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ChurchRight Current Issue: December 2022 - January 2023

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Leaving the Old, Embracing the New

Leaving the Old, Embracing the New

One might naturally expect an every-other-month publication to begin each year with a January-February issue and end with a November-December issue. That is exactly what is done with our flagship publication, Bible Advocate. However, because of the BA’s publication schedule, Churchright ends one year and begins the next with a December-January issue. As a result, Churchright’s December-January issues straddle years, decades, and centuries.

I hope and pray as I write this front-page article that this issue straddles not only the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 but, more important, the end of a period of pandemic-related fear and isolation among many of our members and congregations. I also hope it is the beginning of an era of freedom and fellowship for which we’ve all been longing. For most of three years, many of us have been masked and separated, literally and metaphorically. We long to drop our masks and come together to more effectively focus on Jesus and follow His plan.

The years 2020 and 2021 saw us forced to cancel cherished and important gatherings, such as Super Sabbaths, the 2020 Ministerial Council meeting, and the 2021 General Conference Convention. But in 2022 we began coming together again in retreats, camps, Super Sabbaths, leadership meetings, and a very well attended Ministerial Council meeting. The joy of fellowship restored was palpable.

The year 2023 brings with it an even greater opportunity to come together: our General Conference Convention, scheduled for July 10-15 in Covington, Kentucky. Please be sure to read articles and promotional items about convention in this issue and in future issues of Churchright and the BA.

But don’t just read about our 2023 convention. Register and plan to attend! If the convention website isn’t already up and running by the time you read this, it soon will be. Stay tuned!

Coming to Jesus and living for Him is all about leaving the old and embracing the new. Let’s commit ourselves to do that in increasingly significant ways as we step from 2022 into 2023, together.

— Loren Stacy

GC President

Come to Covington!

It was encouraging to be in Covington, Kentucky, during the NAMC meetings as pastors, their wives, and other interested members met for the first time in four years. That meeting was just a preview of what we will experience when we gather for the 2023 GC Convention meeting July 10-15 in Covington. Attendees had a sneak peek at some of the accommodations, attractions, and beauty of the setting. Talk with your pastor for a firsthand report.

In the October-November issue of Churchright, important information was provided to help you prepare for the registration process. Ask at your church if you have not received that issue, or you can view it online at churchright.org. Registration for the event will be open in early January. Here’s how to receive the most up-to-date information when it’s available:

• Join the GC Convention 2023 Facebook page.

• Follow the General Conference of the Church of God – Seventh Day Facebook page.

• Watch for the 2023 Convention website at
cog7.org/convention.

In addition to gathering with fellow believers, a rich, inspiring program is planned for children, youth, young adults, and adults. A nursery program will also be available. Watch publications for more details. Each night, you will be encouraged in your walk of inviting your friends and relatives to “Come and See” what I have found in Jesus.

Northern Kentucky is home to two of the leading religious attractions in the US: the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, where we are planning a visit for Monday, July 10. As you walk through this life-size replica of the ark, you will be exposed to detailed biblical history leading to Jesus and God’s plan for humanity.

Many of you take vacation time to attend convention, so we are pleased to recommend Covington, Kentucky. In addition to the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter, the area is home to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Mainstrasse (a nineteenth century German village), and much more! Come early or stay late; the hotel rates apply four days prior or after convention.

At this time, the Convention Committee is working with our partners in Northern Kentucky to prepare the registration process for the hotels so you will receive the convention rates. Please be patient as we complete this process, and watch the previously mentioned resources to stay informed.

GC Convention 2023 will be a great celebration as we once again will be together learning, worshipping, and serving together. Remember that the convention officially launches on Monday night, July 10, with a reception. This is always a favorite activity when our members come together with warm greetings. Will you be there?

Convention Committee

Super Sabbath.

Brother Heber Vega was the main speaker at the annual district Super Sabbath, held September 17 at the Elgin church in Chicago. In attendance were the Illinois congregations (Calumet, Cicero, Damen, Elgin, Philadelphia, Rockford, Waukegan, and Zion) and Monon (Indiana) church. We were blessed by Brother Vega’s sermon on “Evangelism in Difficult Times” and the fellowship of so many churches.

Scholarship award.

On October 22, Debora Culajay (Elgin, IL church) received the Abel Mora Scholarship during a ceremony at her church. Involved in music ministry, Brother Mora also taught music in the Chicago area, and Debora was one of his students. He died in 2021 due to COVID complications. His wife, Dina, presented the award as Superintendent Ronald Rousseau and others looked on. Debora is involved in her church as a musician and multimedia team member.

Women’s Retreat.

Area 3 held its Women’s Retreat September 30 – October 2 at the Block & Hexter Retreat Center in Lakewood, PA. The theme was “The Connection.” One of the attendees, Sister Leticia Najera, reported, “It was a blessing to feel the joyous worship, the dedicated prayers, and the fellowship! You could not feel any language barrier as we all witnessed the love of Christ in these sisters.” Next year’s retreat is planned for Sandy Cove, MD.

