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An Interview with Pastor Furman Fordham – Sabbath School Department

An Interview with Pastor Furman Fordham
by Shirley Scott
Director Sabbath School and Women’s Ministry
When Oakwood was considering going from a college to a university, there were a lot of things that had to be considered. One was the fact that they would have to offer more degree programs, having more professors with PhDs, etc. It took a lot of work and everyone needed to be on board. There were meetings to establish where the school was, what were its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, what was working and what was not? Did the institution have a mission and if so, did the mission drive the decisions? I learned a lot about strategic planning and the importance of setting goals that accomplish your mission. It was only natural that upon becoming the Interim Director of Sabbath School, I wanted to do an assessment of where South Central was in respect to Sabbath School. There was a lot of talk about the decline in attendance for various reasons and this made it incumbent upon me to evaluate the health of our Sabbath School in South Central.

The Center for Creative Ministries reported that Adventist churches are nearly twice as likely as other faiths in America to have a regular Sabbath School or similar religious education programs for children and adults. Report states that more than 99% of Adventist local churches have Sabbath School each week, while only 53% of the local congregations of all religions have Sunday School or a similar program each week.  This is a major strength of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America.

Their research also shows that the better the attendance at the religious education program, the more likely a congregation is to grow. This, […]

By |December 17th, 2014|Categories: Highlights|0 Comments

Healthy Lifestyle, A Way of Life

We live in an age where news headlines blare with warnings of viruses, epidemics, contaminants and the increase of disease. Health care costs are on the rise and health insurance coverage affordability and accessibility are major concerns for many. It is no wonder that health conscious Americans are taking intentional measures such as modifying diets , exercising regularly and adopting lifestyles to prevent illness and promote health.

Mary Averhart, Director of Health and the Temperance Department of the Bethany Seventh Day Adventist Church is excited and passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles among church members and the community at large. Recently, Averhart and her team hosted a special health emphasis , cultural awareness day which included members and community. Casio Jones, renown health evangelist served as guest presenter for this church and community celebration. Morning worship took place at the Bethany Church and afternoon activities were held at the Maggie Street Baptist Church Dream Center. The highlight of the afternoon activities was a feast of food entitled, “A Taste of Nations.” Cultures represented in beautiful displays and mouthwatering foods were from the United States, Mexico, China, Jamaica, Nigeria, the Philippines, Hawaii, Italy and Peru. A special element of the feast was the Food in any Language Table which included Bread Soups and Salads.

The Celebration of Health and Wellness concluded with a workshop and exercise session facilitated by Health Evangelist Jones. Bethany’s Pastor, Elder Jeffery L. Watson applauded the Health and Temperance Department for the success realized in the creative promotion of both spiritual and physical health. Averhart and her team look forward to future opportunities to share the ministry of Health and Temperance with the Montgomery community . If you desire information on cooking classes or other programs scheduled / available, please contact Mary Averhart at 334-241-8348 or visit the website at

By |December 16th, 2014|Categories: News|0 Comments



We came thirsty for the Water of Life; we left with our cups overflowing.  We came expecting; we left satisfied!

Was it the inspiring, spirited, and uplifting music we enjoyed as Gale Murphy so masterfully led us in praise and worship?  Was it the sweet fellowship of sisters with kindred minds?  Perhaps, it was the anointed speakers who energized us with their spiritually endowed messages spoken from their life experience and the depth of their hearts.  Or maybe, just maybe, it was the location…Panama City, Florida, home of the world’s most beautiful beaches, where the sand is sugar white and the water is aqua blue (in the words of Marilyn Wallace, State Director for the Gulf Coast).

It was all of these things.  And much, much more!  God was there… the One who sees and hears us.  Yeah! It was the Presence of God that made the difference.  He truly answered our prayers and we experienced Him in new, refreshing, and intimate ways.  Every session took us higher and higher into the knowledge of God.  His Presence was strongly felt and still lingers on.  Many attendees commented:  “This is the best ever!”

God graced us with His presence, His power, and His passion.  It was felt in the atmosphere all around us; it seemed as if all of heaven had been emptied and had come down to dwell with us.  Instead of springs of Living Water, we experienced rivers of Living Water (John 7:38).

Let me give you a peek review of our Twelfth Biennial Women’s Retreat held October 23-26 in Panama City, FL.  Thursday afternoon, three hundred twenty five women converged upon the Wyndham Bay Point Resort for a weekend of spiritual renewal and empowerment.

After registration, the […]

By |December 16th, 2014|Categories: News|0 Comments

Oakwood Adventist Academy Opens New Playground

Excited students, teachers, administrators, board members and guests assembled in the rear of the elementary building as the final structure, completing Phase II of the OAA building plan, was dedicated on Monday, November 10, 2014.  The new Early Childhood Playground will serve students in grades PreK – 2, providing age-appropriate equipment and activities for physical development.

Head principal, Jason Edgecombe, offered the dedicatory prayer and took the first slide down the fireman’s pole.  Then PreK-8 principal, Delma Harvey, directed the joyful students to “christen” the new play structures.  Kudos to special guests Leslie N. Pollard and Timothy McDonald (OU President and Provost) who accepted  principal Edgecombe’s challenge to try out the fireman’s pole!  During the reception held in the new Multi-Educational Complex Dining Hall, Luci Beavers, sales representative for Kompan Playgrounds noted how enjoyable it had been to work with OAA Business Manager, Amanda Harris in the planning and installation of the playground.

Oakwood Adventist Academy now looks forward to groundbreaking for Phase III of the building project – a new facility for the high school.

*Photographs taken by Roland Scott

By |December 16th, 2014|Categories: News|0 Comments

Winning Weigh Challenge

Pastors of South Central Conference
Launched by the Health Ministry Department via online thru webinars, PowerPoint presentations and workbook download. Directors Curtis & Paula Eakins. Moreover, we like to thank Merkita Mosley, conference treasurer for allocating the funds.
Our prayer is that as you read the following brief testimonies, you will be inspired and encourage to start (or continue) taking better care of your body temple so that you can offer God your best service!
Third Place $100.00: Elder Edward Harden – 7.7% weight loss (22.0 lbs.)        
Pastor: Oaklands Park – Murfreesboro, TN
Diet: “I love to eat and enjoy cooking. However, I track everything and don’t use lots of oils. I don’t eat any desserts during the week; just only on the weekends. I don’t want to eat useless calories. I’m thankful about what I eat.”  And, the “noom” app helped me a lot.”                                                                                                                         
Fluids: “I rather eat my calories than to drink them. Therefore, I drink water only.”         
Exercise: “I’ve started running and up to 3-4 miles a day, averaging 6 miles per hour. Also, I work out on weights three times a week, mostly on upper body.
Special note: Last year , I was and was suffering tremendously. In June of that year I eventually had to have two emergency surgeries. I knew I had to do something. Now, I’m in the best shape of my life, lost SEVERAL inches off my waist and will continue with my lifestyle/weight loss journey until I reach my personal goal.”
Second Place $400.00: Elder Kymone Hinds – 7.9% weight loss (16.2 lbs.)         
Pastor: Overton Park – Memphis, TN
Diet: “I reduce my meat intake and even some veggie meat. […]

By |December 10th, 2014|Categories: News|0 Comments

Response to the Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Etc., Cases – “We Have to Talk”

In our staff meeting just before Thanksgiving, I promised that there would be a response from my office on the Michael Brown case. That promise came as a result of a question from some of the young adults on our staff. They believe, as I do, that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has a responsibility to get involved not only in preparing men and women for a better life in heaven, but also to do as much as we can to make life the lives of individuals better on earth now. My wife’s illness and the Thanksgiving holidays delayed my response.

Subsequent to that time, a grand jury declined in New York to indict the police officer whose chokehold ended the life of Eric Garner. My colleague, Dr. Daniel Honore, President, Northeastern Conference, wrote a powerful letter to his constituents, asking for the responsible involvement of his Pastors and constituents in addressing what certainly appears at first glance to be an injustice. I affirm his leadership in this area on this issue.

I am not an expert on any of the cases that arrested the attention of our nation of late. One of the things that I have learned in this responsibility is that it is all too easy to judge something or someone from afar, without having all the facts-I have had that happen to me and I know I have been guilty of doing that to others in my life as well.

But there are at least three common and dismaying things that are true of the cases Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin:

All the victims were black

All of victims died at the hands of authority figures who were not black

Each of those responsible for the […]

By |December 8th, 2014|Categories: Highlights, President's Blog|0 Comments

South Central Members Participate In The Nonprofit Leadership Certification Program


On September 21, 2014, five members from South Central Conference traveled from Alabama and Tennessee to Boyertown, Pennsylvania to attend the four-day training of the North American Division ACS Non-profit Leadership Certification Program, Session II which was hosted by Allegheny East Conference. Those making the trip were South Central Conference ACS Directors Barbara Ryans Barnes and Lillie M. Buckingham; Nettie Henderson, Disabilities Coordinator; Listiel Rock, Vice-president for the North Alabama Adventist Community Services Federation and Juliet Rock, assistant to ACS director at Mt. Calvary SDA Church, Huntsville, AL.

The training session focused on three areas. First, leadership in which the participants’ abilities were challenged allowing the influence of self, organization and the community.  Secondly, management which allowed the participants to effectively handle the administrative responsibilities of nonprofit management and thirdly, the social dimension of Evangelism, which allows the participants to look at the Biblical concepts of holistic ministry in order for them to provide ministry in their various communities.

Juliet Rock said, “I was not sure how attending the non-profit leadership certification could help me as a volunteer in my local church, but after attending this comprehensive program I feel equipped personally to be more engaged in evangelism in my community.”

“Having completed the Non-profit Leadership Certification Program, I can truly say that it is the most comprehensive, informative and transformative exercise for ACS volunteers .I have learned a lot, ” said Listiel Rock.

“I was blessed”, said Nettie Henderson.  “The non-profit leadership certification program met my expectation in terms of increasing capacity for excellence in leadership. It was a good learning experience for me.”

According to Dr. Sung Kwon, ACS Executive Director for the North American Division, it was his hope that all participants have a rich experience in […]

By |December 3rd, 2014|Categories: News|0 Comments

News and Notes from All Over Church Organization – I

This is a continuation of a series we began a few months ago on what we called “News and Notes;” sort of mini-articles about things that are happening around our conference.

We said that we would share news and notes relative to six areas:

2014 Camp Meeting
2015 Small Church Visitation
Pastoral and Administrative Evaluation
South Central Conference Christian Education
Church Organization

We have reached our final news note-Church Organization. I thought about that this past August, when I had the privilege of being a part of the International Pathfinder Camporee, where nearly 50,000 Pathfinders from around the world came to Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

It was one of the most impressive and inspiring things that I have ever witnessed; it made me proud to be a Seventh-day Adventist. Very few denominations in the world-if any-could do what was done in Oshkosh-to bring that many people from that many different places from around the world for such a good purpose.

The Pathfinders turned that campground in Oshkosh into a little city-indeed, there were almost as many Pathfinders on that campground as there were in the entire city of Oshkosh.  If the Pathfinder Camporee were a city-“Pathfinderville”-would have been one of the larger cities in the state of Wisconsin.

One of the things that impressed me the most was the ingenuity and the innovation of those who came along to prepare the meals. One of my academy classmates, Mrs. Brenda Platt Ashby, of the Mobile Cody Road Church, in the Gulf Coast States Conference, was the cook for her club. She gave me a tour of her “kitchen” (and a sample of the cookies that she baked). They had set her up in a camping setting as though she were a short order cook of a small restaurant.

While […]

By |November 26th, 2014|Categories: President's Blog|0 Comments

Update on Mrs. Jill Edmond

Greetings, yesterday Mrs. Edmond was released from Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee, where she has been for the past six days. We are thankful to God that her doctors have told us that they expect a complete recovery and a full return to normal activities in approximately thirty days.

We have no words to express our enormous gratitude for all of the visits, calls, texts, gifts, E-mails, cards and prayers that have come from around the conference and the country. You will never know how much your kindness has meant to us.

We thank you for your interest and ask for your continued prayers as Mrs. Edmond goes through the recovery process. We shall provide additional updates as events dictate.

We are asking the Pastors and the church clerks in the South Central Conference to disseminate this information in whatever is the normal mode of communication.

Blessings on you and yours.

– President D.C. Edmond

By |November 14th, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Breath of Life 40th Anniversary Celebration

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By |November 7th, 2014|Categories: News|0 Comments