Ontario Conference News


It’s a New Year

So, did you make at least one New Year’s resolution?There are many who value making New Year’s resolutions.  Each January seems like a fresh start as if the troubles of the present year end every December 31.

Recently, I *learned of an annual event known as Takanakuy in Peru. Recognising that each year brings its own problems, people use the event to close off the previous year’s conflicts and disputes by fighting so they can start the new one harmoniously. Each December at Chumbivilcas province, in Cusco, crowds gather to watch the protagonists battle to settle their differences before the New Year begins. When they finish, grievances are set aside and the day ends with a fiesta. They are free to begin a new year afresh.

Yes, there are far better ways of settling accounts but the Peruvians cannot be faulted for wanting to set aside the differences before the year ends. To close off a year without resolving conflicts, forgiving or seeking forgiveness, and making reconciliation, will definitely guarantee a more difficult new year.

While we happily greeted 2023 with hope, in the back of our minds we knew that it won’t be so for many.  Yes, some will experience joy and great pleasure as they graduate, marry, give birth, etc. but others will be faced with news of terminal illness or other personal tragedies.  Moments of joy can quickly be tempered by the reality of living in a sinful world. So, we remain hopeful and often resolve to play our part in making the year more purposeful.

So, did you make a resolution?  Given that we have no power over natural occurrences in 2023, what goals have you set that will help you have a more purposeful life, regardless of your situation?  Although we don’t know what 2023 will bring, how about wanting to be closely connected to the One who holds our future in His hands (Psalm 16:5)?

Here are three resolutions to consider:

  • If not already doing so, begin having daily personal relationship-building time with God.  Using only the Bible, take time to read from it and contemplate God, His worth, glory, love, and how He acts. Daily pray for the Holy Spirit to govern your life.
  • Physically participating in public worship in the church building. As disciples, we are part of the body of Christ.  Let’s not deny ourselves fellowship with the rest of the body. We need each other for growth.
  • Regularly engage in acts of service in your neighbourhood and live as a disciple to others.

If you take time to think about these resolutions, you may also see them as the most important ones you can make for 2023. If you do, let these be among your resolutions.  It’s not too late to make them today.

Halsey Peat
Communication director


Three Ontario Pastors Retire

Newly Retired: Djojo Sekulic, Ida Smith, and Oleg Zhigankov

In the last two months of 2022, three pastors from the Ontario Conference of Seventh-day Adventists joined the growing list of retired pastors in the North American Division.

Pastors Djojo Sekulic and Ida Smith retired from full-time ministry on December 31 and January 1, 2003, respectively, joining Pastor Oleg Zhigankov who retired on November 21.

Pastor Sekulic has served in churches in East Central and Eastern Ontario for the past 21 years. He and his wife, Branka, have two adult daughters. His most recent congregations were Pembroke and Perth. Ministerial colleagues and church members alike share a love and respect for him.

Pastor Ida Smith, has served since 1997, first as a Bible instructor and, from 2010, as a pastor in the Greater Toronto Area.  For the past five years, she has been the associate pastor at Willowdale Adventist Church as well as pastor and clinical chaplain at the nearby Valleyview Nursing Home and Forestview Retirement Home.

Pastor Ida was a member of the Ontario Conference Divorce and Remarriage Committee, and also the North American Division Executive Committee. In 2022, she earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in the area of Clinical Pastoral Care, Counselling, and Psychotherapy.

Pastor Ida is married to Douglas with whom she has four adult children and grandchildren.

Pastor Oleg Zhigankov took early retirement on November 21, after serving as pastor of Toronto Slavic International, North Bay, and South River Adventist Churches since 2006. His service was interrupted in 2011 when he left to teach at The Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS) in the Philippines.  Returning to Ontario in 2016, Pastor Oleg resumed his service in Northern Ontario.  He and his wife, Elena have a son.

Announcing the news of their retirement to conference directors shortly before the end of the year, Pastor Mansfield Edwards, Ontario Conference president said, “While we are happy that these well-loved pastors are able to retire, we are sad to see them go. They have been faithful in their service and we will definitely miss them.”

Baptisms in Ukraine Despite Current Challenges

Ukraine | Natalia Luchak
3 January 2023
The year 2022 has come to an end and despite the disturbing events of the conflict in Ukraine, many people heard the voice of the Saviour Jesus Christ.

