Privileges and Obligations
Membership in and affiliation with the General Conference bring many privileges. Members can fully participate in their GC-affiliated congregation and in the GC as a whole. They may participate in decision-making through discussion and voting. They may contribute their gifts and experiences in various ministries. And they may access services for themselves in ways non-members may not. GC-affiliated congregations receive similar benefits on an even larger scale.
Whether member or GC-affiliated church, within the Conference we have a home, a family, resources, and support not fully available to others.
We also have certain obligations. Membership obligates one to faithful church attendance and participation in church, district, and GC ministries and initiatives. A member should respect and faithfully follow and support the purposes, programs, doctrines, organizational structure, and bylaws of our church, and faithfully give tithes and offerings. Affiliation with the GC obligates congregations to fulfill all of these obligations and a few more.
Unfortunately, we hear of members and/or congregations enjoying their privileges but refusing to fulfill their obligations. Congregations and their leaders are responsible to address their unfaithful members. District superintendents and area representatives are responsible to address their unfaithful congregations.
The 2023 GC Convention motivates us to get our house in order regarding our members and affiliated congregations. A series of letters from our district superintendents were sent in January, reminding some of our congregations that their affiliation with the GC, and their members’ memberships in the GC, are in danger of being revoked because these congregations are not fulfilling their obligations. Is your congregation one of these? Is your personal membership in the GC in jeopardy? Ask your local and district leaders right away. Now, months before convention, is the time to make things right.
— Loren Stacy
Call to Convention!
It is my great pleasure to extend this Call to Convention once again to each member and friend of the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day). After missing our 2021 convention, aren’t we all ready for the in-person fellowship and worship our conventions allow us to enjoy? Plan now to attend!
Our 2023 Convention is scheduled Monday evening, July 10, through Saturday night, July 15, in Covington, Kentucky. Most convention events will take place at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. Three beautiful, newly remodeled hotels are available to those who attend. Marriott and Embassy Suites hotels are just across the street from the Convention Center, and Holiday Inn (the more “kid-friendly” option) is within walking distance or a short shuttle ride away.
Six major worship services are planned! They will include wonderful music, fervent prayer, encouraging personal testimonies, challenging sermons, and more — all focused on our theme “Come and See.” Scheduled speakers are Elders Loren Gjesdal, Loren Stacy, Chip Hinds, Ramon Ruiz, Moises Capetillo, and Whaid Rose.
Many seminars will be offered in English or Spanish. Additional programs and activities will be offered for most every age group — children, teens, young adults, and seniors. General Conference business sessions will be conducted Tuesday through Friday mornings. In these, members will receive up-to-date reports of the State of the Conference, the General Conference Ministries, and the General Conference finances. Qualified voters will elect members to our board of directors and to our Nominating Committee, and voters can debate and decide any bylaw amendments or resolutions that may be proposed.
Covington, Kentucky, also offers many great opportunities for individual or group outings. The world-famous Ark Encounter is less than an hour away. A Monday group outing is planned there for all who wish to come a day early. The Creation Museum is even closer, and a Friday afternoon excursion is available here. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and a beautiful riverfront park are just across the Ohio River, and a wonderful aquarium is nearby.
Make plans now to attend the 2023 Biennial Convention in Covington. I look forward to seeing you there!
General Conference President
Equipping through Evangelism
Evangelism training took place November 16-18 at the Church of God (Seventh Day) in St. Paul, Minnesota. Twenty-nine adults and 20 youth attended ten hours of teaching over three days.
Several topics were covered, including worship management and evangelism. Presenters explained different types of worship and their structure and purpose. They also analyzed the main purpose of evangelism, shared the different techniques and methods for evangelizing, and offered recommendations of what to do and what not to do when sharing your faith.
On Saturday, November 17, Julio Cesar Jaime Méndez from Mexico shared the Word of the Lord with the congregation, focusing on a captivating theme of the lost sheep. He received positive reaction from attendees.
At the end of the service, there was an anointing for the needs of some in the congregation. Later, sessions were held on biblical interpretation, exploring how the Bible should be read and analyzed, as well as the differences among different Bible versions. It was a dynamic class, involving the class members in different examples and biblical readings.
On Sunday, November 18, classes covered the Old and New Testaments, and attendees learned about homiletics. They analyzed different types of sermons and the fundamentals of preaching, and reviewed other topics. The day ended with a question-and-answer session and a practical session testing what people learned throughout the training.
Under His Grace
The district held its annual Men’s Retreat November 4-6 at Camp Adrian in Adrian, Georgia. Two hundred nineteen men from the entire district gathered to enjoy fellowship and hear presentations on the theme “Men Under His Grace.” Brother Jose Perez spoke on obedience, Brother Antonio Gonzalez on virtue, Brother Walter Apen on devotion, and Brother Tereso Hernandez on steadiness. Special thanks to Brother Marcos Arenas and his team for providing “the best tacos ever”! Thanks also to the Men’s Ministry Committee — Walter Apen, Tereso Hernandez, and Wilmer Ortiz — for their hard work in preparing for this event.
The 2022 Youth Retreat was held at Camp Mikell in the beautiful mountains of Toccoa, Georgia, December 16-18. With the theme “God Revealed,” 220 attendees heard presentations on how God reveals Himself through His Son, Jesus, through His names, through nature and the Bible, and through the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Presenters were Bryan Lozada, Jo Allison Krome, and Kimanio Fray.
Sabbath morning began with an activity led by Sharon Modeste. This year’s Y2Y (youth to youth) time was based on God’s attributes. Five churches (Lexington, Kentucky; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Baxley and Stone Mountain, Georgia; and South Miami) presented God’s attributes: good, majestic, powerful, faithful, and unchangeable.
On Sabbath afternoon, youth went on a challenging hike to a waterfall and did other activities. After the Sabbath evening presentation, we ended with a bonfire followed by hot chocolate, Mexican bread, fellowship, and games.
On October 23, the Area 1 Children’s Ministry held a field day that included several workshops to help build Christian families. One of the main speakers, Tati Martinez, founder and director of Ya Basta, talked to parents about how to prevent child abuse and what to do if it happens. A skit was presented titled “Uncomfortable Secrets,” teaching children the value of their bodies. The second speaker, Jahzeel Flores, talked about the development of spiritual growth in children. Thanks to SWD Children’s Ministry Area 1 Representative Laura Ponce for her dedication and work, and thanks to Area 1 Director Ivan Villeda.
Men “on the vine.”
A men’s retreat held November 18-20 in Jasper, AR, included several district speakers who developed the theme “Remain on the Vine” in their presentations. One hundred twenty-five men enjoyed prayer, worship, testimonies, games — and most important, lots of fellowship. We thank God for the opportunity these men had, and we hope they will always remain on the vine to edify the church.
Forty-six couples from around the district gathered December 2-4 in Houston, TX, for a blessed retreat. The workshops, activities, and fellowship filled them with great joy. Fernando and Maribel Fitz organized the event. Arnulfo and Miriam Sandoval provided edifying workshops, and José and Ruth Trejo were in charge of activities. The couples felt motivated to renew their vows every day as a commitment of marriage with purpose.
On December 10, the youth of Area 1 gathered at the Piedra Angular church in Dallas, TX, for a youth rally. Participants attended a variety of workshops and heard a presentation by the main speaker, Brother Ruben Alonso. The whole day was full of activities, games, and fellowship among the youth.
On December 17, the El Paso church celebrated another year at their current local church, where they’ve held a special yearly event called “Café del Recuerdo” (Remembrance Coffee). It was a joy to come together with all our brethren and sing old hymns as a congregation while enjoying some coffee and hot chocolate. Many of these songs were favorites of some of our brethren who now sleep in the Lord. Until our Lord comes, we hope to continue this beautiful tradition for years to come.
SWORD in SoCal
The SoCal SWORD Ministry hosted an evening workshop for young adults at the CoG7 Riverside church on December 3. The theme was “Surveying the Damage,” with guest speaker Veronica Estrada from CoG7 La Puente. The theme revolved around Nehemiah 2:11-18.
The event began with a prayer given by Brother Pete Alvarado from Riverside. Sisters Magda Mejia and Mirian Alvarado from Riverside led two icebreaker activities, human bingo, and speed dating to help the young adults (re)acquaint themselves with others. After the activities, worship was directed by Sister Dorian Lozano and led by the worship team from CoG7 Coachella Valley.
Afterward, Sister Veronica presented her workshop on Nehemiah’s journey surveying the damages on the walls of Jerusalem and his task of rebuilding. She had the young adults break into small groups to discuss their experiences and thoughts on COVID and coming back to church, encouraging us to find our own way to help rebuild our community.
The evening ended with announcements, prayer and blessing, and fellowship.
A Northern California SWORD rally took place in Lodi on December 17, focusing on the theme “He Is.” The main presenter, Pastor Jose Hernandez from Las Vegas, NV, centered his talk on the Creator of the universe, who loved us. Young Adult representatives from several churches came. About 80 people were expected to attend, but 130 came for both services that day. Many were inspired and encouraged by Pastor Hernandez, and about five people expressed interest in getting more involved with SWORD.
Revival at the Big Chill
The Marion church youth group hosts an annual winter youth retreat known as Big Chill. Last December 22-25, youth from around Oregon, Washington, and Idaho (and one from Oklahoma!) gathered at the Marion church to have fun and ultimately grow closer to God.
Young Adult speakers shared a series of five different classes, and worship services centered on the theme “Revival.” The Holy Spirit carefully knit the sessions together to enhance our understanding of revival according to the Word of God, then turn our hearts toward Jesus as the Savior and Lord of our lives.
Though our time together felt like the blink of an eye, we built community and kindled relationships with the Lord. Truly, revival took place within our hearts that could take place only if the Spirit was moving in our midst. The Spirit poured Himself out, not just in our worship services but also in our conversations and activities. He urged us to leave our comfort zones, to meet new people and try new things.
We are grateful for those who attended and for a fun, Spirit-filled retreat. Please pray with us for a continued revival in the hearts of those at the event so that a revival may spark in those around them!
Did you know Artios offers approximately four classes in each of our seven terms per year? Each term is five weeks long. This means, at any time of year, you are only a few weeks away from registering for an Artios class and jumping into the rewarding, rigorous, and challenging ministry-equipping model that has produced hundreds of vibrant leaders for the Church of God (Seventh Day).
To see our full calendar and what classes are offered in which terms, go to https://my.artioscollege.org/en/catalog/2021/academic-calendar.
To see what classes are coming up in the next term, go to https://my.artioscollege.org/en/courses.
At convention in July 2023, Artios will celebrate all our graduates since the last convention in 2019 (Convention 2021 was cancelled). You are cordially invited to celebrate our grads with us, some of whom may already be serving in a church near you.
Our projected graduates include 54 students, who represent 866 courses completed! Of these, 24 are completing pastoral majors, and thirteen are already serving their congregations as ministers, local pastors, or recognized lay leaders.
Our remaining graduates are leaders in a variety of ministries within our churches.
Come and see at convention the next generation of Church leaders. We look forward to seeing you there, and we encourage you to register for classes if you’ve never done so.
— Brian Franks
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
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
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
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.
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.