July 16, 2019
For the last three weeks, Esther and I enjoyed wonderful family time with our children who came to visit us. This expression "visit us" doesn’t sound too pleasant to my ears because it means brief visits and more sporadic. These two young adults have become independent and are practicing their professions: Eric is a civil engineer living in Orange County, and Melissa is an elementary teacher living in Chattanooga, Tenn. We praise God for the children we have, and like every parent, our children are often the theme of many of our conversations and still the subject of our daily prayers.
Such independence has generated less involvement from us as parents. I confess that sometimes we would like to do more for them, but they prefer to “learn by themselves” and, hesitantly, we back off a little, for a while. Then, later, they come again seeking for any help.
This dynamic reminds me of how God wants us all to seek for His advice, His help, His comfort and His intervention, but we act independently, believing that we can manage our lives completely; however, in spite of our attitude, here's His promise: “For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance" (Psalm 94:14).
On Tuesday, July 9, at its regular meeting, our SCC executive committee addressed the topic of marriage, family and human sexuality, an important and relevant topic these days. No action was taken. However, the executive officers expressed their position on this subject, summarized in these sentences:
- They support and sustain God’s ideal for marriage, family and human sexuality as established in the Garden of Eden.
- They uphold and affirm the biblical view the Seventh-day Adventist Church has on this topic of marriage, family and human sexuality.
- They are aware of the variations that happened to God’s ideal for marriage, family and human sexuality since the Garden of Eden.
- They are sensitive to the realities lived by our current society and membership in this topic.
- They intend to approach those realities with love, patience, compassion and consistency.
At this preliminary conversation, the committee expressed views and concerns and also provided some recommendations to the SCC leadership on how to address this challenging situation that our church is facing, focusing on Southern California. Please keep this matter in your prayers.
Last Wednesday, Elder John H. Cress and I had the opportunity to meet the leaders of each of the pastors “radius groups” to receive reports on this initiative launched at the pastors retreat last March under the scope of our SCC ministerial director, Elder Cress, who oversees conference-wide programs and initiatives for pastors. What is this term pastors radius group? Pastor Sarah Grover, associate pastor at Lancaster church, labeled this gathering of pastors who work in a certain area of our conference regardless of which region those pastors serve. The purpose is for these pastors to have fellowship and fun, to know each other better, to share pastoral experiences and brainstorm how, together, they can impact the community shared by their churches.
Last Sabbath, I surprised the Chino Valley Chinese church members when I began my sermon by announcing Elder & Mrs. Paul Cho’s 44th wedding anniversary that very day. After Esther presented a beautiful bouquet to Dr. Mai Mai Cho (Paul’s wife), I briefly interviewed them about their secret to a long-lasting marriage. They said that prayer, patience and perseverance have been their constant practices and attitudes when conflicts/challenges arise among them.
I used this special recognition to speak on the ideal God had for the marriage and family, highlighting the biblical directives on the subject and recognizing at the same time the realities/challenges faced even by those who want to sincerely follow and serve God.
Last Sunday morning, the pre-session meeting was the kick-off of a series of meetings from now until our 65th constituency session. One representative from each of the 153 churches in SCC convened at the Vallejo Drive church to select the 20 members of the nominating committee who will nominate the executive officers, the executive committee and the bylaws committee for the 2019-2024 term. Click here for the minutes of this meeting.
I encourage each SCC church member to learn more about the upcoming 65th constituency session by visiting the website (click here!) designed by our SCC communication team to report and keep our church constituency in Southern California Conference informed.
- Nominating Committee: On Sunday, July 28, 2019, the Nominating Committee will have its first meeting chaired by Elder Ricardo Graham, president of the Pacific Union Conference. Let’s keep this group on our prayers.
- 65th SCC Constituency Session: This important meeting will be held on Sunday, September 22, 2019, at the White Memorial SDA Church from 7:55 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Your fellow traveler,
Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference