At this time, I will give you an update of what our churches, pastors and conference leaders are doing in a remarkable and unbelievable way to minister our beloved church members and friends across our Southern California Conference family.
On Sabbath, April 11, some of our churches had communion services remotely lead by our pastors, inviting the family members to have foot washing among the family members before the worship service. At the appropriate time, the emblems were blessed in prayer by the pastor, and everyone participated in a collective form from their homes. I have no doubt that the Lord blessed us all as we remembered His sacrifice for each one of us. Thank you pastors for ministering God’s people in ways we have never done it before. I’m thrilled following your creative ministry online.
Other churches commemorated the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday morning. They invited their family, friends and community members to join them online to worship the Son of God (not the sun) making emphasis on what the apostle Paul said in his epistles of Romans and 1 Thessalonians: that by His resurrection we can have hope that our loved ones, who died believing in Christ, will be resurrected to eternal life.
During this pandemic times, we also had installation of pastors virtually in their new assigned churches. Thank you Elders Royal Harrison, Jaime Heras and Greg Hoenes for keeping the administrative work moving, so pastors can continue ministering to our church members, especially during these coronavirus days. Let’s pray for the Altadena, Berean, Hidden Treasures, Pomona Valley Spanish, Monrovia Spanish and Canoga Park (next Sabbath) churches and their respective new pastors: Lawrence Dorsey II, Richarson Honore, Homer Hart, Isaac Nevarez, Sam Del Pozo and Eustace Laurie (next Sabbath).
Also, during these last weeks, we had ordination interviews. Our Theological Competence Committee and our Ordination Committee met with these young pastors online, and these candidates performed very well as if they had been in person with those committee members. Let’s pray for pastors Stanley Sihotang (Indonesian-American), Jillian Lutes (West Covina Hills), and the couple Eustace Laurie (Canoga Park) and Taylor Laurie (Adventist Health Chaplain). Depending on how this pandemic situation goes, we may be ordaining those pastors virtually in the upcoming weeks.
Perhaps you start having some theological or practical questions if this “virtual” ministry has the same validity as the usual and traditional one in person. What immediately comes to my mind is what Jesus said in Matthew 18:19-20:
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."
Let’s abide by that promise from the Head of the Church.
Last Sabbath, April 18, I preached to our three Japanese churches at the same time, from my home living room. I was connected by Zoom to all the English speaking members of those churches. Esther and I were blessed, and we had the opportunity to see friends that we haven’t seen in years.
- II Adventist Education Summit: SCC Pastors and Teachers, please save the date for Tuesday, August 11, 2020, from 8:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m. at Glendale Adventist Academy. Let’s all plan accordingly.
Your virtual fellow traveler,
Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference