EAT. PRAY. LOVE. THE AMAZING JOURNEY OF A NEW CHURCH PLANT There are many benefits to planting trees in a community. Fruit-bearing trees produce healthy food for people and animals to consume, giving them strength and nourishment. Trees also improve air quality by producing oxygen for people to breathe, lowering their heart rates and even reducing stress. Another benefit for planting trees is that, simply put, trees make people feel good. Relaxing under a tree with family and friends, enjoying each other’s company and conversation, is a favorite pastime for many people. The benefits of planting trees in a community are endless. It is my belief that the same can be said for planting churches in a community. This was also the belief of the South Central Conference when they decided to plant a new church in the Memphis, TN area. Come with me as we take a look at the amazing Journey of a new church plant, and the church’s benefits to its community that greatly resemble the many benefits of planting a tree. THE JOURNEY The South Central Conference (SCC) currently has 6 churches in the Memphis area. They are all spread throughout the city, and are all thriving churches with an impactful presence in their communities. As the SCC scouted the Memphis area, they noticed that there was a community right outside of Memphis, but still connected to the Memphis area, that would be a perfect place to plant a new church. The SCC then reached out to Pastors Kymone Hinds and Shawn Moss to pastor two of the Memphis churches. But that assignment came with a vision – for them both to work together and start a new church in Cordova, [...]
FHJ Prep has now been awarded its third grant this academic year. Versacare, a Seventh-day Adventist healthcare institution, has awarded F. H. Jenkins a $5,000 grant to help furnish the science laboratory. This year, Versacare, Inc. evaluated 95 grant applications, as well as 48 special education technology applications. They received, in excess of, $4 million in requests, and approved 77 Versafund grants for full or partial funding, in the total of $1.5 million. New this year, Versacare added the special $250,000 education technology grant, which is included in the above mentioned funding total. The thirty winners for this category were randomly selected, and FHJ Prep was one of the selected winners. With these funds, the science lab will have adjustable height science lab tables, as well as stools. This is especially useful due to FHJ Prep’s new focus on K-8 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) instruction. These funds are a launching point for a renewed lab, that will provide scholars the equipment to do inquiry-based STEM projects. If you would like to contribute to this initiative, please contact our school office (615) 227-8992 or give online at www.fhjenkins.net.
The Holbrook SDA Indian School, located in Holbrook, Arizona is adjacent to the Navajo Reservation and has served the community for over 60 years, providing a safe, loving environment for students—mostly Navajo—who come to attain both education and hope for a brighter future. The largest Indian reservation in America, the Navajo occupy approximately 25,000 square miles across Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. However, due to a tortured history, over half of the Navajo live in poverty and despair. Many Holbrook children have narrowly escaped domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse. Thus, the loving care provided by Holbrook faculty and staff to these children from grades 1 through 12 is a powerful example of God’s grace. On April 3rd we descended upon the quiet Holbrook campus like a dessert storm—56 students, teachers and sponsors from eight different schools, along with staff members of South Central Conference (SCC)—for the annual Eighth Grade Mission trip. Many of our children had never been on an airplane, never even left the boundaries of their southern states and only knew about the Navajo people what they’d read in a book. You can imagine, then, the excitement and trepidation that they felt as they stepped off of the plane and into a strange, desolate, yet wondrous new world! The Wild West—the “badlands”—with its red dirt and sporadic tufts of green, its flat landscape and hazy mountains in the distance were all new sights to children from cities like Mobile, Birmingham and Memphis. Yet the young people settled in quickly as they learned firsthand about service to others. With enthusiasm they swept, scrubbed and cleaned floors, windows, showers and toilets. Certainly their work was mixed with a fair amount of play, but even [...]
Keviez Wilson, a graduating senior at Oakwood Adventist Academy, was recently named as a 2016 Gates Millennium Scholar. This prestigious award is only granted to 1000 out of approximately 3.1 million high school graduates throughout the country. It provides recipients with a full scholarship to any accredited college or university they choose to attend for a period of ten years (up to their Ph.D. or other terminal degree) as long as the student continues to meet the academic requirements. Keviez is a talented musician, model citizen and a God-fearing young man who currently serves as President of OAA’s Student Association (previously Vice President). He was also recently recognized by the Huntsville Chapter of 100 Black Men of America. We are pleased to report that, despite being able to choose any school in the country, Keviez has chosen Oakwood University as his preferred institution of higher learning and plans to pursue a career in the medical field. Keviez’s mother, Jacqueline Wilson, moved her family to Huntsville, Al from the Atlanta, GA area in the summer of 2014 as an act of faith and in order to raise her sons in a more Christian environment. God has seen and heard the faith and prayers of this dedicated mother and her sons called her blessed!
This year, the Sixth Grade Outdoors School at Camp Alamisco, began with new scientific adventures in nature and ended with nineteen students making decisions for the God of the elements. This annual outdoor event, which was pioneered by retired educator Zeola Allston of Huntsville, AL, took on a fresh twist with the collaboration of Southern University’s Outdoor School and GoScience by Ben Roy and Carol Hoekenga. Sixth- eight students, twenty chaperones and the office of education staff convened on Camp Alamisco grounds in Dadeville, AL for two and half days of learning fun on April 18- 20. Students were assigned to cabins where they found comradery, new friendships, and daily cabin cleanup duties. Each morning and evening the entire camp met on the yard of the pavilion for flag raising and lowering so militantly drilled by teacher Lylton Powell of Alcy SDA in Memphis, TN. After delicious and nutri meals prepared by the new Camp Ranger Todd Ward and his wife, Shellie, students walked to the outdoors chapel overlooking the beautiful Lake Martin River for God’s time. There, Pastor Furman Fordham of the Riverside SDA Chapel led them into a scientific-based inquiry of the mystery of man’s ever- constant search for eternal life. Afterwards, the students were divided into five study groups and led into the woods to learn the wonders of Science, Math, in nature. The afternoon was filled with activities- swimming, canoeing, picnicking, and preparing for the cabin presentations-the highlight of the camp. At sunset cabins made presentations and a wonder-filled light show by GoScience bedazzled the audience. The fearless chaperones were treated to a relaxing night cruise down the river on the pontoon boat. On the final morning Pastor Fordham’s awesome appeal [...]
South Central Conference Small Church Day Canton Seventh-day Adventist Church Canton, MS On Sabbath, April 2, 2016, the South Central Conference administration team, departmental directors, and supporting staff set their sights South toward Canton, MS to minister to the Canton Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Holy Spirit moved and we experienced a wonderful time in God. Sabbath School, Stewardship, and Intercessory Prayer were led by Elder Michael Harpe, ASI/Stewardship Director. The Children story was led by Mrs. Kim Griffin, Senior Accountant, with lessons on patience. An inspiring Call to Worship was led by Elder Vandeon Griffin, Youth Ministries Director. Elder Merkita Mosley, Executive Treasurer, called for Tithe and Offering. Scripture reading was led by Ms. Jeannie Wright, Human Resources Director. Elder Lola Moore, Young Adult Director, rendered angelic praise in song and reminded us of God’s faithfulness. Benediction was led by Elder Java Mattison, Publishing Director. Elder D.C. Edmond was the speaker of the hour and hearts were truly blessed. He delivered a timely message with great energy entitled, “Where is God when I hurt?” taken from John 11:32-37. He reminded us that 1.) There is a reason and purpose for our pain. 2.) Our pain is not permanent. 3.) Our pain /problems give God the chance to show His power. Many times God allows the enemy to do something TO us so God can do something FOR us. The climax of our day was the ability to go and share our faith at the neighborhood nursing home with those who hunger to delight in the goodness of God through earnest praise and worship. Together we shared in song, testimony, and devotional thoughts. What an awesome privilege to be able to fellowship with the community. [...]
Water…such a basic yet crucial element of survival but perhaps one of the most undervalued of all of God’s creations. Recently, this nation was horrified as details were reported exposing Flint, Michigan’s lead laced water that was being consumed by its unsuspecting citizens. We learned that the high toxicity levels in the water were producing grave illnesses and irreversible brain damage in the most vulnerable of Flint’s citizens…the children. In the Message translation of the Bible, Isaiah tells us in verses 17-20 of chapter 41 that, “the poor and homeless are desperate for water…and no water can be found but I am there for them and I God will not leave them thirsty.” Bethany Christian Academy’s students and their families eagerly united and determined that they too would refuse to leave the children of Flint thirsty. One of Montgomery’s policemen and supportive alumnus of B.C.A. , Officer Dustin Smith challenged the school to collect 100 cases of water for the brothers and sisters of Flint. B.C.A. readily and excitedly accepted this challenge and in fact exceeded it with great joy and satisfaction. Now they were faced with another crucial challenge…who would transport the water to Flint? Officer Smith contacted various community programs as well as local churches to solve the transport issue but with no success. Sis. Marilyn Watson suggested one of Bethany Church's faithful deacons, custodian of B.C.A. and former long distance truck driver, Bro. James Shipman and the rest is miraculous history. In a span of less than four hours God provided a driver and a vehicle for the transporting of the water to Flint. Ms. Reggenia Baskin, Kindergarten teacher at B.C.A. was able to contact Pastor Steve Bramwell of the Fairhaven S.D.A. church [...]
On Monday, February 22, 2016, the faculty, staff and students of Bethany Christian Academy were blessed to host Civil Rights icons, Robert and Jeannie Graetz. B.C.A.’s relationship with this amazing, trailblazing duo spans 10 years and all who hear recollections of their Civil Rights activism continue to feel inspired and indebted. The depth and gravity of their commitment to the freedom and equality of all humankind is nothing short of phenomenal. The Graetzs continue to live busy and productive lives that include guest speaking engagements all over the country. Additionally, they serve as exemplary ambassadors for Alabama State University where Mrs. Graetz recently donned her cap and gown to receive a B.A. degree at age 84. The Graetzs continue the legacies of their dear friends Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr., Mrs. Rosa Parks, Dr. Ralph Abernathy and Attorney E.D. Nixon as they build bridges of love and peace in our community. B.C.A’s intense love for the Graetzs is obviously reciprocated at each annual Black History assembly shared together. The entire Bethany Christian Academy family celebrates and salutes the humble yet impactive contributions of these iconic Civil Rights icons. We are proud to honor our friends, Trailblazers Robert and Jeannie Graetz… a true Hero and Shero for us all. Reggenia W. Baskin
Nashville – Hillcrest SDA Church is ALIVE with a renewed passion for ministry. After a powerful year in 2015 where, under the leadership of Pastor Nelson B. Stokes, there was a transformation into The Hill, 2016 promises to continue the growth, with the new theme ALIVE. ALIVE is an acronym for Activate, Learning, Involved, Victory, and Expect. This theme captures the spirit of The Hill, as there has been a renovation of the worship experience and an opportunity for greater learning during the Sabbath hours. Beginning January 1, with a candlelight communion service, Pastor Stokes introduced the ALIVE vision to the congregation. After utilizing various evaluation tools to get an idea of what the strengths and needs of the church were, the leadership team at The Hill decided to bring more of a teaching and service component to the church. A typical Sabbath begins with a traditional Sabbath School study at 9:45am, followed by the worship service at 11:00am. The service concludes at 12:30pm, in order to move into ALIVE Learning Groups. The ALIVE Learning groups consist of eight different opportunities to engage in small group learning. The classes include: Extended Sabbath School – an opportunity for a more in-depth look at the Sabbath School lesson. Last Day Events – A study of the classic book by Ellen G. White. Spirituality, Stress Management, and Health – learning how our spirituality ties into our physical health. Connections – learning how to better do personal ministry, by strengthening our personal walk. Hillcrest 101 – learning more about the fundamental beliefs of the church and how it applies in our context. Journey of Joy – examining the connection between a woman’s emotions and her spirituality. Alpha – a [...]