Pacific Union “All God’s People,” September 4, 2020 S4:E35

In this week’s episode:

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month—
September is Hispanic Heritage Month! From September 15 to October 15 every year in the United States, we honor the contributions of Latino and Hispanic communities with the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month—highlighting their diversity, culture, and traditions. Beginning in mid-September, the celebrations coincide with national independence days in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile.

Hispanic Heritage Month “pays tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society,” according to HispanicHeritageMonth.gov.
Learn more facts about Hispanic Heritage Month via the links below.
Hispanic Heritage Month: https://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/about/
Ways to Celebrate: https://nationaltoday.com/hispanic-heritage-month/

La Sierra Spanish Church Adapts Worship—
Programs, Seeks to Meet Needs During Pandemic
At La Sierra Spanish church in Riverside, California, the congregation and pastoral staff are stepping up in new ways during the pandemic. Food banks, drive-in vespers services, online streaming of church services, helping each other, providing resources and services to the community: these are just some of the ways this one church is reaching out and connecting. And the story is replicated week after week in Hispanic churches across our union. Watch outdoor programs from the La Sierra Spanish Church on their YouTube and Facebook pages via the links below.
La Sierra Spanish (Facebook)
https://www.facebook.com/LaSierraSpanishSDA/videos/?ref=page_internal
La Sierra Spanish (YouTube)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiqtaEEL7wwHaNrrpQgEMPA/videos

Mental Health Series for Teens—
The Hispanic and African American communities have been especially hard hit by the pandemic. We have resources listed below to help those affected by COVID-19. Please take a moment to check out these informative resources, as well as a brand new resource from the NAD Youth & Young Adult Ministries department, specifically for teens. If you know a teen who is struggling with mental health issues or you want to be prepared to minister to teens in your church, this is a wonderful new series of booklets on depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, getting help, recovery tools, brain training, and staying healthy. Visit the link below to learn more and purchase the whole set or individual titles.
NAD Mental Health Series: https://www.adventsource.org/store/youth-ministries/new-leaders/mental-health-series-set-of-7-40423

COVID-19 Resources—
Pacific Union College: https://www.puc.edu/news/coronavirus-updates-and-resources
La Sierra University: https://lasierra.edu/covid-19/information-for-students/
Resource List for Families and Individuals: https://mailchi.mp/0548ee481659/resources-you-can-use?e=8968632ea8
Adventist Education: https://adventisteducation.org/covid-19.html

Resources for Kids from Jesus 101—
If you’re looking for fun and creative ways to engage your children or grandchildren, check out the resources Jesus 101 Biblical Institute developed for kids! Jesus 101 features animated videos to help kids discover Jesus in the Bible—a terrific resource for churches, schools, and families. Each 90-second video tells a Bible story in a fun and instructive way and has a coordinating coloring page that kids can download and color at home! Links to the website and how to order the complete coloring book below.
Jesus 101 for Kids: https://jesus101.tv/4kids/
Coloring Book: https://jesus101.tv/store/discovering-jesus-in-the-bible-coloring-book/

Pacific Union Hosts Hearts and Hands Online Art Show for Kids Thanking Frontline Workers—
The Pacific Union is hosting an awesome new online art show for kids. So many people are working hard to help keep us safe and connected during the coronavirus pandemic! Kids, you can show your appreciation by drawing a picture of someone who has been a helper—and then submit it to the Hearts and Hands Online Art Show!

Who do you want to say thank you to with your drawing? A teacher? A police officer? Your doctor? Your Pathfinder leader? Your mom or dad?

We’re inviting kids aged 13 or younger who live in the Pacific Union and are part of our Adventist community of churches and schools to celebrate the blessings we all receive from the professionals and volunteers who are helping during this extraordinary time. Check out the gallery and submission page via the links below.
Gallery: https://adventistfaith.com/pacific-union-hearts-and-hands/
Submit Artwork: https://adventistfaith.com/pacific-union-hearts-and-hands-submission-form/

~ ~ ~

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
–Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

2020-08-31T21:42:16-07:00August 31st, 2020|All Gods People|

Singing in the Choir

by Connie Vandeman Jeffery
 

Now that I can’t, I want to sing in a church choir. I used to love being in a choir. From singing alto in academy choirs, to being one of eight University Singers at La Sierra back in the ’70s, to traveling all over Scandinavia with the Newbold College Men’s Chorus in the spring of 1977, I loved everything about being part of the group singing experience.
 
I didn’t actually sing in the Men’s Chorus. Two other girls and I made up the women’s trio that sang several special numbers interspersed in the choral program, and we joined the men at the close of each concert. It was quite an experience. We stayed with Adventist families at every church, sanitarium, or school campus where we sang—all over Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. The girls always stayed together in the same home. The men were shuffled to different homes or dorms, or they slept on the floor of auditoriums. What did I love about that trip? The scenery, the fjords, the food, the gracious people, and the singing! I loved the harmony and synergy we had as a trio. Our signature piece was in Latin—Laudate Dominum by Mozart.
 
It was the ultimate choir experience for me. And I haven’t been part of a choir since then.
 
Some churches where I have been a member didn’t have a choir. Some did. Last Christmas, I joined the Camarillo church choir in singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” at the close of the service. The choir director invited members to come to the front and join the choir for the classic, inspiring conclusion of the Messiah. It felt awesome to be part of a real choir again. But mostly, I sit in the pew, holding the church hymnal in my hand or looking at the words of praise songs on the screen and singing my heart out with the rest of the congregation.
 
And right now, singing together is not only discouraged, it’s downright dangerous. According to Dr. James Hamblin, “A general rule for minimizing the spread of any respiratory virus: Silence is safer than whispering. Whispering is safer than talking. Talking is safer than singing.”
 
Even when churches are allowed to re-open, there will be guidelines to follow regarding singing—no shared hymnals, no choirs, no congregational singing. And I totally understand the wisdom and science of it. It just makes me sad. Not that I belonged to a choir before the pandemic. But I’d like to have that option once again.
 
So, I sing alone. With my guitar, in my house, strumming and humming. Or I sit at the piano and play hymns or classical pieces from 50-year-old piano books. I am so rusty on the piano, but the past few months of practice is helping. The melodies are beautiful, and I feel a sense of peace when my house is filled with music.
 
In the midst of my musical ponderings, my friend Lonnie sent me a snippet from his devotional reading. He often does that—sends me notes of encouragement and shares what he reads in the mornings. This one came by email last week and struck a chord with me. Henry Ward Beecher, the great Congregationalist minister and social reformer of the 1800s, wrote this in A Song of the Heart:
 

We can sing away our cares easier than we can reason them away. The birds are the earliest to sing in the morning; the birds are more without care than anything else I know of. Sing in the evening. Singing is the last thing that robins do…. O, that we might sing every evening and morning, and let song touch song all the way through! O, that we would put song under our burden! Then sad things would not poison so much. When troubles come, go at them with song. When griefs arise, sing them down. Lift the voice of praise against cares. Praise God by singing; that will lift you above trials of every sort. Attempt it. They sing in heaven; and among God’s people on earth, song is the appropriate language of Christian feeling.

 
What a concept! Even when we cannot sing together, we can sing alone—morning, noon, and night. We can lift our own individual voices of praise against cares and worries. We can carry a song in our heart. I cannot reason away these times in which we live. But I can sing. I may join a Zoom choir or wait until I can join an in-person choir when it is safe to do so, but until then, I’ll continue to lift my voice alone, and with the birds, in thanksgiving for my gracious Savior and the gift of music He gave to me.
 
Laudate Dominum—Praise the Lord!
 
Connie Vandeman Jeffery is the host of All God’s People, a weekly short video series highlighting the people and ministries of the Pacific Union Conference, and has had a long career in media.
 

2020-08-30T11:53:39-07:00August 31st, 2020|Living God's Love|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” August 28, 2020 S4:E34

In this week’s episode of All God’s People:

Northern and Central California Fires Prompt Adventist Entities and Institution Evacuations—

As fires continue to ravage Northern and Central California, we are praying earnestly for all those affected in our Pacific Union community of believers. As of Tuesday, August 25, several Adventist entities and institutions in Northern California were still under evacuation orders due to wildfires that began when an unusual heat wave and storms in the region produced more than 10,000 lightning strikes.

At the time of this All God’s People episode taping, reports reveal that containment of the LNU Lightning Complex Fire is proceeding slowly, but several of our institutions are still being impacted. Many residents have been evacuated, including those living on and near the campus of Pacific Union College. St. Helena Hospital, part of the Adventist Health network, has evacuated patients to nearby medical facilities.

The LNU Lightning Complex Fire is a “group” of fires burning in the same region that were sparked by lightning. For a complete update on the fire situation throughout California, visit the link below. And check below for the latest updates on our members and institutions. Our hearts and prayers go out to our members, students, faculty, and staff who have been affected by the fires.