Celebrating in Saginaw

Fall started off with a bang when Devon Perez was baptized on September 24 by his father, Jeremy.

The Holy Spirit must have been working among the youth. The following week, on October 1, we had to schedule another baptism service. At Brother Tom Winchell’s sister’s home, the following individuals were baptized: Ariah Rodriguez; Steven Rodriguez, Jr.; and Joslyn, Levi, and Lucas Ijames. The Saginaw church was blessed beyond measure during these two weeks.

Men’s retreat.

Fifty-four men from around the Michigan area came together for a Spirit- and fun-filled weekend October 21-23. Brothers from Wisconsin, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and all parts of Michigan heard three messages from Brother Paul Coulson. Men from other denominations and those who don’t currently attend church came out and had a fabulous time. We look forward to next year’s retreat!

Hearing from God

The district Women’s Retreat was held at Adrian Camp in Adrian, Georgia, September 9-11. The theme was “He Hears My Voice,” based on Psalm 55:17.

One hundred forty-six women attended from seventeen different churches in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Sister Beverly Ricketts (NW Atlanta) presented a timely message entitled “The Ears of God,” and Sister Ruth Cruz (Lexington, North Carolina) also presented a moving message on the theme.

The sisters from Stone Mountain gave every attendee a beautiful plant and small gift with candy. Our praise and worship teams were exceptional, with five churches assisting with the music. Sister Esmeralda Candelario (Summerfield, North Carolina) and her daughter, Katherine, led the music at different times and assisted with the PowerPoint presentations.

We had a few activities during the retreat, led by Olga Cruz and Edlin and Lesbia Lopez. Sister Allison Krome also provided a community service activity for the ladies to take back home and start doing as a group or individually.

On Sabbath afternoon leaders from all churches attended meetings for the youth group and women’s ministry. After our our women’s leaders meeting, we started a chat on WhatsApp for all women leaders to use and plan for our next retreat. Leaders from other churches who did not attend will be added as well.

After thanking all presenters, leaders, and helpers, we concluded the retreat with Sister Esmeralda leading the song “Blessings” and Sister Jeddie Larry and Lili Apen blessing the women with prayers.

Youth rally.

On September 3, 96 students gathered in San Antonio, TX, to learn about “Growing the Good Fruits” in their life. Youth from Tahlequah and Tulsa, OK; Jasper, AR; Corpus Christi, San Antonio, McAllen, Brownsville, Houston, Crystal City, Laredo, and Austin, TX, participated in this event. A youth worship team from Area 5 churches led the services. Participants attended workshops and listened to our main speaker Manuel Salazar, director of Area 5. The whole day was full of activities, games, and fellowship.

Personal evangelism.

On October 1, Area 6 underwent personal evangelism training with West Coast District Superintendent Larry Zaragoza and Elder Mike Vlad. More than 65 brethren attended the session at the Tree of Life church in El Paso, TX, which hosted the training.

Blessed retreat.

The National Hispanic Women’s Retreat took place during Labor Day weekend in Dallas, TX. Sisters from the Dallas churches gathered for worship, fellowship, and learning. Pastor Daniel Flores, David Lozano, Ramon Ruiz, Sandra Portilla, and Dr. Rosa Salazar spoke the Word of God to us. May God bless everyone involved in this wonderful event.

Evangelism workshop.

Larry Zaragoza and Mike Vlad led a Personal Evangelism workshop on September 10 at the Jasper, AR church. They covered how to present the gospel in an easy way that everyone can do. More than 65 brethren participated in the course and learned how to use the techniques in any environment.

SWORD catalyst.

On September 10, our young adults gathered for a worship night in the Oasis church in Houston, TX. The theme, “Catalyst,” focused on worshipping God, addressing issues in the world, and creating change in the community. We thank the Lord for the 105 young adults who donated products for the Blue Blossom Pregnancy Center as an outreach activity.

Super Sabbath.

The Oklahoma Conference held its Super Sabbath at the Dover, OK campgrounds October 21-23. More than 70 attendees enjoyed the worship led by the Grey family, as well as specials from different brethren of the area. Elders Barry Mauldin, Allan Grey, and Jason Brown encouraged the church to walk in righteousness as part of belonging to God. The weekend was full of joy and encouragement with different activities, children and youth classes, and more.

Octoberfest.

The church in Jasper, AR, held its annual Octoberfest October 21-23. Close to 100 attendees participated in worship, fellowship, and enjoyment of God’s Word. Elders Jason Overman, Chip Hinds, and Kirk Grant encouraged the church in unity and joy of being together in the presence of the Lord.

Pastor appreciation.

On October 22, the El Paso church recognized Pastor Rubén Beard and his wife, Susana, as well as co-pastor Armando Aguirre and his wife, Nora, for Pastor Appreciation Month. We pray that God will give them of His Spirit and wisdom so that they can continue to lead the church in El Paso.