• Connecting people to an abundant life with Jesus Christ and preparing them for His return

African American Ministries Urban Ministries

Breaking Bread at Breakfast

Breaking Bread at Breakfast 1895 981 Ken Miller

Oakland’s Market Street Church recently added a delectable incentive to its list of community-relevant ministries: Breakfast.

Following the “Each One, Reach One” mission statement, they began distributing flyers and word-of-mouth invitations throughout their neighborhood for a complimentary breakfast every first Sabbath of the month.

Stephanie Jolliff, ministry leader, stated, “Through canvassing the neighborhood and passing invitations for this outreach and our church services, our members get a chance to actively engage people and share the Word and bounty of God.”

The first Sabbath of May was a trial run with a small turnout, but the breakfast staff got good practice on all the work involved. Jolliff concluded, “Our efforts were not in vain as one breakfaster came to Sabbath school and stayed for church! We have high hopes for this ministry and the spirit of service by everybody involved.”

Featured in Northern Lights, June 8, 2023

Mysterious Guest Anchors Sermon Point

Mysterious Guest Anchors Sermon Point 877 957 Ken Miller

Cherise Gardner, pastor of the Chico Church, recently preached at the Nevada City First Baptist Church.

The request to speak was the result of church members from each church working together in a local hospice. Gardner stated, “My message was taken from Haggai, and how intentionally building on the foundation Jesus has started in our lives, He will bless us and build our house in return.”

A lady, not a member of the church, approached Gardner after the sermon and related how she had roots in Adventism and had felt impressed to come that day to hear Gardner speak. Gardner remembered, “This woman described how she had raised money for lights and insurance for a skateboard park when she was homeless.”

Gardner continued, “This woman poured all she had into her ministry while living out of her car just to provide a safer place for children to play.”

The irony of the day’s sermon topic was not lost on either Gardner or the woman when she revealed that since those leaner days, God had honored her and provided a home.

This kind soul was the personification of the sermon that day, that the Lord will continue to build on the foundation He has started in our lives.

Featured in Northern Lights, April 27, 2023

Conference Advance Offering- What Does it Mean?

Conference Advance Offering- What Does it Mean? 1200 675 Ken Miller

The name of this offering category is confusing and lacks a definition. To be transparent and good stewards of your gifts, the purpose is to spread the gospel in our territory.

When you give, with the power of the Holy Spirit, the ministries supported can better connect people to an abundant life in Jesus and prepare them for the Second Coming.

Moreover, Conference Advance gives you the opportunity to support various ministries with one gift.

This week’s offering will support the following five ministries:

  1. Leoni Meadows receives 85% to support camp operations.
  2. With its various projects, Urban Ministries (6%) is making a positive impact and connecting people to Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Education (3%) teaches our youngest members and non-members and sets them up to experience abundant life in Jesus.
  4. Our Church Growth and Evangelism Department (3%) is increasing the number of people exposed to the Gospel truth and attracted to our churches and schools.
  5. The Native American Ministry (3%) is busy serving and reaching this unique population with various projects.

You can return your offering by clicking here, or you can give directly at the offering call on Sabbath.

Featured in Northern Lights, April 20, 2023

Caring For The Forgotten Behind Bars

Caring For The Forgotten Behind Bars 1997 955 Ken Miller

April 1- The Prison Ministries Department sponsored a training seminar for those that serve men and women behind bars. Thirty-four people attended and learned how to be more effective in their ministry from speaker Daniel McManus, an ex-convict and president of the Alliance of Prison Ministry Organizations and Affiliates.

Rudy Peters, prison ministries director, stated, “We are dedicated to the support of our members involved in this important ministry. We are creating a program named The Prison Ministry Federation that will provide a framework that assists volunteers, pastors, and churches in their prison work.”

Peters concluded, “Members that serve in prison ministry are contagiously kind and passionate about caring for the forgotten. Many have been inside those same walls. We want to ensure they have all the training and tools needed for this important work.”

Featured in Northern Lights, April 13, 2023

Journeys Of Pain, Joy, Service, and Excellence- Our Ten Women Pastors

Journeys Of Pain, Joy, Service, and Excellence- Our Ten Women Pastors 2062 1125 Ken Miller

By Laurie Trujillo

These ten women are making history and playing a vital role in connecting people to an abundant life in Jesus and preparing them for the Second Coming. We wish to recognize and celebrate their critical role in the Northern California Conference serving as pastors or ordained ministers. Sonia Cartwright is in the process of earning her Master of Divinity from Andrews University.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

They come from all walks of life but share a common and inspirational journey that centers on God. They shared some of their journey with us, opening my eyes to what it takes to be a female pastor. Here are some excerpts:

“What I strive for in life and ministry is stated in 1 John 4:12-13, ‘No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.'”