Fire updates: https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents
Pacific Union College: https://www.puc.edu/news/archives/2020/puc-response-to-lightning-complex-fires
Adventist Health St. Helena: https://www.adventisthealth.org/blog/2020/august/adventist-health-st-helena-and-most-clinics-are-/
Central California Conference: https://www.centralcaliforniaadventist.com/

Conferences Host Virtual Retreats—

In the midst of the pandemic and firestorms, several conferences and churches are holding virtual prayer retreats, evangelistic series, and even a Week of Encouragement. 2020 has been a rough year—there’s no doubt about that. We could all use a little encouragement!

From August 1st–8th, Southern California Conference sponsored a virtual Week of Encouragement. Great preaching, beautiful music, and powerful testimonies encouraged members from around the conference and union. Each nightly episode is available on YouTube. Watch online via the link below!

Northern California Conference is hosting a virtual prayer retreat this weekend—Aug. 28th and 29th. Co-hosted with the Washington Conference, the keynote speaker is Randy Maxwell, pastor of the Renton, Wash. church. It’s entitled “Bring Back the Glory.” Details on how you can be a part of this retreat via the link below.

Week of Encouragement: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLi2z6y8W424IRfm5SNPi5osWfsnVn7y3j
NCC Virtual Prayer Retreat: https://nccsda.com/prayer-ministries/

Hollywood Adventist Church Provides Showers for Community—

A story that we love comes from Hollywood Adventist church, which sits in the heart of Los Angeles. L.A. has one of the country’s largest homeless populations, and estimates are projecting that COVID-19 will lead to tens of thousands more becoming homeless in L.A. County. At Hollywood Adventist church, the Compassion Connection ministry is well-positioned to meet the needs of the community. The Shower of Hope, the Kohler Company, and Adventist Health are all working with the Compassion team to provide mobile showers, staffing, personal care products, and funding to serve the incredible need in the central Los Angeles area. You can read this story in the August Recorder. Thank you, Hollywood Adventist church for answering God’s call to extend His warm embrace to others!

Compassion Connection: http://www.hollywoodsda.org/city/ministry-of-compassion/

Drive-In Communion Hosted at Oakland, Calif. Church—

Market Street church in Oakland, Calif., has found a wonderfully creative way to celebrate communion. On Sabbath, August 22, the church hosted a “drive-in communion” at Golden State Academy for church members—a socially-distanced, safe, and reverent way to commemorate what the Lord did for us. “This do in remembrance of Me,” said the pastor, as they prayed over the bread representing Christ’s body. A beautiful service. And a wonderful idea for other congregations to do! Thank you, Market Street!

Market Street Church: https://www.marketstreetsdachurch.com/
Drive-In Communion: https://www.facebook.com/themightymarketstreet/videos/303064677454682/?extid=TPVaG3XsWUI0c4Fv

~ ~ ~

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
–Isaiah 40:31

2020-08-27T07:45:03-07:00August 26th, 2020|All Gods People|

“Remember the Ladies”

by Ray Tetz
 
Women’s Equality Day is celebrated in the United States on August 26 to commemorate the 1920 adoption of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex.
 
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, listed below are the names of 50 American women—all born before the year 1900—who were dedicated to the cause of equality and justice.
 
These women were daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers. Authors, educators, activists, and organizers. Some were born into privilege; some were born into slavery. Many of these were women of faith.
 
Across the decades of struggle that eventually led to the passage of the 19th Amendment, these women were among those who supported racial justice, the temperance movement to control the impact of alcohol, human rights, and the labor movement. While working together to secure the vote, women also helped define American democracy and the meaning of citizenship—and our lives.
 
Through their lives and work they asked the hard questions about class inequity, racial injustice, and the plight of the poor. And they did not give up. Their faith in God, their belief in the potential of humanity to grow and be transformed, and their commitment to the ideals of equality and freedom fueled the engines of change. Many of the ways in which we live our lives today are because of their vision and persistence.
 
In 1776, Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, who would eventually become the second president of the United States, was in Braintree, Massachusetts, raising their four children, living in a war zone, and doing everything she could to protect her family from a smallpox epidemic that was ravaging the countryside. In the midst of a busy and difficult life, she sent a letter to her husband, urging him and the other (male) leaders to be mindful of the needs of the women of the fledgling nation. “Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors,” she wrote.
 
As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women’s right to vote, we also “Remember the Ladies,” and honor them for the vision and inspiration that has so powerfully shaped American life.
 
