ChurchRight Current Issue: August 2021 - September 2021

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Allan Roy Burlison

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1933 – 2020

Allan R. Burlison (86) died peacefully at his residence in Bethany, Oklahoma, on September 15, 2020. He was born December 30, 1933, in Fairview, Oklahoma, to Howard Roy and Edith (Cole) Burlison.

Allan graduated from Cheyenne Valley High School in 1951. Following graduation, he began school at Oklahoma A&M in Stillwater and joined the US Navy in 1952. After completing his service, he returned to Oklahoma A&M, graduating in 1957. During his time as a student, he married Mary Lea Glover in 1956. They celebrated 47 years of marriage prior to her passing in 2003.

After graduation, Allan began his professional career as a high school math teacher in Duncan, Oklahoma. After teaching for three years, he began his lifelong career in Information Technology.

A lifelong member of the Church of God (Seventh Day), Allan served his church in local, state, district, and national responsibilities. He was parliamentarian for the conventions of both the General Conference and North American Ministerial Council.

In addition to his parents, Allan was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Lea (Glover) Burlison. He is survived by his three children, Michael Allan and his wife, Esperanza (Cervantes); Jana Kaye (Burlison) Dolton and her husband, Cliff; and Keith Eric Burlison and his wife, Tammie (Nickel); six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; one brother, Charles William Burlison, and his wife, Waynetta (Gosney); and one sister, Ida Lea Coulter, and her husband, Robert; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Homero Rodolfo Posada

1937 – 2021

Homer Rodolfo Posada (83) fell asleep in Jesus on May 29. He was born on September 3, 1937, to Amalia Orta and Tiburcio Posadas. Brother Posada was a professional welder, working for Pemex for 20 years. He then came to the US, where he incorporated his fence business and worked on it until he was 80 years old.

In his youth, Brother Posada liked to play baseball. He came to know the Lord at age 17, with the help of Sister Corona in Monterrey. From that day on, the gospel became his heartfelt profession of faith.

Brother Posada was a member of the choir in the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Monterrey. He was also a member of and pastor in many of the churches located in cities where he lived in Mexico (Reynosa, Coatzacoalcos, and Montemorelos), always working with passion and love. Later in the US, he pastored churches in Houston, Texas (Floral, Denver Harbor), and the mission in Galveston and Freeport. He helped, evangelized, and worked wherever he went and wherever he was called.

Brother Posada was the pillar of his family, considering them his pride and always providing for them materially and spiritually. He has left an example of perseverance and faith. Although he will be missed, we have hope that we will see Brother Posada again.

Brother Posada was preceded in death by his mother, father, daughter Ruth Imelda Leal; daughter-in-law Raquel; and his brothers Ernesto, Ambrosio, Arturo, and Ismael. He is survived by his wife, Virginia, and their children Rodolfo, Rubén, Rogelio, Rahuel, Rolando, and their families; 18 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and his sisters María de la Luz, Lilia, and Armandina.

Shared Responsibility

“Our individual congregations are the heart of our church. They are where we have the greatest influence for Christ, both on our communities and on one another. Yet our congregations may accomplish things working together that they cannot accomplish working individually.

“Therefore, the General Conference as a whole is responsible for ministries that individual congregations can’t do themselves. In addition to the three General Conference Ministries (Publications, Missions, and Artios Christian College), the Conference provides unifying identity, vision, and focus for our church. This creates the Christ-centered environment in which all of us may thrive.

“While the General Conference provides the environment, it doesn’t attempt to direct local ministries by creating one-size-fits-all solutions. It recognizes that local congregations are the experts in their local ministries. Therefore, our congregations own the responsibility to provide ministries that address their local needs.

“Our districts provide the critical link between our shared vision and our congregational ministries. This link consists of the superintendents and their district boards, ministry teams, pastors, and leaders. As the members of this critical link connect us all, our entire church functions as a single team.”

These words written by Jody McCoy, executive director of the General Conference, are lifted from a small booklet published in 2016 at the beginning of our Transforming Vision into Reality (TVR) campaign. They remain correct concerning our organizational structure, and they reflect the call to unity within the body of Christ we find repeatedly in the Epistles.

