March 2019

March 5, 2019
In the mind of the apostle Paul, the spiritual gifts of preaching and teaching were two basic gifts to continue the mission Jesus Christ left to His church to carry on. He referred to this combination of gifts three times in his letters, highlighting the purpose of this enablement: “equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). Since pastors and teachers share the same mission but develop it in two different scenarios, SCC leadership considered it to be crucial to bring these two groups of ministers together to explore new ways to enhance both ministries.

On Tuesday, February 19, for the very first time in SCC, at least within the last 50 years, pastors and teachers came together for a Summit on Adventist Christian Education at the Glendale Adventist Academy. More than 250 people attended this event, and two goals were achieved that day:

  1. We became more acquainted with each other.
  2. We dialogued about how to join efforts to minister better to our mutual communities.
Marsha Lee (right) with LAAA students.
Marsha Lee (right) with LAAA students.

The meeting was well received, and it was an enjoyable experience for all participants, who showed interest in having another gathering like this in the near future. Stay tuned for an article about the event in the April issue of the Pacific Union Recorder.

To conclude this day, I delivered the State of the Conference to these two groups of SCC employees. This annual address has become a tradition to bring up the highlights of the previous year in terms of mission accomplishments and business performances. This year, we featured the new initiatives that churches and schools have used to approach their communities so these can become acquainted with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Unfortunately, we couldn’t mention each one of our active churches and schools, but you can find more details in our past SCC e-newsletters (click here!)

It was also reported that the finances of our conference are becoming stronger by the result of tithe increase of 6.95% over 2018) and by the judicious and careful management of these resources. God has provided these means through His people in SCC, and for that, we praise God for these blessings, and we thank you God’s people for their faithfulness.

For several years, I have attended the Los Angeles Adventist Academy Black History Month program, which has been an enjoyable experience. On Friday, February 22, Marsha Lee, (1-3 Grade teacher) was in charge of this event, and her class did a fantastic job. I was impressed by these students ability to recite by long memory statements, poems and Bible verses. Kudos to Mrs. Lee for her outstanding program presented, and a big thank you to all the LAAA teachers and school leadership for their ministry there.

Orfi Barros (left) pictured with Salazar before her passing.
Orfi Barros (left) pictured with Salazar before her passing.

On Sabbath afternoon, February 23, Orfi Barros’ Memorial Service was at her home church, Vallejo Drive SDA Church. A good crowd of family members, friends, acquaintances and denominational leaders were present to celebrate a life of faith, adventure, philanthropy and commitment to the SDA Church, locally and globally. Esther and I had the opportunity of visiting her two weeks before her unexpected passing, and it was inspiring to hear her strong faith in Jesus; she really wanted Jesus to come again. Lord Jesus, come soon and reward her faith!

Last Sabbath, Esther and I went to Kaleo SDA Church, and we were abundantly blessed, really blessed by worshiping with this vibrant congregation of committed SDAs wanting to make the difference in this world. It was an awesome visit. To learn more, click here and visit their website: http://kaleosda.church/. That day, this congregation was hosting the 2019 InSpire event sponsored by the Church Support Ministries of the Pacific Union Conference, emphasizing the need of using arts to tell God’s story with today’s society. This event is taken to churches who want to expand their influence, and I consider it a blessing for the church hosting it. I encourage you to consider inviting this ministry. Click here to visit their website!

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • SCC Session Delegates List Submitted to SCC: No later than May 19, 2019, all SCC churches and companies need to submit the list of their delegates to the SCC Executive secretary as indicated in a previous communication to pastors, first elders and church clerks.
  • Adventist WestPoint: April 21-24, 2019 in Reno, NV. Click here for details! 
  • 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
President
Southern California Conference


March 19, 2019
Ellen G. White wrote: “In the work of soul saving, the Lord calls together laborers who have different plans and ideas and various methods of labor. But with this diversity of minds, there is to be revealed a unity of purpose” (R&H February 6, 1908). This was exactly the goal of our Annual Pastors Retreat this year on March 3-5. The theme was One Table: “that they all will be one.” Click on these links to see a couple of the several videos we produced to reaffirm our unity as servants of God regardless of our race, age, gender or ethnicity: Unity / Who Am I.

The pastoral team in SCC is so diverse, so different and so distinct, which is a great blessing that helps us carry on the mission of Jesus Christ in our territory, and we praise God for the spectrum of gifts He has sent to SCC. At the same time, we have witnessed that this variety of talents has not been utilized in a united way with other churches and ministers for greater impact in the communities of the churches we serve. We left determined to work in much more collaboration.

Many thanks to our Prayer, Spirituality & Renewal team for the serious and outstanding mission they have taken for our pastors fostering a life of prayer. They have clearly understood that if the ministers are closer to the Lord, they will guide our congregations to have the same experience. Thank you to Janet Lui and her team for ministering us as pastors.

On March 8, Esther and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary and decided to spend it together as we did our daily work out of the home. We recounted the blessed life we have had amid ups and downs we have had as a couple, and how the Lord has helped us to take us through. Esther, you have been a great blessing in my life and I thank God for you. I love you.

The next day, we visited the Sunland-Tujunga SDA Church, and we were blessed by worship and fellowship with church members there. What a pleasant surprise we had that morning when we met there the organist who played at our wedding 32 years ago, and after worship, he played for us once again the traditional wedding march. Thanks, Fernando Westre, Jr., for such a nice treat of remembrance. (I kissed the bride once again.) 

Within the last two weeks, we had standing boards and committee meetings in the office, but the highlight was the announcement that our session website is ready for our church members to visit (click here to view!). This website will be updated as new information becomes available as a result of local churches and session working committees (Bylaws, Pre-Session, Nominating, etc). I thank our Communication team for the great work they do. The Session Steering and Management committees are in charge of the preparation for our upcoming 65th Constituency Session. This group of 32 is comprised of all the conference officers, region/department directors, associate, and assistant directors.

Last Sabbath, at the Calimesa SDA Church, I attended the memorial service for Elder Samuel D. Schmidt, who served at our Vallejo Drive church as Associate Pastor from 1986-1991 when he retired. He started his denominational service in 1950 and served in three divisions (South America, Inter America and North America). He was an untiring and faithful man of God. We praised God for his ministry and thanked his wife for her support. Let’s keep the Schmidt family in our prayers.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Adventist WestPoint: April 21-24, 2019 in Reno, NV. Click here for details! 
  • SCC Session Delegates List Submitted to SCC: No later than May 19, 2019, all SCC churches and companies need to submit the list of their delegates to the SCC Executive secretary as indicated in a previous communication to pastors, first elders and church clerks.
  • 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
President
Southern California Conference