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Church of God (Seventh Day) International Federation

Last November, delegates representing Church of God (Seventh Day) conferences from around the world met in Nigeria for the International Ministerial Congress (IMC). There they ended the IMC by replacing it with the Church of God (Seventh Day) International Federation. The primary purpose of the IMC was to foster doctrinal harmony among its member conferences and coordinate their evangelistic efforts. The focus of the newly founded International Federation is, in addition to doctrinal harmony, a global church administration.

The bylaws of the Interational Federation (IF), perfected and adopted in Nigeria, provide for an IF board of directors consisting of three elected officers (president, secretary, and treasurer) and an additional four elected board members. The three elected IF officers are Robert Crawford (president, England); Bryan Cleeton (secretary, United States); and Chip Hinds (treasurer, United States). The four additional elected board members are Whaid Rose (United States), Daniel Flores (United States), John Klassek (Australia), and Gustavo Hultgren (Argentina).

As was the case with the IMC, affiliation with the International Federation is voluntary, and it comes with certain responsibilities. With the IMC, these included agreement with its bylaws, including the official doctrinal statements of the IMC, and participation in its financial support. The affiliated conferences of the IF have similar responsibilities. One improvement, however, is that the financial responsibility of each IF-affiliated conference is specifically stated: 1.5 percent of the tithes and undesignated offerings received at the conference level of each conference and one annual conference-wide offering for the IF, like the IMC Sabbath offerings we have been encouraging for many years. As a result, the financial obligation of our General Conference may amount to less than we have voluntarily been giving to the IMC for years! (Don’t worry. If you love to financially support the work of our global church, nothing prevents us from giving more than we are obligated to give.)

Since the end of the November IMC meeting in Nigeria, the Church of God (Seventh Day) is truly a global church!

— Loren Stacy

GC President

Hayride in Hammondville.

The Hammondville, AL church held its annual hayride on October 28 at the home of Ken and Jimmie Pell. The event included a tractor hayride for all and pinatas for the kids. Around 60 members and guests attended and enjoyed a great dinner, events, and fellowship.

Connecting to Jesus.

The district youth retreat was held at Dayspring Conference Center in Parrish, FL, December 20-24, with 150 youth, young adults, and chaperones from thirteen churches attending. Guest speaker Wesley Perine (TX) preached on the theme “Connected: The Right Source.” Worship music, sound, and visuals were provided by our Lakeland, FL church, and Sabbath morning worship was provided by the Tarboro, NC youth. Our Sabbath afternoon Y2Y (Youth 2 Youth) time included participants from six churches and a young man’s testimony. Sabbath evening, we had breakout sessions with the older youth, led by Sharon Modeste (South Miami), and the younger youth, led by Patrik George (Port St. Lucie). Many youths came forward in a call to keep their lives connected to the “right source,” Jesus Christ.

Baptisms.

The Stone Mountain church held a baptism service on October 28 at Lake Lanier, GA. It was conducted by Pastor Apen (conference president, Guatemala) and his son, Pastor Walter Apen (Stone Mountain). Congratulations to these brothers and sisters: Haynes Vicente Sontay, Gerson Velasquez Roblero, Kevin Apen Villatoro, Jasmine Diaz Roblero, Yohana Perez Roblero, Albertina Diaz Diaz, Marta H. Roblero Roblero, Marluiver Gonzales Perez, and Rivel C. Roblero Martinez.

Unity in Youth

On November 11, we hosted a youth rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with about 95 youth and young adults coming from Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

The day was memorable and impactful. Youth and young adults came together as one body, united in their pursuit of a deeper relationship with God.

Led by the Winchester church, the powerful worship service set the tone for the rest of the event. Mark Sullivan’s and John Camero’s messages resonated with everyone, challenging us to be authentic in our faith and seek a genuine connection with the Father.

Sports activities in the gym built relationships and created lasting bonds. Everyone displayed camaraderie and sportsmanship. Whether playing basketball, volleyball, or even dodgeball, people enjoyed the atmosphere filled with friendly competition.

A campfire fellowship was the perfect way to end the day. Sitting around the fire, singing songs, playing games, and simply enjoying each other’s company created a sense of community and belonging. It was a time of laughter, deep conversations, and building connections that will last beyond the event.

We are grateful to all the volunteers and participants who made this youth rally a success. Together, we created an environment where young people could encounter God, grow in their faith, and form genuine relationships with each other. We are already excited for the next rally and the opportunities for spiritual growth and fellowship.

Transforming churches and families.

Brother Daniel Flores and his church in McAllen, TX, hosted a Welcoming Church workshop on December 1-3. In their teaching on transformed families, Brothers Moises and Pete Capetillo preached on the importance of having God in the center of our marriages and homes. They led the congregation through several activities that resulted in laughter and tears. We are thankful to God for His goodness!

The blessings of church.

On November 4, the Fort Smith congregation hosted a Welcoming Church workshop, led by Brothers Moises and Pete Capetillo. It was a blessed and beautiful day of rest as attendees gathered from Arkansas and Oklahoma to praise the King of Kings. They enjoyed a delicious meal and thanked God for so many blessings for His people. If you’d like to schedule a workshop in your local church, contact your superintendent.

New church.

On October 28, the Mensajeros de Cristo congregation in San Elizario, TX, was recognized as a new church in our district. Superintendent Chip Hinds and Area 6 Representative Frank Arroyos were present during this special day. Please remember this church and the work of Pastor Gaudencio Gutierrez and his wife, Clementina, in your prayers.

Community outreach.

The Ceralvo church in San Antonio, TX, hosted a community outreach event in their neighborhood on October 28. They thank God and all our members who helped make this a blessed event. May God move on all the visitors to revisit soon and join this church.

Quarterly service.

On December 22-23, the Risen Life church in Midland, TX, hosted the first quarterly service since the pandemic started. Attendees from all over Area 6 joined in worship, praise, and fellowship and listened to speakers Michael Mancha, Esau Hernandez, and Moises Capetillo. The service also included a Welcoming Church workshop teaser, provided by brother Pete Capetillo. The worship group from Tree of Life church led us through beautiful praise and blessed us with communion with God. The joy that radiated in everyone made it clear we all missed gathering for these events. The next one will be held in El Paso, TX, at the Central church. Make plans to attend!

Purity tips.

On November 11, we celebrated a Pajama Party Night at the El Paso Central church, sponsored by the Women’s Department and organized by Claudia Herrera and Graciela Trejo. After a meal, Sister Graciela shared a message on how to keep our eyes, lips, and skin free of all impurities. In the same way, we should keep our spiritual lives free of impurities that can affect our relationship with God. Afterward, we worshipped and praised our Lord and shared testimonies. It was a night of great blessing for all the sisters who were present.

Leadership meeting.

The Area 1 leadership conducted a meeting in Grand Prairie, TX, on October 22 to select new members of the pastoral board. They also discussed the concept of trust among leaders and provided ways to improve their local ministries. Please continue to pray for the leadership here.

Big Chill 2023

“Listening to God” was the theme for our annual winter retreat in Marion, Oregon. Fifty kids from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho took over our church campus December 20-24.

One of our activities (pictured) was to re-create specific Bible scenes using only Legos! We also enjoyed a variety of games and recreation. The Marion youth took on leadership of this event, and they did a fantastic job.

A team of cooks prepared delicious food, ensuring that no one went away hungry. Student-led praise and worship, daily class times, and evening church services turned our attention to “Listening to God.” Area SWORD participants also came alongside the youth to teach classes and present the sermons.

Marion Youth Group (MYG) is already looking forward to Big Chill 2024!

— Tim Hinds

Honoring Pastor and Congregation

For Pastor Appreciation Month in October, those of us in the Eugene church wrote a note to Pastor Kurt Lang and his wife, Kristi, telling them how much we appreciate and love them.

Using Proverbs 3:27 (“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act,” NIV), Pastor Kurt chose to designate November as Congregation Appreciation Month. On Sabbath, November 11, he began by acknowledging those who had become members of, or transferred their membership to, the Eugene church or General Conference. Next to be acknowledged were all our ministry team leaders, church treasurer, and church secretary. On behalf of the church board, Pastor Kurt and Mary Jean Knoll presented each leader with a card and small gift.

After hearing an encouraging sermon on service, we shared in the baptisms of four in our church family: Frank Phillips, Camrin Cory, Dominic Marshall, and Korah Snodgrass. May they walk with the Lord each day of their lives as He leads and guides them.

— Melva Smith

Western Canada

The final quarter of 2023 saw the district continuing a spectacular year of multiple baptisms. It has been a heart-warming and encouraging time as the younger attendees are becoming engaged and decide to take the next step of committing their lives to Christ.

On October 7, our Parkland congregation had its annual Super Sabbath. Pastor Jason Overman was dynamic as he encouraged the over 115 members in attendance to experience the difference it makes when one encounters Christ.

November 25 saw the Calgary FYC youth leading out in the services for the day as we celebrated another resoundingly successful Youth Sabbath. Their dual speakers exhorted us on the benefit and relevance of relying on God through prayer.

As we close a year marked by various challenges, we thank God for the many families that have visited our district congregations and decided to make one their home church. May God continue to bless and establish you all.

Webinars on the Middle East Conflict

The Artios Center for Vibrant Leadership recently conducted two webinars addressing the Israeli-Hamas conflict. Both events, hosted by Whaid Rose, the Center’s dean, featured guest panelists and were well attended.

The webinars focused on our church’s historic positive posture toward the modern state of Israel and how Christians should respond to the current conflict. It also featured a time of prayer for peace, hope, and healing for those devastated by the war.

The webinars were recorded, not only for the benefit of registrants who didn’t make the live event but also for everyone else who might like to watch. Check them out at center.artioscollege.org/webinar-resource-list.

Watch for more Artios Center webinars in 2024!