Regarding those passages, Joni Eareckson Tada has said, “Believers are never told to become one; we already are one and are expected to act like it.” Paul in Ephesians 4:3 agrees: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (NIV). He doesn’t say, “Make every effort to create the unity of the Spirit.” 

That’s what we all are called to do. None of us can do it alone.

— Loren Stacy

Welcome, Damaris!

Our newest staff member, Damaris Morales, replaces Linda Michalak as customer service clerk. A member of the Aurora congregation, Damaris brings a cheerful attitude to the office. Make her feel welcomed when you phone in an order or send an email.

Praising Jehovah

When the pandemic started, our youth ministry dealt with new challenges, like virtual meetings. Holding a virtual praise night for just our group was discussed, but since we had been working hard on our program, the group asked if we could make it available to all. When the local church leadership gave the green light, the excitement of our youth was priceless.

One of our youth groups (ages 16-19) led the event on March 27, centering on the theme “Praise Jehovah.” The program included singing, instrumental music, short devotionals, poems, and prayer — all planned and performed by members of our youth. 

We prayed fervently that God’s people would experience His presence through every part of the program. They did! We give Him praise!

Dedicated to God

The congregation once known as Warsaw Street in Fort Wayne, Indiana (pastored by Eloy Celis), is now the Bowser Avenue church, having acquired a bigger building. District Superintendent Heber Vega performed the dedication service.

On Friday evening, June 18, Minister Vega preached a challenging sermon based on a Sabbath school quarterly lesson, “The Character of a Disciple.” He stressed that the congregation must reach out to their new community.

On Sabbath morning, Pastor Wilmer Arias, a member of the Northeast District board, preached on “Let Us Build the Temple of God.” Along with congregational singing, several groups and families presented special worship songs. 

Other members of the district board stood with Minister Vega as he dedicated this building. Joining them were pastors and elders Eloy Celis, Julio Guerra, and Benjamin Chavez (Bowser Avenue) and Manuel Santoyo and Pablo Sanchez (Lafayette Street).

Planting seeds.

After the June 12 morning service, the ladies group in the Saginaw church delivered ten flower planters to their neighbors and met a couple of new neighbors who had moved in. The ladies included a small stick in each pot with a verse on it and Saturday service times on the back. They pray that in planting these “seeds,” the neighbors will see God’s love.

Virtual Sabbath

Without much knowledge of modern technology, the Lanham, Maryland Women’s Ministry hosted a virtual all-day Sabbath on March 20 on the theme “Always With You.” Some of the girls from the youth ministry provided much-needed support, including playing musical instruments for worship services. 

The day started with several ladies praying for specific issues on the congregation’s prayer list. Great anointing was experienced during this special time.

Services included singing, edifying messages, moving testimonies of the ladies’ experiences throughout the COVID pandemic, and God’s faithfulness every step of the way. 

Giving Honor 

The Word requests us to “acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord . . . Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work” (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13, NIV).

Currently our district has 34 churches, missions, Sabbath schools, and fellowships, and three more missions may be a part of our church soon. Only eight of our congregations have a documented pastor serving them. While our goal is to have all the churches led by an ordained minister, that is not our current reality.

So how are these church fellowships being taken care of? By laymen! Our five largest churches are led by these faithful workers. We say “thank you!” to each name listed here (with the church they serve): 

North Dakota: Ron Nienhuis (Devils Lake). South Dakota: Daniel Borja (Huron). Minnesota: Noe Barrera (Worthington); Tony Galvin (St. Paul). Illinois: Jonathan Aguilar (Addison); Oscar Lucero (Rockford); Moises Diaz (Waukegan); Adolfo Lugi (Dodgeville); Juan Sotelo (Damen); Daniel Valle (Philadelphia); Pedro Castillo (Zion); Daniel and Aaron Davila (Justice). Wisconsin: Rocael Lopez (Plainfield); Melissa Bagley (Milwaukee). Iowa: Richard Segura (Des Moines). Missouri: Janice Orr (Joplin); David Babbitt (Kansas City); Glen Miller (St. Joseph). Kansas: Jim Craig (Wichita). Colorado: Juan Ramon Mendez (Aurora); Gabe Zaragoza (Denver); Heidi Allums (Colorado Springs). Nebraska: Michael Peterson (Kearney); Jose Retana (Lexington). Mike Wallace (Montana fellowship and Colorado Springs).