1. Abigail Smith Adams (b. 1744) Early advocate for women’s rights; confidant and advisor to her husband John Adams, the nation’s second president; opposed slavery and supported women’s education.

2. Emma Hart Willard (b. 1787) Educator and pioneer women’s rights activist.

3. Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (b. 1788) Writer, activist, and editor.

4. Lucretia Mott (b. 1793) Abolitionist, women’s rights activist, and social reformer; co-organizer of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention.

5. Mary Mason Lyon (b. 1797) Educator and activist; pioneer in women’s education who established the institutions that became Wheaton College and Mount Holyoke College.

6. Sojourner Truth (c. 1797) Former slave, famed orator, abolitionist, and women’s rights activist.

7. Margaret Fuller (b. 1810) Advocate for women’s education, author.

8. Abby Kelley (b. 1811) Opponent of slavery, women’s rights activist, one of the first women to voice views in public speeches.

9. Harriet Beecher Stowe (b. 1811) Influential author and activist.

10. Elizabeth Cady Stanton (b. 1815) Social activist, abolitionist, suffragist, organizer of 1848 Women’s Rights Convention, co-founder of National Woman Suffrage Association and International Council of Women

11. Lucy Stone (b. 1818) Orator, one of the initiators of the first National Women’s Rights Convention, founder of Woman’s Journal, force behind the American Woman Suffrage Association.

12. Amelia Bloomer (b. 1818) Advocate of women’s issues, suffragist, publisher and editor of The Lily.

13. Julia Ward Howe (b. 1818) Suffragist, writer, organizer.

14. Susan B. Anthony (b. 1820) Prominent opponent of slavery; played a pivotal role in the 19th-century women’s rights movement to introduce women’s suffrage into the United States.

15. Isabella Beecher Hooker (b. 1822) Leader, lecturer, and activist in the American suffragist movement.

16. Harriet Tubman (c. 1822) Escaped slave, abolitionist, Underground Railway operative, scout, spy, and activist.

17. Grace Greenwood (b. 1823) First woman reporter on New York Times; advocate of social reform and women’s rights.

18. Antoinette Brown Blackwell (b. 1825) Co-founded American Woman Suffrage Association.

19. Frances E. W. Harper (b. 1825) Poet, lecturer. As the daughter of free Black parents, she was able to attend school. Author of the influential speech “Education and the Elevation of the Colored Race.”

20. Ellen G. White (b. 1827) Visionary author, abolitionist, temperance activist, women’s health advocate, religious leader, and organizer.

21. Louisa May Alcott (b. 1832) Author who created colorful, relatable, educated, and strong female heroines, with great influence on American literature.

22. Victoria Woodhull (b. 1838) Suffragist, organizer, first woman to run for U. S. presidency.

23. Frances Willard (b. 1839) Long-time president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, which, under her leadership, supported women’s suffrage.

24. Helen M. Gougar (b. 1843) Lawyer; temperance and women’s rights advocate.

25. Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins (born Thocmentony, c. 1844) Northern Paiute author, Native American activist, and educator.

26. May Wright Sewall (b. 1844) Educator, feminist, president of National Council of Women for the United States, president of the International Council of Women.

27. Anna Howard Shaw (b. 1847) President of National Women’s Suffrage Association.

28. Harriot Stanton Blatch (b. 1856) Writer, suffragist, and the daughter of pioneering women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

29. Alice Stone Blackwell (b. 1857) Feminist and journalist; editor of Woman’s Journal, a major women’s rights publication.

30. Carrie Chapman Catt (b. 1859) Teacher and educator instrumental to the cause that brought equal voting rights to U. S. citizens, spearheading the movement with her ability to organize campaigns, mobilize volunteers, and deliver effective speeches; founder of the League of Women Voters.

31. Jane Addams (b. 1860) Major social activist, reformer, social worker, sociologist, public administrator, and author.

32. Ida B. Wells (b. 1862) Civil rights and anti-lynching activist, journalist, and educator; suffragist noted for refusal to avoid media attention as an African American.

33. Mary Church Terrell (b. 1863) Charter member of the NAACP and an early advocate for civil rights and the suffrage movement.

34. Grace Julian Clarke (b. 1865) Suffragist, journalist, author.

35. Adele Parker (b. 1870) Suffragist, lawyer; owned and operated the Western Woman Voter newspaper; 1934 House Representative 37th District in Washington.

