Twice a year Michigan Conference pastors, Bible workers, and their families meet at Camp Au Sable for spiritual study and renewal time, meetings to coordinate ministry for the conference, and some recreation as well. The latest session was held January 27-30, 2020. About 275 workers and their families enjoyed the beautiful Michigan winter setting. In spite of the unusually warm temperatures, there was still plenty of snow on the ground for the families to enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing, and other winter activities.
The keynote speaker for the event was retired seminary professor, Dr. Gerhard Damsteegt. His timely presentations centered on Jesus Christ and His righteousness, reminding us that this topic is not just for intellectual study, but truly comprises practical Bible study that we need to be applying to our daily lives. The message also encourages our members towards a deeper relationship with Him.
Also present for the event was Edwin Romero, director of the North American Division’s retirement office. His presentation shared facts and figures about retirement for conference workers and the importance of setting aside savings even when, or especially when, we are young. Other conference departments made presentations regarding events and services that they provide for the advancement of God’s work. They included our Health and Temperance Department (Vicki Griffin and Evelyn Kissinger) sharing new materials from Lifestyle Matters that are available to help people stop smoking; the Evangelism Department (Elder Wes Peppers) highlighting the “Rest and Renew Retreat” for non-SDA guests and their SDA sponsors; and Strong Tower Radio representatives reminding our ministry leaders of their services and programs, and more.
New workers to Michigan were introduced including Kevin and Julie Sears, Giancarlo and Tatiana Miranda and their families, and Lindsey Pratt. Kevin Sears is pastor of the New Haven and Port Huron churches, Giancarlo Miranda will be coming in April to pastor the Warren church, and Lindsey Pratt is an associate pastor for youth at the Pioneer Memorial Church. The conference ministry team also said goodbye to two of our pastors and their families: Joe and Ruthie Reeves who are going to pastor in Spokane, Washington in the Upper Columbia Conference, and Steven and Mia Silva who are moving to the Loma Linda, California area so that Steven can enhance his ministry with nurse practitioner training. Joe Reeves was part of the Berrien Springs Village pastoral team, and Steven Silva was senior pastor of the East Lansing University and Lansing Spanish churches.
Elder Jim Micheff, conference president, concluded the meetings with a challenge to know and understand our message and mission and to be faithful in moving the Lord’s work forward to completion.