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


Joseph O’Connor Ordained

Joseph O’Connor Ordained 912 1049 Ken Miller

On June 22, Joseph O’Connor was ordained at the Sacramento Fijian Church.

Born in the island country of Fiji, O’Connor credits his mother’s gentle guidance with leading him to serve God. His subsequent service in Fiji eventually led him to the United States, where he earned a Master of Divinity from Andrews University and, more recently, a Master of Clinical Pastoral Education.

O’Connor spearheaded the formation of the Sacramento Fijian church and has pastored there since 2009. Jim Lorenz, ministerial director, stated, “Joseph’s ordination is unique and very special as he is the first Fijian pastor to be ordained in a Fijian church, the only one in North America!”

He shares his life with Sotia, his wife of 28 years. They have three children: Job, Ruben, Wise, and a granddaughter, Kama’ya.

Featured in Northern Lights, July 11, 2024

Sonja Cartwright Installed at Santa Rosa

Sonja Cartwright Installed at Santa Rosa 2542 3381 Ken Miller

Sonja Cartwright was recently installed as the associate pastor of the Santa Rosa church.

Cartwright graduated from Sacramento Academy and worked at Leoni Meadows during her college years. She stated, “My love for ministry was gradually defined by working with the campers at Leoni and my conversations with God. I love to share Jesus with people and travel with them on their path, giving youth and young adults the tools to become disciples and disciple-makers.”

Brad Gienger, pastor, remarked, “We’re excited to have Sonja on our team for not only her community-building skills but personality and incredible ability to make God’s word come to life.”

Cartwright recently graduated from Andrews University with a Master of Divinity degree. She says her favorite Bible text is Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Featured in Northern Lights, June 27, 2024

Celebrating Freedom on Juneteenth

Celebrating Freedom on Juneteenth 532 325 Ken Miller

On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, Union General Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas. This day, known as Juneteenth, marked the effective end of slavery in the United States, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The delayed enforcement of emancipation in Texas was a bittersweet reminder of the persistent struggles faced by African Americans even after official decrees of freedom.

Juneteenth quickly became a symbol of liberation and a celebration of African American culture and resilience. In the following years, freedmen and women would gather to commemorate this day with music, food, prayer, and communal support. It was a time to reflect on their journey from bondage to freedom and to honor their ancestors who endured unimaginable hardships.

Juneteenth is important as a memorial in African American communities because it recognizes the end of one of the darkest chapters in American history. It serves as a reminder of the enduring fight for equality and justice. The celebrations are not just about the historical event itself but also about acknowledging the ongoing struggle against systemic racism and honoring the achievements and contributions of African Americans.

Juneteenth has gained wider recognition across the United States in recent years, culminating in its designation as a federal holiday in 2021. This formal acknowledgment has amplified its significance, encouraging more Americans to learn about this crucial part of the nation’s history.

The day stands as a powerful testament to the resilience of the African American community and a call to continue the pursuit of true freedom and equality for all.

Featured in Northern Lights, June 20, 2024


Passionate Hard Workers Ready Redwood

Passionate Hard Workers Ready Redwood 2000 1125 Ken Miller

Over Memorial Day weekend, over 60 dedicated volunteers gathered at Redwood Camp Meeting grounds for the annual spring cleanup. Harry Salvini, camp director, stated, “The wonderful redwood trees that make our campground so special also create challenging obstacles, namely fallen limbs, leaves, and toppled trees. We are grateful for the work this group accomplished over the weekend!”

With high grasses to be mowed, mountains of branches to be cleared, brush to be cut and downed trees to be removed, the volunteers worked tirelessly to prepare the grounds for the upcoming July 21-27 camp meeting. Jennifer Shaw, camp secretary, noted, “We’re attributing the overwhelming turnout this weekend to the camp’s increased interactions on social media, our dedicated church Ambassadors, and the camp’s new website nccsda.com/rac .”

The increase in volunteers follows the trend in current pre-registration totals, up 30% over last year. Salvini exclaimed, “We are thrilled that young and old families are choosing to come to Redwood this summer!”

One volunteer said, “This weekend was a fantastic family getaway. Everyone pitched in on important projects and enjoyed potlucks and free campsites with coworkers.” The consensus was that the work and camaraderie left everyone feeling satisfied, knowing that they had contributed to preserving the grounds. It was an enriching experience for all involved.

Shaw concluded, “We are excited to see growth in Redwood’s attendance this year. I believe that with Northern California Conference’s excellent programming, marketing support and the spirit of unity, hard work, and dedication displayed during the cleanup weekend. God can achieve great things when people come together for a common cause.”

Redwood Camp Meeting, scheduled for July 21-27, promises to be an enriching and uplifting experience for all who attend. For more information, visit nccsda.com/rac.

Featured in Northern Lights, June 13, 2024

Cheryl Peckham Joins NCC

Cheryl Peckham Joins NCC 3543 4157 Ken Miller

Cheryl Peckham recently joined the NCC Gift Planning and Trust Services department as Associate Treasurer.

Peckham was recently an Audit Specialist with the General Conference, a job she held for twelve years. She noted, “I am excited to have joined the Property and Trust Department at Northern California Conference. I look forward to working with a winning team. God is good!

Richard Magnusson, Director of Gift Planning and Trust Services, stated, “We are very pleased to have Cheryl join our Planned Giving/Trust Services team. Her depth of accounting knowledge and experience will benefit not only our ministry but also the many members who have partnered with us to plan gifts that will support the ministry for generations to come.”

Peckham spends her life with David, her husband of 49 years. They have two adult daughters, two sons-in-law, and three grandchildren.

Featured in Northern Lights, May 9, 2024

Jonas Baca Installed

Jonas Baca Installed 897 576 Ken Miller

Jonas Baca was installed on April 13 as the new district pastor of the San Leandro Spanish Church and Richmond Spanish Company.

Baca worked extensively in Honduras and Costa Rica, helping to establish several church plants before moving to the United States. He joins the NCC from the Potomac Conference, where he has served since 2004.

Baca explained, “I have a deep passion for reaching souls and bringing them to Jesus. Much of my zeal is for training and equipping lay members to plant and grow community churches. I thank God, the NCC, the San Leandro Spanish Church, and Richmond Spanish Company for opening their arms with sincere hearts full of gratitude and love.

Paul Guevara, Hispanic Ministries Coordinator, stated, “Pastor Roca brings a vibrance to the San Leandro and Richmond Spanish churches. He is a proven church builder and embodies our core values, leading people to an abundant life in Jesus Christ.”

Baca shares his life with Lidia, his wife of twenty-two years. They are the loving parents of two teenage children, Elliebeth, 18, and Jonah, 17.

Featured in Northern Lights, April 25, 2024

A Service Journey

A Service Journey 3834 2197 Ken Miller

Sixty-nine NCC educators and pastors, each boasting 25 years or more in service, were honored during the recent Mark Blue Lecture Series.

Each recipient was presented with a distinguished service pin commemorating their unwavering commitment to ministry.

Reflecting on this remarkable milestone, Jose Marin, NCC Executive Secretary, remarked, “We are privileged to celebrate the remarkable dedication of our pastors, teachers, and principals who have devoted their careers to serving Jesus within the Northern California Conference.”

25 Years of Service

Melbert Baga, Owen Bandy, Shawn Brummund, Jaime Calvo, David Carreon, Heather Denton, Jason Eyer, John Gilley, Robert Kurtz, Linda Lamb, Janice Leigh, Donald Mackintosh, JoAnn Moon, Lisa Nuss, Ira Parrish, Ricardo Rincon, Michael Rosich, Michael Thompson, Aubrey Scarbrough, Darren Smith, Susan Walters. James Wood Jr., Glen Wahlman

30 Years of Service

Tania Duncan, Tonya Greenwood, David Goymer, Vernon Jeske, Timothy Judson, Robert Kearbey, Hyun Kim, Esther Melgar, Guadalupe Negrete, Jerry Nelson, Lyly Nguyen, J Williams, Gerald Speyer, Tamara Turk, Cheryl Wood,

35 years of Service

Thomas Adams, Edwin Brown, Frederick Dana, Bradley Davis, Kris Dunlap, Walter Groff, George Hilton, Carole LeBarre, John Linhares, Richard Maloon, Robert Mason, Albert Miller, Richard Nelson, Robert Robinson

40 years of Service

Douglas Brown, Daniel Freedman, George Jackson, Nancy Matthews, Lisa Paulson, David Peckham, James Pedersen, Dorothy Phelps, Mason Philpot, Ronald Pickell, Larry Unterseher, David Vixie, Marvin Wray, Bruce Yingling

Data from the NCC Secretariat

Featured in Northern Lights, April 11, 2024

Uniting Teachers, Pastors, and Principals for Mission-driven Collaboration

Uniting Teachers, Pastors, and Principals for Mission-driven Collaboration 2000 1125 Ken Miller

NCC is committed to supporting our entities in becoming relevant to their communities, mission-driven, and organizationally healthy. One of the key foundations to achieving this is cultivating trust, which is essential to our collaborative efforts. It empowers us to fulfill our mission with integrity and effectiveness.

The NCC wishes to foster a culture of collaboration, innovation, and excellence through initiatives such as the Mark Blue Series. This annual event brings together teachers, pastors, and principals in a unique effort to coordinate ministry and promote collaboration. It serves as a rallying point for our team, uniting us with a singular purpose of connecting people to an abundant life with Jesus Christ and preparing them for His Second Coming.

This year’s Mark Blue Series was particularly impactful. It introduced a practical productivity tool, the Working Genius. Rooted in harnessing personal work styles to build trust and enhance teamwork, the Working Genius framework gave our attendees invaluable insights into effective planning processes and collaborative leadership development.

With over 200 individuals in attendance, the event served as a dynamic platform for learning and growth. Participants delved into strategies for creating and managing leadership teams, emphasizing the importance of clear communication, effective change management, and organizational alignment at the local level.

At its core, the NCC believes in the power of unity—a shared commitment to rowing in the same direction toward our collective mission. By equipping our members and employees with the tools and resources needed to be engaged and enthusiastic ambassadors for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, we are cultivating a culture of purpose-driven excellence within our organization.

Featured in Northern Lights, April 11, 2024

The Precipice of Eternity

The Precipice of Eternity 2028 1086 Ken Miller

On March 1-2, The Northern California Conference, in collaboration with the Pacific Union’s Church State Council, sponsored a Religious Liberty Summit at Pacific Union College.

Distinguished speaker Dwight Nelson delivered a powerful message: “We live on the precipice of eternity and must not sleep through these critical times.” Throughout the two-day summit, Nelson underscored the growing trend of political and religious leaders attempting to combine church and state power.

Religious liberty has been a focal point of the NCC, co-sponsoring similar events for several years. Jose Marin, NCC Executive Secretary, expressed, “I was encouraged to see collegiates participate in this religious liberty summit. They are engaged in understanding the times we live in and how we can be agents of love and freedom to our community.”

Throughout the weekend, Nelson outlined essential goals for navigating this challenging trend. He urged staying focused on Jesus, extending grace, radiating joy, extending assistance to the unhoused, embracing migrants, and staying relevant in society—all cornerstone practices of leading people to an abundant life in Jesus Christ.

Featured in Northern Lights, March 14, 2024

New Women’s Ministries Director Selected

New Women’s Ministries Director Selected 2316 3041 Ken Miller

We are pleased to welcome Lisa Marsh, MSW, as our next NCC Women’s Ministry Director.

As a distinguished speaker and graduate of Loma Linda University, Lisa has over 25 years of experience as a California Public Child Welfare System social worker. For over a decade, she has secured “forever homes” for hundreds of foster children throughout California.

In 2015, Lisa joined the faculty in the Division of Social Work at California State University-Sacramento, where she teaches and trains future social workers. She is currently the Director of Field Education. She truly enjoys preparing, guiding, and coaching individuals as they transition from social work students to competent and ethical social work professionals.

In addition to her professional career, Lisa is passionate about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, particularly with women in various seasons of life.

Expressing her enthusiasm for her new role, Marsh emphasized her heartfelt desire for women to recognize and embrace God’s intentional love for them. She firmly believes that God sees, redeems, restores, and loves each woman as His daughters—young or seasoned, married or single, working or stay-at-home, broken or victorious. Her goal is to encourage and equip women to overcome shame, self-doubt, and fear and live their lives to the fullest potential of their God-appointed roles with courage and confidence through Jesus Christ.

Marc Woodson, NCC President, expressed his delight in Marsh’s selection, affirming her as a valuable addition to the NCC team. With her extensive experience and commitment to women’s empowerment, Marsh is poised to impact the ministry’s initiatives and outreach efforts significantly.

Outside her professional endeavors, Marsh finds fulfillment in her family life. She shares a loving bond with her husband of 26 years, Gerald, and they cherish the joys of raising their children, Hannah, Noah, and Paige.

As Marsh steps into her new role, her dedication to serving women with compassion and understanding will inspire and uplift countless lives within the NCC community and beyond.

Featured in Northern Lights, March 21, 2024