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

Young Adult

Carmichael VBS a Bustling Circus of Activity

Carmichael VBS a Bustling Circus of Activity 3989 2531 Ken Miller

Each summer, many churches in our territory offer Vacation Bible School. The annual community outreaches are a testament to faithful tithe givers and generous donations.

The Carmichael Church Vacation Bible School (VBS) has a rich tradition of serving community children while enriching the lives of youth and adult volunteers. Recently, junior high and high school students gathered daily to teach, share joy in singing, and worship with over 100 younger children.

Youth pastor Benji Ferguson highlighted their program’s dual benefits: “Our VBS allows both youth and adult church members to invite neighborhood families to our church for a fun and edifying experience. It’s also a great opportunity for our volunteers to tap into their spiritual gifts by decorating rooms, learning storylines, acting, and disciplining every child entering their station.”

Associate pastor and VBS coordinator Melissa Howell expressed her pride in the Carmichael team: “Every day, VBS is a joy, a blessing, and a bustling circus of activity. I couldn’t be more proud of the event we put on.” This sentiment was echoed by many youth volunteers. Sophomore Kian exclaimed, “I love working with the kids and being part of why they are having fun.” Freshman Melody added, “I love how excited everyone is to learn about God.”

The summer tradition’s positive and welcoming atmosphere attracts a diverse audience, including a single father who had just moved to the area with his two young children. After seeing the outdoor sign on the church lawn, he brought his children every night.

Ferguson concluded, “It is a privilege to teach and learn from our volunteers. They understand the church’s mission to serve the community, and each uses their creativity and talents to show God’s love. I can’t wait for VBS next summer!”

Did your church have a VBS program this year? Take our short survey and tell us about it!

Featured in Northern Lights, July 11, 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


Community Connects Over Tea and Pastries

Community Connects Over Tea and Pastries 2000 1125 Ken Miller

On May 5th, the Women’s Ministry Council at the Placerville Church hosted 170 women at its 5th Annual Women’s Ministry Tea. The annual event is dedicated to serving and connecting women of all generations. Each year, guests are encouraged to contribute to local community projects.

Stefi Affron, volunteer, reflected on the event, saying, “This year’s Women’s Tea was a true celebration of inclusivity, with women from 11 different Adventist churches, some traveling from as far as Yreka and Loma Linda.” The diversity was evident, with 30 returning attendees from the local foothill area. Ten women who came had never attended an event at Placerville Church.

Affron concluded with heartfelt words, “Our yearly tea is one of the many ways our church reaches out to serve and support the women in our community. It’s a beautiful reminder of the strength and unity of sharing love and kindness.” She emphasized that it is more than just an event; it is a celebration of community, faith, and the transformative power of collective kindness.

Featured in Northern Lights, June 13, 2024

Thrilling Matches Create Enduring Community Connections

Thrilling Matches Create Enduring Community Connections 1872 971 Ken Miller

The Federación de Jóvenes Adventistas (Federation of Adventist Youth—FeJA) recently organized an indoor soccer tournament at the Golden Gate Academy gymnasium. Approximately 200 Adventist and non-Adventist guests participated in a spirited competition and community bonding day.

Ruben Vargas, district pastor of Napa, St. Helena, and Sonoma Spanish churches, stated, “FeJA organizes three to four tournaments yearly at several different churches according to the church’s capability and schedule.”

The Golden Gate edition showcased thrilling matches and featured a delightful spread of freshly prepared food generously provided by the San Leandro Spanish Church. The crowning moment of the tournament came as the Richmond Spanish team emerged victorious, clinching a remarkable 4-0 win against Lodi Spanish in the final match.

The success of these events is a testament to the meticulous planning and unwavering dedication of the FeJA team, as well as the invaluable support of local youth leaders and pastors. Vargas stated, “All pastors that are part of the Hispanic ministries team are affiliated with FeJA. Their dedication and collaborative efforts have enriched the participants’ lives and sown the seeds for enduring connections and meaningful relationships within the community.

Featured in Northern Lights, June 6, 2024

A Town’s Passionate Hard Work

A Town’s Passionate Hard Work 2000 1125 Ken Miller

On April 19, the Paradise Church hosted its bi-annual event, Love Paradise. This event brought together volunteers from Paradise area schools, churches, non-profits, and residents for a day of community service.

Over 300 volunteers tackled seven area projects, including cleaning debris and yard waste from several parks. They targeted the main thoroughfare of Paradise by picking up trash, weeding, and other beautification tasks.

Paradise Adventist Academy students served at a local center that provides housing for mentally and physically disabled persons who have experienced homelessness. Students prepped and planted garden beds with new flowers and vegetables.

A church volunteer stated, “Enthusiasm and volunteerism continue to increase each time Love Paradise is held. It is an important community service opportunity to share the love of Jesus through service.”

Featured in Northern Lights, May 16, 2024

Lauren Heinrich Joins Education Department

Lauren Heinrich Joins Education Department 2146 2658 Ken Miller

Lauren Heinrich recently joined the NCC as the School Mental Health Clinician. She will spearhead this new counseling program to enhance mental health among NCC students.

A graduate of Loma Linda University earning a Master of Arts, Associate Marriage and Family Therapy degree, Heinrich is enthusiastic about her role, stating, “As a therapist, my goal is to be a person who can genuinely invest in others. Therapy provides a safe space to share your story, create goals, and receive direction for a positive outcome. I am very excited to participate in this student service.”

Growing up at Leoni Meadows and working with children helped guide her career path. Substitute teaching at Chico and Paradise schools after the Camp Fire and being around the Abba’s Children grief camp at Leoni further honed her desire for a career with youth.

Albert Miller, Education Superintendent, stated, “Lauren’s passion for young people and her services will be integral to providing positive mental health counseling for our students. We are excited about the program and her contribution to it.”

Heinrich’s duties will extend beyond the academic year. She will also serve as the Assistant Summer Camp Director at Leoni Meadows during school breaks, her childhood home.

Featured in Northern Lights, April 4, 2024
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Young Women Organize to Serve

Young Women Organize to Serve 1895 981 Ken Miller

Recently, the Young Women’s Ministry gained a new and passionate organizer, Sophia Suisala, a member of the Antioch Church.

Suisala stated, “This ministry for young women, ages 17-25, has languished since the pandemic. But recently, our core group has been meeting in person and online to outline our goals and move forward. I am very excited!” It was in these small meetings that the team developed a mission statement to “Love God, Love Yourself, and Serve Others.”

Suisala continued, “Our team is dedicated to creating an atmosphere of inclusivity for all young women while still being authentic to who they are as individuals.” The team is working collaboratively to create a newsletter that champions the contributions of young ladies in creative ministries, serving others, social activism, and entrepreneurial pursuits.

The core group has committed to visiting churches throughout the NCC to grow the ministry and help young women organize and serve their community together.

Featured in Northern Lights, March 14, 2024

Good Things Come in Sevens

Good Things Come in Sevens 5184 3456 Ken Miller

Recently, Pleasant Hill Academy had an impactful fall week of prayer.

Placerville Church Associate Pastor Leif Cano spent the week with students, sharing a themed message of God’s acceptance. The daily messages resonated with seven students who committed to be baptized.

Jea, one of the seven, retold her experience, “During the week, I hadn’t considered being baptized, but as the sermons continued, I began praying, asking the Lord to talk to me. And he did. I was on the edge of my seat, not knowing what to do when pastor Cano called for baptism.”

The Holy Spirit was urging Jea to join the six others already standing. Yet she could not bring herself to do so. Cano looked out at the six standing students and exclaimed, “There is a seventh person who wishes to be baptized today.” Hearing this, Jea’s tears began to flow because, as she exclaimed, “I knew I was the seventh person.”

Before Christmas break, two students were baptized at the Vallejo Central Church and two at Pleasant Hill Church. The other three have scheduled their dates for the New Year.

A proud and grateful parent commented, “We praise God for the decisions these seven made and the role that our schools play in the salvation of young people.”

Featured in Northern Lights, January 4, 2023

Catrina LeSure Ordained

Catrina LeSure Ordained 1983 1197 Ken Miller

September 23, Catrina LeSure was ordained at the Palo Cedro Church.

Her father gushed in his introduction, “Catrina has loved the Lord from a very young age. With that came a desire to serve others. As a result, she graduated from Andrews University with a degree in Education.”

Her first job out of college was a junior-high teaching position, and while she loved the kids and being their teacher, it fueled a desire to go deeper. She returned to Andrews, studied for the ministry, and pursued service as a pastor.

After entering ministry in Idaho, she answered the call to the Palo Cedro church, where she is currently the youth pastor.

Marc Woodson, NCC president, praised, “We are very proud of Catrina today; she has served the Lord well and served with courage, and we are glad she is a part of the NCC.”

Featured in Northern Lights, October 5, 2023

A Perfect Fall Picnic

A Perfect Fall Picnic 2002 1125 Ken Miller

NCC teachers, pastors, employees, and their children came out on Sunday, September 24, to the annual employee appreciation picnic held at Sacramento Adventist Academy (SAA).

Planned and organized by the NCC administration and staff, the shady schoolyard was festooned with culinary delights and activities for all ages. Carmichael Cougar Pathfinder Club provided enough corndogs and their secret recipe tartar sauce to please a baseball crowd. Sacramento Spanish Pathfinders offered an eclectic buffet of Mexican foods and salsas. Sacramento Slavic brought their food trailer serving варе́ники and налисники (pierogis and blintzes) complimented with gourmet ice cream and drinks.

NCC Youth Director Eddie Heinrich, son, Kyler, and SAA students enthusiastically monitored a sea of children as they frolicked in the bouncy house, the massive inflatable obstacle course, and the famous climbing wall. A fierce game of nine-square-in-the-air seemed to have no end as children jumped and hit the ball.

Pastors, teachers, and staff from as far away as Redding conversed and laughed, relaxed at picnic tables, enjoying the complimentary fare. Friendly conversations and kids’ laughter were intermixed with more competitive gamers bouncing from table to table, stirring interest in the softball game or pickleball court.

Marc Woodson, NCC president stated, “I want to thank our directors and staff that planned this event and worked tirelessly to make it happen. I also wish to acknowledge our NCC employees who connect people daily to an abundant life in Jesus.”

Featured in Northern Lights, October 5, 2023