ChurchRight Current Issue: April 2022 - May 2022

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Hugh Burton Butrick

1928 – 2022

Hugh Burton Butrick, 94, passed away on March 29, 2022, in his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Hugh was born March 8, 1928, in Stanberry, Missouri, the son of George Willis Butrick and Lula Mae (Fults) Butrick. He attended the Stanberry elementary public schools and graduated from Stanberry High School in 1947.

Growing up, Hugh made at least one trip to the West Coast to help with the fruit harvest in Medford, Oregon. During this or another trip, he drove a car with his buddy until the car finally gave out, and they then pushed the then useless car over a cliff.

In 1948, Hugh enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, stating that he was going to have at least some say as to how he served his country.

Hugh met Lucille Marie Schlenker in Stanberry after she had traveled with family and friends from North Dakota to Stanberry to attend a church campmeeting conference. This began a journey that spanned more than 70 years together. Hugh and Lucille were married August 7, 1949, and made their home in Ogden, Utah, where Hugh was stationed in the Air Force.

Together, they had one daughter, Vicki, who was born also while Hugh was stationed in Utah. Not long after this, he was on orders to go to Japan. On his way there, three days out to sea in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hugh made the most important decision of his life: He accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

When stationed in Japan on the base where the Japanese had previously trained its kamikaze pilots, Hugh was baptized. He associated with various ministries and worked as an office clerk, eventually becoming chief clerk. After four years of service and choosing not to make the military a career, Hugh was honorably discharged from the Air Force, and the new family moved to North Dakota.

For seven years, Hugh ran Butrick’s Dry Cleaners in Kulm, North Dakota. It was during this time that he received and answered the call to go into the ministry. He sold his business and returned home to Stanberry in 1959 with his family. There he attended the Church of God (Seventh Day)’s Midwest Bible College.

In 1961, after graduating, Hugh became pastor of the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was there for eleven years and pastored that church on three different occasions. Hugh also pastored several other churches, including Las Cruces, New Mexico; Eureka, South Dakota; Kansas City, Missouri; St. Paul, Minnesota; Claremore, Oklahoma; and Albuquerque and Roswell, New Mexico.

In addition to serving on a three-month missions trip in the 1960s to Ethiopia, Egypt, Israel, and Germany (including East Germany), Hugh visited the brethren in the Philippines in the 1990s. He would lead the song and worship, occasionally played his accordion, sang duets with his beloved wife, Lucille, with their daughter, Vicki, singing along on the piano.

Hugh faithfully served the Lord and the Church for more than 70 years and was the most patient and friendly man you could ever know. These qualities proved useful while he tended to the issues and concerns of those Christian brothers and sisters he shepherded.

Hugh would come at once if there was a need, because he loved the brethren, but he would also confront sin directly and forcefully. He knew that any good he did was because the Lord had given him the right words to say or the right things to do at the right time, and it was the Lord who gave the victory and the increase. Of going into the ministry, he often said, “I did it for the Lord.”

Nothing was more important to Hugh than his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. To the very end, he had a passion and fervor for being the Lord’s ambassador and seeing lives changed.

This is not the end. We have the certain hope that we will both see Hugh again in a resurrected and perfect body when the Lord returns, and have the honor of spending eternity with him and all those of the household of faith.

Hugh is survived by his daughter, Vicki Butrick; grandson John; one brother and one sister, John and Mary; numerous nieces and nephews; and countless other family and friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, and two brothers and three sisters: Willis, Earl, Margaret, Shirley, and Gayle.

Come and See

John 1 shows us how Jesus’ first disciples were called. Two disciples of John the Baptist responded to Jesus’ invitation “Come, and you will see” (v. 39, NASB). The next day, Jesus called Philip, who then told his brother, Nathanael, that Jesus of Nazareth was the long-awaited Messiah. Nathanael famously responded, “‘Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see’” (v. 46, NKJV).

That simple invitation is a friendly, non-threatening approach. We can use it today as we share the gospel with everyone we can. Does God exist, and if He does, what can we know about Him? Come and see. Do I truly face God’s judgment, and if I do, is there a way that I can be rescued? Come and see. Can I learn to effectively share the gospel? Can my local church develop nurturing family and/or common interest Bible study groups? Can my local congregation intentionally become a “Welcoming Church”? Come and see.

The theme overarching our entire GC evangelism initiative is “Come and See.” All the training opportunities and materials being made available by our three teams — Personal Evangelism, Small Group Ministries, and Welcoming Church — and by our Publications ministry are (or soon will be) available to you and your congregation. Come and see.

This is also the theme for our 2023 General Conference Convention, scheduled Monday evening, July 10, through Saturday night, July 15, 2023, in Covington, Kentucky. The primary purpose of GC conventions is to allow adult members to gather and conduct the business of the General Conference as required by our bylaws. That gathering also allows us to worship together, be instructed by God’s Word together, fellowship together, and learn and grow together as the Church of God (Seventh Day) United States and Canada.

Should you involve yourself and your congregation in the GC evangelism initiative? Is it worth the time and expense to attend our GC conventions? Come and see!

— Loren Stacy

GC President


On January 22, one of our precious youth, Bayley Fields, was baptized. She gave her heart to the Lord and made her public confession of faith at the Eugene, OR church during our morning worship service. Bayley asked her great-grandfather, Carl Cory, a longtime member of the Church of God (Seventh Day), to give a blessing and prayer before her baptism. It was a joyous and tearful moment. We are happy and blessed to welcome Bayley into the family of God. May she be filled with the joy and strength of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Welcome, Superintendent Rousseau!

Elder Ronald Rousseau has been appointed by GC President Loren Stacy, and confirmed by the GC board of directors, to serve July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2024, as superintendent of our Central District. Elder Rousseau currently serves as a member of the Central District board, leader of SHINE (our evangelistic Medical and Dental missions ministry), and pastor of our congregation in East Chicago, Indiana. 

Current District Superintendent Ken Lawson, along with his wife, Sandra, came out of retirement May 1, 2016, to accept this assignment, and they have served faithfully and effectively from day one. They decided, however, that they wish to pass the torch on June 30, 2022, the end of Elder Lawson’s current term of office. 

We appreciate Elder Rousseau for agreeing to step into this new role. May God bless them all! We are grateful for their service to Christ and our church.

— Loren Stacy

Challenging couples.

Area 1 held a marriage retreat in Dallas, TX, December 4-5, 2021, on the theme “Back to the Beginning.” Speakers Ricardo Mendez and Maritza Barrera spoke to about 50 couples and challenged them to live within the will of God. SWD marriage directors Benjamin and Priscila Sanchez were recognized for their work in the past two years. They passed the baton to the next couple who will lead this ministry, Pedro and Claudia Capetillo.

Super Sabbath.

The Claremore, OK church held its Oklahoma Conference Super Sabbath on January 22. The sermon delivered by Pastor Alex del Toro encouraged church members to present themselves as living sacrifices. Those present enjoyed worship, special music, and fellowship.

Catching the vision.

On January 23, the 2022 vision for Church of God (Seventh Day) in the United States and Canada was given online. Presenters included Missions Director Bryan Cleeton, BA/Curriculum Editor Jason Overman, GC President Loren Stacy, and  Moises and Pete Capetillo. More than 700 brethren gathered virtually to learn about the new resources and training available to carry out the Great Commission. Teams will be available throughout the year to lead us in different areas and help us spread the gospel
to the ends of the earth. 

Supporting pastors.

On January 30, Area 2 and 4 pastors, their wives, and local church committee/board members, with their spouses, participated in a pastoral support meeting. More than 50 brethren gathered at our sister church in Fort Smith, AR. SWD Ministerial Representative Daniel Flores and his wife, Kerenha, listened to leaders and encouraged them to continue strong in their ministries. One day prior on the Sabbath, Elder Flores also shared the Word with the hosting church.

Understanding 1 John 4:11

The Fort Wayne Women’s Retreat took place January 21-23, but we weren’t sure if it would. With absences and the virus still active, we became a little concerned how the event would proceed. One great lesson we learned was that God had His hand on this retreat from the beginning of the planning, and it would be completed. 

Our gathering did take place, and God’s faithfulness surely showed up!

The air was breezy and cold, but as the women began arriving with their warm hearts, no one remembered or cared how cold the weather was. With energy, anticipation, and excitement, 36 women deboarded their chartered bus after a twelve-hour drive from Ossining, New York; Edison, New Jersey; and Bridgeport, Connecticut. They arrived tired but excited. Even amid COVID and masks, the hugs and welcomes filled the room. 

By 4:00 p.m. on Friday, we were almost to our number of registrations. New friends were being made, and old acquaintances were reunited. Considering everything going on in the world and continuing to fight the pandemic, one could tell that this retreat would be a huge blessing. The Enemy created obstacles, but as always, God persevered. Others replaced those who were absent. 

The retreat theme was “1 John 4:11: ‘What Part Don’t You Understand?’” Sister Stacey Rodriguez got the ladies up and moving with “get to know” questions and prizes. The praise team opened the service and set the stage for the opening message of “Lovest Thou Me?” by Sister Esther Winchell. The women then broke into groups for prayer. 

Sabbath morning began with morning prayer, led by Sister Becky Hernandez. She also presented the morning message, “Jesus Loves You.” Cookies shaped in the letters L, O, V, and E were lovingly made by Sister Melissa Chrznanowski. Each lady was given one cookie, and she had to find three other women with different letters to spell Love. Those four ladies then formed a prayer group. It was a busy but Spirit-filled Sabbath morning. 

After lunch, the ladies enjoyed “me time” to rest and reflect on what the weekend was all about. Later, Sister Sonia Monge brought the message on how to apply the love of Jesus to our sisterhood. We cannot say we love the Lord if we cannot even love the sister who is right before us. Lesson well spoken! 

Sisters Marion Noble, Bethany Coulson, Sarah Newton, and Missy Smith led praise and worship Sabbath afternoon, and they “rocked” the room. There was no language barrier as the ladies sang with their entire hearts! By the closing song, everyone had learned some new songs, and faces were radiant with God’s love.

The dining hall was decorated with white chocolate pinatas on the tables for dinner. Sisters entered with their evening gowns and dresses. The privilege of breaking the pinata was given to the oldest sister at the table, and all enjoyed the goodies inside. 

Many young women attended the retreat. It was encouraging to see them seek to be mentored and serve where they could. God bless their young hearts! Our youngest little sister, thirteen years old, entered into the activities. 

Sunday morning brought us some good Northeast weather, with blowing and drifting snow. Those traveling distances decided to leave before the roads got worse, cutting the group down to about forty for our closing service. That did not stop God’s Spirit from filling the room. Sister Jacquelyn Scott closed with her testimony and song of God’s love. Information about Love for the Stranger and the ministry of Healthy Minds-Healthy Churches was shared with attendees. 

The closing service was awesome with hugs and smiles. As the rest of us began to leave, God brought out the sun, melting the snow and clearing the roads. Praise the Lord!

As we cleared the retreat center, we realized that we hadn’t known about the GC’s plan for our 2022 quarterlies, but we definitely experienced firsthand being “Witnesses.” Eight women, first-time retreaters, were not members of CoG7. The comments from them were nothing but uplifting, proving that these events plant the seed in others. They also show firsthand the joy of serving a loving God and the joy that can be found in Him. 

Some of the comments: “You all treat one another like a true sister.” “So much love in this room and it feels real.” “Thank you for the invitation to come and experience Jesus.” No negative comments were heard, only desires to return to another retreat and requesting dates for the next one! 

This was the Fort Wayne church’s first retreat and, God willing, will not be their last. We were spiritually filled and reminded of God’s love for His daughters — from the date of signing the contract to the last vehicle leaving the retreat center! 

“What Part Don’t You Understand?” The message was loud and clear this weekend. Everyone left knowing love is action, love is believing, and love is faith. But most of all, God is love!

Audio BA

Don’t have time to read the Bible Advocate? No problem! The new AudioBA is just the thing for busy people or for readers who want to experience the magazine in a different way. You can listen on the website or download the files to your favorite electronic device.

The January-February and March-April issues are available for downloading or livestreaming. Thanks to Tabitha and Isaac Overman for their terrific work in reading and recording.

Here are some responses to the January-February audio version:

What a blessing! Tabi had a great voice for this project and her pacing is excellent. Isaac has done an equally amazing job of editing as well. — M. S. 

Great work! The transformation of the BA is amazing. Determined and focused on leadership. The Church is marching on. — G. U. 

Great job, Tabi and Isaac. Fantastic audio presentation of the BA. This issue was full of interesting articles as usual. It will be good to have the audio available to enjoy. — B. S. B. 

Praise the Lord for giving you this plan. I love that now we have the audio, and thanks to my brother and sister for putting it together. They did a great job. — J. J.

This is wonderful. This is “change,” the only constant that we have. God bless you and your family for your vision and work. — L. H. R. 


Gina Tolbert

1939 – 2021


Gina Tolbert (82) of Denver, Colorado, passed away on December 31, 2021. She was born March 22, 1939, in Springfield, Missouri.

Beginning as mailroom clerk and proofreader, Gina moved on to serve the Bible Advocate Press for several decades and in several capacities, including editor of the children’s magazine, Footprints, and editor of The Harvest Field Messenger. Gina retired after working for almost ten years as accountant for Fairmount Cemetery.

Gina will be remembered in the Denver church for her ministry with her husband, George, in leading the children’s department. She will especially be remembered for her puppetry ministry to children and her programming of children’s church.

