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Church Growth/Evangelism

Oakland Ministries Gain New Building

Oakland Ministries Gain New Building 1911 993 Ken Miller

November 12- The C.O.R.E. (Community, Outreach, Resources, and Education) celebrated its grand opening at the Market Street church in Oakland.

The purpose of this facility is for ministry and service to the surrounding community.

At the opening ceremony Vanessa Russell, founder and executive director of Love Never Fails said, “I am looking forward to a continued partnership with the church through The C.O.R.E.” Adriana Preciado of Western Service Workers Association said, “I am excited about building more unity and solidarity amongst the people of Oakland.”

Other notable attendees included church members; Virgil Childs, Pacific Union Conference vice president for black ministries; and leaders of the Oakland community.

According to Theresa Patterson, director of The C.O.R.E at Market Street, “We are looking forward to working with our neighbors and agency partners to spread the love of Jesus Christ!”

Featured in Northern Lights November 17, 2022

Andriy Mykhaylovskyy Ordained

Andriy Mykhaylovskyy Ordained 1200 620 nccsadmin

Andriy Mykhaylovskyy pastor of the Sacramento Ukrainian church was ordained on October 22.

He joined Northern in 2018 as a youth pastor at the Sacramento Slavic church. While there, the congregation grew and planted the Ukrainian group, which became a church in 2021.

Sacramento Ukrainian church is the only one of its kind in the Pacific Union Conference. Recently, Pastor Mykhaylovskyy has been providing refugee assistance and resources for local Ukrainian families.

Jose Marin, executive secretary said, “Pastor Andriy is not only gifted in leading his church congregation but also at engaging the Ukrainian community abroad with his unique skills.”

Featured in Northern Lights • October 27, 2022

150th Anniversary For Woodland Church

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The Woodland church celebrated its 150th anniversary on October 22.

According to Daniel Garza, district pastor of the Woodland and Vacaville churches, “The sanctuary was absolutely packed, spilling into the foyer for the program. Cars filled the parking lot and ran down the street.”

Active since 1872, Woodland has a unique history tracing back to the beginning of Adventism in California. The first church building was built in 1873, and in 1913 the members built a small school offering kindergarten, academy, and a vocational school.

The Woodland church has a history of being community relevant. It started in 1959 by opening the Community Clothes Closet. Later, it partnered with the county court system to provide supervised visitation for non-custodial parents. During the pandemic, the church members developed an interactive online media ministry for homebound members.

Garza continued, “We were thrilled to have our guest speakers trace the history of the Woodland church and give inspirational messages. Our members were absolutely thrilled and honored by this anniversary and are motivated to continue serving their community.”

Featured in Northern Lights • October 27, 2022

Buena Tierra: Missional Church Plant

Buena Tierra: Missional Church Plant 720 540 Julie Lorenz
On Christmas afternoon, Buena Tierra—the latest NCC missional church plant—was officially inaugurated in Oakland. The new group of 39 members is the fourth congregation in a district led by Pastors Luis F. Manrique and Pedro Rosillo. Buena Tierra is a “daughter” group of the Oakland Spanish church.
Nearly 200 members from the district attended the combined inauguration and Christmas program, held at the congregation’s rented church facility on 81st Avenue. Hispanic Ministries Coordinator Roman Leal challenged the new group to bring the gospel to the local area, which has the largest Hispanic population in the city.
The service included an inspiring concert by singer Dani Ferras. Cesar Perdomo, an evangelist from Colombia, offered the prayer of dedication. Afterward, everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner, and children received gifts. A local family attended the service and expressed an interest in starting to study the Bible.
Missional church plants are designed to multiply! “I look to the future and see Buena Tierra producing new fruits and planting new churches in and around Oakland until Christ comes,” said Manrique.

Lodi Academy Schools in Parade of Lights

Lodi Academy Schools in Parade of Lights 720 480 Julie Lorenz
On Dec. 2, Lodi Academy Schools again participated in the annual Lodi “Parade of Lights,” joining nearly 80 floats moving through Lodi’s quaint Christmas-decked downtown. Spectators started lining up in the morning for the evening parade, during which more than 15,000 people waved at the participants and enjoyed the holiday event.
Lodi Academy’s float was pulled by a bright-red 1947 truck decked out with a Christmas tree in the back! Covered in lights and shimmering tinsel, the younger students piled onto hay bales down the center of the float and waved bells while the onboard sound system played variations of “Joy to the World.”
More than 150 Lodi SDA Elementary and Lodi Academy students, family members, and friends joined the contingent, waving and wishing spectators a “Merry Christmas” from Lodi Academy Schools.
“Seeing that people enjoy seeing the truck and all the energy from the crowd makes this a really special event and worth the work,” said Kevin Haesche, Lodi Academy’s facilities manager. “Lodi Academy really gets to show people what we are all about in a very public way.”
Local churches and schools share the float fun of spreading Christmas cheer through other events as the joy of Christmas month continues! Galt SDA Elementary used the academy’s float as part of a parade they joined in Galt, and Lodi’s English Oaks and Fairmont churches will use it for caroling in the surrounding neighborhoods during the holidays. Members can join caroling groups on Sunday, Dec. 19 with English Oaks, and Wednesday Dec. 22 with Fairmont.

