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Keeping Score

Ten years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity coach and mentor the young men at Ephesus SDA Church in Columbus, OH.   Our basketball team, mostly high-school underclassmen, barely squeaked into the Allegheny West Conference playoffs after a pedestrian season filled with mediocrity.   However, after two upset wins, we advanced as underdogs all the way to the League Championship Game.  Sadly, the grandmother and guardian of one of our captains Terrell passed away suddenly.  She was laid to rest on the same day of the Championship Game.  Several team members accompanied me to the funeral and we embraced our brother paying respects.  We proclaimed to him that the Ephesus Warriors would bring home a championship in his honor.  Terrell then taught us a lesson about the definition of teamwork and said “Coach, I’m leaving with you because I am playing tonight.” He cried in the car as we made the 2 hour drive to the game, he cried in the locker room as he put on his jersey, and he didn’t score a single point in the game, but his presence and commitment galvanized our team and we went out and won the title.

Terrell was not a Seventh-day Adventist.  He never attended an SDA school.  He didn’t keep the Sabbath or understand the concepts of the Health Message.  He would wear jewelry when I would bring him to church and had sleeve tattoos that intimidated both children and adults.  But over a decade later he stays in touch with his former coach, teammates and friends from Ephesus SDA Church.  He still occasionally stops by on a Sabbath morning to sit through a service sometimes bringing his mother and family members.  The irrevocable bond that young […]

By |February 9th, 2015|Categories: News|0 Comments

Young Adults: We Need You-This is Your Church, Too-Part I

Last month, the Executive Committee of our conference voted to ask Pastor Lola Moore, Pastor, Panama City/Greenwood, Florida, to serve as the Director of our newly formed Young Adult Ministries Department.

Few, if any conferences in North America have a stand-alone Young Adult Ministries Department. It is the cornerstone of our Young Adult Initiative. Along with the initiatives that are a part of our theme for 2015-2016, Moving: From Fellowship to Membership to Discipleship, the Young Adult Initiative is the highest priority for me in the 19 or so months that are left to me in this office.

Our Young Adult Initiative seeks to fundamentally change the way we operate in the South Central Conference by intentionally involving young adults (a group that we are defining as being between 18 and 40) in both how we operate our churches, our conference and in ministry.

We haven’t-I haven’t, been intentional about doing that and that needs to change, and it needs to change now; in fact, things have already begun to change, beginning with the historic and precedent-setting step and staffing a full-time Young Adult Ministries Department.

Then, our five person delegation from South Central to the General Conference session in San Antonio, Texas this summer has two young adults in it-that is 40% of our total delegation-in 2011, we had none. Already, our three person delegation on the North American Division Executive Committee has one young adult; South Central is one of the few conferences with a young adult as part of its delegation-our representative, Ms. Nikkia Hampton, the Lead Teacher of the Chattanooga Avondale SDA School, is one of the youngest members of the North American Division Executive Committee.

A part of this initiative is to make a commitment […]

By |January 23rd, 2015|Categories: President's Blog|0 Comments

BEREAN ON A MISSION: Angel Tree Christmas Celebration

It was a cool but bright and sunny afternoon on Sunday, December 14, when a small group of members and friends of the Berean SDA Church, in Jackson, MS, met to prepare for their first Angel Tree Celebration. There were thirty (30) children, ages 1 – 17 and their care givers who were going to be presented with gifts and money.

Each Christmas prison chaplains, Prison Fellowship and Christian churches make available this program called “Angel Tree Christmas”, enabling prisoners to give gifts to their children. This is not a charity but is intended to reconnect the child with the incarcerated parent.  Each gift had a personal message from the parent to the child.  This gift was simply a tangible way to demonstrate the love of God and the incarcerated parent.

A multiracial group of more than eighty (80) young people and adults attended and enjoyed a program, activities and good food.  This was truly an opportunity for our church to live out its mission – “Caring, Sharing and Preparing”.

 

Anne Gray, reporting

Pastor, James G. Owens

By |January 9th, 2015|Categories: News|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 Bethanymontgomery.org

By |January 9th, 2015|Categories: News|0 Comments

First-ever Northeastern Conference/Camp Victory Lake Reunion Reception

SAVE THE DATE! – Saturday evening, January 24, 2015

First-ever Northeastern Conference/Camp Victory Lake Reunion Reception

Northeastern Conference President Dr. Daniel Honore invites all NEC/Victory Lake “alumni” and friends to the first-ever NEC/CVL Reunion Reception on Saturday, January 24, 6-7:30 p.m., Wade Hall, Oakwood University.

This event will launch officially the $40M Camp Victory Lake capital campaign.

Stay tuned for more information, . . .

By |January 8th, 2015|Categories: Highlights|0 Comments

From the Conference President: New Conference Young Adult Ministries Director

It is my privilege to announce the formation of the Office of Young Adult Ministries in the South Central Conference. The director of this new department is the cornerstone of our Young Adult Initiative, which the highest priority for the South Central Conference for the years 2015 and 2016.

The Young Adult Initiative, which I have shared with the Pastors of our conference and our Executive Committee, seeks to be intentional about fully involving young adults in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the operating of our conference and our local churches.

We shall fully share this initiative with our constituency immediately after the Christmas holidays, but its intent is to begin to change the culture of the South Central Conference.

Young adults are inevitably the future of our conference, but that is not enough-they must be a part of the present as well. We must both invite and challenge them to do more, to be the vital part of the mission of our church that the Lord intends for them to be. On a personal level, I consider leading out in getting that done as the most important thing left for me to do in the 19 months that remain for me in this office.

On this past Sunday, 12-14-14, the Executive Committee invited Pastor Lola Moore, to serve as Conference Young Adult Ministries Director, effective January 1, 2015. She currently serves as the Pastor of the Panama City/Greenwood, Florida district, Pastor Moore is a very gifted Pastor, whom the Lord has blessed both musically as well as in the declaration of the Word of God.

Pastor Moore will work with the conference young adults, and our churches to help them to maximize the gifts and talents. […]

By |December 23rd, 2014|Categories: News|1 Comment

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 […]

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 Bethanymontgomery.org

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

SOUTH CENTRAL CONFERENCE WOMEN’S TWELFTH BIENNIAL RETREAT

THIRSTY SOULS QUENCHED

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