1969 – 2021
Abel Mora Perez (51) passed away June 9 in Park Ridge, Illinois, after nine months of hospital care for COVID-19. He was born December 18, 1969, in Mexico City, Mexico, to Romulo Luis Mora Morelos and Concepcion Perez de Mora.
Abel was especially blessed by God with his music skills at the Philadelphia church (Chicago) and with his ability to lead and train others in music. He never tired of sharing his gift of worship and music with everyone, teaching all who requested his help — young, old, and in-between. Abel assisted congregations in getting their praise and worship teams off the ground. He drove far to assist local churches and even taught women’s groups in other countries.
The Church of God (Seventh Day) has lost a brother and a friend. Abel is survived by his wife, Dina. He will be sorely missed, but his example of living your calling through his ministry of music will never be forgotten. For information on sending any contributions to assist his wife, please contact Elder Ronald Rousseau (815-531-5584).
Google the term one job, and you will find examples of people’s failures to accomplish the simplest tasks: signs installed upside down; common items mislabeled; doors installed in places that prevent them from opening. The Internet teems with examples of failures to get that one job done.
We, too, have been given one primary job. As Jesus turned over His earthly ministry to His followers, He commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19, 20, ESV).
In a nutshell, our one job is to share the good news of what God is doing through Jesus Christ, and then to teach those who believe how to live as Christ’s followers. That’s pretty much it.
I am excited to witness a renewed interest in evangelism and discipleship throughout the General Conference. Before COVID-caused restrictions on travel and gatherings, momentum was growing. Elders Mike Vlad and Larry Zaragoza taught seminars on personal evangelism during our 2019 convention in Albuquerque. Elders Bryan Cleeton, Ramon Ruiz, Daniel Flores, and others led weekend training events in our Southwest District.
Now as we look forward to when we can freely travel and gather again, momentum is building. The Central District has already embarked on an evangelistic effort using our book This We Believe. Elders Vlad and Zaragoza are ready to travel and teach as soon as possible. Dates for their classes are under consideration in our Southeast District. And during its March meeting, the General Conference board of directors mandated the creation of General Conference evangelism/discipleship training materials before the end of this year.
These are exciting indications. However, training is not doing. How sad if we train and practice, but never actually enter the game. Let’s also do, focusing on Jesus. When we meet Jesus, we don’t want Him to say, “You had one job. . . .”
On February 22, Bryan and Sue Burrell were honored at the Fairview Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet as 2021 Volunteers of the Year. Praised for their long-standing involvement in the community, the Burrells always help with numerous community events throughout the year, as well as with church functions. We praise the Lord for this couple who blesses the church and others.
The SWD Media Department created the 10,000 Gratitudes Project, inviting churches and Conference members to send videos of what God is doing in their lives so we can praise together during the rest of 2021. Brethren have been submitting videos, and those have been shared online. If you want to express your gratitude, send your short video (30 seconds – 1 minute) to email@example.com.
Brethren in Oklahoma and Fort Smith gathered April 24 to celebrate their first face-to-face Super Sabbath. Pastor Don Rodgers’ sermon, “The Need for a Fresh Start,” motivated the church to continue even during the pandemic. We thank God for this opportunity to worship together!
The Fairview, Oklahoma church, the first CoG7 organized in the state of Oklahoma, is celebrating 127 years of ministry. Its beginning dates back before statehood when Oklahoma, then Indian territory, was opened for settlement.
Generations of Church of God folks with roots in the Fairview church now reside all over the country. Some of the ministers who served there through the years were A. Craig, C. Adams, C. Faubion, R. Marrs, Hawkins (Haskell and Enis), F. Walker, L. Hadden, K. Knoll, R. Sanders, and Burrell (Calvin, Ivan, Denis, and Titus). O. T. Whitten and K. C. Walker were the traveling evangelists.
Throughout the years, changes have occurred in the membership and have been made to the church building. But the gospel that the congregation studies on Sabbath mornings is the Word of the never-changing God.
— Bryan and Mary Sue Burrell
Read the full history of the Fairview church at churchright.org.
Women Equipping Women in the NED was active with the Annual Women’s Sabbath in March. It is usually the first Sabbath in March, but sometimes church schedules don’t allow it. Ladies groups participated from Saginaw and Owosso, MI; Ossining, NY; and Bridgeport, CT. Those who attended said how blessed they were with the program on the theme “Always With You,” based on Deuteronomy 31:8.
