Jesus says in Matthew 24:6-7 (NIV), “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” The conflicts in the world may not be surprising, but the deaths, destruction and hatred are deeply troubling. While we wait for the soon return of Jesus, what are Adventists to do in times of conflict?
The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s stance on war is firmly anchored in the teachings of the Prince of Peace, Jesus. His message is clear: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9, NIV). We, as Adventists, take this message to heart and should strive to be instruments of peace in a world plagued by violence.
Our faith calls us to be conscientious objectors, which means we cannot engage in war or take up arms. This is not a passive stance but a resolute dedication to Jesus’ way of love and peace. This dedication extends beyond our refusal to participate in war; it calls us to redouble our efforts to share the Gospel of peace using all types of media, especially in times of conflict. It means we should advocate for diplomatic solutions to conflicts, promote reconciliation, and work towards justice and fairness in a world plagued by inequality and injustice. As Seventh-day Adventists, we know that the good news of the Gospel transcends the boundaries of war and that only through Jesus can there be healing and reconciliation.
In a world where conflict leaves countless individuals and communities scarred and in need of healing, our role as Adventists is important. We must actively seek out ways to support those who have been affected by conflict without taking sides. This support can take many forms, from organizing and providing humanitarian aid in your local church to supporting Adventist agencies providing relief in conflict zones. It can be assisting refugees who have fled their war-torn country or praying individually or as part of the upcoming Week of Prayer to ask God to bring hope and wholeness to these devastated regions.
Isiah proclaims that when Jesus comes, “…Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4 NIV). In the meantime, our stance on war remains clear: we do not support it. Our commitment to peace is steadfast and goes beyond mere pacifism. We are called to be peacemakers, to actively engage in efforts to support those affected by war, and to preach the Gospel. In a world desperately needing healing and reconciliation, Jesus is the only guiding light towards true peace.
Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director of Communications and Media
Pastoral Installations Continue!
Joseph Amankwah is the new lead pastor for the Waterloo Church.
Pastor Glenn DeSilva installed as lead pastor of Willowdale Church.
Pastor Ardison Bernardo installed at Mt. Zion Filipino Church.
Week of Prayer
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.
A Breath of Fresh Faith: Toronto Chinese Church Outdoor Worship Service
In the first week of September, the Toronto Chinese Seventh-day Adventist Church had its annual outdoor worship service in the serenity of nature at Camp New Lowell, just west of Barrie, Ontario. Of the forty people in attendance, half were non-members, and many were from mainland China, making it an international gathering.
The worship experience at Camp New Lowell took a laid-back approach, beginning with a Friday evening gathering around a campfire. Associate Pastor Saixi Lu explained, “Everyone got together and shared questions, comments, and feelings about Jesus.” During the sharing, young people who had brought instruments played hymns as background music. Pastor Lu stated, “As the atmosphere was relaxed and non-judgmental, everyone learned much about their faith and Jesus. It was a beautiful experience.”
By the close of the weekend, friends who had joined the congregation for the first time shared, “We have never experienced anything like this! It was wonderful.” While this annual event was previously held in various locations, the Toronto Chinese Seventh-day Adventist Church seems to have found a new home at Camp Lowell. Pastor Lu stated with enthusiasm: “Many of our members loved the campsite, and we recommend everyone to try it!”
Pastor Shawn Ellis
Director of Communications and Media
North American Division (NAD) Ministerial Association
Honours Pastor Appreciation Month
Heads of State Meet with Ottawa Adventist School Students and Pastor
Ottawa Adventist School students sing the national anthem (background). High Commissioner to Jamaica Janice Miller (left); Foreign Affairs Minister of Jamaica Kamina Smith Johnson (middle); Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Michael Holness (far-right)
With voices singing in harmony, the Ottawa Adventist School (OAS) students performed the national anthems of Canada and Jamaica during the visit of Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, last week. Prime Minister Holness was in Ottawa for the Heads of State consultation of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) with Canadian Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau.
Principal Richard Mignott, Madame Cybil Chineegadoo, and Pianist Joan Grant played significant roles in guiding and nurturing the students’ talents to reach this point. Parents remarked how enthused students were to sing before the dignitaries and ensure they represented Christ well.
The performance of the OAS Students was appreciated as the High Commissioner from Jamaica to Canada took a moment to ask the audience to acknowledge their excellent performance with applause during the event.
Reflecting on the event, Pastor Robert Greaves, the lead pastor of Ottawa Church, shared, “Our schools are an important means for broadening our message of hope and wholeness to the larger world.”
Principal Richard Mignott and Pastor Robert Greaves
Pastor Robert Greaves and Wife Ernell (far left, far right), Barbados Prime Minister Mia Motley
At a separate event on October 18, Pastor Robert Greaves, Lead pastor of Ottawa Church, was invited to the home of the High Commissioner of Barbados in a rare opportunity to meet and discuss ministry with Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley. The discussion focused on an innovative prison ministry framework for revitalizing the care and focus of the incarcerated to support them as they reintegrate into society. Following the meeting, Pastor Greaves shared, “I was humbled and honoured that I was able to receive such an invitation.” When asked about his perspective on the meeting in the context of ministry he stated, “I believe the Adventist church should be an agent for change. By moving our values of helping the needy from proclamation in the pulpit to reality in the community, it helps us make a bigger impact in the lives of others for Jesus.”
Pastor Shawn Ellis
Communication and Media Director
OPERATION: GREEN BAND
In this special feature, we present a reflection on the summer and how our Adventist Campgrounds, like Camp Frenda, can be transformational in the lives of youth.
“Mom, hurry up! We need to reach the swim dock for my swim test!" exclaimed an eager and young camper as they arrived at Camp Frenda for the very first time. The entire journey from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to Muskoka had occupied his mind. He meticulously replayed all the swimming lessons and coach's tips to ensure success; nothing could break his unwavering focus. His little heart and mind were completely locked in, as if he had embarked on a mission. "Operation: Green Band”
Upon arrival, he swiftly navigated through the registration process, and the words he had been anticipating all day finally came, "Are you ready for your swim test?"
For those unfamiliar with the Camp Frenda swim test in 2003, a few criteria needed to be met in order to pass, and receive your green band. Firstly, one had to comfortably swim from one dock to another within a specific time frame. Next, they had to tread water for 60 seconds. "Seems simple enough," the young camper thought. There was no doubt in his mind that he would pass this test. He had dreamt of jumping into that water so many times, emerging as the victorious champion of the lake. Now, the moment had arrived.
As he stood on the dock, waiting for his turn to venture into the lake, his thoughts and imagination began to wander. First, he noticed the considerable distance he had to swim to pass the test. Secondly, he realized not everyone passed this test. Lastly, the water seemed reminiscent of the lake in the Anaconda movie he had watched the night before. What was once a pool of enthusiasm was now replaced by a new emotion – fear.
With the dock now filled with campers and expectant parents, the window for a quick getaway had closed. A discouraged look on his face, the boy turned to his mom and said, "I don't think I'm ready, mom. Let's go." Upon hearing this, a lifeguard stepped in with the very words the boy needed to hear, "Would it help if I swam next to you?" With some last-minute encouragement from the lifeguard and a reassuring thumbs-up from his mom, he was off! With their support, he passed that test. Several years later, he decided to give his life to Christ and was baptized in that very same lake.
The young camper who overcame his fears that day was me, and this experience has left an unforgettable mark on my life. It taught me the importance of perseverance, the value of support from loved ones, and the knowledge that, even in moments of doubt, I am not alone. These lessons have guided me throughout my life's journey, enabling me to tackle challenges with determination and faith.
The test didn't become any easier just because the lifeguard was in the water. I still had to make the decision to swim on my own. The support of my mom was always there, but when I felt discouraged and almost gave up, God sent me additional support so I knew I wasn’t alone. On this journey, we sometimes feel overwhelmed and may be tempted to turn away from tasks that seem too challenging to handle on our own. I write to you today to remind you that God is still on your side. His love and unwavering support will never falter and will empower you to persevere and pass the tests life presents.
Frenda Counsellor 2023 Season and
Young Shane Larrow, future counselor (left); Shane, counselor for 2023 (right).
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
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!
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You're invited to this year's ACF Ontario Eastern Fall Retreat. Join students from universities and colleges between Oshawa and Ottawa for a student weekend retreat of friendship, worship and fellowship! This is one weekend that you don't want to miss. You'll start the school year on the right note by making new friends, building your networks, and developing your spiritual walk with God. So don't delay and register today while there are spots!
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.
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