36. Maud Wood Park (b. 1871) Founder of College Equal Suffrage League; first president of League of Women Voters.

37. Rose O’Neill (b. 1874) Illustrator.

38. Zitkála-Šá, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (b. 1876) Yankton Dakota writer, editor, translator, musician, educator, and activist.

39. Lucy Burns (b. 1879) Suffragist and women’s rights activist.

40. Jeannette Pickering Rankin (b. 1880) Congresswoman from Montana and women’s rights advocate; the first woman to hold federal office in the United States.

41. Mabel Vernon (b. 1883) Suffragist, member of Congressional Union for Women Suffrage, organizer for Silent Sentinels;

42. Rosalie Gardiner Jones (b. 1883) Suffragist and organizer of the Suffrage Hikes.

43. Alice Paul (b. 1885) One of the leaders of the 1910s Women’s Voting Rights Movement for the 19th Amendment, founder of National Woman’s Party, author of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment.

44. Inez Milholland (b. 1886) Suffragist, key participant in National Woman’s Party and Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913.

45. Helen Valeska Bary (b. 1888) Suffragist, researcher, and social reformer.

46. Eva Kotchever (b. 1891) Activist, suffragist, restaurant owner, assassinated at Auschwitz.

47. Ella Lillian Wall Van Leer (b. 1892) American artist, architect, and women’s rights activist.

48. Dorothy Thompson (b. 1893) Buffalo and New York suffragist, journalist, and radio broadcaster.

49. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee (b. 1896) Suffragist, advocate for women’s rights and for the Chinese immigrant community.

50. Dorothy Day (b. 1897) Journalist, author, religious leader, social activist.
 
Ray Tetz is the Director of the Communication & Community Engagement Department of the Pacific Union Conference.

2020-08-23T22:32:24-07:00August 24th, 2020|Living God's Love|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” August 21, 2020 S4:E33

Adventists in Northern California Work Together for Others—

In late March, as the impact of the pandemic was just beginning to be felt, we shared the story of Carmichael church in Northern California Conference and their drive-through food bank. Their work set a new standard for distributing food to those in need. Now, more than a dozen area churches, Adventist Health, and Northern California Conference have joined hands to provide quality produce and other food to thousands of people who need food assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. Because of the shared synergies, together they are able to offer food bank services to their communities. A new video from Church Support Services, “Working Together for Others,” shows what can happen when everyone comes together to provide food security to their neighbors. Watch this powerful video via the link below: https://vimeo.com/444779193

Adobe Adventist Christian School’s Above and Beyond Assignments During COVID-19—

As the school year wrapped up last spring, the students at Adobe Adventist Christian School in Mesa, Ariz., not only completed their school assignments, but took it a step further to enjoy educational opportunities with their families—including making bread with their grandmas! Students participated in the first NAD Week of Prayer, hiked in the mountains for PE, joined a Virtual School Spirit Week, celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a Zoom Taco Party, and supported first responders by writing messages on the sidewalk.

Students participating in these “above and beyond” opportunities experienced planting flowers and gardens, learning to cook, and sewing their own masks. They also kept their spirits up by having fun with “crazy hair day.” It’s so inspiring to see how parents, students, and staff turned a difficult situation into a positive experience.

Learn more about Adobe Adventist Christian School: https://adobe22.adventistschoolconnect.org/

Local Prayer Group Gathers to Pray for Healthcare Workers at Adventist Health Bakersfield—

On Sunday evening, Aug. 2, the United We Stand prayer group gathered in the parking lot of Adventist Health Bakersfield to lift up healthcare workers in prayer. This community prayer group is dedicated to praying for healthcare workers and those affected by the coronavirus. Among those to join the prayer were individuals who had previously been hospitalized there for COVID-19 and have since recovered. Since April, the group has hosted eight socially distant prayer services. Adventist Health is on the frontlines of meeting the challenge of the pandemic every day. What a beautiful thing to do for healthcare workers!

Watch the 23ABC News Segment: https://www.turnto23.com/news/coronavirus/community-prayer-held-at-adventist-health-for-healthcare-workers

100th Anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment—

The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which grants and guarantees women the constitutional right to vote. This historic centennial offers an unparalleled opportunity to commemorate a milestone of democracy and to explore its relevance to the issues of equal rights today. The passage of the amendment came after a protracted and difficult struggle. Initially introduced to Congress in 1878, several attempts to pass a women’s suffrage amendment failed before passing the House of Representatives on May 21, 1919, followed by the Senate on June 4. It was then submitted to the states for ratification. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee was the last of the necessary 36 states to ratify it. The Nineteenth Amendment’s adoption was certified on August 26, 1920—the culmination of a decades-long movement for women’s suffrage at both state and national levels.

Next Wednesday, August 26, marks the Centennial—a time for us to pause, reflect, and realize that the struggle continues. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way that we’re able to commemorate the 2020 Centennial, but check out the links below for unique and creative ways to celebrate in these times. There’s a list of virtual events sponsored by the 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative. And you can learn more about how you can still participate in Women’s Equality Day celebrations on the 26th.
2020 Centennial Celebrations: https://www.2020centennial.org/centennial-celebrations
https://www.2020centennial.org/

~ ~ ~

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
–Galatians 3:27-28 (ESV)

2020-08-20T16:30:28-07:00August 20th, 2020|All Gods People|

The Incompatibility Thesis

by Becky De Oliveira
 
 
I am writing this halfway through the month of August. One of my children started back at university in person this past week. The other starts high school online this week. He’s taking a welding class online. (Anyone care to place bets on how long my house will remain standing?) The wildfires are raging—the horizon impenetrable, the sun a foreboding red. It’s dark in the mornings and almost chilly, although the thermometer tops 90 degrees here in the Front Range by noon most days of the week. The shelves at the supermarket are beginning to stock Halloween candy. Costco is probably selling Christmas stuff. I’ve already designed our family card. 2020? It’s all over but the shouting.
 
Of course, we have many weeks to go, and so many outcomes are uncertain—and uncertain in different ways, depending on your context. Will things get better? Worse? In what ways?
 
Some of us are worried that life is returning to normal too quickly. Some are worried that it isn’t returning to normal quickly enough. Some desperately want their children back in school. Others would rather they stayed home. Depending on where you live, you may not have been affected much by the events of the past five to six months. I was in Wyoming last week and the prevailing attitude was, “Pandemic who?” People looked at me, masked, with bemusement and pity. 
 
For many Christians, these past few months may represent the longest time we’ve gone without regular in-person church services in our entire lives. Sabbath, August 15, marks the 22nd week of online services for Boulder Adventist Church, which I have attended for the past six years. At first, it was strange to have nowhere to go on a Saturday morning, to pass the time with long walks and good books and church on a laptop while dressed in pajamas. What will it be like when we finally go back? I often wonder. Is there any reason to go back? Will other people think there is a reason?
 
Most of all, these past months have challenged my ideas of what Christianity is and how it manifests in a single life, especially when you remove the trappings. What if I stopped going to church? What if I stopped being a believer? Would either of those things matter? Currently, of course, I am not going to church, and I’m not yet sure what difference this has made. I am less connected to the people of my church community than I was before. We text and email and Facebook, but it’s not the same. I have to remind myself of who exists, conjuring up their faces the way I might if I were locked away in a dark dungeon for years, desperate to hang onto some fine thread of connection to a world outside myself. I’ve never been overly convinced of the value of being a “believer.” I’m not an abstract person; what you do, as far as I’m concerned, is all there is. And what do I do? Lots of things. Nothing. Too much. Not enough. The wrong things. A few of the right things. Maybe. Sometimes.
 
The Incompatibility Thesis in research is an argument against using mixed methods, which combines both quantitative (statistical and numerical) and qualitative (story, experience, holistic) methods to achieve a more comprehensive view of a problem—the argument being that the two methods have philosophical origins that cannot be merged. Either you believe in objective—and measurable—reality, or you don’t. The words of just one proponent of the thesis sums it up: the paradigms preclude one another “just as surely as the belief in a round world precludes belief in a flat one” (Guba, 1987). I think about the Incompatibility Thesis often in relation to various parts of my life, as autumn descends and the things that divide us seem to loom ever more significant. I think about it particularly in terms of faith.
 
Which values, practices, actions of mine are incompatible with being a Christian? Which of yours? No fair cataloguing those of other people; that’s easy. I’m looking at me. You look at you. This is what Christians measure their values, practices, and actions against:
 
• Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39).
• Feed the hungry, clothe the needy, visit the sick and those in prison (Matthew 25:35-36).
• Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44).
• Show forgiveness (Luke 6:37).
• Turn the other cheek (Luke 6:29).
• Pay special attention to the poor and the overlooked (Luke 14:13-14).
• Look for the kingdom of God before anything else (Matthew 6:33).
• Carry your cross (Matthew 10:38).
• The first will be last and the last will be first (Mark 10:31).
• Letting go of your life is what saves it (John 12:25).
• Every single person is precious (Matthew 10:29-31).
 
How is 2020 going for you? How can you live more fully into the will of God for your life?
 
Becky De Oliveira is a doctoral student in research methodology working on special projects for the Pacific Union Conference from her home in Colorado.
 
 

2020-08-16T12:25:50-07:00August 17th, 2020|Living God's Love|

Pacific Union “All God’s People,” August 14, 2020 S4:E32

Back-to-School Special Edition

As the churches and schools across the five states of the Pacific Union have grappled with how best to respond to the rapidly changing circumstances that surround the coronavirus pandemic, the leadership of the Pacific Union Office of Education has been busy keeping informed about the vastly differing policies and executive orders impacting our various communities, supporting the local conference education departments, and providing counsel and direction for school leadership in whatever way they can. This has given them a firsthand look at how our schools are coping—as well as a glimpse of what may be on the horizon ahead.

Recently, the Office of Education worked with our Communication and All God’s People production team to produce a “back to school” video to share with our teachers—and also with you, our All God’s People viewers. It’s a special report for this week. We’ll be back next week with more stories of faith and providence.

Here’s our back to school video for the 2020-2021 school year! We hope you like it.

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“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
–1 Peter 4:10

2020-08-12T05:00:41-07:00August 12th, 2020|All Gods People|

Adventist Schools Adapt for New School Year

By Faith Hoyt, with contributions from Adventist educators in the Pacific Union
 
Though the restrictions due to coronavirus have lasted longer than many anticipated, Adventist schools in the Pacific Southwest have adapted in order to continue providing quality education. Schools have prepared for a mix of both on-campus classes and virtual learning this school year and are addressing the needs of students for either option.
 
In Northern California, Rio Lindo Adventist Academy pivoted their recruitment procedures for new students. When faced with travel limitations and access to campus, Rio launched a “Virtual Visitation” section on their website to welcome prospective families and give a taste of campus life. The Virtual Visit includes a school tour video and a chance to schedule a live information session with the enrollment team. At the time this article was written, Rio planned on opening with in-person instruction, but they are ready to do distance learning if needed in light of COVID restrictions for schools.
 
“This moment in time is one of the most challenging seasons for many of our Adventist schools,” says Rika Meyer, vice principal for marketing, enrollment, and development. “We have to be innovative and adaptable in the face of adversity, but this is also the time that we can find opportunities that we didn’t even know were there.”
 
In Southeastern California, the local conference office of education equipped schools with a Swivl robot system that uses a tablet as a video camera. The Swivl robot senses an infrared marker that the teacher wears on a lanyard, and the robot “swivels” to follow the marker wherever it moves in the classroom. Additionally, microphones for the instructor and throughout the classroom ensure every student is heard. The Swivl system will allow teachers to interact simultaneously with both in-class and off-campus students. Additionally, Swivl posts recorded lessons to an on-demand online database where students can review them later. 

 
One of the schools to receive the Swivl robot system is La Sierra Academy. “We believe we can provide synchronous learning for our students who choose to remain home but still have an Adventist Christian education,” shared Elizabeth Muñoz Beard, head principal of the academy.
 
At Loma Linda Academy, a summer of preparation for the school year has enabled the academy to offer students a hi-flex option.
 
“This will allow each family to choose either on-campus instruction or Loma Linda Academy designed, live full-day, distance education,” writes Doug Herrmann, LLA headmaster, on the school website. “We are pursuing all possible angles to make this a reality.”
 
The back-to-school page on the LLA website covers guidelines for campus access, physical distancing, hygiene procedures, and distance learning in the event of another stay-at-home order.
 
Adventist schools in Nevada and Utah have created reopening plans that follow local, state, and federal recommendations for in-person instruction, while also accommodating the option for remote instruction.
 
“The Nevada-Utah Conference has equipped most of the schools with the technology to broadcast classes live,” shared Fernando Fernando Lista, superintendent of education for the NUC.
 
School reopening plans for NUC schools address the guidelines for such safety aspects as physical distancing, mask wearing, health screenings, and meals eaten on campus.
 
In Hawaii, schools opened for on-campus instruction on Monday, Aug. 3. In preparation for their opening, teachers at Ka Lama Iki campus of Hawaiian Mission Academy filmed a back-to-school video demonstrating their new drop off and pick up procedure for parents, as well as showing the safety precautions in place so that students can maintain social distance while participating in on-campus learning.
 
“We’re ready,” said Sarah Traczyk, principal of Ka Lama Iki. “We’ve been prepping, and we are going to keep students safe.”
 
 
Photo (top): La Sierra Academy is one of the schools to receive a Swivl robot system and tablet for their classrooms from the Southeastern California Conference Office of Education. The Swivl system will allow teachers to interact simultaneously with both in-class and off-campus students.
 
 
 
Students of Ka Lama Iki campus of Hawaiian Mission Academy participate in STEM icebreakers with their class during their first day back to school on Aug. 3. “We couldn’t be prouder of our students for tackling this big day safely!” the school shared on social media.

2020-08-14T08:42:08-07:00August 11th, 2020|News|

Advocacy Leads to Legislation: New California Regulation Protects Job Applicants

By Alan Reinach
 
After several years of advocacy by the Church State Council, the religious liberty ministry of the Pacific Union Conference, a regulation protecting job applicants was recently passed.
 
While it has long been illegal to screen out job applicants because of their race or their religion, for example, questions about schedule availability have routinely been used to reject applicants who don’t work certain days on account of their religion, especially Sabbath observers.
 
Effective July 1st in California, C. C. R. § 11016 protects employees filling out job applications from disclosing scheduling restrictions based on legally protected grounds. It codifies the law against just such discriminatory practices by requiring employers to place a notice, on the job application itself, that the applicant should not indicate if they are unavailable due to religion, medical condition, or disability.
 
Instead of having to check off that the applicant is unavailable, they can answer as though they are available to work. Only after a job is offered, and the employer communicates the work schedule, will the employee need to seek a religious accommodation for Sabbath observance.
 
Those applying for jobs are urged to take note and send copies of any offending job applications to the Church State Council. The Council is committed to educating employers and enforcing the provisions of this regulation it fought so hard to enact. You can reach the Church State Council by email: secretary@churchstate.org; by phone: 805-413-7396; or online at www.churchstate.org. The Council provides legal services to church members with Sabbath work conflicts—always at no cost to church members.
 
During such a time of economic distress, it is important to safeguard the opportunities of unemployed persons to be considered fairly when they apply for a job.
 


 
About C. C. R. § 11016
Such inquiries must clearly communicate that an employee need not disclose any scheduling restrictions based on legally protected grounds, in language such as: “Other than time off for reasons related to your religion, a disability, or a medical condition, are there any days or times when you are unavailable to work?” or “Other than time off for reasons related to your religion, a disability, or a medical condition, are you available to work the proposed schedule?”
 
 

2020-08-11T12:05:39-07:00August 11th, 2020|News|

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

by Connie Vandeman Jeffery
 
 
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is the title and principal lyric of a song by musician Bobby McFerrin. I know you remember it, if you are of a certain age. You’re probably humming it right now. It was released in September 1988, and it became the first a cappella song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a position it held for two weeks. The lyrics go like this:
 
Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now
 
Recently (as in before the pandemic), I saw a plaque in the store with the words: Pray About Everything—Worry About Nothing. I had to buy it. It’s kind of like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” with an added twist—prayer! I liked it immediately, but seriously, are you kidding me? How can you actually pray about everything and worry about nothing at all? It sounds impossible. Well, if you think back, those song lyrics sounded impossible too. But then we got caught up in the joyful lyric and contagious beat and jaunty melody until we finally believed it! It was OK to not worry and just be happy! It seems like a long time ago.
 
I’m not feeling the same way now. I worry about things, like the latest surge in coronavirus cases and the death toll surpassing 157,000. It will be over 160,000 by the time you read this. I know it’s all out of my control—the virus, social unrest, politics. But is it? I can wear a mask. I can be kind. I can help my neighbor. I can vote. I can listen. I can change. I can make a difference in the whole scheme of things. I can “be happy!” Even when I’m not feeling it, I can have that “peace that passeth understanding” down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart! I can be happy.
 
Do we need another Bobby McFerrin song? Maybe. Or we can dust off the 1988 version and belt it out in the privacy of our own homes. Or maybe we just need the words on that plaque to remind us to Pray About Everything—Worry About Nothing. Better yet, we need Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (NLT).
 
Isn’t that amazing? The Bible tells us to pray about everything and worry about nothing. That will be my prayer for you today, as well as for me: Don’t worry. Be happy. And pray!
 
Connie Vandeman Jeffery is the host of All God’s People, a weekly short video series highlighting the people and ministries of the Pacific Union Conference, and has had a long career in media.
 
 

2020-08-07T17:33:26-07:00August 10th, 2020|Living God's Love|
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