Greetings Church Family,
Have you ever experienced a moment in which you knew that God was at work in ways that you never expected? What about a time when God was so clearly moving that it was everything you could do to keep up with His plan? Over the last five weeks or so, I’ve been in the middle of that type of experience. I want to share it with you, but first: Picture in your mind the face of someone. This someone is 14-35 years old. They used to faithfully attend Sabbath School and church. Maybe you can see their smiling angelic face as they experience their Sabbath School. But it’s been years since you’ve seen them in church. Maybe you don’t know why. Or maybe you do. Whatever the case, they haven’t been here. Can you picture that person? Hold on to that picture as I share what has been happening in the last five weeks.
It was late in October that I sat in a room with 18 other leaders to dream about ministry to young people. The idea that came out of that meeting was something called, “Millennial Matrix.” The dream was to take a handful of churches through a 12-month journey to learn more about young people. That’s it. Learn about their values, their relationship to the church, their way of life. The goal? To learn to love young people better. With over 60% of young people leaving our church, we recognize it is only a matter time before our church ceases to exist. The Millennial Matrix was intriguing to us, but felt impossible. There were too many obstacles. Too many committees had to agree. Too many churches had to get on board. Simply too much had to happen to make the project work. There just simply wasn’t enough time. Except that it seems God has had different ideas. At our business meeting in November, we talked about the concept and voted to move forward with Millennial Matrix. Similar meetings happened in four other churches. Just last week, Oregon Conference and the North Pacific Union allocated funding to sponsor the majority of project costs.
The Result? Starting in January, Sunnyside will be a part of a five-church journey to learn to love young people better. What will this mean? We will read together, we’ll share together, we’ll experience training together from some of the leading researchers in the country. We will participate in some research and have conversations about where God is leading us. Where will it lead? We don’t yet know. But I have become convinced that God is leading us to learn more about the people we’re missing. To learn more about that face that you pictured a few moments ago. To learn how God will teach us to love the next generations better than we ever have before.
I hope that many of you will choose to be an active part of the Millennial Matrix journey. As January unfolds, we will all learn more about what that means. But until then, I encourage you to be praying with me for the young people that are no longer in our church. I encourage you to be praying for us that we will learn well and listen carefully. I encourage you to be praying for our church that we may reverse the trend and be the church in which our kids and our grandkids feel connected, loved, and fulfilled.
God has already been moving. I can’t wait to follow in His footsteps in 2015. I’m hoping you’ll be just as excited to join me.
News & Notes
Sabbath worship services are at 8:45 and 11:15 am. Jonathan Russell will be presenting the message entitled, “Chaos, Confusion, and Hope.”
Our monthly fellowship potluck is today immediately following the second service. You are invited to stay, enjoy great food, good friendships, and make new acquaintances. Junior and Earliteen Leaders, after you get your food, take it with you to the Youth Room for a meeting.
Romanian Family Fellowship: A wonderful evening of fellowship, worship, singing, and games is happening December 6 at 5:30 pm. This is an opportunity for all our Romanian families to invite their Romanian friends to spend time together here at Sunnyside. If you would like to attend you are very welcome.
Elders prayer breakfast will be tomorrow, Sunday, 8:30 am. We will focus on “Spiritual Leadership,” chapter 3.
The Village Support Network will be training new teams Sunday, December 7, 1:00 pm. We are pleased to be able to host this training program. They will meet in the Fellowship Hall.
This will be the last week to order your 2015 devotional books to get them delivered to the church before Christmas. Check the table in the Narthex for a flyer on the available books, and sign up for the books you desire. Please remember, by ordering through the church, you will receive special pricing. These make great Christmas gifts. We will make sure they are here and ready for pick up by December 13. If you have any questions, contact Lorrie Wescott.
In Your Church Library:
For Youth and Adults: New additions are “Deliverance” by Alla Czerkasij and “The Man with the Reversible Foot” by Susan Phelps Harvey. Also now available on library DVD’s are Ty Gibson’s series about “The Love of God” and 3 new “Adventist Heritage” DVDs.
For Families: Read a volume of “Christmas in My Heart” by Joe Wheeler. The library has volumes 1-23 of these wonderful stories. Or watch “My Christmas Soldier,” a new holiday DVD . Also available are “The Nativity Story” and “Mary’s Song” DVDs for the season.
For Primary/Junior: For the holidays, read “Guide’s Greatest Christmas Stories” by Helen Lee Robinson or “The Snowstorm Jenny Never Forgot” by Miriam Wood.
For Preschool: Check out “The Star of Christmas,” a Christmas Veggietales DVD or a new book, “Swirly” by Sara Saunders. Also more books and DVD’s about the birth of Jesus are available.
The Adventist Book Center’s holiday sale is December 1-31. For all the details, download the sale flyer at www.abcflyer.com. We will be closed December 25-27.
Christmas at Sunnyside
December 12, 7:00 pm: PAA Christmas Concert
Sab, Dec 13, 8:45; 11:15 am: Family Church, Second Service: Children’s Pageant
— “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
December 13, 4:00 pm “Reflections on Christmas” — Milo Academy and
December 19, 7:00 pm: Family Christmas Musical Program
December 20, 8:30 am: Christmas Brunch
10:00 am: Bible Study Classes
11:00 am: Worship Service
December 27, 8:45, 11:15 am: Choir and Handbells
January 3: Communion Sabbath
Committee OKs Grants For Ethiopia Projects
The Foreign Missions Facilitation Committee this week authorized $11,000 in special grants to projects in Ethiopia.
* For South East Field Pathfinder uniforms and musical instruments–$5,000.
* For in-country purchase of medicines to supply clinics to be conducted next month–$1,000.
* To support current construction of a church office building in Sodo–$5,000.
The committee set spring break 2016 as the date for a comprehensive mission to Ethiopia.
Committee member Martha Zeleke went to Ethiopia last month to spark the building project in Sodo. She plans to go again in February.
Deffo Mebrat, another committee member, has personally organized a mission team to join him in Ethiopia’s South East Field next month. He has six persons from Juneau, Alaska; a preacher from Kenya; and a male chorus from South Africa. Deffo will supervise the distribution of some 44,000 books he has collected for elementary and secondary school libraries.
Mission-minded Sunnysiders (is there any other kind?) can support these projects by a special Christmas gift to the church’s Foreign Missions Project Fund No. 806.
Meanwhile, Rick and Ann Westermeyer and Diusi Hutleac returned this week from a month-long mission in Zimbabwe. They were busy with building projects at the orphanage in Harare operated by Ann’s parents.
Portland Adventist Academy
Portland Adventist Academy is holding an evening Open House on Monday, December 15, 6-8 pm. This is a chance for prospective students and/or their parents to tour the school, meet teachers and administrators, and ask important questions. Cookies and warm drinks will be served. Explore opportunities to win a month of free tuition! An RSVP to 503-255-8372 would be appreciated.
Portland Adventist Elementary
PAES Christmas Concert will be Thursday, December 18, 7:00 pm in the school gym.
Rivergate Adventist Elementary School
December 18, 7:00 pm: Our Christmas program entitled, “Joyful All Ye Nations Rise,” is a presentation of Christmas celebrations around the world.
Event Location: Gladstone Park Church
December 13, 7:00 pm: Orchestra and vocal concert by Foutainview Academy. They will present “O Holy Night.”
Event Location: Vancouver Adventist Community Church
July 17-30, 2015: 2015 Great Controversy tour with Dr. Gerard Damsteegt of the Seminary, Andrews University. See the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation come alive in Europe. Visit Rome, the Waldensian Valleys, Switzerland, Germany, and France. Experience Early Christianity, the Dark Ages, the Reformation, and the “deadly wound.” For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 269-815-8624.
NOW HIRING – PACS (Portland Adventist Community Services) is hiring a part-time dental assistant to assist in the launch of dental services at PACS. Please send resume to email@example.com.