Developing News in the Northern California Conference

Developing News

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October 6, 2020 - 11:30 a.m.

As of this morning, the Glass Fire and North Complex West fires have destroyed 36 homes belonging to church members and NCC employees. Twenty of these families had homes in the Deer Park area. The Adventist community is surrounding these families and other evacuees with support as all transition from emergency need to recovery.

As we reported earlier, the Glass Fire destroyed Baldwin Hall on the campus of Foothills Adventist Elementary School. The building housed the upper-grades classrooms, music room, library, kitchen, and school office. The other buildings on campus suffered some damage, which will be assessed.

Principal Rob Ingham described the reaction of his school families to a reporter from the Napa Valley Register: “It’s been somewhat stunned; it’s been pretty overwhelmingly sad,” he said. “I’ve also heard … a lot of talk about how we’re family and we take care of each other and work together. As a family, we’ve been through it.” Read the full article and see photos of the area.

As of today, $8,250 has been raised for the NCC Disaster Relief Fund. “Local pastors are our eyes and ears on the ground,” said Laurie Trujillo, director of communication and development. “They are the leaders who are able to identify members and related community who need cash assistance immediately. We have been working closely with the various leaders from both areas.”

To date, 29 families have each received $100 to assist with their basic needs – for a total distribution amount of $2,900. “Today I received another two requests and, thanks to the donors of the Disaster Relief Fund, we are able to respond quickly to their needs,” said Trujillo.

The NCC Disaster Response Team (DRT) is working on plans for a coordinated and effective response to future disasters. “We are still responding to requests from the pastors, but now we are organizing so that we can plan for future response, when (not if) there is a disaster,” said Trujillo. “The 2018 Camp Fire and these current fires tell us that the NCC needs to develop a way to respond quickly and deploy resources to help members and those connected to our churches all over our territory.”

Please continue reading “Northern Lights” for future updates on the work of the NCC DRT.

If you would like to continue assisting current and future survivors of disaster who are members and those connected to a church, make a gift here.

We depend on reports from church members throughout the conference! If you have any information about the impact of fires in your area, please email media@nccsda.com.

October 1, 2020 - 6:30 a.m.

Churches, ministries, and individuals throughout the NCC – and beyond – are stepping forward to offer their support to church members driven from their homes by the four large fires in Northern California. “The NCC is not an office building in Roseville; it’s the 41,000 members spread throughout our territory,” said President Marc Woodson. “We are an interconnected family, so when disaster strikes, it impacts all of us.”

A week before the recent fire outbreak, NCC administrators approved the establishment of a Disaster Relief Fund for members and a Disaster Response Team.

The fund started receiving donations on Sunday. Thanks to many donors from around California, it is currently at $3,700. We have already distributed $700 to seven families, who were identified by the pastors in the Napa Valley area. As of yesterday, St. Helena was placed under an evacuation warning, so the number of families needing immediate assistance will increase. Please consider giving now to the Disaster Relief Fund.

Because the Disaster Response Team is still in the early stages, not all team members have been identified, but so far the team includes the communication and development director, the risk management director, and the Adventist Community Services director. Adventist Laymen's Services & Industries (ASI) Pacific Union President Patti Guthrie is serving as an advisor.

“We want to choose an additional two or three members who will help create the disaster response plan for the NCC,” said Laurie Trujillo, communication and development director, who was forced to evacuate from her home earlier this week.

The team is already working hard to make plans during the current crisis. “It’s like constructing the plane while it’s flying,” she said.