Gina is survived by her husband of 66 years, George; her daughter, Sheri Hanks; and four grandchildren. She was predeceased by her daughter, Kimberly.

Engaged in Witness, Committed to Discipleship

During the last two years or so, we’ve been rallying around the cry “Focus on Jesus and follow His plan.” This January, we’ve announced and embarked upon a Conference-wide effort to make and grow disciples of Jesus. We are offering training opportunities and materials for our General Conference members, congregations, and districts. January-March, we’re emphasizing personal evangelism. April-June, we will emphasize small group evangelism and ministry. July-September, we will encourage our congregations to be “Welcoming Churches” — places where new converts to Christ find a welcoming and safe place to be nurtured to maturity in Christ. 

During the last quarter of 2022, we will review and renew our commitment to each of these points of emphasis, and more. 

Despite the excitement about our focus on sharing the gospel and making disciples, I’m occasionally asked, “What happened to TVR (Transforming Vision into Reality)? Have we dropped that for something new?” We spent a full four years talking TVR. We hung the TVR posters in our churches. Some still drink coffee out of TVR mugs. Has all of that now been replaced by “Focus on Jesus and Follow His Plan”?

Absolutely not! While some of the TVR materials have become outdated, TVR is still alive and well and relevant. In fact, our current emphasis throughout the General Conference is upon two of the TVR values/points: Engaged in Witness and Committed to Discipleship. Our current efforts are not disconnected from our past efforts. Rather, having built a TVR foundation, we are now beginning to build on it by addressing the TVR values intentionally and specifically. As we commit ourselves to evangelism and to making disciples, as we focus on Jesus and follow His plan, we absolutely are turning vision into reality.

— Loren Stacy

GC President

Congratulations, Santiago!

After many years of study, Santiago Chavez received his master’s in divinity and master’s in Christian doctrine in May 2021. Santiago is the Spanish assistant dean of Academic Affairs at Artios Christian College and is a member of the Lanham, MD church, where he serves on the board and leads Men’s Ministry.

Pastor Search

The Owosso Church of God (Seventh Day), located on the campus of Spring Vale Christian School, is seeking a full-time senior pastor. This man will be called by God to become the spiritual leader of the Owosso congregation. He will lead it in fulfilling its collective mission of “living new life in Christ: united in love, devoted to community, passionate in worship, and compassionate in service.” 

The called and qualified candidate will be responsible to God and the church to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, to teach the Bible, to provide Christian leadership in all areas of the church, and to engage in pastoral care for the congregation.

For details on submitting information and the qualifications of pastor, please contact Kevin Caswell, chair of the Owosso church board, at Submissions and letters of recommendation should also be sent via email to Kevin. 

Youth retreat.

The Southeast District held its annual youth retreat at DaySpring Conference Center in Parrish, FL, December 17-19. The theme was “Who You Say I Am.”  Presentations were made by Patrick George (Port St. Lucie), Cesar Medrano (Lakeland), Sharon Henry (Orlando), and Steve Krome (district superintendent). Planned and coordinated by Sister Jo Allison Krome (youth director) and Sister Sharon Modeste (co-director), the event drew 148 youth members from all over the district. Games, activities, and t-shirts were planned and coordinated by Francisco and Mayra Garcia (Lakeland). Special thanks to Wilmer Ortiz (Tampa) for sound equipment, graphics, and setup. 

IMC service.

The International Ministerial Congress (IMC) service conducted November 6 in Zone 1 was a blessing as we celebrated God’s work. With Elder Whaid Rose leading the service, we learned about the history of the IMC and heard reports from the different conferences about their advancements and needs during this time. The service ended with a sermon by IMC President Ramon Ruiz, urging the Church to touch more souls for God’s kingdom.

Super Sabbath.

Area 1 hosted its last Super Sabbath of the year November 12-13. Using the theme “Peace in the Storm,” Brother Gustavo Salcido and Brother Daniel Flores encouraged us to trust in and rely on our Lord amid tribulations. Praise and worship were led by The Grey’s Band, and District Superintendent Chip Hinds attended. Our sister churches in this area took us into the presence of the Lord in each service, and we enjoyed the worship with our brethren. We thank the Lord for allowing us to have this Super Sabbath for His honor and glory.

Pastoral support.

On November 14, pastors, their wives, the church board/committee, and Area 1 leaders gathered for a leadership meeting at our sister church, North Dallas in Carrollton, TX. Brethren heard the Word of God delivered by Elder Daniel Flores and his wife, Kerenha, encouraging us to remain in the footsteps of faith. District Superintendent Chip Hinds thanked the pastors for their work and encouraged them to continue moving forward. A new board committee of pastors was also elected at this meeting.