(Credit for first photo: Dave Marson Photography; Other photos: school supplied)

Orangevale Church Drive-thru Christmas

Orangevale Church Drive-thru Christmas 720 540 Julie Lorenz
For the second year in a row, the Orangevale church hosted a Drive-thru Christmas event for its community. During two hours on Dec. 11, the church welcomed more than 350 people, who came to view a manger scene with real animals, hear voice and bell choirs, enjoy refreshments, and receive gifts. They also had the opportunity to participate in a canned food drive for the church’s food closet.
Pastor Jon Cicle approached every car to welcome the visitors. “I was happy to meet new people from the community who felt this was a safe holiday event to come and enjoy,” he said.
About 100 adults and kids volunteered, including students from Orangevale SDA School, who welcomed guests, sang, played handbells, and created gifts. “I love seeing our church family serve our community—sharing with our children the true meaning of the season and the joy of serving others,” said the event’s organizer Lian Funada.
Church members offered to pray with the visitors. With tears streaming down her face, one woman told a volunteer, “No one has asked to pray with me before.”

Gracepoint Church Community Christmas Party

Gracepoint Church Community Christmas Party 720 540 Julie Lorenz
As part of their ongoing efforts to build relationships with their neighbors in a nearby apartment complex, the Gracepoint church in Rocklin hosted a Christmas party on Dec. 11, attended by more than 100 people. The festive event included a photo booth, gingerbread house construction, food, treats, and more!
Church members “adopted” 17 neighborhood families, providing presents for 31 children. The church worked with the local apartment manager to advertise the party and connect with the families.
The congregation’s efforts to forge relationships are making a difference. “People were very appreciative,” said Associate Pastor Marlene Rodriguez. “One lady texted: ‘Thank you for all you guys do. I really want to know more about your church.’”

Kevin Robert Is New Church Growth and Evangelism Director

Kevin Robert Is New Church Growth and Evangelism Director 720 540 Julie Lorenz
On Dec. 1, 2021, the Northern California Conference Executive Committee voted to invite Kevin Robert to serve as NCC church growth and evangelism director. He plans to begin his new role in January.
“We feel blessed to welcome Kevin to the NCC,” said President Marc Woodson. “God has certainly answered our prayers because Kevin’s skillset, passion, and experience match our conference’s needs!”
A pastor and church planter, Robert comes from the Southern New England Conference, where he has served the Merrimack Valley and Billerica churches since 2017. During the last few years, he planted One Connection Academy and One Connection Community church—both in Wakefield, Mass.
Robert is also a facilitator and coordinator for the North American Division Evangelism Institute’s ACTS Church Planting Support System. He is currently coaching church planters in Massachusetts, Florida, the Philippines, Albania, and Mozambique.
His passion is growing missional communities—modeled by the New Testament church—to reach people for Christ. “In a missional community, the believers eat together, study together, go on missions together,” he said. “The whole group has a desire to change the community where they live for the gospel.”
The high school he planted was an intentional part of this type of evangelism. “We planted a core missional community team to use the school as a center of influence,” he said.
Robert didn’t always plan to be a pastor. A native of Massachusetts, he graduated from Atlantic Union College with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He spent a number of years as a sleep lab manager before answering the Lord’s calling to the ministry.
As a young married couple, he and his wife, Tanya, were part of a church plant in Massachusetts, where Robert got involved in preaching and evangelism. With his wife’s encouragement, he began working on a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from the SDA Theological Seminary at Andrews University, which he finished in 2016. In the midst of his studies, he was called to the Pennsylvania Conference, where he served in a four-church district until called back to Massachusetts. He was ordained in 2019.
The Robert family will soon be moving to Angwin, where Tanya will teach nursing at Pacific Union College. The couple has three daughters: Gianna, a college freshman; Carmela, a high school freshman; and Analia, a third grader.
Robert is excited to join the NCC team. “I’m looking forward to working with all the pastors and administrators, collaborating together, letting creativity flow,” he said. “We want to focus on multiplication, rather than addition—growing disciples that make disciples and churches that plant churches.”

Gym Night Engages East Bay Young People

Gym Night Engages East Bay Young People 960 720 Julie Lorenz
Every Saturday night, 70-80 teens and young adults from around the East Bay gather at Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy for gym night. Around 8 p.m., organizer Wayne Ogata offers an opening prayer, and they play volleyball and socialize until midnight.

Ninety percent of those who attend are not connected to the Adventist church. They learned about the gym night through friends and social media. Many play, but others come just to watch, socialize, and eat. Food is sometimes provided by the Pleasant Hill church and others. Last week, a taco truck stopped by!

A Pleasant Hill church member, Ogata works hard to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to play in a positive environment. He began organizing gym nights because he loves the game, but he now realizes they make it easy to engage with young people.

Ben Saechao, a young adult from Oakland, has been coming to the gym nights for years. “You go to a lot of other gyms, and it’s kind of intimidating for new players,” he said. “Wayne makes it clear that it’s all just for fun—a way to socialize and meet new friends and have a good time.”

Ogata is planning to invite participants to several pre-volleyball worship services during the holidays. However, he realizes that friendship is the best way to reach these young people. “One of them told me, ‘You don’t have to talk about church; the kids are going to ask you,’” he said. “We have kids showing up who haven’t been to church in years. You never know where it’s going to lead.”

LIFE Church of Berkeley Hosts Fall Festival

LIFE Church of Berkeley Hosts Fall Festival 640 481 Julie Lorenz
On Nov. 6, the LIFE church of Berkeley invited university students and neighborhood families to a Fall Festival. About 70 people enjoyed a meal and fun autumn activities, including a country hymn singalong, a chili cook-off, a pumpkin pie eating context, and the Tony Hannah Country Band.
“People commented how great it was to be together and sing some well-known songs and share some delicious home-cooked food together,” said Carolyn Pickell, church events coordinator. “What a great evening of fun, bringing students, neighbors, and friends of our church community together in celebration of fellowship and the change of seasons!”