May 2019

May 7, 2019
On Easter Weekend, the North Hills church had a high moment in remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross. Friday night was the perfect time to have the communion service and reflect on how Jesus prepared His disciples for what would happen in the next three days. On Sabbath morning, Esther and I joined them for worship. Let me tell you, that service was a very different one: Pastor Tim Cress, dressed and with the make-up of an old man, enacted John of Patmos and for 90 minutes recited from memory the story of Jesus as seen and understood by the “beloved disciple.” (Click here to watch the program!) The message was captivating, uplifting and appealing to consider Jesus as Savior of this world. It reaffirmed my belief and affection for the Crucified. Thank you, Pastor Tim, for taking us closer to the reality lived by John of Patmos.

Elder Arn speaks at Ebenezer Spanish church.
Elder Arn speaks at Ebenezer Spanish church.

That afternoon, I headed to Ebenezer Spanish church where evangelistic meetings were being conducted by Elder Ruben Arn, a former SCC Spanish evangelist of 20 years. Six people have been baptized, and more people will be baptized in the near future. Simultaneously, Elder Arn is conducting meetings at the Mid-City Spanish church where many visitors are attending as well. Let’s pray for Jesus to be lifted up and many accept Him as their Savior.

Pastor Peeler shares a powerful message at the GLAR convocation.
Pastor Peeler shares a powerful message at the GLAR convocation.

Many of the West Region Pastors attended Adventist WestPoint, the annual event the Pacific Union Ministerial office organizes for ministers and mission-oriented lay members to share innovative and proven ways for evangelism and witnessing. (Click here to learn more.) Elder Greg Hoenes reported that he joined his pre-ordained pastors and drove them to Reno to attend this event. Beyond the great blessing received by attending this evangelistic training, these young pastors had the opportunity for closer fellowship and camaraderie. Excellent initiative, Elder Hoenes!

ONE House worship.
ONE House worship.

On Sabbath, April 27, the SCC officers joined the Greater Los Angeles Convocation. This annual meeting is an opportunity for collective worship, inspirational messages, Christian fellowship, promoting Christian Adventist education and community work by young people. That morning, Los Angeles Adventist Academy received $25,000 for digital technology (iPads) so the students can have more relevant access to academic knowledge. (This money came from two donors, not from SCC.) Also, Dr. Emil Peeler, senior pastor at the Capitol Hill Adventist church, delivered an outstanding and uplifting message reminding us that “we have much more than we think.” And I realized that it is true. Praise God for what we have!

Ridgecrest Principal Nancy Danelson speaks to the children.
Ridgecrest Principal Nancy Danelson speaks to the children.

Once again, our SCC Senior Youth and Young Adults had their One House Gathering this past Sabbath, May 4. According to pastor Iki Taimi, Senior Youth and Young Adult department director, the venue (Alhambra SDA Church) was full in the morning and in the afternoon. The messages and the workshops were outstanding and well received. Great job, SYYA team!!! (For details, click here.)

From left: Velino A. Salazar, Esther Salazar, Rohinie Frohlich & Henry Frohlich III.
From left: Velino A. Salazar, Esther Salazar, Rohinie Frohlich & Henry Frohlich III.

This past weekend, Esther and I went to visit the Ridgecrest church and school, the most distant entities in our conference. Yes, we drove 155 miles one way and overnighted. We had a wonderful time with our brothers and sisters, listening to their stories of the challenges of their community and the opportunities they have to share the Adventist message. On Monday morning, I joined the teachers for worship and then the students for chapel. Thank you, Nancy Danelson, for leading the Christian educational mission in this town.

Thank you, Pastor Bill and Kelli Sellers, for your kind hospitality you gave us. You and everybody made us feel welcomed and at home.

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.
  • Submission of proposals for Bylaws amendments: No later than June 3, 2019, SCC churches and delegates can submit written proposals for Bylaws changes to the SCC Secretary's office to be passed to the Bylaws Committee Chair, George Sellers.
  • 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


May 21, 2019
The first weeks of May have been pretty intense, traveling and attending commitments pertinent to this time of the year.

On Tuesday, May 7, I headed to Angwin, California, to attend the mid-year meetings of the Pacific Union Conference Executive Committee, where reports were presented on church membership, finances and educational institutions. After his reflecting devotional, Elder Dan Jackson, NAD president, was asked to give an update about two unique topics discussed last November at the NAD Year-end Meetings: the GC Compliance Document and the Tithe Parity among the Divisions. (Read last November’s discussions here.) In response to the first document, the GC has responded that no rescindment would happen on the document; on the second one, the GC and Division leaders are keeping the conversation open to bring this financial parity in place in the near future.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Pacific Union College Constituency Meeting was held. Several reports were presented and plans were approved, such as the President’s and those regarding academics, financials, Campus Master Plan, etc. However, the highlight of that afternoon was Alexander Chang’s story, a senior biochemistry/pre-medicine major, sharing his two-term missionary student journey in Pohnpei, highlighting the impact the PUC mission and values have had on his life. Click here for more!

That night, I took a red-eye flight from Oakland to Mexico to visit my parents and be with my mom on Mother’s Day (Mexico celebrates it on May 10). Needless to say, it was a delightful time going back home where a 62-year-old boy was pampered by his 90-year-old mom. After this short vacation, I left Sunday morning to spend Mother’s Day here at home.

Also, within the last weeks, I have been working closely with key people who are helping us out with the Newbury Park Project to complete the recordation of the third phase of the Tract Map (the first phase was in 1996; the second was in 2011). There was a list of items that needed to be done by engineers, insurers, environmentalists, consultants, county and city officials and others to have them ready for today's meeting of the City Council. Please keep this project in your prayers.

Last Sabbath was a full day. Esther and I started it by attending the Newhall Spanish SDA Church where we enjoyed the worship with this vibrant and growing congregation led by the third-time retired pastor, Elder Antonio Cabrera (93) and committed local leaders. We also enjoyed a fellowship meal and time together with these church members. Thank you, Elder and Mrs. Cabrera, for your kind hospitality.

After this, I rushed to speak at the Hispanic Region Evangelistic Rally at the White Memorial SDA Church. More than 700 members across the Region churches got together to:

  • Praise God for the 150+ souls baptized since January 1 of this year.
  • Welcome the newly baptized members into the SCC family.
  • Recognize the diligent work of lay people who are the Small Group Leaders.
  • Thank the Region pastors for facilitating and supporting this NAD initiative.

All received a well-designed pin to commemorate this evangelistic effort with the theme: “He Who Wins Souls is Wise.” Elder Alberto Ingleton, PUC Hispanic ministries director, challenged the members to keep this discipleship program moving. Kudos to Elder Luis Peña for leading this initiative in SCC.

I concluded my day with a pastoral visit to a dear friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer. He told me that his burden is “too heavy to carry it alone,” so he has decided to talk openly about it because he doesn’t want to travel this journey alone, but with his God, his family and his friends. We talked, we sang, we laughed, we cried, we prayed. Like him, many other people are also facing hard times. Let’s show them our love by giving them our time and our ear. Somebody has called this activity a “ministry of presence.”

Last but not least, BY SUNDAY, MAY 19, all churches needed to have sent their delegates list as described below. Pastors, first elders and church clerks, please verify that this step has been taken. Thank you.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • SCC Session Delegates List Submitted to SCC: No later than May 19, 2019, all SCC churches and companies needed 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.
  • Submission of proposals for Bylaws amendments: No later than June 3, 2019, SCC churches and delegates can submit written proposals for Bylaws changes to the SCC Secretary's office to be passed to the Bylaws Committee Chair, George Sellers.
  • 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