Changes With the New Season
by Al Reimche
The fall colors are turning the state into a medley of art and beauty. The leaves are crunchy on the ground and the air has that crisp feeling in the mornings that reminds us of the changing of the seasons. All we need to do is to keep our eyes open and we know a new season has begun. In our conference, beginning with the Constituency Meeting in September, a new season has begun as well, with many exciting changes and events happening throughout the state. Just like with the coming of fall and the beautiful colors God has painted everywhere to remind us of His love, He is reminding us as a church that He is also with us through every season.
In October, the conference leaders and members in central Oregon worshipped together at the yearly Central Oregon Convocation. We were inspired as David Asscherick presented a beautiful picture of the centrality of God's love in the whole foundation of our faith, a timely message as we enter a new quadrennium. Later in October there was another special event in central Oregon, the ordination of Jonathan Pawson to ministry. This took place in the Cascade church, and even though it was held in the afternoon of a beautiful fall day, the sanctuary was packed with family and friends. His wife, Tobi, introduced him in the service and stated that she was thrilled that he would be her pastor for the rest of their lives because of the spiritual leadership he exemplifies.
Something else new this ‘season’ is a new Executive Committee for the Oregon Conference. The last weekend of October this group attended a retreat so that they could begin working together as a committee. It was soon apparent that again God has given us an excellent committee to work with. There are a number of committee members that are businessmen in the areas of law, medicine, or leadership. Some have expertise in leading and teaching in our churches and schools. Others know from experience the joys and challenges of lay leadership in the church. Most are widely traveled and have insights from other parts of our country. And all have a passion to work for God, both locally in their churches as well as corporately throughout the conference.
On Friday, the group spent the day addressing the terminologies, organization, definitions, and expectations of membership on the Executive Committee. On Sabbath we had a special time being a part of the Lincoln City church worship services. We were blessed by the Sabbath School discussions presented by the members of the local church. George Gainer, pastor from Pleasant Valley church and one of the members of the Executive Committee, spoke during the worship service. His emphasis on making Jesus first as the motivation for Members in Ministry was well received. The local CHIP team provided a very delicious lunch and then the committee continued their time together as they discussed the mission/vision of the conference.
Sunday morning was the first full Executive Committee meeting of this new quadrennium. David Freedman presented a financial statement showing that for this current year expenses have remained below budget and tithe income has continued to be above our budget expectations. For this we praise God and thank our members for your faithfulness in both tithes and offerings! There were also some personnel discussions that will be shared once other committees or individuals have accepted the changes. One of the jobs of this first Executive Committee is to elect the department directors for our conference. Materials that defined the vision of each department were given to the members Thursday night and throughout the weekend all these were examined. During this first meeting a vote was taken to reappoint all the directors. We are blessed to have directors in our conference that are passionate for God's kingdom in our territory.
Immediately after that weekend I flew to Andrews University to interview a couple of prospective pastors for our conference and to meet with the three pastors and families we currently have in attendance at the seminary. We enjoyed a meal together and talked about what was happening back in Oregon. I also had a chance to hear about classes, exams and favorite professors. The following day I flew on to Washington, D.C. where the North American Division Year-End meetings are taking place. Some major discussions have already taken place even though we are less than half way through the agenda. We spent some time addressing the decision of the Southeastern California Conference in electing a new president, there was general affirmation that there had been an attempt by the Pacific Union Conference to follow process throughout the election. We also spent considerable time addressing the new Affordable Care Act and the impact that will have on the health coverage we currently supply our employees. Exciting information was shared regarding the concept of transformational evangelism and the challenge of reaching our major cities. A strong vote was made to ask our members to make prayer a renewed priority this next year. Today we will be studying ways of reconnecting/reengaging our young adults in the church. I encourage each of you to read the full reports from these year end meetings on the North American Division website (www.nadadventist.org) so you stay informed of the latest happenings in your church. I am excited about the vision for the future of the church as we find a place for all of our "Members in Ministry," both young and old, women and men. Blessings to each of you as we go together into this new season of the church right here in the Oregon Conference.