The Artios Center is pleased to announce a new seminar series designed to provide fresh encouragement and biblical insights for coping with life and work in our new COVID-19 reality.
The series will be presented by instructors from the Master Life Coach Training Institute in a joint venture with the Artios Center.
Mastering Life Seminar Series
June 7: Stress-Proofing Your Life & Ministry (Hawkins)
June 21: Embracing Uncertainty (Smithart)
July 12: What Makes You Tick (Vance)
July 26: Dealing With Anxiety & Depression (Love)
August 9: Stress-Proofing Your Life & Work (Hawkins)
August 16: When What Makes You Tick Leaves You Overwhelmed (Vance)
Each seminar will be conducted on a Monday evening, 6:00-9:00 p.m. (Eastern time). Cost: $50 per seminar.
The Fairview, Oklahoma Church of God (Seventh Day) has a unique history. It was the first Church of God (Seventh Day) organized in the state of Oklahoma and dates its beginning back before statehood when Oklahoma, then Indian territory, was opened for settlement. At that time, Church of God families from Kansas made the run to stake a claim on which to establish a home. The opening of the Cherokee Strip on September17, 1893, brought settlers from all over the world to this area. The Wells families actually waited and made the run the next day, since September 17 was a Saturday. Because of their dedication to Bible truths and the Sabbath, several other early families became interested in their beliefs and began meeting with them.
By the spring of 1894, Bible studies were moved from covered wagons, sod homes, and dugouts to a sod schoolhouse west of Fairview. For many years the church met in the Golden Valley School, two miles west of Fairview. The Wells, Webster, Douglas, and Horton families were ministered to by J. R. Goodenough, a Church minister who came and filed a land claim in 1896. He ministered until his death in 1912.
In 1889, another minister of the Church came to the area, S. S. Davison, who ministered until his death in 1930. He also was an early leader in the Church of God (Seventh Day). Another early Church leader and minister from Nebraska, L. L. Presler, father and grandfather of early members, also conducted services for the early Fairview church.
In 1900, other Davison families and their relatives, the Robinson and Sheffield families, moved to the territory from Iowa. More land opportunities became available for a time after the run as some failed to meet the requirements for keeping their claims or sold their claims. Pioneer life was hard and not for everyone.
The Fairview church was the first Church of God (Seventh Day) established in Oklahoma, and in September 1905, the church organized the Oklahoma Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day).
Wells, Davison, and Miller names were on the document. The Oklahoma Conference is still thriving and active in leadership of the Oklahoma churches (including Fort Smith, Arkansas), the Dover Family Camp, and in the work of the Southwest District.
Other family names of the early Fairview church were Nelson, Henry, Baum, Thompson, Youngs, Burrell, Cole, Estep, Colby, Riggs, Burlison, Dickinson, Tucker, Maycumber, Stucker, Craig, Faubion, Walker, Hawkins, Knoll.
The Fairview church group began looking for a church building, and on March 10, 1921, they purchased their present church building from the Mennonite Brethren Church for $1,000. From 1906 to 1912 the building (built around 1900) was owned by the Central Christian Church, which had moved it from a rural community south of Fairview.
Since 1906 the building has been at the same location — on the corner of 7th and Ash Street in Fairview, and for the past 100 years the Fairview Church of God (Seventh Day) has owned and enjoyed this building at the same location. The land was part of the John A. Floyd homestead and became part of the town of Fairview, which the Bowers brothers started with one small store, stocked with the wagon loads of supplies brought in from Enid, Oklahoma, for the homesteaders. Today it is a modern s
mall but progressive town.
In 1948, the Fairview church was host to over 60 ministers from all over the country who attended the unity meeting of Stanberry, Missouri and Salem, West Virginia Church of God (Seventh Day) Conferences. The business meetings were held at the Fairview City Auditorium. The unity meeting was successful. In 1949, the groups merged and in 1950 moved the headquarters of the Church of God (Seventh Day) to Denver, Colorado. Headquarters are still in Denver and a number of years ago, a new facility was built to house the Church offices, publishing, and ministerial training departments.
In preparation for the unity meeting, the Fairview church made several major upgrades to their building, including adding a full basement and bathrooms. A new level floor was installed, replacing the slanted floor and with a stage built at the opposite end from the entrance. Those who came late appreciated this improvement. A multi-level foyer wing and more bathrooms were added years later, but the original sanctuary space is the same as it was 100 years ago.
Each generation has added its decor and special touches, and upkeep to this historic building without disturbing the original structure. The bell that rang from the belfry has for many years graced the corner in front of the church. A church sign has been attached to the bell and has become a landmark for the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Fairview. Many photos have been taken in front of the church sign and historic bell. Our parents tell of ringing the bell on Sabbath morning. The chimes could be heard all over town and all the way to their country homes.
Generations of Church of God folks from families who homesteaded in the Cherokee Strip and had roots in the Fairview church now reside all over the country. Many Church ministers and student ministers have served at the Fairview church. We are grateful for the dedicated people who came our way, lived and shared their faith and beliefs, and left us with standards to uphold. Some of the ministers who served the Fairview church through the years: A. Craig, C. Adams, C. Faubion, R. Marrs, Hawkins (Haskell and Enis), F. Walker, L. Hadden, K. Knoll, R. Sanders, Burrell (Calvin, Ivan, Denis, and Titus). O.T. Whitten and K. C. Walker were the traveling evangelists. When there was no minister, we were blessed with tapes and video messages.
Much of the early church history was recorded by Roy Wells and Pastor Clayton Faubion around 1950. Each generation has added their memories. Around the turn of the century when the land run brought folks here, farming and land were the attractions for this rural community. It is sad that our rural community does not now retain more folks after they are grown and educated. These people move on to bigger cities and more job opportunities. Such is the life for small rural towns.
Today in 2021 our congregation is small and currently without a regular pastor, but our time together is special and led by lay leaders. At 10:00 on Sabbath morning we enjoy plenty of time for Bible study from the church quarterlies, with good discussion, lots of singing, praying together, testimonies, and occasional meals together. We have guest speakers as schedules permit. We have recently welcomed two new families with children and also share our building.
Changes in the membership and to the church building have been made through the years, but the gospel that the congregation studies on Sabbath morning is the Word of the never changing God. God is Good, all the time. He will never leave us or forsake us.
— Bryan and Mary Sue Burrell
Fairview Church of God (Seventh Day)
319 N. 7th Street
Fairview, OK 73737
Bryan Burrell, Lay Leader
Mark Burrell, Board President
Linda Rich, Board, Church Secretary/Treasurer
• Established in 1894 after the Cherokee Strip Land Run
• Continuous operation for the past 127 years
• 100th year celebration in 1994
• 100 years (1921 – 2021) in same church building (with additions)
at the same location on the corner of 7th and Ash Street in Fairview, Oklahoma
1981 – 2021
Pastor David Ross (39) of Owosso fell asleep in Jesus on Sunday, May 16, at Indiana University Health Center in Indianapolis, with his wife at his side.
David was born August 28, 1981, in Midland, Michigan, to Leonard James Ross and Debra Joy Britcher. After high school, David earned a BA in Biblical Studies, a Master of Theology, and a PhD in Christian Education from International Seminary.
On July 31, 2015, David married Makayla Jill Schlenker in Owosso. In the next five years, they welcomed three daughters: Neva, Selah, and Eden. David was a family man, treasuring time spent with his wife and daughters and proudly wearing the title “girl dad.” He was passionate about the Word of God, spending hours each day reading and talking about it to anyone who would listen.
David pastored the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Owosso. He also instructed apologetics classes at Spring Vale Christian School and was in the process of earning a DMin in apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary. He had recently been hired as dean of academic affairs for Artios Christian College.
David was active in the community, serving on the advisory board for Angel’s Hands Outreach and as a member of the Owosso Area Ministerial Association. He also enjoyed Rottweilers, cruising on his motorcycle, collecting sports cards, and Detroit sports.
David is survived by his wife, Makayla; their daughters Neva, Selah, and Eden; his mother, Debra Cadieux; stepmother, Barbara Ross; sister, Jennifer (Scott) Margrif; stepbrothers, Jimmy (Helen) McTheeney and Lenny (Melissa) McTheeney; and grandfather, David Britcher.
He was preceded in death by his father, Leonard; his grandmother, Noreen Britcher; and his paternal grandparents, Earl and Helen Ross.
1935 – 2021
Pedro Sobrevilla Capetillo (85) was born August 26, 1935, to Pedro Capetillo and Antonia Sobrevilla. He passed away April 29, 2021.
Pedro was a pastor of Iglesia de Dios Septimo dia for 58 years. He loved his church and church family. Pedro had many hobbies: evangelizing, carpentry, baseball (Houston Astros), writing letters, counseling, music, Los Panchos. Most important, he loved spending time reading and studying the Bible and spending time with his family. Pedro will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Pedro is preceded in death by his mother and father and son, Pedro Enrique. He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years Maria de Los Angeles Reveles; sons Pedro Edgar, Pedro Oscar, Moises Reveles, Pedro Reveles, Servando Oscar; daughters Dulce Velasquez and Edith Tarin; sister Sara Ercilia Capetillo; 26 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren, and many other family and friends.
1930 – 2021
Brother Valente Gutierrez (91) was born May 20, 1930, in Guanajuato, Mexico. He went to sleep in the Lord on March 26.
In 1951, Brother Valente migrated to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, with his beloved wife, Josefina, and their two children at the time. In 1956, he embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ and was baptized by CoG7 minister Jose Kim Peck in Juarez. Thus began his journey as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.
Brother Valente, Josefina, and their children (eight by then) immigrated to El Paso, Texas, in 1964. He worked in a cold storage warehouse until he retired, but he continued in the Lord’s service all those years and beyond. Brother Valente helped establish the first congregation (Ysleta) in El Paso. Later, he went on to pastor the churches at Tigua and Socorro, Texas, until he retired from the pastorate. Still, he remained active in other spiritual capacities.
Brother Valente was a godly man with an impeccable testimony. He was a pleasant, humble, and respectable gentleman, a responsible and affectionate father, and a faithful, respectful husband. The Lord blessed him and his wife with 71 years of marriage. They have five daughters and three sons, 21 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. He will be remembered and missed dearly by his family and all of those who knew and saw him as a mentor, confidant, and spiritual father. 2 Timothy 4:7, 8
The rallying cry of the Church of God (Seventh Day) United States and Canada is “Focus on Jesus and follow His plan.” But what is His plan? What does it entail? At least the following:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37, ESV throughout).
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (v. 39).
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19, 20).
“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
All these expressions of Christ’s plan for His followers fall into the categories of evangelism and discipleship. We are to share the good news concerning Jesus, and when someone receives Jesus as Lord, we are to teach that person to focus on Jesus and follow His plan.
Many Christians seem somewhat afraid of the e word (evangelism), but that fear may be caused by a misunderstanding of what evangelism should be. It is not trying to convince others that they are wrong and we are right. A Bible-waving Christian in an old Charles Schultz comic exclaims, “I take my religion seriously. I get into arguments almost every day!”
Jesus did not tell His disciples, “You will be My debaters” but “You will be My witnesses.” A witness simply tells what was seen, heard, and experienced. A witness for Jesus simply tells what has been learned and experienced concerning Him, and not only with words. Evangelism is how we live, not just what we say.
Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). That’s a great place to start. Focus on Jesus and follow His plan!
— Loren Stacy
The SWD had its first Super Sabbath of the year February 26-27. Speakers were Pastor Barry Mauldin, Superintendent Chip Hinds, and Elder Antonio Vega, who urged the church to walk by faith and endure in trials and tribulations. They encouraged listeners to live by God’s principles regardless of what we face. The theme “Are you Faithful?” confronted the Church on her commitment to the Lord in the midst of our political, personal, and spiritual environment.
Joining worship teams from our sister churches in Brownsville, Texas (Shalom); Jasper, Arkansas; and San Antonio, Texas (Ceralvo), we worshipped virtually for the honor and glory of our Lord. The children participated with their own program, exploring through the life of Daniel what it means to be faithful at their young age. We had a blessed weekend!
The SWD’s children’s ministry started its teacher training workshops January 31 for all leaders who work with children in the district. This training will be yearlong, providing basic structures, classroom activities, and prior knowledge that can be used with children of any age. Sixty brethren have registered and are taking the courses,
with room for more.
On February 7, the Marriage Ministry of the SWD held a virtual conference called “Biblical Sexuality,” led by speakers Zuri and
Raquel Gutierrez. Over 100 couples in this Zoom conference were encouraged to work on their communication skills and to explore more details through some of the Church’s books on the topic, like Sex: Created, Fallen, and Redeemed.
The SWD children’s ministry held their mini Super Sabbath on Sunday, February 21, focusing on the theme “My Best Friend.” Children learned that Jesus is their best friend and that He is always there for them. Meeting virtually on their ministry Facebook page, children had opportunities to win prizes during the service.
Every Thursday during January, February, and March the seniors ministry of the SWD has provided free painting classes for all our brethren in that demographic group. Folks from all over the district have enjoyed their classes and fellowshipped with others during the sessions.