Four years ago, a couple of days after my election as conference president, Elder Larry Caviness, our late former president, visited me to pray together and read his favorite Ellen G. White quotation: “Worry is blind, and cannot discern the future; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing” (DA 330), and said, “Velino, don’t ever forget this statement, God has the solution to the challenges you will face as you lead this conference.”
Our SCC Prayer and Spirituality Team, under the leadership of Janet Lui, invited all SCC pastors and officers to spend a half a day on October 1, 2019, praying and seeking God’s guidance as we begin the 2019-2024 quinquennium term. That morning we sang a song (“God Will Make a Way”) that immediately reminded me that unforgettable prayer time with Elder Caviness. It was not a coincidence that God once again sent me a reminder four years later that He has thousands of ways to provide relief in our difficulties. I have witnessed this, and I’m sure you have as well. So, I invite you to listen to this beautiful song and carefully follow its lyrics (click here), even if you don’t read the rest of this newsletter. It will bring you assurance and comfort.
From October 13-16, I attended the General Conference Annual Council, where four items were highlighted among the presentations of great reports and good initiatives launched.
- Conference Presidents Participation at Executive Committee Annual Councils (p. 107)
- Support of Worldwide Mission – Financial Parity
- Compliance With GC Session and Executive Committee Actions
- Statement on the Biblical View on Unborn Life
To watch all the reports presented and programs launched in these meetings, visit executivecommittee.adventist.org.
What a privilege I had talking briefly to the Glendale Adventist Academy high schoolers at their chapel time on Friday, October 18. I worshipped with them and encouraged them to “run on the right way,” based on the unique and inspirational experience of Roger “Wrong Way” Riegels. BTW, the day before, their “Cougars” team won the fall season football championship among Southern California academies. Congratulations Cougars!
I also recognized them for taking seriously their commitment to God and the values of the Adventist Christian education. Kudos to GAA Principal, Dr. Israel Olaore, and the faculty for your commitment to mentoring Christ to these students every school day.
Once again, here at the SCC office during the week of October 21-24, we had our fall week of prayer, led by Elder Sam Del Pozo, Glendora and Pomona Spanish churches. Thank you, Sam, for reminding us every day that Jesus is the center of the Gospel and should be the center of our lives.
Every year, October has been set aside as Pastor Appreciation Month to recognize the faithful ministry of our pastors in this conference and this denomination. A big THANK YOU to all our pastors in the Southern Californian Conference for their devoted work, and may the Lord continue blessing your ministry.
On Sabbath, October 26, Esther and I visited the Eagle Rock church, and I took the opportunity to publically thank their pastors, Danny Chan, Cherise Gardner, and Laxmi Saquilayan, for their honorable ministry.
The next day, our human resources department held its annual employee benefits fair for all the SCC employees at the auditorium of the Glendale Adventist Academy. To make the event more embellished and funny, the theme was the Golden Age of Hollywood (from 1910s to 1960s), and all the employees were invited to wear gowns and tuxedos. We laughed and worked at the same time. Kudos to Iris Chuah and her HR team for the great job organizing this event.
On October 29, the new SCC executive committee met and made two crucial decisions as we begin the new 2019-2024 quinquennial term. One action was the appointment of new members for the boards and committees, which will be serving the executive committee to fulfill its duties and responsibilities, as described in the SCC bylaws.
The other action was to nominate the directorship for our five Regions:
- Asian Pacific Region Region: Elder Samuel Lee (reelected)
- Greater Los Angeles Region: Elder Royal Harrison (reelected)
- Hispanic Region: Elder Jaime Heras
- Los Angeles Metro Region: Elder Danny Chan
- West Region: Elder Greg Hoenes (reelected)
Our million thanks to these leaders for accepting this responsibility of leading pastors and churches within each of these regions. Let’s keep them in our constant prayers.
A note of sincere gratitude to Elder Luis Peña for his great administrative work done throughout eight years as Hispanic Region director, and who now will continue his ministry pastoring a church. And, to Elder Gerard Kiemeney, our most profound gratitude as well for his excellent career in ministry and administration for 44 years in SCC, and who now will enjoy his retirement. God bless you, dear friends.
- Open Enrollment in New Healthcare and Benefits: The conference will no longer use paper forms to enroll and employees must enroll using a new online benefits platform. All employees MUST enroll for year 2020 benefits during the Open Enrollment period, which started at the employee benefits fair on October 27 and ends on December 1, 2019. If you do not enroll, you may find yourself without any health care coverage and/or other benefits on January 1, 2020. (Employees, please check for recent emails from HR.)
- General Pastors Meeting: On Monday, November 18, from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. at the Vallejo Drive church. (Pastors, please check for emails from Elder John Cress.)
Your fellow traveler,
Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference