Pacific Union “All God’s People,” September 17, 2021 S5:E32
New Presidents for Two Conferences
Two of our conferences in the Pacific Union have recently elected new Presidents!
The Central California Conference has elected Elder Dan Serns as president, replacing Elder Ramiro Cano, who has retired. Serns comes to Central from the Texas Conference.
The Southeastern California Conference has elected Elder Jonathan Park as president, replacing Elder Sandy Roberts, who was recently elected to be the Executive Secretary of the Pacific Union. Full reports on these elections can be found below.
Central California: centralcaliforniaadventist.com/danserns-cccpresident/
Southeastern California: facebook.com/seccadventist/posts/4859804307381593
Ka Lama Iki's Mission to Help – from Miles Away
Beach clean ups: cancelled. Education Sabbaths: postponed. Elderly home visits: cancelled. During the challenge of COVID throughout the Oahu community, the staff at Hawaiian Mission Academy Ka Lama Iki was struggling to provide students with a true mission outreach. Then teaching principal Sarah Traczyk was approached by a local group of missionaries headed for Cameroon, Africa, asking for any possible book donations. Overjoyed by the opportunity, her fifth- and sixth-grade homeroom students were tasked with packing 30 plus boxes with math textbooks, older Bible textbooks, library books, and books on tape—and they sealed the boxes with encouraging notes and Bible verses. Students were asking what else they could send to Cameroon, and they look forward to hearing from the missionaries when they arrive in Cameroon after the New Year. Well done, students!
Ka Lama Iki: kalamaiki.org/
Church Support Services — Stories of Faith
Rich DuBose is the director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference. We had the opportunity to talk to him recently about his work and how he sees Jesus in what he does. The latest video from Rich DuBose and Church Support Services is a short film about the Auburn Renewal Center, a ministry of the Auburn church in Northern California. The center provides hope and healing for many who would otherwise fall through the cracks of the health care system. Learn more about this wonderful ministry in the latest episode of Stories of Faith via the link below.
Stories of Faith: vimeo.com/566377027
National Hispanic Heritage Month
Each year from September 15 to October 15, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
In the Pacific Union, nearly one fourth of our total membership is Hispanic. In the fall of 2020, there were 226 Hispanic churches and companies, with over 50,000 members. This month we celebrate our Hispanic brothers and sisters in Christ and the unique heritage and culture they bring to our church!
Hispanic Heritage Month: hispanicheritagemonth.gov/about/
The Recorder magazine covers for July, August, and September 2021 have featured the work of artist Morgan Weistling, who has painted three scenes that correspond with the monthly themes of the magazine and visually illustrate three moments from the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Our cover in September is of Christ the Good Shepherd, bearing on His arms a lone lamb that has strayed. It reminds us of His parable of the lost sheep.
This illustration of the Good Shepherd was used during the constituency session, accompanied by the thematic words, "So Send I You."
The September issue should be in your mailbox soon, but all three can be found via the link below.
Recorder Online: adventistfaith.com/media/recorder-archive/
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"‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."
– Luke 15:6-7, NIV
Pacific Union “All God’s People,” August 20, 2021 S5:E31
Historically Diverse Administration Elected to Lead Pacific Union Conference
Bradford C. Newton has been elected president of the Pacific Union Conference, replacing Ricardo B. Graham, who is retiring after 14 years of service as president and more than 46 years of ministry. Elected to fill the role of executive secretary that Newton has held since 2008, Sandra E. Roberts, president of the Southeastern California Conference, is the first woman to serve in the administration of the Pacific Union Conference and within the North American Division.
Delegates returned Stephen V. Mayer to the position of treasurer, while Leon B. Brown, Sr., president of the Nevada-Utah Conference, was elected to serve as vice president, replacing Jorge Soria, who is retiring after 47 years of ministry. The elections were a significant part of the agenda for the delegates of the 31st Pacific Union Constituency Session, held August 15-16, in Tucson, Arizona.
Held every five years to conduct the official business of the church, more than 350 delegates participated in the constituency session. Elder G. Alexander Bryant, president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, served as the chair of the Nominating Committee for the constituency session and led the delegates in the balloting process. “You have just elected the most diverse group of officers in the history of the Pacific Union Conference,” said Bryant, a remark that received standing applause from delegates. Speaking directly to the members of the new administration, Bryant said, “This body elected you in an overwhelming fashion. Lead this union to the next level as we prepare for the soon return of Jesus Christ.”
Delegates also voted on the coordinators for ethnic ministries and adopted changes in the bylaws that redesignate these positions—along with the director of education—as vice presidents for specialized ministries. Serving in these positions are VicLouis Arreola III, vice president for Asian Pacific ministries; Virgil S. Childs, vice president for Black ministries; Berit von Pohle, vice president for education; and Alberto Ingleton, vice president for Hispanic ministries.
Elder Bradford C. Newton now takes up the leadership for the Pacific Union—in the field in which he has served in pastoral and administrative roles since 1995. “We stand in a very monumental time in earth’s history,” Newton stated. Reflecting on the theme for the 31st Constituency Session, he continued, “How we respond to Christ’s words, ‘So Send I You’ will impact not only our lives but our churches, schools, and communities. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is uniquely called to a prophetic role in our society. The way the Lord has led us in the past, and the promise of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, gives us confidence for the important work that lies before us.”
Watch the Education & Healthcare Reports: 2021delegates.adventistfaith.com/
A big “Thank You” to our retiring president Ricardo Graham and our retiring vice president Jorge Soria from our All God’s People production team. We have appreciated your leadership, your support, and your friendship. Elder Graham is a co-founder of the program and has appeared in many of the episodes. Elder Soria has been a steadfast supporter of our work and a great friend to everyone on our team. Many blessings to you both in retirement!
All God’s People will be on a three-week break, with S5:E32 slated for release on September 17! Stay tuned for more news and inspiration from around the Pacific Southwest.
Pacific Union “All God’s People,” August 6, 2021 S5:E29
La Sierra PSAs
La Sierra University students and staff have created a powerful media response to the continuing challenges being created by the pandemic. As the Delta variant is spreading in our union and in our country, La Sierra film students have made seven Public Service Announcements in English and in Spanish to help address vaccine hesitancy. Along with the rollout of the vaccines have come many questions. To address some of the most common concerns and to encourage its campus and community members to receive the vaccine under the guidance of their healthcare providers, La Sierra University is offering these informational and inspirational messages presented by members of its campus family.
A big thank you and shout out to the La Sierra University Film and Television Production department and Associate Professor Carrie Specht, who led her students in the production of these important messages about COVID-19 vaccines.
La Sierra PSAs: lasierra.edu/covid-19/vaccines-answers-insights/
An Interview with Nancy Crosby
Native American Ministries is one of our vital volunteer-led ministries in the Pacific Union. Recently, we spoke with Nancy Crosby about some of her personal highlights in ministry with Native Americans. You can read more about Native American Ministries in the September Recorder.
Recorder Online: adventistfaith.com/media/recorder-archive/
Celebrating a Milestone
The Recorder magazine celebrated a big milestone this week! On August 1, 1901, the first edition of the Pacific Union Recorder magazine was published for members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It comprised 16 pages—with approximately 16,300 words and no pictures—and highlighted the mission work taking place in both the Pacific Southwest and Pacific Northwest. The first line of the magazine reads as follows, "God has a special work for His servants to do in the preparation of people to stand in the great day of the Lord. This work is to commence in our own hearts. We need the faith that works by love and purifies the soul." After 120 years, this monthly magazine is still keeping members inspired and informed. Read recent editions of the Recorder or the very first edition via the links below.
Recorder Online: adventistfaith.com/media/recorder-archive/
1901 Recorder Edition: adventistfaith.com/media/recorder-archive/
Video Tributes to Elder Graham and Elder Soria
The past two weeks on All God’s People we’ve featured two of our retiring administrators—Vice President Jorge Soria and President Ricardo Graham. We hope you’ve had an opportunity to watch these tributes. Below are links to these special episodes—as well as to other media resources related to the Constituency Session.
Elder Graham Video: youtube.com/watch?v=TPrTLnLHj4E&list=PLGL3IXqOMWctAp3eV3G9v4NNkAalPpd7G
Elder Soria Video: youtube.com/watch?v=2LrGEGleEro&list=PLGL3IXqOMWctAp3eV3G9v4NNkAalPpd7G
Nominating Committee Report: adventistfaith.com/featured/2021/06/25/2021-nominating-committee-report-for-the-pacific-union-conference/
Constituency Session is almost here. It will be held August 15 and 16 in Tucson, Arizona. Next Friday, All God’s People will feature a special episode called “Constituency Sessions—Why Do We Have Them?” We hope you will join us for that program!
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"For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal,” declares the Lord.
– Jeremiah 30:17
Pacific Union “All God’s People,” July 30, 2021 S5:E28
Elder Ricardo Graham Retires from Pacific Union Presidency
Dr. Ricardo Graham, president of the Pacific Union Conference, is retiring after 47 years of ministry. Elder Graham has been an incredible leader, friend, and colleague, who will be greatly missed by us all.
Stepping Up to the Call
Ricardo was in the eighth grade when he accepted Jesus during an altar call at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan. George Vandeman was the evangelist at that series of meetings in 1963, and when he made the call, a young Ricardo and his mother responded. Ricardo continued with his Bible studies and was baptized in 1964 at the City Temple Seventh-day Adventist church in Detroit.
Ricardo attended Oakwood College, where his experience with Adventism deepened. His appreciation for Black history continued to increase, and he also felt a growing call to ministry. One night when he was home in Detroit, preparing to return to Oakwood, he had a real burden—an uneasiness. He got on his knees and fully surrendered, saying, “Lord, whatever you want me to do, OK, you win. I’ll do it. I’ll do it.” A peace that he had never before experienced settled over him. He was going to follow God and do whatever He asked of him. The leading impression was to become a pastor.
From Oakwood, Ricardo went to Andrews University and enrolled in the seminary, where he had a wonderful experience. The professors were challenging, and the social experiences were great. In 1975, he met the lovely Audrey Weir, who was from California. They married two years later.
Ricardo and Audrey started their ministry in the Lake Region Conference and then moved to Northern California in 1984, where Audrey had a lifelong career as an educator. Ricardo moved from pastoring to administrative positions in the Northern California Conference—as executive secretary and then president.
In 2006 Elder Graham became executive secretary of the Pacific Union, and he has served as president since 2008. For 14 years, we have been blessed with his servant leadership, his “pastor’s heart,” his astute, savvy administrative style, and his unwavering dedication to often unpopular causes such as women in ministry and social justice. Bottom line: Ricardo Graham loves the Lord and he cares about people. And we love him for it!
Dr. Graham has lost none of his passion for the gospel! In his retirement he plans to do some writing, continue to preach, teach some classes for our colleges, finish his CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) and become a chaplain, play racquetball, travel with Audrey, spend time with his adult children, Jessica and Jonathan, and continue that promise he made all those years ago—to do whatever the Lord asks of him.
Thank you, Pastor Graham, for your ministry here in the Pacific Union. Thank you for your leadership and friendship. On behalf of a grateful church and all God’s people, we appreciate how you have so faithfully served in the Pacific Southwest. May God bless you and your family as your ministry continues in your retirement.
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"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
– Isaiah 41:10
Pacific Union “All God’s People,” July 23, 2021 S5:E27
Elder Jorge Soria, Vice President of the Pacific Union Conference, is retiring after 47 years of ministry. Elder Soria has been such a wonderful friend and colleague of all of us in the Pacific Union!
Jorge was 14 years old when his mother and stepfather moved their family from Mexico to Central California and eventually settled in Hayward. It was at the Hayward Spanish church that the man we know as Pastor Soria was baptized.
After completing his studies at Montemorelos and Pacific Union College, Jorge and his wife Lina began their ministry in Southeastern California at the La Sierra Spanish church in 1974.
In 1982, Jorge accepted the invitation of the General Conference to serve as a missionary, and their young family moved to Brazil for mission service.
By 1991, Jorge was serving as the Spanish coordinator in Southeastern California when he accepted a call to the Pacific Union to serve as Hispanic ministries coordinator for the Pacific Union. Jorge served in this position for 27 years, before becoming vice president in 2018.
One need only speak to Jorge for a few minutes to discover his two great passions in ministry: Evangelism and engaging believers in sharing their faith. And young people—and bringing them into full lives of service and discipleship.
As vice president, Jorge has worked closely with the volunteer-led ministries of the Pacific Union, supporting the unique portfolio of activities and ministries that each endeavor represents.
Pastor Jorge has anchored his life and ministry in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and if you ask him to share his favorite text, he will immediately answer, "For God so loved the world," John 3:16. (Although he may say it in Spanish!)
Thank you, Pastor Soria, for your ministry, your leadership, and your friendship. We know we speak for All God’s People in expressing our appreciation for how you have so faithfully served the Seventh-day Adventist church in the Pacific Southwest. May God bless you and your family as your ministry continues in your retirement.
Pacific Union “All God’s People,” July 16, 2021 S5:E26
Five Teen Farms Featured on Good Day Sacramento
Students from Lodi Academy were recently featured in Good Day Sacramento for a garden project called Five Teen Farms, which they launched to raise money for their school study tours. Thanks to their garden, these five teens were able to pay for their sophomore year biology trip to the Mendocino Coast. This year, the students are raising money for their East Coast history tour by growing zucchini, beets, several varieties of tomatoes, and Armenian cucumbers. Their operation also includes making homemade pickles—and they even use reclaimed wood to make decorative signs, yard art, and games.
Watch the Interview: gooddaysacramento.cbslocal.com/video/5759748-five-teen-farms/
Pacific Union Webinar Discusses Engaging Media and Community Leadership Post-Pandemic
In late June, communication professionals, principals, schoolteachers, and church members tuned in for a discussion on how media outlets are reporting on the re-opening of houses of worship and religious institutions. To equip local leadership with the tools to engage both the community and local media, the Department of Communication and Community Engagement for the Pacific Union Conference hosted the webinar with strategic communications firm Kurth Lampe Worldwide. Presenters Kevin Lampe and Greg Dunn discussed the types of stories media outlets will be looking for in the weeks to come—and how churches or schools can benefit from renewed interest in how faith groups are meeting the needs of their communities. If you missed this timely, informative webinar, you can watch it in its entirety.
Watch on YouTube: youtube.com/watch?v=WMzfGkGupXQ&list=PLGL3IXqOMWcvGrhBpV0lQZslUZubk3VeU
Interview with Karen Martell
Karen Martell is the Prayer Ministries coordinator for the Pacific Union. Recently, Connie Jeffery talked with her about the upcoming Constituency Meeting in August and the plans for a United Prayer Call just prior to this important meeting.
Interview with Karen Martell: vimeo.com/574990606
The July Recorder is in your mailbox this week, and it includes a wonderful article from Pastor John Brunt entitled, “Incredible Reality, Infinite Love.” These two sentences from Pastor Brunt sum up the article: “As Jesus gave Himself for us, we as His disciples give ourselves for others. We never do it perfectly as He did, but the more we grasp His grace, the more gracious we become.” The Recorder in English and Spanish is available online.
Read Online: adventistfaith.com/media/recorder-archive/
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"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
– Matthew 18:20 (KJV)