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Pastors are CALLED!

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NCC pastors and their families recently joined thousands of ministers from the North American Division at the “CALLED” convention in Lexington, Kentucky.

CALLED is a “camp meeting” planned and focused specifically for pastors and their families.

According to Jose Marin, executive secretary of the NCC, “It is a powerful event for strengthening pastoral calls to ministry, and it provides a space to connect with friends in ministry and share stories and faith.”

A very meaningful presentation was the 30 years of service medallions where several NCC pastors received the honor including, Marc Woodson and Jim Lorenz.

Woodson said of the honor, “I’ve always seen this honor as the older guard getting rewarded, but now that I’m here it has a very special meaning.”

Featured in Northern Lights • July 7, 2022

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.’”

Panorama of Prophecy Reaches Thousands

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By Shenalyn Page

The Granite Bay Hilltop church hosted Panorama of Prophecy: A Bible Study Spectacular in partnership with Amazing Facts International from Oct. 15 to Nov. 13. The 25-part prophecy seminar, presented by Pastor Doug Batchelor, was broadcast to a live worldwide audience of over 100,000 via 3ABN and Hope Channel. Thousands of online viewers from 120 countries also logged in to watch the live broadcasts on Facebook, YouTube, AFTV, Good News TV, and SUMTV. A live Spanish translation with Pastor Carlos Muñoz further expanded the reach. Thirteen individuals were baptized at the church following the series.

“It’s thrilling to see God’s Word going out to so many at once,” said Batchelor. “We’ve heard from people all over the world telling us how excited they are to learn the truth. There is power in the Word of God. We preach it, then stand back and watch God work conversions in people’s lives.”

Rogina Blissett, a Roseville nurse who was baptized at the end of the series, said, “Panorama of Prophecy was amazing. I have a much clearer understanding of God’s Word than I did before. My life is completely turned around from where it has been for the past 40 years. I am so grateful.”

Reaching the Local Audience

The Panorama of Prophecy meetings were the first full evangelistic series held at the Granite Bay Hilltop church. “This is a dream that has been in the works for fifteen years,” said Wayne Leman, media producer for the series meetings. “From the very beginning, we’ve wanted to use the new church auditorium as a venue for global evangelism.”

Granite Bay Hilltop members were actively involved in the Panorama of Prophecy meetings. Members invited and hosted guests, prayed for the meetings, and much more.

Volunteers also made up about 80 percent of the media production team. Father and son, Bob and Ricky Curtice, from Sacramento, have been assisting with media production at the Sacramento Central and Granite Bay churches for over 30 years. For Panorama of Prophecy, Bob operated the jib camera and Ricky served as a stagehand. “There is nothing stronger than a volunteer’s heart,” said Leman. “They put in 110 percent, and God can certainly work with that.

One team of church volunteers ran a prophecy program for kids that included nature and Bible lessons, crafts, and activities. “Children’s evangelism is so important,” explained Amy Martin, children’s program leader. “Kids are like sponges. When you take a dry sponge and fill it up with water, it gets so full it starts leaking all over. These children learned about Jesus. They got so excited, they just couldn’t contain it. They wanted to share what they learned.” Martin and her team are working to continue building relationships with the young people who came and will be studying the Bible with several of them.

Students from Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism spent the fall months doing Bible studies in the communities surrounding Granite Bay. They also supported an evangelistic series at the Folsom church plant led by evangelist Dakota Day.

Powerful Partnerships to Share Prophetic Truth

Partnership with two of the world’s largest religious broadcasting networks gave Panorama of Prophecy a truly global reach. Hope Channel is the largest Adventist media network in the world, broadcasting on 69 channels around the globe in more than 80 languages. The meetings were aired live on Hope Channel’s English and Spanish channels.

“Many of our other language channels will be translating the recordings and showing them soon,” explained Vyacheslav Demyan, vice president for programming. “The world needs the hope that comes from Revelation and the biblical end-time message. It is exactly what must be preached at this time so people can understand what is coming and the hope that we have in Jesus.”