Early/Late Fall Graduates

Marna Renteria, Bachelor of Arts in Christian Leadership

Karen Menjivar, Certificate of Leadership Studies

Rebeca Ramirez de Roman, Certificate of Leadership Studies

New Scholarship

The GC Equipping for Excellence Scholarship exists to encourage and assist students with a 3.5 GPA or better to complete a program through Artios Christian College. The scholarship provides the balance of tuition for the final 25 percent of courses required to complete a degree or certificate, as long as funds are available and the student remains on schedule to complete the program. Find more information at https://artioscollege.org/sponsorship/.

Calendar Events

February 12 – Late Winter registration closes

February 18 – Late Winter classes begin

April 1 – Early Spring registration closes

April 7 – Early Spring classes begin

Late Winter classes

COM 121 Written Communication for Leadership

LEA 111 Essentials of Vibrant Leadership

THE 201 Christian Theology

THE 202 Church of God (Seventh Day) Doctrines

Early Spring classes

COM 121 Written Communication for Leadership

BIS 104 History & Literature of the New Testament

LEA 331 Church Administration

WOA 311 Prayer Ministry

Register at https://my.artioscollege.org/en/courses.

Ida Coulter

1932 – 2023

Ida Leah Burlison was born to Roy and Edith Burlison on August 9, 1932, in Fairview, Oklahoma. She passed away in Arlington, Texas, on November 17, 2023. She was 91.

Ida attended school near her home and graduated from Cheyenne Valley High School in 1950, where she was the Valedictorian of her class. She then attended Oklahoma A&M and met her first husband, Larry Russell. They married in 1951 in Fairview. They had two children, Richard and Dianna.

Larry and Ida moved to Noxon, Montana, on Fire Lookout, where she would feed the squirrels. They later moved to Los Angeles, California, and then to Denver, Colorado, in 1959, where Ida would spend most of her life.

Ida was a lifelong member of the Church of God (Seventh Day). In 1973, she went to work at the Church’s General Conference office in Broomfield, Colorado. In addition, Ida and Larry were involved in a successful fireworks business for many years. Their marriage ended in 1988.

On April 22, 2007, Ida married Robert Coulter, and they lived in Colorado and later in Texas. Ida and Robert enjoyed traveling and attending General Conference conventions. She liked to do macramé, sew, cook, entertain, and play card games. For about two years, she and a church friend would make and decorate cakes for church functions.

Ida liked sports and was a fan of Mickey Mantle, Joe Namath, and the Denver Broncos.

Ida was preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Allan. She is survived by her husband, Robert Coulter; children Richard (Wilma) and Dianna Lenzen; grandchildren Phillip Russell, Ashley Lewis, and Zachary Lenzen; and great-grandchildren Reagan Lewis and Jackson Russell. Ida is also survived by a brother, Charles (Waynetta) and nieces and nephews.

When the Son of Man Comes . . .

As I write this issue’s column (November 1), attention is focused on the war Israel currently is waging against Hamas and Israel’s other regional enemies. Attention is also focused on the promise of Christ’s return. Is this the conflict that will lead to Christ’s second coming?

I can’t know what the state of current events will be when you read this issue of Churchright, but the statements of Jesus in Luke 18:1-8 certainly will be relevant. In this passage, Jesus tells the parable of the unjust judge (vv. 2-5), provides the interpretation of that parable (vv. 6-8a), but then ends with the pensive question “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (v. 8, NASB throughout).

Jesus often spoke of the end times and of how His followers should conduct themselves as we await His return. In Matthew 24:42, for example, Jesus says, “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.” This introduces two examples of being ready: a homeowner being ready for a thief and a servant being ready when his master returns. The faithful and blessed servant is the one whose master finds him obediently fulfilling his duties.

I’m pleased to report that the Church of God (Seventh Day) in the United States and Canada continues to be engaged in fulfilling the duties Christ has given all of His followers. We are doing our part to make disciples of Christ, to baptize them, and to teach them everything Christ has commanded. This issue of Churchright contains lots of good news about those efforts on Christ’s behalf. Read and be encouraged.

Will Christ find faith on the earth when He returns? He certainly will if we all remain faithful. Luke 18:1 reveals the reason Jesus told the parable of the unjust judge: “to show them that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.” Pray, work, and don’t lose heart as you focus on Jesus and follow His plan. One of these days will be the day.

— Loren Stacy

GC President

Small groups workshop.

On September 15-17, the Chicago area was blessed with the Come and See evangelistic workshop Family Groups for the Growth of the Church, presented by Ramon Ruiz, Daniel Flores, and Bryan Cleeton. More than 60 people gathered at the Damen church to learn how to engage their audience and start a family group in their home. On Sunday, NAMC President Daniel Flores spoke on ways to support GC Missions. This area is about to finish with the three Evangelism initiatives to make God’s kingdom grow.

Super Sabbath.

On October 7, 360 people attended a blessed Super Sabbath in Owosso, MI. Joining the Owosso church were congregations from Freeland, Saginaw, Petersburg, West Olive, and Grand Rapids, as well as churches from Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia. Even folks from as far as Ossining, NY, and Maryland attended the event. GC President Loren Stacy graced us with two messages! Beautiful praises and fellowship!