Believers of the community of Odesa experienced great joy when on Friday, December 9, 2022, two people were baptized, and then the next day, three women made a covenant with God.

(Credit: Ukrainian Union Conference)

Two days later, in the city of Dnipro, a solemn service was held, where 55 people made a covenant with God. These people came from the Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya, and Donetsk regions, including frontline settlements.

An evangelistic program was held in the Left Bank Spiritual Center of Kyiv with the participation of evangelist Viktor Begas. After a series of topics, eight people also joined the church through baptism. As the meetings continued, there was hope that other visitors will join the family of God.

(Credit: Ukrainian Union Conference)

On Sabbath, December 17, 2022, the Feast of Water Baptism was held in Vinnytsia, where nine people gave their hearts to Jesus.

On the same day, seven people of different ages were also baptized. The baptism was conducted by local pastor Yevhen Budza. The oldest person who was baptized is 83 years old, and the youngest girl is 12. Most of the newly baptized learned about the church through humanitarian projects and food distribution. As one of them said, she liked to listen to small spiritual reflections while waiting to recieve food.

On the same day, in the community of Sribne, in the Chernihiv region, five people were also baptized.

December 24, 2022 was also a joyful day for the Chernihiv congregation, when four individuals were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Adventist congregations in the Sumy region also experienced special blessings from God in this troubling time. Many people listened to the Word of God—so much so that the halls were full. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, many repented and dedicated their lives to Christ, entering into a covenant with Him.

(Credit: Ukrainian Union Conference)
The original version of this story was posted on the Ukrainian Union Conference Ukrainian-language site. The English version was posted on Adventist News Network.


Virtual Ministry Leadership Training Planned for Church Officers

Ontario Conference will hold virtual ministry leadership training for all new and returning church officers on January 21 and February 11, 2023, at 4:00 p.m.

“As newly elected ministry leaders take up their responsibilities we want to immediately provide them with training and resources,” explained Pastor Halsey Peat, assistant to the president.  “It will also be an opportunity for them to learn how their ministry can align with the vision of their church to connect like Jesus.  Any leader, new or returning, who wants the best for his or her ministry will definitely want to attend this free training.”

The virtual training will take place on Sabbath afternoon, January 21 and on February 11, 2023, starting at 4:00 p.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m.  Ministry leaders will be to attend two different workshops on each of the two days.  Most workshops will be repeated, allowing leaders with more than one office to attend up to three or even four workshops.



Did you miss it? Listen again?
Click above for music ministry featuring Near North Young Adults and season's greetings from President Mansfield Edwards.

Click the image above to watch WWWJ Bible Adventure on YouTube!

Click the image below to register for REFRESH Youth Leadership Summit

Summer Camp is Coming!
Kids aged 8-16, come to Frenda for an amazing experience in 2023. Registration is now open for all camps, including Family Camp 1. Early bird special expires February 12, so register soon! for more info.
Camp Frenda is Hiring! 
Students aged 17 and up can apply for the experience of a lifetime—working at Camp! Memories, friendships, and ministry that will change your life is waiting at Frenda. Apply today at

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Office of Education - Current Job Opportunities
The following positions are currently available
with the Ontario Conference Office of Education:
Before and After School Early Childhood Educator/Teacher's Assistant for Grandview Adventist Academy
Special Education Resource Teacher for College Park Elementary School
Temporary Certified Elementary Teacher for College Park Elementary School
High School Substitute Teachers for Crawford Adventist Academy (secondary school)
Substitute Teachers (ongoing hiring) for Brampton, London, Mount Hope, Oshawa, Ottawa, Pickering, Toronto, and Windsor

Visit this link for details on the above job postings with Ontario Conference Education.

Kingsway College, a Seventh-day Adventist boarding high school in Oshawa, Ontario is seeking applicants for the following positions:

  • School Counsellor
  • Piano Accompanist for the Kingsway College Choir

Applicants should be a member in good standing of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and able to work legally in Canada and have a current vulnerable sector police check. Three personal references are required. Please email your resume to Lee Richards– Please visit the Kingsway College website for job descriptions for these positions:

Would you like your church ad or article to be considered for inclusion in the next edition of Ontario Conference News (OCN)? We love to help in sharing your story, and we accept submissions for OCN up to the Tuesday of each publication week.

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