President's Page

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016

Rev. Dr. Kenneth Chroniger Alfred Station SDB Church, NY   Perhaps as far back as August 2015, you made sure that July 31 – August 6 was blocked off for the General Conference 2016 session on the campus of Houghton College, Houghton, NY. Allow me to sound Biblical for a moment — “the time is upon us!” So what may you do to prepare for this opportunity with God and His people? You can pray. If you haven’t joined the 100 days of prayer on Facebook, developed by Pastor Steve James, there is still time. Our Conference session is a spiritual event, so pray! As you plan travel to and from Conference, choose to worship on the Sabbath before with God’s people. Plan your travel to worship with your brothers and sisters at one of the Seventh Day Baptist churches along your way. There are 28 Seventh Day Baptist churches within one day’s drive of Houghton. Please get plenty of rest before you come to Conference session. This is our family reunion where our “fictive kinship system” is on display. Some...

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Alliance In Ministry

Feelin’ Groovy!

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016

by Rob Appel Executive Director Many of you know that I like music from the 60’s, 70’s, and the 80’s. Many of you have tried, and a few stumped me, with music trivia. Many of you are wondering now, “What’s this have to do with Feelin’ Groovy?” I am glad you asked! The correct name for this song was, “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy).” Paul Simon, of Simon & Garfunkel, wrote this song. However, a group by the name of Harpers Bizarre, are the ones who made it a hit in 1967 — reaching number 13 on the Billboard Charts. This turned out to be their only hit. “And what does all of this have to do with Seventh Day Baptists,” you ask? Another fine and timely question! Last month (June), I wrote about my travels and conversations I have had with many folks about what is going on in our Conference. One of the concerns is that we are moving too fast. Another is that people in our churches don’t know our younger Directors. And last, but not...

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Features

My Healing Experience

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016

By Diane Andries The decision to have spine surgery was not an easy one to make. I had so many tearful conversations with God about, and for, my healing. But I believe God had something different in mind for me. I knew that surgery was what I had to do, and finally I scheduled spine surgery for June of 2014. After surgery was done, I had a big shock. I realized that it was going to be a much longer healing time than I had expected. I didn’t know that my walking was going to be affected to the extreme that it was. I used a walker for about four months to help me walk again. The first time I used the walker I was only able to walk a short distance from the bedroom to the kitchen and back. I was not able to walk down or up stairs, etc. I slept sitting up in a chair for the good part of five months because lying down meant pain and irritation. The most humiliating part was not being able to physically...

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Departments

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016

Barb Green, Parish Nurse Milton, WI What comes to mind when you hear the word healing: doctors, state-of-the art cardiac units, amoxicillin? What about the phrase ”Christian healing”? To some, this calls to mind the worst religious broadcasting has to offer. Many dangle the promise of miraculous cures to those who would just summon the faith to buy them. With the right balance of illusion and charisma, con artists can make big bucks by exploiting all the suffering in the world. Some theologies have instilled in believers a distrust of traditional medicine. It is sad to read stories of people refusing basic health care because they believe their sicknesses are part of “God’s plan”— that God, not the physician, should be the one to determine whether or not they will be made well. At the heart of the Christian story is this conviction: God wants us to be whole, restored, redeemed, reborn into the fullness of who we were created to be. Jesus revealed this through His life and ministry. He was preacher, teacher, and healer. He challenged demons to flee,...

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Recent Posts

Christian Healing

Barb Green, Parish Nurse Milton, WI What comes to mind when you hear the word healing: doctors, state-of-the art cardiac units, amoxicillin? What about the phrase ”Christian healing”? To some, this calls to mind the worst religious broadcasting has to offer. Many dangle the promise of miraculous cures to those who would just summon the faith to buy them. With the right balance of illusion and charisma, con artists can make big bucks by exploiting all the suffering in the world. Some theologies have instilled in believers a distrust of traditional medicine. It is sad to read stories of people refusing basic health care because they believe their sicknesses are part of “God’s plan”— that God, not the physician, should be the one to determine whether or not they will be made well. At the heart of the Christian story is this conviction: God wants us to be whole, restored, redeemed, reborn into the fullness of who we were created to be. Jesus revealed this through His life and ministry. He was preacher, teacher, and healer. He challenged demons to flee, the eyes of the blind to open, and leprous skin to be restored. Jesus had God-given authority to heal through words and touch for a very important reason. He healed for the same reason that He shared parables with people: to show the nature of God’s kingdom. Just as the kingdom of heaven is like the smallest seed that grows into the largest tree, so is the kingdom of heaven like a woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. The woman’s affliction (Luke 8:42-48) affected not only her body. Her culture had strict guidelines for cleanliness and a bleeding woman was considered unclean. She could not participate in the religious life of her community and anyone who came in contact with her would also be considered ritually unclean. Barred from religious expression, denied human touch, and always on the brink of death, the chronic hemorrhage had drained the life out of the woman. Her radical act of touching the hem of Jesus’ garment threatened Jesus. Because He had been touched by an untouchable, He could be labeled unclean. Healing power flowed from...

Covenants, Creeds, and the Church

Covenants, Creeds, and the Church

Jun 23, 2016

Rev. Nicholas J. Kersten Director of Education and History One of the hallmarks of Seventh Day Baptist life is our belief that the Bible is the only guide to our faith and practice. In this, we share something important with all Baptists, and more generally, with all Protestants. Along with Martin Luther, Seventh Day Baptists can affirm it is “only the Scriptures” which undergird our beliefs. All of our distinctive beliefs — salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, believer’s baptism by immersion, regenerate church membership, and the Sabbath — come to us as a result of our shared convictions corporately as we study the Scriptures individually. We are Seventh Day Baptists because our reading of the Scriptures leads us to the same convictions and we join together in covenant relationships in local churches in response to that belief.   I recently took a trip to Zambia to teach SDB history to pastors and leaders in our Conference there. I was amazed as I heard from our pastors and leaders there how much their stories of conviction match the stories of Seventh Day Baptists throughout our history. While some groups can claim a founder or preeminent leader, there is no such figure for us — just a group of people throughout our history who came to the convictions we still hold today. The classic Seventh Day Baptist story is one of personal conviction, led by the Holy Spirit through study in the Scriptures, followed by connection to a community of the same convictions. For that reason, our relationship with our Statement of Belief is very different than other groups. In some denominational traditions, it is agreement with doctrinal positions (or creeds) which triggers identification and membership with the group. Such groups are rightly called “creedal.” But SDBs do not work that way, not because we do not have strong beliefs and doctrinal convictions, but because those positions precede membership. Membership for us is more than just mental assent to a series of doctrinal statements: it is the covenant relationship with the local congregation of people who are convicted the same way. We often describe this relationship as “covenantal” rather than “creedal.” But while...

Faith-Family-Education

Rev. Dr. Kenneth Chroniger Alfred Station SDB Church, NY   Perhaps as far back as August 2015, you made sure that July 31 – August 6 was blocked off for the General Conference 2016 session on the campus of Houghton College, Houghton, NY. Allow me to sound Biblical for a moment — “the time is upon us!” So what may you do to prepare for this opportunity with God and His people? You can pray. If you haven’t joined the 100 days of prayer on Facebook, developed by Pastor Steve James, there is still time. Our Conference session is a spiritual event, so pray! As you plan travel to and from Conference, choose to worship on the Sabbath before with God’s people. Plan your travel to worship with your brothers and sisters at one of the Seventh Day Baptist churches along your way. There are 28 Seventh Day Baptist churches within one day’s drive of Houghton. Please get plenty of rest before you come to Conference session. This is our family reunion where our “fictive kinship system” is on display. Some of us will meet family we never knew. By the end of the week, there will be new aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins, brothers and sisters. So rest up! While it seems to be a Conference session truth that we all intend to attend everything during Conference session, one does not attend everything. Here are some suggestions as you make your plans for the week: Are you desiring a way to begin your morning with God? The prayer gathering in Wesley Chapel each morning may be your commitment. Are you really wanting to know what is happening with our boards, agencies and societies? Meeting times with our Executives on Monday and Tuesday may be your commitment. Are you a delegate representing your church? Your attendance at Business sessions may be your commitment. Are you an attendee at the Conference session who wants to help set the tone for the direction of the General Conference in the next year and beyond? Attending an Interest Committee session may be your commitment. Are you looking for a time of spiritual refreshing and renewal? Evening...

God is My Constant

God is My Constant

Jun 23, 2016

by Sarina Villalpando Maranatha Community Church, Colton, CA   There are two things in life that do not mix very well: change and anxiety. I first started noticing my anxiety around age 15. Since then it has been something that I have had to learn to function with. A big part of life is experiencing different changes, but for some they are harder to handle than others. Over time I have learned, in order to handle change, you need to find a constant. My constant has become God. This year has consisted/will be consisting of some very big changes for me. The first change was my eighteenth birthday. Some people may say, “It’s just a birthday — what’s the big deal?” But it was, honestly, the biggest change in my life. I no am longer considered a kid — I am now an adult. People expect the best of me and to be a role model to those who are younger than I am. Way to make me feel anxious! To follow the sudden step into adulthood, I graduated two days later. Trust me, I felt the panic and anxiety all in one. Graduation and becoming an adult in the same week was definitely a life-changing moment and a trigger for anxiety. Now to add to those, I have the thought of being on my own and growing as a person. This summer I will be going on my first mission trip. This will be the first time I’ll be away from home for over a month or will fly in an airplane. I will also be overloaded with meeting new people and introducing myself, which I have never found easy. Finally the biggest change is moving out. This September I will be moving out of my house to go to college. It’s been something I’ve always thought of and looked forward to — but the fact that it’s so close has given me the biggest panic attacks ever. I will admit that at the beginning of these changes I didn’t know how to handle it; my life was anxiety attacks 24/7. Some of you may be asking how I’m surviving — the answer is...

Self Loathing, Mental Illness, and Alternative Folk Rock: Why Evangelism Needs Hopefulness

By Duane Davis Seattle, WA, SDB Church   I’ve heard enough SCSC testimonies to know they follow a certain formula: person grows up Christian, then falls out of it in during the teen years, and eventually comes back, and now everything’s hunky-dory. As a child born and raised in the church, I never thought that could happen to me. I thought I was above ever falling out of faith, ever doubting, ever rejecting my upbringing. I thought pretty highly of myself — that while it’s true I’m a sinner, God would forgive me no matter what. As you might expect, these assumptions about myself turned out to be not terribly accurate. Around fourth or fifth grade, an idea came to me that hadn’t before. Even though I was a Christian, would it be possible to be so out of line that God wouldn’t forgive me? The idea of not being “enough” to be loved, that the things in my life I found not important enough to be of any obstacle in my faith were actually separating me from God and jeopardizing my chances of going to Heaven. These things wracked me with guilt and self hatred just for the crime of being alive. Every few weeks or so, I fall into a state of depression. I feel empty, hopeless, disconnected from the things I usually enjoy. At times it has gotten to the point where I worry that my emotions will get the better of me and I will end up seriously harming myself. I have taken measures to avoid this, such as seeing a therapist regularly, taking an ADD medication that regulates my dopamine levels, and surrounding myself with people that I feel comfortable being open with emotionally. Recently (again, at time of writing) when I fell into one such low point, I told my dad about it for sake of disclosure. He was understanding and asked me something that I had vaguely considered but never brought to fruition: “Have you prayed about it?” Too often I have seen people showing the exact negative traits and stereotypes associated with Christianity that have led many, myself included, to dislike it. When people are dismissive...

Feelin’ Groovy!

Feelin’ Groovy!

Jun 23, 2016

by Rob Appel Executive Director Many of you know that I like music from the 60’s, 70’s, and the 80’s. Many of you have tried, and a few stumped me, with music trivia. Many of you are wondering now, “What’s this have to do with Feelin’ Groovy?” I am glad you asked! The correct name for this song was, “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy).” Paul Simon, of Simon & Garfunkel, wrote this song. However, a group by the name of Harpers Bizarre, are the ones who made it a hit in 1967 — reaching number 13 on the Billboard Charts. This turned out to be their only hit. “And what does all of this have to do with Seventh Day Baptists,” you ask? Another fine and timely question! Last month (June), I wrote about my travels and conversations I have had with many folks about what is going on in our Conference. One of the concerns is that we are moving too fast. Another is that people in our churches don’t know our younger Directors. And last, but not least, it seems to some people that we skipped a generation of leadership. In the song that I referenced above, the beginning of the song starts: “Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.” Slow down, you move too fast. There have been so many changes since 2012! New organization, new General Council, updated by-laws, executive changes, and now proposed publication changes — it seems to be a lot. Even in this day and age when we can communicate so much more and even quicker than ever, many feel they don’t know what is going on. Sometimes this feeling comes from the fact that we do things in an operational way that’s different from the past. Many of our older folks feel that we are moving a break-neck speed! Some of the technology that we have proposed for publications can be daunting — especially when you don’t understand all the terms and the process that’s involved. Then, there are the changes in our Executives. We even call the new ones, “Directors.” When we have had Executives leave us,...

Retired Pastor Profile – David C. Pearson

Retired Pastor Profile – David C. Pearson

Jun 23, 2016

Pastor David C. Pearson was born in Amsterdam, NY, on September 10, 1931. He was baptized when he was 12 years old and grew up going to the Schenectady mission of the Berlin SDB Church and to his uncle’s first-day church. His family was very active in both churches, often attending seven or more services each week. However, it was not until his time in Paint Rock, AL, that he joined a church. He graduated from Wilbur Lynch High School in Amsterdam in 1949. He attended Bob Jones University, graduating in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. Pastor Pearson would later go on to take classes at Gordon Divinity School and graduate with a Master of Arts in Religion from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1972. After his graduation from Bob Jones University, he married Bettie Butler on September 20, 1953, in Paint Rock, AL. They had two daughters: Deborah (Hargett) and Joanna (Lovelace). They had ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild. David and Bettie served churches in Paint Rock, AL; Berea, WV; Middle Island, WV; Richburg, NY; Marlboro, NJ; Plainfield, NJ; Memphis, TN; and Hiram, GA. Perhaps their greatest ministry was serving in Malawi for about 30 years as missionaries in four different stints. Pastor Pearson has written some stories documenting their time there and Bettie has written a book entitled Hundredfold. Even in their retirement near their daughters in Georgia, David still continued to be active in service to both the Metro Atlanta SDB Church and as a chaplain in his local hospital. After lives lived that touched other lives in profound and impactful ways, both Bettie and David have passed away recently. Bettie went Home on November 9, 2015 and Pastor Pearson on May 10, 2016. Their legacy will not be quickly forgotten. Obituary: PEARSON — Rev. David Pearson, age 84, of Aragon, GA, passed away Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Rev. Pearson was a native of Amsterdam, NY, but lived in many different places during his lifetime. He served with his wife, Bettie, in Seventh Day Baptist Churches across the United States and the world, including churches in West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and approximately 28...

Retired Pastor Profile – Leroy Bass

Retired Pastor Profile – Leroy Bass

Jun 23, 2016

  Pastor Leroy Bass was born on January 17, 1925, in Springfield, MA. He was raised in a Christian home and was baptized by immersion at the age of 18 in a Methodist church. He graduated from Northampton Vocational School in Northampton, MA, in 1943. It was through Bible study during Leroy’s service in the army that he discovered that Sabbath was on the seventh day of the week. This changed his whole practice of what it meant to pursue Christ-likeness. Leroy married Marjorie Darrow on August 29, 1954. They have four children: Vivian (Allen); Clifford; Valerie (Gregg); and Marvin. They also have 18 grandchildren. Pastor Bass received further education for the ministry by graduation with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Ministry from Atlantic Union College. He also took classes at Potomac University Theological Seminary and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Pastor Leroy served SDB churches in Paint Rock, AL; Nortonville, KS; New Auburn, WI; and Madison, WI. He has also served as a missionary to Guyana, a chaplain, and as a director of the Bible Sabbath Association. Pastor Leroy and Marjorie are retired at Washington Island, WI. COSAR Over the course of 2016, the Committee on Support and Retirement and the General Conference wish to highlight the eleven current retirees in our Old Pastors Retirement Plan, formerly called P.R.O.P. (Pastors Retirement Offering Project), to bring awareness to our continued need to meet the obligations set forth by the terms of these plans in honor to their service to SDBs. If you wish to contribute to honoring the service of these individuals, you may make a donation by giving online with a mention towards COSAR at seventhdaybaptist.ministrygive.com or by mailing a check to: COSAR, PO Box 1678, Janesville, WI 53547. THANK YOU for your generous...