“I love Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ God has often used this to quiet my heart when things are tense. It reminds me that God hears and cares for me and that His peace transcends understanding.'”

“Proverbs 3:5-6, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’ This is the formula to success in life, and it provides the answer when you don’t know what to do.”

What was your journey like? What challenges did you overcome?

One pastor stated, “All the pastors I knew were male, and I did not initially think women could be pastors. I did not question the system. I simply accepted it.” Although this pastor felt a call to serve and was given the talent to minister, it took a person she respected and admired to nudge her into her calling.

Another recalled, “I remember God extending the invitation to serve my sophomore year in college, but it took me years to answer the call.” She had to escape her “selfish perspective of thinking that I had to be perfect to be a pastor.”

Not only did these pastors have to overcome personal challenges, but they also had to face public pressure not to answer the call. They were bullied, called names, and laughed at when people found out they wanted to be a pastor.

One of our pastors explains the experience well, “It was hard getting past some of the comments people made discouraging me as a woman going into ministry. Ultimately, I had to look to Jesus and stay focused on him. Jesus is the One that has kept me standing in ministry.”

What is different about being a female pastor/leader vs. a male pastor/leader? Advantages? Disadvantages?

One pastor clearly explains, “There are, unfortunately, many issues that come up. In addition to the struggles of maintaining a successful mentor relationship with male colleagues, I have been stalked and told that specific dress colors make it difficult to look at me while preaching.”

Another pastor wrote, “I think being a female pastor is difficult because many leadership skills needed are considered ‘not feminine.’ For example, some members are uncomfortable with my decisions because they feel they are not lady-like.”

However, our women pastors feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. One pastor wrote, “In my experience, I can meet with women my male colleagues feel uncomfortable with.” Another describes, “There are church members who feel more comfortable opening up to a woman than a man, and so I hear stories that would have never been told otherwise.”

All our pastors agree that they get an overwhelming sense of joy when a person connects to Jesus and begins living an abundant life. They enjoy walking alongside individuals and families, learning their stories, and ministering to their needs.

If a young girl wants to be a pastor and leader in ministry, what advice would you give her?

“The same advice I received, ‘If there is anything else you want to do…do that.’ You won’t make it if you don’t believe you are called to minister. If you answer the call, practice self-care and connect with a mentor. Learn to lovingly say no, invest in your friends and family, and keep up with your hobbies, exercise, and take vacations!”

“Fully surrender your heart to God first. Let God hold and protect it. Your heart will break if God isn’t your priority in the tough moments that will surely come. Likewise, your heart will get prideful in the good moments if you aren’t focused on God.”

“As a woman going into ministry, I would double down on your identity in Christ. We, as women, struggle with our identity. As a blossoming leader, many people will try to shape you into what they think a woman leader should be. But when you are fully aware of who you are, in Christ, you can embrace your calling and not be swayed by other people’s thoughts and opinions.”

“Learn to recognize God’s voice. Remember, God is with you always and has a purpose for you. You are a daughter of God first and foremost, and never lose that dignity.”

Wrap Up

Women pastors have made history and continue to shape our story in the Northern California Conference. They have been called into ministry, and God has gone out before them. God has broken down obstacles so that they can be more effective in spreading the gospel. Their gender is an asset to connect with those who perhaps would have gone untouched. And their journey is inspiring.

Let’s celebrate all our pastors, especially recognizing and appreciating those women God calls to serve and lead!

Featured in Northern Lights, April 13, 2023

Black History is American History

Black History is American History 1030 1402 Ken Miller

Social Justice and Emancipation is the title of the black history month study guide. It came about as a project envisioned by Drs. Calvin B. Rock and Mervyn A. Warren. It was written for churches and schools that want to study what the Word of God says about Emancipation.

Multiple authors, such as Barry Black, chaplain of the U.S Senate, provide lesson studies that inform and inspire on subjects such as the context of Old Testament enslavement, the interaction of Biblical nations of African heritage, and how God’s power, grace, and redemption plan permeate the lives of diverse cultures time and again.

Progressively the study guide showcases peoples, nations, and heroes of the Bible who were of African and middle eastern descent and gives proof and hope that the people of God are intended to be of one body and one mission.

Marc Woodson, NCC president, and contributing author said, “This is the second guide on social justice. I felt it a privilege and honor to be a contributor. It is essential to tell the story of black history, which is American history.”

In its second year as a guide, Woodson has been invited to present the lesson he authored via Zoom to the Lake Region Conference, South Atlantic Conference, Allegheny East Conference, and the Bermuda Conference.

