North American Division Year-End Meeting 2023: "Together in Mission: I Will Go"
From October 25 to 31, delegates and officers representing various unions, conferences, and denominational entities from Bermuda, Canada, Guam, Micronesia, and the United States gathered at the North American Division (NAD) headquarters for the annual Year-End Meeting. The Adventist community across North America gathered under the theme of "Together in Mission: I Will Go."
Ontario Conference's Representation
The Ontario Conference made its presence felt with a delegation comprising Shereen McFarlane, Sereivudh Ly, and Jakov Bibulović, all esteemed members of the North American Division executive committee. This representation underscored the commitment of the Ontario Conference to participate actively in the decision-making processes of the larger Adventist community.
Pastor Sereivudh Ly (Left), Shereen McFarlane (middle), Ontario Conference President Jakov Bibulović
A Week of Spiritual Renewal and Connection
The Year-End Meeting was more than just a series of administrative discussions; it was a gathering that encapsulated great fellowship and offered an opportunity for old friends from the Ontario Conference to reconnect with colleagues who had moved on to serve in the NAD.
Pr. Bibulović with Christelle Agboka, News Writer and Producer at the NAD (former director of Communications at the Ontario Conference)
Pastor Bibulović (far left) and Pastor Ly (far right) with Pastor and Mrs. Paola Oudri, former director and secretary at Ontario Conference, and Nikolay Vilinov, former software developer at Ontario Conference.
Each day commenced with morning devotionals that set the tone for the day's proceedings. These sessions served as a source of spiritual nourishment and reflection, reinforcing the shared mission of the Adventist community.
The delegates were treated to a series of inspirational presentations, among them a message from Barry Black, the first African American and Adventist to hold the position of U.S. Senate chaplain. His message, titled "Winning Life's Race," commenced with a heartfelt testimony, where he acknowledged his deep indebtedness to the Seventh-day Adventist Church for shaping his life and ministry.
Chaplain (Brigadier General) Andrew R. Harewood, Deputy Chief of Chaplains, U.S. Army Reserve, and Director of Strategy, Plans, Policy, Resources, and Soldier/Family Spiritual Readiness at the Office of the Chief of Chaplains (OCCH) at the Pentagon, urged church leaders to re-assess their methods and practices and discontinue those activities that are not productive. He quoted Peter Drucker, emphasizing that "Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient something that shouldn't be done at all." His words struck a chord with many of the delegates as they discussed how to effectively move the ministry of Christ forward.
Policies, Positions, and Historic Documents
Year-end meetings are essential for the Adventist Church, serving as a platform where the Executive Committee receives division officers and departmental reports, new initiatives are presented, and policies are reviewed and amended. This year, several significant decisions were made.
The Nominating Committee recommended candidates for three crucial positions. Ivan L. Williams, Sr. was appointed as the new vice president for strategy and leadership following his 12-year tenure as the NAD Ministerial Association director. Adam Fenner, who also serves as director of the Adventist Learning Community of NAD, assumed the role of NAD Vice President for Digital Media. Chad Grundy from Carolina Conference was appointed as the new NAD undertreasurer, filling a vacancy left by Judy Glass's promotion to NAD treasurer a few months ago.
A significant moment in the history of the Adventist Church in North America occurred with the approval of a statement addressing the Doctrine of Discovery (learn more here). The document unequivocally repudiates the Doctrine of Discovery and its underlying beliefs, pledging a commitment to fostering respectful and equitable relationships with indigenous peoples.
The delegates also affirmed by declaring that all individuals, regardless of gender, age, or calling, are empowered by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel, a message deeply rooted in Joel 2:28-29.
Closing with Ellen G. White's Wisdom
The meeting concluded with a quote from Ellen G. White, emphasizing the collective responsibility of church members to join hands with ministers and church officers to fulfill the work of God on Earth.
The North American Division Year-End Meeting 2023 is available for you to look over. You can watch the sessions here.
Ontario Conference Headquarters Gears Up for Our Global Week of Prayer
Conference directors and staff worship together as a team daily. For the upcoming week of prayer, the focus will shift, creating an even more special worship environment.
Ministerial Secretary Frankie Lazarus and Prayer Ministries Director Edith Habaradas, along with their team, are planning services around the devotions provided by the General Conference. In addition, a Communion service is being prepared for this coming Thursday for all Conference directors and staff. Sister Ines Telis, departmental secretary for Health and Prayer, has personally undertaken the responsibility of preparing cold-pressed grape juice and unleavened bread for this sacred service.
Executive Secretary Pastor Emile Maxi expressed his excitement about this week, saying, "Over my many years of ministry, where I have served in 13 countries across three continents, I am not aware of a Conference office engaging in a week of prayer and communion. It is truly very special for me."
In the troubled times in which we live, the need for God’s guidance, prayer, and a closer walk with Jesus is more crucial than ever. The Ontario Conference recognizes this and encourages every church to participate.
For those seeking further information and details about next week's prayer time, visit prayer.adventistontario.org to download materials. Please share the Week of Prayer flyer displayed below.
Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director of Communications and Media
The Ontario Conference invites all churches to dedicate November 4-11, 2023, to the Week of Prayer. This is a solemn time when we, as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, engage in united prayers for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that we may receive power and divine help to continue in the work and mission God has called us to do.
To download supporting reading material, please visit prayer.adventistontario.org.
President’s Uplifting Visit Inspires
Mission at Ajax Church
On October 14, 2023, Ajax Seventh-day Adventist Community Church welcomed Ontario Conference President Jakov Bibulović and his family as he preached the Word for Family Life Day. In his opening comments, he acknowledged the congregation's mourning and loss of Pastor Joseph Bulgin, who served from September 2014 until his passing on June 23, 2023. He also affirmed the leadership of the new lead pastor, Theodore Sargent, who has been working with the church to impact the community for Jesus.
During his sermon, President Bibulović outlined his mission of empowering the church members to serve the Lord. He emphasized the need for the community to heed the guidance of the Holy Spirit and remain vigilant for the imminent return of Jesus. Drawing parallels with the signs of birth-pain, he conveyed the message that the turbulent changes happening in the world indicate the soon coming of Christ. Pr Bibulović exhorted the congregation to embrace the coming challenges and press on with God’s ministry.
Pastor Bibulović endorsed discipleship as a vital means for church growth and mending broken relationships, aligning with the Ontario Conference's theme of "Connecting like Jesus." He stressed the importance of being a relational church, fostering genuine connections, and showing intentional support to members going through times of trouble, sorrow, or despair. He encouraged the church to actively seek and pray for those facing such circumstances, particularly the youth.
In closing, the president made a fervent appeal to the Ajax members to allow the Holy Spirit to guide their lives. He emphasized the importance of rebuilding broken relationships and strengthening the hands of the youth, members, and friends.
Following the service, President Bibulović, his wife and daughter personally greeted members and helped to minister to their various needs. Their visit was met with gratitude and appreciation as the Ajax Seventh-day Adventist Community Church found inspiration and renewed determination in God’s Word to continue ministering to communities in need.
Ajax Seventh-day Adventist Church
Pastoral Installations Continue!
Pastor Darren Godsoe was recently installed
at College Park Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Pastor Emmanuel Perera is the new pastor for Hagersville Seventh-day Adventist Church, in addition to his new post at Brantford Church.
Ontario Conference Youth Triumph at 40th Bible Bowl Nationals in Orlando
Amid stiff competition, Ontario Conference youth represented Canada with distinction at the 40th Bible Bowl Nationals held at Mt. Sinai Church in Orlando, Florida, on October 27 and 28.
This year's Bible Bowl Nationals had teams from various churches in the United States and Ontario. Apple Creek Seventh-day Adventist Church, a seasoned and experienced team, and Brampton Church were the only Canadian representatives to the event. Ontario participated in four divisions: Pre-Junior (ages 4-6), Junior (ages 10-15), Senior Youth (ages 16-22), and Young Adults (ages 23-35).
There were a number of nail-biting showdowns in the event. One example was between the Pre-Junior teams for Brampton's and Northeastern Conference. Northeastern had a full team of four members, while Brampton had just two. In the end, Brampton managed to tie Northeastern.
Apple Creek's Junior team demonstrated strong knowledge of scripture, securing victories by substantial margins in many games and receiving first place nationally.
Ontario's Senior Youth team also claimed the top spot in their division. The Pre-Junior and Young Adults divisions did not fall far behind, earning first runners-up in their categories.
