From Generic to Specific

From Generic to Specific  by Kevin Butler        I’ve shared this story locally at Christmastime, but I believe the main message goes beyond the season. The characters are real; the situation was not.   The week before Christmas vacation, it was time to exchange gifts at our 5th grade class! The girls had picked other girl names, the guys got other guy names. Mrs. Murphy started reading off the gift tags, “girls first” of course. Finally, Mrs. Murphy said, “All right, boys—are you ready?” Were we ready?! David Havener. Francis McDonough. Danny… —and she paused, because it could be Danny Deal, Danny Vollmer or Danny English. It was Danny Deal. Norman Houck. (Oh, yeah! That was ‘MY guy’ that Mom and I shopped for.) This went on and on for what seemed like “forever.” Then Mrs. Murphy said, “Kevin…” I started to get up and began rehearsing in my mind, “Thank you, thank you very much…” “…DARDANO.” Kevin Dardano? Kevin DARDANO??? Oh man, he lives out in the country in that huge house, and his Dad runs the Rexall Pharmacy in town—he doesn’t need any present!! She read a few more names, and then there were NO MORE gifts under the tree. “Did everybody get something?” Mrs. Murphy asked. I raised my hand slowly. “Um, Mrs. Murphy, I didn’t get one.” Apparently my giver was either sick or he forgot. “Oh, Kevin,” she paused. “Up behind my desk, there’s a present for you wrapped in blue paper.” Now that’s more like it, I thought. Excuse me, but I’ve got a special present behind the teacher’s desk. It must be SO BIG that it can’t fit under the tree! Make way for the special recipient of… of… a VERY SMALL blue box. There must be some mistake here. This can’t possibly be for… And then I read the nametag on the gift: “Boy.” As everyone else was unwrapping their gifts given specifically to them, I unwrapped a six-inch ruler (from the local pharmacy) and a Bozo the Clown pencil eraser.   Christmas—the REAL Christmas— goes beyond “Generic.” Christmas—the arrival of Jesus—happened at a specific time for a specific reason. God the Father sent his specific...

Family Flux – January 2014

Births Owen.—A son, Micah Paul, was born to Jeremiah and Sarah (Keating) Owen of Canyon Country, CA on October 24, 2013. Owen.—A daughter, Marlowe Faith, was born to Phillip and Heather Owen of Castaic, CA on November 5, 2013. Killingbeck.—A daughter, Avah Grace, was born to Caleb and Jenna (Wethington) Killingbeck of Reed City, MI on November 22, 2013. Obituaries Sayre.—Margaret “Peg” (Brown) Sayre, 101, died at the Milton, Wis., Senior Center on July 12, 2013. Peg was born on March 28, 1912, the third child of Linn Henry Brown and Maggie May (Hakes) Brown. She grew up in Rodger’s Park in Chicago, Ill. Peg graduated from Senn High School in Chicago, and graduated from Milton College in 1934. She was active in athletics and Shakespeare plays during college. She was married to Walter R. Sayre in her Chicago home on September 8, 1934. They returned to Milton to live where Walter owned the Blackhawk Garage (later named Sayre Motors) and also raised mink as a business venture. Walt and Peg later owned the Sayre Bus Company in Milton. Peg was a bookkeeper for the family businesses. She was a member of the Milton Seventh Day Baptist Church. Peg was always interested in the activities and politics in Milton, and served as President of the Women’s Village Improvement Club in 1949. An avid golfer, Peg continued to play until she was 93, shooting in the 60’s. Walt and Peg wintered in Texas, where she had a hole-in-one at age 77. After retirement, Peg became a quilter and volunteered at the Gathering Place in Milton, helping with quilting projects until age 98. She and Walt traveled extensively for 16 years in their private plane with other airplane enthusiasts to various destinations in Mexico and Central America, as well as across the United States. Peg was preceded in death by her husband, Walter, in 1995. She was the loving mother of Laura Sayre Hamann of Hummelstown, Pa., and John Sayre of Tomahawk, Wis. She is also survived by six grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Memorial services were held on August 5, 2013, at the Milton SDB Church with Rev. Herb Saunders officiating.   Barber.—Doris Lenore Goodrich Barber,...

BCE to Merge With Conference

BCE to Merge With Conference by Andrew Camenga BCE Executive   The Seventh Day Baptist Board of Christian Education has adopted a resolution to move toward merging with the SDB General Conference as soon as is practical. The Board of Directors met October 25-27, 2013, for a retreat at Camp Harley Sutton, Alfred Station, N.Y. Our meetings began with a time of prayer on Friday night and concluded with a group picture just before noon on Sunday. In between we worshipped together, ate together, slept in the bunk rooms, and considered the overall ministry of the Board of Christian Education, our relationship to the General Conference, and budget planning for 2015. We dedicated considerable time to making a decision about whether this ministry should remain an independent corporation or should merge with the General Conference. The end result of the discussion was a clear decision to move toward merging with the Conference. We have communicated this decision with the General Council and General Conference office. The following text is based on that communication:   In 2010, the General Conference adopted recommendations from an Ad Hoc Committee on Denominational Reorganization. Two years later, this action was confirmed by Conference action—adopting bylaw changes that implemented the recommendations. One of the Ad Hoc recommendations directly addressed the Board of Christian Education: That… the Seventh Day Baptist Board of Christian Education …legally merge with the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference. Over this last year, our Board of Directors has gathered information, diligently prayed, and struggled with determining together God’s guidance in our response to the recommendation from General Conference. This last weekend, October 25-27, 2013, our directors adopted the following resolution: Resolved, that the Seventh Day Baptist Board of Christian Education, Inc. will move toward merging with the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference, USA & Canada, Ltd., as soon as is practical. The directors have appointed Andrew Camenga, Paul Andries, Nathanael Lawton, and Allen Hauber as a committee to oversee the merger process for the Board of Christian Education. We look forward to working with the General Council of the General Conference to move toward implementing this decision as quickly as is possible. It is our hope to...

Listening to God and Obeying

Listening to God and Obeying by Clayton Pinder     Editor’s note: A dear servant of the Lord, Clayton Pinder served as our Conference President in 2001, using the theme “Try God.” He submitted several good articles for his President’s Page that year; this one appeared in March 2001. Clayton’s obituary is on page 26 in this issue.     Do you ever hear God talking to you? How do you respond? In my life, I’ve learned to listen for Him. The method God uses to communicate varies, but you can be sure it’s Him wanting to get your attention and reaction. I’ve felt the Lord asking me to do something for Him many times. One instance occurred in the early 1970s, when I was working in Summersville, W.Va. A fellow employee got laid off. He was in management, had a large family, and didn’t believe in God. Several times he talked to me about my faith and asked why I believed in God. He had been a choir boy when he was younger, but had gotten away from church. He confessed he didn’t have faith in God anymore. Frankly, he said it even stronger than that. “I don’t believe in God and all that ‘stuff,’ ” he scowled. But he knew I did. I didn’t see my friend for a couple of weeks. Then one day, when I was in a meeting, God spoke to me out of the blue: “Go see your friend.” The message was very clear and persistent. After “hearing” nothing but that, I asked to be excused and left to see my friend. When I arrived at his house, he said he was expecting me. He had been very depressed. He told me that he had gone out that morning, bought a bottle of wine, and planned to commit suicide. There he was—unemployed and a disappointment to his family. He was probably going to lose his house, and he didn’t know what to do. He felt that his life was really messed up. I told him that God had sent me to see him. We talked a long while, and I finally asked him to Try God. Once again he...

New Position for New Direction

New Position for New Direction        This month’s column comes from General Council Chairman John Pethtel.   In accordance with our Alliance in Ministry, the General Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Nick Kersten to the part-time interim position of New Contact Coordinator for 2014. Nick’s responsibility will still lie mostly in his role as Librarian-Historian (⅞ time), as his new role will be limited to an average of 20 hours a month. As New Contact Coordinator, Nick will help us respond quickly and efficiently to new contacts. He will work very closely with the Executive Director in categorizing, classifying, and collecting data from all new contacts. This position will primarily be an office-based one and will be evaluated regularly by the Executive Director and the President of the SDB Historical Society. This interim position is just a small step for us to move forward in how the Conference handles church development. Our hope is to try to be more active in the communication that we have with new groups and potential new groups. In related news (and as announced at the General Conference sessions in 2013), the General Council plans to have task forces related to church development starting work in 2014: one related specifically to church planting, and one related to church revitalization. After hearing feedback from many of our members and spending much time in prayer, we see church development as a major focus of the ministry of SDBs going into the future. This involves the health and revitalization of our existing member churches, as well as the establishment of new Gospel-centered Sabbath-keeping churches throughout North America. This priority has already begun to challenge us to answer the questions of how and why our Conference exists to serve our members and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Many have asked how they can join in this work-in-progress. Let me offer some tangible ways you can participate in what God is doing and will do among SDBs. If you would commit to doing at least one of these things during 2014 it would be greatly appreciated: 1. Pray. Our General Conference earnestly desires the “more preferable future” that He has in store for...