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

Young Adult

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

Students Turn Ice and Sugar Into Aid For Maui

Students Turn Ice and Sugar Into Aid For Maui 1893 981 Ken Miller

On August 23, students, alumni, parents, teachers, and grandparents met at Pine Hills Academy to play and watch football.

The event, attended by Paradise Academy, Chico church, and players from several schools, provided an excellent opportunity for several enterprising students with servant’s hearts. Their goal was to raise money for victims of the Maui wildfires.

Students Kylie, Megan, and Audrey demonstrated passionate, hard work by selling shaved ice all morning to over 200 fans. Their efforts benefitted the Maui SDA education fund, and the proceeds were sent through the Hawaii Conference.

Sam Munoz, Pine Hills athletic director, stated, “It’s great to see young people coming together to have fun and support a cause. Our thoughts and prayers continue with our Ohana (family) in Maui.”

Featured in Northern Lights, August 7, 2023

Summer On The Run

Summer On The Run 2000 1125 Ken Miller

The NCC Youth Department recently concluded its Summer on the Run traveling caravan of fun and evangelism.

This annual summer outreach program served almost 800 youth at ten locations throughout our territory. Eddie Heinrich, NCC youth director, stated, “It was an outstanding summer connecting with not only our Adventist kids but countless others in each community we visited.”

One of the larger turnouts the last two summers has been the days spent at the Crescent City church. This year, 124 local children came to play on the waterslide and engage in the activities.

Doors were specially opened when the troupe arrived in Vallejo, California. Heinrich noted, “What began with a cool yet professional reception from the public park system turned enthusiastic when officials realized that we were coming to serve the youth of their community for free. They even cut the fee in half to set up at the park. The Holy Spirit was certainly moving there.”

Heinrich concluded, “The response to this outreach never ceases to amaze me.

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

The Public Face of Our Ministries

The Public Face of Our Ministries 2002 1125 Ken Miller

Northern churches are busy this summer! This can be seen and read on their Facebook pages, websites, and other social media. As part of the NCC’s path to organizational health, a premium is being placed on our churches, schools, and ministries to use their social media tools.

Laurie Trujillo, director of communication and development, states, “Online tools such as websites, Facebook, and Instagram are essential communication tools for our churches. When it comes to reaching the community, our members are only the tip of the iceberg of who we can reach. With social media, we can tell the stories of our ministries, post sermons, and invite communities into our churches. It is the public face of our territory.”

A quick look around the social media accounts of several churches reveals a telling of those stories pictured above, such an essential part of modern ministry and community relevance.

The Auburn church reported holding its first VBS in fifteen years, stating it was a blessing to their volunteers and the 35 children that attended. Across the valley, Pleasant Hill church just finished a week of hosting “Messiah’s Mansion,” a life-size replica of the Mosaic tabernacle that features hosts in period costumes that explain the tabernacle service and its relevance. At LIFE church in Berkeley, they reported” inviting neighbors to help plan activities for “National Night Out,” a nationwide event that encourages and promotes police-community relationships, neighborly activities, and safety. Redwood Campmeeting is chronicling the steps that volunteers go through disassembling and packing away each summer.

All of these stories are testaments to a mission-minded territory. In some cases, these churches and ministries have 1,500 to 3,500 followers who can interact with each story. What a fantastic opportunity and tool to spread the gospel, tell your stories, and reach your online viewers, connecting them to an abundant life in Jesus Christ and preparing them for His soon return!

Featured in Northern Lights, August 10, 2023

Surfing Trip Creates Unity

Surfing Trip Creates Unity 2000 1125 Ken Miller

The Carmichael church has facilitated a mid-summer surfing trip to Santa Cruz for nearly ten years, open to youth and parents.

About sixty surfers, primarily beginners, some experienced, from several churches and schools, attended this year. Even a few recently graduated seniors, and college students made the trek. The surfing, setting, and friendships are a strong glue that makes this trip memorable.

Benji Ferguson, Carmichael church associate pastor, and trip leader, stated, “This trip is super fun and provides a great bonding experience for kids in the summer. Events like this are more than fun; they are important to pastors, teachers, and parents to help connect the church with our young people.”

This spiritual connection is not lost on Sacramento Academy senior ­­­Simon Tache who stated, “Beyond the surfing and hanging out with friends, this trip is time for me to disconnect and reflect on God, nature and find a personal peace.”

Garrison Chaffee, PUC church associate pastor, remarked, “It’s refreshing to worship amidst God’s nature at the beach. Because parents are also invited, it offers a really cool intergenerational experience. We pray these experiences will pay long-term dividends, keeping our students tied to Jesus and their church families.”

Sometimes, when the waves are not big enough or don’t come at all, you can see groups of friends on their boards, linked together and having fun in the ocean. They laugh, splash each other, toss seaweed around, and even pretend to catch waves. But when a great wave comes, ten to fifteen of them paddle hard to catch it, surf it, wipe out, and cheer each other on. One parent watched this all afternoon and commented, “Bonding.”

Chaffee summed up the trip, “I love when youth groups get together because it builds relationships and unity between the students and our churches. It creates meaningful memories that will resonate in each person’s life and hopefully keep them returning to church.”

Featured in Northern Lights, August 3, 2023

Keith Jacobson Retires

Keith Jacobson Retires 765 634 Ken Miller

Keith Jacobson recently announced his retirement as pastor of the Carmichael church. He summed up his 45 years in ministry by saying, “It’s been a career of extraordinary experiences, people, and events that I could never have imagined.”

Jacobson has been a chaplain for Pacific Union College, pastored at Palo Cedro, and finished his career at Carmichael. Not raised in an Adventist home, he pondered, “How did one disconnected kid get to live so many diverse experiences? I was born to a military family and became a pastor; who would have guessed?”

Wherever he worked, Jacobsen remembers two constants: “I worked with incredible associates, youth pastors, lay workers, and members. But one person gets all my respect, my wife, Kari. She brings talents to the table that I don’t have. She’s done the bible studies, the programs, the ministry. And I benefitted from her work, spirituality, and magnetic personality. When I say I’m retiring, I mean that a team is retiring.

Jacobson does not hesitate when asked what retirement has in store. He stated, “There are some opportunities in the works,” but notes that it ‘won’t be far from ministry.’

Featured in Northern Lights, August 3, 2023