The Ontario Conference extends its heartfelt congratulations to all the youth who participated and their parents and supporting churches that dedicated time and resources to their young people learning the Word of God.
Bible Bowl is not just a competition; it's a fun and engaging way for youth and adults to deepen their understanding of the Bible. It also provides a platform to forge new friendships and explore different locations as they participate. If your church is interested in starting a Bible Bowl team, contact the Youth Ministry Department at the Ontario Conference for more details on how to get started.
Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director of Communications and Media
Chinese Church “Power Weekend” Rewrites Revival Series Format.
In September, the Toronto Chinese Seventh-Day Adventist Church embarked on an innovative revival series. Lead Pastor Paul Jang and Assistant Pastor Saixi Lu created the concept of a “Power Weekend,” where messages would be preached Friday night, twice on Sabbath and Sunday. Pastors Jang and Lu shared, "We felt this would work in our community, but we were nervous about the new format. We wondered if our members would be receptive to a short series packed into two full weekends." However, they continued their planning following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Their guest speaker was Pastor Dan Cheung, President of the Hong Kong Adventist College. His messages were deeply personal and passionate as he wove the Gospel through the tapestry of his own personal testimony. The congregation was drawn into each of his presentations. As Pastor Jang shared, "The members really enjoyed it and a number of people from the community attended as well." Attendance remained strong throughout both weekends.
By the end, the membership of the Toronto Chinese Seventh-Day Adventist Church felt a renewed sense of faith in Jesus and a continuing desire to engage in ministry for Him. The “Power Weekend” concept reflected the Church's willingness to explore new methods to share the Gospel to meet the needs of both the community and the congregation. They look forward to further outreach to touch lives for Jesus.
Pastor Saixi Lu
Toronto Chinese Adventist Church
Crawford Performs at Afroglobal Excellence Awards
The Crawford Adventist Academy High School Choir was thrilled to accept the invitation to perform at the Afroglobal Television Excellence Awards held at the Meridian Arts Centre on October 21, 2023. Under the direction of Mr. Dale Brown, the choir sang beautiful renditions of ‘O Canada”, “Lift Every Voice and Sing (Black Anthem),” accompanied by Ajiloh Aquino (Class of ’24) and their now famous cover of 'Lift Me Up.'
The Afroglobal Excellence Awards ‘showcases the achievements of individuals, organizations, businesses and agencies that make a profound difference in the lives of people of African descent, and to transform the communities where they live.’
Crawford Adventist Academy has been serving students, families and the community for more than 70 years. Our student music groups minister at churches and at community events around the city. For more information about the Crawford family of schools, please visit our official website, www.caasda.com.
Judy Cardona Gamez
Toronto Adventist District School Board
“IGNITE: The Hope Experience” Building the Kingdom - Reaching the World
Ignite: The Hope Experience 2023 Series, led by Berea and Toronto Central Seventh-day Adventist Churches, was held from October 7 to 28, 2023. Pastor Rod Rene, from Saint Lucia Mission, served as the speaker for the series, delivering over 18 Bible-based sermons. By the grace of God, twenty-four individuals were baptized and have since become members of Berea (3), Toronto Central (19), and Toronto Heritage (2). Pastors Orlando Patterson, Kirk Dunchie, and Edwin Darius conducted the baptisms. Bible Counselor and Elder Hopeton Blake played an integral role in preparing the candidates for baptism.
The focus of the first week was on the character of God and the life of Christ, inviting us to seek refuge under His blood and surrender all to Jesus. The second week emphasized family life, covering topics such as 'Where Have All the Good Men Gone?', 'How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage?', and 'No Money, No Love.’ The final week of the series highlighted last-day events and God's ultimate warning to every soul.
A unique feature of Ignite was its global outreach. The technical team from Toronto Central facilitated the broadcast and received a nightly online attendance from 3,000 to 5,000 viewers on the Toronto Central YouTube channel, resulting in a 35% increase in subscriptions. Overall, the series had over 69,000 people viewing different platforms from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, the Cayman Islands, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, and Guyana.
Toronto Central Church
The Young Adult Experience: Part 1
For Adventist youth gone are the days of watching "Adventures in Odyssey" with their families. Now, they are the ones orchestrating events and vespers, driving to potlucks, and deeply immersing themselves in ministry. However, as young adults, the divine call to ministry and to deepen their involvement in the church can be met with conflicting feelings. They grapple with feelings of being, "benched" in their ministry or question themselves asking, "Could God really use someone like me?" In this two part investigative report the challenges and exciting opportunities facing Youth in Ontario will be presented.
The term 'benched' is often used metaphorically to describe a feeling of being side-lined or not actively involved in a particular activity or role. In the book 'Benchwarmer, Ammishaddai Grand-Jean characterizes the feelings of young adults who feel benched as 'waiting to realize a dream, purpose, or envisioned goal.' He makes a clear distinction between 'courtside spectators—observers who watch opportunities pass them by—and 'Benchwarmers' youth who are ready to engage and actively seek opportunities to serve. Ammishaddai urges young adults to adopt the athlete's mind-set— adjusting their attitude, strategizing, and practicing for active involvement so that when called upon, they can 'get in the game' and make a difference
Aside from those who feel benched, many Adventist youth in Ontario are active in ministry. They participate in praise teams, lead small group worship, serve on mission trips both locally and abroad, organize community service events, and are involved in activities such as Master Guide, Pathfinder, and ACF clubs, among others. However, many of these active youth feel 'Churched Out,' which can be defined as emotional and spiritual exhaustion resulting from the demanding and rigorous aspects of church life and service.
Understanding these challenges to Youth are vital. A Statistics Canada report identified that for the first time, young adults are eclipsing the baby boomer generation. (1) This means the future of the Adventist church in Ontario will be predominantly in the hands of the youth. The time for them to come off the bench and take an active role in church leadership and ministry is now. However, to avoid burnout and ministering only when they have the energy to do it, they must also incorporate self-care so they can have consistent energy and long-term joy in their ministry.
Part 2 of the series will report on this year's Young Adult Thrive Summit. Stay tuned as Young adults from across the province come together and share how they’ve implemented new and exciting ways to remain engaged in ministry.
The Ontario Conference Communication and Media team is creating a Social Media team to help preach the Gospel of Jesus! If you are active on social media and/or love to create posts, we want to hear from you! Please send your name and number email@example.com, and we will follow up with you soon!
ABC Christian Bookstore
Your store for Christian supplies, gifts, food and literature.
This supporting even for women is recommended by the Ontario Conference Women's Ministries Department.
Churched Out? Workshops include addressing aspects of healing, plus "How to Start Young Adult Ministry," and "Compassion Ministry in Daily Life". Activities include hiking, a gym night, and more. Register now at adventistyouthontario.org.
If you or anyone you know is neurodivergent (including Autism, ADHD, or other learning disabilities). If you would like to find ways to connect with church, the New Life Neurodiversity team would like to invite you to come visit us at one of our monthly meet-ups. You and a friend can come and meet us in our small, quiet conference room, where we will have snacks and simple activities, and you can talk with people who know neurodiversity. You can also bring something you want to show or talk about. If you would like to come or would like more information, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can answer any questions and be ready to help. Our goal is to empower and engage neurodivergent individuals to be integrated within the Christ-centred community of New Life.
Job Postings, and More!
The Seventh-day Adventist Church of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL Mission) is seeking a Broadcasting Engineer forLighthouse VOAR-FM. This position is full-time in Mount Pearl, NL and its repeaters. Expected date of hire is April 1, 2024. A combination of experience and education in RF Broadcasting would be an asset. Proficiency in UPS Systems, computer systems and software, encoding of audio streams and Axia Broadcast Systems is required. Master Electronics Technician preferred. The position requires flexibility in schedule, as being on call is a requirement. Applicants should be Seventh-day Adventist in regular standing. Submit resume by email to email@example.com or by mail to 1041 Topsail Road, Mount Pearl, NL A1N 5E9. For more information, contact Sherry Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (709)325-7627. The deadline for resumes is December 31, 2023.
Join One Month In Paradise weight loss program by Paradise Health Clinic at the Newmarket Adventist Centre of Influence. Thirty days of expert health coaching with an interdisciplinary obesity medicine team that includes naturopathic doctor, certified exercise physiologist and pharmacist. Includes comprehensive lifestyle, fitness and body composition assessments, juice detox, medication management, group sessions, education and post-program support. Next program starts October 15. Learn more and register at: Weight Loss Program in Newmarket — Paradise Health