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

Northern Lights

The Blessing of Giving by Marc K. Woodson, NCC President

The Blessing of Giving by Marc K. Woodson, NCC President 910 452 Ken Miller

Have you ever experienced the uplifting embrace of spirituality during church services or while immersed in a livestream? Have you ever found yourself contemplating a search for a new spiritual home because your current one didn’t quite fulfill your needs?

In my journey, evolving from a member to a pastor and now an administrator, I’ve encountered a spectrum of perspectives on a church’s impact on its members – from deep gratitude to a yearning for a more profound spiritual connection. Both attitudes focused on what the church does for me.

Perhaps what’s needed is a fresh perspective. In Acts 20:34-36, Paul’s farewell to the Ephesians underscores the importance of hard work, not just for self-sustainability but also to support those toiling alongside us, particularly the weak and vulnerable. He echoes the timeless words of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Jesus extends an invitation to embrace a generous attitude, assuring us of greater blessings through giving. Instead of solely evaluating a church based on what we receive from its messages or services, let’s redirect our focus. Let’s explore how we can utilize the unique gifts and resources bestowed upon us by God to serve and benefit others.

Rather than asking, “What am I receiving from the church?” let’s propel ourselves forward with questions like: “What am I doing to assist the weak and vulnerable in my church and community?” What contributions am I making to advance God’s Kingdom within my church community? How am I actively connecting people to a more abundant life with Jesus and preparing them for His Second Coming?

Picture the beauty of witnessing God’s promise to bless unfolding in our lives. By shifting our focus from receiving to giving, we embark on a transformative journey brimming with joy, fulfillment, and abundance.

Featured in Northern Lights, November 23, 2023

Oakland Market Street Church Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Oakland Market Street Church Celebrates 100th Anniversary 2000 1125 Ken Miller

On November 4, 2023, the Oakland Market Street Church marked a significant milestone—its centennial celebration of spreading the gospel. Jose Marin, NCC Executive Secretary, expressed his honor at being part of this momentous occasion. He acknowledged the church’s profound impact on the African-American community in Northern California and its broader influence across the Pacific Union throughout the past century.

Since its establishment in November 1923, the church has stood as a pillar of faith in its current location. Members, guests, and church leaders celebrated under the three-fold theme: Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present, and Preparing for the Kingdom.

Rudy Peters, NCC African American Ministries Coordinator, highlighted the enduring legacy of Market Street, stating, “The Market Street church has been connecting people to an abundant life in Jesus Christ for generations, with several families now serving in this same community.”

The festivities commenced on November 1 with a Wednesday night celebration featuring the Precious Memory Choir performing a specially crafted 100th-anniversary theme song by Derrick Hall, Dr. Joyce Johnson, and Sanara Fulmore.

President of the North American Division, G. Alexander Bryant, delivered the keynote address, making the occasion even more memorable. Senior pastor Edwin Frederick Brown described the celebration as a glorious day filled with gratitude and praise to God. Kai Simone Hodges, church youth pastor, said the event felt like a grand family reunion, brimming with memories and love.

NCC President Marc Woodson expressed, “It was a joy and an honor to celebrate 100 years of ministry with the Market Street Church. Market Street is a historic church and the oldest African-American congregation in our conference. It was an inspirational weekend and a great time of reunion! I was so glad I could participate in the festivities.”

Featured in Northern Lights, November 16, 2023

Napa Community Church Celebrates 150 Years

Napa Community Church Celebrates 150 Years 2000 1125 Ken Miller

November 4-The Napa Community Church celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Members and guests of the church crowded in for a celebration marked with jubilant singing and speakers. Diane Bennett, church secretary, exclaimed, “It was a great sabbath! We had over 230 congregation members, and 180 watched online. We have a great heritage here.”

Marc Woodson, President, stated, “I want to congratulate the Napa Community Church for its ministry to the greater Napa community for an amazing 150 years! It was a blessing to participate in the worship service and bring greetings on behalf of the Northern California Conference. I enjoyed the slide presentation from Ted Calkins that showed the church’s history in pictures.”

At the celebration, Mayor Scott Sedgley of Napa expressed his appreciation towards the church, praising the age diversity of the congregation. He acknowledged the importance of having more kids in the community and commended the church for providing a nurturing environment for children. Sedgley thanked the church members for their positive impact on the community.

Jose Marin, Executive Secretary, remarked, “What a blessing it was to be a part of the 150th Napa Community Church celebration, where the church commemorated its origins and its profound impact through pastoral ministry and Adventist education. This impact continues to shape past and future generations, preparing them for a life of service here on earth and for the eternal ages to come.”

Featured in Northern Lights, November 16, 2023

Bruce Nicola Laid to Rest

Bruce Nicola Laid to Rest 319 371 Ken Miller

Retired NCC pastor Bruce Nicola was laid to rest on November 12.

A family member stated, “Bruce’s long ministry blessed countless lives during his years of service. He enjoyed a good joke, the outdoors, and especially basketball. In his younger years, he developed a life-long love of rock hunting and grew succulents and a beautiful garden in retirement.”

Nicola’s career spanned 44 years with the NCC. During that time, he served as a pastor and hospital chaplain. His geographical range extended from as far north as the Arcata-McKinleyville district, south to Livermore, and several churches in between. He retired in 2019 as the district pastor for the Orland and Willows churches.

Ed Fargusson, Assistant to the NCC president, stated, “Bruce was a pastor of many talents and had a keen wit. He held about every pastoral position available, which gave him a mastery of serving others. Most importantly, he loved the Lord. He will be missed.”

Featured in Northern Lights, November 16, 2023

April Church Joins NCC Offices

April Church Joins NCC Offices 1474 1967 Ken Miller

April Church recently joined the NCC as the new Administrative Assistant to the planned giving and trust management department.

Originally from Rancho Cucamonga and, more recently, in Nevada City, she attended La Sierra University, studying global health, but realized she was more interested in international property management.

Church explains, “I recently moved to Roseville to be closer to my family and take this position. I’m excited for God’s unique assignment in this new chapter of my life, serving our community and the wellbeing of our people.”

Featured in Northern Lights, November 2, 2023

46th African American Convocation

46th African American Convocation 2000 1125 Ken Miller

One of the many things that our African American ministries department supports is the annual African American Ministries Convocation.

Now in its 46th year, this event held every October brings great speakers and musicians together to praise God, inspiring unity and hope.

This year, over 600 gathered at the Oakland Market Street church. They were blessed with praise, singing, and inspirational sermons by Dietrich Germany, pastor of the Stockton Mayfair church. A youth program kept over sixty children busy, and Dr. Shirley-Ann Thomas, Assistant Professor of Education at Oakwood College, provided a ministry in music.

Rudy Peters, African American ministries coordinator, commented, “My prayer for this convocation is that all grew in faith and commitment to Christ.”

Featured in Northern Lights, November 2, 2023

Peggy Haines Joins NCC Offices

Peggy Haines Joins NCC Offices 1855 2460 Ken Miller

Peggy Haines recently joined the NCC Administration office as the new conference clerk and administrative assistant for the risk management department.

Haines recently moved to Roseville from Loma Linda, where she worked at the University Health Department for the last seven years. She explained, “I wanted to be closer to my daughter and two grandsons.”

Haines continued, “I love my new job; it is my way of giving back to God’s work. My parents sacrificed to put my siblings and me through Adventist education, and I wanted to be a part of this mission.”

Featured in Northern Lights, October 26, 2023

Mulching Mission Movement

Mulching Mission Movement 2000 1125 Ken Miller

October 10- It was all hands on deck as the NCC administration offices locked the doors and workers descended on Maidu Park in Roseville for the annual community service day.

In 2022, workers spread sixty yards of forest mulch at another Roseville park. This year, 300 yards were piled around the new location. The contrast in job size raised a few eyebrows. Albert Miller, NCC superintendent of schools and project coordinator, looked across the park at the piles and drily stated, “Well, it ain’t gonna get done by itself.”

While the mulch group shoveled and raked the piles methodically, smaller teams painted perimeter gates bright yellow and refreshed red curb paint along driveways. Four baseball equipment shacks were painted grey and blue. By the end of the workday, finished painters joined in the mulch movement, and the team completed all the jobs.

Brian Casteluccio, Roseville Parks, Recreation and Libraries Superintendent, wrote, “I want to send a huge kudos to your team. They did a great job! It was a very successful volunteer event. Your work is greatly appreciated by the City of Roseville and the community.”

Featured in Northern Lights, October 26, 2023

Baptisms and Mysterious Guests

Baptisms and Mysterious Guests 2000 1125 Ken Miller

God is doing some fantastic things in the West Sacramento SDA Church.

Sasa Andelkovic, district pastor, explains, “During the pandemic, our church attendance significantly dropped. Around the same time, many of our youth graduated from high school and went to college. Our church looked desolate. Only about twenty-five people were attending on Sabbath, one-third of normal.”

The congregation began earnestly praying that God would fill their church, especially with young people. Andelkovic continues, “From our prayers, strange things started to happen! We had a student from UC Davis join us with her boyfriend. She had learned about the Sabbath over the internet, and two more young adults arrived at our church having seen our web page.”

The new guests attended Bible studies, eager to know more about Jesus. Church members worked diligently to include their new friends in activities, drawing them into the church. Andelkovic states, “We were happy to see things happening and the spirit moving, but that was just the beginning!”

In time, the church had its first baptism, a rebaptism. This decision by a gentleman seemed to encourage others. Andelkovic exclaimed, “As a district pastor, I am there every two weeks, and when I baptize, I always appeal to the congregation, asking if others wish to make that commitment. After this baptism, every time I was there, a new hand would go up in the church!”

“After the third Sabbath with a baptism,” Andelkovic continues, “I jokingly told the congregation that we needed to continue the tradition asking, ‘Who will be baptized next?’ I couldn’t dream up what happened next! The whole back row of the church stood up joyfully, waving their hands. I was stunned! It was a group of people I hadn’t even met yet! Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to meet them and hear their stories.”

Andelkovic states, “The original couple from UC Davis just made a commitment too, requesting baptism as well, our cup runneth over.”

Andelkovic reflects, “You just never know how God will answer your prayers! We often ask for blessings and then try to predict how He will work. But I must tell you, this experience left me in awe of how His way is not our way, but the experience is always wonderful!”

[Stay tuned for a story of the mysterious back row!]

Featured in Northern Lights, October 26, 2023

Pastor Emán Collins Passes to His Rest

Pastor Emán Collins Passes to His Rest 1284 1561 Ken Miller

We regretfully announce that Emán Collins passed away on October 1 in Argentina with Ruth, his wife, and loved ones by his side.

Collins joined the NCC in 1986 as the pastor of the Antioch Church. The following year, he became an evangelist in our territory, also serving as the Hispanic Ministries coordinator. In 2003, Collins moved from the Hispanic coordinator position and joined the Hayward Spanish SDA Church as lead pastor until his retirement in 2009.

Paul Guevara, the current NCC Hispanic Ministries Coordinator, stated, “I had the privilege to know pastor Collins and will always remember him as a great human being who treated everyone with love and respect. He was passionate about Jesus and His work.”

Sal Alvarado, ABC director, reflected, “Pastor Collins was my mentor and my friend. He was a great evangelist, and I credit the baptisms of my wife and son to the power of his presentation of the Gospel.”

A family member revealed that a memorial was held in Argentina, and there are no plans for a service in the United States.

Featured in Northern Lights, October 19, 2023