Council on Ministry Updates

Council on Ministry Updates By Gordon Lawton   The Council on Ministry has had two meetings since Conference and a third is scheduled for mid-January. No, we are not spending a lot of money. These gatherings have been done via the internet. Each one- to two-hour virtual meeting allows everyone to be home in their own bed that night. There’s still a need for meetings where people are actually present, but much can be done with video and audio over the internet. Actually, in the last couple of years, we “Skyped” in a member who could not be present in person because of work responsibilities. Topics discussed have included fundraising by the seminary students, Pastors Conference in the spring, the 2013 Institute on SDB Polity, the Director of Pastoral Services’ activities, and an application to the Seminary Education Program. Pastor Keith McCall has been admitted into the SDB Seminary Education Program. He is the pastor of the Edgewater, Fla., SDB Church and began taking courses at Columbia International University’s Seminary in the fall. He is a self-employed contractor and family man. Keith will participate in the distance program where some of his classes will be on-line exclusively, and others will include an intensive component on campus in Columbia, S.C. His plan is to complete the degree in five years.   Pastors Conference is coming April 23-27, 2013. Encourage your pastor to attend this time of learning and fellowship. Special guest will be Dr. Ralph Mackintosh, SDB General Conference President and illusionist. (See...

Family Flux

New Members Hebron, PA Carl Greene, pastor Joined after baptism Nicole Graham Joined after testimony Seth Greene First Houston, TX Jim Barclift, pastor Joined after testimony Jack Blair Rachel Blair Terry Goodman Little Rock, AR Jeffery Monroe, pastor Joined after testimony and baptism Wm Kent Trice Jamie Trice Seattle, WA Ken Burdick, pastor Joined after baptism Bobby Burdick Joined after testimony Jim Lindsey   Marriages Uhlich – Lawton.  Benjamin Lee Uhlich and Sarah Michelle Lawton were united in marriage on December 15, 2012 at the SDB Church in Pataskala, Ohio with Rev. Gordon Lawton officiating.   Obituaries Spencers.—Frederick A. Spencer III, 49, Dixie L. Spencer, 47, and Patience “PJ” Spencer, 9, all of West Union, W.Va., departed this life on September 3, 2012. Fred was born on July 3, 1963, a son of Frederick A. Spencer Jr. MD, of Salem, W.Va., who survives, and the late Mary Jo (Hurtt) Spencer. On June 28, 1986 he married Dixie McCullough. Fred graduated from Liberty High School and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Aviation from Salem College. He was employed by United Parcel Service as an International Flight Captain with over 20 years service. He was a member of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Salem where he served as a trustee and was very active in all church functions. Fred enjoyed reading, construction work and all outdoor activities. He always had time for anyone who needed a hand. Dixie was born on April 11, 1965 in Parkersburg, W.Va., a daughter of Ray and Coral (Harden) McCullough, Pennsboro, W.Va., who survive. Dixie graduated from Pennsboro High School and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Biology Secondary Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Technology from Salem College. She was a science teacher at Ritchie County Middle School. Dixie was very active in 4-H and was an avid reader. She was a member of the Seventh Day Baptist Church where she was very active. She was often called upon to organize events and activities. Patience “PJ” Spencer was born on September 11, 2002 in Clarksburg, W.Va., to the late Frederick A. Spencer III and Dixie McCullough Spencer. “PJ” was a student at Doddridge County Elementary School....

This “Observer” Tunes in to Triumph

This “observer” tunes in to Triumph by Owen Probasco SDB Conference 1997 – “Tuned In—Turned On—and Triumphant” Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas   As I considered a Conference theme, I kept thinking of the three crosses on Calvary! One “thief” was tuned in. (He couldn’t help being so—he was there.) The second “victim” was turned on by Christ’s innocence. And then Christ was triumphant! Also, the three “T’s” of Tuned In—Turned On—and Triumphant represented the three crosses. During the year before my Conference week, I didn’t feel as though there was much direction from “headquarters” when it came to me visiting the churches. I didn’t visit too many since I wasn’t sure if I should contact them or they should invite me. I think that the Center could be more helpful in that way. Everything went well (or at least okay) but church visitation is vital and should be approached more vigorously. Certainly a positive memory is how I was humbled and enriched by the support of my home church in Shiloh, New Jersey. I believe we had the most members in attendance at that Conference up to that time. My own family gave great help and support in my presidential duties. Our kids seemed to enjoy having a little fun at my expense during the opening session! (Don’t know where they get their ideas.) Seriously, it did bring SDBs and their concerns closer to my heart. Obviously my wife was supportive and a continued blessing through it all. I truly felt God’s presence throughout. As far as how my perspective was affected, I had attended Conference for many years, served on the General Council, chaired committees, etc., but always felt more like an observer than a participant. That changed! Maybe I came in as a Seventh Day Baptist, but I became a dyed-in-the-wool SDBer! God is my pilot—not my co-pilot. When I passed the gavel on to the next President, I felt humbled but GREAT; sort of a sigh of relief. Looking ahead, I think many of our new (or old) small groups struggle so much financially that sometimes their energy, worries and dedication have to go to the “building” support rather than the...

Holding on to the Truth

Holding on to the Truth by Ruth Ellyn Burdick SDB Conference 2007 – “Tell the Truth… The WHOLE Truth” George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon   At Conference 2005 after the shock of being approached to consider the nomination for Conference President 2007, I asked for time to pray about it and consider the honor. The business responsibilities made me hesitate. One thing I love about our God is that He is involved in the details of life. That evening during the message I was given a theme topic: God’s Word. Within the next day the daily themes jelled and that evening we were challenged to get enthusiastic and involved. Add to that the fact my whole family was supportive and positive about the possibility confirmed my acceptance to be nominated. After the official vote took place, the theme, the Scriptures, the speakers and more detailed plans seemed to automatically come together. It was an exciting time seeing God’s intervention and guidance. One of my first duties was to attend the final Conference meeting of General Council. With great relief I was not asked to chair the meetings that year since I was a “newbie.” Within the next three years I gained a solid respect for all the executives conducting business on behalf of the Conference behind the scenes. They work with diligence and professionalism. The biggest challenge of the time I served was presiding over the Conference business sessions. I faced this with trepidation. It was further complicated in 2007 with a church-by-church vote concerning involvement with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. It was so encouraging to have a great backup team of executives and parliamentarians who guided me continually and covered any errors I made! Thankfully, the business went smoother than I expected. I loved the planning for Conference 2007 because I was passionate about the theme, “Tell the Truth… The WHOLE Truth.” The location on the campus of George Fox in Newberg, Oregon was beautiful and peaceful. Once I announced the theme, many became as excited as I was and encouraged me all along the way. I gave a challenge to our people to read the complete Bible in a...

Harmony Goes a Long Way

Harmony Goes a Long Way by John H. Camenga    SDB Conference 2000 – “Live in Harmony with One Another” West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, W.Va.   Years before I was selected as President, I had thought about “The Upward Way” as a Conference theme, using the Fannie Crosby hymn “Higher Ground” as the theme song. In my prayer times asking God to guide in the choice of a theme, I became convicted that another emphasis was required. I was directed to “Live in Harmony with One Another” from 1 Peter 3:8. I sought to include people who held many points of view on Conference matters as speakers, committee chairs and Bible study leaders. Harmony proved to be an important emphasis. In the period right after my term, Conference was challenged to deal with some difficult doctrinal issues with a few member churches. I believe God guided me to select the theme as I asked Him in prayer what would be needed for our Conference and our churches—not just for the one year, but moving forward. One of my greatest challenges during that Presidential term was setting aside my personal preferences so God could work through me. It was a wonderful start to the Conference to have the choir of my home church, Daytona Beach, sing two numbers in dramatically different styles. It was also special to receive a “yes” from each person asked to participate in Conference duties. When I was installed at the 1999 session in Holland, Mich., my mother was undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer. She went through the Thursday treatment, drove to the airport with Dad and flew from Florida to Michigan. At the Sabbath night session, Dad presented me with a gavel that was his last wood-turning effort. As Conference ended, the folks flew back to Florida on Sunday and Mother drove herself to the Monday morning treatment. (I wonder if I will be that tough at 90.) Brothers Justin and David were there not only for the Conference sessions but during the year. I cannot imagine a higher level of support than the family gave. The “kids” were moving into independence in 2000. The girls made sure their...