Volume 4 Issue 7 February 18, 2021
Religious Liberty Panel Discussion
On Sabbath, more than 100 viewers watched the online panel discussion, Religious Liberty and Christian Witness in a Time of Turmoil, jointly sponsored by the NCC and the Church State Council. Since then, the program has garnered 243 views on YouTube and more than 600 on Facebook.

Steve Allred, NCC religious liberty liaison, opened the session by asking, “How should we as followers of Jesus respond to all that is going on in our society? How should we respond to the public health crisis in ways that engage our communities with compassion?” Read key points from this hour and a half discussion.

During the program, the participants interacted with the viewers by addressing several pressing questions asked in the chat areas. View the entire discussion, and watch for future NCC religious liberty events.
Brenda Brandy Engages Her Calling to Ministry
Each year, Brenda Brandy makes history come alive for the students at Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy during Black History Month.
On Feb. 5, she presented two chapel talks via Zoom. She told the K-8th graders the story of six-year-old Ruby Bridges, the first African American student to desegregate an elementary school in the South. Ruby's story made a big impression on the students. “They wonder how Ruby could have been so brave and still love those who were treating her so badly,” said kindergarten teacher Esther Melgar.

Brandy also spoke to the high school students about the Black Wall Street Massacre in 1921, one of the worst – and least known – incidents of racial violence in United States history.

Through the years, Brandy has talked about a variety of historical subjects, including the Underground Railroad and the Tuskegee Airmen. “I try to speak to the kids on their level, so they will learn something new,” she said. “Not everything in the news and history books is right. I encourage the students to research things for themselves.”

Brandy is constantly discovering new stories during her many travels with her husband, Lorenzo. “I am a history buff, and I talk about the history of places that I have visited,” she said. For example, one year she spoke to the students about African American cowboys after learning about them at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada (pictured).

She often brings visual aids to help engage the students’ interest. This year she added two books about Ruby Bridges to the school’s library. They were donated by the Multicultural Children’s Bookstore in Richmond.

Brandy wants the students to widen their interests and learn about their own varied backgrounds. “Every culture has stories,” she said. “There are so many cultures; why don’t we celebrate them? We need to dig a little deeper to find out our stories.” 
Beginning the Journey Campaign  
Donate now. This week Katie wants to be a farmer. She has also been very diligent in tracing her letters while trying to figure out which hand should hold the marker. “Mom, I can trace with both hands, but I think my right one works better,” she said. Katie also has been “talking to God to help my teacher get well from this icky virus.”   

Her Adventist school makes Katie feel welcomed, embraced, cared for, and valued. “They are cooperating with the divine purpose in imparting knowledge of God to my child,” said Katie’s mother. “They are nurturing the development of her emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, and social powers.” 

To support new students, like Katie, as they begin their educational journey in kindergarten at one of our schools, the NCC recently established the New Beginners Educational Fund. “With the Holy Spirit's leading, please consider helping a family pay for one month of tuition for kindergarten at one of our 22 schools,” said Laurie Trujillo, director of communication and development.

“The average cost is about $540 per month, including the Adventist and community member rates,” Trujillo continued. “Of course, some schools charge more, and some schools charge less, but we need an approximate amount to ensure every new kindergartner receives support. Since the Pacific Union Conference is willing to cover half a month of tuition, the NCC wishes to match it so that schools can offer this gift to all incoming students at the kindergarten level.”

By donating to the New Beginners Educational Fund, you are doing more than just helping a family. According to September 2020 reports, approximately 68% of the children in NCC kindergartens are not members of the Adventist church. And in a time when it seems enrollment has decreased in our conference, as of January 2021, there were 172 kindergartners enrolled – a 10% increase from September. “These students are the future of Adventist education in our conference,” said Superintendent of Schools Albert Miller. “By helping fill our classrooms to capacity, we are ensuring our future is bright.” 

Like a passport opens the door to world exploration for a child enrolled in our schools, your gift to the New Beginners Educational Fund is the best investment in a child’s future success as an adult and in the survival of our school system.
President Marc Woodson Shares His Vision for 2021
In this nine-minute inspirational and hope-filled video based on Mark 4, Matthew 7, and Matthew 14, President Marc Woodson acknowledges the hard work and dedication of our pastors, teachers, and members, and he encourages the people of our conference to move into the future with confidence. He ends with a blessing from Romans 15:13. Help share this message with every NCC member. It is designed to be part of your livestreamed or in-person Sabbath worship service. 
Happy News!
Congratulations to Yuba City church Pastor Zach and Yvette Reiber on the birth of their daughter, Caroline Grace, on Feb. 11! May the Lord continue to bless your family!
Upcoming Events
Parents of kids in grades 7-10, check out Virtual Academy Days at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, Feb. 27-28. Find out more.

Know a young person, 18 years or older, who wants to work at one of the 80 Adventist summer camps in North America? Visit Camp Connect, the virtual job resource fair sponsored by the North American Division. Contact Leoni Meadows to learn more.
Prayer Ministries
Join the NCC Prayer Line every Thursday morning from 7-8 a.m. Call 1-916-637-8111, and use code 669648#. This morning, Granite Bay Hilltop church Associate Pastor Luccas Rodor will present a short devotional message. Carlos Muñoz, Amazing Facts College of Evangelism director, will speak next Thursday morning.
The book, Hope's End-time Secrets, by Mark Finley and Loron Wade is full of details regarding ancient prophecies, their historical fulfillment, and their future consequences. In a world filled with uncertainty and conflicts, you will find the assurance to face history's most disturbing moments. Purchase this book in English or Spanish for $19.99 at our NCC ABC.
NCC Headquarters Closed 
Because of the pandemic, the NCC headquarters building is closed until further notice. Staff are working from home during business hours. Email info@nccsda.com, and we will forward your message to the appropriate department. Find a list of departments and staff members on the NCC website. The Adventist Book Center remains open during its posted hours. 
Enjoying “Northern Lights”? Invite others to sign up by forwarding this issue.
Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
(916) 886-5600 I www.nccsda.com