Volume 3 Issue 21 May 7, 2020
Report from the Northern California Conference Executive Committee

On May 6, 2020, the Conference Executive Committee (CEC) held its quarterly meeting online. Its various reports, votes, and discussions demonstrated that God’s work is still moving forward throughout our territory.

“I’m so glad for the theology of our Church,” said NCC President Marc Woodson during the meeting. “The Church is not a building; the Church is not a worship service; the Church is the people of God. We are the Church scattered right now – in our neighborhoods, our communities, and our families. We may be sheltering in place, but we are still a light. Our current situation does not stop the Word of God. It does not stop our mission.”

Below are some highlights of the meeting:
General Information  

NCC leadership is currently working on guidelines for reopening churches, schools, and the conference office in preparation for the time when restrictions are relaxed.

The CEC had a lengthy discussion regarding the NCC midterm constituency session scheduled for Oct. 11. Concerned for the safety of delegates and aware that the prohibition against large gatherings will almost certainly be extended into the fall, the committee considered a number of options. They also talked about the difficulty that congregations might have with the delegate selection process as they adjust to the changing public health situation.

Due to these and other considerations, the CEC felt it was prudent to vote to cancel the midterm session. CEC members also voted for NCC administrators to look into various ways to effectively communicate with the constituency in the absence of a physical meeting.

Even during difficult times, the NCC strategic plan, “Engage,” is moving forward. The CEC heard reports from the committees working on each initiative: Engage your calling to ministry. Engage your church in planting. Engage your community with compassion. 
Local Churches

Executive Secretary Jose Marin reported that during the first quarter of 2020, 152 people were baptized, and 42 joined by profession of faith. The current NCC membership is 41,007. Some highlights from the first quarter:  

Pacific Union College church – 17 baptisms, one profession of faith
Granite Bay church – 13 baptisms, seven professions of faith
Palo Cedro church – 15 baptisms
Alturas church (53 members) – one baptism
Dobbins church (23 members) – five baptisms

A number of people throughout the conference look forward to being baptized when the public health crisis is over.

The CEC voted to approve the organization of the Sacramento Ukrainian church.

Two new missional groups have formed: the Novato Spanish missional group from the San Anselmo Spanish church and the Southern Marin County missional group from the Novato church.

Community Services Director James Lim reported that 17 NCC churches with food distribution programs will receive money from a food pantry grant from North American Division Adventist Community Services. Lim said that he really appreciates all of the NCC churches that are engaged in community services during this public health crisis.

In response to a request from local pastors, the NCC is setting up a Membership Assistance Fund. More details will be available in the near future. 

When California’s stay at home order was issued, the majority of NCC schools were able to go fully online in 72 hours or less, reported Superintendent of Schools Albert Miller. The NCC and the Pacific Union Conference have worked together to make sure that each student has access to online learning.

Empathizing with the disappointment of eighth graders and high school seniors and wanting to celebrate their success, the education department is working with local community health contacts to discuss feasible and creative ideas for graduation ceremonies.

The committee voted to organize Paradise Adventist Elementary School, which will open next school year on its former campus in Paradise. Paradise Adventist Academy (grades 9-12) will remain in Chico next school year.

The NCC is reducing by 50 percent what it bills each school for teachers’ salaries during the months of April and May. This allows schools, that are able, to pass some of the savings on to school families. 
Financial Information

Treasurer John Rasmussen thanked the dedicated office staff who ensure that NCC employees continue to be paid twice a month.

In order to keep all NCC employees on the payroll, the CEC voted to suspend the scheduled 1.6 percent salary increase for NCC employees and the ERI percentage increase, which were voted on earlier this year for the 2020 operations budget.

The NCC has implemented other cost-saving measures – a suspension of all administrative and departmental travel, as well as a freeze on all new hires for the office and pastoral field. (This doesn’t include locally funded positions at churches and schools.)  

Tithe giving was good in January and February, but has declined since then. To help churches get up to speed with online giving, Communication and Development Director Laurie Trujillo prepared a tutorial video , comparing AdventistGiving and Pushpay. She also prepared instructional videos on how to sign up for AdventistGiving and Pushpay

Administration and the NCC investment committee have been monitoring the conference’s investment accounts. NCC money is ethically invested for long-term growth.

CEC Business

The CEC voted the addition of two new committee members: Betty McGraw, Pacific Union College church member, and Jesica Minton, Gracepoint church member.  
A Call to Prayer

NCC leaders ask church members throughout the conference to pray for them as they make decisions during this difficult time. 
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