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

Sabbath School

Pathfinders Find Leoni Fantastic!

Pathfinders Find Leoni Fantastic! 2000 1125 Ken Miller

October 6 – Pathfinders from our territory met at Leoni Meadows for their annual Camporee.

Over 600 campers from 35 clubs arrived for a weekend of spiritual renewal, fun activities, and work. Services were full of singing and praying, and the theme of the weekend, Live Love Now, was masterfully presented by Rudy Alvir, youth and young adult director of the Nevada-Utah Conference.

The Pathfinders marched in a parade with colorful banners and flags from around the world. In breakout sessions, many worked on new honors that included CPR, geology, and first aid. Other groups worked on camp renewal projects, including moving limbs into burn piles, spreading bark in the church bowl, and preparing old fence posts for future use. One of the highlights was when Pathfinders explored new camping areas that will be used annually for this and other events.

Eddie Heinrich, NCC youth and young adult director, stated, “We owe a big thank you to all the Pathfinders and their leaders that came and received a spiritual blessing and helped prepare Leoni Meadow as the future home of this event.”

Featured in Northern Lights, October 19, 2023

Stockton’s Soapy Service

Stockton’s Soapy Service 1893 981 Ken Miller

September 24- The Stockton Central Church sponsored a community car wash put on by the church youth leaders.

David Peckham, lead pastor, explained, “This event was designed to engage with our neighborhood and as a fundraiser for the youth department. We did not charge a fee for each washed car but accepted donations, and many cars queued up for a scrub.”

The enthusiastic washers scurried around each car, quickly soaping, rinsing, and drying cars. While waiting, drivers could peruse a rummage sale in the gymnasium, hosted by the primary sabbath school parents and children.

Peckham continued, “One visitor who had his truck washed exclaimed that he was impressed by such a positive experience and how impressive it was to see youth working so hard. After his truck was dried, he left the site and returned later with a flat of bottled water as a gift for all the workers!”

One parent stated, “This was a unique opportunity to engage the community, for families to work together for a good cause, and mentor our youth to work with passion and a purpose.”

Featured in Northern Lights, October 12, 2023

Putting the Camp in Campmeeting

Putting the Camp in Campmeeting 1920 1000 Ken Miller

Roman Tsyganiuk, pastor of the Sacramento Slavic church, recently emerged from the wilderness. He humorously reported, “For almost all of July, I had to live in the forest.”

His task was directing the well-attended Slavic camp meetings held in weeklong sessions each summer near Forest Hill. For several weeks, different retreats serve families, a men’s group, youth, and Pathfinders. They all come to experience nature and worship together in their native tongue.

This year, during youth camp, young people from as far away as New York and Washington State came to make friends and worship God in nature. During the Pathfinder week, Tsyganiuk reported, “15 of the 50 attendees were new kids from our neighborhood that were not even Adventist!” During the family camp, community members who came by invitation committed to attending or becoming members of the Slavic and Ukrainian churches.

Tsyganiuk concluded, “The weeks we spend together create much positive interaction among members of our heritage. We thank God for this fantastic experience!”

Featured in Northern Lights, August 7, 2023

Racing Through Childhood

Racing Through Childhood 2000 1125 Ken Miller

The first time I laid eyes on little Nova, she was bolting from her kindergarten classroom, left arm adorned in a fresh pink cast, running like her chariot was on fire.

Her teacher had instructed me to prohibit any running. She flew past us, gaining speed, hurling herself over the three-foot retaining wall that separates the elementary school playground from the soccer field… And she just kept going. I thought to myself, “I like this kid already.”

My bond with her grew over the next five years until I became an auxiliary grandmother to her rambunctious family. They were not part of our SDA church, but occasionally, Nova attended church with us.

One summer, I invited them to my favorite place on Earth, Redwood Camp meeting. The casual, hundred-acre-wood style would be a comfortable introduction to worshipping our great God. Nova, her younger brother River, and their mother relished the cool, oxygen-rich air filtered by thousand-year-old Redwood trees. At Redwood, running is encouraged between the Christ-centered children’s programs.

During the invigorating morning classes, River learned about creation. He would find me in the Redwood office later and, with his newfound knowledge, quiz me on who made the giant trees and the sun and tigers and monster trucks and the mountains. I fielded question after question about where God lives, why we can’t see him, and how we talk to Him.

One afternoon, River returned to the question of who God is, paused, and then blurted out, “Oh! I met God yesterday!” I answered, “That’s so cool!” River continued, “You showed him to me in your office! His name is Ed!”, My amusement was growing, and I responded, “Who?” River squealed, “You remember? I asked if he was God… that guy named Ed. I think he is God because he was so nice!”

Ed just happened to be Ed Fargusson, assistant to the president of the NCC. Indeed, a lovely man who interacted with River that day he exploded into the office. But to no avail, no matter how many times I tell River that Ed is kind but not God, River continues to address God as Ed.

Halfway home from Campmeeting, the children’s mom called to ask if it was too late to enroll them in our local Adventist school. She stated, “I want my kids in a wholesome environment with kids like the friends they’ve made at Redwood Campmeeting.”

In the end, River, Nova, and even Nova’s best friend all started school on August 16th at our local SDA school.

Inviting our community to experience uplifting events like campmeeting, a potluck, or a school program can have resounding results both here and in Heaven. I am so grateful for our Adventist culture, exemplifying the love of God, commitment to family, and for connecting people to an abundant life in Jesus.

Featured in Northern Lights, September 14, 2023

Chris Estay Installed at Vallejo Central

Chris Estay Installed at Vallejo Central 2048 1536 Ken Miller

July 1-Chris Estay was installed as the new pastor of Vallejo Central Church.

Estay is excited about his new church family. When asked how he eases into a new church position, he stated, “I’ve learned over time that I have 100 ideas in my head, which makes me want to rush. But with maturity, I’ve learned to slow down and assess a church’s culture by first serving and becoming friends with the members.”

Making those deeper connections, Estay states, “Creates unity when time is spent making friends and sharing. It reveals the members’ personalities, talents, and motivations, and identifies the church’s true heart.” He concluded, “I am very pleased to be at Vallejo. This is a very motivated church, and we will serve God and our community well together.”

Estay shares life with Erdal, his wife of 18 years. They are the proud parents of son Gabriel, age 9, and daughter Liana, age 6.

Featured in Northern Lights, August 3, 2023

NCCSDA.com Wins Prestigious ADDY Award

NCCSDA.com Wins Prestigious ADDY Award 2000 1125 Ken Miller

Part of the NCC’s path to organizational health is to effectively inform, educate, and tell the stories of our churches, schools, and ministries. To do this, a new website was launched in 2020.

The COVID pandemic was a catalyst that accelerated the need for online methods for staying current with news and events. The NCC website was no exception, and its professional look, functionality, and information were revamped with a new look.

Subsequently, the site was entered into the 2022 American Advertising Awards competition, winning an impressive Silver Award. Terrill Thomas, web designer and president of T13 Media, said of the project and award, “It was gratifying to see Christian content, graphics, and web design be recognized for excellence by a secular professional organization.”

The website is constantly updated with important conference information, including employment opportunities, education scholarships, events, and news.

Most recently, the communication and development department has posted an incredible help guide for creating a culture of stewardship in your church. You can visit the website here.

Featured in Northern Lights, July 6, 2023

Summer On The Run Serves Church Youth and Their Neighbors

Summer On The Run Serves Church Youth and Their Neighbors 653 605 Ken Miller

Summer on the Run is the annual summer pop-up day camp program for kids ages 7-13 that travels between churches in Northern California.

It is staffed by a committed group of adults and college/high school-age camp ministry professionals dedicated to providing each camper with a fun, faith-based, and nurturing experience.

The program includes worship, small group activities, big group games, lunch, basketball, and a giant 32′ water slide!

According to Eddie Heinrich, youth director, “Summer on the Run continues to provide safe, friendly, God-centered activities for our youth each summer. It gives youth pastors and churches a unique outreach to their young members and community, regularly drawing in new friends from their communities.”

Featured in Northern Lights, July 6, 2023

Roseville Youth Motivate To Finish The Work

Roseville Youth Motivate To Finish The Work 1954 1025 Ken Miller

“And so, in these days, the young men and young women of the Advent movement have been given an important part to act in the closing drama of earth’s history.” (E.G., White, MYP 7.1)

With the unwavering support and encouragement of their parents and leaders, the Roseville church’s youth group came together to organize a remarkable event called Mission Agape. The purpose of this event was to foster connections and build bridges with individuals of their generation. By taking this initiative, the youth group demonstrated their commitment and dedication to creating a positive, inclusive community that values genuine human connections.

One of the young leaders, Nicole Mann, explained, “I wanted to start Mission Agape because I saw how desperately young Christians needed to feel God’s love. Sometimes it seems the world is against Christians, and it’s easy to be swayed by the world’s current trends. I wanted youth and young adults to come to Mission Agape and feel comfortable worshiping God with other Christians just like them, who are just as passionate about their relationship with Christ.”

The parents helped find musicians and food preparers, while the youth leaders spread the word to reach beyond the usual churchgoers. Mann continued, “I was expecting 40 to 50 of my friends and maybe a few kids from our schools. But over 100 showed up!”

Kalini Fifita, an attendee, stated, “I loved Mission Agape because of its purpose: to spread God’s unconditional love to the youth of our generation. When I heard about what Mission Agape was and what its goal was, I was excited. I said yes immediately with two reasons in mind. The first reason was to bring the people of our generation closer to God through us, and the second was to bring me closer to Him, both of which were accomplished.”

The words and purpose of the Mission Agape event serve as a testament to the sincere dedication of young individuals toward seeking Jesus Christ. They are prepared to take the necessary leap of faith toward a life of positivity and fulfillment. Mann concluded, “The Roseville church is committed to keeping youth engaged and is working with us young people to reach our age group seeking community centered around Christ. Our first Mission was so successful we now have them scheduled for every third Sabbath evening.”

Featured in Northern Lights, June 22, 2023

Bernadette Johnson Retires

Bernadette Johnson Retires 384 504 Ken Miller

June 30- Bernadette Johnson retired from the NCC administration office after 19 years of service.

Johnson joined the NCC in 2004 as a clerk for Golden Gate Academy, where she was a substitute teacher and, eventually, treasurer. In 2007 she moved to the NCC administration offices in Pleasant Hill, where she became the administrative assistant for the ministerial department.

According to Jim Lorenz, ministerial director, “Bernadette knew how churches work, making her an outstanding advocate for pastors. She supported many pastors and churches in their day-to-day operations, and her insightful knowledge, dedication, and humor will be greatly missed.”

Johnson was known to be one step ahead of events throughout the territory, from pastor installations and group convocations to dedications and evangelistic series. Jennifer Kendrick, executive administrative assistant, stated, “I will miss her presence and associated laughter in the office. She was so fun to plan events with and would regularly know all the event’s particulars and have them half-planned in advance!”

Also respected as a spiritual mentor, Yolanda Frazier, administrative assistant to the African American ministries coordinator, said about Johnson, “When I started at the NCC, she took me under her wing and guided me to significant spiritual growth. I will truly miss her and am happy for her next mission with her family.”

Marc Woodson, NCC president, said, “Bernadette truly epitomizes our core values. She has a servant’s heart and is a passionate, hard worker. She always looks to help others, lending a helping hand wherever needed. She will be sorely missed.”

Bernadette and her husband, Willy, call Crowley, Texas, their home. They will enjoy their retirement close to their children and grandchildren.

Featured in Northern Lights, June 15, 2023

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