we finish our discussion on this one). Aside from the fact that ministering to our own children, young people and young adults is the right thing to do, it is also something that we have to do, if we are going to survive as a conference. When I was a little boy growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, my church school principal said something to us when I was in second grade that I have never forgotten. I have repeated variations of it many times-especially in these past few years: “What you are to be, you are now becoming.” In other words, the type of churches and conference that we shall be in the future-if the Lord does not come first-we are deciding that now-by the things we are (and are not doing) today. If we are not ministering to, training and making disciples of our children now, then in the future, when we need ministers, church leaders and disciples in our churches and in our conference, those ministers, church leaders and disciples are not going to suddenly and magically appear-the preparation for what kind of church and conference we shall be tomorrow happens (or does not happen) today. The reason why I am so passionate about this is because I am a product of this process. I was blessed to grow up in this church. I was blessed to have Christian parents who believed that this was God’s church. They were not blind to its [...]
The South Central Conference (SCC) is intentional about supporting their workers in a holistic manner (spiritual, emotional, and relational). During the month of January 2016, SCC provided a retreat for office staff, pastors, and their spouses to demonstrate their intentionality. The retreat was held Friday, January 15th – Sunday, January 17th at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa. The theme was “What’s in Your Bag?” The emphasis was on relationships. Workshops, discussions, and sermons were catered specifically for married couples and single workers. Workshops for the SCC single workers were facilitated by Pastor Lola Moore and Dr. Delwynn Williams, pastor of the St. John Missionary Baptist Church. Friday night started with a powerful, heartfelt message from Pastor Clifton McMillan entitled “What the World Needs Now.” The need for relationships, love, acceptance, and forgiveness was the overarching emphasis. Next, First Lady Jill Edmond provided a relevant segment on “How to Communicate Effectively.” She provided relevant examples regarding reading non-verbal cues, using “I” statements, and other tips for communicating effectively. President Dana Edmond and First Lady Jill Edmond presented gifts to all attendees. Ladies received a large purse and men received a gift bag to serve as reminders of the theme. Sabbath morning was somewhat non-traditional, exciting, and informative. Married couples were placed into various groups to discuss relevant scenarios. Group discussions provided the opportunity for collaboration and familiarization with others in the group. The well-illustrated Sabbath message, “The Prayer Jesus Would Not Pray” was presented by Pastor Kennedy Luckett. Pastor Luckett reminded us that Jesus did not pray that we are taken from this world, but that we are protected from the evil one (Read John 17:15). Everyone was admonished to hang in there, [...]
The Jackson Mississippi Seventh-day Adventist churches, Berean, Pastor James Owens, New Heights, Pastor John Parker, South Jackson, Pastor Philip Johny, and College Drive, Pastor Richie Halverson, were recently favored to participate and host the “Generosity Symposium 2015” which included an ASI (Adventist-laymen’s Services & Industries) recruiting luncheon for which several attendees applied for membership. Representatives of South Central (SC), James Lewis, associate SC stewardship ministries director, Ted Brown, PhD, Oakwood University professor, SC pastor & stewardship specialist, Larry Bailey, SC pastor & stewardship specialist, and Sonja Crayton SC assistant treasurer; Gulf States, Brian Danese, treasurer and former stewardship ministries director; South Atlantic, Stephen P. Ruff, executive secretary and former SC stewardship director; Southern Union, David Long, stewardship ministries director; and the North American Division, John Matthews, PhD, stewardship ministries director; shared their God given gifts and talents throughout the ministry event. Rather than the focus being on exacting funds from members, presenters bestowed rich gifts on attendees; thereby, demonstrating the Spirit of Generosity. Among the gifts awarded were three $500 educational scholarships, two Galaxy Tabs, and numerous other spiritual books and materials. Most attendees of this five day Symposium, themed, “Extravagant Generosity,” October 17-21, 2015, left with a tangible gift. One recipient of the educational scholarship wept as she shared how God answered her prayer through this award. Presentation styles ranged from sermons, panel discussions, Q&A, one-on-one counseling and Will preparations. Unlike the traditional stewardship focus, presenters addressed pertinent topics such as investments, preparing for retirement strategies, money allocation to adult children, getting out of debt, and the principles of equal sacrifice versus equal giving; plus a special activity for the youth, “Access 2 Success,” just to name a few. In essence, we learned that [...]
In this final blog for 2015, I would like to thank God and the workers and constituents of the South Central Conference for all of the good things that have happened this past year. We just had our final Executive Committee meeting for the year a few days ago. The Treasurer reported to us things that indicated that the Lord has blessed us. Through the first 10 months, we have a 6% tithe gain, an operating gain and we were able to grow our reserves by about $300,000 so far this year. We were blessed to vote a preliminary budget for 2016 (the final budget gets approved in March, after all of the 2015 figures are in) that allows us to all of the things that we felt we needed to do. We are hoping to hit 1,000 plus baptisms again and while our church school enrollment is a little down this year, it is significantly up for the past 5 years-which runs counter to the trend in the North American Division. It would be very misleading of me to say that there are no challenges; the truth is, I have not slept particularly well the past two nights thinking about some of our challenges. But the Lord is good and greatly to be praised. As the calendar turns towards 2016, I would like to share with you one of the challenges we are asking the Lord to help us to focus our energies for the upcoming year-ministering to children, youth and young adults. I was privileged to come to the conference office 25 years ago to serve as the Youth Director. We had not yet moved into the office that we now occupy. I [...]
On Sabbath, November 7, the rainy weather did not deter students, teachers, parents and members of the constituent congregations of the E.E. Rogers SDA School in Jackson, MS, from gathering to celebrate Adventist Education. Pastors P. Johny of the South Jackson SDA Church, James Owens of the Berean SDA Church and J. Parker of the New Life Church led a spirited discussion of the Sabbath School lesson. As the crowd continued to grow, additional chairs had to be brought from the classrooms to accommodate everyone. Music was provided by a constituent choir, which included students and adults from the various churches, and the congregation was uplifted by an inspirational performance from the E.E. Rogers Sign Language Ministry. SCC President, Dana Edmond, introduced the Divine Worship Service speaker – Dr. Ron Smith, Southern Union President. Elder Danny Chandler, a strong supporter of Adventist Education, shared how he began working nearly two years ago, to get this event on the union president’s busy schedule. Principal Youlander Clarke and school board chair Mae Henry each expressed appreciation for the faithful support the school receives from its constituent churches. As the congregation was comfortably accommodated in the spacious gymnasium for the worship service and in the large multi-purpose room for the delicious dinner meal, we could not help but reflect on how God has blessed E.E. Rogers to be housed in such a wonderful facility! Although E.E. Rogers is a small school (currently 26 students), they have big plans for the future. Principal Clarke (Grades 1-4) and Mrs. Patricia Thompson (Grades 5-8) look forward to welcoming many more students as they continue on their “Journey to Excellence” in Adventist Education.
Click Here To Register Date line ---On January 30 to February 7, 2016, the South Central Conference will conduct its first Virtual Church Officers’ meeting, via the Internet. The week-long event will begin with a church officers’ rally that will transpire Sabbath January 30, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. It will be streamed live from the First SDA church of Huntsville, AL. South Central Conference church officers who reside in the Huntsville area will be invited to attend the live taping. This historical event will begin with a pre-recorded introduction presented by the Conference President, Elder Dana Edmond and the staff of South Central conference office workers. It will be highlighted by showing the conference’s newly converted video studio, located in the South Central Conference office chapel, in Nashville, TN. The week’s activities will include 30 pre-recorded workshops and seminars, presented by the department directors of the conference. In addition to the department directors’ presentations, there will be special features such as: intermittent health spots by Curtis and Paula Eakins; an Evangelism workshop presented by Dr. Carlton Byrd. Pastor Edward Harden will present a workshop on, Church –to-Church Teleconferencing, and Dr. Craig Newborn will present a seminar on “Understanding The Spirit of Prophecy.” Each presentation will be pre-recorded and will run for 45 minutes, with an additional 15 minutes of live questions and answers —questions may be texted, emailed or posted on Go-to-Meeting.com. A Virtual Viewing Guide may be accessed online at vcom.scc-adventist.org The Virtual Church Officers’ Meeting (V-COM), was envisioned by Elder Dana Edmond, the South Central Conference President. The idea was both cost saving and would provide continuity of training, as the presentations could be archived and used again and again throughout the year. [...]
It all started when Donald Trump, a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, said that his denomination (Presbyterian) was “middle of the road,” but “the Seventh-day Adventists (the denomination of Dr. Ben Carson, another leading candidate)? I don’t know,” he said. From that remark, sprang a discussion, “Who are Seventh-day Adventists?” All kinds of media: U.S. Today, The Washington Post, etc. My former colleague in Youth Ministry, Dr. G. Alexander Bryant, the Executive Secretary of the North American Division, was given a last minute invitation to appear on Glen Beck’s radio program to answer the question, “Who are Seventh-day Adventists?,” and the Lord used him in that setting in a mighty way. The candidacy of Dr. Carson has brought unprecedented attention and publicity to our church. I saw this first hand when I was at the grocery store in my neighborhood and the cashier asked me was I “going to support your friend, Ben Carson.” I was asked virtually the same thing after I spoke in one of our churches a few Sabbaths ago. Like most things in life, there are both opportunities in and potential problems with the candidacy of Dr. Carson for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Whether Dr. Carson’s candidacy is an opportunity or a problem for the Seventh-day Adventist Church depends largely on we Seventh-day Adventists. Here are two ways that I think we can cause Dr. Carson’s candidacy to be a problem: If we focus on Dr. Carson’s political views: Carson’s political views are just that-his political views. In this country, he has the right to believe whatever he wants to believe. He is a Republican candidate for President; not the Adventist candidate for [...]
On September 13th, the Berean Sda Church in Jackson Mississippi, launched a Community Revelation series which lasted for five weeks (3 nights a week). The Lord blessed with over 80 visitors during those five weeks and resulted in more interest besides 7 souls taking their official stand! One lady came back after 9 years and said she was waiting for something to happen that would give her an opportunity to come back! Another lady who was 90 years old was baptized after decades of being away. One man left the church over thirty years ago but came back by profession of faith! The Church has been blessed with several baptisms this year. Pastor James G. Owens (Pastor of the Church) conducted this series. In April Evangelist William Pergerson just months before being killed in a plane accident, conducted a powerful Christ uplifting three week series resulting in 11 baptisms. Several were baptized in between these meetings! Berean also participated in a city wide meeting of the Jackson Churches led by Evangelist Roger Hernandez of the Southern Union Conference in which souls came to Christ!! The Lord has been good and our goal is to go forward in Christ! Pastor James G. Owens. Berean. Jackson Ms.
It is an unprecedented moment in our history when Dana Edmond, president SCC, meets via Videoconference with the administrators of the ten academies of South Central Conference. The goal of this meeting recaptures the personal relationships experienced for many years between the president and his administrators, prior to his new responsibilities on the Black Caucus Committee. It had been the practice of Edmond to meet with each administrator until the caucus meetings were scheduled simultaneously with principal in-services rendering him unable to attend. Now, thanks to virtual technology, he is able to bring the principals into his boardroom. Edmond begins the meeting with a warm welcome, shares his unique interest in education as a former teacher in the Virgin Islands, and acknowledges the service of his wife and daughter as teachers. He speaks words of wisdom concerning the important role principals play in the lives of the students and reminds them of their duty to ensure teacher and staff effectiveness through the evaluation process. During the meeting, he addresses concerns and answers questions that principals write into the interactive screen. It is a first for the president in interfacing with the education staff through technology, and it looks as if it won’t be the last as President Edmond continues his endeavor to revolutionize Christian Education.