Adds Greg Morikone, president of 3ABN, which has a potential audience of 95 percent of the globe, “People are very much attuned to what is going on in the world right now. There is a lot of chaos and uncertainty out there. We’ve had a fantastic response to Panorama of Prophecy. People have a higher interest in prophecy than ever before.”

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!”

Sacramento Ukrainian Church Organization

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On Sabbath afternoon, Sept. 18, the NCC formally organized the Sacramento Ukrainian church—the only official Ukrainian congregation in the Pacific Union. The service took place in the congregation’s rented church sanctuary in Fair Oaks.

The joyful program included music from children’s and young people’s choirs, as well as a sermon by President Marc Woodson. The congregation presented the conference with a beautiful illustrative carving of Psalm 23, created by Ivan Noshyn, church elder.

“The members are very happy! It’s a big step in their lives—a miracle for a lot of Ukrainian people here,” said Roman Tsyganiuk, senior pastor of the Sacramento Slavic/Sacramento Ukrainian district. He serves with Andriy Mykhaylovskyy, associate pastor of the Ukrainian church and youth pastor of the Slavic church.

The new church has its roots in the Sacramento Yugoslavian church, where a number of Russians and Ukrainians worshipped together several decades ago. The Yugoslavian church established the Sacramento Slavic company as a “daughter” congregation, which became its own church in 2004. Later, the Slavic church created a “daughter” congregation of its own. The new Ukrainian group, with 116 members, held its first service in October 2018. They were organized as a company a few months later in January 2019.

About 100,000 Ukrainians live in the Sacramento metro area, and church members are eager to reach out to them. The new church has active ministries for children, youth, families, and health, as well as a vibrant media ministry. The congregation is making plans to eventually purchase a church facility of their own.

“Please pray for this church and for the pastors,” said Tsyganiuk. “We believe that this church will grow and be a blessing.”

Light Up the Night!

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On October 31, the Pleasant Hill church invited families to an event called “Light Up the Night,” an alternative to Halloween activities. “We wanted to make it a fun evening but maintain a spiritual emphasis throughout the event,” said Natalie Bechtold, children’s ministries director.

Fifty kids, from toddlers to high school students, attended from the church and community. “We were really happy to see our kids bring their friends,” said Bechtold.

Families enjoyed a pizza supper, and then youth group members shepherded the children through many light-themed activities, beginning with a short worship led by Youth Pastor Miguel Verazas. Kids hit piñatas, played on a huge blow-up obstacle course, went on a treasure hunt, and created paper lanterns and lightning bug crafts. They also received treats and prizes, including glow sticks and flashlights.

“Everything was light oriented to drive home the illustration that we can be light in our community,” said Bechtold. “On a dark night, we wanted to be the opposite, making light and joy and creating great memories for kids.”

NCC Organizes First Official Fijian Church in North America

NCC Organizes First Official Fijian Church in North America 1113 870 Julie Lorenz

On Sabbath, Oct. 23, the NCC formally organized the Sacramento Fijian church—the only official Fijian church in the North American Division. The service took place at the Sacramento Woodside church, where the congregation meets each Sabbath afternoon.

Currently about 11,000 Fijians live in Sacramento County—more than in any other place in the United States! For many years, the Fijian Adventists in the area dreamed of having a church of their own. In 2009, a church plant began at the Sacramento Central church. In 2013, the group moved to the campus of Sacramento Adventist Academy. The congregation was formally organized as a church company in January 2015.

Through the years, members have worked to build relationships with the local Fijian community by conducting evangelism and outreach programs for people of all ages. During the pandemic, the congregation has been using social media to connect with Fijians throughout the world. Each of their live-streamed presentations has garnered between 20,000 and 30,000 views.

“As I think about our congregation’s history, one word that stands out to me is ‘Providence,’” said Pastor Joseph O’Connor. “We have seen God moving and blessing.”