Locally, Sacramento Academy offered it as a lunchtime bible study guided by Carmichael associate pastor Benji Ferguson. He stated, “As a pastor, I’m so impressed with the scholarship and content of the study guide. I am seeing things from angles I should have noticed before and enjoying the scope of scripture for my students.”

Featured in Northern Lights, February 23, 2023

Project Light Ministry

Project Light Ministry 2000 1125 Ken Miller

Vallejo Berea Church strives to be a shining light in its community.

One way they fulfill this purpose is through the Project Light Ministry. Every 4th Sabbath, the ministry team pre-cooks meals in the church kitchen and then serves them at a local unhoused encampment.

Ministry team members serve the food and often pray with receptive persons. The group sings songs during the meals, and many beautiful voices from the community join in; members of the unhoused are usually open about taking the lead in singing.

There is plenty of food, and often, servings reach the 120-meal mark. Everybody is welcome to take extra meals back for friends. On many weekends, leftover meals are taken to other camps in the area, spreading God’s blessings.

Wanetta Daniel, outreach coordinator, exclaimed, “Since the pandemic the old way of doing church has passed. We are bringing the church to the community. We give out sleeping bags, tents, tarps, personal hygiene products, and food because that is the need. We’re even discussing taking pet food; because a dog or cat is often the only companion the unhoused have.”

Roger Williams, head pastor, stated, “Project Light Ministry is how we change the paradigm of what church is. Our focus is, who will we be in the community?”

Featured in Northern Lights, February 23, 2023

Telling Black American History Like It Is: An Exhibition at Northern California Conference Headquarters

Telling Black American History Like It Is: An Exhibition at Northern California Conference Headquarters 1953 1083 Ken Miller

Jane Toy has been interested in African American history since she was a little girl.

Growing up during the civil rights movement and seeing what was happening in her country troubled her as a young child.

In 1975 when she registered for her first college course, an African American history course was listed, and she quickly joined.

Just seven years prior, in 1968, San Francisco State University students conducted the longest student-led walkouts in history: five months! During their protest, students endured beatings, and dozens were arrested. Why? Because they wanted to have courses that included black history, their history. Jane’s first college course was a direct result of those dedicated students.

Since then, Toy has been collecting memorabilia from the civil rights era. She stated, “Since the first artifact I collected, a slave rental agreement, I determined that this part of our history must be on display.” Every artifact Toy collects another piece of the puzzle that tells the truth about American history.

Through February, you can view Jane’s collection of newspapers, photographs, books, records, and other artifacts of the civil rights era at the NCC headquarters in Roseville. She is there daily to answer questions, relate history, tell stories, and keep civil rights history historical.

Marc Woodson, NCC president, stated, “We appreciate Jane Toy’s willingness to share her valuable, historical collection with us and the public. Every year she brings out artifacts that go beyond my expectations and tell aspects of the Black history narrative otherwise unknown. I love her servant’s heart!”

Contact the front desk for exhibit hours at (916) 886-5600

Featured in Northern Lights, February 16, 2023

Dr. Leslie Anderson Passes to His Rest

Dr. Leslie Anderson Passes to His Rest 547 547 Ken Miller

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Leslie Anderson, a member of Oakland Immanuel Temple.

Anderson joined the NCC in 1977 as the director of Inner Cities and Community Service Ministries. He was instrumental in the success of inner-city summer programs and vacation bible schools of his era. He was also crucial in providing resources of food, clothing, and financial help for families in need.

During his career, Anderson conducted seminars for disaster preparedness and provided continuing education classes for healthcare workers at Redwood Camp Meeting. After 24 years of service, he retired in 2001.

Marc Woodson, NCC president, said, “I am so proud that Dr. Anderson’s legacy will continue to be a part of our conference’s story. We remain committed to caring about our communities and ministering to those often overlooked. May Leslie Anderson’s life and ministry inspire us all as we hasten the soon coming of Jesus.”

On January 19, 2023, he passed away peacefully, with family by his side.

Featured in Northern Lights, February 9, 2023

Celebrate Black History Month!

Celebrate Black History Month! 1322 602 Ken Miller

Excerpt from HIS Story. An article written by Marc Woodson, NCC president, featured in the Pacific Union Recorder, February 2023 Issue.

“Our God intervenes in the affairs of humanity and weaves a tapestry of blessings using the scraps of man’s inhumanity. Like Joseph, African people were snatched from their homeland, sold into slavery, debased as animals, lost their identity, and kept in ignorance. How can these people perceive God amid their oppression? As we have seen when the enslaved people were emancipated, God delivers, makes the crooked places straight and the rough places plain, and every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain made low.”

Let’s celebrate and learn how God has used Black and African American Adventists throughout history. Follow this link:

Featured in Northern Lights, February 2, 2023