Volume 3 Issue 44 October 15, 2020
Alice Merrill Retires
NCC Children’s Ministries Director Alice Merrill is retiring after 31 years of service to the Adventist Church. “Although we are sad to say goodbye, we praise the Lord for the legacy she is leaving,” said President Marc Woodson. “Due to her ministry, thousands of children began building their lives on the solid foundation of Christ’s love.”
During her career, Merrill held a variety of jobs, including teacher, librarian, registrar, and administrative assistant. In 2004, she became NCC children’s ministries associate director. Through the years, she also served as associate director of Sabbath School ministries, family ministries, and Adventurer ministries. Under her leadership, the number of local church Adventurer clubs grew to about 55!

“I have had the privilege of working with Alice in Adventurers for the past 22 or so years,” said Linda Lutes, Adventurer coordinator. “She has made Adventuring fun and memorable for many families throughout Northern California. It has been a privilege to work under Alice, and we will greatly miss her!”
Each year Merrill organized the popular Family Fun Weekends at Leoni Meadows for both English and Spanish speakers. She also planned the annual Adventurer pin design contest, Bike Derby, and Fun Day – which attracted up to 700 children and family members from all over the conference. In the summer, she supported the lower divisions and craft activities at Redwood Camp Meeting.

In addition, she facilitated numerous training events for Adventurer leaders, Sabbath School teachers, children’s ministry leaders, and Vacation Bible School teams (including training in Spanish whenever possible). “It has been very satisfying to see young parents growing into leadership roles,” she said.
Some of Merrill’s happiest memories are of her times at Leoni Meadows and Redwood Camp Meeting. “I saw the same kids year after year and saw them grow up and mature,” she said. “I have enjoyed working with the Adventurer and Redwood teams who have been my support for each area.”

Youth Director Eddie Heinrich spoke for many who have worked with Merrill. “I’m really going to miss Alice – a great friend and colleague,” he said. “She has done a tremendous work in advancing the mission of children’s ministry.” 
NCC Young Adults Reach Out in Sacramento
Once again, NCC young adults joined with Fusion San Bernardino Ministries to reach out to the unhoused residents of Sacramento. Last Sabbath and Sunday, a group of about 60 young people gave out 200 sack lunches, 200 GLOW tracks, and 100 hygiene kits. NCC Youth Director Eddie Heinrich joined them on Sabbath. “I was impressed to see the compassion that the young adults had for the people they met and their heartfelt enthusiasm for what they are doing,” he said. 
Fire Relief and Recovery
As reported earlier in previous Developing News emails, NCC church members and employees lost their homes in the Zogg, North Complex West, and Glass fires that struck our region a few weeks ago. Many more had to evacuate. Now, most are returning to their communities to face other challenges.

Thanks to the many donors who responded to the call for assistance – giving close to $19,000 to date to the Disaster Relief Fund – numerous church members and those connected with local churches received some form of help immediately following the disasters, such as money, food, clothing, gas, personal supplies, and housing.

Now, community partners like Adventist Health St. Helena (pictured); ADRA; Adventist Community Services; local businesses; county, state, and federal agencies; other nonprofits; and local churches have increased their support for short and long-term recovery efforts. For example, at the Angwin fire station, the Napa County Local Assistance Center helps Angwin and Deer Park residents in a variety of ways.
Rio’s Community of Support 
Most boarding schools might not see the need for deans during distance learning. However, Rio Lindo Adventist Academy has utilized the dean and counseling team to form the new Student Support Team (SST), which works to identify students who are struggling and coordinate the help they need before they fall behind academically or emotionally.

Research has shown that the rate of depression among teens has grown exponentially during the pandemic as they struggle with loneliness, isolation, family stress, and grief-related symptoms. The SST meets weekly to review each student’s attendance, grades, and teacher referrals for additional help. Throughout the week the deans and school counselor check in with students to listen to their needs, assess well-being, and troubleshoot obstacles. They also coordinate with parents, teachers, and administration to ensure each student is well.
The Holy Spirit Is Still at Work
Ten people in the Sacramento area plan to be baptized after the recent North Highlands Spanish company online evangelistic series. Each meeting, presented by Executive Secretary Jose Marin, was viewed live at about 100 sites and received 400-600 total views from around the country and as far away as Argentina! The meeting that focused on the Sabbath received 1,600 views. Watch the series on Facebook.
Adventist Book Center
At our NCC ABC, find Worthington Dinner Roast on sale for $11.99 each or $67 for a case of six. Click here to see other food specials.

During the next few months, the NCC Adventist Book Center will be making pre-paid drop-offs throughout the conference, as well as several places in Nevada. Find out more!
Prayer Call
Join the NCC Prayer Line every Thursday morning from 7-8 a.m. This morning, Esmé Ross, prayer coordinator, will give a short devotional. Call 1-916-637-8111, and use code 669648#.
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