Trujillo, a member of the Disaster Response Team, has been implementing a number of relief efforts for those displaced by the Glass Fire, including:

  • Willie Johnson, African American ministries coordinator/urban ministries director, is working with his churches that have clothing banks to prepare and sort clothes. Napa area evacuees will be able to drive through and pick up bags of clothes sorted by size and gender.
  • Five families received $500 from the NCC Membership Assistance Fund.
  • The Carmichael church, led by Senior Pastor Keith Jacobson, is using their expertise and resources to obtain food staples that Napa area churches can use to prepare hot meals for evacuated members.
  • The Veg Hub restaurant, a support ministry of the NCC, has offered to provide a nutritious lunch for evacuated church members.
  • During the recovery phase of this tragedy, our ABC is offering a significant discount on books to help replace those that have been lost in the fire. The store will also be offering a way to donate to the Disaster Relief Fund when a customer purchases merchandise.
  • Pastors in the Napa Valley area are working together to help church members, Pacific Union College students, and others. “We are all just trying to stay connected with each other, while staying connected with our members,” said The Haven church Pastor Josie Asencio. “We know that this isn’t a ‘me’ thing; this is an ‘us’ thing.”

September 28, 2020 - 11:45 a.m.

Photos: Craig Philpott

To help relieve the emergency needs of disaster victims in our region, please give to the NCC Disaster Relief Fund.

The Glass, Shady, Boysen, Zogg, and North Complex West fires are currently raging throughout the Northern California Conference territory. Beginning at 4 a.m. yesterday and throughout the day, NCC members have been evacuated or are currently evacuating, some with just pajamas.

NCC administrators, directors, and school superintendents are in constant contact with local pastors and educators, who are ministering to members and school families that were forced to evacuate  Local, state, and federal entities are in the areas, and our pastors are ensuring that the evacuated members are connecting to available resources. However, members still have emergency and immediate needs.

“When you hear banging on the door at four in the morning, you know it is never good,” said evacuee Laurie Trujillo, NCC communication and development director. “Adrenaline kicks in, and you grab what you can and drive away. Then, it begins to hit you once you are out of the danger zone. What do I do now? Where do I go? For how long? Many of our members are feeling this right now, especially those who have lost their homes. The next seven days are when emergency and immediate needs begin to crop up, and the NCC has chosen to focus its efforts on helping during this period.”

All donations will be used to meet the immediate and emergent needs of members and then the larger community within the first seven days after disaster strikes. If the Holy Spirit tugs at your heart, please give to the NCC Disaster Relief Fund.

Latest Updates

Although the news changes minute by minute, here is what we know at this time:

Glass, Shady, Boysen Fires

It has been reported that a number of NCC pastors and members have lost their homes in the Glass Fire.

In the Deer Park area, a building on the campus of Foothills Adventist Elementary School (pictured top left) was lost in the fire. Baldwin Hall contained the office, library, music room, and grades 5/6 and 7/8 classrooms. The status of the other buildings on campus is unknown at this time. So far, one staff member and probably three or four school families have lost their homes. “Please pray for our students, our families, and our staff,” said Principal Rob Ingham. “Pray for us as we move forward to go where God is leading us.”

Also located in the Deer Park area, The Haven church’s community building/thrift store (pictured top right) has been lost. As of this morning, Elmshaven, the final home of Ellen White, is still standing. Find out the latest information on the Facebook page Elmshaven Landmark.

Information is still coming in from the Santa Rosa area.

North Complex West Fire
Church members are evacuating, and updates will be coming. Find additional fire news on the Plumas County website.Zogg Fire

Redding church Pastor Robert Fisher reports that the fire came very close to several church members' homes yesterday. News is still coming in.

To find the latest news, please visit Cal Fire. Click to find updates about Adventist Health St. Helena and Pacific Union College.

We depend on reports from church members throughout the conference! If you have any information about the impact of fires in your area, please email media@nccsda.com.

September 27, 2020 - 11:30 a.m.

The Glass Fire started around 4 a.m. this morning as a 20-acre grass fire. It exploded into an 800-acre fire by 6 a.m. As this is a very dynamic situation, we are still collecting reports from our Northern California Conference employees, members, and sister organizations. Click here for updates from Pacific Union College, Adventist Health St. Helena, and Cal Fire.

NCC administrators and school superintendents are in communication with employees affected by the fires. “Yet again we are faced with a potential catastrophe,” said President Marc Woodson. “At this point we have received no reports about any loss of life. We know most of our people listened to officials and safely evacuated. Let us keep this community in our prayers as we continue to monitor the situation.”

Area residents have evacuated for the second time in as many months. Last month, they were forced to evacuate due to the LNU Lightning Complex Fire. Early this morning, Laurie Trujillo, NCC communication and development director, safely evacuated her Angwin home with her daughter. “This is worse than the last time, since the fire is so close, the winds are so strong, the humidity is low, and it is hot,” she said. “However, our first responders are amazing. We need to pray for them as they battle this fire.”

Your help is needed! Please continue to pray and – with the Holy Spirit’s guidance – consider giving to the new NCC Disaster Relief Fund, which will allow us to respond to the immediate and emergency needs of our members and the community within the first seven days of a disaster.

If you have any information about the impact of fires in your area, please email media@nccsda.com.

September 15, 2020 - 2:20 p.m.

Thank you to everyone who has updated us on the effects of the fires in their local areas. So far, we have heard reports that eight NCC families lost homes in the North Complex West Zone Fire (formerly called the Bear Fire). They are members at the Chico, Golden Feather, Oroville, and Paradise churches. Correction: The family in Paradise who lost their home did NOT also lose a home in the Camp Fire. (We regret our error in the previous email.) We also heard that a family lost their home in Pope Valley.

Please join us in praying for these families as they deal with their devastating losses. Let us also continue to pray for the first responders and everyone impacted by the California fires. If you have any information about the impact of fires in your area, please email media@nccsda.com.

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September 11, 2020 - 11:45 a.m.

The North Complex West Zone Fire (formerly the Bear Fire) experienced a quick moving and devastating fire run on Wednesday that forced the immediate evacuation of thousands of residents and caused a number of deaths. (These numbers are changing; find updates on the North Complex Fire.)

Northern California Conference Adventist Community Services Director James Lim has been in contact with leaders of the Oroville, Golden Feather, Paradise, and Chico churches. These leaders are members of the Intra-Church Fire Relief Committee (IRC), which was organized after the 2018 Camp Fire.

This is what we know as of 10 p.m. last night:

Five Oroville church families lost their homes; however because of the evacuation, the final number can’t be determined until members return to the area.

The Golden Feather Church, located in Yankee Hill, is in the evacuation zone, but it is safe for now. Church members are evacuated, but it is unknown at this time if any have lost their homes.

One family in the Paradise church lost their home for the second time. (They also lost their home in the Camp Fire.) According to Paradise church Senior Pastor Steve Hamilton, although threatened, Paradise is still okay, although some located in the southern parts of the town have been evacuated.

There are reports that some members of the Chico church who reside in the Oroville area may have lost their homes, but at this time we have not been able to confirm this.

Fortunately, there are no reported causalities among members in this area. NCC ACS will continue to monitor the situation and report updates. “The members in the area are asking for prayers at this time,” said Lim. “Please join with me as we pray for our members, the first responders, and the entire community.” Find updates on the North Complex Fire.

At this time, the LNU Lightning Complex Fire, which burned 363,220 acres and caused the evacuation of residents in Napa, Sonoma, and Solano Countries, is 95% contained, and most residents have returned home. There are no new reports of lost homes or lives among our church members, NCC employees, and school families. Find updates on the LNU Lightning Complex Fire. 

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August 24, 2020 - 5:30 p.m.

Although wildfires continue to burn in Northern California, as of Aug. 24, 2020, all Northern California Conference employees, churches, schools, and properties are safe. We have heard reports that some members of our NCC family have lost their homes, but we will not know the full extent until evacuation orders are lifted. Some members are temporarily sheltering at NCC churches and schools. Please check out Cal Fire for the latest updates: www.fire.ca.gov/incidents.
NCC schools in the at-risk and evacuated areas have temporarily paused their classes, which started last week. The teachers are making an effort to connect with each of the students on a regular basis during this very stressful time. The NCC education department is working closely with each school and will evaluate options once students and teachers can return home.
Please continue to keep everyone affected by the fires in your prayers, claiming the promise of Isaiah 41:10: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand” (NLT).

