From the President

Karen Cress
Karen Cress

August 7, 2018
Summertime often brings travel and fun, even when it is combined with work. On July 17-22, Esther and I traveled to Sunriver, Oregon, for the Adventist Health (AH) Strategic Summit. As the AH executive leadership gathered for spiritual renewal and strategic planning, the emphasis was on “love,” the core of Adventist Health’s mission statement: “Living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness, and hope.” The dialogue was centered on these five points: Loving our Patients, Loving our Communities, Loving our Associates, Loving our Partners and Loving our God.

As I interact more with this health care organization, I see how the mission of our church is at its operational core. Obviously, to operate a multi-billion-dollar organization, it is necessary to watch the business side of it without losing the vision of carrying on the ministry of healing among the underserved population.  

In the hospital on my birthday
In the hospital on my birthday

On July 23, the SCC administrative leadership team met for our monthly Conference Strategic Planning. Elder Karen Cress has been helping our administrative team with this initiative for the past two years, and we are seeing encouraging results in our missional and organizational work.

BTW, Karen Cress is a specialist in strategic planning within our denomination; she has worked in two conferences (Rocky Mountain and Potomac) for more than 10 years assisting the conference leadership to define mission and values and to clarify the main goals for the conferences. She’s been contracted by several entities, including a few churches in SCC, who want to align their plans and initiatives in a more intentional and organizational way.

Preaching at the ordination of Elder Branden Stoltz
Preaching at the ordination of Elder Branden Stoltz

Her services for SCC have been funded by an outside source, and we still have some money available to help up to 50% for any church or school who wants to receive her strategic planning services. If there is any interest, please contact the President’s Office.

On July 25, I began my birthday in the hospital. Originally, I was scheduled for a simple biopsy of my left foot with local anesthesia, but when I arrived at the hospital, I was told that I should be completely sedated. 

Many of you know that I’ve been limping for almost three months without knowing the real cause. Finally, it was discovered: It is a recurrence of the Valley Fever disease that I had 9-11 years ago. I will visit the doctor and set up a treatment plan.

Although this is scary and has some risks, I’m at peace resting on the assurance of Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Last Sabbath was an exciting day: Pastor Branden Stoltz was ordained to the Gospel Ministry for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. For the first time in many years, the Hollywood church was full. Church members from the churches where Pastor Branden has served (Simi Valley, Hollywood, Burbank) came to support him. More than 20 of his colleagues in ministry within and outside of our conference participated in the “laying on of hands” service reaffirming his call from God to the ministry. (Wait for more details about him and his ministry in the Recorder in the near future.)

Have a blessed month.

Your fellow traveler,

Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference


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