Celebrating 20 years.

On May 1, Superintendent Chip Hinds provided a plaque to sister Rosie Davila for ten years of service and dedication to the district Women’s Ministry. Sister Davila has retired from her position to take care of her mother. Her work will always be remembered and appreciated. 

Moving Forward 

On Memorial Day weekend, the district held a virtual Super Sabbath. Speaking on the theme “Moving Forward in Faith,” pastors Jason Overman and Oscar Mata exhorted the church to move forward without any doubts or complaints. If the church does this, then God will reveal Himself to us. 

Elder Calvin Burrell closed the theme by addressing the consequences of unbelieving, of moving forward in faith, and of motivating the church to believe. Groups in our sister churches (Alcanzando Generaciones from Garland, Texas; Truevine from Austin, Texas, and Albuquerque, New Mexico) took us into the presence of our Lord in every service. In their mini-Super Sabbath, our children explored the theme “Heroes of Faith in the Bible.” We enjoyed the fellowship and were blessed with the worship and God’s Word.

Reopening celebration.

The Central Church of El Paso celebrated the reopening of its facilities after a time of closure and remodeling. The Capetillo brothers of Albuquerque participated in preaching and worship. Praise to God for His generous blessing!

VBS highlights.

Our sister church in Laredo, TX-Yireh, held its annual Vacation Bible School June 1-5. The program titled “Treasured” taught the children how valuable they are to God. They enjoyed a full week of worship, activities, and crafts. Most important, they learned the Word. Thanks to the amazing teachers for their work! 

Dover Family Camp 2021

Brethren from Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Colorado gathered June 13-20 in Dover, Oklahoma, for family camp. Focusing on the theme “Mission Possible,” 138 attendees enjoyed worship, fellowship, and friendship. Children, youth, and adults attended daily classes exploring the importance of faith in our lives and how we become missionaries taking the gospel to others. 

The new kitchen building was consecrated, and several activities and devotionals during the week created fellowship among groups. Speakers encouraged the Church to move forward in faith. On Sabbath several of our brethren gave musical specials, and the children presented their program. 

Ten attendees at this year’s camp were among those who attended the first Dover Family Camp in 1958. These brethren have been faithful since the beginning and were blessed to be part of this event. They are (top to bottom, left to right): Richard Samford, Leonard Hendershott, Mary Sue and Bryan Burrell, Robert Hinds, Ken Riggs, Jeanette Hinds Cowan, Elizabeth Allen, Bill Hinds, and Joyce Hinds. 

Welcome, Hayward!

On June 12, the Church of God (Hayward, CA) reunited to learn, celebrate, and worship our Lord and Savior. Each Sabbath is treasured and valuable, but this particular day was memorable. Superintendent Larry Zaragoza joined us to commemorate the Hayward church officially joining the General Conference. We enjoyed the camaraderie of our unity in Christ.

Volcano Relief

On May 22, the Nyiragongo volcano in the eastern part of DR Congo erupted near the city of Goma. The eruption and ensuing earthquakes caused significant destruction of land, crops, and buildings, impacting one CoG7 congregation there. 

Through the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) reserves, support assisted with temporary housing ($1,000) and mattresses ($1,180) for ten CoG7 families who lost their homes and belongings. Support also helped with food for 47 families of the Church ($3,050) and rent for a worship hall for one year ($340), assisting our brethren there with rebuilding. 

Thank you for your continued generous support of the Disaster Relief Fund. We invite you to make a donation earmarked “DRF” to assist with the needs of the brethren in Goma, as well as to ensure DRF reserves are available for future disaster needs.

Virtual Graduation

Artios Christian College will hold a virtual graduation ceremony honoring the classes of 2020-2021 on August 7 at 4:00 p.m. Pacific/5:00 p.m. Mountain/6:00 p.m. Central/7:00 p.m. Eastern.

We invite the membership of the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day) to join us for the ceremony. You may access it through our Facebook page or our YouTube channel: 1cLWYiFQoUUWWw