The NCC communication department relies on pastors, educators, and church members to provide information about the effects of the fires on local communities. Please keep us informed by emailing media@nccsda.com.

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August 21, 2020 - 11:00 a.m.

Although about 25 wildfires are raging in the Northern California Conference (NCC) territory, as of August 21, 2020, no churches, schools, or properties within the NCC territory have been damaged. Moreover, all pastors, teachers, and conference staff who were ordered to evacuate did so safely.

“We are closely monitoring the situation,” said NCC President Marc Woodson. “Although some of our staff and church members have been displaced, we thank God for keeping them safe.”

Some resident in the Healdsburg area have been evacuated, including one pastor’s family, and  reports from the area are still coming in. However, Rio Lindo Adventist Academy is currently not in danger, and it is outside the evacuation warning zone. “We are safe,” reported science teacher Denise Tonn on Thursday night. “Lots of air support arrived today for the first time, and it was sure good to see them! Best air show ever!”

Out of an abundance of caution, Angwin, Deer Park, and all surrounding communities are under a mandatory evacuation order. However, there is currently no threat to Angwin or Deer Park from the LNU Lighting Complex Fire. According to the Angwin Volunteer Fire Department, the most concerning fire is the Aetna Fire, but it is still posing no threat to the communities on the hill.

Laurie Trujillo, NCC communication and development director, evacuated from her home in Angwin. “For the last two years, the Angwin community and Pacific Union College have been preparing for the inevitable,” she said. “When the order came to evacuate, it was out of an abundance of caution since the fire line was still far enough away, and there was no immediate threat. However, it would only take a shift in the wind, and the situation could drastically change.”

Trujillo noted that last year a three-mile shaded firebreak was built on the prominent ridge between Pope Valley and Angwin, running from Howell Mountain Road to the Las Posadas State Forest. Support for the project came from the local community and state and local governmental agencies. “The firebreak was built to give Angwin and the surrounding communities a fighting chance,” she said.

NCC pastors, educators, and members are keeping the conference informed about the fires in their areas. “The SCU Lightning Complex fire is nipping at the outskirts of Tracy,” reported Tracy church Pastor Tyler Kraft on Thursday night. “All official word has been that the town is safe, but there is an evacuation in one zone on the edge of the city limits.”

Vacaville church member Rhonda Driver drove by her church property late Thursday afternoon. “Our Vacaville Adventist Church [facility] is still standing! Praise the Lord!” she reported.

To keep people informed, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) provides twice-daily incident updates, typically at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Visit www.fire.ca.gov/incidents for maps and other information.

“At this time, we ask our brothers and sisters in Christ to join us as we pray for the continued protection of all, including those on the frontlines who are battling the wildfires,” said Woodson. “We claim the promise in Deuteronomy 31:8 ‘The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’”

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August 20, 2020 - 5:30 p.m.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) provides twice-daily incident updates, typically at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Please visit this site for the latest information: www.fire.ca.gov/incidents.

About 25 fires are raging in counties throughout the Northern California Conference territory, and many of our church members are under evacuation orders. As of this writing, no NCC church, school, or property has been damaged.

Here are some updates from entities within the NCC territory—plus ways to keep informed:

Rio Lindo Adventist Academy is not currently in danger, and it is outside the evacuation warning zone. Find the latest updates from Rio.

Out of an abundance of caution, Pacific Union College is currently under a mandatory evacuation order along with the surrounding communities, including Angwin. There is currently no threat to the college. Keep up with the latest information from PUC.

Adventist Health St. Helena is also under mandatory evacuation order. Read the latest news from Adventist Health St. Helena.

The NCC communication department relies on pastors, educators, and church members to provide information about the effects of the fires on local communities. Please keep us informed by emailing media@nccsda.com. Also, direct any inquiries from news media to media@nccsda.com.

Please pray for the safety of the first responders and all who are impacted by these wildfires. “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV).